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Jonas Mekas on refugees, ignoring Hollywood, poetry and ambient noise

23 September 2016 - 12:18pm
Jonas Mekas on Refugees, Ignoring Hollywood, Poetry and Ambient Noise.

Jonas and I talked about refugees and memory, about ambient noise, poetry, the new film I Had Nowhere To Go, and why he's spent a lifetime ignoring Hollywood.

For more information on I Had Nowhere To Go (IMDB) and TIFF.


Internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Douglas Gordon (24 Hour PsychoZidane: A 21st Century Portrait) returns to the Festival with this intimate portrait of avant-garde cinema legend Jonas Mekas.

"An adventurer can always return home; an exile cannot. So I decided that culture would be my home." Jonas Mekas

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The government is listening to Canadians... in a good way! (hopefully)

23 September 2016 - 6:13am
Here are six reasons why you should participate in the national security consultation about Bill C-51. Six reasons why you should participate in the national security consultation about Bill C-51

'The Jewish Hour' tells a story of immigration that resonates today

23 September 2016 - 4:00am
Friday, September 23, 2016

The tens of thousands of Jews who migrated to Canada in the first part of the past century came as immigrants, not refugees, so it might ring false to compare them to, say, recent Syrian arrivals. But they could've been seen as refugees, based on motives and experience, as they fled pogroms in Eastern Europe. That's how my grandparents got here, from Ukraine and Belarus.

Tens of thousands of Jews migrated to Canada in the first part of the past century. That community, in Toronto, is described in a lovely, loving new book by the late Michael Mandel: The Jewish Hour.

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Rachel Notley does remarkably well in face of unrelenting campaign of vilification. Sun newspapers? Not so much.

22 September 2016 - 11:13pm

Notwithstanding a flagging economy and an unprecedented campaign of continual vilification by mass media, Astro-Turf agitators, corporate-bankrolled think tanks, right-wing academics and a nearly hysterical online conservative rage machine, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley's level of support among Albertans remains statistically unchanged since last February.

Given the intensity and fury of the unrelenting media campaign against her, Notley's stubborn ability to retain the approval of about a third of the Alberta electorate must be deeply frustrating and worrying to the powerful and well-financed groups campaigning to bring her and her New Democratic Party government down.

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Avi Nesher on his new film 'Past Life,' justice, truth, memory and reconciliation

22 September 2016 - 5:25pm
Avi Nesher on "Past Life", Justice, Truth, Memory and Reconciliation

Avi and I talked about his brilliant and beautiful new film Past Life, and letting go, about justice, pessimism and why he believes we need to "let life take over."

For more information about Past Life (IMDB) and TIFF.


In the fascinating new film from director Avi Nesher (The Wonders), two Israeli sisters delve into the dark mystery of their father's former life in Poland during World War II.

The newest film by Avi Nesher boldly charts dangerous emotional territory as it tells of two sisters trying to uncover their family's past.

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Bombs away! How Canada is here to help

22 September 2016 - 3:48pm
Friday, September 23, 2016

When Justin Trudeau spoke to a bored, half-empty United Nations last week, he repeated the nauseatingly saccharine slogan, "We're Canadian, and we're here to help," sounding exactly like the disingenuous insurance salesman whose empty promises come with that sickly smile.

Trudeau's cheery offer at the UN to bring peace to the world fell flat in light of his government's "principled" commitment to sell billions in weapons and blanket militarism.

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Over 42,000 Canadian voices against data caps are now on the public record at the CRTC

22 September 2016 - 11:25am

OpenMedia, with the support of over 42,000 Canadians, yesterday put on the public record our view of what the Internet can, and should, look like in Canada.  

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UN refugee summit shines light on global crisis

22 September 2016 - 10:56am
Thursday, September 22, 2016

The MS St. Louis was a German passenger ship whose most famous voyage, in the spring of 1939, became known as "The Voyage of the Damned." On that trip, 908 German Jewish refugees were headed to Cuba, fleeing the Nazis, but only 22 of the Jewish passengers were allowed to disembark. Aid organizations pleaded with U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the government of Canada to accept the refugees. They were snubbed, and the vessel headed back to Europe. Hundreds of the repatriated refugees would die in the Holocaust. The refusal of the U.S. government to accept them remains a dark stain on our history. Sadly, our government's current track record with refugee resettlement suggests that history may be repeating itself.

The number of people suffering forced displacement today is staggering -- the greatest flow of refugees since the Second World War. It is in this context that the UN convened its refugee summit.

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Can Canada be a real leader in the fight against climate change?

22 September 2016 - 8:54am

It is now officially fall, which means it is officially time to talk about carbon pricing, apparently.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said on Wednesday that all provinces could soon have either a cap-and-trade system or carbon tax as the Liberal government continues to prepare its national plan for carbon pricing.

McKenna also noted that in order for the system to be effective, price must increase with inflation instead of being fixed.

Hilariously, at the UN conference this week, Norwegian politician Erik Solheim joked that since everyone loves Canada, everyone would be happy to take leadership from Canada.

Can Canada be a real leader in the fight against climate change?

Choices Ya. The Liberal government has the ideas, but it needs to put them into action immediately. No. The Liberals have adopted the same targets as the Cons, love pipelines and aren't taking action. Maybe. Curious to see what this "national policy for carbon pricing" will actually look like. No. The Liberals keep breaking their promises, especially to Indigenous communities. How is that leadership? Meh, aren't we all already doomed? None of the above.

Six reasons why you should participate in the national security consultation about Bill C-51

22 September 2016 - 8:22am

The government is listening to Canadians. Now, that statement has a completely different meaning. The federal government is engaging in wide-ranging public consultations, seeking input from Canadians about how to amend our national security framework and Bill C-51.

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Listen: Indigenous leaders on how to protect the earth and their communities

22 September 2016 - 6:35am
Hear Tom Goldtooth, Joseph Wawatie, Jacob Wawatie and Romeo Saganash speak on the need to protect the earth. Indigenous peoples' struggles and resistance

Mad Room: Black artist lays bare struggle with depression, anxiety

22 September 2016 - 5:38am
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tangled Art Gallery in Toronto is opening its first-ever installation, featuring the work of local artist Gloria Swain and focusing on her experience as a Black woman in the mental health system.

The gallery is supported by Tangled Art + Disability which sponsors disability arts across the country. Tangled Art Gallery just opened in the spring this year and bills itself as the first in the country dedicated to showcasing disability arts.

The inaugural season launches September 22 with Artist in Residence Swain.

Tangled Art Gallery in Toronto is opening its first-ever installation, featuring the work of local artist Gloria Swain and focusing on her experience as a Black woman in the mental health system.

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Anti-Palestinian media bias still remains untouchable even to Canada's media critics

22 September 2016 - 1:44am

Media coverage of world affairs mostly focuses on Ottawa's and Washington's perspectives. While the dominant media is blatant in its subservience to Canadian and Western power, even independent media is often afraid to challenge the foreign policy status quo.

A recent Canadaland podcast simultaneously highlighted anti-Palestinian media bias and the fear liberal journalists face in discussing one of the foremost social justice issues of our time. The media watchdog's discussion of the Green Party's recent resolutions supporting Palestinian rights started strong with Canadaland publisher Jesse Brown laying out three claims:

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CRTC decision paves way for affordable fibre Internet choice, but could have gone further

21 September 2016 - 4:18pm

decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) this morning will improve fibre Internet choice and affordability. However, some of the details have advocates concerned that the Commission should have gone further to allow independent Internet providers to compete on a level playing field.

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Skepticism, not pacifism, is NDP's best approach to foreign war

21 September 2016 - 11:57am

In trying to rally his dispirited troops the other day, interim NDP leader Tom Mulcair made the following somewhat surprising statement: The party's "core values," so he told his applauding caucus, are "environmentalism, pacifism, feminism, socialism."

I join the applause, or at least three-quarters of it. I can march behind the banner of socialism, feminism and environmentalism with pride and conviction. But pacifism, not so much. In fact pacifism has never been an NDP value, assuming that words have any meaning.

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Indigenous peoples' struggles and resistance

21 September 2016 - 11:23am

Today we're bringing you an excerpt from a panel of speakers recorded at the World Social Forum in Montreal in early August. It was called "Indigenous Peoples' Struggles and Resistance: Building Solidarity for Land, Self Determination and Justice."

What you'll hear is a variety of perspectives on one common theme: the need to protect the earth from the ravages of corporate greed and environmental devastation, and the right of Indigenous people to control their lands, their territories and their way of life.

Speakers (in order they appear in the podcast):


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Tiering up over tuition fees

21 September 2016 - 10:27am

This fall, tuition fees in Canada are set to increase by 2.8 per cent to a weighted average of $6,373. That's a smaller increase than in previous years, but (as always) averages can mask some important details: in this case, the plethora of options provinces are pursuing to address the optics of rising tuition fees, and what that looks like on paper (and on balance sheets). (Note that these figures do not include additional compulsory fees which are much more deregulated and can add anywhere from $250 to $1,000 to the total annual cost, depending on the university you attend and the program in which you're enrolled.)

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Pressing the reset button: A progressive vision for Ontario

21 September 2016 - 10:14am

The Ontario government has prorogued the provincial legislature, returning September 12 with a new throne speech.

The throne speech has been cast as government "pressing the reset button" following a recent by-election loss and ongoing controversies such as election finance scandals, hydro privatization, and high hydro bills.

Each of those controversies need to be tackled head on, but what should "pressing the reset button" look like for a government that is mid-term, purporting to be "activist" in its approach and less than two years away from a general election?

The answer starts with the question: what is the role of a provincial government in creating the conditions for decent work and reduced income inequality?

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'Yes, logging introduces mercury!' New revelations from Grassy Narrows

21 September 2016 - 9:55am

Another stunning story in the Toronto Star last week revealed that top environment officials in the Ontario government knew that clearcut logging in Grassy Narrows territory would increase mercury levels in fish even as the province refused a request by the First Nation for an environmental assessment of the province's 10-year logging plan for the area. 

The article references government emails obtained through freedom of information requests made by Grassy Narrows:

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Ashley McKenzie on her new film 'Werewolf,' existentialism, addictions and 'honest framing'

21 September 2016 - 6:40am
Ashley McKenzie on her new film Werewolf, existentialism, addictions and "honest framing."

Ashley and I talk about her new film Werewolf, choices and addictions, modern existentialism, Albert Camus and about "paying attention."

For more information about TIFF go here.




Blaise and Nessa are outcast methadone users in a small town that doesn't offer an easy way out. Each day starts in a long lineup at the tiny pharmacy, then it's door ­to­ door begging to cut grass for people who just want them to go away and die.

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