Archive for the ‘society’ Tag

Return to “Normal” 13

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16 July 2020

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, Deputy Minister Freeland, Minister Morneau and Minister Guilbeault:

We represent tens of thousands of artists, writers, technicians, and performers from many backgrounds and regions across Canada. Our voices are united; we call upon the Government of Canada to ensure the financial well-being of all residents by implementing a permanent Basic Income Guarantee.

The pandemic’s wrath on lives has been swift. Millions are still out of work. Those whose financial situation was not previously precarious find themselves sinking into financial quicksand, their lives instantly upended through no fault of their own. The arts, culture, heritage, tourism, and creative industries have been deeply affected: productions have been canceled, venues shuttered, and livelihoods lost. In these unprecedented times, millions of Canadians, including those in the arts and culture sector, exist in a precarious reality. In this new reality, we are all vulnerable to unexpected changes in circumstances and unexpected hardships. Poverty can become a reality for all of us, abruptly, without warning.

Financial insecurity and the cracks in our health- and social-support systems have been highlighted by the pandemic, but they were always present. Structural inequalities disproportionately affect vulnerable and marginalized communities, making it more likely for people with disabilities, LGBTQ2+, Black, Indigenous, people of colour, refugees and immigrants, women, single mothers and others to slip into systemic cycles of poverty and poor health.

Many support programs have been eroded during the last few decades, with federal, provincial and territorial income assistance and disability support systems consistently failing to provide economic dignity or meet basic human needs. Furthermore, employment-insurance programs have not adapted to the realities of the gig economy or the self-employed, and a large proportion of workers do not meet their required criteria, which is often based on full-time work. If workers do qualify, they often face barriers to re-entering the labour force in the form of reduced support when short-term employment opportunities arise.

The gig economy is undermining decades of worker protections. As participants, many arts-and-culture-sector workers are subject to precarious short-term contracts, without access to benefits, paid sick leave, or even employment insurance. Today, the world of general labour is looking a lot like the way art labour has looked for decades. We write to express our collective concern regarding the precarious state of labour that is in urgent need of reform and redress.

Canada is at a crossroads. The government can continue to look the other way, allowing our most vulnerable to fall through the cracks of a systematically broken social safety net and perpetuate a history of economic insecurity, anxiety and fear. Or, we can take this opportunity to bring about much-needed change and make a meaningful difference that will lead to a brighter future. Establishing a Basic Income Guarantee will help to create a healthier, more equitable social safety system that provides financial support, elevating people and ensuring that no one is left behind.

We commend your leadership and the work of the Government of Canada in implementing and extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and other measures, including support for the arts, sports, and cultural sectors. However, too many are still being left behind, held back by barriers beyond their control. A Basic Income Guarantee would build on your existing programs, including CERB, and provide financial security to meet people’s basic needs and allow them to participate in society, living with dignity regardless of their work status.

As stakeholders of the arts and culture sector, we ask you to give Canadians the chance not only to survive, but to live.

Towards this:

We, the undersigned, are calling upon the Government of Canada to honour its commitment to poverty reduction and instate a Basic Income Guarantee to make a historic investment in a better tomorrow;

We call upon the Government of Canada to hereby reduce the inequities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic: to remove the financial obstacles faced by our most vulnerable, to alleviate gender-based poverty, and to address the economic inequality based in persistent racism and colonialism;

We call upon the Government of Canada to implement a universally accessible and unconditional basic income program that guarantees an income floor to anyone in need.

In the pandemic’s wake, the arts communities, versatile and adaptable, are evolving in new and exciting ways. Artists, writers, technicians, and performers will continue to create and to inspire the world around them. Their creation of novel forms of digital culture, music and performance art, online entertainment, movies, literary works, arts and crafts will allow people to weather times of solitude, hardship, and ruptures in social behaviour and contribute to their overall well-being.

We envision a Basic Income Guarantee that ensures financial stability without eroding the existing federal support for arts and culture programs. Unconditional access to a basic income will support the remarkable creative capacity of individuals and provide employment opportunities, bold visions and community inspiration.

Great challenges are often the catalyst to transform societies and our ways of being – the challenges we face today are no exception. We require a Basic Income Guarantee. The opportunity for change is here and now.


Craig Berggold – Media artist / Team leader, Case for Basic Income and the Arts, Ontario Basic Income Network

Zainub Verjee – Laureate, 2020 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Outstanding Contribution

Clayton Windatt – Independent artist / curator

With, and on behalf of:


  1. International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)
  2. Canadian Federation of Musicians / Federation canadienne des musiciens
  3. Canadian Actors’ Equity Association (CAEA)
  4. Fédération culturelle canadienne-française (FCCF)
  5. Kehewin Native Dance Theatre
  6. Canadian Artists’ Representation / Le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC)
  7. Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec (RAAV)
  8. Conseil québécois du théâtre (CQT)
  9. Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference / Conférence des collectifs et des Centres d’artistes autogérés
  10. Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC)
  11. Independent Media Arts Alliance / Alliance des arts médiatiques indépendants
  12. Canadian Crafts Federation / Fédération canadienne des métiers d’art
  13. Association acadienne des artistes professionnel.le.s du Nouveau-Brunswick
  14. League of Canadian Poets
  15. Canadian Dance Assembly / L’Assemblée canadienne de la danse (CDA / ACD)
  16. The Writers’ Union of Canada
  17. Dancer Transition Resource Centre/Centre de ressources et transition pour danseurs
  18. Union des écrivaines et écrivains québécois (UNEQ)
  19. Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA)
  20. Electric City Culture Council Peterborough
  21. Canadian Federation of Musicians, Ottawa Local 180
  22. CARFAC – Ontario
  23. New Brunswick Crafts Council
  24. Basic Income YYC Arts Collective, Calgary
  25. Prospect Human Services, Studio C
  26. Kingston Arts Council
  27. CARFAC – Alberta
  28. Media Arts Network of Ontario
  29. Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts
  30. Quinte Arts Council
  31. Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists/West
  32. Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists/East
  33. CSARN (Canadian Senior Artists’ Resource Network)
  34. Associated Designers of Canada



  1. Moridja Kitenge Banza – 2020 Sobey Art Award – Quebec / Multidisciplinary Artist
  2. Ruth Cuthand – 2020 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Visual Artist
  3. Jorge Lozano – 2020 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Filmmaker
  4. Anna Torma – 2020 Saidye Bronfman Award / 2020 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts
  5. Marlene Creates – 2019 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Lifetime Artistic Achievement
  6. Alison Duke – 2019 ByBlacks People’s Choice Award Winner, Best Film Director
  7. Ali Kazimi – 2019 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Filmmaker and Media Artist
  8. Gertrude Kearns – 2019 Member of the Order of Canada / Visual Artist
  9. Andrew James Paterson – 2019 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts
  10. Midi Onodera – 2018 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Media Artist
  11. Adrian Stimson – 2018 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Visual and Performance Artist
  12. Marcus Youssef – 2017 Siminovitch Prize for Theatre Laureate, Playwright
  13. George Elliot Clarke – 2017-16 Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate
  14. Mike Hoolboom – 2017 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Filmmaker
  15. Christopher House, C.M. – 2017 Member of the Order of Canada / Choreographer
  16. Glenn Lewis – 2017 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Visual Artist
  17. Colleen Murphy – 2016 & 2007 Governor General’s Award for Literary Merit, Drama
  18. Emma Donoghue – 2016 Nominated for Academy Award – Best Adapted Screenplay / 2010 Finalist, Man Booker Prize
  19. Jayce Salloum – 2014 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Media Artist
  20. Peggy Baker CM, O.Ont, LLD, Dlitt  2009 Governor General’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance
  21. Adrianne Pieczonka, O.C. FRSC – 2008 Officer of the Order of Canada / Opera Singer / Chair in Voice, Glenn Gould School, Royal Conservatory of Music
  22. Lata Pada – 2008 Member of the Order of Canada, Choreographer / Dancer
  23. Eric Metcalfe, R.C.A., LL, lit – 2008 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Interdisciplinary Artist
  24. Vera Frenkel – 2006 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Multidisciplinary Artist
  25. Paul Wong – 2005 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Video Artist
  26. Vern Thiessen  2003 Governor General’s Award for Literary Merit, Drama
  27. Jamelie Hassan – 2001 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Visual Artist
  28. Djanet Sears – 1998 Governor General’s Award for Literary Merit, Drama
  29. Colleen Wagner – 1996 Governor General’s Award for Literary Merit, Drama
  30. Judy Rebick – Writer
  31. Lillian Allen – Poet / Writer / Performer
  32. Rosa John – Artistic Director, Kehewin Native Dance Theatre
  33. John Greyson – Video / Film Artist
  34. Richard Fung – Professor Emeritus, Ontario College of Art & Design Univ.
  35. Carole Conde – Independent Artist
  36. Karl Beveridge – Independent Artist
  37. Min Sook Lee – Filmmaker / Teacher
  38. Indu Vashist – Director, South Asian Visual Arts Centre
  39. Peter Morin – Faculty of Art, Ontario College of Art & Design University
  40. Giovanna Riccio – Poet
  41. Krisztina Szabo – Opera Singer
  42. Carol Podedworny – Director, McMaster Museum of Art
  43. Devyani Saltzman – Director of Programming, Art Gallery of Ontario
  44. Gerald Beaulieu – Visual Artist / Former President CARFAC National
  45. Peter McGillivray – Baritone / Opera Singer / Council Member, Canadian Actor’s Equity Assoc.
  46. Sylvie Meste Directrice générale, Conseil Québécois du Théâtre
  47. Anne Bertrand – Director, Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference
  48. April Britski – National Executive Director, CARFAC
  49. Maegen Black – Director, Canadian Crafts Federation / Freelance Author
  50. Scott McLeod – Editor, Prefix Magazine
  51. Sarindar Dhaliwal – Visual Artist
  52. Florence MacDonald – Playwright
  53. Andrea Fatona – Professor, Ontario College of Art & Design University
  54. Peter Flemming – Actor
  55. Pierre-André Doucet – Pianist / Co-directeur artistique, Été musical de Barachois
  56. Julien LeBlanc – Concert Pianist / Co-Artistic Director, Barachois Summer Music
  57. Chris Tolley – Playwright / Artistic Director, Expect Theatre
  58. Narendra Pachkhede – Writer / Artist
  59. Clive Robertson – Artist / retired Art History Professor, Queens University
  60. Judith Marcuse, LL.D.(Hon.) International Centre of Art for Social Change
  61. Marie Magistry – Singer
  62. Dot Tuer – Writer / Cultural Historia
  63. Brenda Longfellow – Independent Artist
  64. Glen Richards – Independent Artist
  65. Lisa Myers – Artist / Curator / Ass. Professor, York University
  66. Chantal Dionne – Soprano / Voice Teacher
  67. Kyo Maclear – Writer
  68. Lee Williams – Interdisciplinary Artist
  69. John Farah – Musician
  70. Stéphanie Pothier – Mezzo-Soprano / Classical Singer
  71. Elisa Paloschi – Filmmaker
  72. Jennifer Dysart – Filmmaker
  73. Sky Gilbert – Writer
  74. Catherine Hahn – Designer
  75. Paul Kirby – Caravan Stage Society
  76. Adriana Kelder – Caravan Stage Society
  77. Susan Lord – Professor, Queens University, Cultural Studies
  78. Ron Burnett – Writer / Media Practitioner
  79. Hank Bull – Independent Artist
  80. Penny Joy – Documentary Video Producer
  81. Ron Benner – Film / Design
  82. Velcrow Ripper – Filmmaker
  83. Nova Ami – Filmmaker
  84. Marcia Johnson – Playwright / Actor / Dramaturge / Audiobook director / Activist
  85. Alexis O’Hara – Interdisciplinary Artist
  86. Sydney Lancaster – Artist
  87. Dennis Day – Artist/ Editor/ Educator
  88. Yael – Media / Visual Artist, Ontario College of Art & Design University
  89. Antoine Bourges – Film Director, University of British Columbia
  90. Jessie Golem – Photographer
  91. Pam Patterson –  Performance / Visual Artist, Ontario College of Art & Design Univ.
  92. Andrea Cohen-B – Director, Meta4films
  93. Dirk Van Stralen – Independent Artist / Theatre Practitioner
  94. Atefeh Khademolreza – Video Artist
  95. Sally Lee – Musician / Arts Manager / Board Member, Wavelength, and CONTACT Photography Festival
  96. Elaine Brière – Filmmaker / Photographer
  97. Jude Griebel – Visual Artist
  98. Henry Tsang – Artist / Assoc. Professor, Emily Carr University of Art + Design
  99. Reid Shier – Director / Curator, Polygon Gallery
  100. Cornelia Wyngaarden – Independent Artist
  101. Mark Parlett – Independent Artist / Musician
  102. Liz Park – Curator, UB Buffalo Art Galleries
  103. Tazeen Qayyum – Independent Visual Artist
  104. Marc Glassman – Writer / Editor
  105. Judy Wolfe – Writer
  106. Demetra Christakos – Director / Curator
  107. Rina Fraticelli – Director
  108. Stefan St-Laurent – Artist / Curator / Adjunct Professor, University of Ottawa
  109. Bryan Mulvihill – Independent Artist / Curator
  110. Julia Hutchings – Filmmaker
  111. Joanne Tod – Independent Artist
  112. Scott Marsden – Independent Curator
  113. Phinder Dulai – Author / Editor
  114. Nadia Myre – Independent Artist
  115. Shawna Dempsey – Independent Artist
  116. Lorri Millan – Independent Artist
  117. Bogdan Luca – Painter
  118. Rafael Goldchain – Photographer / Professor, Sheridan College, Faculty of Animation Arts and Design
  119. Gary Kibbins – Video Artist / Teacher, Queens University, Film & Media
  120. Brian Kelly – Independent Artist
  121. Barbara Evans – Filmmaker / Professor
  122. Catherine Osborne – Writer / Editor
  123. Ananya Ohri – Independent Cultural Worker / Producer
  124. Aaron Rotenberg – Media Artist / Spiritual Leader
  125. Faisal Anwar – New Media / Interactive Artist
  126. Rosemary Heather – Arts Journalist
  127. Lynne Fernie – Artist / Filmmaker / Programmer
  128. Makiko Hara – Independent Curator
  129. Gary Varro – Artistic Director, Q City Cinema and Performatorium
  130. Sue Donaldson – Arts Administrator
  131. Christian Bernard – Singer, Independent Artist
  132. Scott Miller Berry – Filmmaker / Cultural Worker
  133. Frances Loeffler – Curator
  134. Ann MacDonald – Director / Curator
  135. Peggy Gale – Independent Curator / Arts Writer
  136. Penelope Stewart – Visual Artist
  137. Bruce Barber – Independent Artist
  138. David Lester – Graphic Novelist
  139. Taien Ng-Chan – Independent Artist
  140. Flavio Belli – Independent Artist / Curator / Collector
  141. Jason St-Laurent – Curator
  142. Lisa Deanne Smith – Curator, Onsite Gallery
  143. Milly Ristvedt – Self-employed Visual Artist
  144. Michelle Gay – Independent Artist / Educator
  145. Shannon Coates, DMA – Voice Educator
  146. Sharlene Bamboat – Artist / Cultural Worker
  147. Su Ditta – Curator / Arts Administrator
  148. Don Bouzek – 2014 City of Edmonton Award of Excellence / 2005 Alberta Centennial Medal / Artist
  149. Elia Kirby – Great Northern Way Scene Shop and Arts Factory Society
  150. Vincenzo Pietropaolo – Photographer / Writer
  151. Pam Harris – Documentary Photographer / Writer
  152. Shirley Yanover – Visual Artist
  153. Steve Stober – Photographer
  154. Karen Knights – Archive Manager, VIVO Media Arts Centre
  155. Rahul Verma – Playwright / Theatre Director, Teesri Duniya
  156. Betty Julian – Independent Curator / Adjunct Curator, Prefix ICA
  157. Ashes Withyman – Visual Artist
  158. Susan Crean – Writer
  159. Hamal Docter – Arts Policy Consultant
  160. Gita Hashemi – Independent Artist / Curator / Writer
  161. Francesca Vivenza – Mixed-media Artist
  162. Gary Magwood – Belleville Downtown Documentary Film Festival
  163. Michael Mirolla – Writer / Publisher, Guernica Editions
  164. Bryant Didier – Evolutionary Music Cooperative – EvMc
  165. Meg MacKay – Screenwriter
  166. Jennifer Smith – Distribution, Video Pool Media Arts Centre / Independent Curator
  167. Michael Trommer – Sound Artist, Ontario College of Art & Design University
  168. Camille Turner – Media and Performance Artist / Curator
  169. Erin Ball – Circus Artist / Owner, Kingston Circus Arts
  170. Jason Britski – Filmmaker
  171. Christine Swintak – Artist / Educator / Creative Consultant
  172. Kevin Barrett – Musician, CFM Toronto Local 149
  173. Robin Moir – President, CFM, Local 518
  174. Susie Moore – Kingston Musicians’ Union, Local 518
  175. Claudia Leduc – Multi-media Coordinator
  176. Sky Goodden – Publisher of Momus, Editor / Critic
  177. Norm Foster – Playwright / Actor
  178. Anna Chatterton Playwright
  179. Sunny Drake 2019 Stratford Festival Playwright in-residence
  180. Pierre-Luc Landry – Writer
  181. Colin Miner – Artist / Educator
  182. Steve Bates – Artist / Musician
  183. Denise Young – Picture this…Film Festival, Calgary
  184. Jeffrey Stonehouse – Flutist / Artistic Director, Ensemble Paramirabo
  185. Kristina Lemieux – Executive Director, Generator
  186. Carmen Gibbs – Directrice générale, Association acadienne des artistes professionnel.le.s du Nouveau-Brunswick
  187. Eleanor King – Independent Artist / Teacher
  188. Catherine Ballachey – President, LMDA Canada Board
  189. Matt McGeachy – Company Dramaturge, Factory Theatre
  190. Megan Johnson – Performance Scholar / Dramaturg
  191. Marie Barlizo – Playwright
  192. David Geary – Playwright / Dramaturg / Educator, Capilano University
  193. Joanna Garfinkel – Freelance Dramaturg
  194. Lindsay Lachance – Artistic Associate, National Arts Centre, Indigenous Theatre
  195. Pearl Van Geest – Independent Artist / Teacher
  196. Paula Murray – Independent Artist
  197. Alexandra Gelis – Independent Media Artist
  198. Judy Radul – Artist /Professor, School of Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser Univ.
  199. Tam-Ca Vo-Van – Director, SAW Gallery
  200. Karen Kaeja – 2019 Dance Ontario’s Lifetime Achievement Award
  201. Allen Kaeja – 2019 Dance Ontario’s Lifetime Achievement Award
  202. Andrea Donaldson – Artistic Director, Nightwood Theatre
  203. Melissa R Knive – Artist, Wolf Ears Art
  204. Allison Cushing – Music Yukon / Yukon Arts Foundation,
  205. Andrea Clark – Caravan Stage Company
  206. Dave Babcock – Musician
  207. Maria Dunn – 2017 Juno-nominated Songwriter, Edmonton Music Prize Artist
  208. Bob Tildesley – Musician
  209. Dana Wylie – 2018 Canadian Folk Music Award-nominated Musician
  210. Patricia Darbasie – Actor
  211. Jane Heather – Theatre Artist
  212. Brooke Leifso – Theatre Artist
  213. Mieko Ouchi – Theatre Artist / Writer
  214. Kate Ryan – Actor / Theatre Director
  215. Brian Deedrick – Opera and Theatre Director
  216. Tim Yakimec – Artistic Director, Edmonton Opera
  217. Karen Bishop – Visual Artist / Alberta Arts Action
  218. Jill Thomson – Visual Artist / Co-founder Alberta Arts Action
  219. Trisia Eddy – Visual Artist / Writer / Alberta Arts Action
  220. Mary Joyce – Visual Artist
  221. Jannie Edwards – Writer / Editor/ Teacher
  222. Paula E. Kirman – Writer / Photographer / Musician
  223. Myrna Kostash – Writer
  224. Alice Major – First Poet Laureate City of Edmonton / Founder, Edmonton Poetry Festival
  225. Lorna Thomas – Chair, Documentary Organization of Canada-Alberta / Filmmaker
  226. Ava Karvonen – Filmmaker
  227. Conni Massing – Playwright / Screenwriter
  228. Kenneth T. Williams – Playwright / Dramaturg
  229. Denise Roy – Arts Manager, Alberta Arts Action
  230. Debbie Houle – 2005 Juno Nominee for Aboriginal Recording of the Year as a member of Asani
  231. Anna Marie Sewell – 2011 Poet Laureate City of Edmonton
  232. Marek Tyler – 2020 Juno Nominee Indigenous Music Album of the Year as a member of nêhiyawak
  233. Sophy Romvari Film / Design
  234. Justine A. Chambers – Contemporary Dance Artist
  235. Daniel Akira Stadnicki – Musician
  236. Yvonne Ng – 2016 Jacqueline Lemieux Award, Canada Council for the Arts
  237. Belinda Cornish – Actor / Writer
  238. Collette “Coco” Murray – 2019 Toronto Arts Foundation Community Arts Award / Dance Educator
  239. Johanna Householder – Artist / Professor Emerita, OCAD University
  240. Pamela Tzeng – Independent Artist / Dancers’ Studio West
  241. Kristi Hanson – Actor
  242. P. Megan Andrews – Dance Artist
  243. Jason Hardwick – Actor
  244. Ame Henderson – Choreographer
  245. Robert Binet – Creative Producer of CreativAction, The National Ballet of Canada
  246. Kevin Ormsby – Dance Artist / Choreographer / Artistic Director, KasheDance
  247. Sheldon Elter – Actor
  248. Mary Jo Major – Writer
  249. Christine Hanson – Cellist / Composer
  250. Caterina Edwards – Writer
  251. Colleen Huston – Visual Artist
  252. Marce Merrell – Writer
  253. Sydney Lancaster – Visual Artist
  254. Miriam Dunn – Poet
  255. Maurice Mierau – Poet
  256. Lana St-Louis
  257. Valentin Brown – Independent Artist
  258. Mitchell Ellam – Executive Director, White Water Gallery, North Bay
  259. Ayumi Goto – Independent Artist
  260. Cari Green – Film Producer
  261. Michelle van Beusekom – Executive Director, Documentary Organization of Canada
  262. Anna Mae Alexander – Producer / Actor
  263. Maggie MacKenzie – Actor
  264. Kurt Archer – Playwright / Director / Actor
  265. Aurora Borin – Musician
  266. Ariella Pahlke – Video artist / Curator
  267. Jessica Hallenbeck – Lantern Films
  268. Bill Kimball – Public Energy: Artistic and Executive Director Performing Arts
  269. Gabe Pollock – Journalist
  270. Chad Hogan – Market Hall Performing Arts
  271. Kate Story – Dancer / Writer / Actor / Director
  272. Peg McCraken – Peterborough Singers
  273. Vonnie Von Helmolt – Film Producer
  274. Nadine Changfoot – Professor Trent University, Art and Disability / Dance / Film
  275. Alex Bierk – Visual Artist
  276. Elisha Rubacha – Writer / Publisher
  277. Lesley Fletcher – Executive Director, League of Canadian Poets
  278. Rajinderpal S. Pal – Poet
  279. Colin Wolf – Artistic Director, Gwaandak Theatre, Whitehorse

Return to “Normal” (10)

What do we want “normal” to be when our society is stabilized after the pandemic has passed? How will we treat each other differently, ask just who our institutions serve, and how will we source and use “energy”?

The following “look forward” been composed by Emily Eaton.


The day after there will be a transition to a new normal. Economies that were fundamentally extractive, linear, and based on theft will be transformed. We will dislodge the power and interests that profit from the extraction and theft inherent in our pre-COVID carbon economies and rebuild ourselves based on reciprocity: caring for one another, both human and non-human.

This transition will be three-dimensional working towards decolonization, democratization and decarbonization.

1) Decolonization will not be understood as a metaphor. It will mean, quite literally, returning land, jurisdiction, and environmental decision-making to Indigenous Nations and communities. We will start with ‘crown lands’ and move on to consider how to return private property. We will manage the commons as if our children’s futures mattered.

2) Democratization will also require redistribution. We will wrestle our economies and our workplaces away from a small elite who are enriching themselves off of our labour and our environments. We will tax and redistribute their wealth, we will strengthen solidarity, cooperative, and socialized economies. We will recognize and value the labour of so many people who had been unpaid and poorly paid (women, undocumented workers, frontline service and care workers, racialized workers, and so on).

3) Decarbonization will be necessary to rescue a habitable world. Climate change is the next curve we will flatten. Supply chains, kin networks, and production will all become more local. Private sufficiency will be augmented by public luxury: fare-free, accessible public transit and low-carbon public amenities. Fossil fuel production will be phased out in a way that allows workers to stay in their communities and enjoy dignified lives.

The day after, when this transition begins, we will draw on the lessons we learned from caring for one another during the COVID-19 pandemic and we will recognize the need for a transformation in all three dimensions.

Emily Eaton is an associate professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Regina whose currently research focuses on the influence of the fossil fuels sector in Saskatchewan.


Return to “Normal” (8)

The Pandemic Presents The Chance To End Homelessness In Canada For Good

It’s hard to social-distance at home if you don’t have a home.


There is a story about homelessness in that is part of After The Curve. This is an ongoing HuffPost Canada series that makes sense of how the COVID-19 crisis could change our country in the months and years ahead, and what opportunities exist to make Canada better. The story can be accessed at:


Doug Johnson Hatlem, a worker at The Sanctuary, a respite centre in Toronto, carries tents to be distributed to members of the homeless community on April 19 2020.

Housing is a human right! Now is the time to use our resources to make truly affordable housing available to everyone in our communities. Governments are demonstrating that there is no shortage of money, just a dearth of “political will”, or what used to be called “intestinal fortitude”.

Return to “Normal” (6)

 Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The Day After: Animals

The Day After: Animals marks the first installment in an ongoing curated series from Canadian Dimension that asks contributors to imagine the perils and possibilities that will ground our collective response to or emergence from the COVID-19 crisis.

Canadian Dimension will ask Canada’s leading scholars to respond to questions of human-environment relations to consider our post-COVID future:

  • What opportunities make you hopeful and what risks do you see at the human-nature interface?

  • How can we build an ethic of care for socioecological systems?

For the first in this series that contemplates a new “normal”, go to:

Return to “Normal” (5)

Post-pandemic, “normal” can mean a just society for all people in Canada. We now have the opportunity to establish a society where class privileges are eliminated. this is a core teaching of the Christian religious tradition.


“As Christians, we believe that being created in the image of God establishes for the individual equal rights to all of the necessities of life:

  • a home

  • food

  • clothing

  • and an opportunity to fulfill oneself in a job.”

Rt. Rev/ Dennis Drainville



The Anthropocene

“In our new and powerful role over the planet, we have now become capable of engineering our own demise.”

“I feel the urgency to make people aware of important things that are at stake. By describing the problem vividly, by being revelatory and not accusatory, we can help to cultivate a broader conversation about viable solutions, inspiring today’s generation to carry the momentum of this discussion forward, so that succeeding generations may continue experiencing the wonder and magic of planet Earth.”

Edward Burtynsky in Earth 2020: An Insider’s Guide to a Rapidly Changing Planet, p. 115



Return to “Normal” (4)

Dr. Kwame McKenzie dreads returning to “normal”. In his view, the old “normal” wasn’t working for the majority of people.

In this blog posting on the Wellesley Institute website, Dr. McKenzie writes about what the old “normal” looked like; and proposes a vision of how a new “normal” could benefit the majority of people by taking care of the common good.

A new normal

Kwame McKenzie – May 13, 2020

I am told that we are preparing to slowly get back to normal. That fills me with dread.

I remember normal.

Normal was when Ontario had its highest ever GDP per capita, but at least 350,000 people used food banks and social assistance rates were so low that those considered too sick to work were living in poverty.

Normal meant a business model where many jobs were precarious, had no pension or benefits and the provincial government thought that $15 an hour and paid sick days were an unreasonable burden for employers. It was where young adults earned less than they did 40 years ago and GTA immigrants had not had a pay increase for 35 years.

Normal was a real estate market so out of control that the average family could not afford to buy a Toronto condo. It was when the majority of long-term care homes were private, for-profit and the provincial government had scaled back inspections.

It was when Ontario was the second lowest spender on health in Canada and our health services were cut back so far that people were dying in hallways. Health service workers could not have a cost of living increase and public health was to be cut by 10% provincially and 20% in Toronto.

Normal was when we spent 30% less on mental health than recommended leaving services for people with serious mental illness underfunded. It was when the target of ending homelessness by 2025 had been shelved.

Normal was the problem.

It allowed government to put industry’s interests ahead of the people. It made it acceptable to know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. It was bad for our health.

It increased the rates of chronic disease and slowed our gains in life expectancy. It led to 20 years difference in life span between rich and poor in some Cities. It led to indigenous and racial disparities in health, social care and policing. It left workers with fewer protections and produced epidemics of loneliness and mental health problems.

It left us more vulnerable to COVID-19.

It left families overcrowded and unable to physically distance. It left personal support workers underpaid, undervalued and resigning in droves and our long-term care homes understaffed and vulnerable. It allowed COVID-19 to prey on our elders.

It left us with so little hospital capacity that we had to develop new, poorer quality alternatives. It may decrease COVID-19 survival rates.

It left our public health system weaker, demoralized, and with the lowest rates of COVID-19 testing in Canada.

It led to people with serious mental illness swelling the numbers of homeless, or living in shared rooms separated only by a curtain, and it led to homeless shelters resembling refugee camps with just 2.5 feet between beds. It led to COVID-19 outbreaks.

I do not want to go back to that normal. It was wrong, and it will delay our recovery and have a huge economic impact. The truth is it was not normal at all and it reversed the gains we have made over the last 40 years.

We need a new normal.

A new normal where we put people first – not say we will and then do the opposite. A new normal which aims to increase affordability, equity and inclusion. A new normal where people thrive, rather than just survive.

This means we need: good jobs, employment rights and wages which ensure that people thrive; a revitalized benefits system based on a universal basic income which ensures that we never again allow people to live in government sponsored poverty; and, a housing strategy that makes homes affordable.

We need to: right-size our health and social services sector; look at how B.C. is improving standards for long-term care homes; and, reconsider the shelter system and find homes for the homeless.

We need to do this to honour the people who have died because of COVID-19, those who will die because they do not receive proper care, and the families who have not been able to properly grieve. We need to honour the essential workers who have put themselves and their families at risk, the employers who have lost their livelihood, the people who have lost their jobs and the students who have had their education disrupted.

If we just go back to normal we are disrespecting these sacrifices, we are ignoring what COVID-19 has taught us, and we are leaving ourselves vulnerable to the next pandemic.

A Return to “Normal”?(3)


Toward a More Caring Society: Practicing Empathy During a Pandemic

by: Amanda Harvey-Sánchez

In a society plagued by the logic of neoliberalism, which encourages a turn towards individual interests and an “every person for themselves” mentality, acts of empathy and collective action may seem rare. But mutual aid also demonstrates how collective interests and a capacity for empathy have not entirely disappeared, and we may still have an opportunity to build upon these promising actions.

More on empathy at:




A Return to “Normal”? (2)

Rejecting the death instinct in a pandemic age:

by Matthew Behrens, April 21, 2020

Image: Amanda Slater/Flickr

Matthew Behrens has shared his thoughts on what we choose to happen as we “return to normal” after COVID-19. He begins by writing that:

“The ongoing pandemic epoch has exposed a clear duality marked both by increasingly obvious and blatant inequalities, hypocrisies and systemic failures as well as beautiful, loving and creative responses in the form of mutual aid communities and direct action to save lives.

What happens when — or if — this epoch comes to an end is anybody’s guess, but there are clearly two paths forward, with a thankfully growing consciousness developed long before COVID-19 that our present path is one leading directly to disaster. Indeed, the 24-hour news cycle dominated by masked faces, hospital images and infection charts has almost obliterated from memory everything from January’s apocalyptic Australian brush fire scenes that served as yet one more warning about planetary peril to the grotesque armed invasion of Wet’suwet’en territory by paramilitary RCMP units.”


Which path will we, individually and as a society, choose to follow? The whole of Matthew’s article can be found at:




A Return to “Normal”?


Photo: Allan Baker – Lake Ontario beach at Morningside Creek

Do we really want to return to “normal” as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides? Is a return to “normal” in the best interest of humanity, or Planet Earth?

Yes, there’s plenty about this time of COVID confinement that I do not enjoy, and in my heart I wish that “social distancing” were over with, for example. However, what was “normal” before this time? Was it all-good? What would we have changed about life to make it richer and more meaning-full for ourselves and people in our communities?

Thanks to Prof. Dennis Bartels, I have set up a small chart of SOME of the differences that we are currently (April 2020) experiencing:

Before COVID -19                                             During COVID-19

Concern for gov’t DEBT                              No limits on gov’t spending

Opposition to carbon tax                           Environmental issues fade

Housing the homeless is an                      People without homes are being housed in hotels,

Intractable problem, cannot                    new shelters set up.

be solved, just tolerated                           Concern that “they” may infect “the rest of us”

Underfunding of daycare                         Gov’t establishes FREE daycare

                                                                          for children of “Essential” folks

As André Picard, the health reporter for Toronto’s Globe & Mail says: The big unknown question is, are we going to learn lessons from this? Or are we just going to go back to what we did before? ….I think there’s some real opportunities here to do things differently. I hope the bright side of this is that we really do take advantage of this crisis to do bold things and not just go back to the safe, not very effective way of doing health and social services.”

 What we are seeing during this pandemic are acts of kindness, and love for other people who are all part of our human family.

I’ll conclude with a quote from Bill McKibben, who wrote this in the May, 2020 edition of Sojourners Magazine: The day will come when we can easily return to church, to the store, to the hairdresser – for that we will be able to thank the scientists, and the brave doctors and nurses, who did what they had to do during this emergency. But their courage will have been wasted if nothing deeper changes in how we treat one another and the planet.”

Let’s not “waste” this opportunity.