Hundreds of students left in limbo as the K2 towers near Wilfrid Laurier University remain incomplete.

Another building delay has students scrambling for stable housing as mid-term exams begin.

by: dan kellar (@dankellar)

Waterloo--After a digital tour of the condo in early June 2016, and a conversation over the phone with an Atlas Properties Group leasing agent, Sarah and David* signed a lease for a two-bedroom suite in the 21-storey K2 condo tower on King St near Wilfrid Laurier University, the larger of a two tower development at the site. David said the two international students then paid a three-month deposit "for our final three months in the unit", totalling nearly $5,000.


The occupancy date on the lease was September 3rd, and the two students asked the Atlas leasing agent, allegedly a University of Waterloo student herself, if they could move in early as they were coming from out of town.  The pair say the agent agreed and Sarah and David planned to come to Waterloo on August 20th.

However, in early August, the building's developers UID Development sent renters an email telling them that, due to a "Construction Worker Union strike", units at the larger of the towers at 158 King St N would not be ready for the beginning of September.  No firm date was given in the email. David and Sarah were shocked to learn that the suite they had rented was actually in a building still under construction. "The Atlas leasing agent never told us this was a new building", Sarah explained, continuing "when we signed the lease in June, the agent never mentioned that it may not be ready for September."

Chippewas of the Thames Raising Funds To Assert Their Treaty Rights At Supreme Court of Canada

Chippewas Of The Thames--In less than two months, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation will appear in the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) to assert their right to consultation and argue that the Canadian government failed in this regard for the heavily contested Enbridge Line 9 pipeline. This challenge comes amidst a wave of resistance to pipelines and a heightened profile for issues of consultation with Indigenous communities. But the path to court is made difficult beyond the legal argument as COTTFN has to finance the legal defence of their rights against treaty violation, which they anticipate will reach half a million dollars. $50,000 has been raised so far, and for the remainder, COTTFN’s fundraising and awareness campaign is intensifying with a new video and website highlighting issues of the case and foregrounding voices from the community.

COTTFN is challenging the Canadian government’s approach to consultation, arguing that based on treaty and Canadian law, the federal government is directly responsible for consulting Indigenous communities on projects that will affect them, and the National Energy Board (NEB) is not a substitute. Clyde River Inuit is simultaneously challenging the lack of consultation in the NEB process which approved seismic blasting exploration in the waters surrounding their community. The recent successful challenge to the Northern Gateway pipeline addressed similar issues, with the ultimate ruling affirming the Canadian government’s legal duty to consult. COTTFN’s case will argue specifically that the NEB cannot substitute for the government in consultation.

Throughout the Line 9 planning process, COTTFN made it clear that they wanted their voice heard. They took part in the NEB hearings for the pipeline, articulating their concerns to the review panel, while insisting that this process was not a substitute for consultation. As band councillor Myeengun Henry explains in the new video, these issues can be traced back to the pipeline’s origins: “Forty years ago our people were still in residential school. When there was a process that brought this pipeline through our traditional territory, we were never consulted at all. So they just built this pipeline without any acknowledgement of the First Nations in the area.”

COTTFN filed their initial legal appeal on April 8, 2014, well before the line was operational, yet in the delay preceding this hearing in the SCC, Enbridge has been operating the pipeline and profiting immensely from the flow of oil, including tar sands and fracked oil, through it.

These oil products are of grave concern not only to COTTFN, but to communities across the continent in the path of pipelines and oil trains. As we experience the hottest year on record, pipeline projects are being met with increasing opposition, including the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and Energy East. Councillor Henry concludes, “We know of the damaging impacts of the tar sands, fracking, and other extractive industries have on our earth yet these developments continue with government protection. This is why COTTFN is developing a protocol to engage with proposed plans that would affect our territory. We believe that​ protecting the water and land, requiring sustainable development, adapting to climate change, and ensuring a safe home for future generations must be central to this protocol.”

COTTFN is inviting donations from individuals and groups and encourages people to visit for more information about the case and to watch and share the video, “Defending Deshkaan Ziibi: Challenging the Line 9 Pipeline.”

For more infomation and interviews contact:


Programs and Barriers: Welcoming Refugees to Waterloo Region

In August 2016, CKMS News intern Lisa Irimescu created this 30 minute podcast on welcoming refugees to Waterloo Region, and the programs and barriers which impact the process.

The podcast includes interviews with a Syrian refugee, a private refugee sponsor, and two support organisations.

To download a copy of this program, and to listen to other work from CKMS News, visit the Grand River Media Collective and CKMS News


Discussing the "Promoting Affordable Housing Act" with MPP Catherine Fife

"We see housing as underpinning the entire health of a community"- Catherine Fife

In mid-August, the CKMS newsroom caught up with Kitchener-Waterloo NDP MPP Catherine Fife to discuss new legislation passed in the Ontario legislature -- the Promoting Affordable Housing Act. The discussion deals with implementing the act in Waterloo Region with funding and zoning options available to municipal governments including promotion of inclusionary zoning, and ending appeals to the OMB, as well as some of weaknesses in the legislations around gentrification and renters rights.

This Interview was originally aired on August 19th on CKMS Community News, a program of the CKMS newsroom at 100.3fm, in Waterloo Region. It was undertaken by Rachel Avery.


CKMS Community News - July 29th

You're listening to CKMS 100.3 Sound FM in Waterloo Region. Robyn is with you this afternoon, and here's the weekly news round-up for Friday, July 29.

1. Pressure for inquest for Beau Baker; SIU under pressure
2. Redesign and Improvements for Waterloo Park
3. Zimbabwean community demonstrates
4. Condo Concerns and City Council’s request for defining bedrooms
5. Waterloo Region District School board agrees to limit students online access
6. Woolwich councillor summoned to court on alleged Elections Act violations
7. Kool-FM lays off staff in advance of format change
8. Events taking place in the K-W area this weekend include Grassroots Powwow Fundraiser
9. Food & Festivities This Weekend


Community Media Workshop: Research Skills

Wednesday, August 3, 2016 - 13:00 to 15:00

Want to follow that paper trail or find out the inside history of that corporation, but just can't track down the documents? Come to a research workshop with journalist Tim Groves to learn how to find the info you want online! This workshop will cover advanced search tools as well as databases and resources that contain documents that are hard to find in other places. Journalists and aspiring media-makers of all levels of experience are invited to attend!

CKMS Community News - July 22

Listen to Audio: : 

You're listening to CKMS 100.3 Sound FM in Waterloo Region. Lisa and Robyn are with you this afternoon,  and here's the weekly news round-up for Friday, July 22.

The Scoop on Chicken Coops


Community Media Workshop: How to Do an Interview

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - 13:00 to 15:00

Want to build your skills in community media creation? Then this is the workshop for you! Come learn about how to conduct an interview--how to approach subjects, ask good questions, work with the material you get, and more! Scott Neigh of Talking Radical Radio will share knowledge from his years of making podcasts featuring interviews about important community issues.

CKMS Community News - July 15th

Listen to Audio: : 

You're listening to CKMS 100.3 Sound FM in Waterloo Region. Lisa and Robyn are with you this afternoon, and here's the weekly news round-up for Friday, July 15.

1. Laurier custodial staff union demonstrate
2. Cycling Deaths Prompts the Call on Bicycle Training and Safety within the Waterloo Region
3. UW Graduate Rejected because of His Authority Resistant Culture
4. Summer Consutruction Continues
5. Waterloo Home to the World’s First Microscopic Microscope
6. Ride Co to Step in and Provide KW to Toronto Commuters with Another Option
7. Time to Get Jazzy
8. Bettering the Region through Education Reform
9. KWAG celebrates its 60th on July 16
10. A Waterloo Company Transforms Underwater Archeology


Weekly News Roundup--July 8

Listen to Audio: : 

Trading the Public Sector for the Private


On Federal Socialist Republicanism in Ireland

Listen to Audio: : 

A discussion with Cait Trainor on alternative models of governance in Ireland that are inclusive to all. Federal Socialist Republicanism according to Cait Trainor is an inclusive alternative to both occupation and sectarianism.


Waterloo Regional Police: To Serve and Protect Abusers

Listen to Audio: : 

In this segment of KW Radio Basics, our host discusses the strange case where WRPS continuously ignores the complaints of a woman who is being stalked by her physically abusive ex, yet has no problems waking said woman up at 1:15 am to harrass said woman on behalf of her abuser. The interesting thing about said abuser is that his sister works for CAS and is an auxillary officer with the WRPS. Coincidence? Our host thinks not!!!!!


Interview with IRPWA member Brian Murphy on recent assault by Canadian Ambassador

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This week on KW Radio Basics we talk to Brian Murphy of the IRPWA about the recent assault on his person by the Canadian Ambassador as well as a bit about his family background, the state of affairs today in Ireland and the Craigavon Two


Honduras, Canada's free trade, and assassinating the opposition

Raul Burbano of Common Frontiers discusses Canada's support of the post-coup government in Honduras, including the horrific situation faced by Indigenous people and others who opposed the government.


Grassy Narrows River Run 2016: Healthy river, healthy people!

To all land defenders and indigenous justice allies,

Please join us in Toronto at Queen's Park on Thursday, June 2, 2016 at 12 noon to join Grassy Narrows in demanding Kathleen Wynne take action!
The Anishnaabe community of Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) has asserted its sovereignty over its traditional territories (north of Kenora, ON) for time immemorial. The Women's Drum Group in that community has successfully maintained the longest-running blockade of illegal logging in Canadian history, all through the leadership of grandmothers and women. 
Grassy Narrows, as many of you will know, is well known for something else - the dumping of murderous amounts of mercury into its watershed by local pulp mills in the 1960s, which triggered an ongoing health crisis that the Ontario government has never responsibly addressed. 
This spring, members of the Grassy Narrows community will be traveling 1700 km to Toronto to demand that Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario government take action to clean up the rivers they allowed to be poisoned (and took no action to remedy). This will be the fourth River Run, a mass action in Toronto to assert Grassy Narrows' sovereignty and demand accountability from the Ontario government.
Please join us in Toronto at Queen's Park on Thursday, June 2, 2016 at 12 noon. Lunch will be provided - please let us know of any accessibility or other needs. Please visit the Facebook page for the event here. There will be speaking events in Toronto during the week building up to the mass action at Queen's Park. 
If you are travelling from outside of Toronto, please organize a local contingent! We can provide some material support to help you get to Toronto, if needed. Please email with any questions you might have.
In solidarity,
The Grassy Narrows River Run 2016 Support Committee


Canadian Delegation to Participate in the International Gathering Celebrating the Life of Berta Cáceres in Honduras

Press Relase April 12, 2016

Mining Watch Canada


(Ottawa/Montreal) Today, the ‘Canada Honduras Delegation for Justice, Land and Life’ is traveling to Tegucigalpa for the International Peoples Gathering ‘Berta Cáceres Lives’. First Nations women leaders, lawyers, filmmakers and solidarity activists make up the delegation that has been organized in the wake of the murder of Berta Cáceres’ on March 3rd, followed closely by her colleague Nelson Garcia’s murder on March 14th.

Berta Cáceres was a Indigenous, feminist and environmental activist and winner of the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize whose murder has sparked an unprecedented outcry around the world for justice, truth and reparation in Honduras. Berta and the organization that she helped found, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), have been fighting powerful economic and political interests to keep hydroelectric dams and mining concessions off of Indigenous Lenca territory.

“From the get go, the investigation into Berta’s murder and the attempted murder against Mexican activist Gustavo Castro, who was with her at the time, has been fraught with irregularities. Yet, the Canadian government’s response has been insufficient, failing to question this process. We will be documenting what we hear to bring that back to Ottawa next week,” remarked Catherine Morris from Lawyers Rights Watch Canada.

Dozens of Civil Society Organisations Demand Canadian Government Take Action on

from Brent Patterson's blog on the Council of Canadian's

The Council of Canadians has joined with MiningWatch Canada, Rights Action and numerous other organizations in sending a letter to the Canadian government following the murders of land defenders Berta Cáceres and Nelson Garcia, ongoing threats against the Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), and the precarious situation of Mexican activist Gustavo Castro, who witnessed Berta's murder.

The letter says it is imperative that the Canadian government press publicly, and use every other means available, to demand Honduran authorities:

- Guarantee the security of all of the members of COPINH, Berta’s family and Gustavo Castro through full implementation of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) precautionary measures;
- Incorporate a group of independent international investigators who have the trust of Berta’s family and COPINH into the ongoing investigation into Berta’s assassination through an agreement with the IACHR. This should also be expanded to include the threats, criminalization and murder of other members of COPINH including Nelson Garcia;
- Lift the measure that currently impedes Gustavo Castro’s safe and immediate return to Mexico;
- Immediately and definitively revoke the Energy Development Company’s (DESA) concession for the Agua Zarca project, granted without the Lenca peoples' free, prior and informed consent; suspend, review and annul all other hydroelectric and mining concessions on Lenca territory granted without the Lenca people’s free, prior and informed consent; demilitarize Lenca territory; and respect the Lenca people’s autonomy.

The letter also calls on the Trudeau government to:

- Cut off Canadian public funding to the Honduran government and security forces through the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP) and the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START);
- Given the lack of free, prior and informed consent of the Lenca Indigenous people, suspend all Canadian government and public support – including funding, investment insurance, government and embassy services of any kind – that HydroSys and any other related investors in projects along the Gualcarque River might be receiving;
- Ensure that no Canadian overseas development aid, other financing or services are used to support infrastructure or mega-projects that do not have the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples whose lands and rights will be affected, in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and International Labour Organization Convention 169 as minimum standards. While violence is used to silence Indigenous people who exercise their right to oppose projects that will affect their lands and rights, conditions do not exist to guarantee free, prior and informed consent;
- Investigate the Canadian government’s role in Honduras during and since the 2009 military-backed coup by expanding the parliamentary committee study on Honduras, ensuring broad public participation.

Copies of the letter were also sent to Honduran and Mexican representatives in Canada.

Since the coup in Honduras in 2009, more than 100 environmental activists have been murdered. During this same period, Canadian authorities pushed for a new mining law and negotiated a free trade agreement with Honduras.



To read the full letter to the Canadian government, click here

Supreme Court Grants Chippewas of the Thames First Nation Challenge to Line 9

The Supreme Court of Canada has set November 30th, 2016 to start hearing the appeal of the Line 9 approval.


Supreme Court Grants Chippewas of the Thames First Nation Challenge to Line 9: Community Hopeful of Meaningful Consultation with the Crown

MUNCEY, March 10, 2016 – the Supreme Court of Canada has granted the Chippewas of the Thames leave to appeal a decision of the Federal Court of Appeal relating to an Application before the National Energy Board to repurpose the Line 9 Pipeline.

At issue is whether the Crown exercised its duty to meaningfully consult and accommodate the Chippewas on a project that may potentially impact their Aboriginal and Treaty rights. The Chippewas are challenging the Crown’s paternalistic policies based on denial and extinguishment of rights. Relying on s. 35 of the Constitution and previous Supreme Court rulings, the First Nation continues to urge negotiation and reconciliation.

Chief of the Chippewas of the Thames, Leslee White-Eye welcomed the decision, saying, “Our community is pleased by this forward step but the path before us is still long as we continue to seek protection of our Aboriginal and Treaty rights. We need to bring home that we are not acting alone in the action, nor that it is for our sole benefit but an attempt to seek protection of our water – these energy developments are one of many across the nation impacting our rights”.

According to Chief White-Eye, “Our members were very distressed by the Federal Court of Appeal’s dismissal of the appeal when they failed to acknowledge our Aboriginal and Treaty rights. The Court did not consider previous decisions, which establish the Crown’s duty to meaningfully consult with and accommodate us on projects that may potentially impact those rights, such as Line 9.”

The Crown’s failure to consult has stalled negotiations, prevented Chippewas of the Thames from benefiting from their collective rights and has impeded economic development for all stakeholders. It has also undermined the Nation’s development as a government. Still, Chief White-Eye remains optimistic by stating that “a positive final decision from the Supreme Court will hopefully pave the way for reconciliation with the Crown.”


Justice For Beau Baker!!!!! End Police impunity!!!!!!

Listen to Audio: : 

This episode of KW Radio Basics we talk about police impunity. Topics explored include the murder of Beau Baker by police, as well as Waterloo Regional Police Services screening police complaints of the so called independent body overlooking policing known as the OIPRD in the case of Thornton.


Discussion with Badee Dwaik

Listen to Audio: : 

Badee Dwaik, a human rights defender in Palestine sits down and talks with us about the occupation of Palestine, g4s, the Oslo agreement and the need for Palestinians to control their own destiny. Badee Dwaik is the coordinator of Human Rights Defenders, and they can be contacted at



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