A progressive take on current events. Produced by an independent media collective at Vancouver Cooperative Radio.
The pandemic has brought into focus the urgent need for a public health that serves everyone in the community, including those who have traditionally been marginalized. A new book by Zena Sharman asks what health care could look like if queer folks had access safe, appropriate and compassionate medical care. Zena Sharman is a writer, speaker, strategist and LGBTQ+ health advocate. Her new book is called The Care We Dream Of.
In 2017, the Elephant Hill wildfire in British Columbia burned close to 200,000 hectares throughout Secwepemcu'lecw territory. An Indigenous-led review has found there was a disregard of Indigenous fire management practices and local knowledge leading up to and during the Elephant Hill fire. We speak with Sarah Dickson-Hoyle, co-author of the report and a doctoral candidate in the faculty of forestry at the University of British Columbia.
The City of Vancouver 2022 budget complete with a 6.35% tax increase and rezoning for rentals dominated the mainstream civic media these last two weeks. Slipping under the radar were two other important policy and funding initiatives addressing climate change and social infrastructure. Ian Mass joins us with his City Beat report.
In 2017, the New Westminster school board approved a sanctuary schools policy which aims to give every school-aged child in the district access to education without fear of their personal information being shared with immigration authorities. Yet, on November 30, a mother was handcuffed and detained by Canadian Border Services agents after she dropped her child off at kindergarten at a New Westminster school. We speak with Omar Chu of Sanctuary Health.
A U.S. federal jury has said that three major retailers helped flood two Ohio counties with addictive opioids in a first-of-its-kind verdict. The two counties argued that pharmacies at CVS, Walgreens and Walmart did not stop mass quantities of opioid drugs from reaching the black market. We speak about the verdict with Gerald Posner, an investigative reporter and author of Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America.
The River Forecast Centre operates a provincial system that issues flood warnings yet this fall's abundant rain and intense storms did not appear to trigger critical responses that could have better protected British Columbians. A decade ago an expert report called for changes and increased staffing at the River Forecast Centre, but those recommendations have not been acted on for more than 10 years. We speak with resource policy analyst Ben Parfitt.
Judging by the constant stream of news reports of standoffs and confrontations, it's apparent that Canada's reconciliation project has gone off the rails. Standoff is the title of a new book of essays by lawyer and historian Bruce McIvor. In it, he examines why reconciliation is failing and what needs to be done to fix it. Bruce McIvor is a member of the Manitoba Metis Federation and a partner at First People's Law. He represents First Nations across Canada from Wet'suwet'en opposing the Coastal Gas Link pipeline to Mi'kmaw exercising their fishing rights in Nova Scotia.
It is estimated over half of B.C. workers don't have sick benefits from their employers. That gap moved into sharp relief at beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, when many workers felt forced to go to work while they were sick. And while gaining any paid sick days is an improvement for many workers, advocates say five days falls short of what is needed for a healthy community and a healthy economy. Alex Hemingway is a senior economist for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Vancouver City Council has worked hard this past year to establish priorities to address climate change, Indigenous reconciliation, and tenant protection for people living in single-room occupancy hotels. The problem is, without money these changes won't happen. Redeye collective member Ian Mass joins us to talk about the upcoming debate on the 2022 city budget in his regular City Beat report.
BC has crown corporations for housing, hydro, transit and a number of other key sectors. Now a new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Zero Waste BC is calling for a crown corporation to take on the challenge of recycling. This is just one of a number of key proposals in “A Zero Waste Agenda for BC”. We speak with Sue Maxwell, a sustainability consultant with Ecoinspire Planning Services and one of the authors of the report.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has just released its 26th alternative federal budget aptly named Mission Critical: A just and equitable recovery. The goal of the budget is to ensure that the legacy of the pandemic is a publicly-led recovery that leaves no one behind. We speak with David Macdonald, senior economist with the CCPA.
As long as Covid-19 exists anywhere in the world, it is a threat everywhere. But, in spite of our shared risk, the world's richest countries have exercised a “me first” approach to the Covid-19 vaccine, buying up more than half the total. The People's Vaccine Alliance says our best chance of all staying safe is to ensure a Covid-19 vaccine is available for all as a global common good. We talk with Brittany Lambert of Oxfam Canada.
Finance has an oversized presence in contemporary mature nations. It has grown enormously in terms of size, relative to the rest of the economy. And, financialization has crept into all aspects of our lives. Housing, education, and healthcare are all targets for investors. More recently, new investment vehicles are being marketed that would even financialize natural ecosystems. We speak with Randall Wray, senior scholar at the Levy Economics Institute and professor of economics at Bard College.
Plastic is everywhere—it's in our food containers, keyboards, glasses, even our toothbrushes. It's lightweight, versatile, and so cheap that we often forget how much it permeates our lives. A new book dives into the plastic crisis—answering the questions of who is being harmed, who is to blame and what we must do now to create a more just and livable world for everyone. We speak with author Erica Cirino.
In October, the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users conducted a survey asking homeless people about the impact of street sweeps by city workers and police. The stress of having to defend personal possessions against seizure or theft is something that homeless people around the world face on a daily basis. A research project is looking at attempts to govern the belongings of the precariously housed. We speak with Nick Blomley, Professor of Geography at Simon Fraser University and one of the researchers involved in the project.
Over the past two weeks, Vancouver City Council has heard from close to 1000 people about a policy proposal designed to limit new rental apartment buildings to busy arterials and the streets nearby. Some people argue against any new rentals, others say renters should be able to live in quiet neighbourhoods too. We speak with Danny Oleksiuk, a past member of Vancouver's Renter's Advisory Committee and co-founder of Abundant Housing Vancouver.
Back in the early 1970s, children from the Raymur housing project in Strathcona were forced to cross train tracks on their way to their elementary school. After months of petitioning for a safe crossing, a group of mothers made their voices heard by blockading the tracks. Carmen Pollard's short film, Militant Mother, tells the story. We speak with Carolyn Jerome, one of the mothers who stood in front of the trains.
Yves Engler is a Montreal-based activist, author and critic of Canadian politics. He just came out with his eleventh book “We Stand on Guard for Whom? A People's History of the Canadian Military. In the book, he presents a history of the Canadian military from the perspective of its victims. The Canadian Voice of Women for Peace and the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute sponsored an online launch for the book last month. In this podcast, Yves Engler's presentation from that event.
In Guatemala, a trial is underway in the case of 183 civilians who were disappeared or murdered in Guatemala City in the 1980s. A military intelligence document known as the Diario Militar, or Military Diary, is being used as evidence of the systematic terrorism carried out by high-ranking military officials and others. Twelve men are now accused of crimes against humanity. We speak with Wendy Mendez, whose mother was disappeared in 1984.
Canada's extradition act is under scrutiny. The Meng Wanzhou case raised questions about extradition proceedings that have foreign policy implications. Concerns have also been raised about the wrongful extradition of Dr. Hassan Diab to France in 2014. Two years ago, a group of academics, defence counsel and human rights organizations met at Dalhousie University to discuss Canada's extradition law. Professor Robert Currie joins us to talk about the law reform proposals that came out of that meeting.
Carmen Rodriguez is an internationally acclaimed Chilean-Canadian author, educator and journalist. Her new novel, Atacama, is set against the backdrop of Chile in the first half of the twentieth century and Europe during the Spanish Civil War. It is both a sweeping historical novel and gripping tale of personal drama. Carmen Rodriguez joins us to talk about the book.
A school district on Vancouver Island has responded to one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action with a unique resource called Learning with Syeyutsus. Developed in collaboration with UBC Press and their authors, it's a free, curated speaker series featuring respected authors at the forefront of Indigenous topics. We speak with Scott Saywell, District Superintendent for Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools, and Ricki Bartlett, Director of Instruction for Indigenous Education.
British Columbians will look back at the summer of 2021 as the one where the climate emergency really hit home. First, there was the heat dome, then months of evacuation orders and wildfire smoke across the province. If it hadn't been for the cooler wetter weather in August, this year would have set a new record for the number of hectares burned. Now that the rains have set in, it's a good time to look back at the wildfire season. We speak with Marc Lee, senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives BC Office.
Sandeep Johal is a visual artist whose practice includes drawing, collage, textiles, and large-scale murals. ‘What If' is a major new exhibition of Johal's work which opened at the Surrey Art Gallery last month. In the show, she layers her personal history with those of South Asian women she wished she knew about when she was growing up in Kelowna in 1980s.
Steven Donziger has spent nearly three decades fighting Chevron on behalf of 30,000 people in the Ecuadorian rainforest. On October 1, he was sentenced to six months in federal prison for criminal contempt for refusing to give Chevron access to confidential client communications. We speak about the case with Paul Paz y Miño of Amazon Watch.
For five days in October, members of community groups, advocates and residents of the Downtown Eastside documented street sweeps and their impact on people's lives. Vince Tao of VANDU was one of the people observing the actions of the police and city workers and conducting interviews with the people affected. He tells us what he observed.
South False Creek has been called one of the best-planned neighbourhoods in the world. Located between the Granville and Cambie bridges and owned by the City of Vancouver, the land is leased to 2000 housing coop, rental and strata units. These leases are expiring and the City of Vancouver wants to negotiate an entirely different relationship with this community. Redeye collective member Ian Mass joins us with his regular City Beat report.
Emergence: Out of the Shadows is a feature length film is about the strengths and struggles of gay and lesbian South Asian people in Metro Vancouver. For Kayden, Jag, and Amar, awakening to and expressing their sexuality within conservative South Asian families was a lonely and terrifying experience - and yet they emerged. The film showed at Kdocs Film Festival in early October. We speak with producer Alex Sangha.
When you look at Canada as a whole, 71% of Canadians are fully vaccinated. But if you look at individual provinces, the numbers vary quite a bit. Here in BC, we're currently at 73% of the total population. In Alberta, it's more like 64%. Although vaccine passports and other incentives have prompted some to get vaccinated, many people are still hesitant. To find out what's behind this reluctance, we've contacted Taylor Lambert. He is the Alberta politics reporter for The Sprawl.
In September, leader of the People's Party of Canada Maxime Bernier publicly urged his Twitter followers to ‘play dirty' with the press and exposed the contact details of three journalists. Bernier's account on Twitter was eventually suspended for 12 hours but Bernier himself was unapologetic. The incident forms part of an escalating pattern targeting journalists whose reporting is unpopular with some politicians and organizations. We speak with Brent Jolly, president of the Canadian Association of Journalists.
In mid-September, vaccine protesters entered three schools in Salmon Arm to deliver notices of Vaccine Liability, bogus legal documents based on the ideology of the Freemen-on-the-Land. To find out more about this anti-government movement and its links to white nationalism, we contacted Edwin Hodge. He's a lecturer in the Sociology Department at the University of Victoria who researches extremism and white supremacist activism in North American societies.
More than 1,100 people have been arrested this year for breaching a court injunction while protesting logging of old growth at Fairy Creek. On Oct 4, protesters gathered at the BC Legislature to call on the government to take action to protect old growth, especially since its been over a year since Premier John Horgan promised to implement an independent old-growth panel's recommendations in “totality". We speak with Ken Wu, executive director at Endangered Ecosystems Alliance.
Under Canada's Indian Act, prior to 1985, a woman who married a non-Indigenous man lost her Indian status, and risked being evicted from her reserve. A new documentary tells the story of a Mohawk woman who lost her status and fought for more than two decades to get it back and end sex discrimination under the Indian Act. We speak with Mohawk writer and director Courtney Montour.
Vancouver City Council is back at work and one of its first tasks was to hear a motion by Vancouver Councillor Christine Boyle about a massive $3-billion expansion of a liquefied natural gas production and storage facility in the Fraser River. In City Beat today, Redeye collective member Ian Mass talks about this proposed LNG expansion, a new Climate Emergency parking program, a proposal for seniors housing and a new plan to supply safer drugs to people.
Two years ago, Environment and Climate Change Canada came out with a report saying that Canada is warming at more than double the global rate. Despite this, Canada increased its emissions more than any other G7 country since it signed the Paris Agreement. At the same time, Canada's largest public pension plan has increased its shares in fossil fuel companies. A recent report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives looks at the fossil fuel portion of the investment portfolios of Canada's two biggest pension funds. We speak with co-authors Jessica Dempsey and James Rowe.
In 2008, Hassan Diab was a sociology professor at Carleton University in Ottawa when he was arrested and accused of involvement in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue. After a lengthy extradition hearing, in 2014, Diab was handed over to France where he was imprisoned, largely in solitary confinement, for over 3 years. In 2018, the charges were dismissed and Diab returned to Canada. But his nightmare didn't end there. In January 2021, the French appeals court reversed the dismissal of charges and ordered a new trial. Colin Stuart is with the Hassan Diab Support Committee.
The federal government set a tougher target for reducing domestic emissions in 2020 yet the full extent of Canada's contribution to the climate crisis remains hidden from view. Fraser Thomson is a lawyer at Ecojustice whose work focuses on the impact of fossil fuel operations on communities and the environment. He talks with us about the oil, gas and coal emissions generated by Canadian energy exports.
After 13 years of appeals and more than three years of corporate stalling, the contract laying out the terms of the sale of the Little Mountain social housing site to Holborn Properties has finally been made public. David Chudnovsky calls the terms of the contract “a sweetheart deal” for the developer. We talk with David Chudnovsky, spokesperson for Community Advocates for Little Mountain and former NDP MLA.
Cuba has faced sixty years of an economic blockade by Washington, including many additional measures brought in by the Trump administration. The Biden administration, rather than normalizing relations with Cuba, has stepped up its aggressive rhetoric. The Canadian Network on Cuba in Canada is asking the federal government to condemn Washington's economic sanctions. We speak with Isaac Saney, spokesperson for the group.
Earle Peach is the director of three Vancouver-based choral groups including the High and Lows Choir and Solidarity Notes Labour Choir. He also plays a bunch of instruments and performs with musical groups. But in his new book, Questions to the Moon, Peach says songwriting is his strongest self-identification. The book is a collection of stories and lyrics, just published by Lazara Press.
The Nicaraguan government is encouraging a gold rush in its country, opening up two-thirds of the country to mining concessions. Canadian and Australian corporations, among others, are lining up to mine that gold. But gold mining is linked to displacement, violence and environmental degradation. Anuradha Mittal is executive director of the Oakland Institute and author of the report, Nicaragua's Failed Revolution.
As many B.C. regions experience severe drought, municipalities and First Nations are calling for the government to stop issuing groundwater extraction licences to commercial bottling companies. The province is currently sitting on at least eight permit applications for water-bottling operations, one of which concerns the town of Golden in the Rocky Mountains. Annette Lutterman is an ecologist and a resident of Golden.
Almost 100 years ago, the Canada, Manitoba and Ontario allowed massive flooding of the Lac Seul First Nation reserve for a hydroelectric project. The Supreme Court of Canada has found that Canada did not seek Lac Seul First Nation's consent to flood the lands, nor did it expropriate them under the Indian Act. In addition, the Lac Seul First Nation were never adequately compensated for their loss. We speak with Chief Clifford Bull of the Lac Seul First Nation.
In its last set of meetings before a summer break, Vancouver City Council adopted an equity framework that identifies three sources of systemic inequity in the city: colonialism, White supremacy and ableism. Ian Mass tells how council intends to implement its new equity framework in this week's City Beat report.
Anti-government protests erupted in various Cuban cities the weekend of July 11. People were protesting the dire economic conditions on the island, amid a surge in Covid cases. There were protests in six of Cuba's fourteen provinces, including the major cities, but the largest protests were in Miami, Florida. CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin says the protests in Cuba can only be understood in the context of the U.S. embargo. Medea Benjamin is the author of several books on Cuba, including No Free Lunch: Food and Revolution in Cuba Today.
In May, the federal government added plastic manufactured items to the toxic substances list of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Campaigners to ban single-use plastic say this is an important first step in reducing the amount of plastic garbage in the environment. Laura Yates is Oceans & Plastics Campaigner with Greenpeace.
Self-driving cars, scooters and bikes of every description, car-share schemes and air taxis… all these modes of transport may be part of our transportation future. And while boosters of each of these modes of transport describe them in glowing terms, understanding the precise costs and benefits is more of a challenge. Todd Litman's recent book, New Mobilities, examines the questions we need to ask as we plan for these emerging transportation technologies.
On June 17, the digital publication The Narwhal hosted an online event to look at meaningful solutions to the crisis of old-growth logging. Sarah Cox is BC investigative reporter for the Narwhal. She interviews Garry Merkel, a registered professional forester from the Tahltan Nation and co-chair of BC's old-growth strategic review panel. We'd like to thank The Narwhal for permission to broadcast this interview.
The Wilderness Committee has released a report reflecting the concerns and priorities of leaders in Northern BC. “Northern Vision and Voices: What the region needs to thrive in a changing world” was written by Megan Gordon after six months of interviews in the North. The report says it's time for British Columbia to invest in building strong communities across the region. We talk with Peter McCartney, climate campaigner for the Wilderness Committee.
On June 29, the BC Supreme Court ruled that the B.C. government had breached the treaty rights of the Blueberry River First Nations. In her ruling, Justice Burke said that the province has allowed so much development in their territory that they can no longer meaningfully exercise their rights under Treaty 8. Lawyers for the Blueberry River First Nations have called the ruling a ‘complete vindication' of the Nations' position. Lisa Glowacki is co-counsel for the Nations.
There are more than 100 housing co-ops in Vancouver, the majority located on land leased from the City of Vancouver. Many of these leases are expiring over the next decade and the City and the Co-op Housing Federation have been talking about what to do for the last 5 years. Council will make a decision this week. This and more in Redeye's regular City Beat report with Ian Mass.