As the Israeli bombardment of Gaza has extended more than a month, Palestine solidarity movements in Canada have shifted in tone and focus, reports Jeff Shantz.
The Vancouver Sun published a description on October 24 of the troubled man who killed a guard in Ottawa two days before and then entered Canada’s parliament building carrying his gun. The 32-year-old man, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, was shot and killed by police. The Sun reporters spoke to people who knew Zehaf-Bibeau while he lived in Vancouver during recent years. They described an angry and troubled man grappling with mental illness and drug addiction.
A rupture of the TransCanada PipeLines (TCPL) gas line occurred in the middle of the night on January 25 near the village of Otterburne. A huge fireball erupted into the night sky and burned for many hours. The explosion tore a large crater in the ground. Several thousand homes in 10 small communities were left without gas heating during temperatures that dipped to minus 30C. It took days for full service to be restored. The pipeline brings gas from Alberta to the US across the Manitoba-Minnesota international border. It feeds parts of southern Manitoba along the way.
As Rocky Mountaineer’s lockout of award-winning on-board staff enters its 10th month, ads are once again being placed to hire more scab workers. Rocky Mountaineer is Canada’s luxury tourist train that takes tourists throughout the summer months from Vancouver to the scenic Rocky Mountains. Nearly 40% of these visitors to Canada come from Australia. On June 22 last year, as the Rocky Mountaineer pulled into Kamloops for its overnight stop, regular staff were ordered off the train and sent back to their homes in Vancouver. One hundred and eight staff were locked out.
The incumbent Conservative Party sailed to victory in Canada’s federal election on May 2 with the first majority government in the federal Parliament since the 2000 election. There was celebration in the boardrooms across the country. The victory caps a decades-long drive by much of Canada’s business elite to fashion a strong national government around a hard-right agenda.
Seventy-five people staged a noisy rally in Vancouver on September 11 in support of 492 Tamil asylum seekers who landed on Canada’s west coast in August. The rally was organised by the Vancouver chapter of No One Is Illegal. The rally was held outside the Burnaby Youth Detention Center where many of the 63 women and 49 children who were on board the MV Sun Sea were held. (Burnaby is a suburb of Vancouver). Noisemakers and loud music were deployed to send a message to the asylum seekers that they have strong support in Canada for their claim for refugee status.
The Canadian province of Alberta is well known as a climate-destroying behemoth. The tar sands developments in its north are the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet. Less well known are the ambitions of its neighbouring province, British Columbia. It shares similar fossil fuel reserves and ambitions as Alberta. Vast coal and natural gas reserves are being opened at breakneck speed. Construction is underway or planned for accompanying road, rail, pipeline and supertanker transport routes.