The Workers’ Action Movement conference held on September 14 at the OPSEU Toronto Region Membership Centre was a success. It was very upbeat and forward looking. WAM united allies in the fight for a more democratic and militant labour movement, starting with efforts to field a WAM team for top Ontario Federation of Labour positions to be elected at the OFL Convention in November.
Speech by Daniel Tarade, Member of Socialist Action, PhD Student in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto.
Students are a canary in the coal mine. We are among those vulnerable groups that suffer stresses without buffer. We are already in the midst of a mental health crisis on Ontario college and university campuses. A 2016 National College Health Assessment survey found that 65% of students reported feeling overwhelming levels of anxiety. They found that 46 of students reported difficulty functioning due to depression. Most troubling, one in forty-five students reported a suicide attempt in the previous year. If students are canaries in a coal mine, it is not an exaggeration to say that these canaries are dying. In response to a spate of tragic deaths on the University of Toronto Campus in the 2018-2019 school year, the administration responded by blaming students. That we needed to foster greater resilience. Try yoga. Meditate more. Spend less time on smart phones In their communications with the student body, the University of Toronto never addressed the systemic issues that have brought about an epidemic of mental health issues. A student-lead, survivor-lead University of Toronto group, Silence is Violence, released a report in early 2019 outlining that at least 10% of students reported being sexually assaulted during their time at the University of Toronto. This rate was higher in marginalized communities, such as the LGBTQ+ community, the indigenous community, and people with disabilities. But that’s not all. Our financial prospects are bleak. Almost 40% of people aged 15 to 24 are unemployed or underemployed and signs are now pointing towards another major recession. History has taught us again and again that recessions hurt youth the most. We are also the first generation to grow up our entire lives under the shadow of catastrophic climate change and knowledge that human extinction is not only possible but probable unless we drastically re-structure our society. This is the context for the Ford government education cuts. Rather than help the struggling student population, we were instead attacked in our vulnerable state.
Scientists for Socialized Publishing
The State of Scientific Publishing in Canada
· Scientists are publically-funded yet most scientific publishers are for-profit. None are democratic.
· Scientists are exploited into providing peer-review without any financial remuneration.
· Copy-editing and formatting is outsourced to the Global South, where workers are paid less than $1 an hour.
· Scientists pay scientific publishers and often are forced to give up their copyright.
· Most scientific journals are closed-access, and scientific articles are hidden behind paywalls.
· Canadian research libraries are forced to spend $80 million CAD a year in subscription costs to scientific publishers.
· The biggest scientific publisher, Elsevier, publishes 16% of scientific literature, and boasts annual profits of over $10 billion CAD with profits margins of 36%.
· Canadian scientists spend $500 million CAD a year in publication fees.
by Gary Porter
The Gradual Civilization Act, passed by Parliament of the Province of Canada (pre-Confederation) in 1857, sought to assimilate Indian people into Canadian white settler society by encouraging “enfranchisement.” Enfranchisement meant giving up recognition as an Indian and the special relationship of Indians to the government in order to become an ordinary Canadian citizen. The act was a failure — only one person voluntarily enfranchised.
The federal government then enacted the Gradual Enfranchisement Act which established the elective band council system that remains in the Indian Act to this day. This was an attack on hereditary chiefs who were much more difficult to deal with because their status was not up for periodic reaffirmation, and it is not subject to white men’s corrupting inducements and acts of intimidation.