Sudbury Social Justice News - May 1, 2012

May 1, 2012

Sudbury Social Justice News - May 1, 2012

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1) All May: Continuing Earth Month

2) Wednesday, May 2: Protest Against Mining Claims at Wolf Lake

3) Thursday, May 3, and Friday, May 4: Mayworks Sudbury

4) Friday, May 4: "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" - Benefit for Rainbow Routes Association

5) Tuesday, May 8: Next meeting of the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty

6) Sunday, May 13: Wolf Lake Field Trip

7) Tuesday, May 15: Meeting of Justice and Freedom for John Moore



1) Memo to Bartolucci: Stop the Cut to the to the Community Start-Up Fund

2) "Quebec students ignite the popular imagination" by Stefan Christoff




All May: Continuing Earth Month

Check out for a complete list of events associated with Earth Month in Sudbury.



Wednesday, May 2: Protest Against Mining Claims at Wolf Lake

Time: Noon

Location: MPP Rick Bartolucci's office, 93 Cedar Street, Sudbury

Despite recent assurances to the contrary, mining claims continue to be renewed automatically in the Wolf Lake old growth red pine forest. A peaceful protest is being held tomorrow at noon, to object to the most recent claim renewal, yesterday.

If you would like to participate, people are gathering outside of 93 Cedar, downtown, at noon tomorrow (Wednesday).

Information will be presented to Minister Bartolucci's office.

If you plan to come out, or would like to otherwise help out, contact



Thursday, May 3, and Friday, May 4: Mayworks Sudbury

Time: 6:30-9:30pm

Location: Royal Canadian Legion Branch 76, 1553 Weller St., Sudbury

Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts is a multi-disciplinary festival that celebrates working class culture.  Celebrated in many communities across Canada, 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 the Sudbury and District Labour Council are pleased to announce northern Ontario'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)



Friday, May 4: "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" - Benefit for Rainbow Routes Association

Time: 9:30-11:00pm

Location: Rainbow Cinemas, 40 Elm St., Sudbury

SB Tuesdays Presents

Pee Wee's Big Adventure - I know your excited Sudbury, but what am I?

This special presentation is taking place May 4th, 9:30pm at Rainbow Cinemas. This is another participation screening, so make sure to dress up as your favourite character and cheer on Pee Wee in his search for his beloved bike! Participation kits will also be provided at the door (while supplies last). This film is rated PG.

All profit from this event will be donated to The Rainbow Routes Association. They are a not for profit organization, dedicated to sustainable mobility through the development and promotion of active transportation routes, including the Trans Canada Trail, in Greater Sudbury.

Tickets are $10 and will be available at Rainbow Cinemas, Records On Wheels, and can also be purchased from all members of SB Tuesdays.

See you there!

This event on Facebook:



Tuesday, May 8: Next meeting of the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty

Time: 6:30-8:30pm

Location: Rethink Green, 176 Larch Street, Sudbury

Matters to be discussed include ongoing direct action support work, evaluation of the April 19 action, and organizing against the proposed provincial budget.



Sunday, May 13: Wolf Lake Field Trip

Time: departure at 9:30am, return at 4:00pm

On Sunday, May 13, Mother's Day, come out for a guided hike of Wolf Lake Forest - one of the last old growth red pine forests in the world! This is your chance to experience it for yourself, and find out what you can do to help protect this unique ecological treasure.

The hike will be led by Viki Mather and Franco Mariotti, who are both very knowledgeable about the forest.

Contact: to reserve your spot on the bus and on the hike.

Date:  Sunday, 13 May 2012  - please note that this is Mother's Day

Time:  departure 9:30am (plan to be there 10-15 minutes early), travel time ~1.5 hours, hike ~ 2-3 hours, return before 4:00 p.m.

Cost:  suggested donation of $20 per person to cover the cost of the bus

What to bring:  Dress for the weather and for the woods.  Wear good shoes for hiking.  Bring water, a lunch, some snacks, and any other basics for your daypack  (e.g. sunscreen, small first aid kit, camera...).

Other information:  We will have a waiver to sign before we head out.  Around April 23, we will contact those people who have confirmed to ask that they bring in their donation for a 'ticket' for the bus.  This will contribute towards the cost of the bus, and will help ensure we know who is coming, so that we can give the opportunity to as many people as we can, and not leave empty seats.

We will send a last reminder a few days prior to the hike.

The bus will depart from a central (downtown) location accessible by transit.  A pick-up point in New Sudbury will also likely be provided.  Final details will be sent to you with further notices.



Tuesday, May 15: Meeting of Justice and Freedom for John Moore

Time: 6:30pm

Location: Little Montreal, 182 Elgin St., Sudbury 

Matters to be discussed include the zine of material about John's case and the various information-gathering steps that people committed to taking at the last meeting in our discussion of where to focus our energies next given the deplorable decision by AIDWYC not to proceed with John's case.




Memo to Bartolucci: Stop the Cut to the to the Community Start-Up Fund

Media Release from the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty

"We are his constituents," said the thirty people who crowded into Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci's office on April 19th. "He should be representing us." They came to demand that he speak out against the proposed cuts to the provincial Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB). Sudbury Police, summoned by his office staff, waited outside his office while the group read personal statements about how the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefits have helped Sudburians. A copy of the group statement as well as the personal statements were faxed to Rick Bartolucci's Toronto office before the group left.

The Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit is currently available for those on Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program. People with children can qualify for up to $1,500 every two years. For those without children the maximum is $799 every two years. The proposed budget cuts the amount of funding in half and the program is to be transferred to the Ministry of Housing. There it would be folded into the money given to municipalities to run housing and homelessness programs. That means that half the money might be available to try to assist a much larger number of people. How it would be administered, who would be able to access it or what happens when the funding runs out remains unclear. What was made clear by the group in the MPP's office was that CSUMB as currently set up has been a life saver.

One of the personal statements read to Mr. Bartolucci's office staff told how the CSUMB program helped a mother escape from an abusive relationship. Another recounted trying to put back together a life after hospitalization during which rent and bills fell two months behind and an eviction notice was served. Yet another told of needing to replace a refrigerator so that the couple with limited mobility could keep healthy food in the house. The stories told of needing to buy essentials like pots, mattresses and blankets. As one supporter wrote: "these are not luxury items but basic essentials. And typically, the total funding amount ever given could buy one bargain-basement bed, without box spring, without a frame." Another personal statement concluded with: "My family should not have to choose between food and other necessities, and I am afraid that this cut to the start-up allowance will force that choice on us and others in similar circumstances.

The gathering was organized by the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty, a direct-action anti-poverty organization. Their mandate states: " We provide direct-action support and work in assisting individuals in their struggles with welfare and ODSP, housing, employers, and others who deny people what they are entitled to. In addition, the group campaigns against regressive government policies as they affect working people and people living in poverty. The Sudbury Coalition against Poverty believes in the power of people to organize themselves and the power of resistance."



Quebec students ignite the popular imagination

By Stefan Christoff

Courtesy of

Vibrant nightly protests over the past week in downtown Montréal, in solidarity with the Quebec student strike, are sparking global attention. As the Quebec-wide strike continues - it has now been going for over 11 weeks - a new energy is apparent in the city.

All across the city spotting the symbolic red square patches is easy; on any city bus or métro car patches are proudly pinned on jackets or backpacks.

Despite repeated incidents of police brutality, strikingly hostile mainstream media coverage and a sustained refusal by the Quebec Liberal government to negotiate in good faith, popular support and energy toward the strike is growing. Beyond surveys, or poll numbers, the Quebec student strike is historic in nature, a sustained mass protest movement creating political space to debate not only rising tuition fees but also fundamental questions of social justice.

A clear shift is occurring on the streets, as protests are now expanding to highlight environmental justice and the growing economic inequities in Quebec at a time of austerity-driven economics.

Today in Quebec the earning gap between the wealthy and the rest sits at a 30-year high, according to a recent study by Institut de recherche et d'informations socio-economiques. Economic injustice in Quebec is increasingly a focus of student protests and the upcoming May Day protests will illuminate points of unity between striking students and larger social movements on the streets.

Last week Aveos airline maintenance workers in Montréal, fired last month without due process, joined with striking students in a morning protest outside a shareholders meeting of Air Canada in downtown Montreal. On the streets, la Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), a major union federation in Québec with a history of strong links to grassroots activism, has consistently joined striking students on the street.

In Québec the student strike is igniting the popular imagination.

Recent night protests have been starting at Émilie-Gamelin square, close to Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), taking to the streets for hours on end, as many join the protests spontaneously as the protest weaves throughout downtown Montreal districts. As the night protest moves the size grows, tens of thousands marching in the cool spring air, waving red flags in the rain. The student strike is crossing many political barriers at a rapid speed and turning into a social movement.

Despite the growing protests, the movement does face incredible challenges, beyond just the usual cynical commentators across the mainstream media in Quebec and Canada.

Police repression has at times been extreme, with hundreds of students arrested and disturbing physical violence by police toward the protest movement. On the streets police often launch flash bang grenades. To take just one example, last week in Montreal one of these grenades exploded over a night demonstration, unleashing toxic CS gas on the protest.

Montreal police use the flash bang weapon, made by Defense Technologies, a subsidiary of the world's second largest arms manufacturer, BAE Systems, despite the obvious danger to student protesters. Striking student Francis Grenier suffered a serious eye injury in early March due to an explosion close to the eye while playing harmonica and is still recovering.

Unity within the student movement is another major challenge, the more institutional Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ) and Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ) are consistently facing divide and conquer offers by the Québec government pushing to exclude the protest-driven Coalition large de l'association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE) from any negotiations. Despite a history of division in previous student mobilizations, the major student unions today are remaining strongly united in this mobilization to halt tuition hikes in Quebec.

Calls for a broader social strike, an effort to transfer the energy of student protests into larger struggles for social justice is strongly backed by CLASSE, a network of student unions that supports direct action and openly rejects the capitalist economic system.

Over recent years CLASSE has actively supported anti-poverty struggles in Quebec and international solidarity campaigns like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in solidarity with Palestine.

Protests will continue in Quebec over the next days, from May Day to the upcoming Liberal Party general council meeting, scheduled to take place later this week. The Liberals have in fact announced they are moving their meeting from Montreal to Victoriaville, due to fears of mass protest.

As the momentum of the Quebec student strike continues to grow, with nearly 180,000 students remaining on strike, many open questions ring out beyond Québec.

Can the Quebec student movement, clearly a collective struggle against austerity-driven economics, spark or inspire broader mass struggles for social justice in Canada?

Stefan Christoff is a Montreal-based writer, musician and community activist who contributes to You can find Stefan at