Feb 282014
  1. Solidarity Halifax supports accessible, universal public health services for all, including home care and home support services.
  2. We believe that health care workers deserve dignity and respect on the job, like all workers.
  3. Home support workers at Northwood and the Victoria Order of Nurses (VON) are demanding to be paid the same amount as workers doing identical work in hospital settings.  Wage parity is a fair demand.
  4. Public sector strikes are complicated.  Unlike a private sector strike, there are three parties to a public sector strike – the workers, the employers/government, and the public.  In this case, the workers offered several ways to prevent a strike, including binding arbitration and continued negotiations, which the government rejected.
  5. The Liberal government is planning to essentially take away workers’ right to strike.  Historically, this results not in fewer strikes, but in more strikes, as documented by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Nova Scotia in a report written by Solidarity Halifax members Judy Haiven and Larry Haiven.
  6. Halifax condemns the Liberal government’s anti-democratic and anti-worker policies.




Feb 262014

Solidarity-Halifax_logo_web_jpgLeo Glavine’s words in the King’s County Register and his subsequent defense of them display willful ignorance to the causes of poor health in our province.

Set against the backdrop of a strike vote taken by nurses at Capital Health to protest the unwillingness of Glavine’s ministry to bargain better nurse-to-patient ratios, the irony is not lost on Solidarity Halifax that the man who shames those of us not up to his standards of healthy living is actively endangering the health of thousands of patients and healthcare workers.

Minister Glavine’s comments about the lifestyles of people living on social assistance demonstrates a relentless attack on the poor in our province. He repeats the lies invented by Reagan-era Republicans: “They accept government assistance, yet still have money to travel.  These people are abusing their neighbours’ hard-earned money. The goal of assistance programs is to help people out of a difficult time, not give people free money.”

Glavine’s cynical intent is clear: sow divisions between workers with jobs and workers without to pursue an austerity crash course. It’s the oldest trick in the capitalist playbook: how can we fight the coming reduction in healthcare services if we’re fighting each other? If his desire for efficient administration were sincere, why is he not demanding that Premier MacNeil and other Liberal colleagues pay back their outrageous travel expenses? Are they not abusing their neighbours’ hard earned money too?

Or what about an end to the province’s sweetheart relationship with Emera, the profit-hungry corporation the Liberals created and now has a stranglehold on Nova Scotian citizens? Or making the millionaires and billionaires who do get “free money” through overly generous tax breaks pay their fair share?

Further concerning is his own personal defense as reported by the CBC: “Glavine didn’t apologize. He said the column isn’t reflective of government policy. But he also said he hopes to see those ideas become part of the focus of the department.”

Victim-blaming is not healthcare policy. If he were truly interested in making Nova Scotia a healthier place, he would tackle the causes of poor-nutrition and the root stresses of coping behaviours: poverty caused by low wages and inadequate assistance rates, pervasive racism, the isolation and marginalization of First Nations communities, overpriced slum-housing, the lack of comprehensive Early Childhood Education, among others. These problems are all rooted in the inequalities caused by capitalism.

We should be watchful of Glavine and the Liberal’s agenda for Healthcare. His comments were undoubtedly meant to test the waters in the pursuit of a regressive course.

Read also:

Health Minister Overlooks Barriers to Healthy Lifestyle
by James Hutt, Provincial Coordinator of the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network and member of Solidarity Halifax

Social Darwinism with a Folksy Charm: Leo Glavine’s food politics
by Scott Domenie, member of Nova Scotia ACORN and of Solidarity Halifax


Photo: Toronto Youth Food Policy Council


Feb 252014

Missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada

by Solidarity Halifax member Hillary Bain Lindsay. Originally published by the Halifax Media Coop.


Every February, marches take place across Canada in memory of over 600 missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Photo: Murray Bush – flux photo.

Anyone who has information on Loretta’s whereabouts, or saw this car and its occupants between February 13 and 19, are asked to call police.

K’JIPUKTUK (Halifax) – On February 13, The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) delivered over 23,000 signatures to the House of Commons in support of NWAC’s call for a National Public Inquiry into the more than 600 missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada.

February 13 was also the day Loretta Saunders, a twenty-six year old  Inuk woman from Labrador, was last seen in Halifax.

Cheryl Maloney, president of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association, has been helping to coordinate volunteers for Loretta’s search in Halifax. On Friday, she had planned to be at the Liberal Party’s convention to lobby Justin Trudeau to join the call for an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women.  Instead, she was in Halifax “supporting the family and putting up posters,” of yet another missing Indigenous woman, finding herself in the middle of something that is hitting way too close to home.

“We know statistics are greater for us,” says Maloney. “Whether we’re a Masters student or not; the statistics are there. It could happen, and it’s more likely to happen to an Aboriginal person.”

According to research done by NWAC, the number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada is disproportionately high. “Between 2000 and 2008, Aboriginal women and girls represented approximately 10 per cent of all female homicides in Canada.  However, Aboriginal women make up only three per cent of the female population,” reads one NWAC report.

Statistics on missing Aboriginal women are much more difficult to find as there are no national data sources on missing people in Canada. The Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police (SACP) is perhaps the only policing body to publish statistics on missing persons, according to NWAC.

SACP reports that almost 59 per cent of missing women and girls in Saskatchewan are of Aboriginal ancestry.

These statistics are well understood by Loretta.  A couple weeks before her disappearance, Loretta submitted her thesis proposal to her professor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.  Her research focuses on missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada, particularly the disappearance and/or death of three Indigenous women in Nova Scotia.

“Her thesis topic is very close to her heart,” says Delilah Terriak, Loretta’s sister.  “It’s a topic that she feels very passionate about; it is an example of many of the injustices towards Indigenous women and Indigenous people.”

In a NWAC fact sheet entitled Root Causes of Violence Against Aboriginal Women and the Impact of Colonization, the organization outlines some of the reasons for the disproportionate violence, such as the ongoing legacy of residential schools and systematic racism in Canada.

“Loretta is a firm believer in the necessity for decolonization and for breaking the cycle that keeps Indigenous people trapped in a life of addiction and abuse and self-destructive behavior,” says Terriak.

Loretta herself is breaking that cycle, according to her sister. “She came out of a tough place, and she is on her way to law school,” says Terriak.

Maloney, who was interviewed by Loretta for her thesis research, has been buoyed by the outpouring of support to find her in Halifax – everything from donated photocopies for postering the city, to a donated headquarter space, to funds raised to fly Loretta’s family to the city.

“It is really beautiful for me to witness this,” says Maloney.  “When I work with missing and murdered women, and poverty, and child welfare, you don’t get to see the good things very often.”

Everyone is hoping that there is more good news to come.


Note: Articles published by Solidarity Halifax members do not necessarily reflect positions held by the organization.


Feb 252014

Solidarity Halifax member Scott Domenie writes a response to Health Minister Leo Glavine’s recent open letter in which he ignores social determinants of health when blaming people for overburdening health care services.

Originally published at Left Turn East.

Photo: Toronto Youth Food Policy Council

Nova Scotia’s Liberal Health Minister, Leo Glavine wants us to make healthier life choices. He thinks that we should eat better and exercise more. He wants us to take more individual responsibility for our health. Minister Glavine wants you to mistrust and despise “those people” who abuse the health care system and social assistance programs. He wants you to ignore the social determinants of health such as poverty and stress.

Individual responsibility for basic health is crucial. It is very encouraging to see so many active constituents and local grocers and retailers who are providing for healthy eating choices.

Minister Glavine says he is encouraged by the growing local food movement in Nova Scotia, yet he makes no mention of how difficult it is for people on lower-incomes to access healthy food options.  Which I suppose makes some sense  since he seems to very much buy into the “moral underclass” view of poverty that sees the poor as victims of nothing but their own “irresponsibility”.

Then there are people who are cognizant abusers of the system. They accept government assistance, yet still have money to travel.  These people are abusing their neighbours’ hard-earned money.

All the down-home charm in the world can’t save Glavine’s op-ed for what it is; an attack on the poor. An attack that is rooted in a neoliberal view of individual autonomy and personal responsibility where there can be no discussion of social causes to social problems.

I think an apology is in order, Minister Glavine. If not that, then your resignation. Either now or in four years.


Note: Articles published by Solidarity Halifax members do not necessarily reflect positions held by the organization.


Feb 192014

Jesse Laufer, Vice President External of the King’s Student Union and a member of Solidarity Halifax, delievered this speech at the February 12th ACORN rally for tenants rights that took place outside Halifax City Hall.

Originally published at the Halifax Media Coop:

Jesse Laufer on the bullhorn. [Photo: Miles Howe]

Photo: Miles Howe/HMC

“Good morning everyone. Thank you for inviting us to this event. As students, the issues surrounding quality affordable housing, or rather the severe lack of it in this city, affects us every day.

Students are some of the number one targets that slumlords take advantage of. We are seen as no more than four years of easy profit, only temporary bodies that are too apathetic to fight for what is owed.

Student housing is often older, run down and decrepit buildings. Mold, mildew, broken doors, windows and rodents put us in conditions that are unsafe and unsanitary.

Repairs are slowly, if ever, made in our homes. We are told that it’s our fault that we live in these conditions, that it is our mismanagement that causes problems in 70 year old buildings that haven’t seen carpenters in decades.

We are told that our houses are not worth fixing because students break things, or because we will be moving in a year. When things are fixed, we pay for it with damage deposits and fees, even when the damage is due to years of mismanagement.

We are thus often left to repair things ourselves: pizza boxes for windows, bookshelves cover the holes in walls to keep rodents out, plastic coated showers to keep black mold from spreading.

When we move into houses, we come with mouse traps at the ready because we are told to expect rodents, that it’s part of being a student. Oh, and by the way we have to pay a premium to live within manageable distance from our classes.

When did being a student come with rats? When did studying to get jobs to advance this economy, to pay for our landlords’ retirement through taxes, mean that we get rewarded with dangerous mold? Why does this city and this province let this happen? What can’t they give the 99% a healthy standard of living?

We don’t ask for much – all we ask is that our doors and windows close without paying extra. All we ask is for a good night sleep without bugs and mice joining us in our beds. All we ask is to be able to breath in our showers, hallways and kitchens without inhaling mold.

Why is that too much?

We as students call on the city to implement rules and regulations that actually provide healthy and affordable standards of living to the city’s poor and students.

This doesn’t have to cost the city or the province a dime.

The Metleges – and other slum lords of this city – can downgrade their Lamborghinis to Mustangs and do their responsibility to make sure that their tenants have the ability to live healthy.”


Note: Statements by Solidarity Halifax members do not necessarily reflect positions held by the organization.