July 13, 2012: Ryan Herriot on healthcare for refugees in Canada; Richard Sanders on Canadian pension investments in war industries

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I had a couple of issues lined up Friday that certainly point to the drift in the country toward increasing injustice and militarization. Ryan Herriot was in the studio with me and we talked about the mobilization of medical students and professionals to protest the Harper regime’s cuts to healthcare for refugees in Canada. Ryan Heriott is a third year medical student here at UWindsor. He helped organize a local rally at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada office on Walker Road a few weeks ago as part of a national protest against healthcare cuts to refugees in Canada.

In this clip, Herriot describes changes to the Interim Federal Health Program and how medical professionals and students mobilized:

As with any protest and rally it’s what happens next that can be a challenge and here Herriot outlines further plans to keep the pressure on  government ministers:

Related story of young man and former refugee kicked out of Conservative party BBQ where he tried to have Jason Kenny answer for cuts to healthcare for refugees is HERE

You can take action  by clicking on image below and uploading a picture of your support:

Also follow on Twitter: @JusticeSante

From Ryan Herriot: Health care providers “… are encouraged  to use this tool to document any adverse health outcomes of the cuts.  The data is being collected at a national level and will be used to hold press conferences and call the media and public’s attention to these impacts.  It will also likely be used in a research project to be written up and submitted to peer-reviewed publications (thereby logging it as evidence).” 


Pensions are often in the news these days mostly as will you have one when you retire, or losing it before you do retire if you have one. They used to be considered sacrosanct so workers could retire in dignity. Increasingly, pensions are invested in the stock market and pension managers are charged with finding the highest returns. This is leading us down a slippery ethical slope because Canadian pensions are increasingly heavily invested in war industries. Here we’re talking about the CPP, QPP, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Public Sector Pension Investments and the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System: the Big Five. It’s ethics vs. profits and with us was Richard Sanders, coordinator of the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) and editor of the related journal Press for Conversion. In the journal, information is detailed about pension investments in Israeli war industries and Sanders also reported in the recent issue of The Monitor, a publication of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, on investments of Canadian pension plans in the global arms industry.

Click image for Petition: Stop CPP investments supporting Israel’s military, police, prisons

In this clip Sanders outlines the extent of  pension investments in Israeli Apartheid and in the global arms industry:

Featured CD:

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Sample track – For the Summer:


June 3: Abayomi Azikiwe in Detroit and the extension of the US Patriot Act; Detroit fightback campaign

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Listen to entire program here: 

We were unable to connect with Richard Sanders of the Coalition Against the Arms Trade, and will have him on the program June 10 to catch up on the CANSEC  arms bazaar recently held in Ottawa.

In the first half hour we welcomed new OPIRG volunteer Victoria Townsend who will help produce the program, and went through local announcements:

Windsor Bicycling Committee

The Windsor Bicycling Committee is hosting a FREE BREAKFAST at City Hall, to kick off Bike To Work Week and promote cycling as a viable commuting option. The breakfast will be served from 6am – 10am by members of the committee and members of city council on June 6th, 2011, and the breakfast will take place at City Hall Square (University Ave. East, across from Charles Clark Square).

Bagels and cream cheese, coffee, juice and fresh fruit will be served to cyclists commuting to work or running errands by bike. Information about the various cycling clubs in Windsor, as well as info about Windsor’s current and future bike lanes and trails, will be available for those interested in learning more about cycling in Windsor. Free bike lights and bells will also be available for those looking to increase their safety while riding.

There will be a  Promotional Draw- one lucky winner will score a $300 gift certificate to a local bike shop! Tickets for the draw will be available at all of the Bike Month events happening in June… the more events you attend, the more chances you have at winning! The winner will be chosen on July 2nd, 2011, at the Downtown Windsor Farmers’ Market, at 10am.

 Bike to UWindsor, get breakfast!

June 7, 8 and 9th • 8:00am – 10:00am

Breakfast will be available for all campus participants from Tuesday to Thursday from 8:00 to 10:00am. There will be tables set up at the bike shelter directly in front of the main entrance to Essex Hall.

 OpenMedia.ca is preparing two major initiatives to help make the Internet in Canada open, accessible, and affordable.

July 11th – July 16th is the CRTC hearing on Internet metering. OpenMedia.ca will be appearing at the hearing to strongly oppose Big Telecom price gouging and will be encouraging all Internet loving Canadians to continue to sign the Stop The Meter petition.

In addition, in concert with the pro-Internet community we are preparing a major pan-Canadian campaign opposing a proposed “Lawful Access” crime bill. Internet Service Providers would be forced to create a blanket digital surveillance system, which law enforcement official would be able to access without a warrant. It would be akin to Ottawa setting up surveillance cameras in every home in the country that police would be able to turn on whenever they deem appropriate. It’s a serious affront to the open Internet.

To indicate how you would like to help stop Internet metering and warrantless digital surveillance visit:


In the second half hour we caught up with activist Abayomi Azikiwe in Detroit for his view on the extension of the US Patriot Act in the US. He also announced a fightback conference:

How the Banks Destroyed Detroit and How We Can Fight Back!

Saturday – June 11, 2011 – 9 AM to 3 PM

UAW Local 22 Hall 4300 Michigan Ave., Detroit (west of W. Grand Blvd.)

Lunch will be served – $5 donation; unemployed, students-$1; no one turned away

Sponsored by the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions, and Utility Shutoffs.

Music Featured:

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March 4: Coalition Opposing the Arms Trade; International Women’s Day at UWindsor; & OPIRG Windsor Referendum

Listen to the entire program here:

Music featured on the program: Billy Bragg: Don’t Try this at Home


Rhea’s Obsession: Between Earth and Sky


In the first half hour of the program we talked to Richard Sanders, coordinator of Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT), based in Ottawa. According to the organization’s website, “COAT is a national network of individuals and organizations in Canada that began in late 1988 to organize opposition to ARMX ’89, which was the country’s largest weapons bazaar. COAT’s first campaign led to Ottawa City Council’s 20-year ban on hosting arms bazaars on municipal property.

Since its formation, the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) has made significant contributions to Canada’s peace movement. As an Ottawa-based organization, supported by a network of individuals and groups across Canada, COAT made great headway in exposing and opposing many military export events held in the nation’s capital.

Over the years, other COAT projects included:

• Organizing major conferences on human rights, conversion and weapons trade-related issues.

• Non-Violent Play: Organizing opposition to war toys and violent games, and promoting cooperative children’s activities.

• Opposing Military Trade Events: Researching, writing, organizing opposition to military export events in Ottawa.

• Peace Links: Soliciting letters from NGOs in countries where Canada exports military equipment and distributing them in Canada.

• Nuclear Weapons Conversion: Researching Canadian nuclear weapons-related contracts and encouraging conversion.” http://coat.ncf.ca/about_coat/about_coat.htm


National shares of arms sales of the top 100 arms-producing companies in the world (excluding China)

Click image for more info: (Peace Pledge Union)

The organization produces the magazine Press for Conversion, with the results of research on Canada’s role in the weapons industry. We thought it timely to talk to Richard Sanders about COAT’s research into Canadian arms sales in the Middle East, a region in rebellion as the working class from Egypt to Libya are struggling to extricate themselves from dictatorships.

For Canadians it is not enough to say we support those fighting for justice – we also have to take a hard look at the Canadian arms industry and the role it plays in suppressing the legitimate rights of people fighting to be free.

Related story on the international arms trade is here.


Tuesday, March 8 marks the 100th International Women’s Day. Cassandra Thomas and Candy Spencer came in to the studio to talk about what’s up on campus on Tuesday. Events are co-sponsored by the Women Studies Student Association (WSSA) and The Womyn’s Centre at the University of Windsor.


A message on OPIRG Windsor’ Referendum

Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG-Windsor) is a student funded and operated campus organization. We are the only student funded organization on campus mandated to work on environmental and social justice issues. This is done through conducting public interest research, educating and raising awareness and taking action as directed by our volunteers.

OPIRG-Windsor was established by referendum in February of 1993 with a undergraduate student fee of $2.50 per semester but our fees have not increased since that time in spite of inflation over the last 17 years.

We wish to ensure that OPIRG can better maintain existing operations on campus and extend our services more extensively throughout the university and local communities.

Therefore we are requesting an increase of OPIRG-windsor fees by 50¢ per semester beginning in the academic year 2011/12 plus a cost of living allowance in subsequent years. Some examples of OPIRG’s work:

Windsor Animal Action Group (WAAG): works on a number of issues dealing with cruelty to animals and promoting vegetarianism.

Environmental Group: was instrumental in establishing the “University of Windsor Environmental Coalition” to help coordinate the activities of the different student groups. They worked with the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition on the “International Day for Action against

Climate Change” and World Water Day. They are continuing their work with the Coalition on the “Sustainable Campus Project.” They were also instrumental in establishing the “University of Windsor Environmental Committee” made up of faculty, staff and student reps to serve as an

Advisory Committee to the University of Windsor

Social Justice Group: working on Fair Trade & Poverty Issues. (It was through the efforts of OPIRG’s Social Justice Group that the University of Windsor began offering fair trade coffee)

Anti-Racism Group: offers a “Diversity Training Workshop” free to all students twice a year as well offering it to all first year Psychology students (approximately one thousand students. They also offer a “Diversity Trainer Certificate Program” free to all members students.

Stuff Swap: organized a campaign to collect and distribute the items of left by students who are moving out, such as furniture, clothing and appliances, which are in reusable condition, and are usually simply left out for garbage collection and sent to the landfill. The project organized a swap meet and a collection of items from residence that were donated to the diabetes society and Computers for Kids.

LGBT (Lesbian, Gay Bisexual & Transgendered) Issues Group started Out on Campus and helped to establish an LGBT Safe Space.

Women’s Issues Group examined gender inequality and women’s health issues.

Pesticide Action Group:worked with the WEAC (Windsor

Environmental Advisory Committee a sub-committee of City Council) to try and eliminate the use of cosmetic pesticides on school and city property.

South East Asia Group: worked in conjunction with the

East Timor Alert Network (ETAN) to lobby the Canadian government to stop selling arms to Indonesia, brought in speakers from East Timor, and participated in a successful boycott against Pepsi’s support of the dictatorship in Burma.

Radio Show (the Shake Up): every Friday at 4pm on CJAM 99.1 FM a talk radio show dealing with a variety of social justice and environmental issues

Solidarity on Campus: works to coordinate the activities of like minded progress groups on campus.

The OPIRG Exchange: Coffee House and Reading room at 372 California provide free fair trade coffee and tea and reading material, audio and visual media in a homey atmosphere.

We are running this referendum in conjunction with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) who will receive half the new funds we raise in the first year.