We could reduce violent crime by 50 percent: Here’s how

CUSJ Past-President Frances Deverell, together with several members of First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, has been working on the CUC Criminal Justice Monitoring Group mandate. This Group was formed after the May 2016 CUC AGM to address: the over-incarceration of Indigenous peoples; the excessive use of solitary confinement; and greater use of restorative justice in our system. The … Read more

Gov’t dragging its feet on reforms to the Access to Information Act

CUSJ has joined over 50 Canadian civil society organisations and citizens in sending a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him to renew the commitment of his government to reform Canada’s woefully outdated Access to Information Act. Notwithstanding strong pledges to amend the Act during the election campaign and afterwards, including in its 2016-2018 Open … Read more

What you can do–right NOW–to stop the madness of continued oil sands expansion

Are you feeling frustrated with the fact that the Kinder Morgan trans-mountain pipeline project, and other pipelines, seem to be unstoppable? The Coast Protectors held a webinar this week to discuss actions that are being taken. Inspired by that webinar, here are some actions that all of us can take, right now, to show solidary with … Read more

Welcome to our new Thunder Bay chapter!

CUSJ is pleased to announce that a new local CUSJ chapter has been formed in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The three founders–Bob Manson, Susan J. Woods, and Sally Palmer Woods–all members of Lakehead Unitarian Fellowship–stated that the CUSJ Thunder Bay Chapter intends to work towards social justice locally, provincially, and nationally, because they feel that this multi-level approach … Read more

Israeli smear campaign shows that BDS is working

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), of which CUSJ is a member, has reported this week that peace activist and BDS movement co-founder Omar Barghouti was arrested, interrogated and harassed by Israeli authoriites. This seems to be part of the Israeli government’s campaign to criminalize the BDS movement, intimidate activists and stop free speech. CUSJ has issued a statement, copied below. … Read more

Bill C-23 would give US officials expanded authority over travellers

CUSJ has submitted comments to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU) regarding Bill C-23. This bill could compromise the Canadian government’s ability to ensure the privacy and rights of its own citizens when they travel, by expanding the powers of US officials. At present, the US Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) operates preclearance … Read more

Tax havens are robbing us of our democracy

The Spring 2017 JUSTnews discussion paper features a sermon by Rev. Steven Epperson, in which he presents what political scientist Edward Luttwak called “the most important book of the decade”: The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich and Powerful Hide their Money. Epperson also looks at a second book, The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax … Read more

Canadian Gov’t: Don’t be passive and complicit in the face of Israel’s violations of international law

March 20, 2017 The Honourable Chrystia Freeland Minister of Foreign Affairs,House of Commons,Ottawa K1A 0A6 Sent by EmailDear Minister Freeland: We come together to express our grave concern regarding actions taken by the government of Israel since the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, and to call the Canadian government to take a strong stance … Read more

Unitarian Church of Montréal votes to divest from fossil fuels!

On March 5, 2017, the Unitarian Church of Montréal (UCM) voted to divest from fossil fuels, thus becoming the eighth Canadian UU church to do so. This was truly an event of historical significance, since UCM is the oldest UU congregation in Canada, having been founded in 1842 by anglophone progressives, among them merchants like … Read more

The Shadow knows

In his article on the Hassan Diab case, entitled, No evidence? No problem! Matthew Behrens shows how the entire Hassan Diab case is full of holes, and time and again the judicial system keeps deciding to release him, and then, mysteriously, reversing their decision without explanation. Recounting the history of the case, in which Diab was arrested … Read more

Hassan Diab trial expected in March or April 2017

Above: Feb. 2016 rally to show support for Hassan Diab. Photo: Matthew Behrens. Canadian Unitarians are deeply concerned about Canada’s ongoing impassivity as a Canadian citizen languishes in Fleury-Merogis prison (near Paris) in “pretrial detention” since 2014. In 2008, Dr. Diab, a professor at University of Ottawa and Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, was summarily arrested for allegedly bombing … Read more

Trans-Mountain and Line 3 approval = another broken promise

CUSJ President Margaret Rao wrote to Prime Minister Trudeau on February 23 2017, urging him to rethink his approval of these backward-looking pipeline projects. The reasons are obvious: These pipelines make it impossible for Canada to honor the CO2 limits that it promised when it ratified the Paris agreement; These two pipelines would increase Canada’s emissions by … Read more

Art is a powerful agent for change: Batsheva Dance Co must speak up

In January 2017, CUSJ added its name to a letter sent to the Batsheva Dance Company during its recent North American tour.  This letter states, “We ask that you disavow your role as Ambassador of the State. Your position as an Israeli cultural icon gives you a platform to speak up for what’s right.” This … Read more

Trudeau government favours bulldozers over BDS

One year ago, February 2016,  CUSJ President Margaret Rao wrote to Prime Minister Trudeau, urging him to overturn the anti-BDS motion that was introduced by the Conservative government. He did not grant our wish… But at least the UN acted, passing Resolution 2334 condemning Israeli settlements on Palestinian terroritory as a flagrant violation of international … Read more

Trudeau risks populist backlash by breaking key promise

About-face on democratic reform commitment fuels cynicism, anger   TORONTO – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s abandonment of a key election promise on democratic reform risks fuelling the cynicism, anger, and disenfranchisement that resulted in a Brexit referendum victory in the UK and propelled Trump to the US Presidency.   “Justin Trudeau has broken faith with … Read more

JustNews Winter 2016 issue: Towards Effective Action

Editorial

By JustNews Editor Philip Symons

To view this issue, click here.

Social Justice workers are looking for new, more effective ways to change government policies and improve the lives of all through stronger democracy, less inequality in wealth, and more compassion for our fellow citizens. Politicians too often and too easily ignore letters, rallies, petitions and even delegations—unless you happen to have $1,500 in your pocket and the fare for travel to a dinner in Ottawa. So this issue of JUSTnews focuses on other possible methods of changing government policies.

The lead article chastises liberal churches, including ours, for worrying more about retaining membership and keeping costs low than standing up for the moral right, thereby committing suicide. Then, Micah White has written a book, reviewed from different perspectives by two CUSJ members, on The End of Protest as a means of obtaining justice. A letter from the Honourable Scott Reid to Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef suggests finding allies amongst politicians can be effective. Language is always important, as noted by a member of Fair Vote Canada. And then there’s the community-organizing process started by Saul Alinsky that is gaining traction in various cities across Canada and elsewhere.

Other ideas and suggestions are welcome and, as always, will be considered for publication in future issues of JUSTnews. Please write.

Guy Dauncey’s Message of Hope

The most recent JustNews Discussion Paper No. 32 revisits Guy Dauncey’s slideshow, which we enjoyed at the 2016 AGM.  Using humour, memes, and examples from life, Dauncey shows us how we can build a sustainable future for humanity. Dauncey is the founder of the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association, co-founder of the Victoria Car Share Cooperative, and author or … Read more

Anti-BDS motion pushback continues: Letter thanking MP Andrea Horvath

The moral arc bends towards justice, but not, alas, in a timely manner, BDS supporters would agree, as the struggle to achieve justice and peace in Israel and Palestine, through peaceful means, continues. Several political and Social Justice groups, including CUSJ, co-signed a letter, reproduced below, to Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horvath (and members of the Caucus) in … Read more

CUSJ joins the Canadian BDS Coalition in support of Palestine

In January 2017, CUSJ joined the Canadian BDS Coalition (BNC), which endorses the Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). The Coalition’s Basis of Unity (BOU) statement affirms that non-violent punitive measures (that is, boycott, divestment and sanctions) should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and … Read more

Bill C-22: Security agency activities may be legal, but are they democratic?

This is one of the questions posed by CUSJ today, in a letter to Senator Jaffer, Deputy Chair of the Senate committee on National Security and Defense (SECD) that is studying Bill C-22. As you may recall, CUSJ has already submited a brief on Bill C-22. This letter is a follow-up, that draws Senator Jaffer’s attention to three relatively … Read more