The Daily GRRR! - Dec. 2 2014 - “Too Bad It’s Only Tuesday” Edition

The Daily GRRR! HEADLINES for Dec. 2, 2014. 1. Kinder Morgan leaves Burnaby Mountain as court injunction expires. 2. UBC warned international students not to protest or face expulsion. 3. Pre-teens launch protest against anti-gay principal in Ottawa. 4. Women’s self-defense course offered at sliding scale in Hamilton. 5. Video game journalist calls little boys’ mothers on their rape threats. 6. Right-wing pundit Ezra Levant ordered to pay $80K in libel suit. 7. Grand River Indy Media School welcomes locals to learn and create!
listen to the Daily GRRR!:  DailyGrrrDec2.mp3

Welcome back to SoundFM! You are now listening to The Daily GRRR! here on the airwaves at 100.3fm, CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, and on the web. This is Kathryn and I’ll be your host on this Tuesday morning show for December 2, 2014.

As always, we are broadcasting from the heart of the Haldimand Tract, the occupied Grand River Territory of the Six Nations, which we continue to recognize as Haudenosaunee land.

The Daily GRRR! is a project of the Grand River Media Collective and is supported by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and CKMS.

We will begin today with headlines:
The Daily GRRR!
HEADLINES for Dec. 2, 2014 
1. Kinder Morgan leaves Burnaby Mountain as court injunction expires
2. UBC warned international students not to protest or face expulsion
3. Pre-teens launch protest against anti-gay principal in Ottawa
4. Women’s self-defense course offered at sliding scale in Hamilton
5. Video game journalist calls little boys’ mothers on their rape threats
6. Right-wing pundit Ezra Levant ordered to pay $80K in libel suit
7. Grand River Indy Media School welcomes locals to learn and create!

1. Kinder Morgan leaves Burnaby Mountain as court injunction expires

Anti-pipeline activists in British Columbia are calling for victory after one of their key opponents, Kinder Morgan, has been made to halt its survey work early. As many of our listeners will know by now, the company had been conducting research for its proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, and their crews faced an ongoing protest campaign for the duration. They secured an injunction against demonstrators, but this legal measure failed to deter Kinder Morgan’s ardent opponents, many of whom deliberately violated the court order and crossed police lines, only to be arrested immediately. That original injunction was set to expire on Sunday evening, but on Thursday, a B.C. Supreme Court judge refused to extend it for another 12 days, as the company had requested, thereby forcing Kinder Morgan to pack up before it completed its work. It was a welcome sight for activists to see the equipment being airlifted out by helicopter, and although this is far from the end of the fight against Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion, the demonstrators have another reason to celebrate. In court, the company also admitted that it provided incorrect GPS co-ordinates when it initially sought the injunction, prompting the judge to throw out civil contempt charges against upwards of 100 activists who had been arrested for disobeying the court order.

2. UBC warned international students not to protest or face expulsion

An email sent by a university employee has raised questions about whether UBC crossed the line in urging students not to join the expanding Burnaby Mountain protest against the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Sent by an employee in the Faculty of Forestry at UBC and addressed to international students, the message included the following passage: “We wanted you to be aware of the serious repercussions which could take place for any student who is here on a study permit and who is arrested. It would mean an immediate end to your studies at UBC and could also mean immediate deportation since this would be considered a criminal conviction.” The email, which was leaked online by a UBC student, had many observers questioning the legality and factual accuracy of the message.

“On the one hand, you could interpret the email as the university earnestly warning students to take care, but we question some of the wording,” said Josh Paterson, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. “Why is it that they’re saying an arrest would be treated as a criminal offence? On the other hand we would question why someone simply being arrested, for anything, without being charged or convicted of breaking any law, would result in expulsion from UBC’s Forestry program.”

Most criticism focused on the second paragraph of the email, which seems to equate an arrest with a criminal conviction, and asserts that an arrest, regardless of context or consequence, would lead to automatic expulsion from the university. It also raises the spectre of possible “immediate deportation,” based on the assertion that an arrest “would be considered a criminal conviction.” In response to inquiries from Ricochet Media, who reported on the story, a UBC spokesperson made the statement that “UBC is unable to comment on this particular e-mail as we need time to investigate the e-mail, its origins and the author's intent. However, I can tell you UBC does not direct the actions of students off campus when they are engaged as private citizens in non-university activity. Students are free to protest as they see fit. An arrest would not affect a student’s ability to remain in university. If an international student has a criminal conviction, it would be up to Canadian immigration authorities to determine their eligibility to remain in Canada.”

The university has promised to follow up with the results of its investigation, and it remains to be seen whether the employees involved in sending the email will face disciplinary action.

3. Pre-teens launch protest against anti-gay principal in Ottawa

As reported by the Ottawa Citizen, when two Grade 6 students at St. George Catholic School in Ottawa were assigned a class project on social justice, they chose gay rights as their topic. “A lot of people, they don’t know they’re being rude, but they make being gay a bad thing,” said 11-year-old Quinn Maloney-Tavares, who picked the topic with her friend, Polly Hamilton. “They need to know that it’s not a bad thing.” But school principal Ann Beauchamp vetoed the topic, so as a silent protest, the two young students wore rainbow colours to school and painted small rainbow flags on their hands. When they explained why, their classmates said, “Oh my goodness, guys, that’s such a good idea,” said Quinn, and several other students painted rainbow flags on their hands in solidarity.

The girls’ mothers met last week with Principal Beauchamp, hoping to change her mind. Social justice is supposed to be messy, they told her. It’s not supposed to be comfortable. But Beauchamp wouldn’t budge. “She felt very strongly about her decision,” Quinn’s mom said. The students’ projects go on display at a social justice fair in January, attended by students from Grades 4 to 6, and she said that Beauchamp didn’t feel gay rights “was a topic that was appropriate for that age group.” She also said that the principal was concerned that she’d face criticism from “right-wing” Catholic parents if she allowed the project to proceed. Quinn’s mom is still fuming over Beauchamp’s decision: “Why are we still here, as Catholics, where we can’t talk about gay rights?” she said. “It’s ridiculous, as far as I’m concerned.” A statement from the school board added insult to injury, claiming that “our board’s focus on equity and family life programs ensures students are taught within the context of our faith, with a focus on the dignity of personhood.” Clearly, the personhood of non-heterosexual students and their families are not being included in that. As for Quinn and Polly, they’ll likely now do a project on discrimination instead, including discrimination based on sexual orientation. As Quinn’s mom said, “They’ve learned more about social justice in a week than they ever could have by doing a project. It’s been very real for them.”

4. Women’s self-defense course offered at sliding scale in Hamilton

On Saturday, January 10th, from 1-4pm, Hamilton’s anarchist social centre The Tower will be hosting a three-hour Wen Do self-defense course. Wen-Do is the longest running self-defense organization by and for women in Canada. Since 1972, Wen Do has been providing empowerment and self-defense training to thousands of women and girls in Canada and in Japan. Wen-Do provides a survivor-positive, pro-diversity, activist-friendly safer space for attendees. This workshop is open to all women and girls ages 10+ and course content is designed to be accessible to women of all abilities.

This 3-hour workshop will include a combination of physical techniques and discussion. All physical techniques are designed to be used against physically larger and stronger attackers. We celebrate our stories and our experiences in this workshop - we are smarter and stronger than the world tells us we are! The workshop will be facilitated by Shailagh Keaney, a community-accountable activist and self-defense instructor. Shailagh has been with Wen-Do Women's Self-Defence since 2010, supporting many women and girls through the process of boldly becoming the power that they never knew they had. With roots deep in radical movements for social justice, Shailagh recognizes that the violence that we experience is systemic, and that our survival is crucial to creating a more just, more liveable world.

Once again, this three-hour workshop will be held on Saturday, January 10th, from 1-4pm, at Hamilton’s anarchist social centre The Tower. The cost is $0-$30 sliding scale, and space is limited! To register and reserve your spot email

5. Video game journalist calls little boys’ mothers on their rape threats

As reported by The Guardian, those who wonder if women gaming journalists are still subject to sexist name-calling and threats of physical and sexual violence need only talk to 21-year old media and communications student Alanah Pearce. When she’s not studying, Pearce is a video games journalist, reviewing for Australian radio stations and television. She also has her own YouTube channel, which she believes may have been the prompt for a recent flurry of online abuse. “A while ago, I realised that a lot of the people who send disgusting or overly sexual comments to me over the internet aren’t adult males,” she said. The journalist had assumed her abusers were middle-aged men. “It turns out that mostly they’re young boys and the problem is they don’t know any better, so responding to them rationally didn’t resolve the situation. And it got to the point where their comments were starting to make me feel really uncomfortable.”

When Pearce sat down to figure out the best way to resolve the situation, she concluded she was best off contacting the boys’ mothers directly, “especially as most of them write to me through their personal Facebook pages. It’s shockingly easy to find out who their families are.” She wrote to four women and told them what their sons were up to. Eventually, one of them got back to her. “She responded in almost exactly the way I wanted her to,” Pearce said. Here’s how their exchange over Facebook went:

"Hi Anna, I don't know you, but I was wondering if is your son?"

"Yes he is. Why?"

"I have never met him before, but he sent me a concerning message to my public Facebook page today that I was wondering if you might be interested in discussing with him." *screengrab of rape threat*

"Omg, little sh*t. I'M SO SORRY. YES I WILL TALK TO HIM!"

“The fact she called him a little shit I found funny as well because I thought that (too) but I wasn’t going to say anything,” she said with a laugh, adding that “I wasn’t going to post it on Twitter but I was just so excited. And I thought some of my friends would find it amusing.” At last count, more than 11,000 users had retweeted her comment, and more than 20,000 had favourited it, eight hours after Pearce made her original post. “It was just a way to try to reach a resolution, to productively teach young boys it’s not okay to be sexist to women, even if they’re on the internet,” she says, “that they are real people and that there should be actual consequences for that.”

6. Right-wing pundit Ezra Levant ordered to pay $80K in libel suit

As reported by The Toronto Star, Sun News Network host Ezra Levant has been ordered to pay $80,000 in damages for libeling a Saskatchewan lawyer in a series of “reckless” blog posts, according to a Superior Court decision released Thursday evening. As Justice Wendy Matheson wrote in her ruling, “I find the defendant’s dominant motive in these blog posts was ill-will and that his repeated failure to take even basic steps to check his facts showed a reckless disregard for the truth.” The verdict also included the requirement that Levant remove the offending posts from his website within 15 days.

Khurrum Awan, a Regina-based commercial litigation lawyer, launched the $100,000 suit in response to nine blogs in which Levant labeled him a liar, anti-Semitic and a jihadist during and after a 2008 B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing. A student at Osgoode Hall Law School at the time, Awan testified at the hearing over concerns about a Maclean’s magazine article he considered to be Islamophobic. Levant’s posts, mostly headlined a variation of “Awan, the liar,” were critical of Awan’s association with the Canadian Islamic Congress and its founder Mohamed Elmasry, whom Levant characterized “anti-Semite-in-chief.”

Justice Matheson shot down Levant’s fair comment defence on the grounds that his comments were motivated by malice toward Awan for his connection to Elmasry. She also pointed out “numerous” errors in Levant’s reports. “He did little or no fact-checking regarding the posts complained of … Nor did he accurately report what was taking place at the hearing,” she wrote. “As for the nature and seriousness of the defamatory statements, they are extremely serious. They go to the heart of both the plaintiff’s reputation as a lawyer and as a member of our society.”

7. Grand River Indy Media School welcomes locals to learn and create!

This coming Sunday, December 7, you can join the Grand River Media Collective for our second day of workshops about creating and critically engaging with independent media. These workshops are designed for people who are involved or are interested in getting involved with local independent media, whether in print, over the radio, or through video work. We’ll work on building the skills and experience necessary for grassroots organizations and individuals alike to create high-quality, broadcast-ready material to get the real story out there. The workshops organized for this Sunday are:

10am - 11:30am: Anti-Oppressive Interviewing with Mandy Hiscocks
11:30am - 1pm: Grassroots Promotions with Dan Kellar
1pm - 2pm: Free lunch!
2pm - 3:30pm: Audio Editing for Podcasts with Alex Balch

Once again, these workshops are all free and open to the public, and don’t forget the free lunch also provided to participants! The whole event will be held at the Critical Media Lab, located at 44 Gaukel Street in downtown Kitchener. For more information about accessibility or any other questions, please contact the organizers by emailing

Midway Music: My Life by Dani and Lizzy

Feature: “Doing It Together: Youth Liberation & Deschooling” - An interview with Vancouver organizer Carla Bergman by Nick Montgomery for The Peak Magazine

Closing Song: Killing in the Name (Rage Against the Machine Cover) by Mira Costa High School Alternative Chamber Strings