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Hatred unmasked: Tracking the rise of right-wing extremism in Canada

May/June 2022

Radicalization has been documented as a process that occurs when “individuals are destabilized by various environmental factors, exposed to extremist ideology, and subsequently reinforced by members of their community.” It’s hard to think of an event in Canada’s recent history more destabilizing than the ongoing pandemic. Public health measures put in place to save lives and reduce demand on taxed health care infrastructures did more than disrupt the financial security of millions of Canadians. It eroded daily social routines and networks that people relied on and amplified the importance of online spaces.

Ottawa has become a hotspot for extremist gatherings this year, with the January-February Freedom Convoy being the most notable example.

How do we take this moment as a harbinger, address the threat it represents and prevent a broader sea change that makes Canada more amenable to radicalized views?

When we examine how right wing spaces are becoming increasingly radicalized, it is critical to also create space to explore the impacts that this radicalization is having on marginalized communities.

Recognizing that the work of addressing radicalization is long and complicated, how do we centre the communities most affected by hatred and violence? How can we create spaces of safety, even in moments of uncertainty?

Reimagining the future of Canada's public transit

March/April 2022

In the two years since Canada’s pandemic experience began, transit ridership across the country has plummeted. Or perhaps, more accurately, riders who had the ability to work remotely or the ability to find alternate transportation to work did so. Early in the pandemic, ridership in Toronto, for example, declined as much as 85% resulting in a $21 million per week revenue loss for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). In turn, the TTC laid off 450 employees and reduced service. Calgary saw a similar drop of 90%, while Vancouver reported an 83% drop in ridership early in the pandemic.

At the same time, the 2021 annual report from the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) advocated for a net-zero scenario, which would give humankind the greatest chance of surviving and mitigating the ongoing climate crisis. But achieving this requires a steep drop in demand for fossil fuels by 2030. Achieving this requires thriving, accessible transit systems across Canada.

The March/April issue of the Monitor explores saving, reinvesting in and reimagining Canada’s public transit systems. How do we fund a better transit system? What does a functional intercity transit system look like? What does a thriving accessible transit system look like? Where can we draw inspiration from? What lessons can we learn from Ottawa’s P3 experience?

Twenty years of anti-terrorism legislation

January/February 2022

In the aftermath of September 11, Canada’s Anti-terrorism Act (ATA), Bill C-36, received Royal Assent on December 18, 2001.1 Subsequent anti-terror and security bills have followed C-36, including Bill C-51, Bill C-24, and Bill S-7, expanding powers and curtailing freedoms. At the same time, new digital technologies that could not have been foreseen in 2001 have since made it easier than ever to track and document the movement and behaviours of citizens across the country.

Bill C-36, bills that followed and the broader public discourse around anti-terror measures have for two decades consistently sown seeds of hatred and suspicion against entire communities in Canada. This hatred has most notably culminated in the 2017 Québec City mosque shooting2 and the targeted hate crime against a Muslim family in London, Ontario this past summer.3

Bill C-36 also (further) criminalized protest in Canada. While the early signs of this were seen at the first major protest event held in Canada post-9/11, the 2002 G8 Summit in Kananaskis,4 the level of security surveillance and police violence reached a new heights at the Toronto G20 protests in 2010,5 at homeless encampments in Ontario6 and at the Fairy Creek and Wet'suwet'en blockades this past year.7

The January/February issue of the Monitor explores life 20 years after the introduction of Bill C-36. Our contributors explore how do Canada can begin to repair the damage two decades of Islamophobia has done to Muslim communities; what new facial recognition mean for privacy rights writ large; exploring what CSIS was collecting in the Protest Papers and more.

Notes

1 Government of Canada, Department of Justice. 2021, July 7. About the Anti-terrorism Act

https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/...

2 Zine, Jasmin. 2021, January 28. Remembering the Québec City mosque attack: Islamophobia and Canada’s national amnesia. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/re...

3 Gilmour, Rachel. 2021, June 10. What is the government doing about Islamophobia in Canada? Here’s what we know. Global News.

https://globalnews.ca/news/793...

4 Bergman, B. 2002, June 17. Ready for the G8. https://archive.macleans.ca/ar...

5 2020, Aug 18. Toronto police pay $16.5m to protesters wrongfully held at 2010 G20 summit. The Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/wo...

6 Gray, Jeff. 2021, Sept 21. Toronto spent $2-million clearing three homeless encampments in parks this summer. The Globe and Mail. https://www.theglobeandmail.co...

7 Cox, Sarah. 2021, Aug 25. Fairy Creek is set to become the largest act of civil disobedience in Canada’s history. The Narwhal. https://thenarwhal.ca/fairy-cr...

Cover artwork for the January/February issue was done by Doan Truong.

The Big Ideas Issue

November/December 2021

The weekend before this issue of the Monitor went live, the northern lights were visible across North America in areas that they normally wouldn't be visible.

It feels particularly special to have the night sky light up in a year that has been profoundly difficult for so many of us in so many different ways. Even in the darkest moments, there can still be light.


It was that thinking that led the creative team behind this issue of the Monitor's theme— Róisín West, Katie Sheedy, and Tim Scarth—to create a northern lights-themed design. We had asked our contributors for their big ideas to shape the future of Canada. Ideas can feel a lot like the northern lights: they can be electric and have the potential to light up the darkest of moments. They are ethereal visions of what is possible.

Just as the aurora borealis has danced across the continent providing light in darkness, we hope that the ideas in this issue of the Monitor help make your November a little brighter and more hopeful for the future that we share.

Whose Harvest? Decolonizing the food justice movement

September/October 2021

The pandemic has once again exposed how unsustainable and inequitable the current food system is. In April of 2020, for example, while millions of Canadians faced financial insecurity and food insecurity, the Dairy Farmers of Ontario—the provincial organization that sets milk production quotas—began ordering farmers to dump their "surplus" milk. News agencies across North America reported the surpluses of dairy, eggs and produce caused by the closures of hotels and restaurants being dumped, crushed and otherwise destroyed.

Our latest issue of the Monitor pulls back the curtain on the unseen labour and politics behind our food. We asked organizers and writers: what would decolonizing the food justice movement mean? And this is what they told us. From community-led kitchens and gardens to microbreweries run by former FARC rebels, change is taking root.

Pull up a chair. At this table, there's room for everyone.

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Media Democracy and Combatting Misinformation

July/August 2021

"Canada is no stranger to dynastic ownership of its media companies," writes Robin Shaban in her feature article. "Thomson, Atkinson, Black, Irving: each family name is synonymous with the control of major press operations, either nationally or regionally. Governments have been aware of this issue for decades, but they’ve done little to address it."

For years, Canada has had more concentrated media ownership than our American counterparts. How does this impact our ability as a nation to tell and receive diverse and nuanced stories from a multitude of viewpoints? And, in the age of fake news farms and QAnon, what role could a revitalized media democracy movement play in combatting misinformation?

Our latest issue of the Monitor digs into these questions and more with views from across the country. To receive the print version of our magazine delivered to your home or office and support our work, make a donation to the CCPA today.

The future of organizing

May/June 2021

"It is certainly driven by young people,” Martin O’Hanlon, the president of CWA Canada told Kevin Philipupillai for his feature article on the Alphabet Workers' Union. “The new generation that are coming up have a different sense of what’s right, and they’re more sensitive to the fact that if their coworkers aren’t being respected for their diversity and their differences, that they’ve got to stand up and fight for that.”

Organizing in both senses, protest movements and labour movements, is changing. The pandemic is just the latest curveball that both communities have faced and adapted to. In our May/June issue, we explore what the future of organizing looks like for workers and communities in the days, months and years ahead.

One Year Later

March/April 2021

"More than an infectious pathogen," writes Michal Rozworski in his feature analysis for this issue, "the novel coronavirus is a very harsh mirror held up to pre-pandemic reality... It is exposing the true cost of hollowed-out public services, debilitated trade unions, and cross-cutting economic and racial inequality."

One year into Canada's battle with COVID-19, this issue of the Monitor explores how the pandemic's arrival has reshaped life and what policy interventions are needed to build a sustainable road to recovery.

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