Saturday, February 23, 2013

Unemployment and urbanization

In a recent column on our housing crisis, I explained that we have big unemployment problem in rural Newfoundland that is causing young adults to move to larger centres.  This got me curious about if this is also true in other provinces or if it is special to NL.

Our Housing Crisis

The opening of my latest column in The Independent.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Get a digital subscription to the 4 O’Clock Whistle today!

It is the 4OCW’s pleasure to announce their new digital subscription service.

If you choose to subscribe to the 4OCW/4OW you will receive a free digital copy (PDF) of each issue of their publication (on average 4 Issues a year!), plus any pamphlets they may be producing on special topics! Over the summer (when their printed publication isn’t running) they will also send you some of their prior issues, and links to any key news items or articles they may be covering on their blog.

To subscribe just send them an email at:

Here is the cover from their December 2012 (5th Issue and one year anniversary publication!):

Monday, February 18, 2013

On the union and the NL spring

The stage is set for a bitter round of union-government negotiations in the coming months. All the signs are suggesting government wants to play hardball -- for example, shuffling Kennedy in for negotiations. It is clear he intends to use the tactics of the economic hit-man in the form of a narrative of fiscal crisis and deficit. The crisis is, by association, to be blamed on public sector employees. This is a tired old tactic that seeks to sap the people's support for unions and the labour movement.

The problem with the narrative of crisis is that it is out of context. If there is a crisis it is not because of average people working and paying into pension funds (it always sounds so silly when they say it). The crisis NL faces is the result of decisions that were made, decisions that very often favored those few with the most wealth and influence. Decisions were made to allow multinational corporations to operate in NL and haul away the natural resources while contributing only a pittance to the public purse. Decisions were made to hastily sanction the biggest expenditure of public funds in the province's history just as the crisis became clear. This is something of what it means to speak of the 1% that disproportionately benefits, while everybody else is left to foot the bill.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Occupier

Submitted by Conor Curtis (originally published in Issue 5 of the 4 O'Clock Whistle)
In May of 1968, on La Nuit de la Liberte, a group of students occupied the Sorbonne University of Paris. From there on workers began to occupy their factories; other student’s occupied their own schools,   and the Latin Quarter of Paris became, for a short while, a nation of its own --  party to one of the first experiments in direct democracy the world has ever seen.

Almost one hundred years earlier in 1871, also in Paris – various groups of Leftists – Socialists, Anarchists, workers (and among all these different groups many women), occupied the whole of the city as the Paris Commune. They too tried to initiate new democracies; they too sought an end to oppression.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sandy Pond Alliance Rally – Feb 27, 2013

The Sandy Pond Alliance will be back in court on February 27th and 28th. The Alliance will make its case before the Federal Court of Canada to prevent pristine lakes, ponds, and waterways from being designated and used as tailings ponds for mining and smelter waste.

The case will be heard by the Federal Court in the Newfoundland Supreme Court chambers on Duckworth Street. Presently there are about 18 lakes and waterways across Canada which have been designated for this.

The Sandy Pond Alliance will be holding a rally outside the courthouse on Duckworth Street commencing at 8:30 AM on February 27, 2013.

Pass it on and see you there!