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The Invisible Truth: 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Second Whore Derv of Canada goes to....


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The second Whore Derv of Canada goes to Peter A. Crossgrove. Peter is a corporate Director of Barrick Gold, the largest gold production company in the world. Some of of you may think, well that’s all you need to write, but that’s not entirely fair, is it? If you have been left of centre for over a decade, you might remember the many protests of Barrick that emanated from their operations in Bolivia in the 1990s and evoked solidarity ripples all across the hemisphere. Peter has been a director at Barrick since 1993. While these protests have for the most part waned, and Barrick claims many measures of corporate social responsibility through both their website and other sites, Barrick is far from a corporate angel. As recently as January, Norway’s Finance Minster announced the Norway Pension Fund’s withdrawal from investment in Barrick, to the tune of 300 million dollars. The withdrawal of one of the largest Pension Funds in the world from Barrick’s operations came after their Council of Ethics determined that Barrick’s activities, especially in Papua New Guinea, were not environmentally sustainable. To read an article on these activities; among which are dumping mine waste directly into rivers, something forbidden according to United Nations Environmental agreements; visit this website:
Barrick&PapuaNewGuinea

Barrick currently runs many mines all over the world, and they are currently developing mines in the Dominican Republic, the border of Chile and Argentina, and northern Nevada. Their development in Nevada has been contested by various Shoshone tribes, as well as Environmental activist groups such as the Great Basin Resource Watch. While the state Court of Nevada overturned their plea to stop the expansion of the Cortez mine to include part of Mount Tenabo, a sacred mountain for the Shoshone, they appealed. On Dec. 9, 2009, the case went to Supreme Court in San Francisco. It had been waged on two fronts: a lack of research into environmental impact according to the National Environmental Policy Act, and the obstruction the mine represents to the Shoshone in the practice of their religion. In Supreme court, the previous decision was overturned on the grounds of environmental impact, but not on the grounds of the freedom of the Shoshone to practice their religion. For more information on this case, consult this website:
Nevada

Why Mr. Crossgrove, and not Peter Munk, the founder and chairman of Barrick’s board of directors, who himself won an Order of Canada? Or why not the Right Honorable Brian Mulroney, who sits on Barrick’s board of directors as well? Well, Mr. Munk offsets his corporation’s dirty fingers with philanthropy, and Brian Mulroney has sufficiently disgraced himself over bribes he accepted from Karlheinz Schreiber during his tenure as Prime Minister. Since we here at the Invisible Truth believe in spreading both wealth and honor, as well as shame and depravity, we give this award to Peter Crossgrove. Having an extensive history with Barrick, while the new C.E.O and president Aaron Regent has only worked with Barrick since the Norway withdrawal in January, Peter has presided over and shared responsibility for more environmental degradation and cultural insensitivity to the globe’s indigenous peoples than most of his other colleagues. Gregory Wilkens, former C.E.O and Vice-Chairman, died on December 16th, and it pleases us not to speak ill of the dead.

Congratulations Peter! We wish you the best in continuing your ruthless extraction of the world’s oldest and most dependable commodity from the earth while trampling the rights of indigenes and dumping heavy metals into watersheds. Your ass makes us tremble with delight!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Drum Roll Please... The First Whore Derv of Canada goes to...


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The first Whore Derv goes to a person who has been in the midst of a political fracas in Canada. Before we reveal who the winner is, however, a little history is in order. Lester B. Pearson, the only Canadian Prime Minister to win the Nobel Peace Prize (a sometimes dubious honour, no doubt), established Canada’s reputation as a country that was dedicated and skilled at resolving conflict and peacekeeping. Although various governments have stretched the meaning of peacekeeping into the realm of peacemaking, the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan has gone beyond even peacemaking into outright war.

Canada has recently been accused of breaking international laws by none other than the Canadian diplomat to Afghanistan. As few teeth as these laws might have in reality, the UN is still used with varying degrees of effectiveness to pressure countries to improve their behaviour with regards to human rights. The specific laws claimed to have been broken are those governing torture, and the law transgressed is that nations must not knowingly transfer detainees to organizations who are known to use torture to extract information from detainees. The evidence coming out from former diplomat, Richard Colvin suggests that Canada‘s Armed Forces (CAF) have done exactly that. Richard Colvin’s accusations have been substantiated by EU diplomats with experience in the region as well.

Peter McKay, the present defence minister, has denied that the CAF has handed over detainees knowing full well that they would be tortured. He said in a speech, part of which was aired on CTV’s eleven o’clock news on November 22, 2009, that “it cannot be proven that any Taliban detainee was tortured after having been handed over to Afghan authorities.” Notice that he doesn’t deny that such a thing ever happened in his hair-splitting rhetorical parry. He says simply that it cannot be proven. Then again, we can’t prove that blue is really blue after all, can we Peter? And notice how he uses the hot-button word “Taliban” as a modifier to the more neutral “detainee.” When you have no rational justification, emote, emote, emote!

Canada has been criticized (and the more sane citizens have also
contributed to some degree of self-criticism to the nation’s credit) over its current government’s refusal to abide by the now dated Kyoto Protocol. Not only that, but the Conservative government of which Mr. McKay is a part declines participating in the new initiatives sparked by the growing global consensus of the need for policy changes geared towards lowering carbon output. In a country where a large majority consider the environment the most important political issue, this is unacceptable.Add a faltering human rights record to the mix, one so diligently built by Pearson, Paul Hellyer, and Léo Cadieux, among others, and we have a precipitous slide in Canada’s international reputation, one of the sources of our national pride.

Peter McKay is the first winner of the Whore Derv of Canada. His rhetoric has gone to great lengths to cover his own ass and that of his cronies in Afghanigate after the vice squad has broken into the pay-by-the-hour motel where he was peddling ????? And, according to the demagogues of might, Canada was there to train the Afghan military? He he he he he . . . Oops. I suppose we can take comfort in the fact that we can still rant in retrospective ire about Bush and about how we didn’t actually torture anyone with some degree of justification, but really. Taking comfort in someone else’s failure does not make you any more of a success. And is it any wonder that with plans to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2011, the Canadian government has decided to pull itself up by its bootstraps to grow opium poppies for the bourgeoning pharmaceutical industry?


Congratulations, Peter!



Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Whore Derv of Canada

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Here at the invisible truth, we are embarking upon a new chapter. For the next few weeks, or until we get bored with it, or until you help me blow it up into the next interweb sensation and I can quit grad school, we will be devoting a virtual award to various Canadians who we would like to see receive a public spanking. The title of this award is the Whore Derv, a play on both the prestigious Order of Canada awards, and Hors D'ouevres, little bits of deliciousness that can serve as an appetizer for deeper thought. Plus, the award recognizes the extent to which the recipient is willing to really put his or her ass out there on the not-so-free market and compromise most things decent in humanity. The award also recognizes the Darwin Awards as a precursor, although we at the Invisible Truth think it is much more fair to mock the living than the dead, because the living at least have a chance to defend themselves. In the next week or so, I will be working on designing the icon to represent the award, like a little Oscar, only it will be a sexified slutty dervish.


No offense is intended, of course, to those hardworking sex-workers who continue to be denied legitimacy in Canada because of whitebread bourgeois pseudo morality. Too left, you say? We say you're being too stubborn or stupid to think outside of that whole ridiculous spectrum in the first place! Go left, er, I mean West, young thing. Let's not be coy about the whole situation here. You ARE a THING. As soon as you sell your labour on the market, boom! You ARE a THING among other things.

We at The Invisible Truth are looking for both suggestions and submissions. If you want to submit a Whore Derv award speech, we would love to read it and consider it, although I will not guarantee you I will publish it. And if you want to lampoon a figure on the left, that's fine too, but make it funny and intelligent.

Suggestions, queiries, and submissions (in .doc format please) can be sent to trevor.cunnington@gmail.com





Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Guitar


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La Guitar





I am the head held high, the invasion of aspirations to become part of the world, to catch up with its spinning; I will the mysticism of movement, the self-love of grace, the lovesick bliss of moons too subtle to behold; I move not only bodies, but souls, the emotions in them kicking and straining to the sound of fingers sea-sawing across ore dredged up from the earth and stretched into strings that sing into the anti-matter of the universe and draw out its anti. The air holds the memory of each of our positions for a moment before it disappears into the warm sheath of metabolism. I am the pleasure given unto people by the empty body of trees sacrificed to the health of a community, the dark cloud spreading around the head of the player, on which we can dance to remember the reasons we are.

drawing by Cecil Carriere, Paris. Prose poem by Trevor Cunnington, Toronto.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Against Atheism, Chapter 2

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4. Canada was the third nation in the world to legalize homosexual marriage, and churches were important in the movement to legalize same-sex marriage, thanks to Reverend Hawkes and Cheri Dinovo, who both performed same-sex marriages before they were recognized by law. And this is far from the only progressive movement in which churches have been invaluable. Take for example, the advocacy of the Anglican Church for the Lubicon, who have had their land claims violated by the greedy pursuit of oil in Alberta. Canada has been criticized by a United Nations working group on this account. Or take the recent stance of the United Church on behalf of beleaguered Palestine against the expansionist and colonial Israeli state-enterprise. And before the knee-jerk charge of anti-semitism can be leveled against me for praising that stance, remember the Jews against the Occupation (www.jewsagainsttheoccupation.org). In other words, I think there is considerable evidence that churches have done lots of work to further the cause of social justice in the world. Pray tell, why should I, who values human rights and social justice, give credence and legitimacy to a doctrine that attacks the very source and motivation for this social justice work?

5. I cringe to think what would happen to the most vulnerable members of our own society should atheism continue succeeding in its relentless war against religion. The anti-poverty movement has constantly been ministered by churches from the founding of the Salvation Army, to countless church-administered soup kitchens. Who, after all, feeds the poor in our urban centres? In large part, it is Churches. Again, the atheist attack on religious doctrine fails to take into account the vital aspects of church practice. In other words, what churches do is as important as what its members believe. The implications of the gradual erosion of churches as social institutions are far-reaching, and I think the success of atheism in undermining churches has some very unpleasant and as yet unexplored social Darwinist and eugenic tendencies, such as the elimination of the aforementioned impoverished, vulnerable urban citizens. Furthermore, Harvard professor John Putnam has recognized that the decline in church participation has contributed to the erosion of social Capital, which McGill University ethics professor Margaret Somerville characterizes as “embedded trust” – “how much confidence people have in one another. Higher social capital correlates with fewer social problems.” (Lorimer, Gasher, & Skinner 2008). Churches, above and beyond any kind of doctrine, provide a social context for the building of community, and for that alone they are valuable.

6. Science and Religion are not mutually exclusive. This also refers to the aforementioned naïve view of history that some atheists seem to harbor. The antagonism between them is a relatively recent phenomenon. Some of the greatest scientists ever were also devout believers, among them Einstein, Newton, and Avicenna. Indeed, some of the early natural history tomes were published by Church organizations, such as The Life of an Insect: An Account of Insect Habits and Manners (1850), which was published by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Mind you, there is a very Christian flavor to this text, but it does feature empirical observation and experimentation as methods to treat its objects of study.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Against Atheism, Chapter 1.5

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3. Many atheists have not even bothered to engage with theological scholarship and/or liturgical hermeneutics. This is especially true of subcultures that systematically misidentify the exoteric readings of scripture as somehow essential to religion, such as the gay press, for example. As a gay man, I certainly sympathize with their attacks on hatred emanating from certain religious groups, religious groups that usually emphasize exoteric, or literal, scriptural interpretation. But it is a false generalization to take this hate and turn it back on all manifestations of religion, rather than the specific groups that promote hate against queers. Hate has never been an appropriate response to hate very successfully. Dear gay press: such a thing as queer theology actually exists, and better than that, it is a fairly sophisticated and positive phenomenon.. Spiritual scriptures are not immune to the diversity of interpretation that characterizes all language. Furthermore, consciousness itself is historical; it does not remain static through time, and it is through consciousness that the act of interpretation occurs. Please, for the sake of peace on earth, and harmony amongst human beings, let us level our anger and vengeance against the people who promote hate, rather than hastily dismiss and vituperate against multi-leveled spiritual verse and narrative that has been utterly de-contextualized from its historical and cultural origins by both fundamentalists, who tend to take the bible literally, and some atheists, who likewise take it literally and condemn it on this literal interpretation.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Against Atheism (Chapter 1)

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Reasons I hate atheism (from a former atheist)

1. 1. In atheist argumentation, the elevation of science to a good-in-itself, when it should never be a for-itself phenomenon, is profoundly disturbing. While the creationist’s evasion of evolution is bordering on delusional, many atheists who flog the dead evolutionary horse have a distorted view of science themselves. Science is not an ethos; it is a method. According to philosopher of science, Karl Popper, as a method science requires both verifiability and falsifiability. While I think verifiability itself is sufficient in many cases, Mr. Popper contends that falsifiability is of the essence of the method. As such, because evolution as a theory cannot be falsified in its macro-incarnations (the pop-sci dictum that we come from fishes), macroevolution evades the truth claim of the null hypothesis, and as such is not science according to Mr. Popper’s strict definition. It can, however, be verified and falsified in micro-incarnations, such as the famous moths in industrial English towns whose colour darkened and then lightened in a few generations, an adaptive camouflage according to the levels of pollution, which were sky-high by the end of the nineteenth centuries and substantially reduced through the seventies, following the cultural shift inaugurated in part by Rachel Carson’s environmental consciousness-raising classic Silent Spring. The way atheists wield distortions of evolutionary theory like weapons is distinctly unpalatable. The tendency of them to offer science as the appropriate substitute for religion is potentially dangerous in the sense that science unhampered by humanist values (which often find their origin in religion itself) has led to horrors such as the Nazi experiments, and the Japanese Manchurian human experiments, to say nothing of the atomic bomb itself.

2. 2. The stacked-deck fallacy is a structural characteristic of atheist arguments about the tendency of religion to generate conflict. That is, they point to religion as a root cause of war, which takes a very naïve view of history. That The Crusades, for example, were instigated by Christians against Muslims and vice versa is a popular bit of evidence they like to use, especially in the wake of 9/11 and the threat to the West represented by jihadist manifestations of Islam. Other motives for such conflicts, such as control over extremely strategic areas for global trade (such as Spain, Morocco, and the Middle East) are either summarily ignored or dismissed. Furthermore, the religious inspiration of figures such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has spent his life trying to heal the racial rift in South Africa and above all create peace and fellow-feeling, is conveniently ignored. That is, atheists often fail to take account of the religious inspiration taken by people who do great things for humanity, specifically with regards to creating peace rather than war. Their refusal to consider evidence that contradicts their argument is profoundly unscientific, a paradox considering their elevation of science as the appropriate replacement to religion.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Pigeons

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Pasek left a newspaper full of rice for the neighbourhood pigeons to peck at. His neighbour, Srinvatti, an East Indian grocer, loathed the pigeons because they shit all over the sidewalk in front of his store. Pasek understood the situation; every time Srinvatti went out and saw the cooing mass, he would swear loudly, and lately he had taken to jumping up and down on the spot and chasing the birds away with a broom.

Pasek felt only the slightest bit of remorse after the first fit that Srinvatti threw, after which he regarded his neighbour’s perturbation with an ironic smile. He didn’t continue feeding the pigeons out of spite; he merely enjoyed the sounds of their cooing close-by as he worked. That, and he was aware that birds often fell dependent on those that fed them, like the geese in the park who stayed the winter when people started feeding them, but died when the feeding sessions were discontinued.

As he went back into the store to do the daily inventory, the familiar swell of bird contentment accompanied him. He heard Srinvatti come out and start cursing his name, knowing that if he went outside right now, Srinvatti would smile his biggest “Hey neighbour, how goes it today?” smile without batting an eyelid.

He heard the invective stop suddenly. A moment later, Srinvatti redoubled his efforts to shoo the birds away with a torrent of oaths and by the swishing he heard, Pasek presumed the broom had been fetched. Pasek firmly strode to his own front door, infuriated with Srinvatti. Srinvatti had done the same thing for years, and it had never gotten under his skin like this before. Now his skin trilled and crawled with indignity. He opened his door abruptly, barely missing Srinvatti's stooped, bulky frame. Srinvatti's loose-fitting red pants swirled around the purple and irridescent vermilion speckled pigeons, erupting higgledy-piggledy in half-flights all around him.
Srinvatti swung around, his body bolt erect, and he stared sullenly at Pasek like a child caught lighting a newspaper on fire.

“Ach, why you always shoo birds away?”
“Dese piles of shit, it drives dee customers away. No one wants to step through bird shit when they’re shopping for nice sound.”
“Well I have store here too, and who could mind such creatures?”
“My customers complain. Customers always right.”
“Why don’t you come tell me you not like me to feed the pigeons?”

The corner of Srinvatti's mouth lifted in an uncertain, barely controlled sneer, but he didn’t answer. Pasek sensed that Srinvatti enjoyed madly sweeping away the small flock on some level. It never occurred to him to tell his neighbour the fondness he had for the birds.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Freud and the Death of Celebrity

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Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Walter Cronkite. The sheer volume of news dedicated to the deaths of these celebrities would sink the titanic easily. Oh right, the newspaper is dead; everyone gets their news in the immaterial world of the interweb. My laptop weighs like eight pounds. After carrying it around on my back for a year, I stopped because I was getting neck and back pains. Not so immaterial after all, eh? More to the point, what does this recent obsession with not just celebrity, but recently dead celebrity say about our hyper-mediated culture?

Michael Jackson’s death overloaded the internet, stretching its gargantuan bandwidth to the limit. Last week, 5 of the top 5, and 7 of the top 10 selling albums in Toronto were by Michael Jackson. The day he died, at least that many of twitter’s famous trending topics were dedicated to the man, the myth, the legend. The resurgent popularity of Michael Jackson pedophilia jokes aside, the outpouring of grief and love for one of the people who helped shatter the race barrier in popular music was astounding and nigh-impossible to avoid or ignore. I refuse to dispute his importance, or his talent.

Freud might say in one of his casual moments that celebrities are the externalized ideal egos of the masses. We project what we want for ourselves onto these porcelain deities to remind ourselves that our dreams our possible, achievable. Like latter-day Pygmalions, we animate celebrities with our own hopes, fears, anxieties, and desires. After this magic spell is cast, we mimic their style, hoping for a piece of their fame and glamour in our own comparatively drab lives, as the popularity of Farrah Fawcett’s Charlie’s Angels hairdo attests to. When they slip, we revel in their misfortune out of spite, envy, and ultimately because it is not us falling so dramatically. If they recover, we are reminded of the strength of the human spirit, and vicariously it gives us strength for our own personal struggles.

Yet they are not uniformly ideal egos, as the widespread derision of Michael Jackson before he died attests to, excepting of course his hordes of loyal fans. Alas, some of his fans participated in the derision as well. Or consider Brittney Spears, a perfect negative role model; we can comfort ourselves with our paltry little lives because of the deforming effects of celebrity that seem so apparent after tales of her doomed relationship with K-fed and the subsequent custody brouhaha, or after tales of Gary Coleman’s meteoric descent from household imago to security guard. Ideal egos and scapegoats for our own underachievement, perhaps?

The obsession with their deaths can range from cashing in (note the rogue venders hawking Jackson T-shirts in the streets), the will-to-immortalize our ideal egos, or another occasion to celebrate, simple and plain. However, the pre-emption of living celebrities by the dead recently, the eclipse of the vital by the moribund, suggests something a little more sinister. In the death of our ideal ego, do we perhaps recognize a piece of ourselves dying? Michael Jackson died before his comeback; before he died he tried auctioning off some of his belongings to raise money for debts in Las Vegas. The bids for his gloves remained low: $100-$500. Farrah Fawcett died after a excruciating bout of cancer; no comeback lurked around the corner for her. But we still have episodes of Charlie’s Angels on retro tv stations and the Thriller LP continues to pump out Jackson’s sublime falsetto punctuations in clubs and homes. But we have invested these porcelain deities with our displaced humanity, and gone they are. Is this a wake-up call, an invocation of carpe diem, or rather the pathological avoidance of our own mortality through the ongoing immortalization of our ideal egos? Or perhaps it is the death drive usurping the pleasure principle in and through the commodification of celebrity itself, disarticulated from the living and breathing beings that produce it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thank You!

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Thank you to my readers: the best readers on the internet! It's been a while since I've done this, so let me remind you to click the google ads occasionally. It only takes a few seconds, and gives me a few pennies to compensate me for the work I put into this blog. I would like to salute my readers in Toronto in particular: it is a welcome change that most of my readers are now from the city where I live!


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Close Call

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So there were two people on the hill. A man and a woman. The man looked about ready to grab the woman's arm in a gesture of desire. But the navy blue dress she wore spilled out on the floor like a bloody puddle, and it was the same colour that backgrounded the blue-eyed interrogation room. A dove crashed into the double-sided glass. But the hill was burnt, see. It was burnt to a crisp. It hid all entities in its worm-holes, evacuated. There were people flying acrobatic kites and drawing geometry in the sky. I figure there was already geometry in the sky, but you know, I didn't think about it 'til I seen them kites there. But settle down, I'm tryin' a tell you a story. And all the memories of the people on the hill, they all butted proverbial heads, and all kinds of interference patterns emerged into their shared web of experience. Waves cancel out waves and such.

The desiring man walked down the hill, and if I was there, I might have heard him say to her, and trust, this is what I imagine is consistent with his character, and not what he said, because I wasn't there, after all. He might have said "there's a tree I know in this park; I've seen it once about four years ago when I was here" water splashes out of statuary turtles, into fountains, grace "and this tree is hollow" wind picks up vinyl kite in acceleration followed by upswings in voice volume, flapping "It was eaten out by a fungus, which symbiotically helped it deal better with wind in storms."

Indeed, its leaves were green, but you could crawl right in it. He set out down the bike path snaking down the back of the hill. Twenty minutes later, we smoked a cigarette inside this self-same tree. Almost burned it right down.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Ontario's Toxin Reduction Act and Blue Green Canada

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The United Steelworkers have partnered with the organization Environmental Defence to help initiate Ontario's Toxin Reduction Act, the first of its kind in Canada. The act provides incentives for municipalities looking to reduce their ecological footprints, specifically with regards to sewage, as well as providing lists of safer alternatives to companies that handle toxic chemicals.

As well, the Act requires that businesses employing at least ten people and handling at least 10, 000 kg of specified substances implement stringent measures to track the movement of these substances through the production, and distribution cycle. Companies are asked to come up with pollution prevention programs.

The two organizations have banded together in an initiative called Blue Green Canada, a combination of the previous "blue-collar" jobs with the new "green-collar" sector of the economy. The initiative seeks to create jobs, and both organizations argue that this Act will create green jobs to implement its various measures. They also laud the Act as a good protective measure of human health in the workplace.

While some of the measures instituted by the Act are voluntary, it follows on the heels of similar legislation passed in Massachusetts, which has reported successful results. There is also the potential here for partnerships between Blue Green and the post-secondary sector in order to place recent BSc graduates who might have sufficient expertise in neutralizing the threats of certain toxins or skirting the use of toxic substances altogether. The government could provide further incentives to reduce people's exposure to toxins and mitigate pollution by earmarking research funds for projects that specifically aim to develop non-toxic alternatives to the use of toxins, specifically with regards to chemistry and biology.

This novel initiative shows that unions are heeding the rapid changes in the economy and taking steps not only to protect current workers but to proactively create work, rather than clinging to older models of production.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

New Healthy Food Box Program in Montreal

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When I was growing up in the small city of Guelph Ontario, I was surrounded by inspiring artists, musicians, and an extremely progressive and innovative environmental activist community. Guelph was one of the first cities to achieve a three-tiered recycling program (wet, dry, non-recyclable) in North America, and it fostered a vibrant organic food movement, especially considering the University there is one of the premiere agricultural science schools in the world. When I was attending University there (for English, mind you, not agro-science), I enrolled in an organic food delivery service that delivered organic, local (when in season) produce to my doorstep. It was, however, fairly expensive. And I was a student, and thus somewhat underfunded. I figured that the extra money was worth it for supporting local farmers and the sustainability aspect of the production.

Guelph, however, is also characterized by a stout middle-class moralism that is unfortunately part and parcel of its counter-culture. Growing up there with a working-class background was not always easy. Class prejudice was, and I suspect still is, alive and well in quixotic Guelph as it is in many cities. That said, I reflected on the food that class marginal people receive through the food bank, to which I admittedly had to resort to survive sometimes. It was usually not of the highest nutritional value, and the produce was especially lackluster. It is fairly common knowledge that pesticides are carcinogenic, and vegetables are essential to a healthy lifestyle. I realized that in the commodity culture that we inhabit the label organic quickly became a marketable commodity with an often inaccessible price tag. I saw the need for some kind of grassroots organization between organic food producers, food banks, and the government (which would hopefully help with subsidization).

I tried to start such an organization that joined the arts community with the organic farming community in 1998. I remember even making preliminary contacts with the folks at the United Way. In hindsight, I think a lack of perseverance and practical skills on my part, combined with a social environment that willfully denied the class implications of poisonous food because of local pride hindered the organization from finding its legs. Perhaps ahead of its time, and out of place, this idea did not fully germinate. My interests shifted, as they often do, and I relegated this venture to the dustbin, slightly discouraged.

Fast forward to the present. An initiative has started in Montreal that addresses these very issues! It is called good food box, and it is being implemented by Moisson, Canada’s largest foodbank, who help to provide food and essential products to 112 000 people in Montreal. It buys produce in bulk from local farmers and distributors, and makes high-quality fruits and vegetables accessible to people in the lower-income brackets. Johanne ThJroux, who is Executive Director of Moisson Montreal, says “Because of the current economic crisis, many families have had to reduce that portion of their budget allotted to food. Families such as these are now able to ensure healthy nutrition through an accessible program which works hand in hand with local farmers in order to offer fresh fruit and vegetables at reduced prices.” But it is about more than food, as Theroux maintains: “Good Food Box therefore offers Montrealers the possibility to break out of their isolation and create community bonds. The program is being developed in Laval and on the South Shore and our objective is to distribute 40 000 boxes in 34 boroughs before 2011.”

People who register for this program are eligible to receive three different sizes of food box, depending on the needs of the family. The large box is $16, the medium box is $10, and the small box is $7. The boxes supply families with 5 daily portions of produce per person for one week according to the standards established by Canada’s Food Guide along with information and recipes for the produce. For more information, visit this website:

  • Moisson


  • This program has been assisted by Centraid of Greater Montreal, the Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation, and the Bombardier Aerospace Employee Fund. While it is rewarding to see my vision validated, and to know that Moisson is doing the important work of supplying those in need with healthy food, I think a more aggressive fundraising program could have eliminated the price altogether. Healthy food is a right, and by offering poor quality food for free while simultaneously offering healthy food for a price (no matter how affordable), you put it into the category of privilege

    Friday, May 01, 2009

    My Tweetfeed @ Pleonasticity

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    Pleonasticity

    1. already misses the everyone tab in the right sidebar.
    2. is eating his words often these days. Luckily at least some of them have nutritional value.
    3. finds the function of irony on twitter totally multivalent. Difficult to signal.
    4. Here's the scoop: http://tinyurl.com/dmobna re: Kenyan sex strike.
    5. @joshstuart I think smitherman should just resign period. He helped McGuinty with the erosion of workers rights re: York strike. #cdnpoli
    6. is impressed by the ingenuity of Kenyan women re: sex strike to make gov't function.
    7. lol@msntech. Swine flu goes viral? Well, duh......!!!!
    8. thinks when politicians think of themselves as something other than media for the execution of their constituents' will, democracy fails.
    9. is making a deal with the pigs: don't give me the flu, and I won't kill you and eat you.
    10. Air conditioning is not rocket science. Drill a few damn holes in the ground 100m deep that "share the air" with the basement.
    Go ahead! Follow me. You know you want to!


    Tuesday, April 28, 2009

    A cross section of Tweets

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    Marathon_JohnI am now convinced running shoe companies are screwing us over by making our feet weak and lazy. Less is more!

    HeeBGBz@Phillyberg How about Republicans must wear Asshats at all times. #majoritybitchezBighoodbossA NIGGA BLESSED TO BE HEAR U KNO,6 MONTHS AGO I WAS LAID UP IN THE HOSPITAL SHOT 5 TIMES BUT U SEE I DONE BOUNCED BK!! "HI HATERZ"

    siddman"Sometimes good people stay single. For a long time. It sucks, but what’s the alternative?" - Miss... http://tumblr.com/xuz1o71ucktcatJust saw a sign on a women's restroom door that read, "Wet floor." I wondered why you'd want to do that. It seems unhygenic.DavidSerraultThe Information Architect: a complexity strategist?
    MTtheGreatBut after all of these experiences, a responsible human being should want some type of growth

    Bubbinator3000I can't believe I'm "following" a dog.