Archive for the ‘Winnipeg’ Category

Winnipeg peace activists joined with their counterparts in several cities in Canada this weekend to reject the federal government’s plan to spend billions on new F-35 fighter jets at a time when citizens are struggling to afford food and shelter.

They distributed the following statement to passers-by.

No Fighter Jets Coalition calls on Trudeau Government to Drop the F35 Deal

While Canadians struggle with rising energy and food costs, extreme weather events, and economic strife this winter, the Trudeau government is trying to push through a $7 billion deal for 16 F-35 stealth fighter jets with American weapons giant Lockheed Martin. On December 22, Global News and La Presse reported that the Canadian government is planning on signing a contract with Lockheed Martin early in the new year. According to a leak by federal government officials, the Department of National Defence has received approval to buy the F-35s despite years of widespread opposition from Canadian citizens, celebrities and parliamentarians. The government is advertising the cost as $7 billion; however, that is only the cost of the initial buy-in for 16 F-35’s. Further, while the government is advertising the cost as $19 billion for the full order of 88 fighter jets, according to the No Fighter Jets campaign 2020 report, From Acquisition to Disposal: Uncovering the true cost of 88 new fighter jets, the lifecycle cost of buying 88 fighter jets is estimated to be at least $76.8 billion over 30 years.

Experts, including former procurement chief at National Defence Alan Williams, have denounced this procurement, because the total cost of this purchase has not been fully disclosed by the federal government. Williams said: “It is distressing to read information being made public regarding billion-dollar procurements that is so opaque and piecemeal rather than being transparent and comprehensive…(It) makes it appear the government is hiding the truth from Canadians.”

Our report Soaring: The Harms and Risks of Fighter Jets and Why Canada Must Not Buy a New Fleet details the many adverse financial, social and environmental impacts of fighter jets. Excessive operational and maintenance costs, air pollution, extreme noise and damaging air weapons training in and around Indigenous communities are some of the many harms of fighter jets. As the U.S. Government Accountability Office explains, the F-35 continues to be plagued with cost overruns and technical flaws. In its April 2022 study, the GAO found that the F-35 has over 900 open deficiencies.

A new fleet of fossil fuel-powered F-35s will lock Canada into decades of carbon intensive militarism and prevent us from decarbonizing. One F-35 releases more carbon emissions in one long-range flight than a car does in a year.

Moreover, the F-35 is a stealth fighter jet designed for first strike attack, meaning it is only effective as an offensive warplane used against other countries. It has also been designed to carry the B61-12 tactical nuclear weapon and will put Canada in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Fighter Jets are weapons of war and exacerbate global warming.

As winter sets in and Canadians struggle to make ends meet, it is irresponsible and unjust for the Trudeau government to spend public money on American warplanes. Instead, the federal government should invest in affordable housing, health care, education, economic assistance, and climate action. Canada’s planned F-35 procurement is unacceptable and immoral and must be canceled.

For more information on the campaign, visit the “No Fighter Jets” website. In Winnipeg, contact Peace Alliance Winnipeg.

Winnipeg, Oct. 28, 2022: Members of Peace Alliance Winnipeg picketed outside Winnipeg’s Delta Inn, site of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress conference, attended by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Defence Minister Anita Anand.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette at an October 5, 2022 news conference in Winnipeg. Photo: Paul S. Graham

I voted for Robert-Falcon Ouellette when he ran for mayor of Winnipeg in 2014. At the time, I wrote that Robert “offers the best combination of progressive ideas and personal characteristics of all the candidates. Having voted in every Winnipeg civic, provincial and federal election since the 1970s I’ll go even further – Robert is the most promising candidate for mayor (or any other office) we have seen in a generation.”

I remain convinced he is the best candidate for the job and that his election would mark a generational change for the better.

Winnipeg faces many serious challenges, including growing numbers of homeless citizens living along our river banks and in our bus shelters, drug addiction and violent crime, crumbling infrastructure, insufficient revenues, unsustainable urban sprawl and a decaying core — to name a few.

Of all the candidates I believe Robert is the best equipped to meet these challenges. His program is progressive and innovative and focussed on addressing root causes. I invite you to read it. If reading isn’t your thing, here’s some video I shot this morning outside of City Hall in which he presents his vision for Winnipeg.

If you are in Winnipeg tomorrow, I encourage you to help elect Robert-Falcon Ouellette as our next Mayor.

Thanks for the melodies

Posted: August 25, 2021 in Miscellany, Winnipeg
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JS Bach in 1746

This afternoon, while bicycling to Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park, I was listening on my smartphone to a recording by John Williams – Bach: The Four Lute Suites (delighting would be more a more accurate description), when I decided to try and imagine, if not calculate, the number of people I had to thank for the musical experience I was having. While doing so I was reminded of Carl Sagan who famously quipped that if you wanted to make an apple pie from scratch you would first have to invent the universe. Not wanting to credit everything and everyone that has happened since the Big Bang, I decided to put some boundaries around where to place my gratitude.

So, let’s begin with thank-yous to the parents of Johann Sebastian Bach and John Williams. Had they not found each other and raised such musically accomplished offspring, the world (and my music collection) would be much poorer.

But wait, there’s more. In no particular order:

  • the countless musicians, scribes and publishers who maintained the sheet music of Bach’s prodigious output down through the centuries (to say nothing of the inventors of the paper, ink and pens that made this physical record possible)
  • the inventors and makers of the musical instruments for which Bach composed (organs, harpsichords, lutes, etc) and of course all who were involved in the production of the raw materials that these instruments were fashioned from
  • the inventors of the numerous technologies that were necessary to allow the recording of the album in 1986 and subsequent reissues
  • The manufacturers of said technologies, and the producers of the raw materials from which these tools were fashioned; there must be hundreds of thousands involved here
  • the inventors and maintainers of the Android operating system (again too numerous to count), the software that plays my music and my smartphone which, I am told, has at least 300 parts, each of which must be dug from the earth, refined and transformed into electronic components, assembled in a Taiwanese factory and shipped across the world to my door; countless thousands of people here to thank, as you can imagine

I’m sure that I’m leaving out many, many more categories and hence thousands of people, but by now you get the point — I have many people to thank, across time and space, for the joy that this music brings. We are dependent upon one another in ways we can only dimly imagine. (Oh darn, I forgot to thank the multitudes for the bicycle I was riding, the road upon which I travelled and the folks who had the foresight to place a park at the end of it. Another day!)

On Friday, August 6th, Winnipeggers joined in a Lanterns for Peace Ceremony to mark the 76th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These ceremonies are held each year to help keep alive the memory of these attacks so that current generations understand we must never allow nuclear weapons to be used again.

This year, the focus was on the role of youth in the global campaign for nuclear weapons abolition, with speeches from the young activists responsible for convincing Winnipeg City Council to support the United Nations nuclear weapons ban.

Speakers included Avinashpall Singh and Rooj Ali who, in June, succeeded in persuading the City of Winnipeg to support the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as part of the youth-led International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Cities Appeal.

Winnipeg is now one of 15 Canadian cities to support the ban. Thus far, 86 countries have signed the treaty; Canada’s federal government refuses to support it.

Winnipeg Lanterns For Peace was sponsored by

  • Peace Alliance Winnipeg
  • Japanese Cultural Association of Manitoba
  • Council of Canadians-Winnipeg Chapter
  • Winnipeg Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Speakers at Winnipeg Lanterns for Peace 2021 (l-r): Yuhito Adachi, Yūko Nozoe, Junko Bailey, Terra Rybuck, Rooj Ali, Avinashpall Singh, Shiven Srivastava, (missing: Denanie Ashley Persaud) Photo: Paul S. Graham

Photograph: Paul S. Graham

Winnipeggers rallied at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in solidarity with the people of Bolivia, Venezuela and Chile who are facing a variety of imperialist pressures.

Here is my video report.

Winnipeg, July 20, 2019: Professor Bryan Palmer at the 14th annual forum of the World Association for Political Economy. Photo: Paul S. Graham

The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike was followed with great interest by people around the world, says Dr. Bryan Palmer, Professor Emeritus at Trent University. Professor Palmer was speaking at the 14th Forum of the World Association for Political Economy entitled Class, State and Nation in the 21st Century, held in Winnipeg July 19-21, 2019. Here is my video report.

Aug. 6, 2019: Winnipeggers gather in the shadow of the Manitoba Legislative Building to commemorate the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945. Lanterns for Peace is a ceremony that is held annually in Winnipeg and hundreds of cities worldwide. Photo: Paul S. Graham

Picking fights with Russia and China, backing fascists in Ukraine, arming murderers in Saudi Arabia, undermining democracy in Latin America — the Trudeau junta has a lot to answer for in the foreign policy realm. Trudeau the younger is not any worse than his predecessors (Liberal and Conservative) in this regard, but he appears to have given up trying to conform to that image of Canada the peacemaker and honest broker on the world stage. (It is a reputation Canada does not deserve, as my friend Yves Engler has demonstrated in many books and articles on the topic. I highly recommend a visit to his website.)

While I fully support the Green Party of Canada in its campaign to make climate change the defining issue of this election, there is another existential threat to human existence that deserves equal attention and that is the threat of nuclear war. Yes, global warming has the capacity to bring our civilization to an end, but so does the nuclear winter that would devastate world food production in the aftermath of a nuclear war.

Most of the world’s nations recognize this and two years ago approved the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the July 7, 2017 meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.

Canada’s position is shameful. According to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), “Canada did not participate in the negotiation of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It voted against the UN General Assembly resolution in 2016 that established the mandate for nations to negotiate the treaty. It claims that US nuclear weapons are essential for its security.”

While 122 nations voted for the treaty, countries with nuclear weapons either abstained, voted against or declined to participate in the negotiation of the treaty, as did Canada’s fellow members of NATO.

So, if you share this concern, perhaps you can ask the candidates who want your vote if they would join with the saner members of the human race in adopting this treaty and work for world peace.

All of this is a longish introduction to a video I recorded this August 6th of the Winnipeg Lanterns for Peace Ceremony. We do this every year — gather somewhere close to water, construct floating lanterns that we launch as the sun goes down, and commemorate the first victims of the nuclear age — the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — who were either incinerated or permanently scarred by the atomic bombings of their cities on August 6 and 9, 1945. This commemoration never fails to move me.

paul and dave

Winnipeg, Sept. 2, 2019 – (l-r) Paul Graham and David Nickarz at the annual Labour Day March. Photo: David Nickarz

Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May has said that this year’s federal election is the most important election in Canadian history. It’s a critically important election because time is running out in the race to transition to a post carbon economy and mitigate the worst features of the climate change that is thundering down on us.

Elizabeth was in town recently and I recorded her speaking at an event held, in part, to promote the candidacy of David Nickarz, who is running in the Manitoba provincial election that ends on September 10th. You can watch the video here.

who sezIf you believe that climate change presents humanity with an imminent existential threat, then the Manitoba provincial election is the most important election in our provincial history, as well. The choices electors make, provincially and nationally, will determine how well or poorly Canada responds to the climate crisis in the decade or so in which we must act decisively to reduce carbon emissions.

I’m voting Green federally because none of the other parties in the contest have demonstrated that they have a clue about what must be done and our Liberal and Tory overlords in the “natural ruling parties” have proven time and again that they are uninterested in solving this problem.

buttonsIn the provincial election I have already voted in the advance poll. I voted for David Nickarz, the Green candidate in my community (Wolseley constituency), and I am hopeful that enough of my neighbours will feel as I do and elect the first Green MLA in the history of Manitoba.

A few words about Dave are in order. He is not only the local standard bearer of the party that has the best grasp of the climate change dilemma, he is an admirable human being, one who I trust to represent my community in a thoughtful, creative and responsible fashion.

I got to know Dave while volunteering on his team during the 2016 provincial election and the work we did subsequently to build the Green presence in the riding. I am struck by his capacity for hard work as well as the quiet, thoughtful way he works with people in our community.

Dave is, first and foremost, an environmental activist. He’s been at it for three decades, and his dedication has placed him on the front lines in defending old growth forests in BC (he was arrested at Clayoquot Sound) and whales in the Antarctic, as a crew member on several Sea Shepherd Society missions.

Laura, Dave and Maggie

Dave and Laura with their dog, Maggie. Photo: Paul S. Graham

Dave has guts and I respect that. A vegan who lives modestly, Dave “walks the talk.” He and his wife Laura have worked hard to contribute to the West Broadway community in which they live, and his candidacy in this election is a logical extension of that commitment.

David Nickarz

David Nickarz renovates homes and makes them energy efficient. Photo: Paul S. Graham

I’m also impressed by Dave the Worker and Dave the Small Business Guy. For the past 20 years he’s made his living repairing and renovating homes in the Wolseley area. He describes himself as a handyman, but in reality he has a wide range of skills and a great reputation for getting the job done right. He makes a point of employing and training women because he likes to help women succeed in nontraditional trades. Dave’s choice to perform socially useful work in a socially progressive manner, his willingness to roll up his sleeves and use his muscles and his brain, and his ability to operate a small business successfully instill confidence.

Finally, I like the way Dave is with people. He listens. He’s respectful towards everyone he meets, without exception. He’s humble about his own abilities and accomplishments and patient and encouraging with others.

For all of these reasons I believe that Dave will make a fine MLA. You can learn more about his candidacy here, and the Green Party of Manitoba, here.

As we like to say on the campaign trail, “Be brave. Vote Green. On September 10th, elect David Nickarz, MLA for Wolseley.”

 

2018 was not my most prolific year in terms of video output, but it provided, nonetheless, some interesting and useful insights into the struggle for peace and human rights in various parts of the world. Here is a rundown of the past 12 months and as we like to say in YouTubeLand, if you enjoy any of these, please click the “like” icon and subscribe.

Steve Ellner: What is really happening in Venezuela: The Winnipeg Venezuela Peace Committee held a public forum on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 entitled “What is really happening in Venezuela?” The forum featured Steve Ellner, professor of economics at the University of Oriente in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela. Watch.

Yves Engler on Canada’s Left & its Foreign Policy Failures: Yves Engler discusses his latest book, “Left, Right — Marching to the Beat of Imperial Canada.” The book details the failure of Canada’s Left parties, institutions and intellectuals to confront Canada’s support of empire and promotion of corporate interests abroad. Watch.

Niranjan Takle: Journalism under Hindutav Fascist India: Indian journalist Niranjan Takle recounts how the mainstream media in India ignored or refused to publish his report on the suspicious death of Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya. Watch.

Israel Palestine International Law Symposium: An impressive line-up of experts on human rights and international law gathered in Winnipeg for a weekend to explore various legal aspects of the Israel-Palestine situation. I recorded all of the sessions.

  • Introduction: Symposium coordinator David Kattenburg explains the origins and purpose of the symposium.
  • Human rights: Rhetoric vs Reality: Lawyer and journalist Dimitri Lascaris describes the failure of western governments to uphold the human rights of Palestinians.
  • Keynote Address: Michael Lynk, who is the United Nations Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, explains how international law has largely been ignored or broken by Israel over the past several decades of its occupation of the Palestinian Territory.
  • Israeli Rights and Obligations:  Michael Lynk and Dimitri Lascaris explore different aspects of Israeli’s legal rights and obligations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
  • One State or Two?: Professors Michael Lynk and Virginia Tilley speak to this issue.
  • Palestinian Rights & Obligations: In this clip, we hear from human rights advocates Suha Jarrar and Jonathan Kuttab.
  • Palestinian Rights to Resources: Suha Jarrar, a Palestinian human rights researcher and advocate, and currently the Environmental and Gender Policy Researcher at Al-Haq human rights organization in Ramallah, Palestine explains how Israeli companies illegally exploit resources in the Occupied Territories.
  • Is Israel an Apartheid State?: In this clip, Virginia Tilley argues that Israel meets the legal definition of an apartheid state.
  • Dueling Perspectives: In this clip, David Matas defends Israeli practices and policies with regard to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). Michael Lynk argues that Matas’s arguments are not supported by international law.
  • Canada’s Rights and Obligations: Dimitri Lascaris explains how Canada has not lived up to its obligations under international law.
  • Concluding Remarks: In this final clip from the symposium, we hear from David Kattenburg, Mark Golden and Dean Peachey, key organizers of the event. The symposium was sponsored by (alphabetical order): Independent Jewish Voices Canada, Mennonite Church Manitoba Working Group on Palestine-Israel, Palestinian Canadian Congress, Peace Alliance Winnipeg, United Jewish People’s Order (Winnipeg) and the Winnipeg Centre Federal Green Party Association. Additional information, including Power Point presentations and other documents will be made available at the conference web site.

Winnipeg Lanterns for Peace 2018: Every August, Winnipeggers commemorate the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima (Aug. 6) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9) with a Lantern Ceremony in Memorial Park. We believe it is important to keep the memory of those horrible events alive so that current generations understand we must never allow nuclear weapons to be used again. Watch.

St. Boniface By-election 2018 – Elizabeth May and Françoise Therrien Vrignon: Françoise Therrien Vrignon was the Green Party of Manitoba candidate in the July 17th Manitoba by-election in St. Boniface. With her in this video is Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May. Their discussion took place at La Maison des artistes visuels. Watch.

Winnipeg Rally for Refuge: The Canadians Care Coalition in association with Amnesty International, Menno Simons Students Association and the Global College Students Association held a rally entitled “Rally for Refuge: Rescind the safe third country agreement.” The coalition demanded that the Canadian Government rescind the designation of ‘Safe Third Country’ that is applied to the United States because the US is demonstrably unsafe for refugees. The Safe Third Country Agreement denies refugee claimants access to the Canadian refugee determination system if they have come from the United States to the Canadian border. Watch.

Winnipeg Walk for Peace 2018: Winnipeggers held their 37th Annual Winnipeg Walk for Peace. Sponsors: Peace Alliance Winnipeg and the Winnipeg chapter of the Council of Canadians. Watch.

Michel Chossudovsky – The Globalization of War: The Regina Peace Council played host to Professor Michel Chossudovsky, who spoke on the growing dangers of world war and the need to revitalize the peace movement. Professor Chossudovsky is the founder and director of Global Research. Watch.

Al Nakba 70 in Winnipeg: Winnipeggers marked the 70th anniversary of the forcible expulsion of Palestinians from their land and expressed solidarity with the people of Gaza who are under Israeli siege. Watch.

Make Poverty History in Winnipeg: Make Poverty History Manitoba released a comprehensive report on the poverty that affects one in ten Winnipeggers and called on the city’s mayor, Brian Bowman, to take the lead in developing a poverty reduction strategy for the city. Watch.

MFL Day of Mourning 2018: Manitoba’s labour movement held its annual observance in memory of injured and killed workers. Hundreds attended the march from the Union Centre to Memorial Park and the future site of the Firefighters, Peace Officers and Workers Memorial. Watch.

7th Generation Walk for Mother Earth 2018: Winnipeggers marked 15 years of taking to the streets with grassroots land and water defenders.The 7th Generation Walk is alternative to Earth Day, recognizing the resistance and resilience of Indigenous community led campaigns for social and environmental justice. Watch.

Mobilize against the war: Just hours before the United States launched missile attacks on Damascus and Homs, peace activists rallied outside the building housing the US Consulate to speak out against the war and Trump’s declared plan to expand it. The picket was organized by the Manitoba Peace Council. Watch.

Democracy and Elections in Cuba: Two Cuban government representatives visited Winnipeg to discuss Cuba’s electoral system and other issues of interest. The forum was sponsored by the Manitoba-Cuba Solidarity Committee. Watch.

My Jerusalem – Responding to the U.S. Embassy Announcement: Panelists representing Judaism, Christianity and Islam, share their personal reflections on what Jerusalem means to them and the implications of the US announcement to move it’s embassy there. Watch.

Winnipeg Commemorates Quebec Mosque Massacre: Winnipeggers gathered at the Manitoba Legislature to honour the victims of the terrorist attack on the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec. Watch.

Winnipeg Kurdish Solidarity: In Winnipeg, the Kurdish community rallied at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in defense of Kurds under Turkish attack in Afrin, Syria. Watch.

North Korea and The United States at a Dangerous Nuclear Crossroads: Michel Chossudovsky is professor emeritus at the University of Ottawa and founder of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He spoke at the University of Manitoba on the history of the United States’ conflict with North Korea and the prospects for nuclear war. Watch. As well, he spoke at the University of Winnipeg. Watch.

Arnold August – Cuba-US Relations from Obama to Trump: On a national tour to promote his book “Cuba-US Relations: Obama and Beyond,” Arnold August spoke at McNally Robinson Books on developments in the two countries relations since the election of Donald Trump. Watch.

That’s it for 2018. Happy New Year, all!