Anti-Choice MP to Speak in London

By: Brentington AuntieFascist

On Tuesday, November 13th Western Lifeline, an anti-choice group based at Western Ontario (UWO), will host a talk with Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth. Woodworth is infamous for his hardline, anti-choice views on abortion.

In April, Woodworth introduced Motion 312 in Ottawa- a motion that would create a committee to look into medical research to determine when a fetus becomes a human. The motion has faced ongoing opposition from various activist groups and organizations. Even Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has not supported the bill. This opposition did nothing to sway Woodworth. Rather than pulling the motion from the floor, it went on to a second debate on September 21st, before being defeated on September 26th. Although the bill was defeated, access to abortion in Canada remains under constant threat. A politician who today is against the motion on the basis of staying in office, may quickly change their tune if they are likely to lose an upcoming election anyways.

Motion 312 would not make abortion illegal by itself. What this motion entails is a review of the Criminal Code’s subsection 223(1), which states that a fetus becomes a human at birth. It would create non-binding recommendations to suggest changes to the criminal code. Of the 13 member committee which would be formed, the motion called for 8 of them to be from the Conservative Party, 4 from the NDP, and 1 from the Liberal Party - all of whom would be handpicked by another committee dominated by the Conservative Party. This would allow the members of the committee to pick specific doctors and reports to propagate to the press and the public their anti-choice views.

Taking Back the Block: organizing against sexual violence

By: Ann Beatty

On September 15, hundreds of women, trans people, kids and men supporters gathered in the Parkdale neighbourhood of Toronto for the 30th annual Take Back the Night (TBTN) community fair, rally and march. The march was loud and spirited, marching on both major streets and quieter residential ones. The chants and music brought some residents out on to the sidewalks and waves from balconies of the many apartment buildings in the neighbourhood.

We are not Alone: defending welfare benefits in the age of austerity

By: Delbert Francis

The Ontario government has announced that it will end the Community-Start Up and Maintenance benefit (CSUMB) for recipients of Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) on December 31, 2012. Considering the real value of a welfare cheque has declined by nearly 60 percent since the mid-nineties, doing away with community start-up amounts to kicking the poor while they’re already down. To stop this cut poor people and public sector workers in Ontario will need to fight back together.

Hockey Lockouts and Player Unions: Why aren’t we paying attention to our back yard?

By: Bruce Darden

It is the fall, and the beginning of the hockey season for many of us in Ontario. All of the attention is squarely focused on the NHL and its once per decade work stoppage. All across the province, people can be heard talking about how greedy the owners are or why can’t the players be happy to get an average-Joe’s wage. The problem is that the NHL lockout should not be what we, hockey fans, should be talking about.

Far less media attention is being paid to the other unionization campaign that is occurring in Canadian hockey this autumn: The Canadian Hockey League (CHL) is in the middle of a unionization drive by its players. This includes the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), which will be the beneficiary of much of the hockey-dollars that would have been spent on the NHL this fall. I know that as a student and a low waged worker that I have made the choice to see exciting—and far cheaper—hockey at the major junior level before, but I won’t be doing that this year.

CHL players are paid $50 a week or $7.14 a day! Because of this salary they are considered professionals and cannot apply to U.S. colleges and universities, since that is against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules (which is an equally appalling rule based on what some American universities make off their sports programs). On top of this, the NHL and the CHL have a rule that 19-year players cannot play in the American Hockey League (AHL, the ‘farm system’ for the NHL) that has a minimum salary of $40,500 USD.i All this collusion and manipulation creates a league where the players are forced into making literally a few loonies or not playing at all, while the owners are making millions.

But it is not the money (or lack there of) that has created a movement to form a union in the hockey world’s best junior leagues, rather it is about education.

Solidarity Coalition Formed to Support Zellers Workers

By Stefan

Solidarity Networks, organizations of mutual support that use collective action to win demands are on the rise. This article is about early organizing efforts in Waterloo Region around the closing of Zellers locations, specifically, the attempt to form a solidarity coalition to support those affected by the store closures. Although not a formal Solidarity Network, the coalition has taken on similar work and may ultimately contribute to the forming a Solidarity Network in Waterloo Region.

First, some background on the situation. In 2012, Target along with Walmart- two U.S. based mega-chains with track records of practices that hurt employees and communities, paid Zellers $1.825 billion to lease all of its 220 stores across Canada. Most of these locations will be converted to Target stores, with 39 being resold to Walmart, and 15-25 sold to other retailers. Target has made it clear that it will not respect the current workers’ wages, benefits or even their jobs. Zellers employees are now being forced to look for new work, and the jobs offered by Target will likely be of lower quality contributing to the growing trend towards poverty wages in Waterloo Region. Few current employees, particularly older workers, are likely to be rehired as they do not fit the branding of the Target stores.

Steel City Solidarity Wins Against Rokbar Wage Thieves!

By: Morine R.

Sarah was hired by Rokbar management to serve in their club on Hess St. in Hamilton’s downtown. Sarah worked her shifts over late nights and often until early mornings. But Rokbar was experiencing some problems – it become apparent that management had some difficulties organizing their finances. And of course, the employees paid the price.

Rokbar stopped paying Sarah the full wages she was owed. When they did pay, their cheques bounced, or only portions of her earnings were given to her, with promises of more to come at a later time; money which never made it into Sarah’s pocket. To add insult to injury, Rokbar held mandatory meetings which all employees were expected to attend, yet they were not paid for their time, and some owners even failed to show up! Management also refused to pay workers for the entire time they spent closing as workers worked until 3:30am but were only paid until 2:30am. At the end of the night, Sarah then had to hand over a portion of her tips to management – so effectively they made money off her while also failing to pay her wages! In the end, Sarah was owed $2700 by Rokbar.

Unpaid wages were only part of the abusive practices of Rokbar experienced by employees. Sarah was asked by management to spy on other workers, and she was threatened with termination if too many mistakes were made while using management’s dodgy systems. Operating under the table, they also refused to provide any documentation of employment records or deductions for EI, etc as required by the Employment Standards Act. Sarah tried several times to raise concerns, demand her wages and resist Rokbar’s abuse. When Sarah took action, she was given even worse shifts and management retaliated against her. So frustrated, she finally quit – but it didn’t stop there…. Rokbar owners found her new place of work and often frequented it as ‘customers’ and continued to badger Sarah while she was working at her new job.

The Gentry and Their Flames: Some Preliminary Notes on the George Street Fires


We are writing this as residents of George Street, in Toronto’s Downtown East End, specifically the houses located at 311 and 303 George. 311 is next door to O'Neill House, which is itself next to Seaton House. 311 George is also located at the beginning of a stretch of abandoned buildings, which run down the east side of the street leading up to an alleyway adjacent to the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) apartment building at 291 George; 303 George is more-or-less in the middle of this span of unused buildings. 311 George has been a collective house for three years and several of its current tenants have lived there for over 18 months, whereas 303 has been a collective for 14 months. We consider George Street our home, and our neighbours, whether housed or homeless, our fellow community members.

The Struggle Continues Against Bill 115!

Translated from: UCL

By: Bruno Cormier

It was under the pretext of a $14.8 billion deficit that Dalton McGuinty’s minority Liberal government, with the support of the Conservative Party passed the special law Bill 115 – ironically entitled the "Putting Students First Act". Not only does it enforce a 2 years strike ban on teachers (while there was actually no threat of strike), but also cuts their sick days in half, abolishes remuneration of 3 off-days and imposes a 2 years wage freeze. This attack on collective bargaining of the working conditions of teachers present great similarities with such union-busting legislation in several states of USA.
Vis-a-vis such an affront from the Boss-State, the province’s larger unions of elementary and high school teachers were quick to respond to the Ontario government. The draconian legislation, which should interpellate all union members coast-to-coast, will be challenged in Supreme Court of Canada. On August 28th, a 5,000 person demonstration was held at Toronto’s Queen Park. Other rallies took place at various locations across the province. A teacher’s resolution to end extracurricular activities is also widely followed in order to add pressure on the government, in hope of a real negotiation of working conditions. Although teachers' unions previously invested millions of dollars to help the Liberals’ re-election, Premier McGuinty reaffirmed he would not back down on its decision to impose a wage freeze to teachers.

Cross Canada speaking tour: The Québec student strike!

Its history, Combative unionism and anarchist involvement

Since the start of the Quebec student general strike, members of the Prairie Struggle Organization along with the collaboration of Common Cause, Union Communist Libertaire and the IWW, have been in the process of putting together a cross-Canada speaking tour on the Quebec student general strike. This strike, which has demonstrated once more the power of mass, combative and democratic social movements, is something that does not come often in Canadian history and expresses politics and strategies that are greatly needed in the rest of Canada. The struggles, and organizational principles demonstrated in this strike are examples that anarchists across Canada should aim to share and educate ourselves on, as our comrades in Quebec have done, due to the fact that its core principles are in fact close to our principles.

The purpose of the speaking tour is to give an in-depth look at why radical politics in Quebec have taken the shape of a rank and file, direct action based movement capable of posing a very real threat to the state and its capitalist proponents. It will Look at “combative unionism” and the strategies it uses to fight legislation, repression and general anti-union approaches put forward against the struggle. Also, the tour will discuss an anarchist analysis of the struggle and why anarchists are involved as a whole.

This speaking tour will also serve the purpose of demystifying fetishisms of Quebec political culture as inherently combative by showing that the roots of successful struggle lies in organizing along directly democratic lines, and building combativeness, and solidarity.

Speaker bio:

Solidarity with prisoners, not OPSEU 248

By Devin K

The Hamilton Wentworth Detention Centre or Barton Jail as it is more commonly known, has been on lock-down for over week now due to a ''labour dispute" between guards and upper management. The guards, members of OPSEU local 248, are alleging health and safety concerns, and have refused to search cells after a piece of metal fixture went missing in the jail on Monday August 13th. The guard’s refusal to work has lead to a lock-down situation with management taking over operations of the jail.

While news coming out of the jail has been sparse, disturbing details have emerged concerning the situation. Several inmates managed to contact the Hamilton Spectator, which on August 15th reported that they had not had access to clean sheets or clothing for a week. Stories have been leaked of inmates being given a choice between "a shower or a phone call", lawyers have been denied access to their clients, and visitors have been barred from [url= the facility.[/url] One family held an impromptu protest, holding signs that read "Time to Judge our System" and "They are not animals" outside the jail in support of their loved ones locked up.