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The Roger Inman Memorial Award is presented annually in recognition of a project, group or individual
that has made a significant contribution to the economic development
of the community. CCEC is committed to keeping our money and resources working in our community by
actively supporting and promoting the development of strong, successful community businesses, projects and organizations.

Joint Effort – Women in Prison Support Group started in the late 1970's as a sub-committee of the BC Federation of Women.  The prisoners’ rights movement grew alongside liberty and equality seeking movements building in the community.  While many of the issues prisoners faced mirrored the struggle on the outside, there was the additional issue of isolation.  So when prisoners put out the call for outside support, The BC Federation of Women sought to break this barrier of isolation by forming a subcommittee that would go into the prison as allies.  Since its’ inception, countless women from the local activist community have been involved with Joint Effort, doing solidarity work and providing resources to the women on the inside, while at the same time providing a forum to bring prisoners voices to the community.  Their goal is to raise awareness of the issues facing some of the most marginalized women in our communities; women in prison. 

To learn more and to get involved contact: Email: jointeffort@prisonjustice.ca    Web: www.prisonjustice.ca

 

Their mandate is to bring together women in prison with women from the community.  The group organizes skills building and information workshops in the prison that are facilitated either by the women themselves, members of Joint Effort, or women from outside organizations.  Workshops include creative writing, arts and crafts, performances by local, national and international musicians and actors, and social, cultural, educational and sporting events.  In 1990, they started the Books 2 Prisoners program in response to the need for current and diverse reading material.  They send books by request free of charge to Canadian prisoners.  Their workshops and activities are a means of creating a network of resources and support for women re-entering the community.

Joint Effort is 100% volunteer run.  Women in the group donate their time, skills and resources.  They fundraise in the community by organizing events that highlight prisoners’ rights issues.  All funds raised go towards workshop supplies so the prisoners can attend all programs free of charge. 

The activities of Joint Effort are wide ranging and include: 

  •  Publishing “Broken Silence”, a collection of prisoners writing and artwork, facilitated by local authors and distributed to all women’s prisons in Canada; and “The Word is Out, A Women's Community News Service”, an ongoing newsletter written by and about women in prison.
  • Making a banner for the Women's Memorial March in the Downtown Eastside.
  • Making Christmas parcels and Prison Justice Day cards that are sent to women in prison in Kenya.
  •  Creating a “Words from Women in Prison” installation at the December 6th National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women event organized by Rape Relief. 
  • Making a World Aids Day Card for a woman or youth in the community living with AIDS, HIV, or Hep C.  The cards were distributed by A Loving Spoonful, Positive Women's Network & YouthCo.
  • Making a quilt for Prison Justice Day to honour some of the women who have died unnatural deaths in Canadian prisons.  The quilt was displayed at the Prison Justice Day Rally.
  •  Creating squares for a project called “The Living Blanket”, a collective production of self-portraits on textile by women from around the world.  It exhibited at A Space in Vancouver, and has continued to travel internationally, becoming larger at every location it stops to exhibit.  It was curated by Doris Buttignol, who is based in France, under the honorary patronage of Asociacion Madres de Plaza de Mayo.
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The Trans Pacific Partnership is a mammoth '6000' page agreement reached in private among 12 developed Pacific Rim nations, including Canada and the USA, comprising 40% of the world's denominated economic activity. The agreement is championed as a trade deal, but it is much more; stretching into the realms of health services, consumer protection, environmental regulations, employment law, and much more.  Opposition to this massive agreement is being voiced by many; including the Council of Canadians, Doctors Without Borders, and 350.org,  The Canadian government proposes to hold hearings before ratification is considered in parliament sometime in the next two years. Beware.       

Beyond the various technical issues that can be debated, such as intellectual property rights, dairy producers' quotas, and projected employment 'gains', there are deeper issues that relate to the very heart of democracies.  While sometimes these concerns are represented as a loss of 'sovereignty', that language is misleading.  The TPP (and the 'CETA' with Europe) erode fundamental democratic rights and institutions.  Under these trade agreements governments, and those people who they represent, are substantially limiting or conceding the powers they have to govern 'themselves', and to resolve their own disputes fairly.    

For community groups, advocacy groups, small enterprise, local governments, and others, the rule books are being totally re-written, principally by the international corporate elites. Joseph Stiglitz, the notable Amercican economist, made a bold appeal to oppose the TPP before an audience at UBC several weeks ago; arguing that it will simply fuel greater inequality. Henry Mintzberg, a prominent business professor at McGill, argues that it would consolidate 'corporate' power when what is needed is a re-balancing of the powers between private sector, public sector and the community-based sector of democratic societies.  A piece in Rabble is most succinct.  

Are you willing to 'sell' your liberty, and your democratic heritage?  That is the bargain.  The TPP sets out special rules for international players, such that people in a nation state may not intervene or limit the activities of Big Business, or may do so only up to a point. Disputes are not tried in a public court that is both independent and scrutinized by the people; for these players the 'arbitration' is in private, using hired international lawyers who may indeed be conflicted, and without right to appeal. The proposed TPP grants these elites such privileges with the promise that there will be more 'jobs'.  Is this a new feudalism? 

Democracy requires vigilance from citizens. Question authority.  

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