April 28, 2016

The Parliament of Wallonia

The Parliament of Wallonia passed a resolution today opposing the ratification of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The resolution calls on the Walloon Government "not to grant full powers to the Federal Government [of Belgium] for signing the CETA between the European Union and Canada."

The Walloon government represents Wallonia, a self-governing region in Belgium which accounts for 55 per cent of the territory of that country and one-third of its population. The resolution was backed by the PS group, cDH and Ecolo. The Parti Socialiste (Socialist Party) holds 30 of the 75 seats in the Parliament of Wallonia. The cDH (Centre démocrate humaniste or Humanist Democratic Centre) hold another 13 seats, while Ecolo (Environmentalist) holds 4 seats. Together, that means PS, cDH and Ecolo had majority support for this resolution.

April 28, 2016

In December 2013, Syriza MP Thanassis Petrakos stated that, "A Syriza-led government will veto the agreement [CETA]." While this statement was made prior to Syriza forming government in January 2015, the Deputy Minister for Administrative Reform George Katrougalos has also stated, "I can assure you that a Parliament where Syriza holds the majority will never ratify the [TTIP] deal. And this will be a big gift not only to the Greek people but to all the European people." Syriza currently holds 144 seats in the 300 seat Greek parliament. It has formed a coalition government with the Independent Greeks (ANEL).

April 28, 2016

Today, On April 28, is the Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job.  CBC reports for the first time organized labour has chosen to rally around one workplace health issue in particular: asbestos.

It’s estimated that asbestos-related diseases (like mesothelioma and lung cancer) kill more than 2,000 people ever year in Canada. Death from mesothelioma increased 60 percent between 2000 and 2012. Yet, just last year before losing power the Harper government actually made it easier to import products containing asbestos. CUPE National President Mark Hancock has stated,

April 28, 2016

#OccupyINAC in Winnipeg. Facebook photo by Doug Thomas Photography.

The Council of Canadians supports the occupation of the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) office in Winnipeg.

On April 15, the Winnipeg Free Press reported, "In Winnipeg, more than 40 people were reported inside INAC’s Manitoba regional office downtown, to show solidarity with the suicide crisis in Pimicikamak Cree Nation in Manitoba as well as Attawapiskat." Earlier this week, the newspaper noted, "Half a dozen women in their 20s, 30s and 40s, and a few young men, were holding down OccupyINAC Winnipeg [on April 26]. They said their time is divided between inside the building and outside, at a camp in the parking lot where a fire pit burns 24/7 for prayers."

April 28, 2016

On April 22, the Council of Canadians Fredericton chapter began a 'Publicly Take Back the Letter' campaign over concerns that Fredericton city council had secretly sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressing the city's support for the Energy East pipeline. Today, CBC reports, "The City of Fredericton has admitted it didn't follow the proper steps when it approved a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that supported the proposed Energy East pipeline project."

The news article adds, "The city issued the statement on Thursday morning, days after a group of citizens complained at a council meeting. 'The City of Fredericton recognizes that the appropriate process was not followed in regard to the letter issued on Jan. 26, 2016 to the prime minister of Canada in regards to the Energy East project', the statement said."