Tuesday, November 30, 2010


The following news item about charges of criminal negligence causing death being filed against an Ontario contractor who caused the death of a municipal worker in Sault St. Marie Ontario come from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the union that the killed person was a member of. A few things should be noted about what follows. One is the actual rarity of such charges under Canadian law. Since 2004 only 4 such cases have been filed. Is this because Canadian employers are exceptionally cautious and follow best practices ? Very doubtful. The workplace death rate in the EU is 2.5/100,000 employees. The USA tops this with a rate of 4.0/100,000. Canada, however, comes in a a whopping 6.8/100,000. The only European country that tops this is Portugal at 7.6/100,000. Canada's workplace deaths are not inevitable, nor accidental. Pretty well all developed countries (and many underdeveloped ones as well) have lower rates. The obvious conclusion...criminal negligence causing death at the workplace in Canada is far more common than the legal cases would indicate. If things happen that others can easily avoid that is "negligence" from at least Molly's definition. Anyways, here's the story.

Private company facing criminal negligence charges following city worker fatality

A private company is facing criminal charges over an incident that caused the death of a CUPE member.

Millennium Crane Rentals Ltd., the crane operator and the crane owner each face charges of criminal negligence causing death. They are scheduled to be in court in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, November 30 and December 6.

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, this is one of just four cases in which a company has been charged under the Criminal Code since Bill C-45 (criminal liability of organizations) became law in 2004.

The bill sets out rules on criminal liability for organizations and their representatives. It establishes that everyone with authority to direct another person’s work has a responsibility, within reason, to prevent bodily harm to those they direct.

“We’re pleased to see the Sault Ste. Marie police and the Ministry of Labour have taken the time to thoroughly investigate the incident, and we’ll be paying close attention to this case” said CUPE National President Paul Moist.

“We’re hopeful that regardless of the outcome, employers will get the message that all levels of management bear a responsibility in making sure workers are protected on the jobsite, so that we can avoid terrible tragedies like this.”

The criminal charges stem from the April 16, 2009 death of municipal worker James Vecchio, who was crushed when a crane fell into an excavated hole he was working in at the Fifth Line Landfill.

Reports in the Sault Star suggest that the crane, which was loading concrete into the hole where Vecchio and another municipal employee were doing sewer work, was repositioning and backed up too far, falling into the hole and pinning Vecchio.

Vecchio, a 34-year old father of two, was rushed to hospital after firefighters extracted him, but he was pronounced dead at the hospital. The other worker was unharmed.

Millennium Crane Rentals, who were under contract with the city, also faces five charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act related to the condition of the crane and the qualifications of the operator. A court date for those charges is set for January 10, 2011.

Monday, November 29, 2010


The repercussions of the police riot during last summer's G20 summit in Toronto continue to echo, as do the issues raised by the demonstrators there. The following is a compilation of upcoming events in Toronto and elsewhere relevant to this issue. It comes from the Toronto Community Solidarity Network.

A Call for Court Support + Upcoming G20 Legal Defence Fundraisers & Community Solidarity Network Endorsed Events

A: Call for Court Support in Toronto:

November 30-December 2 - G20 “conspiracy” bail challenge - Jaggi Singh

B: G20 Legal Defence Fundraisers:


December 3 - Radical Movie Night
December 18 - AntiCapitalist Holiday Bash!


November 29 - Regina: Lessons from the G20 Protests and State Repression
December 3 - Saskatoon: Building Movements of Resistance: Lessons from the G8/G20 Organizing
Radical Cookbook Callout - Your Recipes Needed!

C: Community Solidarity Network Endorsed Events in Toronto:

December 1 - Give Rob Ford the Welcome He Deserves!
December 4 - People’s Assembly on Climate Justice


A: Call for Court Support in Toronto:

-G20 “conspiracy” bail challenge continues at Ontario Superior Court
-Defendant to ask that all bail conditions are rescinded, including ban on demonstrations

When: Tuesday, November 30, 10am
Where: Ontario Superior Court at 361 University Avenue
between Dundas & Queen Street
(for exact courtroom location, look for “Singh, Jaggi” on the court roll)

If you oppose the restrictive bail conditions imposed on all G20 “conspiracy” defendants – ban on demonstrations, house arrest, non-association, ban on passports and cellphones, and more -- we ask that you attend court in large numbers this TUESDAY.

The bail review might continue on Wednesday and Thursday, but we’ll provide more details after the Tuesday hearing, which this time is expected to last most of the day. We are hoping as many people as possible can attend the beginning of the hearings on Tuesday from 10am to 1pm (approx) and then again from 2pm-4:30pm (approx).


This week, starting on TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 30, one of the 19 remaining co-accused in the G20 conspiracy case will be challenging all bail conditions imposed as conditions of release from prison.

These restrictive and onerous conditions include house arrest, non-association with various individuals and groups, the inability to possess a passport or to use a cell phone, and more. Other co-accused face even more restrictive curfews and house arrest conditions. In sum, the bail conditions are meant to keep defendants isolated and marginalized from their communities of support.

The conditions themselves constitute punishment of fellow community organizers before they’ve even had a trial.

Significantly, the bail conditions include a ban on participating, organizing or attending “any public demonstration.” These restrictive conditions have been used to jail co-accused Alex Hundert for simply speaking at a university panel. Alex remains in detention, and is expected to remain in detention until at least January/February 2011.

Jaggi Singh, a member of the Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC) and No One Is Illegal-Montreal, and a co-accused in the G20 conspiracy case, has been under house arrest conditions for four months. This Tuesday, with the support of Toronto lawyer Peter Rosenthal as well as other allies, he will ask that all conditions be rescinded.

Jaggi’s court application is supported by various witnesses and affidavits. Part of the application includes an extended affidavit by Bryan Palmer, an historian of labour and social movements.

PEN Canada will also be intervening in the case in support of rescinding the “no demonstration” condition. In their words: “Preventing someone from participating in a public demonstration does nothing to ensure the safety of a single Canadian.”

The Ligue des droits et libertés from Québec also issued a public statement in support of Jaggi’s challenge. They describe the bail conditions as "draconian" and "an abusive interpretation" of the Charter, "contrary to the presumption of innocence.”

We strongly encourage you to “demonstrate” (pardon the word) in court and to the public that there is a community of support that rejects the bail conditions that have been imposed on our friends and allies. So, if you can, please attend court this TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 30, whether for 30 minutes, or the whole day.

[NOTE: There is a compulsory search before entering the Court building; the search includes emptying your pockets, going through a metal detector, as well as a x-ray scan of any bag or package you’re bringing into the building.]

TO STAY IN TOUCH, and for updates:
La Convergence des luttes anticapitalistes, CLAC (Montreal): blocampmontreal@gmail.com - www.clac2010.net
Community Solidarity Network (Toronto): community.mobilize@resist.ca - http://g20.torontomobilize.org/

SUPPORTERS AND MEDIA can get updates about what’s happening at court by phoning Jessica Denyer (Community Solidarity Network) at 416-708-3195, Craig Fortier (No One Is Illegal-Toronto) at 416-735-0409, or Blandine Juchs (La Convergence des luttes anticapitalistes, CLAC) at 438-838-8498.


B: G20 Legal Defence Fundraisers:



Date: November 30
Time: 8:30-11:30pm EST
Location: SOYBOMB! (156 Bathurst St., Toronto ON)

Exploring Forgotten Urban Spaces
This week we look into forgotten urban spaces, the people who explore them for fun, and the people who live in them.

Dark Days (2000)
"A cinematic portrait of the homeless population who live permanently in the underground tunnels of New York City. "

Urban Explorers: Into the Darkness (2007)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1249189 /
"A documentary about abandoned, neglected, or otherwise "off limits" places...and the people who explore them."

This is a pay-what-you-can series of documentary screenings every Tuesday @ Soybomb, and all the proceeds will be donated to the G20 Legal Defence Fund. for more info check: http://g20.torontomobilize.org/support

FB Event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=126316160763227
FB Group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=117635874952714


Radical Movie Night

Date: December 3
Time: 7pm-midnight EST
Location: Bike Pirates (1292 Bloor St W., Toronto ON)

On Friday December 3rd we will be hosting a radical movie night to raise funds for our friends and allies facing G20 related legal charges.

Come join us for an amazing night of movies, drinks, board games, snacks, hanging out, and all around rockin good times.

Newly designed G20 Legal Defence Tshirts & patches will also be for sale.

7pm – 9pm: Land and Freedom (Tierra y Libertad)

Directed by Ken Loach, this 1995 film narrates the story of David Carr, an unemployed worker of the Communist Party of Great Britain, who decides to fight for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. A heart wrenching portrayal of the attempt by ordinary people to build an anarchist society, and its subsequent betrayal. The movie won the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival.

10:30-midnight: What to do in Case of Fire (Was tun, wenn’s brennt?)

Directed by Gregor Schnitzler, this 2002 film tells the humorous and touching story of six anarchist friends living as squatters in Berlin in the 80s, when they leave a handcrafted bomb in a mansion. Only thirteen years later the bomb explodes, wounding two people, forcing the group to reunite and, ultimately, come to grips with the reason they separated years ago.

Free popcorn!

Pay what you can (suggested $5-10). Come for one or both movies.
All proceeds go to the G20 Legal Defence Fund.

FB Event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=118997408162612


AntiCapitalist Holiday Bash!

Date: December 18
Time: 6:30pm-1am EST
Location: U of T Grad Students' Union Gym (16 Bancroft Ave., Toronto ON)

Does the hyper-consumer craziness of the holiday season have you feeling down? Amidst the twinkle lights and the insidious calls to shop, shop and shop some more, are you spending your spare moments plotting the eventual demise of capitalism?

If so, you should join us for the Anti-Capitalist Holiday Bash! On Saturday, December 18th the Community Solidarity Network Fundraising Committee will be throwing the anti-capitalist event of the season to fundraise for our friends and allies facing G20 related charges.

Join us for a community dinner (vegan and vegetarian options will be served), followed by an evening of low key musical performances, workshops, games, prison letter writing, and a ‘really really free market’ exchange.

Tickets: $10-15 sliding scale, or PWYC (no one will be turned away for lack of funds)

All proceeds go to the G20 Legal Defence Fund.

If you have anything to donate for the free exchange, would be interested in helping with food preparation, or would like to help out in any other way please email us at events.g20solidarity@gmail.com .

Hope to see you there!



Regina: Lessons from the G20 Protests and State Repression

Date: November 29

Time: 7:30-10:30pm CST
Location: The Hookah Lounge (2115 Broad St.,Regina SK)

This past June, the world's attention was drawn to the streets of Toronto, where thousands of demonstrators protesting the G20 summit were met with violent repression and the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. While the media frenzy has now subsided, activists continue to be targeted by police, and scores of community organizers have been shackled with far-reaching bail conditions and the prospect of extensive jail time. The need for support and solidarity in the face of this ongoing repression continues, as does the responsibility to carry on the work of building movements of resistance to the G20 agenda.

Sharmeen Khan, a spokesperson for the Toronto Community Mobilization Network, will be speaking in Regina on the lessons learned from organizing in the lead-up to the G20 protests, as well as the criminalization of dissent surrounding the Summit. Khan will discuss the broad-based opposition to the G20 and the reasons why thousands of demonstrators came together in Toronto this past June, as well as the aftermath of police repression and ongoing legal battles.

Admission to this event is free, though we are asking participants to donate what they can to go toward the G20 Legal Defense Fund, which is seeking to raise $500,000 to go toward the legal expenses of those facing charges from the protests. For those who wish to donate, but cannot attend, please go to G20.torontomobilize.org for details on how to make a contribution.


Sharmeen Khan grew up and became politicized in Regina, Saskatchewan, where she contributed to Briarpatch Magazine and the Prairie Dog. She was active in the women's movement in Victoria and Vancouver before moving to Toronto to complete her MA in Communications. Sharmeen now works for the Ontario Public Interest Research Group at York University, and is also an editor with Upping the Anti: A Journal of Theory of Action.

FB Event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=176713215675033


Saskatoon: Building Movements of Resistance: Lessons from the G8/G20 Organizing and the Repression of Dissent

Date: December 3
Time: 7:30-9:30pm CST
Location: Grace Westminster United Church (505 10th St E., Saskatoon SK)


In this talk, Toronto-based community organizer and independent media activist Sharmeen Khan will speak about her experiences and insights into the resistance to the G8/G20 summits which took place in Toronto in June of 2010.

The summits are now infamous for the massive scale of the security operation which cost Canadian taxpayers nearly $1 billion as well as the size and violence of the police crackdown on dissent. By the end of the weekend, nearly 1100 arrests had been made (the largest mass arrests in Canadian history) and stories began to emerge of widespread abuse of arrestees and the trampling of civil liberties.

In the talk, Sharmeen will cover a range of topics related to the G8/G20 protests including:

- the broad-based organizing efforts that took place in the lead-up to the summits (which built links between diverse communities and strove to empower people living in marginalized communities to speak with their own voices about the issues facing them in their day-to-day lives),

- the police repression targeting key community organizers and the sweeping arrests which saw thousands of police round up protesters, bystanders, journalists and legal observers alike,

- the ongoing legal support of the 100 or so people still facing charges,

- and the overall impact that the event and its aftermath have had on organizing efforts for grassroots social change.

Please join us to listen and discuss this timely and important issue in the struggle to build a more just and sustainable world.


Sharmeen Khan was a media spokesperson for the Toronto Community Mobilization Network, the main network organizing the resistance against the G20. She now works at the Ontario Public Interest Research Group at York University.

FB Event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=129482140443512


Radical Cookbook Callout!

Deadline: January 1st 2011

Calling all radical cooks and activist bakers- we need your help!

The Community Solidarity Network's Fundraising committee is in the process of putting together a cookbook to sell as a fundraiser for the G20 legal defence fund, and are seeking recipe submissions.

From dinner dishes to desserts, and everything in between we want your recipes!

To submit a recipe, or if you have any questions email us at:
g20cookbook [at] gmail.com

FB Event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=168121463200994

C: Community Solidarity Network Endorsed Events in Toronto:

Give Rob Ford the Welcome He Deserves!

Date: December 1

Time:12pm EST
Location:Toronto City Hall (100 Queen St W., Toronto ON)

Mayor Ford: Respect People!

On December 1, Rob Ford becomes Mayor of Toronto. In his campaign speeches and his public statements, Ford has called for cuts to fair wages, a dismantling of the already inaccessible public transit system, supported Toronto's police brutality during the G20, and repeatedly expressed racist anti-immigrant sentiments and outright hatred for poor people.

While claiming to speak on behalf of the 'majority', Ford actually believes in a Toronto for the few. He believes in a Toronto divided into suburbs and the downtown. A Toronto divided into streetcar riders, bikers and drivers. A Toronto divided into immigrants, refugees and citizens. A Toronto where the homeless are driven out of sight as social housing is sold off to developers. A Toronto where police budgets grow and cops act with impunity. A Toronto that is open for business, but closed for the public.

This is not our Toronto. Our Toronto is about justice, dignity, and respect for immigrants, precarious workers, poor people and unions.

On December 1, at 12noon, a public, family friendly demonstration is being called outside City Hall as Rob Ford becomes Mayor to remind him what the people of this city need, expect and demand.

Please invite all your friends. Keep visiting http://ocap.ca/ and http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org/ for updates.

FB Event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=136768189707239


People’s Assembly on Climate Justice

Date: December 4
Time: 9:30am-5pm EST
Location: Sidney Smith Hall - rm 2118 (100 St George St., Toronto ON)

On June 23rd 2010, in advance of the G20, Toronto held its first People’s Assembly in community response to the climate crisis. Now on December 4th, 2010, activists, groups, community organizers and neighbourhood participants will gather for the second Toronto People’s Assembly on Climate Justice.

Faced with the illegitimate and false solutions promoted through the UN climate talks, La Via Campesina has called for the creation of a thousand Cancuns to counter the next round of negotiations in Mexico from Nov. 29th to Dec. 11th. For Dec. 4th, the Global Climate Campaign has initiated an international day of action, and the national call-out by the Council of Canadians to hold countrywide assemblies on the same day has been answered by communities across Canada. The second Assembly, as a manifestation of these calls to resistance, will serve as the launching point for a series of regular Assemblies in an effort to build a united movement for Climate Justice in Toronto.

The challenge of the climate crisis can only be met with a coordinated response that will bring forth our power in numbers. It also requires that we confront the root causes of the crisis and not just the symptoms. Through a horizontal people’s process, the Assembly will seek to create a space where we can work together to share experience, knowledge, and resources in order to build a local response to a global crisis. The Assembly hopes to work towards this objective through channels of collective dialogue and community empowerment.

Our goal is to generate new possibilities and new hopes in order to bridge the gap from separately operating groups, communities, and individuals, to converge into one diverse, united movement. We must equip ourselves with the tools we need to fulfill our potential as an effective Social and Climate Justice community.

For More information:
The Toronto People’s Assembly on Climate Justice

Sponsors: Council of Canadians, Greenpeace, OPIRG-Toronto, Toronto Climate Campaign, Toronto Bolivia Solidarity

Endorsers: Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, Canadian Animal Liberation Movement, Community Solidarity Network, Community Solidarity Response Toronto, Earth Rangers, ecoSanity, Environmental Justice Toronto, Indigenous Environment Network, Kairos-Toronto, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Polaris Institute, Science For Peace, Toronto Vegetarian Association

FB Event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=107327446002085


Support all those still facing charges. Donate to the G20 Legal Defence Fund:


Sunday, November 28, 2010



The following appeal for online solidarity comes from cleaners at the Lund University Hospital in Sweden, members of the Swedish anarcho-syndicalist SAC. Here's their appeal...

SAC union cleaners need solidarity
November 22, 2010, 04:32:00 PM
Hello comrades!

We ask for the solidarity with fellow workers, in the USIL section of the
SAC, who are cleaning the prestigious university hospital of Lund. The
workers have for 5 years denounced the ISS international company for the
workload they are subjected to. The workers have only 36 seconds to clean
a toilet, thus exposing the health of patients and risking their own

During these last years we have required the control of these abuses,
however ISS manipulates the information. Swedish press reports the abuses
but the ISS has remained firm in their position to exploit shamelessly,
supported by the local politicians. ISS sells the service to the government of the

We call on international solidarity, to send protests to the office of
your country, and send a copy to the section USIL, and t
info@iss-fs.se, to the hospital director, bent.christensen@skane.se and to
barbro.halensjoberg@skane.se and also to the boss who mistreats the workers

Amalia Alvarez
International SAC

Sample letter:

Our colleagues in the section USIL, cleaners working for ISS international
company, in the prestigious hospital in Lund, are on strike to denounce
the work load they are exposed to every day. One example is that the
workers have 36 seconds to clean a bathroom, this is a constant risk to
the health of patients attending the hospital in Lund and the workers
themselves and their families. Faced with this physical burden, and bad
conscience of failing to do the job for not having adequate time, USIL
section remains on strike until:

1. ISS lift the transfer of our fellow union representative Asdren K

2. that the workload is set down by 40%
3. that the boss Maria Andersson is removed from her headquarters for being
a factor influencing the health of personnel in the work environment, and
for being rude and having inappropriate attitudes to the resolution of
disputes with the staff.

We also hope that the company acts, in order to ensure the safety of their
customers and employees. We will be attentive to the development of this
conflict and do not exclude actions to correct this injustice committed against
the USIL section.


Send the protest to the contact in your country. (Seek contact in your
country here. ISS WORLD CONTACT) and Please send a copy of your message
of protest to the comrades of the section usil@sac.se and to
peter.ljungbro@iss-fs.se , info@iss-fs.se , bent.christensen@skane.se ,
barbro.halensjoberg@skane.se , and also to the boss who mistreats the
workers maria.andersson@iss-ss.se

thanks for the solidarity!
No pasarán!


ARGENTINA: http://www.ar.issworld.com/Pages/contact.aspx

BELGIUM: http://www.be.issworld.com/pages/contact.aspx

BRASIL: http://www.br.issworld.com/sobre_a_iss_brasil/pages/escritorios.aspx

CHILE: info@cl.issworld.com o en la siguiente dirección:Av. Las Torres
1385, el Rosal, Huechuraba Santiago de Chile, Tel.: +56 2 726 6500 - Fax:
+56 2 726 6507 e-mail: info@cl.issworld.com

DENMARK: Adresse & Tlf ISS Facility Services A/S Møntmestervej 31 DK-2400
Copenhagen NV Tel.: +45 38 17 17 17 CVR: 14 40 60 42

GRECE: iss@gr.issworld.com

ITALY: e-mail: info@issfacilityservices.it
ISS Facility Services S.r.l.
Via Ettore Bugatti, 12 I-20142 MILANO ITALIA Tel: +39 02 8268191 Fax:
+39 02 82681990

MEXICO: info@mx.issworld.com

POLSKA: iss@issworld.pl

ESPAÑA: Tel. 902 266 366 - info@es.issworld.com

SWEDEN: peter.ljungbro@iss-fs.se

UNITED KINGDOM info@uk.issworld.com

Uruguay: info@uy.issworld.com

Francia: grh@fr.issworld.com

Deutschland: frank.born@de.issworld.com




The following article from the online news service Straight Goods reports a shocking increase in food bank usage across the country in 2010. You can read the full report from Food Banks Canada here. All numbers in the following article are taken from this report. This has particular resonance for the province of Manitoba because, as another article from the CBC points out this province "led" (if you can call it that) all the other provinces in the increase of traffic at food banks. The Canadian average is 9.2%. Manitoba weighs in at 21.0%, followed by Saskatchewan at 20.0%. Only the territories at an incredible 59,0% are higher.

What can you say about these sort of numbers ? One is that they give the lie to the Conservative propaganda that "Canada has escaped the worst of the economic downturn". Yes, maybe in terms of both the rich and those with secure employment. There are, however, huge numbers of people who very plainly haven't escaped at all. The smoke and mirrors of the federal Conservative "stimulus program" which ended up not spending the majority of its promised funds is now giving way to plans for "austerity"...read further attacks on the lowest income groups in the country while maintaining as many corporate give-aways as possible.

Not that this sort of duplicity is unique to the Conservatives. A Liberal federal government would have acted essentially the same, Perhaps without the utter contempt for truth and the public of a bald faced lie about funds that would never be spent, but with essentially the same set of fiscal priorities. Both major parties are entirely wholeheartedly committed to maintaining an economic system that embodies massive inequality. The NDP and the Bloc Quebecois are committed to tinkering around the edges of the system, often merely to gather votes and reduce social tensions. Their "solutions" leave the mountain intact and chip off a few sharp stones that irk people too much.
Anarchism, on the other hand is committed to a full revamping of the way we do economics, a program that radically reduces inequality. Maybe not eliminating it entirely but definitely abolishing logical absurdities such as the idea that some who make literally 100,000s more income than others do 100,000s more work (a physical impossibility by several orders of magnitude). Or the idea that their work (which far too often consists of purely useless financial manipulation or even literally doing nothing is 100,000 times "more valuable". Put frankly common sense says that there is not a single coal miner, farmer, hydro technician, nurse, snow cleaner and many others whose work is immensely more valuable than the "work" done by corporate executives who continue to profit economic downturn or not.

Now, as I have expressed before on this blog I don't see the transition to a freer and more equal society as coming about through some apocalyptic "revolution", though there will certainly be high tension at certain periods of time. The transition will be years, decades even, whereby workers gradually encroach on management power in the workplaces, where local communities struggle to take back power now monopolized by federal or provincial governments , where trade deals that bind citizens to agreements that are against their interests are abrogated, where laws and social work interventions that restrict personal freedom are eliminated one by one, where cooperatives, both producer and consumer, experience a resurgence that gradually brings larger sections of the economy under democratic control, where financial institutions cooperative and mutualistic in nature, gradually gain the economic clout to finance startups of such initiatives, where local small business is protected both by elimination of the government programs that favour the corporations and by a change in attitude of the population that sees the value of the local community. Where laws that are simply ill-mannered attempts of others to control the victimless actions of others are repealed. Where it finally dawns on social action groups that accepting government grants is the kiss of death. By so many things that don't come immediately to mind.

Anarchism provides at least a general guide to what is laudable and what is not in this long term struggle. No doubt many anarchists go astray in various directions, either towards statism or to useless revolutionary romanticism, but the broad centre of the anarchist movement today is moving towards such goals. That is why anarchism provides a broad outline for the solution of inequality and the poverty that accomplishes it, though local initiate from poor people themselves. Other solutions have been tried and have consistently failed.

But enough of the intro. Here's the SG article...
Food bank use up sharply

Demand up 9 percent since 2009, 28 percent since 2008.

Dateline: Monday, November 22, 2010

from HungerCount

OTTAWA, November 16, 2010 — The results of the HungerCount 2010 survey released today show food banks across Canada helped 867,948 separate individuals in March 2010, an increase of 9.2 percent, or more than 73,000 people, compared to March 2009. This is 28 percent higher than in 2008, and is the highest level of food bank use since 1997.

Of the 867,948 people helped in March this year, 80,150 — 9.2 percent of the total — stepped through the front door of a food bank for the first time. The survey also shows that food bank use grew in every province in 2010.

Thirty-eight percent of those assisted by food banks are children and youth under 18 years old.

"This is a reality check. Food banks are seeing first hand that the recession is not over for a large number of Canadians," said Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director of Food Banks Canada, which coordinated the annual national study.

"We are hearing that it is really tough out there," Ms. Schmidt said. "Many people who lost their jobs during the recession have now exhausted their unemployment benefits, and are looking to self-employment or to temporary and part-time jobs for income.

"Others have been forced to fall back on social assistance. These options aren't paying the bills, and people are accessing food banks to fill the gap."

As in past years, the profile of those assisted by food banks is highly varied:

38 percent of those assisted by food banks are children and youth under 18 years old.

Half of assisted households are families with children.

17 percent of households that turn to food banks for help each month are living on income from current or recent employment.

7 percent of assisted households report a pension as their primary source of income.
"Coming to a food bank is not an easy decision for people," said Bill Hall, Executive Director of the Battlefords and District Food and Resource Centre, in North Battleford, Saskatchewan.

"Unfortunately, there continues to be a need for help in our community, and we have expanded our efforts to meet that need — when the overall goal should be to address the causes of hunger more broadly, and to be able to reduce our services and even close our doors for good."

"Though the recession has made things worse, the causes of hunger and low income run much deeper than the recent economic crisis," said Ms. Schmidt. "The need for food banks is a result of our failure as a country to adequately address a number of social issues, including a changing job market, a lack of affordable housing and child care, and a social safety net that is ineffective."

The HungerCount provides recommendations on how the federal government can work to increase people's ability to be self sufficient. Food Banks Canada's recommendations include the following:

1. Implement a national poverty prevention and reduction strategy, with measurable targets and timelines.

2. Create a federal housing strategy to increase and monitor investment in affordable housing programs in Canada's cities, towns and rural areas.

3. Maintain current levels of federal cash and tax transfers to provincial, territorial, and First Nations governments.

4. Address the unacceptable rates of low income among our most vulnerable seniors — those who live alone, without other means of support.

About the HungerCount Survey HungerCount was initiated in 1989 and is the only comprehensive national study of food banks and affiliated food programs in Canada. Since 1997, data for the study have been collected every March. The information provided by the survey is invaluable, forming the basis of many Food Banks Canada activities throughout the year. For a full copy of the HungerCount 2010 report and associated graphics, and for more information, please visit www.foodbankscanada.ca.

About Food Banks Canada Food Banks Canada is the national charitable organization representing the food bank community across Canada. Our Members, Affiliate Member food banks, and their respective agencies serve approximately 85 percent of people accessing emergency food programs nationwide. Our mission is to meet the short-term need for food and find long-term solutions to reduce hunger.

— — —

Moncton - The new government of David Alward should immediately increase revenues for people who are living on social assistance - Linda McCaustlin, co-chair of the Common Front for Social Justice

"The last two Hunger Count Reports have revealed that during the last two years, there was an 18 percent increase in food bank usage in NB Just this year, the number of people using food banks has also increased. Thirty-four percent of food bank clients are children; thirteen percent are wage earners but the majority of them (61 percent) are social assistance recipients. This is completely unacceptable in a country as rich as Canada" says Linda McCaustlin.

"We are asking Hon. Susan Stultz, the new Minister of Social Development, to immediately provide all adults on social assistance with a $100 per-month healthy food allowance supplement. We are also asking her to provide an additional $35 per month per child to households receiving social assistance.

"Moreover, since the income of seniors receiving the guaranteed annual supplement is below the Low Income Cut-off (before tax), a $100 food supplement should be added to the current $400 supplement forwarded to these seniors. These food supplements should be indexed with the cost of living.

"Given that 13 percent of NB food bank users are people in the workforce, the minimum wage should continue to rise so as to meet one of the workers most basic needs, namely a nutritious diet.''

"Food is essential for life and is therefore recognized as a basic human right in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. The fact that thousands of NB citizens and their families go to bed hungry is a shameful result of our political leaders' inability to govern in the interest of the common good. Those members of our business community who are paying very low wages should realize the detrimental effects of this practice on the nutritional status of their employees" continues Ms. McCaustlin.

Ms. McCaustlin states: "Part of the problem of food banks being unable to cope with current demands is due to the inadequate income of too many New Brunswickers." Indeed, NB has one of the lowest social assistance basic rates in all of Canada, and it ranks as the fourth lowest in terms of minimum wage.

"The Common Front for Social Justice has heard that some segments of the business community are lobbying for a two-tier minimum wage — one applicable mainly to workers receiving tips. We hope that this will never be implemented because it would keep a large segment of workers, mainly women, in low paying jobs", continues Ms. McCaustlin.

Nutritious food is more expensive than ever as was shown by the 2010 CFSJ provincial survey on food prices. Between 2006 and 2010, basic items like eggs went up by 21.9 percent, cheese by 36.7 percent, round steak by 23.8 percent, rice by 42.6 percent, flour by 84.9 percent and whole wheat bread 102.1 percent.

"Food price increase is a harsh reality facing all NB households. However, the situation is more dramatic for those who work at minimum wage, for those who depend on social assistance and for those seniors living on a low fixed income".

Saturday, November 27, 2010


There's a proposal afoot to establish December 6 as a sort of 'World Anarchist Unity Day'. The day, of course, is that on which Athenian police murdered Alexis Grigoropoulos, setting off the weeks of rebellion in Greece in 2008. I don't know how well this will fly, but here is the proposal nonetheless.

Time Monday, December 6 · 12:00am - 11:30pm



More Info
JOIN THE ANTINATIONAL DEMO FOR ANARCHIST UNITY WITHOUT BORDERS!organise a local demo for global anarchist union!please spread and share ANARKIA 2010 on 6 DECEMBER 2010


The Italian platformist group the Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici recently held their national congress and debated a number of questions. Amongst these was the question of how anarchists should work in the trade unions. To say the least this is an important question and deserves a lot of attention.

The following translation of the final motion was published at the Anarkismo website. While some of the discussion relates only to Italy or to other countries with similar union structures (most of southern Europe) a lot is relevant worldwide in these times of austerity and governmental attacks on working people. Have a good read.

8th National Congress of the Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici
Fano, 31 October/1 November 2010
Motion on Trade Union Work

The international situation
The capitalist system's structural crisis has dealt a severe blow to the economies of many countries.
A structural – not cyclical – economic crisis which in effect demonstrates the nett failure of the liberal system.

In Europe, where liberal parties continue to be successful, the various parties and governments define it as a cyclical crisis and often declare it to be over, merely because they cannot declare the very system they base themselves on to be a failure.

European governments of all political colours are taking anti-popular economic measures; they are supporting banks and businesses using the crisis as an alibi, and the bill for this "support" is being paid for by public and private-sector workers, pensioners and the weakest layers of society in the form of wage freezes, cuts, casualization, privatization and the sale of public services.

All over Europe, these governments are allied with the industrialist class, which is using the threat of outsourcing – and thus job losses – to blackmail the workers, reducing their bargaining power and union rights with the aim of making these measures irreversible.

Today more than ever, the outsourcing of entire companies or parts of the productive system is being used with the precise aim of obtaining the maximum profit, by outsourcing to countries where the cost of labour (in terms of wages and rights) is much lower.

The response of the workers to this cage being built for them has been difficult to organize, for a variety of reasons:

•it is strongly opposed by the leadership of various trade unions, who are anything but autonomous from the government and the political parties, and are systematic and systemic accomplices of the "labour reforms" that make up the bars of this cage;
•it is limited to the company or even single plant affected;
•workers from various countries are not organized internationally, united on a platform of demands with common objectives. Widening the social conflict is the only way we have to stand up to the attacks from the bosses who, with the complicity of local institutions and collaborationist trade unions, are using the crisis to force the workers down onto their knees.
On the international level, existing organizational forms are totally insufficient; too often we find workers from the same multinational in different countries in conflict with each other, conflicts stoked and often supported by the governments themselves. There are all too few cases of international coordination among workers (multinational companies).
The national situation
1. Italian capitalism and the attack on the labour system
The crisis in the Italian economic system is bringing the various productive districts of several Italian regions to their knees.

The crisis first hit temporary workers, day workers, those on short-term contracts, in other words the whole army of casual workers, but has now reached even workers on permanent contracts, eliminating their safety nets.

There is massive and at times unjustified use of the Redundancy Fund [1], serious delays in wage payments, staff reductions, factory closures, etc.

It is a crisis that is being offloaded onto the workers, because every means by which an attempt is sought to get over it involves reducing production costs – reducing wages and reducing rights.

It is a crisis that is useful as far as the government and the bosses are concerned, as they are using it to re-write the rules for bargaining and labour policy in general.

New rules which will be applied across the board and will be vague (so that they can be got around easily), that will lead to a planned reduction of wages and an end to collective bargaining agreements, and will be agreed on by obliging unions, who sign agreements in the name of development – in other words, profit.

With its last Budget, the government effected widespread cuts hitting workers, both as far as wages are concerned – by means of wage freezes (4 years for civil servants) – and with regard to the reduction and de-structurization of welfare coverage, with measures which hit women workers and changes for the worse to old-age and contributory pensions; but it is also destroying the quality of public services (schools, healthcare, universities, research, etc.), cutting jobs for short-term contract workers, blocking new contracts and externalizing, placing restrictions on the right to strike and suspending the renewal of worker representation bodies (RSUs).

It is the company that decides the work-pace for workers, creating a form of domination by capital over the supply of work. Working conditions are leading to the physical and mental exhaustion of workers, and there has been a sharp increase in workplace accidents and work-related illness. For the sake of profit, productive plants are at saturation point, and no collective bargaining is permitted on these points. Companies have an interest in monetizing the health of the workers by not respecting health and safety regulations either inside or outside the production premises, aided by legislation that has markedly reduced company responsibility.

In the private sector, the company which best toes the bosses' line is FIAT: increases to the working day, work shifts second to none for their intensity and dramatic force, restrictions in time off for illness, the elimination of collective bargaining agreements and the right to strike, and dismissal and repression for anyone who does not play by these rules.

Marchionne's [2] plan is thus nothing more than the latest example of the old line in FIAT which has never tolerated any form of opposition to restructuring plans or reductions in the workforce.

It is the market and its fluctuations that everyone must now bow to: the businesses are in charge!

Less time for rest, more overtime, maximum flexibility, no strikes, and getting ill is a luxury that only the unemployed can afford.

The decades may pass, but the FIAT company has never lost its historical vocation as the inflexible interpreter of that strategy that equates the factory with the barracks that has left such a scar on the minds and bodies of generations of workers in its (vain) attempt to drown their fighting spirit and their ability to organize their struggle and their resistance from below, factory by factory.

2. The attitude of the CGIL, CISL and UIL unions

The government's measures have in effect given lie to the conclusions imposed by the majority at the CGIL's recent 16th Congress, both as regards the current situation and the foreseeable future.

The CGIL's current leadership, strengthened by the latest nominations to the National Secretariat and by the restrictive changes to its Statute, which centralizes decision-making in favour of the National Executive, has once again shown its inability – and to some extent its badly-concealed unwillingness to return to the collaborationist fold – to face up to this vital phase in which the very existence of the union itself is under threat.

The dynamics of this Congress also laid bare the real state of the confederation, now showing the effects of "Balkanization": the majority's refusal to discuss the union's line with the minority [3], and the contrast between the FIOM [4] and the rest of the confederation.

The harshness of the current economic phase and the current and future state of society allow no room for resting on laurels: the workers need to respond to this attack on the conditions of their lives.

Today, the CGIL must re-think its policy: will it support the FIOM by acting in a more confrontational way (as the minority in La CGIL che vogliamo believes) in order to give a greater voice to the workers, or will it think about going back to a phase of agreement with the CISL and UIL on bargaining rules, in the continuing search for unity between the unions? Choosing the latter would condemn the CGIL to a minor role, ignored both by the other two unions and by the employers' federation, Confindustria.

For quite some time now, the CISL and UIL, with the UGL [5] alongside them, have clearly understood how trade union relations will be reformed - with changes that will turn the role of Italian unions completely on its head.

The reforms proposed by the government over the last two years or those presented by Confindustria and FIAT have found support and agreement from these unions, without too many problems. And partnership is no longer spoken about: the unions will no longer be external partners, they will be part and parcel of the whole thing.

3. The grassroots unions

The birth of the Unione Sindacale di Base [6] (USB) on 22 May in Rome could have been an opportunity to simplify the scenario of grassroots syndicalism in Italy, but it does not seem to be above to contribute to resolving the old problems that afflict the Italian grassroots syndicalist galaxy since its very origins almost 25 years ago.

The road to the USB is littered with the remains of the previous "grassroots pact" signed by the RdB/CUB, Confederazione COBAS and the SdL, not to mention the hairs which flew during the split between the previously-federated RdB and the CUB, accounting for approximately 80% of all grassroots union members.

Despite the pernicious, top-down mechanism of decomposition and recomposition which has afflicted grassroots syndicalism for decades, the birth of the USB does bring with it some new aspects, such as a division of the union into two macro-areas – private sector and public sector – managed by collective executives, not single-sector coordinators, and is in general an encouraging signal, above all in those areas where the class war is at its harshest.

But, for a new union, there remain many divisions and problems, such as:

•the problem of the continuing error of calling separate strikes, all too often on the decision of the national leaderships;
•the problem of competition between the various grassroots unions.
The price of these divisions and problems is also paid for by libertarian-inspired syndicalism, traditionally a supporter of workers' unity over and above the interests of any single union.
But libertarian syndicalists know that they can provide continuity to the workers' struggle, even in this phase of neo-partnership unionism, and that they can help to guarantee democracy in the workplace.

In this crucial phase, therefore, grassroots syndicalism needs to overcome its long-standing inability and find a solution in a stable coordination – if not a federation – if it is to seriously represent a point of reference, both for the workers, casual workers and immigrants, and for the CGIL's internal minority.

Anarchist Communist labour tactics
In this phase which sees a strong attack coming from the bosses, collusion by some unions (CISL, UIL), and a wait-and-see attitude from others (the CGIL majority), the FdCA believes that the only labour strategy that can be effective in defending the interests of the class is one of conflict and libertarian practices. It must be autonomous from the logic of parties, it must aim to unite the workers whatever their union, it must have united objectives and methods of struggle, and it must be organized horizontally.
The intervention of anarchist communists cannot but begin in the workplace, where it is necessary to rebuild the unity of workers' interests, for:

•the defence of jobs, against redundancies and the unjustified use of certain forms of unemployment benefits;
•the defence of the Workers' Statute and the right to strike;
•the defence of the national collective bargaining system and the conquest of company agreements that improve the workers' wages and working conditions, while removing the link to productivity;
•the protection of workers' health and the struggle to allow workers to manage their own working hours in order that they may better manage their lives and their work;
•casual workers (temps, those on short-term contracts, etc.) to be represented on worker representation bodies and in bargaining agreements. All too often, given how easily they can be blackmailed, they are unable to assure themselves any form of protection;
•the stabilization of all casual workers and those on short-term contracts.
In the areas where they live and work, it is the task of anarchist communists to encourage and influence:
•coordination networks of workers, migrants, casual workers, single-category or inter-category, but autonomous from political parties and trade unions;
•form of cooperation and struggle where the various experiences can enrich and enable more effective defence of class interests;
•coordination networks where class solidarity, direct democracy and participation can be fostered, with the aim of creating a more egalitarian, libertarian society.
It is important for FdCA members and sympathizers who are members of the CGIL to take an active role in the organized minority La CGIL che vogliamo, having supported its creation from the very beginning, since it represents an excellent opportunity to influence the CGIL and increase our visibility.
It is equally important for members and sympathizers in grassroots unions to facilitate coordination and unity between the various unions so that a strong point of reference can be created for workers, casual workers and the unemployed; it is also necessary to begin to talk about representation of private-sector workers and an active role in bargaining.

The coming months will be vital for the class struggle and a renewal of social conflict, both in Italy and abroad where mobilizations and strikes are on the increase.

Today, workers in struggle need solidarity from all categories, both in the public and private sectors; union activists who have been hit by dismissal and repression need the solidarity and support of all trade union organizations who believe that class conflict and grassroots participation in the struggles are fundamental strategic objectives.

The FIAT struggle, both in Italy and abroad, can be a demonstration of the possibility for mobilization and workers' opposition to company plans which, be it in Italy, Poland or Serbia, use the crisis as a way to blackmail the workers and force them to submit to the logic of profit.

The FdCA will support all initiatives of struggle from below in defence of the conditions of workers in their workplaces and where they live.

Our members will seek to foster the creation of coordination networks of combative, grassroots syndicalism, but also of political initiatives to support the grassroots struggle by anarchists and libertarians, which can lead to more concerted mobilizations.

Coordination with an international dimension which - apart from improving the flow of information - can lead to opportunities for solid international struggles on the basis of shared platforms of demands, against uncontrolled offshore outsourcing, to defend the right to strike, workers' statutes and wage conditions in countries where they are under threat and extend them to countries where they do not exist.

Labour Platform
1.Solid international conflict against uncontrolled offshore outsourcing by multinationals on the constant search for the maximum profit.

2.Struggle in solidarity with dismissed workers and the creation of resistance funds.

3.Safeguard jobs by blocking factory closures and/or reductions and fighting job cuts for casual workers in the public services.

4.Struggle for the dignity of labour.

5.Against the annihilation of workers' rights and freedoms, in defence of the right to strike, the right to be represented and the Workers' Statute.

6.For the right to representation of all casual workers.

7.For the right of workers to decide every platform and every agreement through a binding vote.

8.Against the reduction of workers expelled from the production process to slavery and marketization.

9.Against the uncontrolled use of casual workers who live under constant blackmail from the bosses, despite often fulfilling highly professional roles. For the stabilization of all casual and short-term contract workers.

10.Against the outsourcing of work, often contracted to cooperatives and individuals pledged to self-exploitation and increasingly exposed to injury and death at the workplace.

11.For the defence of national collective bargaining and the extension of company agreements released from the link to productivity.

12.For the protection of workers' health and the management of their own working times.

13.For a large-scale wage battle with FIAT, for metal-mechanics and all categories.

14.For a European minimum wage across all categories.

Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici
Fano, 1 November 2010
Document approved unanimously by the 8th National Congress of the FdCA

Translator's notes:

1. Cassa integrazione. A system whereby workers are laid off temporarily but continue to receive 50% of their pay from the State for a limited period, relieving companies of the cost of their unused workforce.
2. Sergio Marchionne, FIAT CEO.
3. The minority grouped around a programmatic document they supported during the last Congress entitled La CGIL che vogliamo (“The CGIL we want”). See http://www.lacgilchevogliamo.it
4. The Federazione Impiegati Operai Metallurgici, the largest constituent federation of the CGIL.
5. The Unione Generale Del Lavoro, right-wing union traditionally associated with the neo-fascist parties.
6. “Grassroots Syndical Union”, founded in May 2010 from a merger of the RdB, part of the CUB and the SdL (itself formed in 2007 from a merger of SinCobas, SALC and SULT).

Related Link: http://www.fdca.it/fdcaen

Friday, November 26, 2010

Today was Buy Nothing Day, originally a Canadian invention and now a worldwide "event", or non-event as the case may be. Molly was more or less true to the spirit of the day except that I felt compelled to go to the Liquor Commission to acquire more booze for the weekend. Actually it's pretty easy for me to observe such a day as the LC and the gas station account for pretty well over 90% of my purchases. I have to buy gas as a requirement to keep working. Maybe the booze is the same, along with the 222s for the arthritis and the occasional 50 cents for air for the slow leaking tire that the garage didn't manage to fix. Yeah a lot of places now charge for air if you can believe it or not. That seems like some sort of ultimate to me.

All that being said the idea of Buy Nothing Day seems to have gathered support outside of those who would rather spend their money on $15,000 "eco-tours" and naturopathic quackery. It has gathered the support of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) as the following article from them shows. Now a cynic might say that this merely speaks for a segment of the population that consume in different ways from the majority and would like said majority to follow their path, voluntarily or otherwise. And if they cannot afford to consume the "correct" way then too bad for them.

But does it have to be that way ? This year there is an alternative, at least in the Spanish speaking world. The 'Huelga De Consumo' promoted by the Spanish CGT bears a superficial resemblance to the Buy Nothing Day, but this event set for December 21 is another animal entirely. While it contains all of the feel-good ecoboo of BND it is expressly set forth as an instrument of class struggle, not as some new age correction of the presumed moral failings of the masses who do not share the social values (and privileges) of the 'new class'. It is meant as a 'trial balloon', following the September 29th general strike in Spain, to see if even more pressure can be put on the ruling class. It should be noted that the Spanish CGT with up to 100,000 members and representing up to 2 million Spanish workers in workplace elections is not an insignificant force.

Quite frankly I feel much more comfortable with this sort of thing than I do with the anglosphere idea of 'Buy Nothing Day' if for no other reason than the fact that the latter is merely something resembling a religious declaration of principle while a Consumers' Strike is something that may actually be a real weapon in a class war. I don't know how well the CGT's idea will lay out, but I will certainly translate further information about it here on this blog.

Until then, here is CUPE's statement on Buy Nothing Day. A very small step, but at least it is something.
Buy Nothing Day – cut back on waste
Nov 25, 2010 01:10 PM

Friday, November 26, 2010 is Buy Nothing Day, a day set aside to shun our consumptive ways. The day was first recognized in Vancouver in 1992 and has since spread throughout the world.

The Friday after the American Thanksgiving was selected for Buy Nothing Day as this day traditionally in the United States signals the beginning of the Christmas shopping rush.

Buy Nothing Day is a time to examine over-consumption and its effects on the environment and our culture. Specifically, over-consumption is linked to excess waste generation, rising greenhouse gas emissions, negative effects on the air, water and soil quality, and other environmental issues.

Here are just a few waste facts to consider:

►According to the Recycling Council of Ontario, by the age of 6 months, the average Canadian has consumed the same amount of resources as the average person in the developing world consumes in a lifetime.

►The average Canadian produces 997 kilograms of waste per year, according to Statistics Canada.

►Environment Canada estimated that more than 140,000 tonnes of computer equipment, phones, televisions, stereos and small home appliances accumulate in Canadian landfill cites each year.

►The CUPE National Environment Committee urges members to stop and consider these impacts and refrain from buying anything on Friday November 26. Rather than celebrating consumerism by shopping, CUPE members are encouraged to celebrate the Earth.


Three Filipino workers are now awaiting a deportation hearing here in Winnipeg. The decision about whether they can stay has been set for December 23, 2 days before Christmas. As the following article in the Winnipeg Free Press makes plain they have been the victims of unscrupulous immigration agents and a negligent employer. As we type these words a fund raising dinner for the trio is being held at the Legion Hall on Logan Avenue.

The case of the three men has been taken up by Damayan Manitoba, affiliated with the national organization Migrante Canada. Both organizations advocate for the rights of "temporary workers" here in Canada who are far too often the victims of crooked recruitment agents, lawyers and employers. Here's the story, and I hope you will join Molly in wishing the three men well. This story has special relevance here in Manitoba with our large Filipino community.

Foreign dads fear deportation
Were working with expired permits to support families in Philippines
By: Carol Sanders

Three dads trying to support their families in the Philippines hope they won't be home for Christmas.

The temporary workers face an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing Dec. 23 after working in a gas bar in Thompson with invalid work permits.

"I hope they let us stay and work," said Ermie Zotomayor, 45. "It's the only means we have to support our families," said the man with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering. He and his two educated co-workers -- Antonio Laroya, 45, and Arnisito Gaviola, 42 -- each paid $3,000 to a recruiter in 2007 to find them service jobs in Canada. They shared a trailer in High Prairie, Alta., and worked at a gas station and a restaurant, sending money home to their wives and children in the Philippines. Following a local downturn in the economy, they were offered similar jobs in Manitoba.

The men said their prospective Thompson employer was supposed to take care of their work permits and needed them to start work right away. They went to work in February for $10 an hour, sharing an apartment in the northern city and sending the bulk of their pay home.

"We were caught in a situation where we have to do what we have to do," said Zotomayor, who's been advised not to identify the employer. "We don't want to be a burden."

On June 24, the men were arrested at their Thompson apartment by the Canada Border Services Agency and held at the RCMP detachment for eight hours.

"We were scared," Laroya said. They paid another $1,500 to an immigration consultant in Calgary to help them, not knowing they cannot work while awaiting their Dec. 23 admissibility hearing.

All three have jobs lined up in Thompson with another employer, but can't take them.

"Filipino friends in Thompson have been helping us out... giving us food (and shelter)," Zotomayor said. Now they're in Winnipeg sleeping on the floor of a friend's apartment awaiting their hearing two days before Christmas.

A fundraising dinner and dance is being held this evening at the Royal Canadian Legion on Logan Avenue for the "three amigos" as they're known in the community, said Diwa Marcelino with Bayan Manitoba. It's part of Migrante Canada, a national organization of 16 groups advocating for the rights of Filipino temporary workers.

The three amigos' case is far too common, Marcelino said.

"They were duped by employers and criminalized for trying to work and survive," he said. "Their only crime is working to provide a better life for their family."

Employers benefit from cheap, reliable labour and the workers end up losing their livelihood and being sent home, he said.

If the adjudicator decides Dec. 23 the three men have to leave Canada, they have no right to appeal, said a government spokeswoman in Vancouver.

That doesn't seem fair to Jomay Amora-Mercado, the Manitoba representative for Migrante Canada.

"They've contributed to the economy of Canada." The national body is pushing for temporary workers to have the right to apply for permanent resident status, she said.

The former temporary worker was a "Timmy's girl" at a Tim Hortons in Sherwood Park, Alta., who paid $5,000 to a recruiter for the privilege. Migrante Canada wants the federal government to change the way it issues temporary work permits so workers aren't at the mercy of a single employer, she said.

"It should be work-specific, not employer-specific," she said. When a labour market opinion proves there's a demand for workers, the worker issued the permit shouldn't be chained to a single employer in that market, Jomay said.

For information or fundraiser tickets, call 218-7100 or 414-5902.