- Series: The Basics
Stories of Canadian Youth
Youth between sixteen and twenty-four are considered the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in Canada. While much has been written about street engagement and street culture, little attention has been paid to how youth move away from the street. Giving prominence to the voices of the street youth themselves, Leaving the Streets explores the attempts of street youth to exit street life, examining the motivations and challenges, as well as the supports and barriers that aid and hurt the youth through this process. From shelters and programs to mental health and drug use, this book examines the services that are available, and those that should be available, to help street youth find housing, income and the strength needed to start a new life.
Homophobia and Transphobia in High Schools
Bullying in schools has garnered significant attention recently, but despite this, little has been said about the occurrence of homophobic and transphobic bullying in Canadian high schools. Get That Freak fills that gap by exploring the experiences of bullying among youth who identify or are identified as queer. Through interviews with recent high school graduates in British Columbia, Haskell and Burtch share stories of physical, verbal and emotional harassment, and offer important insights into the negative outcomes that result from the experience of being bullied. Challenging the familiar image of these youth as helpless victims, this book also recognizes positive outcomes: moments of resistance, friendship and inner strength. Finally, the authors make recommendations for challenging homophobic and transphobic bullying in high schools and supporting students who experience this form of harassment.
Covering Crisis in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside
Missing Women, Missing News examines newspaper coverage of the arrest and trial of Robert Pickton, the man charged with murdering 26 street-level sex workers from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. It demonstrates how news narratives obscured the complex matrix of social and political conditions that made it possible for so many women to simply ‘disappear’ from a densely populated urban neighborhood without provoking an aggressive response by the state. Grounded in a theory of ideology, this book argues that the coverage offers a series of coherent explanations that hold particular individuals and practices accountable but largely omit, conceal, or erase the broader socio‐political context that renders those practices possible.
The Politics of Difference and Solidarity
This book is a critical analysis of a Muslim group in Canada that has been working to challenge Islamophobia in their community. An important part of their anti-racist work involves dealing with the internal conflicts and dilemmas created by the differences among the members of the group. The coalition has been successful in developing several educational initiatives, in part, because they have been able to negotiate internal differences in ways that do not fragment the group. Through discussions with members of the coalition the author explores the tensions that arise from these internal differences, and in doing so demonstrates the diversity of Muslim identity – and challenges the stereotypical image that has permeated the West for centuries.
Racism, Disease and a Media Panic
In February 2001, a woman from the Congo was admitted to a hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, with a serious illness of unknown origin. Very quickly, the rumour spread that she was carrying the deadly Ebola virus. Even though it was equally quickly determined that she did not carry the virus, the rumour spread like wildfire throughout the Canadian media. Through a content analysis of four major Canadian newspapers and interviews with journalists, medical practitioners and members of the Black community, Charles T. Adeyanju shows that it was the potent mixture of race, gender and immigration, not a real health problem, that lay at the heart of this public panic.
An Investigation of Workfare in Ontario
This book is an institutional ethnographic investigation of the Ontario Works program and the problems that it creates in the lives of people on social assistance. Ontario Works is a work-for-welfare program that was implemented in Ontario in 1996 as part of the neoliberal restructuring of the welfare state. The book shows that Ontario Works has not, in reality, been used to help people on assistance and rather has been used as another means of facilitating an attack on them, while providing subsidized and cheap labour for companies and social agencies.
First Peoples Speaking on Adoption
The adoption of Aboriginal children into non-Aboriginal families has a long and contentious history in Canada. Life stories told by First Nations people reveal that the adoption experience has been far from positive for these communities and has, in fact, been an integral aspect of colonization. In an effort to decolonize adoption practices, the Yellowhead Tribal Services Agency (YTSA) in Alberta has integrated customary First Peoples’ adoption practices with provincial adoption laws and regulations. Introducing this unique agency, the authors outline the history of First Nations adoptions and, through an interview with a YTSA Elder, describe the adoption ceremonies offered at YTSA. Themes that emerged from interviews with adoptive parents and youth who have been adopted through this new integrated practice are also explored, and important recommendations for policy and practice in First Nations adoption are offered.
Unravelling Wrongful Convictions in Canada
All too often the police do not get the right person. Wrongful convictions are framed as mistakes or failures of the justice system. However, many of the wrongfully convicted are from among the poor and visible minority groups. The law then becomes an ideological mask relieving us of the responsibility of engaging with the real issues that underscore wrongful convictions. MaDonna Maidment illustrates how the desire to get a conviction and paint the police and the courts in a positive light often means that false evidence and court decisions based on prejudice and racism lead to innocent people being convicted. “The official version of the law,” says Maidment, “despite its claims of impartiality, neutrality and objectivity, is a tool of the state and its elite club members designed to maintain the illegitimate domination of society.” Turning back to the very sys-tem that got it wrong in the first place therefore should be a non-starter.
The Indigenous people of Nova Scotia, the Mi’kmaq, have been dispossessed of their lands and, since the early 1820s, confined to reserves. African Nova Scotians have also been dispossessed of lands originally granted to them by white colonial governments and settled in communities with names like Africville, Preston or Birchtown. Yet “the story of Africville, and other stories of dispossession,” argues author Paula C. Madden, “cannot be told and understood outside the context of the dispossession of Indigenous peoples. To do so would be to erase and cover over Mi’kmaw stories and their very existence within the territory/nation.” Madden concludes that “Mi’kmaw people resisted the dire conditions of their lives and their demands for justice were generally ignored. The (provincial) state’s insistence on pinning their fortunes to that of African Nova Scotians by forced collaborations such as the Transitional Year Program and the Indigenous Black and Mi’kmaq program did not serve them well in creating programs specific to the needs and desires of their community. It also created a situation in which African Nova Scotians failed to appreciate the meaning of their relationship with the Crown, thereby causing resentment and at times anger between the two communities.”
Work Place Justice for Immigrants
Displacement of people, migration, immigration and the demand for labour are connected to the fundamental restructuring of capitalism and to the reduction of working class power through legislation to free the market from “state interference.” The consequence is that a large number of immigrant and temporary foreign workers face relentless competition and little in the way of protection in the labour market. Globally and in Canada, immigrant workers are not passive in the face of these conditions: they survive and fight back. This book documents their struggles and analyses them within the context of neoliberal globalization and the international and national labour markets. Fight Back grew out of collaboration between a group of university-affiliated researchers who are active in different social movements and community organizations in partnership with the Immigrant Workers Centre in Montreal. The book shares with us the experiences of immigrant workers in a variety of workplaces. It is based on the underlying belief that the best kind of research that tells “how it really is” comes from the lived experience of people themselves.