March 23: Patricia Fell and Windsor Feminist Theatre; Marion Overholt and the social assistance review efforts of the province

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Technical assistance: Moses Frimpong

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On Friday, Patricia Fell, Artistic Director of Windsor Feminist Theatre  was in the studio to talk about the theatre and the production of Riveter, which will debut May 10 during this year’s MayWorks 2012: A Celebration of Labour, Arts and Community. In the second half hour I spoke with Marion Overholt, staff lawyer with Legal Assistance Windsor and a community activist. Recently she presented a report to a social assistance review panel  (Income Security Advocacy Centre) and she gave some insight on what is shaping up to be mean times in the province if one relies on government income support, including Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Pension.

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“Windsor Feminist Theatre, a non-profit theatre company founded in 1980, is recognized as one of the nation’s first feminist theatre organizations and is among the oldest organizations of its kind in Canada. Throughout its existence, WFT has written, created, developed, produced and presented socially relevant and groundbreaking theatrical productions. With an aim towards the stimulation of inclusive and challenging discussions, WFT’s productions have consistently presented issues as they relate to the diversity of all women. WFT is also committed to provide theatre-related employment for local theatre artists and technicians through specialized community workshops and original productions.” The Windsor Feminist Theatre began as Woman of Windsor, a non-profit organization formed in 1978 by Pat Noonan.

In this clip Fell eloquently describes her life as a worker and artist and the state of the creative arts in general:
Fell read an excerpt from the play in which the character Judith describes the effort to get people involved in the war effort:

“RIVETER”, an original Canadian play examining women, war work, and propaganda, based on local history and proudly produced by Windsor Feminist Theatre.

May 10 and 11 at 8PM @ The Downtown Mission Theatre, 664 Victoria Ave.

Pay what you can, non-perishable food items welcome at the door.


This week will see both an Ontario budget and a federal budget released. The fallout from the recession still bodes ill for the working class while the wealthiest 1% rack up huge profits and war and threats of war abound. Marion Overholt, on behalf of the Legal Assistance of Windsor, presented a submission to the social assistance review panel mentioned above and in it she called for the need for income support and to bolster it. This includes repealing a clawback of Ontario Child Benefit and for the indexing of the minimum wage.
In this clip Overholt describes the circumstances around the review and the need – the increasingly desperate need – to have decision makers think in terms of adequacy instead of legislating poverty, in order to truly meet the needs of people:
Here, Overholt describes the social assistance regime as systemic injustice that fails to empower people:
Featured CDs

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Mar. 16: Ed Bianchi and Indigenous rights in Canada; local musician Rayven Howard in studio

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Technical Assistance: Moses Frimpong

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Perhaps no other group of people have experienced  more injustice and marginalization than Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Recently, news from Attawapiskat (Blog post)  on the west shore of James Bay was a big media event for the exposure of the poverty there, and also provided another look into the mindset of the Harper government as he scapegoated those who spoke out against in justice. The news cycle has come and gone and one could think another issue has been solved and everyone has moved on. What the Attawapiskat news also did was to once again expose the dire need to provide equal and equitable funding for indigenous people and their communities. Also begging an answer is why can’t there be discussions on building a new relationship based on “dialogue, partnership, respect, and equality” (email) between Canada and First nations. On the phone from Ottawa was Ed Bianchi, Indigenous Rights Program Coordinator with Kairos Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives.

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KAIROS is a NGO that unites Canadian churches and religious organizations to “advocate for social change” [and]…  to reflect on issues of common concern in the public sphere. We discussed the current housing solutions, the Indian Act, the Truth and Reconciliation process, and the Harper government.


Click image to link to the TRC site

Bianchi comments on the housing solution so far:

The Indian Act is an obstruction for the legitimate aims of Indigenous people in Canada and Bianchi explains why:

Bianchi’s description of the official apology from Canada to First Nations people in this country begins this segment describing Kairos and the Truth and reconciliation process and the UN’s reporting (and HERE) on Canada’s failure to provide justice to First Nations people:

Bianchi provides a personal reflection and describes his history with Kairos:

Rayven Howard (Photo: Moses Frimpong) Click image for her YouTube page

“Song with No Name” and Quiet Riot:

Rayven Howard came into the studio and played for us. She also discussed the local music scene and what it’s like as a young musician paying the bills and engaging in creative work:


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March 9: Kerry Preibisch and women migrant workers; Shaista Akbar&Ayoun Basharat: Human Rights and Sharia Law

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This month I’ll be looking at various topics that feature work by women in honour of International Women’s Day, marked on March 8th. On Friday’s program I discussed the plight of migrant workers in general and women migrant workers in particular with Dr. Kerry Preibisch, Associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Guelph. She was also a researcher with the Rural Women Making Change research project. Her research includes “international labour migration and global agro-food systems; gender, migration and development; and im/migrant communities in rural Canada.” Preibisch and colleague Evelyn Encalada published an  information guide on Migrant Women Farm Workers in Canada, readers may find useful.

Link to research paper that instigated this story.

Hoeing weeds is backbreaking work on a farm near Wallaceburg in July, 2008. Photo: Jennifer Luckhart

In this clip, Preibisch describes the Rural Women Making Change research project and the specific challenges women migrant farm workers face:

Preibisch describes entering this field of research and what she has found: 


In the second half hour of the program, Shaista Akbar, former director of UWindsor’s Womyn’s Centre and currently Communications Coordinator with University of Windsor Student Alliance, and Ayoun Basharat, President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association talked about a conference occurring next week on campus: Human Rights and Sharia Law, Wednesday March 14th.

Religion and human rights are important and sensitive topics and the idea of religious law causes extreme discomfort for many people who believe in the separation of church and state. It seems a conversation must take place to see how the secular and multicultural Canadian reality can accommodate other cultural and religious values. In this clip, Shaista Akbar explains why this seminar at this time: 

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As well, the Shafia murder case shocked Canadians who will ask for many years how parents and siblings could use murder as a solution to a perceived loss of  honour. In this clip, Shaista Akbar comments on the difficulties of immigrant families in light of the recent court case of the Shafia family:

Akbar also commented that honour killings are un-Islamic:

Further reading on Sharia Law and Human Rights was found here

Featured CD:

Sample track of STTP (Speak Truth to Power:

March 2: Organizers of Palestinian Human Rights Week at UWindsor; Democracy Watch’s Tyler Sommers on robo-call election fraud

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For the last two years The ShakeUp was sure to cover what had become known on campuses around the country as Israeli Apartheid Week – a time to press for recognition of Palestinian human rights in Gaza and the occupied West Bank. We had to go to David Heap, or Wendy Goldsmith in London, On., or Sandra Ruch in Toronto to talk about activities on other campuses. (NOTE: THE SOURCES MENTIONED HERE WERE FOR INTERVIEWS ABOUT THE CANADA BOAT TO GAZA. GEORGIA LUYTE WAS A ShakeUp SOURCE FOR INFORMATION ON ISRAELI APARTHEID WEEK IN 2010).

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This year, thanks to a lot of hard work, Palestinian Human Rights Week kicks off on Mar. 5th here on campus. In the studio to discuss the week and what it was like to organize it all were Hagar, Mohamad, and Hassan, all students at the University of Windsor.

The group discussed the name change from Israeli Apartheid Week to Palestinian Human Rights Week:

Hagar described finding allies on and off campus during the work on organizing the week, and how she answers critics of the movement to recognize the rights of the Palestinian people:

The complete agenda for the week is available on the poster on the right of the blog.

Hagar, Mohamad and Hassan in the CJAM studio.


No doubt many listeners have been following “Robo-call-gate”. The media seems to be doing its job of investigating the charges of election fraud even as the Prime Minister claims his party is the victim of a smear campaign. A fundamental premise of a democracy, it really should go without saying, is elections free from any kind of interference. On the phone from Ottawa was Democracy Watch coordinator Tyler Sommers.(Twitter: @tylersommers).

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In this clip, Sommers describes what is known so far as to the scope of the robo-calling effort:

Part of the problem with our electoral system is that Elections Canada is too secretive and Sommers explains how the agency can be made more accountable:

The role of the media is critical to our understanding of this issue and citizens have a responsibility as well to keep the media on the job:

Sommers made sure to mention the dire consequences for this country if this affair is allowed to disappear from the news cycle with no one held to account. All of us are being called upon to take a stand for fair and open elections. Mr Harper has skated away from contempt of Parliament, and his regime has been implicated in the torture of Afghan civilians and is currently banging the drums of war with Iran. With this track record, the possibility of rigging elections is not far fetched. Mr Harper’s response is typical of his arrogance and open disrespect for people who disagree with him: catch me if you can.

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International Women’s Day is March 8


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