Sudbury Social Justice News - March 6, 2012

Mar 6, 2012

Sudbury Social Justice News - March 6, 2012

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1) March 4-13: 3rd Annual Israeli Apartheid Week at Laurentian University

2) Wednesday, March 7: Planning meeting for the March 23rd anti-poverty/anti-austerity rally and march

3) Thursday, March 15: ReOccupy!

4) Thursday, March 15: Film Showing of "Blue Gold: Water Wars"

5) Tuesday, March 20: Meeting of Justice and Freedom for John Moore

6) Friday, March 23: "Solidarity Against Austerity" Rally, March, and Free Meal

7) Thursday, March 29: 2012 Heath & Safety Activist Awards Dinner

8) Saturday, April 14: Northwatch Spring Meeting



1) Mayworks Sudbury Call-Out

2) "What transit drivers have to say about improving Sudbury Transit - and their own working conditions" by Naomi Grant





March 4-13: 3rd Annual Israeli Apartheid Week at Laurentian University

Israel Apartheid Week is a global week of educational and cultural events designed to inform people about the Palestinian struggle against Israeli state occupation and the apartheid - that is, separation and subordination - policies of the Israeli state directed against the Palestinian people.

1). No Pride in Apartheid: From South Africa to Israel/Palestine

Tuesday March 6th

1pm, Room L-516

Please join us during both Pride Week and Israeli Apartheid Week at LU for an educational event on the links between queer solidarity with the struggle against South African apartheid in the past and present queer solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against Israeli state apartheid policies. This will include the current queer campaigns against the efforts to pinkwash Israeli state policies against the Palestinians. Videos by gay artist/activist John Greyson will be shown. Presented by Laurel O'Gorman and Gary Kinsman.

This event on Facebook:


2). Reuben Roth - "Split Labour Markets and the History of Palestinian Labour in the Israeli State"

Wednesday, March 7th,

7pm, Room C-205

This will be housed in the Sociology of Labour Markets course. It will begin with a short history of the establishment of the state of Israel and the occupation of Palestine to set the context.


3). Jaffa - the Orange's Clockwork, a film by Eyal Sivan

March 8 - Thursday - 2:30pm - Parker Bldg room L-516

film promo -

Jaffa's orange is one of the symbols that helped build the Zionist discourse about Palestine: a "desert we have made bloom". From the picking of the fruit to its packaging before exportation, the orange was a source of revenue for thousands of peasants and workers, not only from Palestine, but from Egypt, Syria and Lebanon too.

Eyal Sivan is an Israeli Jew, self-exiled to France and teaching in England. His film shows the orange groves, based on photographic and cinematographic documents, some going back as far as to the 19th century, at a time when Arab Jaffa was one of Palestine's most populated and thriving cities, when  Jews and Arabs worked together in the orange groves. These images are progressively replaced by socialist realist images, Israeli style - depicting labor and songs, emancipated women in shorts - the spreading of the "Jewish Labor", a socialist call to action excluding the Arabs.

In 1948, Jaffa was ruined under the bombs and most of its population was gone. Jaffa's orange then became the symbol of an Arab-free Israel. An international advertising campaign imposed the name "Jaffa", like a trademark, concealing the city of Jaffa, its more than a hundred-year-old orange groves, and the history of the Jewish Arab cooperation over this legendary fruit.


4). Yves Engler - "Prime Minister Lester Pearson and Canadian State Support for the Israeli Occupation of Palestine"

Tuesday, March 13th

1pm Room L-516

Former Vice President of the Concordia Student Union, Yves Engler is a Montréal activist and author. He has six published books: his just released Lester Pearson's Peacekeeping, the Truth May Hurt, Stop Signs - Cars and Capitalism on the Road to Economic, Social and Ecological Decay (with Bianca Mugyenyi), The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy (Shortlisted for the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non Fiction in the Quebec Writers' Federation Literary Awards), Playing Left Wing: From Rink Rat to Student Radical and (with Anthony Fenton) Canada in Haiti: Waging War on The Poor Majority and Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid.


Israeli Apartheid Week is organized by the Palestine Solidarity Working Group and sponsored by the Sociology Department and the Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy. 



Wednesday, March 7: Planning meeting for the March 23rd anti-poverty/anti-austerity rally and march

Time: 7:00-9:00pm

Location: Little Montreal, 182 Elgin St., Sudbury

The new Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty (SCAP) decided, as part of a province-wide campaign by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and the Raise the Rates campaign, that we will initiate with other supporters of Raising the Rates in Sudbury a rally and march on Friday, March 23rd.

This will be in the lead up to the provincial budget which is slated to come down on March 29th. Below please find a preliminary statement for this event that has been drawn from the statement for the March 16th rally and march being organized in Toronto. We are suggesting that this event start at 3pm in Memorial Park with free food, some entertainment and a rally to be followed after 4pm (when more people can come after work and school) by a march.

To organize for this event, we are inviting you to a planning meeting on Wednesday, March 7, from 7-9pm at Little Montreal.


Preliminary Statement



Friday, March 23, 2012

Free Food, Rally and March

Starting at 3pm at Memorial Park

Join the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty (S-CAP) and supporters of the Raise the Rates campaign for free food, entertainment, a rally and a march on Friday, March 23rd, in the lead up to the 2012 Provincial Budget. The McGuinty government (which includes Sudbury cabinet minister Rick Bartolucci) has hired former head of the TD bank, Don Drummond, to propose and provide the basis for massive social cutbacks in their 2012 budget. It is being drafted as the Provincial component of the austerity agenda that is gathering force across Canada and internationally. Queen`s Park and Ottawa are delivering austerity, but clearly it is being cooked-up on Bay Street by bankers like Drummond for the benefit of their rich friends.

We have to stop the cuts and fight for what poor and working people need!

The measures they intend to hit us with will fall on top of the losses we have already faced:

-Social assistance rates have lost at least 55% of their spending power since the days of the Harris Tories; the base amount for welfare today is a despicable $599/month

-The minimum wage has been reduced in real terms and more and more workers are forced into low wage jobs with E.I, employment standards and protection for workers being steadily eroded

-The fastest growing numbers amongst the poor in Ontario are racialized people without status; forced in to an economy that benefits from their massively underpaid and exploited labour, but fails to provide even basic services

-Waiting lists for social housing across this province are decades long while people are priced out of the private housing market and homeless shelters are overcrowded

-Access to affordable childcare is almost non-existent while thousands wait for limited subsidy spaces.

For poor people and workers in this province, it has been a constant state of crisis. McGuinty and Bartolucci are now preparing to make this situation much worse. On March 23rd, after gathering for food and speakers in Memorial Park we will take our message to a number of locations where decisions are being made by and for the '1%'.

We will be marching to oppose austerity measures but also to demand the reversing of previous cutbacks, the right to a living income, the right to affordable and accessible housing, and for good quality public services for all! We will be marching against the kind of society Drummond and the rich are creating, and for one that meets the needs and improves the lives of all of us!



-Organize a contingent: bring a group of people from your organization, neighbourhood, city or union local to this demonstration - bring your needs and demands

-Drum out Drummond: bring drums, noise makers, pots and pans

-Banners, flags and signs: Organize a 'banner making day' in your area, bring your banners to the march

-Help fund food, transit tokens, ASL, and materials for the day: if you or your organization or union local can make donations of money or in-kind, please help us make this day as participatory and accessible as possible

-Build the movement: add your organization's to the list of endorsers for this day of action

-Get the word out: help us get the message out about this day of action, forward this announcement far and wide, contact us if you would like to help with postering, flyering, etc.

Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty



Thursday, March 15: ReOccupy!

Time: 8:00-11:00am

Location: Memorial Park, Minto St. & Brady St.

March 15th is the International Day of Re-Occupation!

We have been occupying all this time, whether in public spaces in the cold, or in the political and social spaces of our communities! But on March 15th we shall make a new reinvigorated public stand! Join us, brothers, sisters, comrades, neighbours!

Occupy is assembling at the Memorial Park on the morning of March 15th, at 8:00am. At 9:00am Occupy will march through downtown Sudbury, announcing the re-Occupation, and then return to the Memorial Park to set up tents and accommodations.

Please attend the next two general assemblies for planning. The GAs will be held every Thursday, at 7:00pm at Myths' & Mirrors' downtown location. During the next two weeks we will be planning, making signs, assembling resources, coming up with slogans and chants, drafting media statements and so on.

We encourage everyone to invite friends to this event. However, we do not want to alert the media and the city authorities of the re-Occupation before the day of the action. And seeing how Occupy Sudbury facebook page has been infiltrated by trolls and media personnel, we ask that you exercise discretion over whom you invite. Please invite only people you know personally. The media will be notified on the day of the reoccupation.

For further information and the event calendar please visit Occupy Sudbury webpage at:

Inquiries can also be made by calling Dave Sylvester at: 705 665 6997

Do what you can. Where you can. Keep it local. Help make it global.

Keep it peaceful. Occupy!

This event on Facebook:



Thursday, March 15: Film Showing of "Blue Gold: Water Wars"

Time: 7:00-9:00pm

Location: Rethink Green, 176 Larch Street, Sudbury

Blue Gold documents the environmental issues behind why we are rapidly losing our fresh water supplies, the politics behind water ownership and distribution that are worsening the situation, and the scenarios of what will happen as water becomes increasingly scarce.

This event on Facebook:



Tuesday, March 20: Meeting of Justice and Freedom for John Moore

Time: 6:30pm

Location: Little Montreal, 182 Elgin St., Sudbury

Matters to be discussed include upcoming educational events in Southern Ontario, producing an informational pamphlet about Moore's struggle for justice, and fundraising.



Friday, March 23: "Solidarity Against Austerity" Rally, March, and Free Meal

Time: 3:00pm

Location: Memorial Park, Minto St. & Brady St.

There will be a "Solidarity Against Austerity" rally, march, and free meal on Friday, March 23. It will start at 3pm at Memorial Park in downtown Sudbury.

Organized by the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty

Sponsored by the Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy, and Occupy Sudbury

For more information, email



Thursday, March 29: 2012 Heath & Safety Activist Awards Dinner

Time: Doors open at 6:00pm, dinner at 6:30pm

Location: Steelworkers Convention Centre, 66 Brady St., Sudbury

Keynote Speaker: Nancy Hutchinson, Secretary-Treasurer, Ontario Federation of Labour

The Sudbury and District Labour Council, in partnership with the Workers Health and Safety Centre, invites you to the 2012 Health & Safety Activist Award dinner. This evening is an opportunity to recognize the efforts and achievements of health and safety activists in our workplace.



Saturday, April 14: Northwatch Spring Meeting

Time: 9:30am-5pm

Location: 4th Floor Resource Room, St. Andrew's Place, 111 Larch Street, Sudbury

Please join us for Northwatch's Spring Meeting in Sudbury on April 14th. Presentations and discussions will include:

* Nukes: Nuclear waste and the industry's search for a "willing" host

* Forests: Wolf Lake and getting mineral exploration out and protection in for this ancient red pine forest

* Rivers: what's in store for the Vermillion River and others on the list for hydro-development

* Mines: what's burning in the Ring of Fire with Cliffs Resources and Noront Minerals

* Community: eating local, acting local, organizing local

9:30am: Coffee, muffins, settling in

10am: Open space, introductions, fine-tuning the agenda for the day, morning sessions (rivers plus more!)

Noon: Lunch, free time

1pm: Afternoon sessions, including Wolf Lake

4pm: Session wrap-up, review of action plans and next steps

4:30pm: Closing and good-byes


+ Childcare is available but must be requested no later than Saturday, April 7th

+ A suggested donation of $15 per person will cover the costs of the meeting room and lunch

+ Pre-registration - no later than April 12th - is required for those staying for lunch - please do!

+ Pre-registration by April 7th is requested to assist with meeting planning

Northwatch's meeting agendas are developed using an "open space" meeting method, which includes participants in allocating time according to interest, availability of resource people, and urgency of the issue. The agenda items noted above have been identified in advance, and resource people will begin the discussion with a brief overview to provide background information that will enable everyone to participate in the discussion. The meeting approach includes the option of break-out groups and concurrent discussions, and encourages active planning and problem-solving. For more info email





Mayworks Sudbury Call-Out

Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts is a multi-disciplinary festival that celebrates working class culture.  Celebrated in many communities acrossCanada, this festival is the largest and oldest labour arts festival.  It is built on the premise that workers and artists share a common struggle for decent wages, healthy working conditions, and a living culture.  This culture can be found in art, music, drama, and the spoken word.

Mayworks Sudbury and theSudburyand District Labour Council are pleased to announce northernOntario's first Mayworks Festival.  On May 3 and 4, 2012 the Windsor Feminist Theatre will present "Riveter", a play written and directed by Joey Ouellette.  Riveter is set in a period of time when men were leaving their jobs to fight overseas during WW2 and Canadian women (including women in Sudbury) assisted in the war effort by working in those jobs and the new ones created by the demands of the war.

As a way of drawing attention to and showing appreciation for the creative expressions of work and labour issues, Mayworks Sudbury and the Sudbury District Labour Council are encouraging submissions from Sudbury's artists/photographers.  These submissions should be reflective of the artist's identify as a worker and their experiences in the workplace.  This art will be displayed for viewing and for sale on May 3 and 4, 2012 before and after the play.

If you are interested in obtaining additional information about Mayworks Sudbury, you want to buy tickets, or you would like to find out more about submitting artistic pieces to be shown at Mayworks Sudbury Festival, please contact one of the people listed below.

Jo-Anne Marshall (705-673-8802)

Bryan Obonsawin (705-560-3330, Ext. 223)

Shelley Condratto - Sudbury and District Labour Council (705-674-1223)



"What transit drivers have to say about improving Sudbury Transit - and their own working conditions"

By Naomi Grant, courtesy Grassroots Sudbury Media Working Group:

There is no shortage of advice for improving transit service in Sudbury recently.  Recommendations have come in from the Auditor General, from organizations working on sustainable mobility, and from transit riders, but what about transit drivers?  What do the people driving the routes have to say about improving Sudbury Transit?

Drivers have constructive suggestions for better transit service, based on first hand experience on the road.  Many of their recommendations coincide with those of riders, community organizations, and the Auditor General.  It turns out they also have a lot to say about the changes that are needed in their own working conditions.

"I want to go to work and have the system working," said one driver.  To make that happen, they recommend a review of routes and schedules, and improvements in communications.  A review of routes and schedules was also the first priority identified by Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury in a presentation to the Operations Committee January 9 based on rider input and research.   

According to the drivers, routes have had the same basic structure since the 1970's and need to be updated to properly serve the outlying communities of Greater Sudbury, new subdivisions, and other changes.

Both drivers and riders have reported that some routes are regularly late because there have been add-on's to the route without adjusting the time allotted for that route.  "Day after day the buses are late.  Something has to change," said one driver.  The suggested solution is buffer times built into the route schedule to avoid late arrivals which is stressful for drivers, and results in riders missing their transfers.  Drivers recounted missing lunches regularly, or not having time to use the washroom because of time pressures with these routes.

Better communication is also needed to keep routes running smoothly, say drivers.  They would like timely notice of accidents, driving conditions, or other situations affecting their route.  Riders have also identified improved communication as a priority.  In their case, clear and accessible communication of routes, schedules and transit policies.

Another area where drivers see a need to improve transit service is in assisting riders and responding to riders complaints.  "You could lose your job for helping someone.  It's not right," a driver lamented.   Rules can restrict drivers in providing what seems like basic help, which can anger riders, and demoralize drivers.  An example given was a rule preventing drivers from leaving the bus to assist a rider who has fallen, dropped their possessions, or is struggling with a stroller.

Riders often complain directly to drivers, but drivers do not feel there is a mechanism in place for riders' complaints to be dealt with effectively.  There is a perception that complaints reported by drivers don't go anywhere, that management has no interest in addressing rider complaints, and that people's complaints are not addressed.   Some drivers give up on reporting complaints, because there does not seem to be any follow-up.  Both riders and drivers asked for a transparent complaint process, where complaints and responses can be tracked, and follow up is timely.

As for other improvements in transit service, drivers suggest a survey is the best way to assess the needs and concerns of riders.  They also recommend that both full and part time drivers be involved in suggesting solutions.

In speaking about improving transit service, drivers came time and time again to changes needed in their working conditions.  They recommend proper training for both drivers and supervisors so that there are consistent rules and procedures that everyone understands, and so that everyone knows how to handle situations as they arise, whether assisting a passenger, dealing with a complaint, or handling a challenging or dangerous scenario.  Drivers complain that rules and expected procedures change as supervisors change over the day.

Drivers also complain that health and safety issues take much too long to resolve, and that there is no effective procedure for drivers to deal with dangerous situations.  The drivers recommend a code system, so that they could report the type of dangerous situation they were dealing with, without alerting or alarming the person presenting the danger.  On some routes, drivers anticipate a dangerous atmosphere after 4:00 or 5:00 p.m.  Dangerous incidences at the Transit Centre are common, they report.   Riders have also flagged safety at the Transit Centre as a concern.

These problems are aggravated by lack of trust in management, and often lack of confidence or trust in the union as well.  According to these drivers, improved trust and communication is a core issue that needs to be resolved at Sudbury Transit.   They look to riders to push for positive changes.  One driver summed it up:  "Drivers won't speak up.  They know they could lose their job.  They've seen it happen."