April 28, 2017

Glenn Murray, Richard Denton, Marc Serre, Andre Clement.

The Council of Canadians Sudbury chapter and allies recently met with Nickel Belt Liberal MP Marc Serré.

Chapter activists Glenn Murray, Andre Clement and Richard Denton attended this meeting. They raised the urgent issue of electoral reform.

In an e-mail update, Murray reports, "We learned that while electoral reform is not completely off the books the situation in the House of Commons is quite fractious and a consensus is yet to be found."

This is significant given we are in the critical weeks before a vote in the House on the recommendations made by the Special Committee on Electoral Reform.

On December 1, 2016, the committee presented its report to the House. It recommended, "that the government should, as it develops a new electoral system ... minimize the level of distortion between the popular will of the electorate and the resultant seat allocations in Parliament."

April 28, 2017

The Council of Canadians Prince Albert chapter is mourning the loss of chapter activist Carole Naylor who passed away in a traffic accident yesterday afternoon.

Naylor had just completed her role as coordinator of the Grandmothers for Grandmothers free cookie table at the Seedy Saturday and Earth Day gathering in Prince Albert on April 22. That event included a climate justice march to City Hall in solidarity with the upcoming climate marches around the world this weekend.

As noted on their website, "The Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign seeks to raise awareness and mobilize support in Canada for Africa’s grandmothers." Over the years the campaign has raised $10 million that is directed towards support such as food, housing grants, school fees for their grandchildren and grief counselling.

Naylor also supported various other causes including ending animal cruelty, supporting the mandatory labelling of genetically modified foods, calling for action to stop the growth of the tar sands, and promoting environmental justice.

April 28, 2017

The Council of Canadians is challenging the notion that ending supply management would mean cheaper milk prices in Canada.

While US President Donald Trump has vowed to eliminate Canada's "very unfair" dairy supply management system in relation to the upcoming renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) expected to start in August, various right-wing voices in Canada have joined with him in dismissing a system that has served consumers and farmers well for almost 50 years.

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney, Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier, former NAFTA negotiator Derek Burney, former Canada-US FTA negotiator Gordon Ritchie, along with the Business Council of Canada and the Montreal Economic Institute, have all called for supply management to be phased out in this country.

There has also been the suggestion that if supply management were traded away in the upcoming NAFTA talks it would be a win-win - placating the US president and lower dairy prices in Canada.

April 28, 2017

Photo by Tracey Mitchell.

Saskatoon-based Council of Canadians Board member Tracey Mitchell was at the 'All Out to Stop the Cuts! Protest the Premier's Dinner!' action last night.

The outreach had highlighted, "Let's all come together to express our opposition to the Provincial budget cuts to K - 12 education, libraries, Universities, Audiology, social services, the handing over of Nortep to Northlands College, and the decision to 'wind down' the provincial Crown, STC! While the Premier's and his Sask Party buddies are at a $250/plate event, we'll be protesting outside."

April 28, 2017

Chapter activist Roy Brady

The Council of Canadians Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter is commenting on the Ontario government's budget for hospitals in the province.

Yesterday, Finance Minister Charles Sousa delivered the provincial budget which includes a 3.1 per cent increase in spending on hospitals. That amounts to about $518 million in additional funding this year after four years of flatlined spending.

The Peterborough Examiner reports, "It's about time the province starts spending on hospitals, said Roy Brady, chairman of the local chapter of Council of Canadians. 'This is coming after years of hardly anything (for hospitals)', he said. Brady is a constant watchdog of the hospital budget. He would have liked to see funding specifically to reduce wait times at emergency departments. Instead the province is handing over money to hospitals with crowded ERs and hoping administrators will deal with the problem. 'They're saying, 'OK you guys - fix it,', Brady said."