Chronicling community action, revolutionary and revealing thought

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Um, ...Yeah... *gags*

(as in, "um, yeah, that's definitely not ok")
... What else are you supposed to say when facts like this are revealed?

December 27 2005: The Chicago Tribune reported that Pentagon contractor trade groups are blocking a Pentagon proposal prohibiting defense contractor involvement in human trafficking for forced prostitution and labor. The contractors do not want to be responsible for trafficking undertaken by their subcontractors. Halliburton subsidiaries have been linked to trafficking-related controversies.

After the Tribune reported in October on the kidnapping of a dozen Nepali men and their transport to work for Halliburton subcontractors in Iraq, Halliburton said it was not responsible for the recruitment or hiring practices of its subcontractors.

The U.S. Army, for its part, said questions about alleged misconduct “by subcontractor firms should be addressed to those firms, as these are not Army issues.”

Friday, October 13, 2006

community solidarity

Failure to fully support the community is a recipe for its extinction

- Fred Kayode, to members of the Yoruba community, Odua Gala & Awards Ceremony, Oct. 7th.

The link

OPSEU Union just as culpable as Government, says lawyer

A former correctional offcier-turned-lawyer is questioning the decision of the Ontario Public service Employees Union(OPSEU) to call a press conference to address the systematic racism that Vlack and other visible minority guards face in their workplace.

Selwyn Pieters, who worked at the Don Jail for about 15 months, and was subjected to racial harrassment, said he's not convinced the union is acting in the best interests of Black and other visible minority guards, adding that the union is just as culpable as the provincial government.

"I do not think that OPSEU is serious about dealing with or addressing the issues of systematic racism," said Pieters. "Leah Casselman(OPSEU President) was there when I and other guards came forward to voice our concerns and the union has done nothing even though they have a particular stake in the workplace, which is a unionized environment."

"Many guards have had an uphill fight with the union... It's particularly troubling that they are prepared to play political football with people's lives."

"I had to come forward to represent [Jason Williams] at great financial sacrifice to my law practice and to defend his human rights and right to work with dignity in a safe and respectful work environment due to the complex issues in the hearing and OPSEU's lack of support. Numerous requests for OPSEU, through its president and general counsel to assist Mr.Williams with his legal fees, including a request on the eve of the press conference, fell on deaf ears and were rejected."

Dave Mitchell, a Depty Superintendent with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, one of two senior African-Canadian prison officers in Canada, appeared with another guard, Charlene Tardiel, at a press conference earlier in the year, to express their concerns and displeasure with which their employers have handled the systematic racism they and other Black employees have faced.

Mitchell tearfully recalled the racist mail he received and said at the time that no less than 11 racist letters threatening in excess of 20 Black and other visible minority officers were sent to the Metro East Detention Centre where he's assigned and the Don Jail, where an African-Canadian officer was allegedly poisoned after leaving his meal unattended for a few moments.

Mitchell has said no progress has been made in the investigationsand re-iterated the need for public inquiry.

OPSEU, representing approximately 4,800 correctional officers province-wide, called for a public inquiry into the death threats officers face and the poisoned work environment, claiming the Ontaio gov't is fueling the racism by ignoring the recent avalanche of death threats against at least eight officers.

Black and visible minorities have been complaining for a long time about the rampant and systematic racism in some of the province's prisons. In 2000, Anthony Weekes, Mark Garrick and Anthony Simon related their horrific workplace experiences; in 1998, correctional officer Mike McKinnon, who won a racial discrimination case against four supervisors, predicted that the problem of systematic racism in Ontario jails will not go away.

"If they (White guards) are treating their Black colleagues in this manner," said Dave Mitchell, "imagine what they are doing to the Black inmates."

The link

Who's Running This Town?

"If you vote for a capitalist candidate, you're voting to kill children."

- Douglas Campbell, "Who Wants To Be Mayor?" debate, organized by Who Runs This Town?, St. Lawrence Centre, October 4

(full quote:-"The answer is public ownership of land. Businessmen are going to nuclearize the planet. If you vote for a capitalist candidate, you're voting to kill children.")

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Municipal election blues in Parkdale

I cannot see ahead to a bright municipal future for this city. In truth, folks care more about the province and the nation than the city. You can see this through dismal voter turnout during the city elections.

In Parkdale if 12,000 people vote, that would be considered a breaktrhough. But given our candidates, I don't blame people for staying home on election day.

One day I would like to see one politician actually earn their stripes when representing poorer areas. There's alot to be done in Parkdale, but other than Waterfront mania among a small group of people, I haven't seen anything else by candidates since I last wrote on this blog.

I haven't seen candidates working on solving Parkdale problems or leading some kind of community wide program to transform this neighbourhood in a way that is inclusive.

For instance, people living in problem buildings continue to deal with their landlords without respite and absolutely no promise of respite from any candidate.

Why oh why can't even one candidate at the very least promise what one candidate is promising up in the Jane and Finch area. Anthony Peruzza promises to enforce landlord licenses. That is licenses for owners of buildings that are regularly inspected and rated. If regular maintenance isn't done, the building gets cited and the landlord can't raise rents until all repairs are completed.

The license regulates greedy landlords to comply with decent housing standards for tenants. And it is the city that enforces
these licenses.

This is an interesting platform. One that could get folks motivated to go out and canvass buildings in the area. This sort of thing could make a big difference for tenants currently living in fifedoms.

What does any candidate in Parkdale have that is remotely close to this kind of platform, one that actually makes a tangible difference in the lives of people and their families?