Tuesday, 19 May 2015
|Image Source: Twitter/Steve Ashton|
The forum was organized by the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Winnipeg born and raised activist Brigette DePape, of "rebel page" fame or infamy (depending on your circle) moderated the forum.
The overarching message was that voting matters and that groups of people need to be mobilized to vote, particularly low voting groups such as the youth, the indigenous and those with low incomes. This is a belief I have long held, noting the low voting of indigenous peoples in Canadian elections and how social inequality affected the municipal election here. In short, when social inequality maps onto voter turnout inequality you get the underprivileged underrepresented.
Tuesday, 5 May 2015
|Image Source: Environmental Defence Canada|
In mid April I went to a panel talk organized by the Council of Canadians and the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition on the proposed energy East Pipeline. In a talk featuring strong indigenous perspectives and highlighting the the clear and present danger of Energy East to livelihoods and our City's water supply. A discussion of another pipeline - the Keystone XL - and its opposition in Nebraska was supplied by a rancher from the state.
Tuesday, 28 April 2015
|Image Source: The Hamilton Spectator|
Note: Late in the day, but part of a new commitment to have a new post out every Tuesday.
Amid the height of the first wave of the Senate Scandal in 2013 Stephen Harper took to the Conservative Party faithful to bash "elites". In a speech dripping with hypocrisy Stephen Harper wagged his finger at the Supreme Court of Canada and Federal Liberals for his inability to get his own Senators to clean up the joint.
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
|Image Source: Chaos Cycling Club Forum|
These Federal grants, just so you know, came out during the Harper Government, which for all intents and purposes could give zero fucks about a small, municipally specific lobby in a mid-size prairie city.
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
|Are you with us or are you with the TERRORISTS?!!|
The mature reasoning like that
kind Elmwood-Transcona MP Lawrence
Toet would us.
Image Source: Youtube
Manitoba, unfortunately, was not free from this lunacy.
With the farce that is Vic Toews gone from Federal politics other Manitoba MPs have had to step up their game. My own representative of Lawrence Toet seems a prime candidate for the next Toews.
Defending Bill C-51- a civil liberties crushing bill that would inspire mass protest across Canada (including here) - with the following push polling flyer:
Saturday, 28 March 2015
Tuesday, 30 December 2014
Lest there be another Comment-Gate I'd like to clarify that I switched the commenting system over at The Winnipeg RAG Review from blogger's default system to Livefyre. Unfortunately, it seems that I had to kill a bunch of old comments to do so. Hopefully, it works out in the end.
Saturday, 27 December 2014
|Is this how much Prime Minister Harper cares about|
the safety of Canadians?
Image obtained from West Coast Native News
As a unique study in priorities, one should note this same Harper MisGovernment often implies that we have scarce public money. As a response to this the Fabian Neo-Conservative agenda of Harper includes cuts to many basic public services, like transport safety:
Thursday, 25 December 2014
|Tina Fontaine vigil, August 19, 2014.|
Image taken by Greg Gallinger,
obtained off Twitter.
After a year of tragedy, with increasingly high media profile cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (including Sagkeeng First Nation teen Tina Fountaine, who was under the care of Child and Family Services in Winnipeg before her death) Stephen Harper flat out said an Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women "... isn't really high on our radar, to be honest" in a Dec 17 year end CBC interview.
This is well after the Provincial Premiers had supported an inquiry, by the way.
|Prime Minister Stephen Harper.|
Image Obtained from West Coast
While refusing to hold an inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, dismissing the social factors behind the tragedy, the Harper MisGovernment is brazenly challenging the sovereignty of Indigenous Nations in court.
All this leads to what a colossal insult admitting an inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women was low on his radar is. It is hard to imagine how Prime Minister Harper could show more disregard towards Indigenous Peoples, but surely he'll find a way.
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Wednesday, 29 October 2014
Upscale neighbourhoods like Wellington Crescent
have higher turnout and more say in city politics than
low income areas like Lord Selkirk Park.
Top: Wellington Crescent House
Bottom: Lord Selkirk Park Apartments
Image Source: NOW Winnipeg
“Aboriginal Winnipeggers are the fastest-growing segment of the middle class,” trumpted Kevin Chief, the provincial minister for Winnipeg, in a sunny editorial for the Winnipeg Free Press. “All the evidence shows a big part of that success is education. This is an incredible emerging story, and Winnipeggers are recognising it and responding.”
Much of the city’s aboriginal community, however, remains underemployed, undereducated and relegated to relatively impoverished neighbourhoods in Winnipeg’s inner city and North End. Two of the three poorest postal codes in Canada are in Winnipeg. Both are predominantly indigenous neighbourhoods. They are plagued by substandard housing, inadequate financial and retail services and higher-than-average levels of violent crime, mostly because of the domestic violence associated with poverty but also because of the presence of indigenous gangs.
In an exit interview in September, outgoing mayor Sam Katz portrayed aboriginals as refugees in their own country. “I know that there’s a lot of First Nations people leaving the reserves and coming to the big city of Winnipeg. They have no training. They have no education. They have no hope,” he said. “I’m sorry, you don’t have to be Einstein to figure out what’s going to happen. They’re going to end up in gangs. They’re going to end up in drugs. They’re going to end up in prostitution. And from there, it only gets worse.”
In this divided city, those are often the only indigenous people whom some suburbanites like Lorrie Steeves see: the panhandlers, solvent abusers and mentally ill. Steeves’ rant which may have precipitated the subsequent decline of popular support for her husband, but it also garnered some praise – adding insult to injury for many indigenous Winnipeggers.
("The 'great indigenous divide': Winnipeg stares into an ethnic chasm". Bartley Kives, The Guardian (Oct. 21, 2014.))
There has been some speculation over whether the Metis Brian Bowman, as Winnipeg's first indigenous mayor, can bridge the divide. I'll personally adopt a wait and see approach, as while the mayor-elect promised the moon we still have yet to see what he'll actually spend his political capital on. Closing the great divide will also take a lot more than one person, even someone as mighty as the (soon to be) mayor.
The election which generated a landslide win for Bowman itself demonstrated a great socioeconomic divide. Poorer neighbourhoods, with high indigenous and other racialized populations, in the North End and parts of the downtown did not go heavily for Brian Bowman like the middle class and upscale suburbs did.
A great illustration of this is a map in the Freep article about Ouellette and his ability to attract unlikely voters.Judy swept the North End and Robert Falcon-Ouellette did well in eastern downtown and eastern inner city subdivisions. A map of voter turnout, however, reveals that the areas won by Judy and Robert were lightweights in turnout, with some subdivisions boasting less than 19% turnout. Bowman leaning Tuxedo subdivision CT03, by contrast, had 58.2% of eligible voters at the polls.
The Great Divide in voting may help explain why a solid left progressive hasn't sat in our mayor's chair since the early 1940s. While lower turnout doesn't matter as much in provincial elections, where poor areas are cut off into ridings (in which case, it doesn't matter for a party whether you win the riding with 20% turnout or 70% turnout) it does matter for city-wide elections. It also probably matters somewhat for council ward races, as our council wards are much larger than provincial city ridings (15 wards vs 31 provincial ridings in Winnipeg) so that a richer neighbourhood outvoting poorer neighbourhood dynamic probably shapes the vote within wards. This is certainly the case with federal Winnipeg ridings (of which there are only 8).
This Great Divide in voting is a cause for concern. The poor have less platforms than middle and upper middle class Winnipeggers to let their grievances and issues known. A working poor single parent may have less time to prepare a brief for a City forum or a letter to the editor. Given the elite social circles politicians often frequent, our fellow citizen may be uncomfortable approaching most of them about issues. Giving campaign donations is also harder when you have less money to spend.
If poor Winnipeggers are giving up on the ballot box come civic election time, they're giving up on one of their few feasible options they have for participating in the political system. A class, both by circumstance and by choices shaped by past experiences, locked out of the electoral system should concern all Winnipeggers.
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