Friday, January 18, 2008

Racial Profiling in St-Michel: Cops Get Their Wrists Slapped

From today's Gazette:

‘ We did not profile because of race,’ police say
On a steamy August night in 2003, 13-yearold Jonas Cassey, his brother Henri, 16, and four teenage friends were sitting on a low metal fence and chatting.

The three males and three females, all black, felt at ease, as most were in front of the St. Michel walk-up where they lived.

Suddenly, two Montreal police officers asked them to get off the fence because they were obstructing pedestrian movement and risked falling, the youths said.

When they refused, the boys – but not the girls – were each given $85 tickets for “using municipal property for a purpose other than that for which it is designed.”

This was a case of racial profiling, the Quebec Human Rights Commission said yesterday.

The commission recommended the city of Montreal pay $10,000 each in moral and punitive damages to Jonas Cassey, who at 13 was a year too young to be fined.

It suggested the city pay the same amount to his brother Henri and their friend Fritznol François, who was 16.

In fact, the housing unit in working-class St. Michel, home to many people with roots in Haiti, North Africa or Latin America, is considered private property because it belongs to the para-public Municipal Housing Office, not the city of Montreal itself.

In a second case from 2003, 15-year-old Feten Ounissi, who is of Tunisian descent, was walking with friends and her younger brother behind a St. Michel housing project where she lived when several police officers told her to go home.

She then went to the front of the building and sat on the stoop. Again, police told her to go home. When she refused, she was lifted off the ground by two cops, taken to a cruiser, handcuffed and given a $118 ticket, she testified before the rights panel.

Her mother, Arbia Bouganmi, who said she was prevented from talking to her daughter, also was fined.

The commission said there was no valid motive for these police actions. It ruled that Ounissi, now 20, was a victim of racial profiling and should get $13,000 in damages. Her mother ought to receive $4,000, the panel added.

Fo Niemi, executive director of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations, which supported the complaints, said the ticketing indicates Montreal police are targeting teenagers of colour in that area.

This was strenuously denied yesterday by Chief Inspector Paul Chablo, who said the department does not accept the commission’s decision because “we are convinced this was a justified police intervention.”

“We did not profile anybody because of race,” he said, but added the department welcomed the commission’s suggestions to invest more funds to improve training and track incidents with racial overtones.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy on racial profiling,” he said.

There had been “a large amount of citizen complaints” about crimes in St. Michel at the time, Chablo said.

The tickets were “immediately retracted” when it was discovered one had been issued to a 13-year-old and all the supposed violators were on private property, he said.

The commission can refer the case to the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal, which has the status of a court.

Niemi congratulated the Montreal force for its recent training policies to prevent racial profiling.

“We do not want this seen as bashing the Montreal police department.We have to congratulate the leadership for their efforts.”

Jonas Cassey said that was not his first run-in with police that summer; he was also fined for “incivility” because an officer did not like the way he was jivewalking when crossing the street. Jonas did not file a complaint in that case.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Montreal's 9th Anarchist Bookfair & Festival of Anarchy (MAY 2008)

: :: Montreal's 9th Anarchist Bookfair
& Festival of Anarchy (MAY 2008) :::

The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair will take place on Saturday, May 17, 2008; the Bookfair will be followed by a full day of workshops on May 18. Reserve these dates!

The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair is for anarchists, allies, and those who are interested or curious about anarchism. Welcome to all!

Saturday, MAY 17, 10am to 6pm
CEDA, 2515 rue Delisle
(near the Lionel-Groulx metro)

--> The largest anarchist event in North America.
--> Part of the month-long Festival of Anarchy (May 2008).
--> Followed by a full day of Anarchist Presentations and Workshops (May 18, 2008).
--> Bring your kids! Kids activities and free childcare on-site.

[The main space is wheelchair accessible. For more information or to inquire about other accessibility needs, see our accessibility policy -- -- or contact the collective.]

More info below about:
a) Workshops (deadline for proposals is March 3, 2008)
b) Tabling at the bookfair (deadline April 1)
c) Art Exhibits and Films (deadline April 1)
d) Festival of Anarchy Events (deadline April 1)
e) Anarchist Theatre Festival (deadline February 1)
f) Volunteers, Supporters, Postering and Publicity
g) Contact Information

The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair and Festival of Anarchy is the largest anarchist event in North America, and an important exchange of anarchist and anti-authoritarian ideas. The Bookfair is for anarchists and non-anarchists alike, in French and English (and other languages too), with participants from all of North America and beyond. Founded in May 2000, the Bookfair is now entering its ninth year. Anarchist Bookfair events include book and information tables, workshops, readings, films, presentations, walking tours and much more.

Once again, the Anarchist Bookfair will be followed - on Sunday, May 18 - by a full day dedicated to anarchist-themed workshops and presentations. As in the past, the "Festival of Anarchy" will take place in May, with diverse events organized by anarchist and anti-authoritarian groups.

Check out the PHOTOS from the 2006 edition of the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair and Day of Workshops, to give you an idea of what the Bookfair weekend is all about:

::::: a) Workshop Proposals :::::

Proposals for the Day of Workshops (Sunday) should address an anarchist-themed topic in some depth, and should be intended for people who are already familiar with anarchism, or might identify as anarchists. The collective will accept between 10 to 15 workshops.

Workshop proposals for the Bookfair day (Saturday) should be introductory workshops to anarchism, or an aspect of anarchism, and should be aimed at people who are curious about, or new to, anarchist ideas. These workshops should be accessible to non-anarchists. The collective will accept up to 6 introductory workshops.

More detailed information about workshop proposals, including guidelines and previous workshops, is linked at:

--> The deadline for workshop proposals is MARCH 3, 2008

::::: b) Tabling at the Bookfair :::::

The heart of the Bookfair is the main auditorium on May 17, 2008 (10am-6pm) which will include booksellers, distributors, independent presses and political groups from all over Montreal, Quebec and North America, and abroad. Please make sure to read our principles

Contact us at to request table space. If you haven't tabled at the Bookfair before, please include a short description of your group and the material you intend to distribute at the Bookfair.

--> The deadline to request a table is APRIL 1, 2008.

::::: c) Art Exhibits and Films :::::

The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair will again be displaying artwork relating to anarchism and anti-authoritarian, autonomous or anarchist-supported struggles. Please consider proposing an exhibit of photos, posters, original art, repros - anything within the parameters of the Bookfair that can be mounted on a wall or placed in a corner!

The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair will also have a film room running all day, showing films related to anarchism or anarchist-supported struggles, that fall within the principles of the Anarchist Bookfair.

--> The deadline for art exhibit and film proposals is APRIL 1, 2008.

::::: d) Festival of Anarchy Events :::::

In addition to the Bookfair and Day of Workshops, the entire month of May is part of a Festival of Anarchy, with diverse anarchist-themed events occurring at different venues in Montreal. The Bookfair collective compiles a Festival of Anarchy calendar, but we count on you to organize the actual Festival of Anarchy events. Get in touch to reserve a date for your event in May (calendar dates are "first come first served").

--> The deadline to submit Festival of Anarchy events, to be included in our public calendar, is APRIL 1, 2008.

::::: e) Anarchist Theatre Festival, May 12-14 :::::

[The Montreal Anarchist Theatre Festival is organized by an autonomous collective.]

Montreal's third annual ''Anarchist Theatre Festival'' is seeking submissions of anarchist theatre pieces to be staged May 12 & 14.

Already confirmed are the Bread & Puppet Theatre, from Vermont, famous for their giant puppets, as well as Monique Surel, author of Au temps de l'anarchie, un théâtre du combat, a three-volume reference on anarchist theater. Also, French actor Nicole Mourer will present a one-man show (a seul sur scène) about the French anarchist poet, Armand Robin.

We are looking for other theatre pieces about anarchists, anarchist ideas and history, or any subject related to anarchism including anti-state, against capitalism, racism, homophobia, sexism, etc. We will consider plays or monologues that are original work, ones that have already been performed, or that have been written by anarchists (historical or contemporary). The pieces can be either full productions or staged readings in French or English.

All work performed is without remuneration. The Festival will provide publicity, an appropriate indoor venue, plus a guaranteed interested audience. All proceeds from ticket sales are used to cover event expenses and for staging future Festivals.

If interested, please send either an outline of your proposal, or a sample pages from your work and explain why your proposal would fit in the Festival.

Deadline: No later than February 1, 2008.

Submit your proposals to:
or, mail to:
@ Theatre Festival
c/o S. Laplage
6797 rue de Normanville
Montréal H2S 2C2

::::: f) Volunteers, Supporters, Postering and Publicity :::::

--> If you would like to receive Bookfair publicity -- flyers or posters -- by regular mail or electronic mail, to distribute in your community get in touch. Also, please specify whether you want publicity materials in English, French or both.

--> If you are from the Montreal area, and would like to help with local postering and flyering efforts, please pass on your email and/or phone number and specify what areas you can poster.

--> If you would like to support the Bookfair collective in general, with organizing tasks between now and the Bookfair, get in touch!

::::: g) Contact Information :::::

If you have other ideas for the Bookfair or Festival of Anarchy, don't hesitate to get in touch with a proposal! Contact us to receive regular updates and announcements by e-mail.

post: Montreal Anarchist Bookfair
c/o QPIRG Concordia
1455 de Maisonneuve Ouest
Montréal, Québec, H3G 1M8

phone: 514-435-2385

Nous parlons français.
Se habla espagnol.

Monday, January 14, 2008

No Olympics on Stolen Land! Great Lakes & East Coast Speaking Tour

No Olympics on Stolen Land! Great Lakes & East Coast Speaking Tour
With Kanahus Pellkey from the Native Youth Movement and Dustin Johnson

With the 2010 Winter Olympics scheduled to occur on unceded Coast Salish, St’at’imc and Squamish territory in two years, the spectacle surrounding them continues to wreak havoc on Indigenous people, poor people, and the Earth. In the spirit of resistance to colonialism, with the 2010 Olympics as a main target, Kanahus Pellkey of the Native Youth Movement and Native youth Dustin Johnson are touring throughout the Great Lakes and East Coast in January and February 2008.

“By them choosing to have the Olympics here, it’s opening up our land, our sacred sites, our medicine grounds,” says Kanahus Pellkey. “We want investors to know our land is not for sale.” Pre-Olympic fever occupies the province of BC, and the economic excitement has massively accelerated gentrification and the building of highways, resorts, and condos. The construction of infrastructure for the 2010 Olympics itself is adding to extensive destruction of traditional homelands of the local Indigenous peoples.

In October 2007, more than 1500 Indigenous people representing communities across this hemisphere held the Gathering of the Indigenous Peoples of America, on Yaqui territory in Vicam, Sonora, Mexico. They stated in their final declaration, “We reject the 2010 Winter Olympics on sacred and stolen territory of Turtle Island–Vancouver, Canada.” This speaking tour is strengthened by this momentum, and by the knowledge that hundreds, if not thousands of Indigenous people now plan to attend the Olympic Games, not in celebration, but in resistance to the danger the Olympics poses to Indigenous lands, identity, culture, health, livelihoods, and to future generations.

The Native Youth Movement is a Movement of Native youth that works to revive traditional knowledge and inspire Native youth to defend their Peoples and Territories.

Kanahus Pellkey is a Secwepemc and Ktnuxa Warrior and a spokesperson for the Secwepemc chapter of the NYM. She has been jailed before for fighting against the illegal occupation and theft of Secwepemc Lands for the Sun Peaks ski-resort, and is active in opposing the 2010 Olympics.

Dustin Johnson is a member of the Ts’mkiyen nation and is active in organizing anti-colonial resistance to the 2010 Olympics.

The Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement-Guelph did much of the core organizing of the tour. IPSM-Guelph works in solidarity with Indigenous struggles for self-determination and control of their traditional territories.

To get involved, help out, or ask questions, contact

Tour Dates (a few are still in the works):

Windsor * Saturday January 19
Guelph * Sunday January 20
Six Nations * Monday January 21
Toronto * Tuesday January 22
Hamilton * Wednesday January 23
Six Nations * Thursday January 24
Peterborough * Friday January 25
Tyendinaga * Saturday January 26
Sharbot Lake * Sunday January 27
Kingston * Monday January 28
Kahnasatake * Tuesday January 29
Kahnawake * Wednesday January 30
Montreal * Thursday January 31
Ottawa * Friday February 1
Akwesasne * Tuesday February 2
Penobscot * Sunday February 3
Portland * Monday February 4
Boston * Tuesday February 5
Binghamton * Wednesday February 6
Ithaca * Thursday February 7

More information:

The Olympic organizers operate with a budget of almost $2 billion, and other costs to government surpass $6 billion. Despite all the Olympic-related mega development, Vancouver is now home to North America’s fastest growing homelessness crisis. Indigenous people account for 30% of this homeless population, despite making up only 2% of the total population in the province.

Dozens of low-income hotels and apartment buildings are being converted to unaffordable condominiums. As thousands of people are forced from their homes, they are then criminalized for being homeless. Private security firms are hired by the city to further police the streets, long-running squats are shut down, and social services are more stressed and threatened than ever. The solution of the municipal and provincial governments and the police is to ignore the root cause, and instead pay people to leave Vancouver and repress those who stay.

The darker side of the 2010 Olympics is further apparent by examining how their sponsors and supporters are some of the most destructive companies on Turtle Island. These include:

• Petro-Canada, one of Canada’s largest producers of oil and gas,
• TransCanada, one of the continent’s largest transporters of oil and gas,
• Canadian Pacific Railway, long an integral tool of colonization,
• Hudson’s Bay Company, another company responsible for the colonization and theft of Indigenous land,
• General Electric, one of the world’s top three producers of military aircraft engines and major producer of nuclear power plants,
• General Motors, long a top contractor for the Canadian military and now the world’s largest automobile manufacturer,
• Dow Chemical, the world’s second largest chemical manufacturer and cause of the Bhopal, India disaster,
• Bell Canada, who’s CEO is one of the top corporate architects of the Security and Prosperity Partnership.

There is of course so much more that could be said. For further reading, see: