Urgent Galloway update!

March 27, 2009

March 27, 2009

For Immediate Release

Urgent Galloway update


Minister of Censorship Jason Kenney’s decision to ban British MP George Galloway from speaking in Canada has ignited a firestorm of protest across the country. Kenney’s office ­ and the entire Conservative caucus ­ has been bombarded with thousands of e-mails, phone calls and messages of protest. A legal challenge has been launched by Galloway’s legal counsel in Canada, and the media is reporting new developments every day.

The movement to reverse the ban on Galloway is big, and is growing by the minute.

We can defeat Jason Kenney’s ban, but we need your help over the next few days. Please read below and forward this message everywhere!

Here’s how you can help:

1. Promote the Defend Free Speech website: www.defendfreespeech.ca.

This site is the clearinghouse for all update about the campaign and includes documents from the legal challenge, breaking news, ticket information, and action items. Please upload a link of this site to your website, upload it to all Galloway groups on facebook and on your profile, and forward it to all your friends. If you have any news or updates for the website, email info@nowar.ca.

2. Join our next organizing meeting in Toronto.

If you’re not in Toronto, get active with local groups in the Palestine Solidarity movement or the anti-war movement. The Toronto meeting is as follows: Friday, March 27 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor Street West, Toronto (TTC: Spadina). The Toronto meeting will provide updates, distribute new materials, and make plans for weekend actions.

3. Picket Conservative MPs’ offices on Saturday and Sunday.


This weekend, we need to make sure we keep the pressure up. Organize pickets at your local Conservative MP’s office to say you want Jason Kenney to reverse the ban on Galloway. Ask passers-by to sign the petition, distribute leaflets to them, and display free speech placards. All materials ­ petition, leaflets, and placards ­ can be downloaded from www.defendfreespeech.ca. When you’ve filled out the petitions, fax them to Kenney’s offices: 613-992-1920 (Ottawa office) and 403-225-3504 (Calgary office). A picket in Mississauga is already organized for Saturday, March 28 at 2:00pm at the office of Conservative MP Bob Dechert (Mississauga ­ Erindale), 1270 Central Parkway West, Suite 101, Mississauga.

4. Come to federal court on Sunday in Toronto to hear the legal challenge to Jason Kenney¹s ban.


Galloway’s legal team was informed that the hearing will be open to the public, so we need to pack out the courtroom to show how much opposition there is to Kenney’s attacks on free speech. The hearing will take place on Sunday, March 29 at 11:00am at the federal courthouse at 180 Queen Street West, Toronto (TTC: Osgoode). This is where we’ll find out if Kenney’s ban on Galloway is overturned. Seating is limited, so show up early! In addition, Toronto organizers will hold a free speech rally outside the courthouse at 10:30am. Bring your flags and banners! And bring lots of people!

5. Keep e-mailing and phoning Jason Kenney’s office.


If you’ve contacted him already, do it again. Tell them you won’t stop until Kenney reverses the ban. Tell them you want a formal response in writing, explaining why Kenney has banned Galloway. If you phone and there’s only voicemail, leave a long message asking that they call you back. Don’t let up the pressure now. Keep phoning, e-mailing, faxing, etc. Kenney’s e-mail addresses are: kennej@parl.gc.ca; kennej7@parl.gc.ca; minister@cic.gc.ca; harpes@parl.gc.ca. His phone numbers are: 613-992-2235 (Ottawa office) and 403-225-3480 (Calgary office). And don’t stop e-mailing the entire Conservative caucus. You can find all their e-mail addresses in one block at www.defendfreespeech.ca.

6. Keep buying tickets.


George Galloway has personally committed to deliver a live, original, interactive speech to each of the four cities where he’s scheduled to speak ­ either live in person or live via broadcast. We want to make sure that he can see how many of us have come to hear his speech and to stand up for our right to hear it. Every empty seat or unsold ticket is a defeat for free speech and a victory for the Minister of Censorship. Buy your tickets now and help us sell out the event. Ticket information for all four events is available at www.defendfreespeech.ca.

7. Broadcast Galloway’s live speech in your town or city.


If you live in a city where Galloway is not scheduled to speak (if you’re not in Toronto, Mississauga, Montreal or Ottawa) but would still like to hear his speech, let us know. We are organizing now to broadcast his Toronto speech on Monday, March 30 to locations all over the country where he is not scheduled to speak. Book a room now that can accommodate large numbers of people, start promoting your event, and get a laptop/LCD projector so you can broadcast his speech live. We’ll send you a private URL to log onto the Toronto broadcast. To get the private URL, please e-mail info@nowar.ca.

8. Join the ban-busting caravan to meet Galloway at the Canada-US border.


Organizers in Montreal are organizing a caravan of MPs, lawyers, anti-war activists and supporters to meet Galloway at the Canada-US border on the day he is scheduled to enter Canada. If we reverse the ban, we’ll bring him across. If we don’t reverse the ban, we’ll hold a solidarity rally on the Canadian side while a delegation of MPs and lawyers meet Galloway in the US. Galloway will address the Canadian rally by phone (with sound amplification).

Here’s the call-out from Montreal organizers:

On Monday, March 30, Montreal organizers for the Galloway speaking tour (SPHR) are
calling for a mass presence at the Canadian-US border in Lacolle, Quebec to support Canadian and Quebec MPs and MNAs who plan to escort Galloway into Canada, if the ban is reversed.

A solidarity caravan will leave from Montreal on Monday morning. Please show up by 9:30am at Carre Cabot, on Ste. Catherine and Atwater, corner of rue Lambert Closse (across from the Pepsi Forum). There will be buses. If you have a car, we need you to help caravan people there to arrive by 12:00pm (noon).

If you have a car, please let us know how many people you can take. If you need a ride, please let us know how many seats you need. E-mail us at Galloway.Canada@gmail.com.

9. Don¹t let Kenney silence anti-war voices! Demonstrate on April 4.


The Canadian Peace Alliance and Le Collectif Échec à la guerre have called a pan-Canadian day of action for Saturday, April 4 to protest the 60th anniversary of NATO and to bring Canadian troops home from Afghanistan. Now that Kenney has expanded his attacks to the peace movement and our right to free speech, it’s even more important to be in the streets. Tell Kenney that we won’t be silenced! If Kenney doesn’t overturn his ban on Galloway, join us on April 4 to demand that Kenney be fired from his job. For more information, please visit www.acp-cpa.ca.


NO NEW NUKES IN ONTARIO TEACH-IN Mar 13-14

March 7, 2009

NO NEW NUKES IN ONTARIO – A TEACH-IN
Mar 13-14, 2009, at the U of T

Join us for a teach-in on nuclear energy in Ontario. What are the concerns surrounding nuclear energy, and what are the alternatives?

Registration is now live! To register go to http://nuketeachin.eventbrite.com

On the evening of Friday March 13 at 7:00 p.m. there will a screening of the film Battle of Chernobyl. Earth Sciences Auditorium (ES 1050), U of T. For a description of the movie see http://icarusfilms.com/new2007/batt.html

Workshops will be held all day on Saturday Mar. 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Kofffler Centre, Room 108, U of T. The workshop on “What’s the Connection Between Nuclear Power and Nuclear Weapons?” takes place from 11 am to noon.

This conference will provide valuable information on the cost, the health effects, the ethical considerations, and the effectiveness of nuclear energy s compared to alternatives (e.g. renewable energy sources).

$25 – or pay-what-you-can. Free for U of T students.

Speakers include:

– Jack Gibbons, Ontario Clearn Air Alliance
– Dave Martin, Greenpeace
– Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Greenpeace
– Dr. Dorothy Goldin-Rosenberg, OISE
– Cherise Burda, Pembina
– Keith Stewart, World Wildlife Fund
– Greg Allen
– Phyllis Creighton, Veterans Against Nuclear Arms
– Helen Chilas, Canadian Voice Of Women for Peace
– Vinay Jindal, Physicians for Global Survival
– Jim Elve, Nanticoke
– John Morand, Port Hope
– Norm Rubin, Energy Probe
– Jos Higginson
And many more.

Sponsored by:
Ontario Clean Air Alliance, Greenpeace, University of Toronto Students Union, Students Against Climate Change, Veterans Against Nuclear Arms, Hiroshima Day Coalition, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, and Physicians for Global Survival.
_____

Want more background info? Check out http://www.renewableisdoable.ca
http://Blogs.greenpeace.ca/nuclear
http://ontariosgreenfuture.ca

Register now: http://nuketeachin.eventbrite.com

For more info: nuketeachin@yahoo.ca


Tomgram: Nick Turse, Closing Down Main Street

March 7, 2009

February 22, 2009
Tomgram: Nick Turse, Closing Down Main Street

[Note for TomDispatch readers: Last week, I asked you to consider writing friends, colleagues, relatives — whomever — to urge them to go to the “sign up” window at the upper right of TD’s main screen, put in their email addresses, and receive the mailing that offers notification whenever a new post goes up. (Word of mouth is, of course, still the major kind of publicity this site can afford.) A number of you did so and TD got a nice stream of new subscribers. So, many thanks indeed! If some of you meant to do this but didn’t quite get around to it, now’s as perfect a time as any. Lots of good posts coming up, so please pass the word! By the way, let me offer special thanks to those of you who, unbidden, used the site contribution button (“Resist empire. Support TomDispatch”) and sent in contributions. Your generosity allows the site to offer younger writers like Dahr Jamail and Nick Turse a few extra $$$s for all their hard work. It matters. Tom]

As I read an early version of today’s third (but by no means last) piece in Nick Turse’s Tough Times series, I couldn’t help thinking about an old line that, by my childhood in the 1950s, had become a kind of national folk wisdom: “As General Motors goes, so goes the nation.” (Indeed, as befit the rise of the U.S. as an imperial power, “nation” was sometimes replaced with “world.”) Of course, in those days, if you were the head of General Motors, it wasn’t so unreasonable to imagine that you controlled the fate of the nation and the planet. Not only were you atop a global powerhouse of a company, but you might still be going places.

After all, in 1953, Charles Wilson, GM’s president, did become President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s secretary of defense. Asked in his Senate confirmation hearings whether he would have a problem making governmental decisions that might not be in the interest of GM, he famously replied that he found it hard to imagine a conflict of interest “because for years I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa.” (Soon, that would be simplified to: “What’s good for General Motors is good for the country.”)

Only a few years after Wilson stepped down, a new President, John F. Kennedy, asked Ford’s president, Robert S. McNamara, to step into the very same post. At that moment, it seemed true indeed that, as Big Auto went, so went the world. Of course, that was before McNamara and his “whiz kids” got us deep into, but not out of, the Vietnam War. Now, that’s so much ancient history — though today, you might imagine a new version of the old adage, based on Bush and Obama administration staffing decisions at the Treasury Department: What’s good for Goldman Sachs is good for the country.

In any case, if Wilson’s statement seems like history, the old GM line doesn’t. As General Motors goes, so goes America. How sadly true. We know just how GM is going these days — down the tubes; and, as Nick Turse indicates in his latest post, so go the towns and small cities not only in the vicinity of the Big Three’s collapse, but countrywide. Tom

Tough Times in Troubled Towns
America’s Municipal Meltdowns
By Nick Turse

When Barack Obama traveled to Elkhart, Indiana, to push his $800 billion economic recovery package two weeks ago, he made the former “RV capital of the world” a poster-child for the current economic crisis. Over the last year, as the British paper The Independent reported, “Practically the entire [recreational vehicle] industry has disappeared,” leaving thousands of RV workers in Elkhart and the surrounding area out of work. As Daily Show host Jon Stewart summed the situation up: “Imagine your main industry combines the slowdown of the auto market with the plunging values in the housing sector.” Unfortunately, the pain in Elkhart is no joke, and it only grew worse recently when local manufacturers Keystone RV Co. and Jayco Inc. announced more than 500 additional job cuts.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

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Creekside: North America Next

March 7, 2009

The terminology keeps changing. Deep integration is now ‘plug and play interoperability’. But changing the words will not change the odious Security and Prosperity Partnership.

Alison over at Creekside has an excellent post about this:

A year ago the U.S. Department of Homeland Security gave Arizona State University $15 million to establish a Center of Excellence for Border Security and Immigration. The border security research centre is led by Rick Van Schoik, director of ASU’s North American Center for Transborder Studies.
Arizona State U presser, Feb. 2008 :
“The establishment of the center by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security follows more than two years of work assembling a team of U.S. universities, Mexican and Canadian institutions, government agencies, technology companies and national laboratories.

[…]

Read rest of Alison’s post here.

Also linked: CathiefromCanada: “Plug and play interoperability”

For SPP watch  articles, visit the Council of Canadians Integrate This! website:

September 26, 2008
Posted by Andrea Harden

President Bush met with leaders and officials from 11 countries in the Western Hemisphere on Wednesday, September 24th in New York to launch the ‘Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas’ initiative. Canada is joined by the U.S., Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama and Peru in this initiative. All have free trade agreements with the U.S., or one pending before Congress. In a Washington Post article, Bush hails the initiative as, “a forum where leaders can work to ensure that the benefits of trade are broadly shared.” (more…)

Council of Canadians

CIP Americas Program: Armoring NAFTA: The Battleground for Mexico’s Future

Excerpt:

In April 2007, on the eve of the North American Trilateral Summit, Thomas Shannon, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, described the SPP’s purpose with remarkable candor: The SPP, he declared, “understands North America as a shared economic space,” one that “we need to protect,” not only on the border but “more broadly throughout North America” through improved “security cooperation.” He added: “To a certain extent, we’re armoring NAFTA.”2

Mexicans and other Latin Americans have learned that adopting the U.S.-promoted neoliberal economic model—with its economic displacement and social cutbacks—comes with a necessary degree of force, but this was the first time that a U.S. official had stated outright that regional security was no longer focused on keeping the citizens of the United States, Canada, and Mexico safe from harm, but was now about protecting a regional economic model. Of course, Shannon didn’t list political opposition as one of the threats to be countered; he simply argued that the new “economic space” needed to be protected against “the threat of terrorism and against a threat of natural disasters and environmental and ecological disasters.” But the counter-terrorism/drug-war model elaborated in the SPP and embodied later in Plan Mexico (known officially as the Merida Initiative) encourages a crackdown on grassroots dissent to assure that no force, domestic or foreign, effectively questions the future of the system.

[… Read more]


McMaster University Tar Sands conference

March 7, 2009

Faces of Resistance: The Future of the Tar Sands and You

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

9:30am-5:30pm

Third Floor, McMaster University Student Centre

McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario

Faces of Resistance is a day-long conference bringing together diverse groups opposed to the Alberta Tar Sands. We are combining the voices of citizens, labourers, environmentalists, indigenous communities, youth, political activists, and non-humans to learn about Tar Sands resistance and envision how to transition towards a just and sustainable society.

With workshops and speakers aimed at making the issue of the tar sands real for people in this region, we will explore strategies for collaborative resistance and alternatives. In partnership with the Polaris Institute and MacGreen we are inviting Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the Sierra Youth Coalition, labour organizations from across Canada, representatives of impacted communities, artists, youth activists and politicians to share their insights, experiences, and ideas.

Guest speakers include Gordon Laxer, a political economist from the University of Alberta and founder of the Parkland Institute, Dave Martin, energy campaigner for Greenpeace Canada and Clayton Thomas-Muller, the tar sands campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN).

Invite your political representatives!

Sliding scale admission fee: $5-$20.

No one will be turned away due to lack of funds. Register online by March 1st, for a reduced fee at: www.facesofresistance.ca

The Faces of Resistance Coalition is committed to environmental justice and anti-oppression politics. We are interested in creating a space where dialogue and collaboration is fostered as we work towards a just and sustainable future. Join us!

If you are unable to come, but still want to support this event, we welcome donations from individuals and on behalf of organizations. We would be happy to acknowledge all those who contribute in our programme, and for donations that exceed $50, we can offer to post your logo and provide a link to your organization on our website.