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Protesters gather to rally robocall – 660News

12 Mar

More than a hundred Demonstrators gathered in downtown Calgary on Sunday to protest so called “Robo-calling” during the last federal election.

The Liberals and NDP’s accuse the Conservatives of being behind the scandal, a claim the Tories adamantly deny.

The group of about 100 to 120 people made the peaceful march from City Hall to the Harry Hays Building downtown.

Holding a sign that reads “We want democracy now,” demonstrator
Jen Bacon tells 660News it’s time to get to the bottom of who’s responsible for the robo-calling scandal and hold them accountable.

“Just a public apology won’t be enough. You know, we want people to be charged if they find them doing this,” says Bacon.

Similar events were held in cities across the county including in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax.

Read More – 660News.

Alberta 2012 Fiscal Budget

24 Feb

This is the 2012 budget for Albertans. This link is a PDF. You must have Adobe Reader to view it.
Alberta 2012 Fiscal Budget

Who needs tents? Occupy everything! – Mandi Schrader

6 Dec

Despite Occupiers themselves having received no formal notice of the court’s decision, rumours are flying all over that the tent city has to come down this Friday. The Morgans and their pals are doing a victory watusi and you can cut the smugness with a knife.

My question is, so what?

So now a few dedicated die-hards no longer have to freeze. Now the critics won’t have a camp to hide behind when we challenge their precious consumerist culture. Now we can all have a good laugh at these dreamy idealists and go back to pretending all is right with the world. Right?

I don’t think so. Now the real work begins.

Now that the municipal taxpayers of Calgary won’t have a camp to complain about, perhaps they will focus their attention on the abuses of their federal tax dollars. Maybe the battle cry of the middle class will change from “Screw you, hippie!” to “Not so fast, Harper!” Maybe they will even protest human rights abuses with the kind of energy they protested a protest! Wouldn’t that be something?

Imagine a Calgary where people who have the time to spend hours composing snipey tweets and such gems as “get a job and take a shower” actually started directing their ire upwards. Suppose they finally noticed that the oil trade is killing people and wrote a few snarly letters to the appropriate parties?

Miracles do happen.

Meanwhile, my beautiful Occupy family, time to take it to the streets. Take it to the TransAlta headquarters. Take it to the suburbs. Take it to the mall. Keep it visible. Put the “active’ back in “activist.” Write songs, paint paintings, hound the corporate criminals, hammer on the doors of government! This is just the beginning.

It ends when freedom and security for all people are an unquestioned fact. It ends when we refuse to support slavery on the other side of the world in order to get better prices at Wal-Mart. It ends when we no longer accept poverty for our children and our elderly.

Of course, realistically, this means it never ends.

Occupy 2.0 in effect as of now. Flash mobs, performance art, rallies. Keep the conversation growing! Never give up, never surrender, never sell out.

I will still be right here.

Food and Water Security Part 1 – Allan Parker

13 Nov

This is part 1 of a three part series. In the next post we will look at problems with our water management. Part 3 will be all about solutions.

The two main concerns with food sovereignty are availability and quality. Many people have noticed that in the grocery stores the quantities are getting smaller and the prices elevate or stay the same. People aren’t really sure what they’re buying anymore.

When you get right down to it, food and water security are essential to freedom. They are what allows us to take care of ourselves. What’s happening over the last few years with globalization is the food producers, especially in the northern climates, are getting further and further apart. And we saw last year a clear danger of what can happen as a result, where a weather event froze the tomatoes in California and Mexico and suddenly there was a shortage of just one crop. This could easily happen on a much larger scale.

Statitsics show the average food product on the shelf is traveling 1500 miles to get here. If you follow it down the chain it’s the oil companies that are in control. This has the potential for many dangers.

If the supply lines were to stop the food would stop flowing. There are many reasons why they could stop, for example if there was an influenza outbreak and people stopped going to work because they were afraid of contracting the disease.  At this point in North America cities like Calgary have on average roughly a three day supply of food.

We found ourself in this situation through over a hundred years of industrial monocrop farming using fertilizers which have leeched the soil an depleted the topsoil to the point where most large farms are almost incapable of producing any kind of vegetable crop without using fertilizer.

This is something that is highly overlooked and it’s only recently that people are starting to catch on to how important this is. We need to start educating people in university about how to maintain our soil.

There are examples of people getting e coli poisoning from lettuce. In Mexico there is human sewage flowing into the fields where they grow lettuce and spinach. This is an incredibly dangerous practice and it travels all the way across the continent.

Companies like Monsanto experiment with genetically altering food crops. They’ve gotten into some really weird sci-fi stuff where they’re putting flounder genes, fish genes into tomatoes to make them frost resistant. We have products on the shelf that taste and look like a tomato but there is very little nutritional value. We really don’t know what these modified crops are doing to our health.

Monsanto has managed to control nearly the entire soybean and corn crop in North America. They are trying to move into Mexico. There continue to be court decisions that favor them to the point where now if they find their genetic property in anybody’s crop, which is spread by pollen, they own that person’s crop by legal entitlement.

I’ve spoken with many local farmers who have gone onto the Monsanto program. Monsanto produces crops that are resistant to Monsanto’s pesticides. In other words you plant Monsanto crops and then you can use Round Up to kill all the weeds. A farmer I spoke to last winter says that after 2 years he’s seeing the same weeds that he killed with Round Up coming back with their own naturally evolved resistance to the pesticide.

There has been no long term scientific study done on the effects of eating these products. There is some scientific evidence coming to light recently showing that it’s detrimental to cattle and other livestock that are eating them. That stuff is going into their system, then we eat the livestock and it is going into our systems.

Monsanto has been around for over 100 years. They’ve done a lot of work for the military. They invented agent orange and nerve gas. They also invented saccharine which was supposed to be A-OK but we later found out that it was harmful to us physically.

The requirement that all foodstuffs to be labeled with a complete list of ingredients and nutritional values is a Health Canada mandate. Yet they do not require anything with a GMO product in it to be labeled with that information. At this point 90% of the products in our supermarkets have GMO products in them.

Canadians need to demand to know what’s in their food. If you have children you’re probably concerned about what you’re actually feeding them. We need to know if there are GMO products in what we’re eating. We need to know where they come from. What countries do they come from, are they using equitable and sustainable growing practices?

This is really about our earth. We don’t have anywhere else to go. It’s not like we can go grow corn on Mars. This is all we’ve got. The question I want to ask everyone out there is: are you willing to allow the same people that have created the monetary system and the unnecessary addiction to oil to control our food and water supplies?

Canada has slipped from third to seventh place as a world food producer. The government is encouraging people more and more to get on board with companies like Monsanto and pushing the monocrop ideal. There are forces at work buying huge pieces of land in India and Africa and creating giant monoculture systems that do not work. They leech the soil and become less and less productive over time. We really need to rethink this and start thinking about the field to table idea.

Since 1900, 90percent of the vegetable crops that we used to see on our tables are now extinct because the new industrialized farming ideal has pushed them aside to the point where they are gone. There may be some feral species left out there somewhere. I hope there are and that they can be found and restored. But how many more will we lose in the name of profits and control to some major corporation?

Teamsters Support Occupy Calgary

11 Nov

Teamsters Canada Rail Conference

Division 355 Calgary

http://www.tcrc355.com

November 9, 2011

Dear Sir or Madame,

As a labour leader I support the right to protest. Occupy Calgary is protesting the

inequity between the working person and corporate entities across our great

country. These corporate entities have all the support of political and media

organizations. They have their word out, why can’t the Canadian worker voice

theirs?

John Diefenbaker once said “A lot of people say I pay too much attention to the

common man, I can’t help that because I am one.” These protests that are

occurring across Canada are doing just that, trying to get the word out that it’s not

fair. It’s not fair that working people keep losing wages and benefits while

corporations keep gaining ground. The current Conservative government is

legislating workers who have the democratic right to strike back to work.

My grandparents were organizers for the CCF in the thirties. They, and others

like them, were called communists by the corporate and government bodies at

the time. In the early fifties my Dad was in a little country called Korea fighting

communists. How ironic it is that guys like my dad actually fought communists

and that his family were called communists. They busted their asses on that

peninsula for a system that labelled them communist. We have good Canadians

at Calgary Olympic Plaza trying to get word out that our system is unfair for the

working person. These good Canadians are there to defend this country just like

guys like my Dad were.

I say let them stay and protest a system that at times is stacked against the

working people of this great Country.

In Solidarity,

Darrel Sundholm CD

President

Division 355

Teamster Canada Rail Conference

 

Decolonize your mind – Nicole RunningRabbit

10 Nov

I do believe I have a valid reason to set my tent down on Siksika lands here in what is now called “Calgary”.

These lands (some sacred sites in & around Calgary) are only disputed by the CDN Govt. in our unhonoured treaty #7.

My new/old/potential friends & family are welcome to join in a respectful manner, anytime. Our humanitarian/environmental reasons are intertwined, afterall.

Damages to Olympic Plaza have been paid back to the “city of Calgary” in advance, to the tune of billions of dollars in oil royalties & other non-renewable resources that are scraped out of our mother earth & off the backs of Siksika/Kainai/Peigan/TsuuTina/Nakoda People, while some of us have no clean water to drink in our homes, if we are lucky to even have homes on reservation.

A large percentage of The Blackfoot People in Alberta slowly die off, continually in poverty from a slow & drawn out genocide/colonization/assimilation ongoing for the last 500+ yrs.

That is where the estimated $40k damage/4¢ per Calgarian taxpayer argument for evicting occupy calgary gets truly morbid for me, on the municipal & federal government’s part.

As well as being recently physically assaulted & threatened, I’ve been called hostile, divisive to the group, self-pitying, “playing the victim”, “looking for pity’, “racist toward the white man” & an agitator while I have been living at olympic plaza.

This will not stop me from showing solidarity to stop a corporate/governmental regime from completely wiping out the 100% = The Human Race.

When One really looks at the injustices we all face in Canada & Globally, One realizes that, in a way, We are all now facing what happened to Indigenous People in North/South America. Perpetrated by the corporations with their long reach into our governments, media, food, education and financial systems.

Decolonize Our Minds. Decolonize Calgary

NOW.

In peace and solidarity.

What Are We Afraid Of? Mandi Schrader

9 Nov

UPDATED TO REFLECT CURRENT INFORMATION

We live in a society which all too often rewards greed over honest work. This has led to a culture of fear and intimidation, where many people feel intensely pressured to toe the line or lose what they have.

We are very often told that as Canadians we are lucky. Our country has been least affected by the global economic crisis… so far. We still live in the best country in the world. And it’s true, we are lucky compared to some. At least, some of us are.

We allow ourselves to be lulled by this even as a sense of uneasiness grows. Some part of us knows all is not well. Even as the newspapers tell us we have nothing to complain about they report how a major energy corporation intentionally drove Alberta’s energy prices to highest in the country and cost Alberta residents millions. And how the punishment was extremely light.

You’d think this would be front page news, wouldn’t you? What did you see on the front page of the Calgary Herald on Tuesday November 8?

Occupy Calgary Showdown. A photo of a scruffy looking guy with full suitcases and a sheepish expression leaving St Patrick’s Island.

Alberta residents just got ripped off for millions by a corporation which controls 16 per cent of Alberta’s commercial power and are facing an extremely light penalty for it. But Matt McKellar and his fellow protesters get the front page. Oh those silly protesters.

The media rants and raves about the so far unverifiable $40,000 figure for damages supposedly caused by the demonstrators in Olympic Plaza, (go look, there is no damage, and if there is, we have several landscapers who have offered to replace the sod free of charge) yet it doesn’t even tell you that Stephen Harper did in fact bail out Canadian banks to the tune of $69 billion between 2008 and 2010. 

That’s a pretty big, faraway figure isn’t it? If you divide that between 34 million Canadians that means the average person paid $2000. What could you do with 2 grand of your own hard earned money?

This same prime minister has cut veteran pension funding. The people who fought and risked their lives for the peace and freedom of the Canadian people have been told by that same country that it will not support them. Harper recently announced approval a $22 million budget for a war of 1812 reenactment. Does that look to anyone else like taking money from the living to give to the dead?

Sure, everything’s fine.

What does it mean to working Canadians who struggle to do good things for our society to see such evidence of callous disregard for our efforts by our own government?

Those of us who work the hardest, who care passionately enough about the work we do to pursue it despite low wages and unfavorable conditions, are often the most vulnerable to bullying by our employers. Especially at times of economic recession when jobs are scarce, many feel afraid to speak up against injustices within the workplace. Or even outside of it.

We have heard of several corporations which instructed their employees that any involvement with Occupy Calgary would result in immediate termination. We have at least one alleged example of a person being fired simply for having participated.

This would put the lie to the portrayed image of the protesters being a bunch of jobless bums. At least one of us used to have a job. This writer also has one and so do several others, unless things like this are allowed to go on.

Though the company in question states the termination letter was a fake and many have pointed out that the company is a reputable one, abuses of this sort do occur often between invividual human beings when one is in authority over the other. 

The sad thing is that such abuses occur out of fear.  Such is the sickness in our society. Perhaps even members of our local media are too intimidated to show us what is really going on without using misdirection tactics to distract from the dangers around us. 

It is just this injustice that we seek to cast light on in the hope that people will find the courage to speak out against it. Not only the individual injustice of one lost job, but the all pervasive and deeply rooted injustice we all participate in when we shut our eyes and mouths to the truth. 

Marcus Arsenault wasn’t afraid, but too many are. 

Colley-Urquhart Prime Example of Financial Corruption of Government – Mandi Schrader

7 Nov

One of the more common concerns of the worldwide Occupy movement is the way money influences government. We in Canada believe we live in a democracy. While it is true that we have a small influence in choosing our federal, provincial and municipal governments through our vote, the truth is that we actually have very little influence over what these governments do.

We elect our representatives and hope that they will make ethical use of their power. But having handed them the reins we are forced to sit in the back seat and be carried to a destination none of us would have agreed to had the facts been available at the outset. We rarely have adequate information about where they are taking us.

Government policy is directly influenced by those who can afford to pay to be heard. This means that in action the will of the people is not represented.

One excellent local example is our recent post examining the expenditures of the 14 aldermen vs their actual needed budget. 

In his blog post suggesting creating limits on campaign funding, Mayor Nenshi says, “Friends,we need to make major changes to the way we fund our city elections. In thelast ten years, we’ve had our fair share of million-dollar-campaigns that often squeeze out the good ideas and good candidates that have less money behind them.  And if money is what it takes to have your voice heard over your opponents, our democracy has a serious problem. “

We in Occupy could not agree more. 

It did not escape our notice that Diane Colley-Urquhart’s excesses were second highest on that list. As the most vocal anti-Occupy alderman we wonder if she feels just a little threatened by our message. After all, were we to succeed in raising the public voice against such excesses, she might not even be able to hold on to her job. 

Meanwhile Nenshi has stated that he intends to continue to respect the Charter rights of the Calgarian citizens choosing to participate.

In addition to Colley-Urquhart’s suggestions to violate the Charter rights of Canadians, she now also wants to change the bylaws in order to muzzle future protests. Her tactics must not be tolerated. Below is the latest in her series of attempts to silence this protest which directly challenges the power of people like herself.

It is very interesting to note her reaction in light of the fact that, according to her bio, “In 2005, Diane was again honoured with the Alberta Centennial Medal for her work in diversity and human rights initiatives.” She presents herself as an award winning leader in human rights initiatives and yet she is fully prepared to run right over those same rights due to the minor inconvenience of a continuous occupation of a tiny corner of a park normally overrun with drug dealers.

If her proposed plan to “correct any legislative deficiencies in our bylaws with respect to regulating activities in public spaces, ” and  “that there will be a timely and efficient process in place to ensure that future protest activities will be managed consistently.” runs counter to the fundamental rights and freedoms of Canadian citizens they will necessarily be illegal laws. I feel that we have little to worry about with respect to her power to end this protest.

I feel her frustration and rage against this protest is a very good sign that it is necessary, and that in causing her to show her hand in this way, we are successful in exposing the corruption rampant even in our municipal government. 

‎2011 November 7th URGENT NOTICE OF MOTION 

RE: Takeover of Public Places by Protest Groups 

Alderman Colley-Urquhart 

WHEREAS the “Occupy Calgary” group has been present in Olympic Plaza and St. Patrick’s Island for approximately one month, and has taken over these park spaces 24 hours a day, and 

WHEREAS the loosely organized group has erected tents in the park space and does not intend on leaving, and 

WHEREAS the continued takeover is inconsistent with intended use of public parks space and interferes with public access, the use of parks space, and the maintenance of the parks, and 

WHEREAS the continued takeover is violating municipal bylaws, interfering with the general public’s peaceful enjoyment of the park facilities, and causing damage to public infrastructure, and 

WHEREAS the protestors have had more than adequate time to make their concerns known, 
and 

WHEREAS the majority of Calgarians wanted this matter dealt with promptly, and 

WHEREAS there have been many mixed messages from City Administration on what actions can be taken with respect to the takeover of the park space and how it can be brought to a timely resolution, and 

WHEREAS there have been concerns raised on many fronts with respect to the effectiveness or enforceability of the City’s Bylaws to regulate these public spaces; 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Administration bring forward a report and recommendations directly to Council as soon as possible on the actions taken in this matter with respect to: 

a) The agencies involved, 

b) Their authority or mandate to act on this matter, 

c) What resources were mobilized to react to the situation, 

d) The costs of these actions, 

e) A plan to review our legislation and authority to regulate such matters, 

f) A plan to correct any legislative deficiencies in our bylaws with respect to regulating activities in public spaces, and 

g) Assurances that there will be a timely and efficient process in place to ensure that future protest activities will be managed consistently. 

In The News: MLA David Swann “Let’s listen to what the protesters are saying”

5 Nov

Let’s listen to what the protesters are saying: Calgary Herald, November 5th
David Swann – Liberal MLA for Calgary Mountain View

Re: “Enough! Here’s a surreptitious solution to the Occupy squatters,” Editorial, Nov. 4.

“Dissent is a relatively limited and always costly activity. Gandhi, Rosa Parks and Emily Murphy were dissenters and little appreciated by the powerful of their time. In hindsight, their work turned out to be profoundly important.

Now in Alberta, dissent raises uncomfortable questions of ideas in vogue, people in power and those comfortable with the status quo. In a democracy, dissent serves as a critical check and balance on abuses of power and privilege.

In a province with oneparty majority government for 40 years, dissent should be even more valued and encouraged by those who understand that unchecked power corrupts.

In this context, I find it troubling that the Occupy Calgary folks’ efforts have been little appreciated; they have been largely dismissed when honest discussion leading to actions and better policy is needed. These idealistic people sacrifice time, energy, basic comforts and economic opportunities to raise their voices on important issues that confront all conscious citizens.

For example: Are government economic policies serving all Albertans fairly? Is Alberta managing our environment responsibly? Are we doing what we can to create caring and healthy communities? If not, why not? Are hunger and homelessness understood and being effectively acted upon?

If the answer to any of these is no, then each of us has a responsibility to raise the same issues or support the right and the courage these folks are expressing on our behalf. Occupy Calgary is an emerging global movement inviting community leaders to show leadership, to meet, learn and act together to make this planet great for all.

Aldermen expenditures largely ignored, while Occupy camp struggling on City Hall’s doorstep

4 Nov

As reported by OpenFile.ca: Aldermen would fail miserably under proposed campaign finance changes.

Mayor Nenshi has a sweeping argument regarding campaign finance limitations and a level playing field for candidates posted on his blog; some of his points include:

  • donations should only be made within one year of the election instead of anytime;
  • the maximum financial contribution should be lowered to $2,500 from $5,000;
  • a spending limit of 65 cents per ward resident (increasing with inflation);
  • surpluses should be given to the municipality, returned to donors, or donated to charity after each election; and
  • donations should be disclosed prior to the election.

Out of the City’s fourteen aldermen representing Wards 1 through 14, 71% would fail under Nenshi’s proposed limitations.

Meanwhile, in the shadow of City Hall, Occupy Calgary struggles to hear its voice heard and understood.

One viewer on Facebook commented: “How can these aldermen go over their proposed maximum budget and yet the Mayor is clearly under-budget?”

Another citizen pointed out: “Curious wasn’t Diane (who has the second highest per constituent cost) the one who started the petition to shut down occupy?”

Sources: OpenFile.ca Aldermen would fail miserably under proposed campaign finance changes | Zoey Duncan

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