DEMOCRACY NORTH: Farming Special—Race & farm markets—Young Agrarians—Preserving farmland (#46, Feb 22)

DEMOCRACYNORTH.NET  »  Democracy North is a weekly independent Canadian and global news hour, featuring the week’s top grassroots headlines and interviews produced by our team of journalists this week on Media Mornings daily broadcast.

  • 02:30 — This week’s top Canadian & global news headlines.
  • 20:45 — Interview with Alison Alkon, author of ‘Black, White, and Green: Farmers Markets, Race, and the Green Economy.’ Interviewed Jan 22 by Jane Bouey.
  • 33:00 — Interview with Sarah Dent (Young Agrarians), who discusses young farmers’ access to farmland . Interviewed Jan 13 by Jane Bouey. 
  • 47:00 — Interview with Dr. Kent Mullinix (Director of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security at Kwantlen Polytechnic University), on the threats to farmland in the lower mainland and why farming is so important for the future of humanity. Interviewed Jan 8 by Jane Bouey.
  • Music: Wailin’ Jennys (“Starlight”), Nive Nielsen (“Room”), Jenny Berkel (“Like a Rope”).

THIS WEEK’S TOP GLOBAL & CANADIAN NEWS

  • TOP STORY: UKRAINE PROTESTS — Dozens of people have been killed as central Kiev erupted into a battleground on Thursday , bands of young male protesters driving riot police back from Independence Square and taking control of a much larger swath of territory (AL JAZEERA). Meanwhile, The International Olympic Committee has banned Ukrainian competitors at the Sochi winter Games from wearing black armbands to commemorate the deaths of protesters and police in Kiev (GUARDIAN).

  • OLYMPICS: PUSSY RIOT — Already under fire for their explicit racial profiling, Russia’s Olympic security force Cossack militia attacked the Pussy Riot punk group with whips and removed members’ trademark ski masks in the Olympic host city on Wednesday (AP).

  • FEDERAL: BUDGET, POLITICS POLL — Justin Trudeau’s Liberals arrive in Montreal this week with a positive wind in their sails as a new poll shows the party has jumped to an eight-point lead over the governing Conservatives. The latest survey from Ipsos-Reid-CTV shows support for the federal Liberals stands at 37 per cent of decided voters – a gain of 4 per cent from early February and slightly higher than where the party stood in November. Support for the Conservatives is unchanged at 29 per cent while the NDP has slipped three points to 24 per cent. Asked about the budget, however, it appears public sentiment leans toward concern that Ottawa is overly focused on cutting costs. Four in 10 said the budget “focused too much on deficit reduction” (GLOBE & MAIL).

  • FEDERAL: KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE & MEXICO — Prime Minister Stephen Harper put pipelines front and centre Wednesday, visiting with TransCanada representatives at their offices in Mexico City ahead of a summit with North American leaders. In the meeting, which media were allowed to attend for only a minute, Harper didn’t mention the Keystone XL pipeline by name, but the pipeline was a key to-do item for Harper (POSTMEDIA).

  • FEDERAL: PROSTITUTION LAW — The Conservative government says it wants to hear from the public about how to rewrite the prostitution laws struck down by the Supreme Court late last year. In a Dec. 20 ruling, the high court unanimously struck down laws against street soliciting, living on the avails of prostitution and keeping a brothel. The Supreme Court ruled the laws endangered sex workers and were violations of the constitutional guarantee to life, liberty and security of the person. NDP justice critic Francoise Boivin has expressed deep skepticism of the government’s track record on public input (CP).

  • FEDERAL: CANADA POST CUTS — Canada Post’s big push to install community mailboxes into urban settings took a concrete step Thursday when it identified Fort McMurray, Oakville, Ont., and parts of Calgary, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Halifax as the first locations to be converted this fall. The 11 communities are the first affected by Canada Post’s nation-wide drive to phase-out door-to-door home delivery within five years (GLOBE & MAIL).

  • ALBERTA: OIL SANDS POLLUTION — New federal research has confirmed that water from vast oilsands tailings ponds is leaching into groundwater and seeping into the Athabasca River. Previous studies using models have estimated the leakage at 6.5 million litres a day from a single pond (TORONTO STAR).

  • QUEBEC: CORRUPTION INQUIRY — A construction boss whose brothers had allegedly been roughed up by union thugs slammed engineering firms Thursday, saying they were never held accountable for their mistakes (GAZETTE).

  • ONTARIO: ANTI-UNION BILL — Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak’s plan to allow contracting out of more public services “is an attack on organized labour,” insists Premier Kathleen Wynne. Against the backdrop of a possible spring election, the Tories on Wednesday proposed that the province’s soon-to-be-appointed Financial Accountability Officer examine ways to privatize jobs currently done by unionized workers (TORONTO STAR).

  • WINNIPEG: HOSPITAL DEATH INQUIRY — The family of a man who died during a 34-hour wait in a hospital emergency room is pulling out of the next part of an inquest into his death. Two aboriginal groups have also withdrawn. The groups and the family say they have lost confidence that the inquest will help fix what they say is systemic racism that played a role in the death of Brian Sinclair. Brian Sinclair was a 45-year-old aboriginal double-amputee (CP).

  • VANCOUVER: HARM REDUCTION — A Vancouver MP has called a Conservative Party website attacking supervised injection facilities like Insite as “crass, callous and unethical.” Liberal MP Dr. Hedy Fry said “Addiction should be treated as a medical problem … There is absolutely no reason that politicians should be putting their heavy hands into clinical decisions… I think that this is ideology.” The Conservatives’ website, titled “Keep heroin out of our backyards”, asks citizens to support new requirements for the approval of supervised injection facilities (STRAIGHT).

  • ECUADOR: OIL DEAL — The Ecuadorian government was negotiating a secret $1bn deal with a Chinese bank to drill for oil under the Yasuni national park in the Amazon while pursuing a high-profile scheme to keep the oil under the ground in return for international donations. Yasuni is one of the most biodiverse places in the world and home to indigenous peoples. The proposed behind-the-scenes deal, which traded drilling access in exchange for Chinese lending for Ecuadorian government projects, has dismayed green, indigenous and human rights groups (GUARDIAN).

  • BANGLADESH: FACTORY INSPECTIONS — Safety experts hired by Western retailers have begun inspecting clothing factories in Bangladesh, nearly a year after 1,129 garment workers died in a building collapse. Dozens of fire officers and structural engineers will inspect more than 1,500 plants and recommend safety improvements. The Western companies signed the legally binding agreement following accusations of shoddy safety standards in a country where textile workers have been paid as little as $40 a month (MORNING STAR).

  • EGYPT: JAILED JOURNALISTS —Three al-Jazeera English journalists seized last December from their Cairo hotel rooms are due to appear in court on Thursday for the first time since their arrest on December 29 after spending the past fortnight locked up next-door to Egypt’s former prime minister and a few cells away from the leader of Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. Australian ex-BBC reporter Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian ex-CNN journalist Mohamed Fahmy and local producer Baher Mohamed are among 20 people accused of conspiring with the Brotherhood to tarnish Egypt’s international reputation (GUARDIAN).

  • QATAR: WORKER DEATHS — A Qatar human rights body has said the reported deaths of 478 Indian workers in Qatar during the last two years was “normal”, a figure that another human rights group has called “horrendous” as the country heads towards hosting the next World Cup. Qatar has faced mounting criticism from human rights groups over the safety and working conditions of migrants working in the construction industry (AL JAZEERA).

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