Unions Call on City to let Occupy Calgary stay. The city of Calgary has been contemplating evicting Occupy Calgary Activists from Olympic Plaza. The labour movement supports the Occupy Calgary movement and urges City Council to let the protesters stay.
“The Occupy movement has begun a conversation that was sorely lacking in this Country,” said Alexander Shevalier, President, of the Calgary and District Labour Council.
“They have highlighted the inequities faced by 99% of Canadians; whether it’s access to affordable housing, fair employment standards, farm workers rights and many other issues of social and environmental justice, ” he continued.
“ Without the Occupy movement the media and governments both federally and provincially would feel no pressure to address those issues,” he stated.
“The message is simple, our government is no longer responding to the needs of the people; they are responding to the needs of corporations,” he concluded.
Contact: Alexander Shevalier, President, Calgary and District Labour Council – 403 819 4159
The Calgary and District Labour Council represents 37,500 affiliated union members in both the public and private sector. Our members make Calgary work.
Media reports, as well as insider reports, indicate that Calgary may be the first city in Canada to take action against Occupy protesters.
Please read our letter to city officials and consider signing our petition.
We, the undersigned, are a group of concerned citizens who are asking City of Calgary officials to show continued respect for the rights guaranteed to the Occupy Calgary participants under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Occupy Calgary is an exercise in participatory democracy and is consistent with the ideals we hold dear as Canadians.
The gap between the rich and poor has been steadily increasing in Canada. The top 20% of families held 75% of total household wealth in 2005, compared to 73% in 1999 and 69% in 1984. The gap between the rich and poor is greater in Alberta than in any other province in Canada.
Given that resource allocation is a fundamental part of politics, it is not surprising that citizens wish to come together to discuss economic inequality, the efficacy of our current political system and other relevant matters.
The Calgary occupants have been peaceful and have engaged the community in education and dialogue. The movement has gained significant support in the community. Short of abandoning their cause, the protesters have demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with the city and other community members. Most recently, the protesters moved tents to accommodate a celebration at the plaza.
We support citizens’ rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. The law is clear that this federal legislation over-rides any local bylaws governing the Olympic Plaza.
We are concerned by recent media reports in which city officials have made inaccurate and inflammatory comments. For instance, the deputy chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency referred to protesters as “squatters,” misleading the public about the nature of the gathering and implying that the protesters are engaging in illegal activity. Similarly, Alderman Diane Colley-Urquhart has openly expressed her lack of respect for federal law and has even suggested the police should charge and remove protesters. We ask that city officials be held responsible for misleading the public and undermining the efforts of those complying with federal law. The onus does not rest solely on the protesters to contribute to a peaceful environment; city officials must not incite hostility by misleading the public about the legal context.
We, the undersigned, strongly urge the Mayor of Calgary, our aldermen and other city officials to show continued respect for the Charter Rights protecting this protest.
The share of the world income received by the richest 20% of the world’s countries relative to the share received by the poorest 20% has gone from a ratio of 3:1 in 1820 to 30:1 in 1960 to 74:1 in 1997
Taking the richest 10% of those on the globe and the poorest 10% in 2005, we get an inequality ratio of 103:1.
The world’s 793 billionaires have a combined wealth greater than the GDP of all but 6 countries in the world.
In the U.S, the ratio of CEO income to that of the average worker has risen from 35: 1 in 1965, to 80:1 in 1980, to 450:1 in 2005.
In Canada, the top 20% of families held 75% of total household wealth in 2005, compared to 73% in 1999 and 69% in 1984.
Canada had the fourth largest increase in income inequality among its peers. Even though the U.S. currently has the largest rich-poor income gap among these countries, the gap in Canada has been rising at a faster rate.
By January 4th, a top Canadian CEO will have earned the national average salary of approximately $42K.
The gap between the rich and poor is greater in Alberta than any other province in Canada.
The gap between the market(earned) incomes of the richest 20% and poorest 20% of Albertans has increasedby 62.9%.
1 – 4. McNally, D. (2006). Another world is possible. Winnipeg: Arbeiter Ring Publishing.
5. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. (2006). Canada’s wealth and income gap widening. Retrieved March 30, 2009 from: https://www.growinggap.ca/node/50
We, the 99%, will shine a spotlight on the greed and corruption of the 1%, by means of a peaceful protest on Saturday, October 15th. We will occupy the public area in front of and around Banker’s Hall on Stephen Avenue (8th Ave SW) at 1pm as an act of solidarity against mass injustice.
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: That the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; our social institutions must be organized around the needs of people and the limits of the planet and not be organized around a profit motive. Upon corruption of that system, it is up to us to protect our communities. True democracies derive their power from the people and yet we are living in a time when corporations have alarming influence on our governments, resulting in the valuing of profit over people, self-interest over justice, and resulting in oppression over equality. We are being denied a voice in the democratic process of resource allocation, while corporations extract wealth from the people and the planet without our consent. Our peaceful assembly seeks to spark a discussion of these conditions with the hope of reclaiming power over our communities.
October 15th, 2011, is a day, worldwide, where people from all walks of life are taking to the streets, making a statement that they have had enough of being told their voices don't count. There is a sense of renewed hope arising that fundamental change is possible. The gap of disparity between rich and poor has increasingly widened over the last several decades, and currently Canada has the fastest growing rate of disparity in the world. While the 1% flourishes, young people carry huge student debts, as do families trying to sustain a decent quality of life. Corporations pillage the planet for huge profits, while many of us are left wondering how resource shortages and climate change will impact future generations and life on this planet.
We stand in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS), which has grown to 200+ cities across North America and up to 800+ cities world-wide. We broadly endorse the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City accepted by the NYC General Assembly on September 29, 2011.
While we share many of the issues raised by our sisters and brothers in the US, Calgary is a unique place with problems that are specific to it. Participants of Occupy Calgary are already developing a collective critique of our local society and its relationship to the global economy, while standing up for a world where quality of life and the welfare of humanity is made a priority over isolated profit gain.
It is our hope that the general assembly of Occupy Calgary will engage local citizens in a discussion that will result in a formal statement which represents our consensus, akin to NYC’s Declaration. We are committed to developing direct democracy, engaging as many people as possible and creating a better world, for the betterment of all its members.
While some heralded SlutWalk as the future of feminism, the lack of hype around Calgary's second attempt at SlutWalk reveals that it was little more than a trend that has already begun to fizzle out.
So, I'll keep my remarks brief and leave you with a radio interview that I did in June around the time of the demise of SlutWalk Calgary 1.0.
I can say that I understand victim-blaming. I've been there. We're silenced by the implication that we were somehow complicit in the violence. And, we're pressured to not talk about the violence and move on with our lives. If we don't, we might be accused of "playing the victim." It's not surprising that one of the books out there to help survivors of trauma is titled I Can't Get Over It.
It was surprising and ironic then that women who expressed discomfort about marching under the banner of SlutWalk were told to get over it or that they didn't get the joke...or that it was simply their choice not to attend the event.
The most obvious critique of SlutWalk is that "slut" is a trigger for many survivors of violence. It is a word that produces a strong visceral reaction in many people as it is a gendered word that has been used to justify the unequal power distribution under capitalist patriarchy. While it is a hurtful and aversive word for many people, it is actually a disabling and traumatizing word for many survivors. For instance, how is someone supposed to march among banners blazoned with a word that actually sets off their PTSD? Apparently, this has been a non-important issue to SlutWalk organizers...
But, let's leave empathy and humanity aside for a moment and consider what I believe are reasonable academic and political challenges to SlutWalk.
At a more strategic level, for a "movement" which aimed to reclaim the word "slut" there was very little discussion about theories and controversies around re-appropriation. Some argued that "queer" has been reclaimed. That simply isn't true - there is great debate within academia, as well as the broader community as to whether this is a desired and achievable goal.
From a Marxist perspective, the roots of women’s oppression is based on an understanding that it is the material world that shapes the ideas in our heads, not the other way round. For instance, the slave trade did not develop because white people were racist: racism developed as justification for slavery, to depict black people as less than human. A more recent example is the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has been seen out of Arizona this past year – it is not a coincidence that this is occurring during a recession when people are competing even more fiercely for jobs and when a group of workers is actually subject to criminalizing legislation.
One would assume that a "movement" committed to ending victim-blaming would also aspire to end violence against women. And, yet there was an alarming lack of discussion about the contributing factors to violence. Perhaps, this is why there were also no demands made by the so-called movement.
For some of us, it felt as though the feminist mantra that the "personal is the political" had suddenly morphed into the idea that the political need only be personal.
For me, the silver lining of the SlutWalk phenomenon was a chance for some of us to use the issue as a springboard to engage with some of the broader debates and challenges of contemporary feminisms.
Meghan Murphy was possibly the most vocal opponent of SlutWalk and I had the good fortune to give and interview with her to Calgary's radio station Yeah, What She Said.