Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Montreal Simon: Remembering Jack Layton and the New Orange Tsunami

It's hard to believe that it's now been four years since Jack Layton died, and the hopes of so many turned to sadness.And yesterday evening, when I returned from the island to the ferry dock named after him, I paused for a moment before this statue in my neighbourhood.

I didn't stay long because I pass the statue almost every day. Anything I had to say I said long ago. Like thank you, or how cruel life can be.But I did stay long enough to think that wherever that happy warrior's spirit roams, it must be singing. (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Remembering Jack Layton and the New Orange Tsunami

PostArctica: Symposium d’Arts Interculturels S.A.I. Part 1

From the Facebook page.

“Taking “traditional culture” as its theme, this 1st edition of Verdun’s “Intercultural Arts Symposium” (SAI) will explore the role of traditional art in Montreal communities.

This event will bring together artists from the Greater Montreal area who take an interest in various traditional art forms in their respective neighbourhoods.

The artwork, which will be created on site, will embody the artists’ perception of the banality, intimacy and social aspect of everyday life.

The 2015 Verdun Intercultural Arts Symposium is an opportunity to spend two days outdoors with artists who will be sharing their views on art, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: 11 Weeks of Daily Harper Protests

The Harper Re-election Disaster Bus Totalitarianism: daily, for 11 weeks!

Get used to this.

People hate Harper and his Conservatives. We will see through his weak attempt to wedge oppositions parties by running a long election campaign because he has more money to spend.

Saturation will come fast.

We will remember how much contempt he holds for people and democracy.

We will listen to his 5 non-answers to 5 media questions each day and we will be constantly reminded of how much we can’t stand what he has done to Canada.

And we will see this. Every day:

Harper campaign (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- tcnorris highlights how the Cons’ gratuitous cuts are undermining their hopes of staying in power. And Eric Pineault discusses the costs of austerity for Quebec in particular and Canada as a whole: (C)utting into spending slows down growth and keeps the economy in a stagnation trap. The resulting underemployment equilibrium puts a lot pressure on household revenues just as those same households are getting into debt. We are thus faced with a second paradox: in a stagnating economy, trying to use austerity to reduce public debt also translates into an increased burden of (Read more…)

Terahertz: Multiculturalism, interculturalism and secularism

I want to promise this won’t become a habit but sometimes it seems easier to just Tweet a bunch of random thoughts about an issue that I can collate and publish as a Storify. So here’s my latest.

[View the story "Multiculturalism, interculturalism and Secularism" on Storify]

Politics, Re-Spun: My Canada Includes…The Future!

Inspired by Nora Loreto [again], I am starting to frame my vision for what Canada should be after C-51, the TRC report and the October 19, 2015 federal election.

Here are my initial thoughts:

I’d love it for the very foundation upon which Canada [sic] is built, to crumble! We can start a national dialogue to re-imagine it, but way better than for 1982. This time, let’s go with:

– a distinct Quebec society– First Nations at the table as equals– repeal C-51 and get our Charter back– repeal the Indian Act– no Senate– (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Unblocked

In response to the apparent return of Gilles Duceppe to federal politics, I’ll offer a quick rerun on the state of the Bloc Quebecois: Once the 1995 referendum was in the rear-view mirror, however, the Bloc recognized that it would need to stand for more than sovereignty alone. And so it developed a strategy of running hard against the government of the day (which was always its strongest Quebec opponent) and serving as an opposition on behalf of Quebec alone.

That strategy was highly effective at stoking frustration against sitting governments. But in the last few election cycles, it proved (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Austerity and economy in Quebec (transcript)

On last week’s podcast, I interviewed two researchers from Montreal’s IRIS, or the Insitut de recherché et d’informations socio-economiques, which has now been producing important progressive research for 15 years. This conversation with Julia Posca and Eve-Lyne Couturier is a great introduction to Quebec’s experience with austerity, the resource extraction agenda and popular organizing against both. Here’s the (almost) full transcript of that interview, edited for clarity and length.

Michal Rozworski: Why don’t we start with this little white book, “L’austerite au temps de l’abondance” that was recently published in Quebec. The title translates roughly as, “Austerity in a time of prosperity”. (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Podcast: Austerity and economy in Quebec


Many in English Canada recognize the CCPA, but relatively few know of IRIS. Tucked away in an old Montreal school that has been repurposed as a home for a wide array of social enterprises and NGOs, IRIS, or the Insitut de recherché et d’informations socio-economiques, has now been producing important progressive research in French for 15 years. Sadly little known outside Quebec, IRIS and its researchers have explored everything from widening inequality to resource extraction to the damage that austerity has done to Quebec’s historically more robust welfare state.

This week, I sat down with Julia (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: It’s hardly like winning the daily double.

Back in March Babel-on-the-Bay commented on how sad it would be if Pierre-Karl Pèladeau won the Parti Quèbècois leadership in Quebec and Patrick Brown won the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership in Ontario. We need be more careful in what we do not wish for.

Both these men are giants only in their own minds. They won their respective prizes by an average of about 60 per cent of the votes. Both are in their party’s driver seat on sufferance. Neither has ever shown any skills in leadership or in political policy direction. And neither of them has ever shown any (Read more…)

PostArctica: Casseroles Tonight

Every Thursday night at 7, Casseroles in front of the church. Small but fun crowd tonight, hope to see you there soon!!

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: For the Quebec lovers #nlpoli

We’ve got two recent pieces on events in Quebec.

Don Macpherson explains why the student “strikes” aren’t really strikes at all.

And for all those people still cheering about the great student resistance to austerity in Quebec,  Paul Wells explains what austerity in Quebec means.


PostArctica: Cabane a sucre in Verdun

Becoming a tradition as this is the 5th installment. And after this long cold neverending winter it is great to get out and see tons of people on the street. Cabane a sucre is often translated as “sugar shack” and it is a part of Quebec culture – harvesting maple syrup and basically turning it into a party. It can also be referred to as “sugaring off” but I will leave that to your imagination. Quebec produces about 85% of the world’s maple syrup.

Really good turnout.

The inevitable petting zoo

*Buy me more*

Bit of a clash between rural (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: PostArctica: Cabane a sucre in Verdun

Canadian Dimension: Quebec’s long struggle to build a democratic left party

Photo by abdallahh

Introduction by Richard Fidler

There is probably no one more qualified to describe the 60-year struggle in Quebec to build a democratic and progressive left party than Paul Cliche. As a journalist and union activist, Cliche (who will be 80 years old in May of this year) was at various times a member of the Parti social-démocratique (PSD), the Parti socialiste du Québec (PSQ), the Front d’action politique (FRAP), the Mouvement socialiste (MS), and is currently a prominent member of Québec solidaire (QS). Paul Cliche pic

In the following interview, Paul Cliche presents his analysis of the (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper’s Totally Disastrous Day of Political Devastation

It seems only appropriate that the only thing Stephen Harper tweeted yesterday, was a little video of himself learning the proper way to pour beer in Ireland.Because I'll bet Great Leader was pouring himself more than a few last night, after what had to be an absolutely disastrous day for him and his ghastly Cons.The day when his campaign of fear and bigotry came back to bite him. And he shot himself in the foot. Read more »

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Don’t Be A Scared Tool

Here’s a song for radicalized Canadians to sing.

I’m white and scared (clap clap) They want my guns (clap clap) And veils are wrong (clap clap) Except on nuns! (clap clap)

“I’m white and scared (clap clap) you know it’s true (clap clap) I’m scared of terror (clap clap) Because I’m a tool (clap clap).”

— Hat tip to Jay Bird

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Following up on last week’s column, Frances Ryan laments the UK Conservatives’ choice to inflict needless suffering on anybody receiving public benefits: During seven weeks of undercover work at a universal credit contact centre in Bolton, Channel 4 journalists witnessed a farcical mess of centralised IT failure. But what really stood out were the underhand tactics DWP staff were found to use against claimants: from deliberately withholding hardship payments from people struggling after having their benefits sanctioned, to hiding the flexible fund put in place to pay for clothes or a (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: The DWR Sunday Religious Disservice – The Judge and the Hijab

I’m always impressed with La Belle Province and her ability to serve up controversy. Recently a judge in Quebec decided that a hijab was considered not to be suitable attire for her courtroom and dismissed a case when the litigant refused to comply with her request. The judge’s words courtesy of the CBC:

“Hats and sunglasses for example, are not allowed. And I don’t see why scarves on the head would be either,” Marengo says in the recording.

“The same rules need to be applied to everyone. I will therefore not hear you if you are wearing (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Anonymous Targets Montreal Police For Attacking The Homeless

Online hacktivist collective Anonymous has declared war on the Montreal Police after the force bulldozed a homeless shelter in Viger Square.

The post Anonymous Targets Montreal Police For Attacking The Homeless appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Carbon49 - Sustainability for Canadian businesses: From Ground to Store: We Look at Carbon Neutral Wines

When you see a product that says carbon neutral, what does it mean? I recently enjoyed a bottle of Italy’s number one selling wine in Canada, Santa Margherita’s Pinot Grigio. Each bottle has a green label that says “Carbon neutral from ground to store. Measured and offset with Carbonzero”. It is produced in Italy, imported into Canada by Lifford Wine, and certified by Carbonzero as carbon neutral. I investigate its Italian supply chain and production, shipping to Canada, and sales and consumption in Canada to learn what it means to be carbon neutral.

Carbon neutrality, or having a (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: The NDP’s 7% problem

The NDP’s biggest problem electorally isn’t a question of policy or values or leadership or connecting with voters or just about anything else perennially brought up to explain their difficulties in the polls both federally and provincially across Canada. Their big problem comes down to one stat: only 7% of Canadians think they will win the next federal election, less than a fifth the number the Liberals get. If nobody thinks they can win, there are going to be hordes of theoretical supporters who will vote instead for the person they think might win, typically a Liberal.

Of all the (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Energy East—another reason why we need Quebec

Among the arguments that might be made to keep Quebec in Canada is simply that it’s our most progressive province. One can cite ample of evidence for this: it showed the strongest support for the Kyoto Accord and gay marriage, it has the most advanced child care program, it is probably the major reason we said no to the Iraq war … the list goes on.

Earlier this month, the province

Canadian Dimension: Cacouna, Couillard and the Ties that Bind

Photo from Public Domain

It’s an evening like any other. The first item on the Téléjournal is about the controversial Cacouna oil port project. The journalist speaks to citizens in favour of and opposed to the project. Then the spokesperson for TransCanada, the project’s sponsor, appears onscreen. His talking points aren’t particularly noteworthy, but his face is strangely familiar. I’ve seen it before, but where? For hours, the question nagged at me. Later that evening, it came to me in a flash: we had crossed paths during the summer of 2012 in Quebec, during negotiations between the student movement (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Linda McQuaig discusses the radical difference between how Canadians want to see public resources used (based on the example set by governments elsewhere), and the determination of the Cons and their corporate allies to instead fritter away every dime of fiscal capacity the federal government manages to find: Last week, Germany completed its plan to provide free university tuition to all its students. It’s an idea that no doubt would excite the hopes and dreams of young people in Canada — which explains the need to snuff it out before it catches on.

Certainly, (Read more…)