Archive for the 'Social Justice Fund' Category



PAKISTAN UNDER THE GUN
Perspectives on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law
Public Forum, Film Screening and Discussion

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007, 6:30 pm
Alma Van Dusen Room, Vancouver Public Library
350 West Georgia – between Homer and Hamilton(lower level -take elevator/stairs by main library entrance)
From Granville Skytrain Station: 2 blocks east on Dunsmuir, 1 block south on Homer

FREE EVENT:

Join us for a public forum and interactive discussion on human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Pakistan. Support the resistance of the Pakistani people!

Co-sponsored by the Vancouver and District Labour Council, India Pakistan Peace Network (IPPN), South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD), Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada. Endorsed by the PSAC International Solidarity Committee.

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Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs

justice for the philippines!Dear Minister Bernier:

On behalf of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, a national union made up of over 160,000 members, I am writing to express our grave concern regarding the appalling human rights situation in the Philippines under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In recent months, we have become aware of the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Philippines marked with extrajudicial killings and trade union repression from a variety of sources.

In March 2007, we heard from individuals who survived assassination attempts under the Arroyo government, such as Dr. Constancio Claver, who told of the political targeting and surveillance he experienced that ultimately resulted in the murder of his wife and attempted murder of himself and his daughter when they were ambushed in July 2006. He also shared his frustration with the Philippine National Police’s lack of investigation and prosecutions in his case.

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The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister:

On behalf of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, I am writing to express our grave concern and dismay regarding the imposition of a state of emergency and suspension of the constitution in Pakistan by the country’s military ruler and President, General Pervez Musharraf.

Musharraf’s dictatorial actions, including: the suspension of Pakistan’s Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and other members of the judiciary; bans against the media; and the suppression of fundamental democratic rights; have resulted in protests throughout Pakistan and growing condemnation from human rights organizations, trade unions and government leaders from around the world, including Canada.

The people of Pakistan have a long and vibrant history of fighting to protect civil society and democracy and have been on the frontlines of the struggle since a state of emergency was declared in the country. Pakistan’s military dictatorship has responded with wide spread detentions and arrests of lawyers, journalists, students and internationally respected human rights defenders such as Asma Jahangir.

On November 11, the Musharraf government amended the Army Act of 1952, allowing the army to court martial civilianspeaking out against the state with charges of sedition, treason and terrorism, with trials conducted through military courts. This most recent change in legislation signals a dangerous escalation in the regime’s long history of human rights violations by allowing the military to act with total impunity, and presents a very serious threat to justice and human rights in the country.

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Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo boasted of her country’s recent economic growth. However, a Philippine labour activist, during a visit to PSAC on October 11, explained that this growth has occurred amid a continuing increase in human and trade union rights violations.

“Human rights violations under the Arroyo regime has surpassed the record under the Marcos dictatorship,” says Arnel Salvador, the deputy executive director of the Workers Assistance Center (WAC) in Cavite province, Philippines.

Salvador’s one-month tour in Canada seeks to raise awareness among and gain support from Canadians, particularly the labour movement, for the Filipino workers’ struggles against the spate of labour repression and human rights violations under the Arroyo regime.

From the time Arroyo assumed power on January 20, 2001 until June 30, 2006, more than 60 leaders, members, organizers and supporters of trade unions and workers organizations have been killed. They are among the more than 800 victims of political killings of progressive activists and critics of the Arroyo regime. Aside from killings, other trade union violations include assaults on the picketline, illegal arrests and detentions, grave threats, intimidations, abductions and harassment. According to the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), an independent workers research institute in the Philippines, there were 982 cases of trade union and human rights violations victimizing 77,028 workers from 2001 to 2006.

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via BCFed

Minimum Wage buttonIn conjunction with the PSAC Leadership Training Conference taking place this week in downtown Vancouver, come and take part in the next petitioning event for the B.C. Federation of Labour’s $10 NOW campaign Sat. Oct. 20th.

  • Saturday, Oct. 20, 9:45 am to 12 noon
  • meet at the Port of the World room, Renaissance Hotel, 1133 W. Hastings, Vancouver then;
  • disperse to solicit signatures in downtown Vancouver

It’s an important event because the BC Fed is trying to get as many petition signatures as possible before Nov. 1 – the sixth anniversary of the last time B.C.’s minimum wage was increased. The event is being organized in conjunction with our leadership training conference and is designed to link PSAC leaders with activists who’ve been part of the minimum wage campaign and share skills.

The PSAC will host a lunch for all volunteers back at the Renaissance Hotel, and the BCFed will have a premium for all those who take part. If you’re interested please contact Stephen Howard at the B.C. Federation of Labour, 604-430-1421 or cell 604-220-2965.

stand up and speak out against poverty logoOn October 17, 2007 — The United Nations Day for the Eradication of Poverty — join millions around the world as they STAND UP and SPEAK OUT to Make Poverty History. STAND UP is an innovative and exciting challenge issued by the Global Call to Action Against Poverty and the United Nations Millennium Campaign.

Last year, 23.5 million people worldwide, including 49,000 Canadians, stood up against poverty in a 24 hour period, setting a Guinness World Record.

Show your support for the global fight against poverty and let world leaders know that we are holding them accountable for their promises to end poverty by 2015.

What qualifies as a STAND UP event?

A STAND UP event can be almost anything – a concert, vigil, picnic. It can take place anywhere: at work, in the streets, at the family dinner table, or classroom. The only requirement is that there must be a time when everyone reads a poverty pledge and STANDS UP for 1 minute to be counted for the Guinness World Record.

What are PSAC members doing?

On October 16 and 17, PSAC members will be joining people around the world by standing up and speaking out at their own events. To be counted, events in BC must take place between October 16 at 2:00 p.m. and October 17 at 2:00 p.m. To be included in the Stand Up and Speak Out count, please e-mail the following information to Janet St. Jean (stjeanj@psac-afpc.com) at PSAC’s Social Justice Fund no later than 8:00 p.m. (EST) on October 17.

  • Your Local/Branch
  • Date, time and location of your event
  • Number of people counted and;
  • Contact information

Note: members are encouraged to participate in the count by raising their hand if standing up is not possible.

Download the … (all .pdf)

For more information contact the Vancouver Regional Office.

How else can I get involved?

There are several other ways that you can be part of STAND UP and SPEAK OUT to Make Poverty History.

For more information visit: makepovertyhistory.ca/stand-up

PSAC member Be Gomes and the Terrace District Labour council successfully lobbies Terrace City Council to support the $10 minimum wage campaign.

source: The Terrace Standard.

TO ENSURE a healthy local economy and people’s survival, B.C.’S minimum wage must be raised to $10 an hour, according to a representative of the local labour council.

“Terrace is a perfect example,” Kitimat-Terrace & District Labour Council spokesperson Be Gomes says. Gomes attributes various job vacancies around town to potential workers not bothering to apply because of low wages.

“People can not afford to live off $8 an hour,” she said.

B.C.’s general minimum wage is $8 an hour though employees with little or no are categorized differently. The minimum wage for their first 500 hours of work is $6 an hour.

Gomes said many workers are also exhausted just trying to make ends meet. Her own daughter works two jobs a day for a total of 13.5 hours and is taking a year off school to save money. She was initially excited to be making money but quickly realized the minimum wage didn’t go far, Gomes said.

Gomes solicited the Terrace city council’s support for a minimum wage increase Sept. 10.

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WisapThe Philippine Women Centre of BC invites you to a multi-media report back from the Women’s International Solidarity Affair in the Philippines (WISAP) organized by GABRIELA-Philippines that was held from July 29 – August 5th, 2007.

  • Date and time: Monday, September 10, 6:30 pm
  • Venue: Kalayaan Centre, 451 Powell Street (see map)
  • Who: All are welcome!

Monica Urrutia, member of the Philippine Women Centre of BC and staff of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, was one of the delegates to the WISAP and will be sharing her experiences from her exposure trip to Leyte province, and her participation in the 10th annual WISAP under the theme: The Women’s Vision – Strategies and Tactics of Women’s Resistance.

Workers in Toronto to join global protests against the abduction and imprisonment of Mansour Osanloo and Mahmoud Salehi

OTTAWA – Canadian workers will mark an International Day of Action this Thursday, August 9 to protest the Iranian government’s arrest and imprisonment of two of that country’s prominent labour leaders.

Trade unionists and activists around the world are worried about the safety and
well-being of Mansour Osanloo, President of the ITF affiliated bus workers’ union Sandikaye Kargarane Sherkate Vahed (Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company). Mansour was reported as kidnapped on July 10th as he was getting off of a bus.

  • Rally in Vancouver – join BC Federation of Labour, BC Teachers Federation, VDLC, CAW Local 111 & 333, Hospital Employees Union and other unions
  • Time: 17:00 to 19:00 , Thursday, August 9, 2007, Vancouver Art Gallery, Howe & Robson

On July 12th it was confirmed that Osanloo has been imprisoned. Just days before his abduction, Canadian Labour Congress president Ken Georgetti had the pleasure of meeting Mansour as he addressed the ITUC General Council in Brussels. This was the first time that the ITUC – or for that matter its predecessor, the ICFTU welcomed an independent Iranian trade union leader from inside the country to its meetings.

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In July of 2006, twelve delegates from four Canadian trade unions (PSAC, BCGEU, CUPE and CUPW) traveled to Colombia as part of an ongoing campaign to defend public services and trade union organizing in that country. Over twelve days the delegation visited three major cities and several smaller communities, speaking with dozens of people representing trade union, human rights and indigenous community movements. Here is a 13 minute video produced for CBC’s online Exposure series chronicling their trip …


For more information about the Frontline Tour, read the report written by BC Regional Council member Megan Adam, who took part, or visit the PSAC Social Justice Fund website.

If you enjoyed the video, take a minute to visit the CBC Exposure website and rate or comment on the video. Highly rated videos will be aired on national television.

Hi – thanks so much for supporting the street newz.  We’ve spent the $1500 you so generously provided, and we’re sending a report to let you know what we did with it. We appreciate your help very much …

The Victoria Street Newz is one of the projects the PSAC Social Justice Fund is supporting: here is a letter they recently sent to the SJF.

Thank you for your generous donation of $1,500 tax dollars to help cover production costs for the Victoria Street Newz.

With each issue, from February 2006 to June 2007, the PSAC logo and/or advertisement was displayed prominently in the newspaper and on the relativenewz.ca website.

The Victoria Street Newz is now entering its fourth year. We’re very grateful to all the organizations and individuals who have supported us thus far. Because of your generosity we are able to maintain our integrity. Rather than surrendering valuable print space to excessive advertising, or increasing the cost to vendors and readers, the Victoria Street Newz is able to ensure a comprehensive collection of community writings is available at a reasonable price. With help from the community we serve, we will continue to sustain our local environment by reflecting, showcasing, informing, and educating.

Additionally, we serve and sustain our local physical environment by printing on 100% post consumer recycled paper, rather than paper extracted from our precious forests. While we are forced to invest our print dollars in Vancouver, because of a lack of recycled print options in Victoria, we make an effort to distribute all other monetary resources within our local community. The Street Newz coordinator is paid $700 a month, works from her home office, rents a mailbox and phone answering service from locally owned Raincoast Business Centre, and meets with vendors at the locally owned Solstice Caf̩ Рwhich serves locally owned Silk Road tea and Canadian owned fairly traded organic coffee, and which serves the community by offering its space to local groups for benefits.

We participate in BC Transit’s bus ticket purchasing project, in conjunction with the Community Council, and distribute free bus tickets to Street Newz writers, vendors, and volunteers.

Through the years we’ve published information about and from various local organizations and businesses including the Community Council, the Open Door/Our Place, the Oak Bay Green Committee, Parents of Apprehended Children, HomelessNation.org, Participatory Sustainable Waste Management, Victoria’s Committee to End Homelessness, the Faith in Action Coalition, Bridges for Women, Sukhi Lalli Pharmacy, Chinese Herbalist Dr. John, InnovativeCommunities.org, St. Vincent De Paul, Burnside Gorge Community Centre, Cool Aid, Vancouver Island Head Injury Society, TAPS, Access Justice, CARTS, the Downtown Victoria Business Association, the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, Livable Income for Everyone, street artists, musicians, poets, and writers. Archived versions of the newspaper are available on-line at relativenewz.ca.

To sustain ourselves in the future, we’re launching a creative fundraising effort in the form of volume subscriptions. In exchange for $600 subscribers will receive 18 copies of Street Newz, delivered monthly, for a year. We’ll also include a complete set of Street Newz for your library – back issues from the previous three + years of publishing. Alternatively, we’d be interested in completing another grant application and/or continue offer advertising space to PSAC. Either way, we thank you for your support.

Namaste, Janine Bandcroft, Coordinator, Victoria Street Newz

Dear Make Poverty History supporters,

I am writing to ask for your help in getting the Senate to pass Bill C-293 – the “Better Aid Bill”. Make Poverty History supports Bill C-293 as part of its call for not just more, but better aid. Bill C-293 would require Canadian foreign aid to contribute to poverty reduction; take into account the perspectives of the poor; and be consistent with Canada’s international human rights obligations.

The Senate will be recessing in June for the summer. We need to get Bill C-293 passed by the Senate before the summer break. Send an e-mail to the Senate leadership and let them know that you want them to act now to help make poverty history.

Gerry Barr, Make Poverty History co-chair

Wage workers in Haiti earn as little as $2 (US) per day. The unemployment rate is 60% to 70%. Women struggle on the edge of survival to find work, feed families, and send children to school or scramble for health care when emergencies arise.

The 2004 foreign invasion and coup against the elected government of President Aristide was a huge setback to workers rights and womens rights. Minimum wage rates were slashed, schools and health care facilities were closed, and legal and extra-legal violence has risen sharply, including that which targets women.

Join us in hearing from trade union and women’s rights organizers.

  • Wednesday May 30th
  • Public Meeting, 7 PM – SFU Harbour Center, 515 W. Hastings St.
  • Luncheon for Trade Union Members, 12 noon to 2 pm, Maritime Labour Centre, 1881 Triumph St.

Hosted by the International Affairs Committee of the Vancouver and District Labour Council. Please RSVP.

More details in the Haiti tour poster (pdf) and at canadahaitiaction.ca

People living with HIV/AIDS and other life threatening conditions cannot wait any longer for affordable, generic versions of life-saving drugs. It is time to fix Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime.

Three years ago, Canada was a clear leader on the international stage when it passed a law intended to make essential, generic medicines available, in low- and middle-income countries where there is no generic manufacturing industry.

Unfortunately, the law does not work. Since the legislation passed 2004, not a single pill has left Canada. The drug order process is taking far too much time and effort to be effective.

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By Dennis Howlett, Coordinator, Make Poverty History

MPH banner

There is little or nothing in the 2007 Federal Budget that will help to make poverty history.

Several measures that appear to address poverty, on closer examination turn out to be inferior versions of previous Liberal initiatives or actually deliver more benefit to rich families and less or nothing to poor children who need assistance the most.

A case in point is the Child Tax /Credit/ announced in this Conservative budget, which should not be confused with the Canada Child Tax /Benefit/ that Make Poverty History has been campaigning to have increased to $5100 per child. The Conservative Child Tax /Credit/ will do absolutely nothing for the poorest children whose families have no taxable income.

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Dear PSAC Members:

Please join the campaign to raise the minimum wage! The lowest paid workers in BC need our support.

I’m asking you to support the campaign to boost the minimum wage in BC to at least $10 an hour and to eliminate the $6 ”training rate” for new workers (AKA another subsidy for big business.).

The Campbell government has frozen the minimum wage at $8 since November 2001. The labour movement says five years without a raise is too long. Minimum-waged workers in BC cannot live on their wages. We’re calling for an immediate increase to at least $10, closely followed by regular future increases that are tied to cost of living increases.

A minimum wage of at least $10 would benefit 115,000 workers who earn the minimum, plus another 135,000 workers who make less than $10 per hour.

Please click on the following link to go to the B.C. Federation of Labour campaign site and join thousands of people by signing the $10 NOW petition.

Please forward this link to friends and family who also support the call to raise the minimum wage. Thank you.

In solidarity, Kay Sinclair, Regional Executive Vice-President, BC

Come out and help with this $10 minimum wage campaign event and see a Giants hockey game.

  • Where and when: Pacific Coliseum, Friday, April 27th at 6 p.m.

The B.C. Fed Young Workers Committee are going to distribute the $10 NOW Campaign material and gather signatures on a peition at the Pacific Coliseum. Unions are being asked to help out with this important campaign.  People will be meeting at the main entrance to the Pacific Coliseum starting at 6 p.m. before the Giants game at 7:30.

Anyone who helps with the petition blitz will be given a ticket to the Giants playoff game against the Prince George Cougars (popcorn not included.)

  • PB's awesome designTuesday May 8, 5:30PM
  • dinner at 5:30 pm, meeting at 6:00 pm*
  • 200-5238 Joyce St.
  • (1 1/2 block south of the SkyTrain)

This month’s theme is International Solidarity

Megan Adam will talk about the situation in Colombia and Ted Alcuitas about the Philippines, two of the most dangerous countries in the world for trade unionists

*please RSVP to the Vancouver RO at 604.430.5631 or via email: urrutim@psac.com

Wednesday, April 25, 2007 – Educational Forum – “Young Workers Organize to Fight Back: Privatization, Low wages, Cut backs & Wars of Aggression”

  • Organizing Centre for Economic & Social Justice, 672 E. Broadway Vancouver at Fraser and Broadway, 6:30 PM
  • Speakers
  • Carlo Sayo, National Chairperson, Filipino-Canadian Youth Alliance – report-back from the World Peoples Youth Conference (2-4 March 2007, the Netherlands)
  • Jen Efting, Bus Riders Union and Hospital Employees Union staff
  • Young workers testimonials and organizing young workers from Carl Cortes and Tania Ortiz
  • More speakers to be confirmed

Saturday, April 28, 2007 – “Building International Workers’ Solidarity” – Cultural Solidarity Night and Fundraiser

  • Kalayaan Centre, 451 Powell Street, Vancouver, 6:00 PM
  • By Donation at the Door (includes dinner and snacks)

Events are leading up to this year’s May Day March & Rally – “March for Workers’ Rights! Solidarity with Immigrant, Migrant and Undocumented Workers!”

  • May 1, Tuesday, 6:00 pm
  • Gather at Clark Park (Commercial Dr. and E14th Avenue)
  • Organized by the May Day 2007 Organizing Committee and Status Coalition (Vancouver)

Make Poverty History update

via email

Dear Make Poverty History supporters:

Your support has helped us move forward on our Better Aid and Ending Child Poverty goals. But we were disappointed that the Conservative Government did not keep their promises to increase aid in the Federal Budget.

  • Visit the Victoria Street Newz (one of the projects the PSAC Social Justice Fund is supporting) to see how they are helping Make Poverty History in BC.

Better Aid Bill Passes Final Vote in the House of Commons

The Better Aid Bill (Bill C-293) moved an important step closer to becoming law on March 28, when it was passed by the House of Commons 166 to 121. The Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc Québecois voted in favour of the legislation. Only one Conservative Member of Parliament, Brian Pallister, voted in favour of the motion.

The Better Aid Bill, a private member’s bill sponsored by Liberal MP John McKay, will ensure that official development assistance funds are directed to poverty reduction while respecting human rights obligations.

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