politics

Idle No More by Greg Gallinger

U of W Aboriginal Students United for Aboriginal Rights

University of Winnipeg students marched from the University's downtown campus to the legislature grounds where they held a rally in solidarity with Aboriginal groups around Canada opposed to bill C-45.

Michael Champagne, @northendmc activist and organizer of Meet Me At The Bell Tower, speaks at a rally of organized by University of Winnipeg students.

Speakers at the rally included Wab Kinew and Michael Champagne AKA @northendmc. Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs was also in attendance, Nepinak has been a vocal opponent of bill C-45, calling it illegal, colonial, and paternal.

Derek Nepinak, Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs at the Idle No More rally at the Manitoba Legislature.

Although the rally was spurred by bill C-45 it is part of a bigger reengagement of politically conscious people. Similar to the Occupy and Québec student movements, the aboriginal rights movement is regaining energy and taking advantage of social media to get people engaged.

You can see more photos from the rally here.

Murder for business by Greg Gallinger

Alex Paterson, writing at The Uniter:

A Canadian Senate committee recently recommended the termination of 70,000 grey seals in order to benefit the country’s cod fishery, raising the ire of scientists and environmentalists from coast to coast.

Despite the evidence indicating that overfishing is actually the main cause of the declining cod population the Canadian Government has sided with business and the Newfoundland/Labrador Minister of Fisheries.

In essence the government has decided that in order to continue killing more cod they need to kill more seals, their logic fails to compute. Given the people involved, like Minister of Fisheries for Newfoundland and Labrador Daren King, it's not surprising. In response to the Russian ban on Canadian harp seal products King has been quoted as saying

"Our government has expressed its concerns to the government of Canada and urged action to be taken against any proposed restrictions on the trade of harp seal products."

He also claims that the those opposed to the hunt have been misinformed, that it is a sustainable and humane practice.

Anyone who has seen photos of video of the hunt knows that this simply is not true, there's nothing humane about killing a young seal with a large hook. For anyone paying attention this decision is just one of many that have blatantly ignored scientific data and professional recommendations in favour of politically and economically motivated decisions on the part of the Harper Government.

Conflicts of interest and fluff news by Greg Gallinger

By now anyone from Winnipeg reading this has surely heard all about the local journalists and blogger receiving gifts and discounts from IKEA and the controversy that blew up on Twitter. Lindsey Wiebe questioned her peers who accepted the invitation and gifts.

Screen Shot 2012 11 28 at 1 51 08 AM Then CBC chimed in.

CBC declined the offer to shop because of a policy against employees accepting gifts. However, reporter Nelly Gonzalez went to the event to pose the ethics question to Ikea.

CBC were then criticized for being self-righteous, after all they were just as guilty for spending an inordinate amount of time covering the opening of a retail store. Just look at the CBC Manitoba homepage.

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Nevermind the fact that Winnipeg's Mayor is facing a potentially similar fate as Toronto's Rob Ford, or that First Nations groups are contesting treaty rights in order to acquire Kapyong Barracks. Why read about real news and issues that affect more than your lust for consumerism? WE HAVE AN IKEA!!!

Before the whole debate broke out, I had read one too many Rah! Rah! IKEA tweets by news organizations and took my frustrations out on CBC Manitoba's twitter account.

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To me the issue is deeper than a few journalists and bloggers filling their faces and going home with grab bags, it's about whether these are the type of events the press and serious bloggers should be covering. Given recent cutbacks at the local newspapers you'd think their priorities would be streamlined. What is and is not newsworthy should be held under a tighter standard. Muckraking takes time and effort whereas regurgitating press releases and corporate jargon is relatively easy (it's even easier when your stomach is full of meatballs and your desk is being perfectly lit with the free LED lightbulbs).

We all need to stop acting like spoiled children after watching a toy commercial.

Anarchists targeted after Seattle's May Day protests by Greg Gallinger

Kim Murphy, writing for the Los Angeles Times

What bothered Plante was that they weren't just looking for sticks and black masks. The FBI search warrant also listed "anarchist" and "anti-government" literature and material among items to be seized.

With news articles like this it's hard to buy FBI's story that they no longer carry out COINTELPRO-like operations.

Activists, anarchists, environmentalists, and anyone who doesn't conform to the status quo is now a terrorist and can be treated as such.

Prairie Struggle by Greg Gallinger

Seen as I appear to be promoting certain periodicals I'll go ahead and add Prairie Struggle to that list.

I just picked up the latest issue (also available as a PDF) and although it's not as flashy as a lot of the "new media" sites, it's aim to spread the ideals of anarchism is an honourable one.

I recommend reading Prairie Struggle's Aims and Principles, but I particularly like the paragraph regarding social revolution:

We recognize that any deeply entrenched system based on power and privilege will not allow itself to be peacefully abolished. True liberation can only be attained by social revolution. For us, the concept of a social revolution is not an abstract metaphor, but, rather a very real social war against every form of oppression. While we don't fetishize violence or armed struggle, we understand it will require revolutionary force on the part of the working class to bring about social emancipation. Such a revolutionary situation can only emerge from social movements and the radicalization of the working class. We advocate radicalization of every struggle. By means of this radicalization and of our involvement in the various resistance movements in which we participate, we encourage the development of an autonomous class consciousness, the only safeguard against political recuperation. We defend, everywhere and always, the autonomous organization and revolutionary self-activity of the working class.

You can pickup a physical copy of Prairie Struggle at Mondragón.

Yearly transit passes by Greg Gallinger

Amy Groening, writing at The Uniter:

The Universal Transit Pass, or U-Pass, would provide eligible students with unlimited access to Winnipeg Transit services during the fall and winter semesters, in exchange for a tuition fee increase of an estimated $150 to $200 for the year.

Why just eligible students, I'm a wage worker and a tax paying resident, why can't I buy a yearly transit pass?

I hate buying transit passes. I usually buy monthly passes, but often forget to get a new pass on the first of the month. A yearly pass would be ideal.

The proposed cost of a "U-Pass" mentioned in the article is $150 - $200, that seems pretty low considering monthly passes for students currently cost $61.60.

Because I'm pretty awful at math I've always assumed buying a monthly pass (at full rate because I'm not a student) was the most economical option. After reading the above article I decided to investigate the fares a little bit more to determine the approximate yearly cost.

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I was surprised to learn that tickets are the cheapest way to ride, they are also my least favourite to use. Despite this knowledge I'm unlikely to start buying up rolls up tickets like I'm swooping in on the silent auction at a Saturday night social. I'll stick with passes.

But why the discrepancy in price in the first place?

Does Winnipeg Transit keep the cash price lower than passes because they count on the fact that most nobody has a Toonie, a Quarter, and two Dimes and will reluctantly drop $2.50 down the hole because it's more convenient? I know I do (unless I'm short, in which case I'll dump whatever configuration of change I can pass off as the right amount.

With a yearly pass I'd never have to worry about buying a new pass on the first, and I'd never have to fish for change after I forgot to buy a pass and I'm almost late for work.

My experiment in arithmetic also taught me that if Winnipeg Transit allows the U-Pass they will be losing over $500 per student (assuming each student would have purchased a bus pass). This information reinforces my skepticism of the proposed "U-Pass" price.

Given Winnipeg Transit's current pricing scheme it seems more likely that a yearly pass would run the average citizen somewhere in the $900 - $1,000 range and students falling somewhere between $700 - $800.

UPDATE:

I'm glad to see you're all better at math than me as many of you have pointed out I forgot to account for round trips when paying cash. If you're a student or worker transfers won't do you much good for round trips most of the time. Below is a slightly adjusted table of fares that include round trips.

I also forgot to account for the tax rebate that passes qualify for, but I won't bother doing that math.


Screen Shot 2012 10 09 at 11 01 05 PM

So tickets and cash are NOT cheaper if your trips are to and from work/school because transfers would have expired.

That being said, cash can sometimes work out to be a better deal if you don't ride the bus everyday and are able catch the occasional ride home.