Saturday, February 28, 2009

Canada's Arms Exports to Israel: Aiding & Abetting War Crimes

The Ottawa-based Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade has just released an online report containing ten detailed tables of data about Canadian military companies with direct or indirect export links to Israel:

Canadian Military Exports to Israel: Aiding and Abetting War Crimes in Gaza (2008-2009)
(Click above for an annotated list linking to the report's ten data tables, or use the quick links provided below.)

Summary Article (This article sums up the issues in COAT's report.)
"Canadian Military Exports, War Crimes in Gaza and Ottawa's Arms Bazaar"


COAT's report is part of a campaign to oppose CANSEC, Canada's top military industry trade show. CANSEC 2009 is organized by the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI). In an apparent conflict of interest, the federal government handed over $200,000 in grants to this arms industry lobby group, between 2006 and 2008. These "contributions" were explicitly to support CADSI's "international trade," "export marketing" and "international business development activities."

CADSI's CANSEC arms bazaar -- a closed, private event -- will be hosted by the City of Ottawa at its prime publicly-funded facility, Lansdowne Park, May 27-28, 2009.

COAT's report on Canadian military exports to Israel exposes details about more than 100 corporate members of CADSI that have export links to Israel. Many of these exporters will be exhibiting their wares at CANSEC this spring to potential buyers from many Ottawa embassies.

Stop Ottawa Arms Shows CAMPAIGN: Please join us in exposing and opposing the CANSEC arms bazaar!

In 1989, in response to COAT's first campaign, the City Ottawa banned ALL arms shows from municipal property. But now they're coming back! This May is the 20th anniversary of COAT's mass rally -- led by former Mayor Marion Dewar -- when many thousands took to Ottawa's streets to peacefully protest against the ARMX weapons bazaar at Lansdowne Park.

Sign Petition Online
Events - If you are in Ottawa, we hope to see you at some upcoming events:

(1) Information and Strategy Session to Oppose CANSEC
Tuesday, March 24, 7 pm
Southminster United Church,
15 Aylmer Ave at Bank Street.
(Just south of the Rideau Canal. Enter from the Galt St. entrance at the back of the complex.)

(2) Rally to Expose and Oppose CANSEC
Speakers, Music and Candlelight Vigil
Wednesday, May 27 (evening - exact time to be announced)
Southminster United Church (see address above)
Speakers and Music in the church sanctuary will be followed by a Candlelight Procession just across the Bank St. bridge to Lansdowne Park, the site of CANSEC.

(3) Documentary - OTTAWA PREMIERE
Hintonburg Community Centre
Wednesday, March 18, 2009, 7 pm
1064 Wellington Street (3 blocks west of Somerset)

More info and a trailer The documentary will be followed by a discussion with the film makers, Amy Miller and Boban Chaldovich, who are on a whirlwind Canada Tour in March and April.

Note: One of the people interviewed in the above documentary is Richard Sanders, coordinator of the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT), editor of COAT's magazine Press for Conversion! and author of COAT's report entitled Military Exports to Israel: Aiding and Abetting War Crimes in Gaza (2008-2009).

Learn more about COAT
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Join, Subscribe or Donate to COAT

Friday, February 27, 2009

What's going on with Canada's banks?

From: Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition

Dear Producer/Reporter:

It is not surprising that Canada's big banks are still profitable, given that the federal government has offered them and other financial institutions more than $250 billion in direct and indirect subsidies in the past few months.

What remains incredible is that no federal government in the past 20 years has required any financial institution to do anything in return for these and past costly subsidies.

Why do the Liberals and Conservatives, that both claim they want to win a majority government, continue to do so much to protect a few big bank executives and their multi-million dollar paycheques while doing so little to protect 25 million financial consumers and investors?

All these financial institutions are using Canadians' money to make money, and so we have a right to know the details of how they are making money, and losing it, and to require them to treat every customer fairly and well and to charge fair prices, and to penalize the executives who lose or abuse our money through overly risky investments or investments in irresponsible or criminal businesses, or unfair service to particular customers.

If the federal government would finally start auditing the big banks' and other financial institutions' prices, lending, investment and service records annually to ensure fairness and responsibility, and assessing regularly the level of actual competition in basic financial services in communities across Canada, it would help all Canadians and the economy.

Finally, the government should require financial institutions to facilitate the creation of a financial consumer watchdog group by enclosing a one-page pamphlet in their mailings to customers that invites them to join the group.

Until these accountability measures are in place, the big banks and other financial institutions will continue to gouge and abuse consumers, investors and communities across Canada, and to waste our money on risky schemes that do little to create jobs or sustain our economy.

Duff Conacher,
Chairperson of the Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition (CCRC)

P.O. Box 821, Stn. B
Ottawa, Canada
K1P 5P9
Tel: 613-789-5753
Fax: 613-241-4758

Since 1996, the CCRC (made up of 100 citizen groups with a total membership of 3.5 million Canadians) has worked successfully to increase bank accountability in Canada

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Langford Bailout?

photo from Bear Mountain: Pete Rockwell

For immediate release - February 24 2009

Contact: Zoe Blunt 250-885-8219 or
(Email usually works if I don't answer the phone, and please don't be offended if I don't call back right away because I am too damn busy this week. I've already weighed in anyway. Maybe some local politicians would like to comment?)

Raw audio/video of the public hearing will be available on disc sometime February 24 with any luck.


Langford Bailout?

Langford mayor Stew Young told a public hearing on Monday that the city is jockeying for federal and provincial infrastructure money for the new South Skirt Mountain development, along with the Bear Mountain Interchange, the Bear Mountain Parkway and a pedestrian overpass at Spencer Road and Highway 1.

"Yes, Langford is applying for all available federal and provincial grant money," Young said in response to a question about infrastructure funds asked by Zoe Blunt, a local environmentalist. The government has earmarked $110 million for Vancouver Island, and the list of projects that will receive funds will be drawn up in the coming weeks.

Young's remarks surprised several observers. Meanwhile Blunt chastised Young for seeking a "bailout."

"This project is a huge waste of resources," she told Langford council and staff and attendees. "There are a hundred projects more deserving of infrastructure spending than this one – projects that will deliver lasting value to a greater number of residents than a short-term construction project to serve a nearly-defunct resort."

The nearly-complete Bear Mountain Interchange and the roughed-in Bear Mountain Parkway will give Bear Mountain Resort direct access to the TransCanada Highway. The resort is rumoured to be heading for bankruptcy if a buyer doesn't step forward soon.

Blunt went on, "My concern is that accepting bailout money for these projects – now or in the future - would amount to admitting that Langford has failed at financial planning and broken its promises to the taxpayers that we won't be the ones on the hook for the cost of this project."

"Langford is like a Ponzi scheme," she concluded. "As long as there's people buying in, everything is liquid and it looks fine. As soon as the cash flow stops, it crashes."

Mayor Young, who was chairing the public hearing, interrupted Blunt five times during her six minutes at the microphone. Others in the audience jeered and heckled her as the mayor sniped from the council table.

Young also lectured several other residents opposed to the development on what he called their "hypocrisy" in opposing the South Skirt Mountain plan. He complained repeatedly about hearing the same "negative comments" raised “time after time.”

Young had no comment for Joni Olsen, a member of the Tsartlip First Nation who is opposed to the development. She told him the graves of her ancestors are on Skirt Mountain and that repeatedly damaging ecosystems would destroy the mountain.

“That’s 8,000 years of history that you guys are going to build on. That’s appalling,” Olsen said.

On closing the public hearing, Langford council gave second and third reading to the Skirt Mountain rezoning bylaw without further discussion. Young told CHEK News before the hearing on Monday that the bylaw would be adopted in March, and construction would start
immediately after that.
Below is the text of my statement to Council. Highlights: Skirt Mountain is on an earthquake fault line; Ingmar Lee's mineral claim on the land is now being operated by Ben Isitt of Victoria; and we should use stimulus money for the E & N Rail instead of this mega-project.

South Skirt Mountain Public Hearing – Monday Feb 23.

I want to thank you for scheduling this public meeting. I'm a big fan of public consultation - especially for mega-development projects, and most especially during this economic crisis.

Let me start by saying I welcome more consultation about this project, and I'm open to meeting with the mayor, councillors or staff to discuss the concerns I'm raising, anytime, WITHOUT PREJUDICE.*

As you know, I oppose this project in general and I have a lot of problems with the specifics too. The steep hillsides and rare ecosystems next to Goldstream Provincial Park make this absolutely the wrong place for a huge development. Your engineers may or may not be aware of the fault lines that run underneath Skirt Mountain. The mountain exists because of the action of the tectonic plate to the west pushing into the plate that most of the island sits on and forcing the Wrangellia rock up hundreds of meters over millions of years. This is a fairly active earthquake zone so I would urge council to take another look at this proposed development with this in mind. Emergency plans for this area may need to be revised substantially.

There are more deficiencies in the Environmental Assessment but I will leave that analysis to others. The assessments as they stand are inadequate and rushed. They raise more questions than they answer.

For one thing, I would like to remind the landowners here that the mineral rights to South Skirt Mountain are held by Ben Isitt, who was designated the official agent for that claim earlier this year. It could be that he's already notified the landowners to discuss his rights as a free miner on the property.

More questions have been raised about this project: Why is it being proposed now? And how do the landowners intend to pay for this sprawling development? Especially the road access. Bear Mountain Parkway is planned to be a four-lane arterial. That will cost more than 17 million dollars. I realize the owners are committed to a total of $26 million for the interchange and the parkway. How will the developers pay for it all? They have to sell condos in order to build the road, but don't they have to build the road before they can sell the condos?

It seems to me that financing for the parkway is crucial for the project. And it could be that the landowners have that all sewed up. Maybe they have a $ 26 million loan. But what I keep hearing about is the $110 million in federal infrastructure spending that's earmarked
for Vancouver Island. That money is being divided up this month and I'm not the only person who's reached the obvious conclusion that Langford is pushing for federal money not only for the interchange, but also for the parkway. If people are wrong about that, I'd like to know.

My concern is that accepting bailout money for these projects – now or in the future - would amount to admitting that Langford has failed at financial planning and broken its promises to the taxpayers that we won't be the ones on the hook for the cost of this project.

The Bear Mountain Interchange is already being called the Bridge to Nowhere. The question is, are we also going to have a Parkway to Nowhere? Bear Mountain Resort looks more like a ghost town every day.

This project is a huge waste of resources. There are a hundred projects more deserving of infrastructure spending than this one – projects that will deliver lasting value to a greater number of residents than a short-term construction project to serve a nearly-defunct resort. Like routine sewer maintenance, for example. Deferring maintenance work could mean paying double down the road. Or use the stimulus money for the E & N Rail instead – that would
potentially serve tens of thousands of people and give Langford a huge and sustainable boost.

Langford is like a Ponzi scheme. As long as there's people buying in, everything is liquid and it looks fine. As soon as the cash flow stops, it crashes.

I'm am opposed to this project on every level. We've said before that development far out on the fringes of the urban area – development that destroys wild lands - is not sustainable. That means it will come to an end. That's what unsustainable means – the boom comes before the
crash. What will happen to Langford when it reaches the cliff?

Thank you again for providing this public hearing space, and I would urge you to take a step back from the cliff and look for a better way. Consultation is a good first step. Meaningful consultation and accomodation of people's concerns is a necessary second step. Like I said, I am available for discussion anytime, WITHOUT PREJUDICE.* Thank you.
*Mayor Young last year threatened to sue me for the cost of sending police to protests at the Bear Mountain Interchange, and his staff delivered letters to me "with prejudice" – that is, to be used in litigation. No lawsuit ever materialized, of course – the whole premise was ridiculous and I've never done anything illegal in Langford.

Thank you for reading all this!


Monday, February 23, 2009

Island Solidarity - and homelessness

Activists Unite!! An Island Solidarity Centre is on the horizon for Victoria BC. At an information session Feb 22nd 09, Chris Johnson spoke about his work with TASC - the Temporary Autonomous Shelter Coalition.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Face to Face: Jack Etkin talks with Kevin Pina

Journalist and filmmaker Kevin Pina talks with Jack about the U.S. and Canada's role in the Haitian coup of 2004 -- specifically the removal of the DEMOCRATICALLY elected Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Kevin discusses in detail Haitian history going back 18 years; including the brutal carnage perpetrated by the paramilitary forces to exert a campaign of fear on the poor. Also revealed is the importance of Haiti in the politics of the Western Hemisphere and to western corporations in particular. Haiti is a textbook study in CIA and "School of the Americas" destabilization methodology -- a methodology that the U.S. Military Industrial Corporate Complex has been applying for decades in all parts of the world to remove U.S. "regime unfriendly", democratically elected leaders who do not agree with America's egregious brand of fascism.
©2006 & 2009 Lazarus Productions

More rare forests and native sites threatened near Bear Mountain Resort

South Skirt Mountain Development Public
at Langford City Hall

Mon, February 23, 7 pm:
877 Goldstream Ave.

The South Skirt Mountain Village proposal calls for 2800 condo units
and unlimited height towers for the hillside from the Bear Mountain
Interchange on Highway 1 up to Bear Mountain Resort. Condo towers will
rise from Florence Lake all the way to Goldstream Park, destroying a
huge swath of Victoria's Greenbelt along with wildlife habitat, native
burial cairns and other artifacts. The development would wipe out half
of the remaining "high-value" rare ecosystems on the mountain, like
garry oak meadows and arbutus bluffs. These ecosystems are listed as
endangered by the government but there is no protection for them in

Animals include Great Horned Owls, Screech Owls, Barred Owls,
Nighthawks and many many other species. Overall, 60% of the mountain
will be blasted and paved for "unlimited height" condo towers. Come
and speak out!

Click here for more info

Saturday, February 28, 9:30 am: The Return of the Bare Mountain Bonanza.

A day-long expedition with the free miners who hold the mineral rights
to Bear Mountain, South Skirt Mountain, the interchange site and
beyond. Work crews are staking out the claim, doing GPS surveys and
taking rock samples. This is an outdoor event, so folks are bringing
picnic lunches, good hiking shoes, a water bottle, rain gear, and warm
clothes to stay comfortable. For more info or to RSVP, send a note to

Volunteer opportunities: we want to produce special T-shirts, buttons
and stickers to commemorate the 2010 Olympics, Bare Mountain Bonanza
and more. Folks can get in touch to help with that project, future
expeditions, fundraising benefits and more.

Our non-profit group Forest Action Network is seeking contributions to
fund expeditions, survey endangered ecosystems, and help defend the
land. Please support our volunteers - the labour is free, but
everything else costs money!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Helsinki Students Occupy University

University students, researchers, professors and staff are currently
occupying the director's floor in the building of the university
administration of Helsinki University in Finland. This happened as an
offshoot of a demonstration against a new draconian "reform" soon to be
presented to the Finnish parliament. The new laws (more below) would change
the choice of the governing councils of the university, essentially
depriving the universities of autonomy, likely putting non-university board
members in key positions (business people and politicians) and importantly,
introducing the possibility of charging fees for non-EU students.. which in
Europe is used as a back-door precedent followed by demanding tuition fees
from everyone - the failed free-market model.

Many words were heard in reference to other movements to Greece, France,
Italy, India and ... and then the news came in that students at New York
University ( are practising direct democracy of the
same sort.

Below is the statement from Helsinki.
Solidarity from the University of Helsinki to the occupants at NYU

Today on Thursday, February the 19th, we occupied the administration
building of our university.

This took place after our demonstration against the new Universities Act
proposed by the Finnish government. The parliament will decide about the law
this Spring. We demand the law to be withdrawn. We want to reform our
university from a totally different, more democratic perspective.

We are also protesting against the university leadership which has given its
support to the law despite our opposition.

The law we are opposing would significantly increase the influence
corporations have on our university and thus our science. We are defending
the autonomy of knowledge and the freedom of research. We are also defending
the free access to higher education as stated in the Finnish Constitution.
We are not defending our university as it is, we want to create autonomous
spaces for producing and sharing information.

Our demonstration today was participated by 1500 people. It was organised
autonomously by students and university staff, independently of their
unions. After the demonstration, a group of more than 100 demonstrators
occupied this building. Today we have made our voices heard and we will keep
doing so until we win!

We want to send you our solidarity. We share your struggle!


Monday, February 16, 2009

poverty olympics slideshow

click here for a slideshow about the 2nd annual poverty olympics in vancouver ...

video - englishman river - stop the destruction!

They're Killing the Englishman ...

from Richard Boyce:

Friends please help ENGLISHMAN RIVER now,


This is a reality!

Island Timberlands, or Brookfield Assets, or whatever the fuck they choose to call themselves today, is logging in the middle of Englishman River right now. On a 10 acre island in the middle of the actual flowing river. Some local folks are walking there tomorrow so if you'd like to join us please call me or meet at the Englishman River Falls Park parking lot at 2:30 pm for a hike that only takes 20 minutes to where the trees are being cut down.

It would be nice if others were there on Friday. Perhaps a lot of people could be there on Monday with PRESS!!!

Let's not let these scoundrels get away with this, we need to set a precedent that logging in rivers is NOT ALLOWED or they will set one that its okay!



These are photos taken February 11, 2009 on a 10 acre island in the middle of Englishman River a 20 minute walk above the Upper Falls. Ribbons and cutting provided by Island Timberlands care of Brookfield Assets Management Inc. Helicopters to follow...

[maybe these trees will end up in your photocopier, printer, newspaper, fax machine, beer box, paper towels, or toilet paper. it is really necessary?]

Sunday, February 15, 2009

a sunday's drive

it took some arm twisting, but eventually the octogenarian parents agreed that a drive to east sooke park would be worth the while. what else to do on a crisp, sunny dad's birthday sunday, but embrace the opportunity to burn some dead dinosaurs in order to breathe some really fresh air. we had discussed visiting the gardens of bear mountain, we've heard they're simply divine, but we ended up with a small number of other humanoids watching the sun dance on a calm ocean and listening to it nudge the rocks of the little cove we found at the end of the trail.

it's amazing that we found any of this, really, because the driver (that'd be me) got us lost. i guess previously i turned in a different direction at the t-intersection, i don't know, i don't drive much. i was looking for the parking lot near the meadow that's easy to cross and get to the ocean path with the petroglyphs along aways. (a good wilderness hike would have been most enjoyable, but they're octogenarians and so we compromise.) lucky for us, and with thanks to the sunday day after valentine birthday driving spirits, we ended up at a trailhead that conveniently lead along an 'all ability' pathway with a beach half an hour later (approximately, according to the crd sign and no need to pay for parking because maybe some areas of government can actually, and without any legitimate criticism, distribute taxes collectively thank you very much). it was a bit of magic, to be sure, ending up in that place, considering how very lost i had assumed we were.

east sooke park is a good chunk of wilderness, i realized as i was driving along it, passing the partially cleared lots and 'for sale' signs. i'll bet there are lots of good hikes at east sooke park. it's almost as impressive as the bear mountain wilderness. almost. too bad it's so difficult to access without a motorized vehicle, otherwise i'd definitely be there more often. oh well, c'est la vie, that's life.

so there we were, hiking along a very pleasant green corridor, surrounded by some ancient forest and some younger forest and lots of ferns and lichens and a bit of clean running water here and there, and about a third of the way along the path i realized i'd left my camera kit in the car. and it's my step-dad's 84th birthday. who knows how many more of these there might be, and how many sunny days with a car and able mobility. darn it. i was offered the opportunity to run back and get the camera, but i instead offered up the excuse that i connect the camera kit with 'work' and it just slipped my mind to bring it and besides, mom suggested, the photo's never quite the same as the real thing. so we were all in agreement that it wasn't a big deal and the only memories we have, of my step-father's 84th birthday, aside from the experience itself, is an agreement that next year we oughta do something similar.

i wonder what the world will look like if/when i reach my 84th birthday? will there be any wilderness left to contemplate? some days it seems like we'll be lucky if we can stroll the gardens of bear mountain, if such things even exist (which i don't think they do). other days i wonder what new york city would be without central park, or vancouver without stanley park etc etc etcetera.

stolen sisters

i'm not sure how anything can get by all these satellites (this is an actual photo from nasa) or all the surveillance cameras that invade our personal privacy every day, but somehow 500+ women are missing across canada.

here's a short video from the stolen sisters rally and march in victoria, feb 14 09.

Friday, February 13, 2009

They're logging another ancient forest watershed !!!!!

Fellow drinkers of water,

This morning I stood on top of Little Mountain where I had a good view of the entire area. I saw helicopters flying logs along Craig Creek which flows into Englishman River just upstream from Top Bridge. This helicopter is working for Island TImberlands and because there was no wind today they flew from first light until dark this evening when I could still hear them from my home.

Hiking up to the Island in the middle of Englishman River just above the upper falls in the Provincial Park a group of us were devastated by the cutting of the trees. Massive Douglas Fir and Cedar had been reduced to standing poles waiting to be felled and flown away by helicopter. The tops of these trees were laying on the forest floor, some of this discarded waste being over 2 feet across. Many trees had been felled to rot because of WCB regulations, but most of these trees had been important habitat trees. The Cedar tree I photographed with a bear living inside its den was marketed and all the trees around it had been prepared for felling.

A friend climbed up the steep banks of the river, cliffs really that form a canyon, to discover a small clear-cut that had been felled recently along with a number of trees that had been topped. On our hike out using the Hammerfest Mountain BIking trails we stopped to speak with the Park ranger inside his compound. He explained that fallers had been there most of the day and that Island TImberlands is logging right to the boundary of the park beside the maintenance station.

Island TImberlands is systematically targetting pockets of old growth trees all along the Englishman River watershed.

Something that YOU can do immediately is contact:

Private Managed Forest Land Council
Executive Director:
Stuart Macpherson
Cell: 250-415-1739
Telephone: 250-386-5737

If convinced, he could issue a 'stop work order' until the area is properly surveyed.

Then there's the person who should be working hard on behalf of BC citizens to protect our watersheds and environment but seems to say very little:

Honourable Barry Penner
Minister of Environment and Minister responsible for Water Stewardship and Sustainable Communities
Phone: 250 387-1187
PO Box 9047
Victoria BC
V8W 9E2

Writing letters to the editors of all newspapers and phoning talk shows, radio, TV, and letting them know you are interested in this issue DOES HELP!

Ask them if they are following this watershed issue that is so important for our drinking water across the province.

I wish I could report more enjoyable and heartwarming news but this is the reality of Englishman River today.

in solidarity,

p.s. It never hurts to CC messages to you local MLA or contact them directly. AFTER ALL BC IS HAVING AN ELECTION MAY 12, 2009 THIS SHOULD BE AN ELECTION ISSUE, LET'S MAKE IT ONE!!!

MLA: Hon. Ron Cantelon Nanaimo-Parksville
Minister of Agriculture and Lands

Nanaimo Constituency:
501 - 5800 Turner Rd.
Nanaimo, BC
V9T 6J4
Phone: 250 729-7041
Toll Free: 1 800 663-7867

Parksville Constituency:
120B Middleton Avenue Parksville, BC
V9P 1C9
Phone: 250 951-6018
Toll Free: 1 800 663-7867

Parliment Office:
Room 028
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4
Phone: 250 387-1023
MLA: Scott Fraser

Port Alberni Constituency:
101 - 4152 Redford St
Port Alberni, BC
V9Y 3R5
Phone: 250 720-4515
Toll free: 1 866 870-4190

Qualicum Beach Constituency:
104 - 193 Second Ave W. Qualicum Beach, BC
V9K 2N5
Phone: 250 752-8629
Toll Free: 1 866 870-4190

Room 201
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4
Phone: 250 387-3655

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Olympics Resistance Network Rejects Private Meetings with Police

Contact: Alissa Westergard-Thorpe 778-668-0790
Garth Mullins 604-831-6967
Olympics Resistance Network - -

Vancouver, Coast Salish Territory - The Olympic Resistance Network
(ORN) rejects meetings with the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security
Unit (VISU) and demands police end intimidating approaches to
individuals in the anti-Olympics movement

On January 22, 2009, outside of Vancouver City Hall, Alissa
Westergard-Thorpe and Garth Mullins, activists with the Olympic
Resistance Network, were approached by members of VISU for a meeting.
Both had just finished addressing council regarding their concerns
about Games financing and proposed changes to the City Charter
regarding street activities, zoning, leafleting, and restrictions on
signs during the Olympics.

ORN has not met and is not interested in meeting with any police or
intelligence agencies. Experience shows that such meetings are not
about dialogue, but are aimed at intimidation, controlling the
visibility of protesters, and gathering intelligence on community

Further, in an attempt to intimidate activists, police have approached
over a dozen anti-2010 Olympics movement activists (that we are aware
of) for information.

ORN members have decided unanimously to reject private meetings with
police. Further, the Network demands that law enforcement stop
harassing members of the anti-2010 Olympics movement.

The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) views protesters
as the number one 'security threat' to the Games, without explanation
or evidence. Police statements in the media about 'consulting with
activists' are misleading and attempt to divide and intimidate
activists. Police interest in 'dialogue' is disingenuous. The BC Civil
Liberties Society encountered a 'brick wall' after attempting to enter
into talks with police.

According to Alissa Westergard-Thorpe, an ORN member approached by
police: "The ORN is not interested in talking with police about the
conditions under which we exercise our rights to assembly and
expression. They can read the Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

Bob Mackin of 24 Hours, reported that VISU are considering the use of
"free speech zones" during the Games. According to another ORN member
approached by the VISU, Garth Mullins: "If Canada is a democracy in
more than name, the concept of free speech zones should be repugnant –
the whole country ought to be a free speech zone. There is nothing to
meet with police about."

"It has been the experience of social movements that police and spies
do not engage with them in good faith," added Mullins. The police have
a history of infiltrating and monitoring activist groups (such as
during the lead up to APEC, the FTAA, and the G8) and using agent
provocateurs in demonstrations (such as in Montebello, PQ). Police
have targeted native movements in particular for intimidation,
surveillance, and infiltration. ORN will not assist state agents in
criminalizing dissent.

The Olympic Resistance Network is a broad and public group. ORN events
are open and well publicized with posters, press releases, and on-line
materials. Members of the public and VISU are already able to avail
themselves of these resources.

ORN advises anybody contacted by police for an interview about their
concerns regarding the Games that the best response is to just say
"no." Individuals are under no obligation to talk with police. ORN
urges the public to document any contact or harassment by CSIS or VISU
and to let others know as soon as possible.

While Vancouver city council "urges" VANOC to hold promised "open and
transparent" security consultations with communities, police are
instead attempting to intimidate activists through approaching
individuals and surveil movements through secret dialogue. ORN will
have no part of these anti-democratic tactics.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

2nd annual poverty olympics - vancouver bc

2009 Poverty Olympics provides hilarious and serious preview of what international media will see when they come to Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics

About 400 people from Vancouver, Canada’s poorest neighbourhood took advantage of the one year countdown to the 2010 Olympic Games with a message about poverty in Canada.

People in Canada live in shocking poverty, Wendy Pedersen told the crowd gathered for the Poverty Olympics. Her community, the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, has an HIV rate the same as Botswana’s. Street homelessness increased 373% between 2002 and 2008, and British Columbia has had the highest rate of child poverty in Canada for 5 years in a row (21%).

Pedersen said the government could have ended poverty and homelessness with the $6 billion they are wasting on the Olympics.

The rest of the Poverty Olympics was a humorous and blunt satire of the real Olympics, with a Torch relay, opening and closing ceremonies and “games.” One game was Sweeping Poverty Aside (curling) which featured Team Vanoc against Team Poverty. Team Vanoc (Vancouver Olympic Committee) swept away objects on the ice with “bailout” brooms, while blocking Team Poverty with sand on the ice and an actual rope labeled rent increases and evictions.

The Poverty Olympic Mascots, Itchy the Bedbug, Creepy the Cockroach, and Chewy the Rat, danced through the opening ceremonies singing Money makes the World Go Round and flinging fake money labeled “Olympics 2010, blank cheque” throughout the audience.

The Poverty Olympics was endorsed by Raise the Rates, Carnegie Community Action Project, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House, BC Persons with Aids Society, Power to Women, and Streams of Justice.

Background Information:

Poverty Olympics 2009 Photo Collections:

For more information on poverty in Canada go to or or

For leads on the homelessness and poverty situation in Canada or on how to attend the 2010 Poverty Olympics, to be held during the Vancouver Olympics in February, 2010, call Jean Swanson at 604 729-2380 .

Media Links:

Wall Street Journal - February 10, 2009
Game Changer: Recession Recasts Olympic Spending

Vancouver Sun - February 9, 2009
'Poverty Olympics' ridicule Games

Globe and Mail, Canada - February 9, 2009
Poverty Olympics spotlight Downtown Eastside

The Georgia Straight - February 9, 2009
Organizer expects Poverty Olympics to run alongside 2010 Games

News 1130 - Febraray 9, 2009

Metro Daily News - February 9, 2009

Wendy Pedersen
Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP)
604 839-0379

Monday, February 9, 2009

Money for nothing, the shtick for free

David Johnston was arrested today, again. This is a conversation I had with him this morning, around 10 am, after cycling past a perfectly tent-cityable field where city workers were blowing leaves.

(photo by Pete Rockwell)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

david's at centennial square again ...

photo: Pete Rockwell

St. Ann's update- Sunday, Feb. 8th, 2009: tripping out on the wireless

David brought his laptop down and I'm using the computer in my cardboard house, here at Centennial Square. Constructed my 'temporary
abode' Friday morning. David helped and we were both issued warning tickets. Saturday we were given an actual ticket (for having an abode)
and I was suprised that we were not immediately arrested for Obstruction. This morning we were given another ticket, so it seems they are going to arrest again for having multple tickets- which I think is great because it still would mean that the 'Crown' will not prosecute the 7:00 - 7:00 Bylaw as a crime (the reason two previous charges were dropped and the reason the city began resorting to the multiple ticket arrest strategy).

I imagine they'll arrest tomorrow once 3 tickets have been collected... and we'll see if the judge will have the wherewithal to just throw it out... hard to say. The 'Crown' is going to make a scapegoat of the City and the City will do its best to find their scapegoats. Ya can't have an across the board prohibition on erecting temporary abodes, and EVERYONE is about to understand that.

in supreme truth,

David Arthur Johnston
Victoria, BC, Canada

Home page-
Journal of the Occupation of St. Ann's Academy (Victoria, BC, Canada)-
Crimes of Necessity- (from filmmaker Andrew Ainsley. Very comprehensive.)
Everything Tent-city-

It's the system that killed you, not the taser

Today I'm reading the New York Times, an article titled "In Japan, New Jobless May Lack Safety Net." It's about the approximately 131,000 layoffs that have been announced since October, from Canon and others, where employees often earned about $3,000 below the poverty line. "To make ends meet, even when employed, Mr. Hirano said he usually cooked a small stew of cabbages and carrots every night in the tiny kitchen in the corner of his one-room apartment."

Japan's social safety net is simply unprepared to deal with the 34.5 percent of Japan's 55.3 million workers who are 'nonregular employees,' sent by staffing agencies or hired on short term contracts with lower pay, fewer benefits, and no legal protections against layoffs. "'We did our best, so Canon should have taken care of us, said one 32 year-old laid-off worker who was so ashamed of his situation that he asked that only his family name, Murakami, be used. 'That is the Japanese way. But this isn't Japan anymore.'"

Yesterday I listened to 'The Hidden News' on CFUV radio and heard host Medhi Najari talking with (well, listening to) a local police officer who swears up and down that tasers are not killing people. All the documented reports, he claims, show that those who've died after being tasered are often malnourished, in poor physical condition, perhaps addicted to some substance.

The lesson: if you're poor, or old, or infirm, and you get angry because you're suddenly unemployed while greedy corporate executives give themselves bonuses, watch out for the taser toting police. They won't kill you, but they will push you over the edge.

It reminds me of the Einsatzgruppen (?) in WWII. They travelled around Poland, dug holes, lined men up facing them, and then shot them in the back. They would likely claim that it was the fall, not the gun, that killed them.

Nice attitude, Vic PD. Real caring, compassionate. I hope the old expression - "careful what you wish for" - is still in effect.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Native Youth Movement: No 2010 Winter Olympics on Stolen Land

capitalism at work in russia

i'm not a big fan of imperialism, whether from capitalist or socialist governments, so i wouldn't endorse a lot about pre-capitalist russia except maybe some of gorbachev and lenin's philosophy. but i wonder .... what were the homeless/poverty statistics like in czarist russia? i'm willing to bet those years look a lot like the last decade of capitalism, in terms of distribution of wealth. what sort of poverty/homeless stats did they have during their short-lived socialist attempt (which was unfortunately usurped by imperialists)?

Bare Mountain Bonanza Miners Return

Anniversary party! On February 13, 2008, 60 heavily-armed police
officers stormed the Bear Mountain tree sit camp in Langford at dawn
and arrested five sleeping protestors. Tree sit supporters are
celebrating the ten-month-long forest defense vigil with a blowout
party at Camas Books in Victoria on Friday, February 13, 2009.

This week, we learned that Bare Mountain Bonanza's hard-rock miners
are getting ready to assert their mineral rights on Bear Mountain
Resort property once again. "Over the next month, work crews will dig
test holes and collect GPS data," says Ben Isitt, an agent for the
mining claim.

"The day will include a pleasant hike to the worksites and lunch with
friends," Isitt notes. "Please advise if you have previous expertise
with GPS data, photography, and/or land survey techniques." Some crew
foremen have already been selected and potential volunteers can
contact Ben directly at or 250-382-8494

Over 940 hectares of subsurface rights -- including most of Bear
Mountain Resort, South Skirt Mountain, Langford Lake Cave, Spaet Cave
and the new interchange -- were staked online by Victoria
environmentalist Ingmar Lee last year, provoking widespread amusement
and consternation. "They say Wrangellia (igneous rock) is worthless,"
Lee told the Goldstream Gazette in March, 2008. "I think it's a
marketing deficiency. People want chunks of Bear Mountain. We'll sell
them at Sunday markets."

The Joy of Dissent celebrates the tree sit! Featuring a potluck with
local tree huggers and Vancouver media activists. Franklin "The
Stimulator" Lopez premieres his underground hit "Ground Noise and
Static," documenting the mass arrests of journalists and social
justice advocates in the United States in 2008. Beatbox with the
Outspoken Wordsmiths and trip out to the Revolutionary Cyborg Wedding
Band Mobile Unit.

All ages, accessible, by donation.
Friday, Feb. 13,. 5 to 11 pm, Camas Books, 2590 Quadra St.
Contact Zoe Blunt –250-885-8219.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Seattle's Tent City 4 from March 2007

it's an old video, but a good one. not sure of the current status of tent city 4.

Tent City 4 is a mobile encampment of homeless people on the east side of the Seattle area. The congregations that host TC4 for 90 days at a time consider doing so part of their religious freedom. Some neighbors object, and the result is an ongoing controversy.

Activist Radio - Today - Tuesday Feb 3rd

From Victoria - Break'in Ice

Break'in Ice will broadcast this Tuesday between 4:00-5:00pm PST on CFUV UVic Campus/Community Radio 101.9FM / 104.3 CABLE or you can listen to the show on our website.

This Tuesday Break'in Ice presents an interview with Rose Henry, Phil Lyons, Lisa Helps and possibly Kristen Woodruff. We'll be discussing the recent court decision..... 'Camping activists not guilty of bylaw breach, court finds' - what's the Victoria City council's next move?? A tougher bylaw?? Plus, what can be done for the homeless??

My co-host for the show will be Jack Etkin.

From Vancouver - Voice of Palestine

On Tue. Feb. 3, 2009 from 8:00-9:00pm (PST), Voice of Palestine will be interviewing Harry Berbrayer, a Jewish Canadian who has just returned from three weeks in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. He was in the Palestinian city of Jenin when Israeli troops began the campaign of terror over Gaza. We will be talking with him about his experiences in the Palestinian Occupied Territories and the reaction of the Palestinian people in the West Bank to the Israeli aggression. We will also talk with him about the Canadian Government and Western media's pro Israeli bias.

Voice of Palestine broadcasts weekly on Vancouver Cooperative Radio (CFRO) 102.7 FM, Vancouver, Canada. The show broadcasts for one hour every Tuesday night from 8 to 9 pm PST (Wednesday morning 6:00am-7:00am Palestine time). It first went on the air in September 1987, and has hit the airwaves every week since then.
People outside of Vancouver can listen to the show live on the Internet

Monday, February 2, 2009

Wake Up Call

by Jodi A. Shaw
photo from Pete Rockwell

David Arthur Johnston is nearly as well-known to the citizens of Victoria, BC as Batman is to Gothamites. If they haven’t encountered him personally, they’ve read about him in the newspaper or seen him on the news. And many do consider him decidedly strange -- for his decision to leave his job as a baker and live without income, for his campaign to earn the homeless “The Right to Sleep,” adequately sheltered, on public property. He’s been described both as a man on a mission and a public nuisance....

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