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A progressive take on current events. Produced by an independent media collective at Vancouver Cooperative Radio.
445 Episodes
Over the past few weeks, Donald Trump has threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act and send military troops into cities and states if they fail to quell the recent protests against racism and police brutality happening throughout the U.S. Chris Savage is a lawyer in Washington, D.C. who is leading an attempt to have the Insurrection Act replaced. We talk with him about the dangers of the current legislation and what he would like to see replace it.
In 2018, the Alberta Energy Regulator approved an application for a 10,000-barrel-a-day tar sands project adjacent to Moose Lake. The Fort McKay nation went to court to challenge the approval and, in May, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled in their favour. Ben Parfitt is a long-time analyst with the BC Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. He explains the grounds for the decision and its significance for similar court challenges in BC.
Vancouver’s tight rental housing market has eased significantly since coronavirus-related travel restrictions brought many short-rental units back into the rental housing market. Economist Marc Lee of the BC office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says now is the time to make sure that short-term rentals are properly regulated so that renters in Vancouver aren’t squeezed out of the city.
Street checks are when police stop someone in public to question them and record their information in a police database, outside the context of an investigation. Statistics show that Black and Indigenous people are by far the most common target of this kind of police attention. The BC Civil Liberties Association, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the Hogan’s Alley Society are calling for a stop to the practice. We talk with BCCLA policy lawyer Latoya Farrell about their concerns about the legality and usefulness of street checks.
Vancouver police evicted homeless campers from a tent city near Crab Park in the early morning of June 16. Organizers and observers say the police moved in without due notice and did not work with local agencies to provide other housing options for the campers. We talk with organizer Chrissy Brett and lawyer Anna Cooper about their concerns about the way the VPD enforced the court injunction to remove them from the Vancouver Port Authority parking lot.
The police killing of George Floyd ignited a global uprising against police violence and created a space for anti-racist voices to be heard. One idea that has gained traction as a result is that of defunding the police and investing in other programs to deliver safety and security. Sandy Hudson co-founded Black Lives Matter Toronto and is vice-chair of the Black Legal Action Centre. She’s currently a UCLA law student. Sandy Hudson joins us to talk about what defunding the police could look like.
In 2016, 200,000 Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were rendered stateless overnight in an attempt to expel Black people from the Dominican Republic. Documentary filmmaker Michèle Stephenson returned to her country of birth the following year and tells their story in her new film Stateless. The film is available online all week until Friday June 26 as part of the DOXA film festival. We speak with Michèle Stephenson from her home in New York.
The new invasive species the Asian giant hornet has been characterized in the media as the Asian murder hornet. Christianne Wilhelmson and Gillian Der of the Georgia Strait Alliance say terms like this are deeply unscientific and serve to promote racist stereotypes about Asians. We spoke with them on June 1.
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a marked rise in harassment of people who are Asian and Asian Canadian. These attacks range from verbal assaults to physical assaults. Often we’ve seen bystanders intervene to show solidarity and defend the people being targeted. Asian Americans Advocating Justice and Hollaback have partnered to offer online training in how to safely and effectively intervene. We speak with Emily May of Hollaback.
The UN Security Council currently has five temporary seats available. Canada, Ireland, and Norway are vying for two of those seats with the final vote to be held on June 17th. On May 19th, an open letter was published, calling for a “no” vote for Canada to join the Security Council. We talk with Yves Engler, one of the signatories of the letter.
Early signs suggest that race matters, when it comes to COVID-19. In Chicago, black residents are 30 per cent of the population, but make up more than 70 per cent of COVID-19-related deaths. And yet Canada doesn't collect race-based data. In a recent article on Policy Options, physician Aimée-Angélique Bouka and academic Yolande Bouka argue that Canada should be collecting better health data that looks closely at the intersecting issues of race and immigration.
Over 5500 academics have signed a letter calling for the democratization of work in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The letter says that human beings should be seen as one resource among many. Simon Black is one of the co-signers of the letter. He is a writer, activist and academic and currently assistant professor at the Centre for Labour Studio at Brock University.
The Healthcare for All National Coalition is calling on all levels of government to ensure healthcare access for everyone in Canada. Their open letter to the federal government was endorsed by more than 200 organizations, including the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Labour Congress. Janet Cleveland is a researcher on the rights and health of refugees and non-status migrants at McGill University. She joins us again to talk about why this issue is so important.
The Covid-19 crisis has disproportionately impacted communities already vulnerable because of poverty, racism and other forms of inequality. The Vancouver Just Recovery Coalition formed to advocate for a progressive, equality-focused recovery when the pandemic is finally over. We speak with Kimberley Wong and Matthew Wong, co-chairs of the Coalition.
With the advent of CERB, millions of Canadians now find themselves getting a regular monthly cheque from the federal government. This has sparked renewed interest in the idea of a Universal Basic Income. On May 14, the Broadbent Institute hosted a webinar titled Lift the Floor: Would a Universal Basic Income guarantee a good life for all Canadians? with Simon Black of Brock University and Armine Yalnizyan, Atkinson Fellow on the Future of Workers. We spoke with Armine Yalnizyan on May 20.
Racist attacks against Chinese-Canadians are on the rise. Vancouver police said twice as many hate crimes against Asians were reported in April, compared to the previous month. Conservative MP Derek Sloan is unapologetic for having posted on social media that Dr Theresa Tam had "failed Canadians" through her performance during the pandemic and asking if she worked "for Canada or for China." Justin Kong is a community and labour organizer in Toronto. He is executive director of the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter. He spoke with us on May 19.
Recently, a dozen health experts in Quebec wrote an open letter calling for better measures to protect vulnerable populations as things reopen. The letter says governments need to adopt policies that will allow workers to stay home if they are at risk of serious complications from Covid-19. Janet Cleveland of McGill University is one of the authors of the letter. She spoke with us from Montreal on May 16.
As the elite in the United States continue to push for a reopening of the economy, it’s the lives of working people that are at risk. Chris Brooks is a staff writer for Labor Notes and author of a recent article The Hammer and The Dance: Why Reopening Now Will Kill. We spoke with Chris Brooks on May 12.
With a potential vaccine against Covid-19 many months away, some governments are exploring the idea of proof-of-immunity cards for Covid-19. Francoise Baylis says we should fight tooth and nail against proof-of-immunity cards. Francoise Baylis is University Research Professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax and co-author with Harvard molecular biologist Natalie Kofler of an opinion piece published recently on CBC online. I spoke with Francoise Baylis on May 12.
Eliza Gilkyson describes her just-released album 2020 as a collection of sing-alongs, diatribes, marching songs and love letters to the Earth. We caught up with her at her home in Austin, Texas for an extended conversation about politics, music and the significance of this year in the United States.
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