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Jul 28, 23

Canadian Tire Fire #62: Anarchist Bookfairs, #SearchTheLandfill, Fighting the Housing Crisis and Prison News

cover photo: @ElJonesPoet and @LeeShingoose

In this issue we bring you details on upcoming anarchist bookfairs in Halifax and Hamilton. We’ve also got updates on the blockades and protest encampments by Indigenous folks in Manitoba to force the provincial government to pay to search two local landfills for the remains of at least two Indigenous women. In Montreal, outrage over increasing insecurity of renters and the unhoused includes recent nighttime vandalism of a luxury real estate office.

And finally, as we all know, this summer continues to be evidence of the dire and accelerating effects of the climate crisis. Extreme wildfires country wide caused the deaths of 3 wildfire fighters in the span of a week, while an unprecedented tornado touched down in Ottawa and near Montreal. Flooding in Montreal forced more people out of their homes, and 4 people are still missing following floods in Nova Scotia. It is more urgent than ever to fight against the global capitalism driving this crisis and the states enabling its continuation.

Upcoming Anarchist Bookfairs

This month brought the exciting announcements of two upcoming bookfairs!

The Halifax Anarchist Bookfair is coming up on Saturday, September 2nd. A call has gone out for workshops, art installations, games, discussions and whatever else you can dream up! Links for application forms and contact info can be found here.

The Hamilton Anarchist Bookfair will be back on Saturday September 30th. Tabling and workshop applications are open until August 4th. Applications forms and more info can be found here.

Mark your calendars and get your applications in!

New Protest Camp set up in Winnipeg after Brady Road Landfill Blockade Cleared by Police

On July 7th, the Province of Manitoba announced it would not be funding a search of the Prairie Green or Brady landfills near Winnipeg, despite calls from local Indigenous communities. The remains of at least two women, Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran, both homicide victims, are believed to be in either of the landfills.

Since December, protesters have been maintaining Camp Morgan near the Brady landfill, calling for a search of both sites. At times, those at the camp have also blockaded the road leading to the landfill. After the announcement on July 7th, protesters took to the road and re-established the blockade. A week later, on July 14th, the City of Winnipeg was granted a temporary injunction in hopes of re-opening the road. That evening, around 50-60 protesters held the blockade as the injunction was burned.

The next week, on July 18th, Winnipeg police cleared the blockade. No arrests were made. The next day, a new camp, Camp Marcedes, was established next to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in downtown Winnipeg. Protesters aim to honour the missing women and continue to push for a landfill search.

Police in Winnipeg also reported that earlier this week, their headquarters was vandalized with various slogans. According to APTN News:

Winnipeg police are cleaning up their headquarters after what they call an “incident” overnight. Handprints can be seen smeared across the glass in the front of the station and on the sign out front. People are upset with the arrest of protestor Tre Delaronde at Camp Marcedes.

Luxury MTL/Montria Real Estate Vandalized in Montreal

In the midst of rising rents, housing insecurity, and evictions, Quebec continues to push for rent reform in Bill 31 that we covered in our last issue. It is likely demos and rallies will continue in the coming weeks and months as renters try to pressure the governing Coalition Avenir Quebec to back off. But people are also hitting back against the specific developers and real estate firms responsible for and benefiting from the misery of renters.

Recently, a nighttime attack against a luxury real estate agency took place in Montreal. Read on for a communique:

July 1st is moving day in Montreal. It’s always chaotic, but with the threat of Bill 31 rent reforms the situation may become far worse.

We are told there is a housing crisis, a term used to avoid naming those responsible. Why is housing scarce, unsafe, expensive, and precarious in Montreal?

  • Greedy landlords who renovict, charge damage deposits and “finder’s fees” to maximise profits.
  • To avoid rental laws and increase profit landlords convert housing into short-term rentals (e.g. Airbnb). This caused several deaths in the spring.
  • New housing is built for investors, not residents. While low-income housing is “impossible”, dozens of towers with luxury housing are built, units sold to investors just to sit empty and appreciate in value.

Over 500 people are newly homeless since moving day. The eviction of people living in tents under the Ville-Marie expressway is imminent. They build skyscrapers and pander to rich urbanite investors while people sleep rough. Bill 31 is part of this plan. The landlord lobby, developers, property managers and real estate agencies profit from a Montreal where you must pay up or get out. The powers that be want a city made for the rich – high rent, expensive food, yuppie gentrification – the rich get richer.

We say fuck a housing crisis, housing is everywhere. Luxury MTL, also known as Montria Real Estate, is part of the problem. Luxury development creates a world for the rich. We will attack it. Their windows are just the beginning.

Solidarity with rent strikers in Toronto. Squat the world!

Prison News

Prisoners at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth, also known as Burnside Jail, have been in the news for fighting ongoing lockdowns which they say violate their constitutional rights. Multiple prisoners have filed habeas corpus applications, which argue that they are being unlawfully detained. The government of Nova Scotia has successfully fought to have all applications dismissed so far, blaming the lockdowns on severe staffing shortages. The lockdowns have impacted everything from calls to lawyers, visits, programming, and meals.

While in many cases judges say they “reluctantly” dismissed the applications, and warned the province they must quickly address staffing issues, we know the judges are just another part of a rotten system that offers no justice.

Meanwhile, in the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre, also known as the Barton Jail, prisoners are speaking out about another form of lockdown: getting locked in the showers. A post from the Barton Prisoner Solidarity Project reads:

Prisoners in the Barton Jail’s segregation unit are going months at a time without yard. But under provincial rules, the jail is required to let them out of their cells for two hours a day. How is the Barton Jail doing this without giving them yard time? By locking them in the shower stall.

We found this pretty shocking, but we have received several reports about it over the past two months, so it sounds like it is standard practice. As prisoners we spoke to have pointed out, this is a dirty trick, a way that the Barton Jail admin are trying to dodge their responsibilities.

Prisons in Ontario can only legally hold a prisoner in strict segregation for fifteen days — for it not to count as segregation, they need to let you out of your cell for at least two hours a day. This is not optional, it is a basic right that prisoners have. In the segregation unit, typically this time out of the cell would be done using either the yard or the programming room. Instead, they are getting locked in the shower stall.

There is nothing in the shower stall apart from the shower. There is nowhere to sit, the ground is soaking wet, and there is not even room to pace around. There are no toilets in there, and prisoners are being told to just piss down the drain if they need to use the washroom. If prisoners in seg want to shower, they are told their only option is to spend two hours in the stall.

Almost everyone in the seg unit is being held under administrative segregation (as opposed to disciplinary segregation), the majority because they have mental health needs that can’t be accommodated elsewhere. Why are people with mental illnesses being denied even the most basic accommodations and instead being humiliatingly locked in the shower?

This is a disgusting violation of rights and a shameful way that the Barton Jail’s admin is trying to get around their responsibilities towards prisoners in segregation. This practice needs to end now. All prisoners deserve to be out of their cell for a couple of hours a day and to have access to yard.

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A weekly roundup of anarchist and anti-authoritarian news from so-called Canada. Email us at: [email protected]

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