• Magazine

    Infiltrated!

    When the Indigenous Peoples’ Solidarity Movement of Ottawa was infiltrated by a police officer, organizers were left feeling betrayed and paralyzed. How did they rebuild and strengthen their movement?

  • Magazine

    Remembering the disappeared

    With a series of marches, conferences, plays, exhibits, and performances, tens of thousands of Chileans marked last week’s 40th anniversary of the coup that ended the presidency of Salvador Allende and ushered in the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

  • Magazine

    Down in a Hole

    This is the kind of place where Ashley Smith died in 2007. It is also the kind of place where Julie Bilotta gave birth on a cement floor last year.

  • Magazine

    “Dreams are the worst right now”

    After a decade of captivity, Omar Khadr, the first child ever convicted of a war crime, became the last Western citizen to be repatriated out of Guantanamo Bay.

  • Magazine

    Living among us

    On June 26, 2010, while the G20 summit was under way amid mass protests on the streets of downtown Toronto, a startling revelation was made that would reverberate through activist communities for months to come. Two undercover police officers had joined protest groups and been living among activists as part of a large-scale investigation that began more than a year earlier, in April 2009.

  • Magazine

    The Jaggi Singh trial

    Ideas are being put on trial in Canada. This became clear sitting in the courtroom at Toronto’s Old City Hall on Thursday, April 28. Jaggi Singh, one of the nation’s most prominent anti-capitalist activists, pleaded guilty to urging people to take down the $5-million G20 summit fence erected in downtown Toronto last June.

  • Magazine

    Criminal (in)justice

    Gillian Balfour is the author of two important books addressing racism and incarceration in Canada, including Criminalizing Women: Gender and (In)Justice in Neoliberal Times, which she co-edited with Dr. Elizabeth Comack. She is an associate professor in sociology at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, specializing in areas of violence against women and the incarceration of Indigenous women in Canada.

  • Magazine

    Dignity and solidarity

    The G20 summit held in Toronto this June closed with a commitment to “fiscal consolidation” from the world’s economic leaders. Among the strongest proponents of slashing public spending was Canada’s Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty. For many of those protesting the G20 on the streets of Toronto, the subtext of Flaherty’s austerity agenda was well understood: a continuation of the attack on access to housing, health care, education and welfare, among other social necessities.

  • Magazine

    Discipline and punish

    The dream of a benevolent welfare state may live on in social work theory, conference papers and mission statements, but as far as front-line bureaucracy goes, welfare is dead. Only its image remains, as faint as chalk on a sidewalk. No longer even pretending to be a right or social safety net, social assistance has mutated into a series of manipulative tactics to prod and intimidate its clients into jobs that no one wants. In other words, welfare has become workfare.

  • Magazine

    A border runs through it

    At midnight on May 31, 2009, the guards who manned the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) station on the Mohawk (Kahnienkehaka) reserve of Akwesasne, near Cornwall, Ontario, abandoned the Canadian side of the U.S.-Canada border and went home. The guards were to be issued 9-mm Beretta pistols on the following day as part of Canada’s border security policy, but had been warned by Akwesasne community groups that armed agents of the Canadian government would not be tolerated on their land.

  • Magazine

    Letters across borders

    Authman and Zidan Mushtaak are Pakistani nationals who moved to the United States 15 years ago, as children. Though they now live less than 800 kilometres apart, Authman and Zidan have been separated for the past three years by an impenetrable, invisible line created by Canadian and U.S. immigration laws. The following is a series of emails exchanged between the brothers.

  • Magazine

    Letter from the editor

    Crime dominates the news, but the standard political pronouncements on the subject seldom move beyond empty, knee-jerk vows to “get tough” on the perpetrators. This approach to the issue only stokes the politics of fear, of blame, of poor-bashing and insidious racism. An obsessive public focus on the bogeyman of “crime” serves the interests of right-wing politicians very well indeed: more police for the poor, fewer regulations for the rich, less money for the universal social safety net.

  • Magazine

    The detestable solution

    Under colonial rule, Ghana’s multiple traditional systems of justice were replaced by a single, expensive, incarceration-based penal system. Now, 52 years independent and among the poorest 15 per cent of nations, Ghana is at the mercy of foreign countries for financial support in maintaining its overcrowded prisons, retraining prison staff and educating prisoners in an effort to upgrade a system of punishment that is falling into disfavour in the wealthier nations from which it originates.

  • Magazine

    Class-war games

    On February 12, 2009, exactly one year before the opening of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, the grim future of political freedom in British Columbia was on full display. Military and police flanked by helicopters rehearsed manoeuvres in Vancouver, where escalating harassment, intimidation and surveillance of activists had already begun.

  • Magazine

    Between home and a hard place

    Public outrage over the treatment of Canada’s “security certificate” detainees has receded with the seemingly good news that four of the five detainees are now living at home. But the reality of house arrest is almost worse, because it effectively extends the almost total loss of freedom the men endure to their wives, children and friends.

  • Magazine

    Policing mental health

    Twenty-four-year-old Chris Klim was shot to death a little over a year ago, when seven armed men came to his apartment in Vernon, B.C., a town of 40,000. Two men stayed outside the apartment while the leader and four others smashed the door in with a battering ram. Bewildered, Klim stood in his bedroom with a kitchen knife in hand. The armed men shot him twice. According to the forensic report, it was the bullet through his back that killed him.

  • Magazine

    Law & order

    Irvin Waller, a professor of criminology at the University of Ottawa, has made it his career and mission to get governments throughout much of the world to shift their emphasis from law enforcement to prevention, with some limited success. His book is a plaintive cry for movement by government in the direction of more attention to crime preventive approaches.

  • Magazine

    Blinded by ideology

    Earlier this year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was faced with the decision of whether to extend the exemption from Canada’s drug laws (the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act) for Vancouver’s Safe Injection Site (InSite). Should he follow the dictates of his ideology and force Vancouver back to a policy of strict enforcement, or continue to fund a successful and innovative program that was having a positive impact?