Social Justice Community Newsletter

January 21, 2021

CALLS TO ACTION

Help Toronto save its green spaces

The plans for rail expansion in Toronto’s Lakeshore East corridor by Metrolinx will relieve congestion and improve public transportation, but can and should be done without the wholesale destruction of a community’s green spaces including the environmentally sensitive ecosystem of Smalls Creek Ravine and Williamson Park Ravine.

This is an opportunity for Metrolinx to create a model for sustainable city building by working with the affected communities in finding ways to protect and even revitalize these greenspaces as part of their construction work.

Metrolinx has plans to destroy an ecologically sensitive & socially significant ravine ecosystem — with nearly 300 trees slated for removal!

Sign petition

Demand change for long-term care!

The failed experiment of for-profit long-term care must come to an end:

– For-profit facilities have 17% fewer staff than non-profit homes, with more transfers to hospitals and more bed ulcers.

– Worst hit homes are all run by large for-profit operators.

– Large nursing home corporations paid out over $58-million in dividends to shareholders in just the last 3 months.

Better long-term care means:

– Providing caregivers a full-time job with benefits like paid sick leave,

– Mandating high staff-to-resident ratios for quality elder care,

– Standardized living-wages to attract and retain good nurses and personal support workers.

Add your name to this letter and tell Doug Ford’s government to put care before profits | carenotprofits.ca.

EVENTS

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Times

When: Thursday Jan. 21 to Friday January 22nd

Leadership to Deepen Democracy – Online Conference

Building Community, Capacity and Courage with Anima Leadership. Sessions on rising authoritarianism, indigenous storytelling, racial justice, elders circle, and more. Free.

animaleadership.com/opetc

Why Canada’s Net-Zero Accountability Bill C-12 Needs an Overhaul

When: Thursday January 21st, 1- 2pm

You can drive a mack truck through the holes of the Net-Zero Accountability Bill C-12. Learn more with Green Party MP Elizabeth May and Ken Love, retired lawyer.

zoom.us

City Budget 2021 Town Hall

When: Thursday January 21st, 2pm

Social Planning Toronto is hosting two virtual town hall meetings (on Zoom) to learn more about the 2021 City budget.

We hope you will join us to hear from guest speakers!

Topics include affordable housing, child care, equity, transit, seniors, disability, youth, environment, and more.

socialplanningtoronto.org

Is Basic Income the Solution?

When: Thursday January 21st, 7pm

Featuring John Clarke, co-founder of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, with discussants Gary Porter and others.

YouTube

OHC press conference

When: Friday January 22nd, 10 am

The Ford government has refused to address the worsening staffing crisis in our long-term care homes. In fact Merrilee Fullerton, the Minister of Long-Term Care, said last week there is not one long-term care home in Ontario that has a staffing crisis. This is patently false. In fact, in LTC homes with large outbreaks staffing is crumbling, and across the province, in outbreak or not, many LTC homes have desperately low levels of staff and care as many of you know from personal experience.

The Ontario Health Coalition is organizing a 100 Person/Organization Zoom Press Conference, this Friday morning, at 10am. We want to have 100 individuals and organizations to speak with one voice and tell our government that immediate action must be taken to solve this crisis.

Please send email to ohc@sympatico.ca and use the subject line: Friday Zoom Press Conference.

Facebook event

The Threat of Nuclear Weapons with Noam Chomsky

When: January 22nd, 2pm

Please join us in starting the year off by marking a momentous day in the struggle to abolish nuclear weapons with Noam Chomsky. As the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons enters into force on January 22, join the world-renowned intellectual on “The Threat of Nuclear Weapons: Why Canada Should Sign the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty”.

zoom.us

Entry into Force Day

When: Friday January 22nd, 9pm

This is the day the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will enter into force. ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons ) will celebrate live from Geneva, Switzerland, with guests connecting digitally from all over the world. The event will track the global entry into force of the historic treaty banning nuclear weapons throughout the world’s different time zones, mixing performances, interviews, in-depth analysis and reportages from artists, politicians, academics and activists around the world. And it will feature unique views of the action happening as people all around the world celebrate the day nuclear weapons become illegal under international law.

icanw.org

Transformational Change: Building a Mental Health Emergency Service

When: Saturday January 23rd, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm EST

Toronto emergency services receive 30,000 non-criminal mental health-related calls every year. Currently, police are the first responders to these calls, with the Toronto Police Service’s Mobile Crisis Intervention Team being called about 20% of the time. But is a police response the right answer? Toronto residents have long advocated for reform of the City’s response to mental health emergencies. The rash of recent deaths of racialized people during mental health or wellness-related interactions with the police have amplified this call for change.

The Reach Out Response Network is a coalition of community stakeholders dedicated to creating transformational change in Toronto’s mental health crisis services. They are partnering with the City of Toronto to design and implement a non-police mental health emergency service, staffed by mental health clinicians and peer support workers from the communities they serve. They will be available across the city 24/7, with rapid response times equivalent to those of police, fire, and ambulance. Civilian-led teams will replace police response to most mental health crises.

Join the United Jewish People’s Order on Saturday, January 23 to hear Reach Out Response Networks’ founders, Rachel Bromberg and Asante Haughton talk about the process they, and others, are engaged in with the City of Toronto to transform Toronto’s mental health emergency response.

Facebook event | zoom.us

Medical Supplies for Cuba Campaign Webinar

When: January 23rd, 7pm

Featuring:
– HER EXCELLENCY JOSEFINA VIDAL – Cuban Ambassador to Canada
– DR. JOHN KIRK – Cuba Researcher and Professor at Dalhousie University
– PROF. KEITH ELLIS – Coordinator – CNC Medical Supplies Fundraising Campaign
– CONNOR GORRY – Senior Editor for MEDICC Review based in Havana, Cuba
– TERESITA KEOSSEUIAN – Asociacion de Cubanos Residentes en Canadá “Juan Gualberto Gomez”
– DR. ISAAC SANEY – Co-Chair of Canadian Network on Cuba & Professor at Dalhousie University
– JANINE SOLANKI – National Coordinator -Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade

zoom.us

Film: The Village Under the Forest

When: January 24th, 1pm

Join Independent Jewish Voice’s (IJV) Online Chavurah to explore the role of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and its relation to Tu BiShvat, the birthday of the trees.

zoom.us

COVID 19: Race, Class, Nationality and A People’s Vaccine

When: Sunday January 24th, 2pm

According to the People’s Vaccine Alliance, 90% of people in the global south could be denied access to a vaccine in 2021. As People Before Profit says, this is because production and distribution are under private control, patent protection and trade secrecy, imposed by private manufacturers, and has created an artificial scarcity of vaccines. This should not be the case. Vaccines should be treated as a global public good, produced on an off-patent, not-for-profit basis so that everyone regardless of class, race or nationality has access. Join us for this important discussion, and learn how we can address these inequities.

Speakers:
– Baba Aye, Health and Social Sector Officer of PSI based in Lagos, Nigeria, and Co-President of the Geneva Global Health Hub
– Conor Reddy, an immunologist and member of the Irish Socialist Workers Network
– Moderated by Carolyn Egan, Healthcare worker and member of the International Socialists

socialist.ca

A Tribute to Leo Panitch, 1945-2020

When: Monday January 25th, 1pm

Progressives lost one of our leading lights last month. Leo Panitch died December 19 in a Toronto hospital where he was being treated for cancer. His prognosis was good, however he contacted Covid-19 and died in a few days from a fulminating pneumonia. He is sorely missed on both sides of the Atlantic. A man with an amazing generosity of spirit, he was a pillar of the international left.

The Center for Global Justice pays tribute to Leo Panitch by rebroadcasting a webinar he did with us in July on “Capitalism, Socialism and the Pandemic.” We are joined in this tribute by Leo’s friend and collaborator Greg Albo and Dennis Pilon, a colleague at York, and former student of Leo.

globaljusticecenter.org

Kitchen Table Climate Conversation

When: Monday January 25th, 7pm

Participate in a climate conversation as if we were sitting at a kitchen table; learn more, share feelings, create solutions.

eventbrite.ca

Overcoming the Climate Crisis: What Needs to be Done

When: Tuesday January 26th, 7pm

What do we have to do, and when, to avoid catastrophic global warming?

With special guest Danny Harvey.

eventbrite.ca

Union Values and LGBTQ+ Worker Experiences

When: January 27th, 5pm

Join us for an engaging discussion of Union Values and LGBTQ+ Worker Experiences: A Survey of UFCW Workers in the United States and Canada, a new binational report from the UCLA Labor Center, a unit of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) OUTreach. The report finds that UFCW LGBTQ+ union members and their allies are leading the way in challenging discriminatory laws and policies and instituting greater protections so that LGBTQ+ workers can thrive at work and in their communities. The report offers a timely analysis of LGBTQ+ worker issues and identity politics in North American labour movements.

zoom.us

ARTICLES

Precarity U

“Precarity U” is a documentary film presented by the United Steel Workers (USW, Local 1998) as part of an awareness campaign on it’s Casual Unit employees at the University of Toronto. Local 1998 is currently in bargaining with the University of Toronto. Members tell their stories of working under contracts with no guarantee of hours of work, no paid sick days, and no benefits – the reality, good and bad, of working on casual contracts.

Source: LeftStreamed

Three Major Threats to Life on Earth

By Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad

Large parts of the world – outside of China and a few other countries – face a runaway virus, which has not been stopped because of criminal incompetence by governments. That these governments in wealthy countries cynically set aside the basic scientific protocols released by the World Health Organization and by scientific organizations reveals their malicious practice. Anything less than focused attention to managing the virus by testing, contact tracing, and isolation – and if this does not suffice, then imposing a temporary lockdown – is foolhardy.

Source: The Bullet No. 2284

We Urge International Support to Palestinian Striking Workers

By New Unions

On January 1st, 2021, when the world was celebrating the new year, 75 Palestinian workers at the Israeli settlement factory of Yamit Sinoun started an open strike demanding the company to respect their rights. The company produces water filtration systems for the global market and the striking workers demand human-like working conditions, better wages, paid sick leave and holidays, and a pension fund that preserves their money. For seven days of strike in a row, the company refuses to meet these demands.

Source: The Bullet No. 2285

In America, Business Profits Come First Over the Pandemic

By Sonali Kolhatkar Los Angeles, California, is now considered one of the worst COVID-19 hotspots in the USA. LA mayor Eric Garcetti assessed grimly that there is one new infection every six seconds and a death every 10 minutes from the virus. Hospitals are turning away ambulances, and health facilities in LA County are quite literally running out of oxygen. But last spring, as the pandemic was first declared, the city was an early adopter of mandated mask wearing and benefitted from California enacting the first statewide shelter-in-place order that helped curb the worst spread of the virus. So, what happened? Source: The Bullet No. 2286

Why Are People Going Hungry in India Despite a Massive Grain Surplus?

By Prabhat Patnaik

The Indian intelligentsia has an incredible propensity to swallow the self-serving arguments of metropolitan capitalism that are typically supposed to constitute ‘economic wisdom’, and nowhere is this more evident than in the case of India’s food economy. There are a plethora of center-page articles in newspapers these days suggesting that Indian kisans (farmers) should move away from producing food grains toward other crops, which is actually a demand that metropolitan countries have been making for quite some time. These countries have a surplus of food grains, and so they want India to import food grains from them to meet the excess of India’s domestic demand over domestic production.

Source: The Bullet No. 2287

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