The SPP lacks democratic approval

Last summer, Linda McQuaig (Part I and Part II) spoke of the “sophistication” of the business elite in their soft-peddling of continental integration through the Security and Prosperity Agreement (SPP).  The deal has been kept quite quiet and the work of moving it forward is ongoing via various business leaders, politicians and bureaucrats.

McQuaig’s focus is North American Energy Security which, in essence, is an agreement that Canada guarantee an energy supply to the USA.  The catch is that we must do that before we take what we need!  Why would Canada agree to ensuring the US supply before ensuring our own?  As McQuaig says, there are about 10 years of regular oil supplies left in Canada.  Are we too nice, offering it to the US first?  Or, too stupid?  Yes, there’s the Alberta tar sands, but that über project has garnered a huge outcry from ecological organizations, northern peoples, environmentalists, and even a few politicians, such as former Alberta premier, Peter Lougheed and the Mayor of the Alberta boomtown, Fort McMurray.

Are we, as Canadians, really prepared to give over our own energy security, the ecological integrity of our beautiful north and the well-being of our northern and First Peoples so that the business elite can continue to line their own pockets?  Do we really want to continue fueling the USA’s wars?  Furthermore, are we willing to let this carry on without the due process of our democratic institutions?

In August 2007, Prime Minister Harper refused to accept letters on this matter from 10,000 concerned Canadians.  In the April 2006 Throne Speech, Mr. Harper promised to present “significant international treaties” to a vote in Parliament.  In the last session, he did not do so.  Did he lie to Canadians?  And why, as we learned from US President Bush’s State of the Union Address earlier this week, is our Prime Minister is continuing to forge ahead with the SPP?  He has plans to meet with Presidents Bush and Calderon this April in New Orleans.  But he will do so without the consent of the Canadian people, despite promises — not to mention the obligation — to do so!

Should you so wish, you can tell the Prime Minister how you feel about this lack of democratic process.  The Council of Canadians have been following the developments on the SPP very closely.  It was the organization that forced some media attention onto the issue last summer.

If we truly treasure democracy then we are obliged, as responsible citizens, to speak out when it is being circumvented or abused.  This, I think, is one of those times.  If you do nothing else, at least inform yourself on this important issue.  It will change your life, one way or the other.

Usher High School Defends Its Existence

Terri Sleeva’s notes from the Regina Public School Board’s “Renewal” meeting at Usher High School document a number of issues which the Regina Board of Education has failed to address in the plan for closing Usher and other Regina schools.

It is essential, I believe, that the valid questions raised here and elsewhere be addressed before any closures go ahead.  What is at stake is the quality of education of Regina’s children.  The RBE has not taken this into account in their plan for renewal.

Here’s Terri’s report:

Usher Closure Meeting with Board of Education Trustees/January 17, 2008

School renewal process

 

Nov, 2007 – Pass recommendation of 3 school closures

Final decision March 11, 2008

 

Cindy Anderson

  • Addressed students mainly because Usher is about their kids
  • 587 students when opened in 1979
  • Is a community and not an institution
  • Any child removed from the school due to economic status is one too many
  • Many concerns as a community
  • As a community we think of the issues of students terrified to go to another school, having problems with participating in extra curricular activities, violence, social rejection, money for gas, teacher rejection, transportation, being able to afford bus passes and lunch money.
  • Thom Collegiate has had no response towards taking in Usher students
  • Top three academically in math and English
  • Putting one or two children in a high school is minor; placing 200 in a high school is a tsunami
  • Children do adapt, teenage adults do not.
  • Money is not being wasted, but being used to increase education
  • 357 students
  • Lowest vandalism
  • Only high school in 25 years to receive a standing ovation from the Mayor of Regina
  • If you have to work to bring the students into another community or school, then you should be able to work to bring children into this community

 

Transportation and Safety – Kim Anderson

How am I going to get to school?

  • Many students walk to school
  • A big obstacle for low income families because bus passes are $42.00 a month.
  • Regina Transit is not very accommodating. Students will have to wait for buses as early as 7:15am and with travel time of up to 68 minutes. Many buses have short arrival times, leaving students with as much as 3 minutes to get to class. To compensate for this, children will have to take a bus 40 minutes earlier.
  • After 6:15pm buses only run once every hour, which makes it impossible to do extra curricular activity
  • Choir programs run early in the morning so students would have to go earlier then normal
  • Transferring buses downtown is a major concern
  • To Thom, with service only in Uplands area with a ride of 15 minutes

 

Safety – Kim Anderson

  • Resource officers states that 5% of the students are considered to be bad apples
  • Comments from other high school students – “Usher students are too gangster and it will cause fights.”

 

Small Schools – Val Dodman

  • Smaller classroom sizes are the best for learning because it gives more one on one time for learning
  • By cramming as many students as you can into one room you are ignoring what the school system is made for – to give the best education possible to students. In actuality the school board’s responsibility is to build more facilities to get the best education possible.

· Why are smaller schools better:

· greater success in smaller schools

· larger graduation rates

· smaller student-teacher ratio means students can get help to understand better

· allow extra curricular activities (all kids who register get to participate, which boosts confidence)

· can identify more emotional and educational problems among children

· less vandalism

· give children a chance to walk or cycle to school and be more active

· allows children to go home right after school or at lunch to look after younger siblings.

 

Real Renewal for the Public School Board – Karen Wilke & Patricia Elliott

Karen Wilke

  • Lead best when we lead by example
  • Seek out office space in schools that are experiencing low enrollment
  • Advantages:

“You will demonstrate all though change is hard, chaotic, and disturbing, that you have not asked young children, staff or families to do anything that you yourselves are not willing to do.”

  • By moving to different buildings you will be prolonging the building use, and helping the school to stay open.
  • Opportunity to work with school and staff
  • You will experience the lives of the students

Patricia Elliott

  • Parents are not just nostalgic and emotional.
  • They care because educational standards are about to be lowered.
  • This plan is a replay of similar plans developed in the U.S. in the past 20 years that have since proven to be disastrous for students and communities. U.S. school districts are not trying to rebuild their small neighbourhood schools.
  • The School Board has done little or no research into the potential impacts of school closures, relying on a single literature review done hastily in Toronto.
  • The Board should not be so worried about whether their decision will be unpopular – of course it will be – but should rather be worried about whether their decision will be deeply flawed. It seems you are planning to spend a lot of money to make things worse.

 

Community – Donna Dubasov

· Not enough time for students to show other schools how great they really are

 

Economics – Karen Zibreski

· Average house amount in area of school is $119,000

· Average house amount surrounding Thom is $166,000

· Average house amount surrounding Winston Knoll $232,000

· Can all of the community afford to send their children to a school out of the community?

 

Government Issues and Interaction of Usher students with Elementary – Bill Trenaman

  • Elementary schools always use Usher for their grade 8 graduations and for other big functions

 

 Vocational Education – Rick Knibbs & Tyler Stewart

  • Easy to make friends at Robert Usher
  • What will happen to all of the stuff inside of the school if it is closed (trophies etc.)?
  • Usher has so much to offer and so much to give
  • If we lose one because of drops outs and drugs, it’s one too many

 

Seniors’ Presentation – Cel Shtuka, Agnes Moldenhauer, Elfrieda Wolfe & Joyce Anderson

  • On a limited budget, I am able to enjoy the school’s functions and productions for a small price
  • Study at a large school in Toronto found that:

57% carry knives

42% carry hand guns

12% sexually assaulted in school

  • Results showing that small schools are more safer

 

Student Representative Council

  • Many school achievements in both academics and athletics

 

Questions that are voiced by students:

  • Will a plan be developed to transport students to other schools?
  • This building is in good shape, why close it?
  • Have they thought about how to keep Usher sustainable rather then close it?
  • Have they considered the effects that closing will have on the community?
  • Why were we only giving 4 months when other schools have 3 to 4 years?
  • Why is only school size being considered?
  • What will they do with the building, will they sell it? Where will the money go if the property is sold?
  • What will happen to the local businesses?
  • Will I be safe at a new school? Will I be accepted?
  • How will we be sure that students are comfortable?
  • What will be done to prevent violence at a new school?
  • What if we can not afford to take the city bus?
  • Fear of rejection from other students?
  • What happens to Usher’s banners, graduation pictures etc. that we have taken so much pride in?
  • How do we deal with the negative image that other students have of Usher students?
  • Are we not going to have the opportunity to be the SRC president, Valedictorian, or team captain?
  • What are our chances of getting scholarships at a large school?
  • If you participate in after school activities, how will you get home if you rely on the bus?

 

What does Usher mean to you? (students)

  • Like my second home, I am here more then my own home
  • Everyone I know is here
  • Opportunities for scholarships in a small school
  • Chance for opportunities in music program, yearbook club, sports teams, etc.
  • Family
  • Friendly people
  • Get along with anybody (no little cliques)
  • Welcomed with open arms
  • Love going to school, knowing that you are going to have a great day
  • It means going to school and seeing happy faces
  • Know everyone and have many close friends
  • Lots of fun while learning
  • Sense of security and safety

 

Necessity

  • The very big size that the other schools may become
  • Solutions:

Distance education

Tutorial program

Fine arts programs

Adult campus that runs (you give them a second chance, so give our children one chance)

Twenty Years of Freedom!

20 years of choiceIn the mid- to late-80’s I was a student representative to the Regina Reproductive Rights Coalition which worked to find ways around, over, and through the restrictive abortion law of the day. We networked with women across the country to put an end to the discriminatory law, known as Section 251. That law required any woman who wanted to terminate a pregnancy to not only find a doctor who would perform the procedure but also to have the procedure approved by a hospital’s Therapeutic Abortion Committee (TAC). In Saskatchewan an invisible line divided the province into north and south. Women who lived south of Davidson dealt with Regina’s TAC; women to the north, with Saskatoon’s.

By 1986, there was one doctor in Regina who would perform an abortion, but he would do so according to his interpretation of the law. Basically, he decided which circumstances were the right ones. Needless to say, most women sought other options. The Regina Women’s Community Centre counseled women to go elsewhere for the procedure. Many drove to clinics in the USA or traveled to Ontario. Those with no financial wherewithal went to Saskatoon, where a doctor at the Saskatoon Community Clinic, Dr. John Bury, courageously provided the procedure with very few questions asked. It meant two trips to Saskatoon and a false address if a woman lived south of Davidson. And, it meant waiting days or weeks for the phone call to find out whether or not the TAC had approved the procedure. But for a lot of women, that wait was worth it and Dr. Bury was a lifesaver!

On January 28, 1988, after Dr. Henry Morgentaller’s 8 years legal battle, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the law saying it infringed on women’s personal security:

State interference with bodily integrity and serious state-imposed psychological stress, at least in the criminal law context, constitutes a breach of security of the person. Section 251 clearly interferes with a woman’s physical and bodily integrity. Forcing a woman, by threat of criminal sanction, to carry a fetus to term unless she meets certain criteria unrelated to her own priorities and aspirations, is a profound interference with a woman’s body and thus an infringement of security of the person.

When we heard the news on campus, we were elated! We knew it meant freedom of choice for women on the matter of their own reproductivity for as long as there was no law. I do not know, however, if we really understood the great significance of Justice Bertha Wilson’s Minority Report and her consideration of women’s Charter rights. From p. 171:

…I would conclude, therefore, that the right to liberty contained in s. 7 guarantees to every individual a degree of personal autonomy over important decisions intimately affecting their private lives.

The question then becomes whether the decision of a woman to terminate her pregnancy falls within this class of protected decisions. I have no doubt that it does. This decision is one that will have profound psychological, economic and social consequences for the pregnant woman. The circumstances giving rise to it can be complex and varied and there may be, and usually are, powerful considerations militating in opposite directions. It is a decision that deeply reflects the way the woman thinks about herself and her relationship to others and to society at large. It is not just a medical decision; it is a profound social and ethical one as well. Her response to it will be the response of the whole person.

.

Wilson went further, providing a feminist-based interpretation and questioning a man’s capacity to so much as understand what a decision such as this is to a woman:

It is probably impossible for a man to respond, even imaginatively, to such a dilemma not just because it is outside the realm of his personal experience … but because he can relate to it only by objectifying it, thereby eliminating the subjective elements of the female psyche which are at the heart of the dilemma.

She cited an important essay, “International Law and Human Rights: the Case of Women’s Rights,” by Noreen Burrows from the University of Glasgow, who pointed out that

the history of the struggle for human rights from the eighteenth century on has been the history of men struggling to assert their dignity and common humanity against an overbearing state apparatus. The more recent struggle for women’s rights has been a struggle to eliminate discrimination, to achieve a place for women in a man’s world, to develop a set of legislative reforms in order to place women in the same position as men (pp. 81-82). It has not been a struggle to define the rights of women in relation to their special place in the societal structure and in relation to the biological distinction between the two sexes. Thus, women’s needs and aspirations are only now being translated into protected rights. The right to reproduce or not to reproduce which is in issue in this case is one such right and is properly perceived as an integral part of modern woman’s struggle to assert her dignity and worth as a human being.

I believe it is because of Justice Bertha Wilson’s statements that we are able, today, to celebrate 20 years of reproductive freedom in Canada. I extend a great thank you to the late Justice Bertha Wilson, to Dr. Henry Morgentaler, and to the thousands of women and supportive men who worked together to gain this fundamental freedom for Canadian women.

Happy anniversary!

The Security and Prosperity Partnership Agreement: Fortress Jellybean

The Regina Mom’s  been down with bronchitis for over a week but is back to blogging, albeit lightly for now.  Here’s the essay on the Security and Prosperity Partnership I promised.  An edited version of it was published in the November/December issue of Canadian Dimension magazine.

Fortress Jellybean: Selling North American Integration to North Americans

Bernadette L. Wagner

The meeting of the Three Amigos (President Bush, Prime Minister Harper, and President Calderon) to further discuss the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) in Montebello, Québec in late August  appears to have been a bust for them and a victory for civil society.  At least from a public relations perspective. Around 2000 protesters, having been harassed by the RCMP on behalf of the US military and having worked through issues around what the protest would look like, crashed the corporate party and made headlines which cast citizen protest in a good light.  The Three Amigos’ condescending remarks about the protest and the Sûreté du Québec’s (SQ) agent provocateurs’ attempt to provoke violence at the demonstration ensured the SPP a place in the consciousness of Canadians.

What is the SPP?

The SPP follows the path to deep integration which began with structural adjustment programs of the 80s, followed by the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the USA and Canada and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which were to be followed by the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) and the Free Trade of the Americas Agreement (FTAA).  The FTA went ahead thanks to Mulroney, even though the majority of Canadians had not voted for him.  NAFTA went ahead thanks to Chretien, even though he had stated during the election campaign that he was opposed to it. The MAI was
stopped dead in its tracks by civil society, as was the FTAA. All are part of global capital’s greed. And all would see a deeply integrated Mexico, Canada, and the United States — a North American Union.

And, this time, every aspect of the social, economic, security, and institutions of all three countries is included in the deal.  According to a Freedom of Information request released to the US citizen watchdog agency, Judicial Watch, health care, labour standards, border security, military procurement policy, bulk water exports, all natural resources and corporate licensing ­ to name a few ­ are under attack. Trilateral working groups have been established to determine how it happens and to ensure it does happen.

That this ³partnership² has been conducted without public input, with absolutely no respect for the democratic process, by the leaders of three unpopular governments, and with the input and direction of business groups, is reprehensible. The North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), an organization of overpaid CEOs and Presidents and Vice Presidents of Boards of Directors, is a major player in formulating the SPP.  The NACC has representatives from each country and its role is to guide the governments on issues such as border regulation and competitiveness and to meet regularly with security and prosperity ministers.

What are the origins of the SPP?

In 2004 the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations summoned an elite group of politicians and corporate leaders from the three countries to “develop a roadmap for the future of the North American community.”  This resulted in a Task Force on the Future of North America.  Former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, John Manley, together with Tom d’Aquino, head of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) co-chaired the task force.

In their official statement issued in March 2005, the co-chairs proposed “the creation by 2010 of a community to enhance security, prosperity and opportunity for all North Americans,” where “the boundaries of the community would be defined by a common external tariff and an outer security perimeter.”

This agenda strongly resembles the Security and Prosperity Initiative sponsored by the CCCE in 2003. Shortly after 9/11 Canadian business associations together with right-wing foundations and think-tanks launched a round of discussions aimed at obtaining from Washington more secured access to U.S. markets in exchange for satisfying the U.S.¹s heightened defence, border security, water and energy concerns.

There can be no doubt that in Canada the deep integration agenda is driven by big business and that whatever distinctions that may have existed between Canadian and foreign corporate capital are now trivial at best. Canadian capitalists have as much interest in securing their position in the U.S.A. as U.S. capitalists have in securing their future in Canada.  Surrendering sovereignty over immigration policy, foreign policy and water and other resources, is of minor concern to them.

The SPP was officially launched by Paul Martin, Vincente Fox and George Bush at their summit in Waco Texas in March 2005. One of Steven Harper¹s first steps as head of this country¹s new minority government was to renew Canada¹s commitment to the SPP at the March 2006 summit in Cancun with Bush and Fox.  The three leaders announced the creation of the North American Competitive Council to set out priorities and recommendations for improving North American global competitiveness. The SPP now constitutes the organizational framework for deep integration initiatives, including ten ministerial  implementation working groups.  In June 2005 the first SPP report released work plans for nearly 100 initiatives.  So despite the fact that little seems to have been accomplished at Montebello, the SPP marches on.

Public protest at Montebello

Given that  the Montebello protest occurred on a workday and that the venue was not reachable by any mode of public transportation, it’s significant that the 2000 who made their way to Montebello did in fact do so. This, especially so, when they were greeted by equally as many dressed and trained in the code of male violence, as well as bulldozers, water cannons, military helicopters, etc. Neither the over-the-top demonstration of force nor the heat of the day prevented the singing and dancing, walking and marching, speaking and shouting in opposition to the SPP.

When three demonstrators picked up rocks and retreated behind police lines Union leader, Dave Coles, reminded them it was to be a peaceful demonstration. As the rock holders were taken down by the police, caught on camera by many, it was noted that the soles of their boots were identical to those of the SQ.  Later, the SQ, under pressure from the media and progressive organizations, admitted their officers had infiltrated the demonstration but claimed they were not agent provocateurs.

When asked point blank about the SPP being a precursor to North American Union (NAU) President Bush dismissed it as a conspiracy theory.  This, despite more than 20 years of the Americanization of Canada and documents pointing to it.  Harper referred to the demonstration as ³sad² presumably because his handlers had suggested only a hundred protesters were present. He went on to denigrate the protesters concerns by saying, “A couple of my opposition leaders have speculated on … superhighways to the continent – maybe interplanetary, I’m not sure,” in his attempt to dismiss the NASCO Corridor, formerly known as the NAFTA Superhighway, which has its own website.  He carried his arrogance even further by asking, “Is the sovereignty of Canada going to fall apart if we standardize the jellybean?” This, a direct reference to one of the business leaders present at the summit, the head of the candy manufacturing company, Ganong’s, who had complained about differing standards on jellybean manufacturing on the continent.

All opposition parties are critical of the SPP in one way or another, and could quickly bring down the Harperites.  On the SPP, the NDP is leading the charge.  New Westminster MP, Peter Julian, revealed a deregulation effort in about 300 public policy areas, but the NDP seems hesitant to make this an election issue.  Even the Liberals, who once embraced deep integration, are having second thoughts about it with Stephane Dion at the helm.  But then
the Liberals always campaign from the Left. The Bloc Québecois are eager to see the Harper government defeated, particularly over the Afghanistan issue.

The time is ripe for social and environmental movements to work together with organized labour to make deep integration and the SPP an issue in the next election.  This Security and Prosperity Partnership must be ended.

The North American Competitiveness Council: A Who’s Who

Canada

Dominic D¹Alessandro (Manulife Financial); VP, Canadian Council of Chief
Executives.
Paul Desmarais, Jr. (Power Corporation of Canada)

David Ganong (Ganong Bros. Limited); Director, Sun Life Financial; Director,
Conference Board of Canada; Chairman, New Brunswick Business Council.

Richard George (Suncor Energy Inc.); Honourary Chair, Canadian Council of
Chief Executives; Director, GlobalSantaFe Corporation (U.S. offshore and
onshore drilling company).

Hunter Harrison (CN); Former President and CEO, Illinois Central Corporation
and Illinois Central Railroad Company; Member, Canadian Council of Chief
Executives.
Linda Hasenfratz (Linamar Corporation); Chair, NACC; Director, CIBC;
Director, Royal Ontario Museum.

Michael Sabia (Bell Canada Enterprises); Chairman, Bell Aliant Regional
Communications; Director, Thomson Corporation; (Has also worked for CN
Railway, federal Department of Finance and the Privy Council Office).

Jim Shepherd (Canfor Corporation); Director, Vancouver Board of Trade;
Director, Asia Pacific Trade Council.

Annette Verschuren (The Home Depot); Director, Canadian Council of Chief
Executives; Director, Habitat for Humanity; Chancellor, University College
of Cape Breton.

Rick Waugh (ScotiaonBank); Director, Institute for International Finance;
Member, Chairman’s Advisory Council for the Council of the Americas; Member,
International Monetary Fund Capital Markets Consultative Group.

Mexico

José Luís Barraza Gonzalez (Consejo Coordinador Empresarial); President, Council of Administration of Companies; CEO, Grupo Impulso, Realiza & Asociados, Inmobiliaria Realiza and Optima; Former VP for the promotion of economic development in the state of Chihuahua.

Gastón Azcárraga Andrade (Consejo Mexicano de Hombres de Negocios); CEO, Mexicana de Aviaci√≥n; CEO, Grupo Posadas; Director, ING Mexico; Director, Holcim-Apasco; Advisor, National Tourism Council.

César de Anda Molina (Avicar de Occidente); Former President, National Union of Poultry Producers; Former VP, International Relations, Farming National Council.

Valentín Díez Morodo (Consejo Mexicano de Comercio Exterior); Member, Mexican Business Council; President, Mexican Institute for Competitiveness; President, Iberoamericana University; Director, Grupo Financiero Banamex; Director, Mexichem; Director, Kimberly Clark de México.

Jaime Yesaki Cavazos (Consejo Nacional Agropecuario); CEO of several poultry companies.

Claudio X. González (Centro de Estudios Económicos del Sector Privado); Director, Kellogg Company; Director, The Mexico Fund, Inc.; Director, Banco Nacional de Mexico; Director, Grupo Televisa and Telefonos de Mexico; Chairman and CEO, Kimberly-Clark de Mexico .

Guillermo Vogel (Tubos de Acero de México); Vice Chairman, American Iron and Steel Institute; Vice Chairman, Tenaris; Chairman, North American Steel Council; Director, Amazonia; Director, Instituto Latinoamericano del Fierro y el Acero; Director, Citibank-Banamex; Director, HSBC Bank Mexico.

León Halkin (Confederación de Cámaras Industriales); Former President,Confederación de Cámaras Industriales; Chairman and CEO for four industrial and real estate market companies.

Tomás González Sada (Grupo CYDSA); Member, Vitro Corporativo S.A. de C.V.; Chairman, Mexican Institute for Competitiveness.

Alfredo Moisés Ceja (Finca Montegrande); President, Council of the Mexican Association of Coffee Exporters; Vice President, International Commerce, National Agricultural Council.


United States

Lou Schorsch (Mittal Steel USA); CEO, Ispat Inland; Co-author, Steel: Upheaval in a Basic Industry.

Joseph Gilmour (New York Life); Former Senior Vice President, Canada Life; Fellow, Society of Actuaries.

Rick Wagoner (General Motors); Trustee, Duke University; Member, Board of Dean’s Advisors, Harvard Business School; Director, Catalyst; Chairman, Society of Automotive Engineers.

William Clay Ford Jr. (Ford Motor Co.); Vice Chairman, Detroit Lions, Inc.; Chairman, Detroit Economic Club.

Raymond Gilmartin (Merck); Director, Microsoft Corporation; Director, General Mills Inc.

David J. O’Reilly (Chevron); Committee Director, American Petroleum Institute; Director, Peterson Institute for International Economics; Member, World Economic Forum International Business Council; Member, JPMorgan International Council; Member, American Society of Corporate Executives; Member, Trilateral Commission.

Jeffrey R. Immelt (General Electric); Director, Catalyst; Director, Robin Hood; Director, The Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

H. Lee Scott (Wal-Mart); Director, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Robert Stevens (Lockheed Martin); Former Director, Monsanto Company.

Michael Haverty (Kansas City Southern); Chairman and CEO, Kansas City Southern De Mexico.

Douglas R. Conant (Campbell’s Soup); Previous involvement with
General Mills, Inc., Phillip Morris Companies, Inc. (Kraft); Former President, Nabisco; Director, Applebee’s International, Inc.; Vice Chairman and Trustee, The Conference Board.

James M. Kilts (Gillette); Former CEO,
Gillette Company; Former President and CEO, Nabisco; Former President and CEO, Kraft Foods; Former President and CEO, Altria; Director, The New York Times; Director, Metropolitan Life Insurance; Director, MeadWestvaco; Member, International Advisory Board, Citigroup.

Herman Cain (Whirlpool); CEO and President, THE New Voice, Inc.; Director, AGCO, Inc.; Director, Aquila, Inc.; Director, Reader’s Digest; Director, Hallmark Cards; Member, National Commission on Economic Growth and Tax Reform.

Resources


1. *Report back from Montebello: The politics of corporate party crashing* Joel Davison Harden

2. *SPP: Opposition lining up. Montebello proved ‘deep integration’ should be a big election issue.* Murray Dobbin, The Tyee

3. *Buzz Hargrove letter to the PM: Stop the Security and Prosperity Partnership* Buzz Hargrove

4. *Meet the Powerful Business Members of the North American Competitiveness Council * The Hill Times EMBASSY REPORT, Embassy, June 13th, 2007

5.  *Canada and Bush’s North American Union Project* Rodrogue Tremblay

6. *Montebello and the SPP:Seriously Principled People Protest! * Larry Kowalchuk, Act Up in Sask (Sask IMC)

No One Is Illegal Vancouver http://noii-van.resist.ca/?p=438

The Hill Times

Regina Public Schools: Renewal or Bad Research?

The Regina Mom is sick and should be in bed but she knows she won’t be able to rest until she takes care of business.

The Regina Board of Education (RBE) has developed what they call a 10 year renewal plan for the school division. [Just a quick note regarding that link; the direct link to the renewal activities is not available — maybe it’s just my foggy mind, but if anyone call pull it for me, I’d appreciate it]

The plan is to close inner city schools and to bus kinds to bigger schools. And, though their research shows the importance of small neighbourhood schools, their plan does not acknowledge the importance of small neighbourhood schools.

realrenewal.org logoRealRenewal.org is an organization whose members have come together because its members are “concerned about the future of public education in Regina.” They want the RBE to conduct a “full and fair evaluation of all alternatives.” They say that “school closure is a choice, based on a management theory that says ‘bigger is better’ at any cost.”

Their website is thorough. And they include a vast array of questions they have put before the RBE, questions the RBE really must answer before closing any schools.

And note the contact page if you want to be informed of their activities.

That’s all for now. The Regina Mom needs ginger tea and sleep.

Thanks! And Homework for Mandryk

Thanks to all who have stopped by for making the launch of The Regina Mom a great success. Within the first 48 hours of existence the blog received more than 500 visits! At the time of this writing, more than 1000 have clicked in.  I had no idea!

Thanks, especially, to Kevin O’Connor, the CBC Sask web guy who dubbed me The Regina Mom, and to Kerry Benjoe, who wrote a wonderful piece about me for the Leader-Post.  Only one thing to clarify there.  My kids are into music and the outdoors, not sports.  Nevertheless, thanks to the Leader-Post for paying attention.  Here’s hoping I’m not their token feminist and that they feature other progressive women in their pages!

And while we’re on the topic of the Leader-Post, I must say to Murray Mandryk, before you write off the left as too radical because they have actually done the work of connecting the dots, you need to learn a tad more about the Security & Prosperity Partnership (SPP).  I know it’s busy being a writer, but, well, shouldn’t the Leader-Post be a bit more fair in sharing all sides of the story?  There is a lot of information out there, not just the select bits that fit with the Leader-Posts ideological mandate.

So, if I might be so brazen a woman as to suggest homework, well, I suggest starting here, at the horses’ mouths, the US-based Council on Foreign Relations.  I don’t know about you, but it makes me nervous that anyone from the USA has anything to say about Canada’s policies.  So, after that lengthy document take a trip here and pick out all those pieces written by Alison @ Creekside.  She’s a woman who does amazing research!

I’ll provide my own commentary on the SPP once I’m over this cold/flu thing that has me down.

Enterprise SK is Unfair to Women

The Sask Party government has been in power about two months. And SK women are already being shafted.

SK Enterprise and Innovation sent out 300 invitations to SK groups and businesses asking for their nominations for candidates to serve on the board of Enterprise SK. Of those 300, a grand total of two were issued to women’s organizations. Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan, an excellent organization which has helped many SK women to be successful businesspersons, received both of those invitations!

Membership in the Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc. has grown to over 820 since the organization was founded in 1995. To date, Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc. has assisted over 27,600 women with information and path finding services; has provided business training sessions for over 13,750 women; has scheduled over 20,550 business advisory appointments; and received over 318,000 unique visits to the website. In addition, Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan has lent over $13.4 million from its loan fund to help women start, expand or purchase existing businesses in the province and leveraged an additional $10.3 million in funding.

Not surprisingly, women’s businesses do very well in this province. In fact, women’s businesses do well all over. And it’s because women know how best to organize their lives for success. According to the book, Ladies Who Launch: Embracing Entrepreneurship & Creativity as a Lifestyle, women’s creative and intuitive capacities make them more successful and happy in their own businesses. Women think creatively differently from men. It’s part of the feminine process, according to the authors of Ladies Who Launch.

Ah yes, but we in SK are apparently too backwoods and backwards and sexist to admit that, to celebrate that. Instead, we’re supposed to be happy that women of Saskatchewan will be guaranteed a whopping .67 percent — yes, that’s right less than one percent — of the nominations to the Board of Enterprise SK.

I say, blow it out your ear, Brad! We want more. We deserve more. And it’s up to you, as Premier to all the people in the province  — women are people, too, you know — to honour our capacity and our success.

We have not come very far, good women, if this is how we’re treated by the powers that be. Our contributions to the economy, to the wisdom of enterprise continue to be soundly ignored by the men who are running the province. And this will continue to happen because the patterns already so deeply entrenched will be even more deeply entrenched by the body appointed to advise government on the economic policies for the future.

These policies will impact not only us, but also our daughters and our granddaughters and our families. We have to speak out on this; we have to change the course of history and make it our story, too.

Please add your name to the comments section below. I’ll forward the list to Minister Stewart and Premier Wall. If you have time to do more, please click on the links and send a message to the Minister and the Premier. I know they’ll want to hear from as many as possible on this issue.

And hey, thanks for stopping by!

The Regina Mom

PS:  Boys and men are welcome to sign in, too!

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