Dec 24: Science and Religion with Prof. Gordon Drake

Listen to the entire program here:

(Apologies as the program recording starts into my opening remarks which are below):

Good afternoon and welcome to the ShakeUp on CJAM 99.1 redefining radio in Windsor and Detroit! It’s Christmas Eve today and this is a pre-recorded segment, and I am talking to Professor Gordon Drake, professor of physics here at UWindsor and also Principal of Canterbury College. Because it’s Christmas time, I thought we could step back and ponder for a bit our place in the universe and have a discussion on science and religion. As well, we’ll talk about what cutting edge physics might mean for the future of humankind, and if further understanding of our place in the cosmos can help us better figure out how to live in the here and now on our own little piece of galactic real estate.

This topic is, of course, vast and complex, and there is much to read and learn about. After the interview I began reading The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism, by Karen Armstrong.

Early in the book she writes that “…people of the past … evolved two ways of thinking, speaking, and acquiring knowledge, which scholars have called mythos and logos. Both were essential; they were regarded as complementary ways of arriving at truth, and each had its special area of competence” (p. xv).  According to Armstrong, “…mythos… provided people with a context that made sense of their day-to-day lives; it directed their attention to the eternal and universal” (xv).

The struggle between science (logos) and religion (mythos) need not be a violent and desperate battle with no end in sight. It seems what is required is acceptance that finding a balance between the two will  allow us to discover our true nature as humans.


Dec. 22 is Joe Strummer day at CJAM

I joined Chris Crossroads on the air from noon to 1 and we had as a guest local activist and co-publisher of The Scoop, Mike Longmoore to talk about poverty, precarious work and homelessness. You’ll be in for a treat as Chris does a Strummer tune live with his banjo!

Listen to  the hour segment here: and tune in at 99.1 FM or online at www, for more of the day’s offerings of this influential artist.

Today we are honouring the life of John Mellor (a.k.a. Joe Strummer), a British rocker born Aug. 21st 1952 in Ankara, Turkey. From what I’ve heard today earlier on the air is that Joe Strummer came up hard against the realities of Thatcher era Britain – an era that ushered in the neo-liberal agenda that stripped away the existing social contract between workers and ruling elites. The middle class was used as a pawn to argue for cuts to government programs: from social housing, to income support. The concept of ‘citizen’ was replaced with ‘taxpayer’ – especially the middle class taxpayer, part of the professional class that served the interests of the ruling elites.

In Windsor, many suffer from the Harris era cuts and especially economic globalism which saw the shift of jobs to other low wage countries. We have seen the mayor pit taxpayers against so-called greedy unions in last year’s strike and recently, Mayor Francis was quoted saying council cannot get bogged down with constituent concerns because council has to focus on the mayor’s vision for the city. This vision consists of an airport transport hub, and land transfers to wealthy developers. In the meantime, workers fear the loss of not only their jobs but their pensions. Low income people struggle to find and keep affordable housing.

Politicians keep talking about tax cuts, law and order, and the need for corporations to have a free hand. If Joe Strummer were alive today he’s be shouting from the rooftops to WAKE UP! And not let justice slip away. Precarious work – low wage and gone any minute, and the fear of pensions being lost and the last of the $30 – $40 an hour jobs leaving are the reality many face. Others are already on the margins trying to make a go of things.

Mike Longmoore is an active CAW retiree. He works tirelessly to warn that active workers – unionized or not, students and retired workers need to form a coalition that will begin to change the situation we are in.

Dec. 17 Migrant workers and refugees

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We talked to Stan Raper of the Agricultural Workers Alliance about the impending Supreme Court decision on the right of agricultural workers to unionize. In the second half hour we talked to Hussan Syed of No One is Illegal about Bill C-49 – an Act to amend The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, The Balanced Refugee Reform Act and The Maritime Transportation Security Act, or by its shorter title: Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act. It is not clear as yet if this bill will pass but we need always be prepared when the Harper government decides to pass legislation.

Dec 10: International Human Rights Day

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December 10th was International Human Rights Day in honour of the establishment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 by the United Nations. This occurred after the horrors of WWII and the recognition that the nations of the world must respect the rights of all people. In part, the preamble of the declaration states that  “disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people, [and that] it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law…” .

To mark the day, we will talk to Brian Aboud, a member of the Project Fly Home collective in Montreal. The organization has worked to help Abousfian Abdelrazik during his ordeal at the hands of CSIS. On Oct. 7, 2009 Mr Abdelrazik, a Canadian citizen,  spoke here at the University of Windsor and described how he was hounded by CSIS beginning in 2000, and then when he returned to his native Sudan in 2003 to visit his mother he was arrested, imprisoned and tortured with Canadian complicity.

Of the 30 articles in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, I picked out several that were violated in the case of Mr Abdelrazik:

Article 5.

  • No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

  • Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

  • All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

  • Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.

  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.

  • Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 13.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
  • (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
  • (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 17.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
  • (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 19.

  • Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.


Related information regarding Mohamed Harkat:

Canadian Peace Alliance Position on Immigration Security Certificates
April 2005

The security certificate is a measure of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, by which a refugee or permanent resident in Canada can be imprisoned indefinitely without charge on secret evidence, and deported to his/her country of origin, even if such deportation bears a substantial risk of torture or death.

A security certificate is signed by two federal cabinet ministers who decide, based on secret intelligence, that a refugee or immigrant is a danger to Canada. Citizens of Canada are not subject to the security certificate process. Neither the person named in a security certificate, nor his/her lawyer, is given access to the precise allegations or provided with the secret evidence against him/her.

The decision to issue a security certificate may be reviewed by a Federal Court judge, who is allowed to decide only whether or not the ministers had “reasonable grounds” to sign the certificate (i.e., whether or not there is a possibility that the allegations are true), not whether or not the allegations are based on normal standards of evidence. The judge’s ruling cannot be appealed, and, if the certificate is upheld, the ruling is automatically converted into a deportation order.

The Canadian security certificate process suspends the rule of law and violates fundamental human rights that are protected under both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These rights include entitlement to rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind such as religion, national origin, birth or other status; the right to life, liberty and security of person; the right to equality before the law; the presumption of innocence; freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention; the right to a fair trial; etc.

Accordingly, the Canadian Peace Alliance calls for the abolition of the security certificate process in Canada, and for the release of all persons detained under Canadian security certificates, unless charges can be laid, and an open, fair trial conducted with full disclosure to an accused person of the evidence against him/her.

The Canadian Peace Alliance also calls for an end to the practice in Canada of deportation to torture, and, specifically, for those currently detained in Canada under security certificates not to be deported, since they are all from countries where they could face torture or death.

Dec 3: Yves Engler and Canadian foreign policy

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Yves Engler, described as “one of the most important voices on the Canadian Left today” gave a talk before about 50 people at the Leon Z. McPherson Alumni Reception Centre on Wednesday evening. He outlined how Canada’s second largest deployment of the military after Afghanistan is in the West Bank.


Also, he pointed to the hypocrisy of the Harper government for criticizing Iran’s nuclear program while remaining silent on Israel’s known stockpile of nuclear weapons. In his talk, Engler pointed to a book review in the Ottawa Citizen in which the author, Capt. Ray Wiss, praises Canadians as being “… the best at killing people…”, and that Canadian soldiers “…have managed to kill between 10 and 20 Taliban every day…” over a one week period.

From the carnage of Afghanistan, the struggles of Latin Americans, and to the horror of Haiti Engler outlines Canada’s foreign policy as an enabler of injustice and war in the service of  American imperialism. Is this the Canada we want?

Photos: Paul Chislett