Feature Editorials

Tuesday, 09 November 2010 00:00 Ali Mustafa

The G20 Summit, Black Bloc, and the Canadian Left - Public outcry continues to grow across Canada over the widespread abuse of civil liberties during the recent G20 Summit in Toronto. Over 1,000 people were rounded-up and arrested between June 26th-27th, resulting in the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. While the majority of those arrested have since been released, at least 16 people remain under strict bail conditions and face a variety of serious criminal charges. Countless others who managed to avoid arrest were indiscriminately searched, detained for hours, and even violently attacked by police.

Indeed, all the warning signs of a ‘police state’ were present: a pervasive state of fear and paranoia loomed over the city; freedom of movement was heavily restricted; massive police presence was encountered at every turn; ‘Big Brother’-like CCTV cameras closely watched over every move; and demonstrators stayed tightly together in groups, too afraid to travel the streets alone.

Yet what is particularly troubling about the G20 Summit is not so much the unprecedented $1-billion security cost or sweeping police power put on display but the new ‘age of austerity’ that promises to follow – one that will look to fully exploit the new precedent of state violence now in place. Just like any ‘moment’ of crisis, whether the long-term fallout will translate into the normalization of a new austerity regime or the mobilization of a new Canadian Left in response remains to be seen. The immediate question before us now is where do we go from here?

Monday, 30 August 2010 00:00 Tim Kennelly

U.S., Canada and NATO Threaten to Extend War - On March 13, 2008, Canada's Parliament voted to extend the country's military “mission” in Afghanistan to July 2011. The motion by the minority Conservative government was supported by the opposition Liberals. The war-makers correctly estimated that fixing an exit date would deflect mounting opposition to the war among the Canadian public and buy time for Canada's continued participation.

Since then, the political and military situation in Afghanistan has continued to deteriorate for the occupying forces, and leading politicians are now floating proposals to extend Canada's claimed exit date for a military mission that already constitutes a gross violation of the national sovereignty and human rights of the Afghan people.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the government will stick to its date. However, he also says that Canada will maintain a military presence in Afghanistan after 2011, to train Afghan police and military personnel. This is a de-facto extension of the military mission and not, as the government claims, in a non-combat role.

Saturday, 21 August 2010 00:00 Roger Annis

The six month mark after Haiti's January 12 earthquake saw a flurry of news reports in Canada and around the world. The depictions of the harsh conditions still prevailing for most earthquake victims took many people by surprise. The relative silence of the media over the last few months led many to assume that the international aid effort had accomplished much more than it has.

On the eve of July 12, contradictory or exaggerated claims were made about Canadian government aid to Haiti. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Canwest news agency reported that Canada has committed “more than $1-billion” for Haiti.

Yet only days earlier, on July 9, the Quebec French-language daily Le Devoir, and the English-language Canadian Press news agency, reported that Canada has not given a dime to the Haiti Reconstruction Fund established by the March 31 United Nations Donor Conference in New York.

So what is the true record of Canada's assistance to Haiti since the earthquake, and what more needs to be done to assist the hundreds of thousands of victims who have received little or no aid?


Tuesday, 10 August 2010 00:00 Alan Caruba

Linda Rivera holds a sign in protest of a mosque construction near Ground Zero after NYC's Landmarks Commission vote to not grant landmark status to 45-47 Park Place on August 03, 2010 in New York City. The commission's decision clears the way for the property to be converted into a mosque and community center.In the August 3rd edition of The Wall Street Journal, in the Greater New York section, the lead article was '9/11 Memorial Pledged as Part of Mosque Plan'.

There already is a 9/11 memorial. It is called Ground Zero and will be incorporated into whatever structure that eventually gets built on the site.

If one continued to read the story, however, you had to jump to page A21 where side-by-side with the mosque story was one titled, 'Verdict in JFK Bomb Plot', subtitled 'Jury Finds Two Guilty in Conspiracy Charges for Plan to Ignite Fuel Tanks'.

The two men found guilty were Abdul Kadir and Russell Defreitas. A third defendant, Kareem Ibrahim, was ill and didn’t go to trial with them and a fourth, Abdel Nur, took a plea deal and faces up to 15 years in prison. At no time in the body of the article is there any mention that these men are Muslims though that fact was critical to their plot.

Thursday, 01 July 2010 00:00 Ritch Whyman

altThe events at the Saturday G20 demonstration in Toronto last week have provoked a series of responses already.

This article is not meant to review the events of the day itself, but to look at the questions raised by the demonstrations and tactics used for the left.

Suffice to say the reaction of the police, in arresting, detaining, and brutalizing nearly 1,000 people in the largest mass arrest in Canadian history, exposes the serious attacks on civil liberties the left faces.

On the Friday before the demonstration I was having a beer with a comrade in Halifax and, of course, discussion turned to the G20. We both agreed that this would be the perfect demonstration to go off without any property damage.

If at the end of the day tens of thousands marched, thousands did sit-ins by the fence, but the tactic of smashing windows was not employed, then the Summit would be a defeat for [Prime Minister] Stephen Harper's Conservative government.

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 00:00 Rafeef Ziadah

altIn December 2007, the Palestinian National Authority (PA), in close consultation with donor states and institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, proposed the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (PRDP), a program based on “rebuilding the Palestinian national institutions” and “developing the Palestinian public and private sectors.”[1]

To augment this plan, the PA further presented in August of 2009 a program titled Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State, this latter program was much more explicit about a time frame for the declaration of a Palestinian state.[2] Salam Fayyad, current unelected PA Prime Minister and former World Bank employee, put forward this document (henceforth the Fayyad Plan) insisting that, despite the occupation, Palestinians need to be building the “infrastructure for a future state.”

The report calls upon “our people, including all political parties and civil society, to realize this fundamental objective and unite behind the state-building agenda over the next two years.” Fayyad's intention is to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state in 2011 based on the June 4, 1967 borders.


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