The Daily GRRR! - Jan. 27, 2015 - “Too Bad It’s Only Tuesday” Edition

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Welcome back to SoundFM! You are now listening to The Daily GRRR! on the air every weekday morning from 9-10 a.m. here at 100.3fm, CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, and SoundFM.ca on the web. This is Kathryn and I’ll be your host on this Tuesday morning show for January 27th, 2015.

As always, we are broadcasting from the heart of the Haldimand Tract, the occupied Grand River Territory of the Six Nations, which we continue to recognize as Haudenosaunee land.

The Daily GRRR! is a project of the Grand River Media Collective and is supported by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and CKMS.

We will begin today with headlines:
The Daily GRRR!
HEADLINES for Jan. 27, 2015
1. Ontario gov fights agribusiness lobbyists to limit bee-killing pesticides
2. Texas grand jury clears white cops for beating black woman in custody
3. Toronto man sues ON superjail for being held in solitary over HIV status
4. Film about the fight to save Kingston’s prison farm tours Southern Ontario
5. CBC business correspondent revealed as having history of biased reporting
6. Toronto’s new budget has more funding for LGBTQ youth and women’s shelters
7. Callout for queer and trans artists and zine-makers for local showcase!

1. Ontario gov fights agribusiness lobbyists to limit bee-killing pesticides

As reported by SumOfUs.org, more than half the bee hives in Ontario did not survive last winter. To get a sense of the scale of this die-off, 37 million bees died in a single North American farm alone, and study after study all point to the same cause: deadly pesticides called neonicotinoids, or “neonics”, are killing the bees that pollinate a full one-third of our food sources. Back in November, the Ontario government moved to limit the use of neonics and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs laid out a three-point initiative that it claimed would ensure "healthy ecosystems" and a "productive agricultural sector" while reversing the downward trend of massive die-offs in the bee population. The cornerstone of this strategy was an 80% reduction in farmland acreage planted with neonic-treated corn and soybean seed by 2017. Various studies have linked the pesticide group directly to bee fatality, but also to a host of other sub-lethal effects such as disorientation, which in turn can result in colony collapse. The Ontario government’s plan seeks to prevent this from continuing, but despite the science proving that these crop-boosting chemicals are endangering the future of our food systems, pesticide producers have campaigned against these limitations out of short-sighted self-interest. Roughly a week remains in the public comment period to voice support for the proposal to curb the use of these bee-killing pesticides in Ontario, and we’ve linked to the online form here on the podcast page for today’s show.

Submit comments to support the limitation of bee-killing “neonic” pesticides: http://action.sumofus.org/a/ontariocomments/

2. Texas grand jury clears white cops for beating black woman in custody

As reported by Counter Current News, a grand jury has decided that two white, male former Jasper, Texas, police officers are not going to face criminal charges for their brutal beating of a black woman who had been in police custody at the Jasper City Jail. The assault, which occurred over a year ago, was all caught on video by overhead cameras which recorded the officers grabbing the woman by the hair, slamming her face on the counter, and then pinning her down on the floor before finally dragging her by her feet into a holding cell. The woman was arrested that morning for the minor infraction of an allegedly unpaid traffic ticket. But as it turns out, she actually had payments set up for the ticket and merely owed $100 more for the final installment. The woman settled a civil rights lawsuit against the city last December for $75,000, but this should not have let the officers off the hook. Almost a year ago now, Jasper’s city council voted to fire the officers, but many believed that they would still be rightfully indicted by the grand jury investigating their violent assault. But in spite of the clear admission by the Jasper Police Department that this was a civil rights violation, and even though they settled with the victim in court, the grand jury still refused to indict. Counter Current News went on to pose the question that’s been on many people’s minds throughout the repeated grand jury failures of recent months: “Is there anything that cops can do to get indicted anymore?”

3. Toronto man sues ON superjail for being held in solitary over HIV status

As reported by The Toronto Star, a former inmate at Ontario’s new superjail has launched a human rights complaint against the province, alleging he was held in solitary confinement for more than 90 days last year after other inmates protested about his HIV-positive status. The complaint by 44-year-old Jamie Simpson alleges the Corrections Ministry “accommodated the prejudice and bigotry of some inmates” who wanted Simpson off their unit, “without any consideration whatsoever for (his) human rights.” His complaint describes “deplorable and filthy conditions” in the Toronto South Detention Centre’s solitary confinement unit, where Simpson says he was locked in a cell for up to 24 hours a day. He also alleges he was at times denied access to showers and other basic hygiene rights, causing him to develop a staph infection in his upper lip. Simpson requested a transfer to the medical unit, but was told it was unstaffed and not open, the complaint says. An ongoing Star investigation has found that the state-of-the-art infirmary and mental health unit at the year-old Etobicoke jail remain closed to this day, with sick inmates are being housed in solitary confinement. In his human rights case against the Ontario government, Simpson is seeking $200,000 in damages and demanding that the province reaffirm the rights of inmates with HIV and AIDS so that other people imprisoned in Ontario won’t be subjected to such horrendous conditions.

4. Film about the fight to save Kingston’s prison farm tours Southern Ontario

"When Canada's Government takes the decision to transform the correctional system to one that puts punishment first, Canada's rehabilitative prison farms are one of the first casualties. A strong opposition forms towards the farm closures and for two days in the late summer of 2010, hundreds of angry protesters stand in front of Frontenac Prison Farm in the heart of Kingston, Ontario, ready to block cattle trucks brought in to remove the hundred-year-old prize dairy herd. The dramatic standoff between protesters and police lasts two days, through pouring rain and hot sun. Black-clad police arrest 24 people, the youngest 14 years old, the oldest, 85.

“The new documentary TIL THE COWS COME HOME tells the story behind this extraordinary display of civil disobedience, filled with gripping confrontations and a cast of colourful characters, from irate farmers to passionate nuns to endearing ex-cons. It asks provocative questions about the Canadian government's hardening approach to criminal justice, food security....and democracy itself."

The film is being screened in Hamilton, Guelph, and here in Kitchener this Saturday from 3-5 p.m. at the Kitchener Public Library in downtown Kitchener. After the film, renowned author and grassroots activist Aric McBay will lead a discussion and answer questions about the campaign. We’ve also linked to the Facebook event for the Kitchener screening here on the podcast page for today’s show.

TIL THE COWS COME HOME ~ Kitchener Screening: https://www.facebook.com/events/1446355388946473/

5. CBC business correspondent revealed as having history of biased reporting

As reported by Sakura Saunders for Now Toronto, the CBC’s senior business correspondent has been under fire lately for alleged conflicts of interest regarding her reporting. The allegations include that Lang took money for speaking engagements sponsored by companies on which she was reporting. And, more controversially, that Lang aggressively lobbied to bury a story by CBC colleague Kathy Tomlinson on the Royal Bank of Canada replacing dozens of its staff with cheaper temporary foreign workers back in 2013. Lang was at the time, and still is, in a relationship with RBC board member W. Geoffrey Beattie. Tomlinson has since spoken on the issue in an interview, saying, "This is not about Amanda Lang. It is about the longstanding belief most journalists have that conflicts should be avoided at all costs or explicitly declared up front."

But it isn't the first time that Lang has gone to bat for a corporate employer of a romantic partner. In a 2011 interview, Lang came to the defence of Barrick Gold after her guest, Jon Allan of Occupy Canada, criticized the company for its alleged complicity in the deaths of 19 villagers at Barrick’s North Mara mine in Tanzania. On that occasion, Lang mentioned on-air that her husband at the time, Vince Borg, was employed by Barrick. "Now you're getting into a company that I know pretty well,” Lang stated as she interrupted Allan. "My husband worked for Barrick Gold for years, so I don't want to talk about that. Although, there are those who would say that Peter Munk has done amazing things for Tanzanians, among others, creating great wealth where there was none." That's big praise for a company whose operations in Tanzania displaced 40,000 small-scale miners at North Mara and 200,000 at their Bulyanhulu mines. These small-scale miners are now so desperately poor, that they dig through Barrick's waste dumps for rocks with trace amounts of gold, often risking being shot at or beaten by mine security. Rather than creating great wealth where there was none, it appears that Barrick has taken great wealth and militarized entire communities to maintain it.

6. Toronto’s new budget has more funding for LGBTQ youth and women’s shelters

As reported by BlogTO, community activists have been pleading for more shelters for some of the city's more vulnerable women and LGBTQ youth for years. Now, it looks like that's finally going to happen, as the city's proposed 2015 budget includes funding for two women's all-night drop-in centres, as well as funding for two shelters for the city's LGBTQ youth, with one of each located in the east and west ends of the city.This comes after a decision made last week to provide 90 emergency shelter beds in some of the city's motels. Councillor Joe Mihevc has been stressing the importance of creating more shelter space in the city after two homeless people died in the cold a week and a half ago. Another tragic incident occurred earlier this month when " woman involved in the drug trade was assaulted on the steps of a social service agency. That provided the impetus for us to say, 'We've got to fix this,'" Mihevc says. "Women need a safe place where everyone would know you can come hang out."

He explains that the drop-in centres will be open 24-hours per day, and their purpose is for women who live and work on the street to "drop in, warm up, hang out and get a little bit of food." He said there might be a few beds, but that isn't the purpose of the space, and it won't be quiet in the middle of the night--it's more likely to be active. The point is to provide a safe space for women who are homeless and those who use drugs or do street-based sex work. The LGBTQ spaces, on the other hand, will be traditional shelters where homeless LGBTQ youth will find food and a warm place to sleep. Activists have been calling for a shelter of this sort for years, as well, after it was found that one in five of the city's homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. Unfortunately, Mihevc says the drop-in spaces won't open until March at the earliest, because the funding first needs to be approved by the city's budget committee, though one could open at the end of March with the other likely opening a couple of months later. The LGBTQ shelters are likely to open in the summer as well.

7. Callout for queer and trans artists and zine-makers for local showcase!

Do you make and love zines? Or kind of like them? Or are you curious and questioning about zines? Do you want encouragement to create that zine that’s been in the back of your mind? Do you make great art? Art that you want to boldly put into the world, art that’s just coming to you, art that feels great to make? Art that feels scary, that means something to you, that is just questions?

The Rainbow Reels Queer & Trans Film Festival is seeking all queer and/or trans zine makers for their Out to Sea: Queer Zine Fair & Art Showcase on Saturday, March 14, 2015, from 12-5 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion building, located at 19 Regina St. N, Waterloo. The organizers are happy to hear from any queer and/or trans folks who make zines about anything, but especially those who make zines with themes of gender, bodies, and sexuality. They are also seeking queer and/or trans VISUAL ARTISTS who are interested to be showcased at the fair. Best of all, tabling and displaying your zines and artwork at the event is entirely FREE!

The venue is wheelchair accessible and there will be gender neutral bathrooms. Every effort will be made to make the venue as accessible as possible, including attention to scent, quiet spaces, snacks, and physical accessibility. If you have specific needs or concerns that may affect your ability to table or display your art, the organizers enthusiastically encourage you to email them and they’ll be happy to do what they can so that you can participate. For any questions or concerns, and to apply, please email rainbowreels.zines@gmail.com by February 27th. Please include a one paragraph summary of yourself and the art or zines that you would like to share, as well as how much space you need.

Midway Music: Closer by Tegan and Sara

Feature: “For Homeless Women, Having a Period Isn't a Hassle – It's a Nightmare” by Maya Oppenheim for Vice.com (UK)

The Daily GRRR! is on weekdays from 9-10am on 100.3fm CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, and http://soundfm.ca on the web.

The Daily GRRR! is a project of the Grand River Media Collective and is supported by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and CKMS.

Closing Song: I’m Not Your Hero by Tegan and Sara

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