Category Archives: Newsroom

Posts from the CKMS news program, community shows, and associated news sites.

Climate Change Fires in BC – Indigenous Responses to Colonial Tactics

The show opens with a quick review of the upcoming supreme court decision on the lack of consultation with Chippewas of the Thames First Nation regarding the line 9 pipeline.

While sticking with pipelines, we jump to the climate change fueled fires raging across the western turtle island, first with a posting laying out the demands from the Working group on indigenous food sovereignty that Kinder Morgan shut down the oil and gas pipelines running through Secwepemc lands. (

After Ancient Grains cover of The Rebel Spell’s Last Call, we read an article from APTN news where the members of the Tl’etinqox First Nation defied Canadian government orders to evacuate their reserve to defend it against he raging fires. Chief Joe Alphonse, told APTN that officers from the RCMP threatened the First Nation that the Ministry of Children and Family Services “remove all the children” if the Indigenous community did not evacuate. Also worried their infrastructure would never be rebuilt, the Bonaparte Indian Band also defied evacuation orders to successfully fight off the fire from destroying the community. (…)



From:: Grand River Community News

AW@L Radio – 2017-07-27 – Canada’s Supreme Court redefines Indigenous Consultation in Line 9 Decision

The #Line9 and #SeismicBlasting decisions from the Supreme Court of Canada has come down and they are… baffling. We read a statement from Chippewas Solidarity and play audio of CoTTFN Chief Myeengun Henry responding to the decision.We also rebroadcast the inspiring interview on Democracy now with Ruby Montoya and Jessica Reznicek, two powerful womyn who sabotaged the Dakota Access Pipeline over several months in 2016.

From:: Grand River Community News

Challenging the “Unproductive Fictions” of #Canada150


This episode of AW@L Radio (recorded June 30, 2017), opens with a quick rant about Trudeau’s massive increases to canada’s military budget, and a brief chat about local ripening fruits. For the remainder of the show, we are joined by Dr. Stephen Svenson for a discussion around #canada150 and the lingering “unproductive fictions” that deal with the establishment of this settler colonial state and which lay the foundation of racist canadian nationalism. Throughout the discussion we swing back to the question of “what are we celebrating?” when people choose to celebrate canada. “canada’s creation story, as it were, is genocidal maniacs trying to wipe the indigenous people off the map.” – @DocSvenson



From:: Grand River Community News

AW@L Radio: Challenging the “Unproductive Fictions” of #Canada150

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This episode of AW@L Radio (recorded June 30, 2017), opens with a quick rant about Trudeau’s massive increases to canada’s military budget, and a brief chat about local ripening fruits.

For the remainder of the show, we are joined by Dr. Stephen Svenson for a discussion around #canada150 and the lingering “unproductive fictions” that deal with the establishment of this settler colonial state and which lay the foundation of racist canadian nationalism. Throughout the discussion we swing back to the question of “what are we celebrating?” when people choose to celebrate canada.

“canada’s creation story, as it were, is genocidal maniacs trying to wipe the indigenous people off the map.” – @DocSvenson



From:: Grand River Community News

Climate Change Fires in BC – Indigenous Responses to Colonial Tactics

The show opens with a quick review of the upcoming supreme court decision on the lack of consultation with Chippewas of the Thames First Nation regarding the line 9 pipeline. We then shift to the climate change induced fires in BC and Indigenous defiance to evacuation orders, including Secwepemc demands for pipeline shutdowns, and Tl’etinqox defiance to evacuate despite threats from the RCMP of seizing children, and successful defense against the fire.

From:: Grand River Community News

AW@L Radio – Algonquins of Barriere Lake confront Copper One at annual general meeting in Toronto.

Download Audio: >download the mp3.


On June 1, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake continued their struggle against mining on their territory as they confronted Copper One($CUO.v) at the company’s AGM in Toronto. Copper One has been attempting to mine on Barriere Lake territory without the community’s consent since they took over mining claims there in 2011. Barriere Lake is firm in their stance that they do not want mining on their territory–much of which is also known as La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve–since it would cause irreparable harms.

The community is party to Bilateral and Trilateral Agreements with the provincial and federal governments that make the need for the community’s say in resource projects clear. However, the Quebec and Canadian governments have not held up their side of the agreements, forcing the community to continue to fight for their right to make decisions about what happens on their territory. Currently, Copper One’s claims are suspended, a status which the company is fighting in court.

Community members have attended Copper One’s AGM in the past, and expressed their opposition to the company’s mining plans. This year, Copper One took a more aggressive approach at the meeting, having called law enforcement which attempted multiple times to forcibly remove community representative Norman Matchewan before and during his statement to the company’s board.

In this episode you will hear drumming from Barriere Lake Youth, followed by a speech Norman delivered in the lobby of the building where copper one was holding their AGM. You will then hear an interview with Norman, and another clip of a speech he gave outside the AGM.

We then speak with Shiri Pasternak of Barriere Lake Solidarity ( and hear speeches from the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network and Barriere Lake Solidarity.

As this piece was being published, journalist Jorge Barrera tweeted, “Quebec has refused Copper One’s permits to cut down trees in Barriere Lake’s traditional territory, it emerged Thursday evening.” AW@L Radio will follow up with Barriere Lake as the impacts of this news becomes clear. Check for updates. (

The following audio and interviews were gathered by Rachel Avery on a noisy afternoon in downtown toronto, please enjoy.



From:: Grand River Community News

AW@L Radio – March 31st – Smash The State Report

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On the March 31st 2017, edition of AW@L Radio, we kick things off with a run down of the situation at Ryerson university, where the school’s president shamefully apologized to the mayor of Niagara Falls after students in the journalism program produced a short film entitled As Niagara Falls, which introduced some of the problems in the city around economic development and poverty. We read from the article on from Ismael N Daro (…) and play the short video. The group who made the video, Mayday Pictures said the film has succeeded in sparking a much-needed conversation.

Next we go to an article from Ben Leeson from The Sudbury Star, (…) who had the unfortunate job of relaying the news that long time activist and academic Barbara Ronson McNichol was killed after being stuck by a train. Barbara Ronson McNichol, 60, had been working to keep logging and spraying from in the Benny forest. Rest in Power Barbara!

We play a piano version of Byron’s Breaks My Heart.

We return with an update on #JusticeForAbdiraman, specifically that the Ottawa police have created blue and black bracelets to wear in support of killer cop Daniel Montsion ( We look at this disgusting campaign through the tweets of @DesmondCole who notes it is not worth looking for good cops in this badness, and that the politicians are cowering in bitterness and fear instead of confronting the issue.

Dan has a quick note to remind everyone that Marc Emery is horrible.

We read from an article from the Waterloo Chronicle outlining the racist anti-muslim backlash at the proposal to use a house in Waterloo as a Muslim prayer centre. (…)

Next up is an note about the potential transit strike in Waterloo Region which was averted at the last minute. The workers were demanding better working conditions and the end of totalitarian management schemes. Waterloo Region always has money to boost the police budget, but alway struggle to find it other places.

And finally, we end the show on a note from activist and journalist Garth Mullins (@garthmullins) who tweeted regarding the ongoing #opiodcrisis in #Vancouver. Garth shared that his friend was one of 162 overdoses in a week in Vancouver, and was thankfully saved by the administration of Naxalone.




From:: Grand River Community News

AW@L Radio – March 24th – Resist the Rise of the Bigots

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From the March 24th edition of AW@L Radio, the show starts with a run down of the events at a Peel regional school board meeting, where anti-muslim bigots ripped up a Koran and yelled at people shaming them. The meeting was then shut down, but as host dan kellar notes, the bigots have names, jobs and addresses… (check this Tamara Khandaker piece from vice, including the videos, for more –

After a clip of Lowkey’s Ahmed (, we speak of the protests against M-103 (a motion to study the rise in hate in Canada – specifically anti-muslim hate) and we get into a report back from the counter-demo in Kitchener, where antifa contained and outnumbered the confused members of the CCCC. While under the bogus guise of “free speech”, all of the anti M-103 protestors AW@L Radio spoke with, asked if we had read the Koran.

We also note the apparent success of the #IAMWRAgainstRacialDiscrimination campaign (despite the length of the hashtag…), and hype of the antifa resistance worldwide.

“The facists already have unfettered access to the mainstream media, it is the people’s job to keep the bigots off the streets and out of public places.” – antifa at the counter demo at the KW anti-m-103 protest.



From:: Grand River Community News

AW@L Radio: Updates on #Justice4Azraya and the Grassy Narrows Youth Media project.

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This episode starts with a quick plea from host dan kellar to stop the march to war in Syria, including calling out Justin Trudeau for his quick support of Trump’s recent bombardments, calling on NDP leadership hopefuls to clarify thier position on the attacks and on imperial wars in general, and noting that there is no verified proof of who launched the apparent chemical weapons attack in Syria.

To set a base for the rest of the episode, we then read “Racism, Violence, And Thunder Bay Reporting: An investigation of racism on Lakehead University campus and Thunder Bay’s complicity with anti-Indigeneity and systemic violence against Indigenous women” an article by Brady Coyle and Leah Ching if the Argus newspaper in Thunder Bay (

The rest of the episode is then spent with organiser and social justice activist Alex Hundert, who re-joins AW@L Radio to update us on several campaigns he is working on with folks from Grassy Narrows, specifically the #Justice4Azraya campaign and the Grassy Narrows Youth Media project (, twitter: @GNYouthMedia). We also discuss #JusticeForDelaine and bring in discussion of systemic racism present in Kenora, Thunder Bay, and indeed, all across Canada.

The episode ends with *BONUS* content fom Alex, also discussing war (what is it good for?).


From:: Grand River Community News

Community radio collaboration culminates as CKMS changes frequencies and CKRZ comes to Waterloo region.

On March 15th Waterloo Region’s CKMS moves to 102.7 on the FM dial, opening space for Ohsweken’s
CKRZ to expand their broadcast range on 100.3FM.

Radio listeners in Waterloo region tuning into 100.3FM will now hear Six Nation’s “The Voice of the Grand” as
they boost their power to 1000 watts. The switch to 102.7FM for CKMS will launch the station’s 40th
anniversary celebrations, and mark a refocusing of their image, dropping the “Sound FM” brand in favour of
the original “Radio Waterloo”.

Radio Waterloo’s current president, Nat Persaud says of the frequency change, “After four years it is great to
complete this project, to have CKRZ’s unique programming in the region, and to refresh CKMS as we move
into a year of celebration.” Commenting on the re­branding of the station, Persaud adds, “we feel that
returning to CKMS’s roots as
Radio Waterloo will help us celebrate the whole region and all the communities
we serve here.”

Barry Rooke, the Executive Directory of the National Community and Campus Radio Association (NCRA)
says of the project, “It’s great to see the community broadcasting sector working together. Both organizations
will benefit from the change, being able to better serve the communities they strive so hard to do.”

While CKMS has been broadcasting on 100.3FM since 1992, Mark Ciesluk, president of Radio Waterloo
when CKMS was approached about the project, says the decision to switch was made rather easily. “When
CKRZ approached us to discuss swapping frequencies, the CKMS board of directors jumped at the chance to
work in partnership with our friends and neighbours from the Indigenous community of Six Nations. We feel
that CKMS’ mandate to champion local engagement with radio broadcasting extends to lending a hand to help
keep the FM radio landscape of Southwestern Ontario both vibrant and representative.”

Looking to the future, Ciesluk added, “It is my hope that both CKRZ and CKMS will find much success in their
new homes on the dial as they continue this tradition into the next decade and beyond. Goodbye, 100.3! Hello,

With CKMS’s frequency shift and the signal boost complete at CKRZ, president Persaud states, “CKRZ’s
programming adds an important voice to Waterloo Region and Radio Waterloo’s shift to 102.7FM sets a new
stage as we build upon our 40 years in the community.”

For more information on the frequency change collaboration project or other information about
CKMS contact:
Nat Persaud ­ President Radio Waterloo Inc ­
Background: CKMS has been broadcasting to Waterloo Region since 1977, first on 94.5FM and from 1992, on 100.3FM.
The station was founded as a campus/community operation at the University of Waterloo, and was funded largely
through student levy until 2008. In response to the change in funding Radio Waterloo has been operating as a
cooperative volunteer run organisation, funded through membership fees, programmer contributions, and other
fundraising efforts.


From:: Grand River Community News

Precarity in higher learning: Neoliberalism and contract faculty contract negotiations at WLU

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As the contract faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) negotiate a new contract, many within the union have recognized their struggle as another moment in the widescale resistance to neoliberal ideologies. With WLU and other universities operating with a capitalist business model, the schools are furthering their reliance on contract faculty. While teaching more classes than their full-time counterparts, contract faculty are paid considerably less than full-time faculty, receive no benefits, and are not paid for the research they must undertake to produce quality work in this competitive “publish or perish” atmosphere.

With universities accepting more students and charging more for tuition than ever before, there have been marked increases in the number of high-level administrators running the schools, and in the remuneration they receive, however, at every contract negotiation for the workers, “cost-saving” measures are forced on support staff and faculty.

In this interview, recorded December 30, 2016, we speak with Stephen Svenson (@DocSvenson), a contract faculty professor teaching at Wilfrid Laurier University, and a member of the communications team for the faculty association there. We speak about the contract negotiations at WLU through a lens critical of neoliberal ideologies and with a discussion of their impacts on communities and lives.

As the final edits were being put on this interview, word was received that a second round of conciliation has led to a tentative agreement being reached between WLU and the contract faculty within the faculty association. Details have not emerged about the deal, but check the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association website, Facebook, and Twitter for updates on the ratification of the deal.


From:: Grand River Community News

Chief calls for investigation and cleanup of Dryden mill site’s mercury contaminated soil

Domtar denies access Grassy Narrows’ experts access to search for toxic barrels
January 17, 2017
Toronto – The Chief of Grassy Narrows First Nation in Northwestern Ontario is speaking out today after learning that evidence of a poisonous mercury dump has been found behind the Dryden paper mill, upstream from this Indigenous community where many people suffer from mercury poisoning. The Chief is calling for immediate access to the mill site for Grassy Narrows’ experts to investigate, and he is calling for the Wynne and Trudeau governments to clean up any mercury contamination that is found. Mercury is a potent neuro-toxin that damages the brain and nervous system leading to loss of vision, touch, balance, and coordination as well as learning disabilities with lifelong impacts.

“I am shocked to hear that mercury contaminated soil has been found behind the mill after Ontario assured us that the hidden mercury dump reported by Kas Glowacki did not exist,” said Grassy Narrows Chief Simon Fobister. “We need an immediate investigation into mercury at the whole Dryden mill site by our trusted experts to tell us whether we are in danger from mercury dumps and leaks. We live downstream from that area and we rely on the fish from the river.”

The Chief wrote on Friday to Minister Glen Murray, and Domtar CEO John D. Williams requesting that they grant access to the Dryden mill site for Grassy Narrows’ experts to conduct a thorough investigation into improper mercury disposal.

In the letter Chief Simon Fobister writes “This site and surrounding areas need to be tested immediately so that we can locate any ongoing sources of mercury and assess the extent of the contamination. It is critical that our First Nation lead those studies so that we may trust in the results… We demand that the site and surrounding areas remain undisturbed until our experts have an opportunity to conduct the necessary tests. This is an urgent concern for us.”

Yesterday Domtar, the current owner of the Dryden mill property, responded to the Chief but did not grant access for Grassy Narrows’ experts to search for Glowacki’s toxic barrels on the property where mercury contaminated soil has now been found. Previously, in an August 9 letter, Domtar explicitly denied Grassy Narrows’ earlier request for access to the mill property to search for the barrels.

“Domtar does not consent to provide access to the Dryden mill property to grassy Narrows or its representatives for environmental testing or survey work,” wrote David Struhs, Domtar Vice President for Corporate Services and Sustainability on August 9, 2016.

Volunteers from Earthroots, an environmental group, recently found highly contaminated soil in the area where Kas Glowacki, a former mill worker, says he buried 50 barrels of mercury and salt haphazardly in a pit behind the mill in 1972.

Three generations of Grassy Narrows families bear the terrible burden of mercury poisoning on their bodies and brains. Fishing is a central part of Grassy Narrows’ culture which has provided sustenance and livelihood for countless generations of Grassy Narrows people. The collapse of fishing as a result of mercury poisoning created massive unemployment and poverty in the community which persists to this day. Social services are underfunded and youth suicides are on the rise in this formerly self-sufficient and healthy Indigenous nation.

“The government has always told us that since 1970 the mercury at the mill was safely disposed of and our river was healing. It appears that this is not the case. We need a clear, written commitment from Premier Wynne and Prime Minster Trudeau to clean our river, including making sure that the Dryden mill site is not leaking mercury,” said Chief Simon Fobister. “Every day that the Wynne and Trudeau governments delay there is a risk that more Grassy Narrows babies will be born into a lifetime of hardship caused by mercury.”

An expert report released last May found that Grassy Narrows’ Wabigoon River is still highly contaminated more than four decades after controls on mercury releases were put in place, indicating that there is an ongoing, but unidentified, source of mercury. The scientists concluded that the river can and must be cleaned up safely.

Grassy Narrows first learned about the barrels in August of 2015 in a letter from Kas Glowacki, a former mill worker who reports that he was part of a crew that filled, dumped, and buried fifty toxic barrels behind the mill in 1972. Glowacki wrote “he drums were dropped not placed into the pit… I can attest to the fact that there was several Hundred (sic) pounds buried up on the hill above the river.”

Former Grassy Narrows Chief Roger Fobister Sr. forwarded Glowacki’s letter to the government. On November 12, 2015, MOECC officials responded to the chief saying that “The Dryden pulp mill is not a source of mercury.”

In June of this year, after a Toronto Star investigation exposed the government’s failure to act on Glowacki’s tip, a spokesperson for the MOECC told the Star that the ministry is doing “everything in its power” to find the site. The government searched for the barrels this summer using geophysical sensors but concluded there was no evidence of the barrels. But it appears that they searched in the wrong place.

On November 23rd the Wynne government told the legislature that “We have completed very extensive tests all across the site… and found there are no barrels buried and there is no source .” That same day Minister Murray told the legislature “I will promise that we will… get the cleanup to the satisfaction of the chief and the health of the people of Grassy Narrows.”

Grassy Narrows’ Chief Simon Fobister responded saying “I invite the Premier to put this historic commitment in writing and sign it alongside me in proper ceremony so that we can know it is real. We have borne 54 years of poison and inaction – we need a firm timeline and a realistic budget to get this cleanup done as soon as humanly possible. We will not rest until our fish are safe to eat again.”

However, the following day Premier Wynne back tracked and refused to commit to cleaning the English-Wabigoon River claiming that it would risk releasing old mercury.

The Toronto Star reported that, when asked, her government provided no evidence of risk associated with the clean-up methods recommended by the expert report. Dr. David Schindler, founder of the Experimental Lakes Area, wrote to Premier Wynne saying that “this fear is needless” and urged the Premier to proceed with the reclamation of the river.

A recent report by Japanese mercury experts found mercury poisoning symptoms in 90% of people tested in Grassy Narrows First Nation and Wabaseemoong Independent Nations in 2014, including younger people. Another expert report by Canadian mercury expert Dr. Mergler found that between 1978 and 1992 many babies were born in Grassy Narrows with umbilical cord blood mercury levels high enough to cause permanent brain development impacts.

From:: Grand River Community News

We call “Woo Woo” on you: free speech, conspiracy theories and community standards

Download Audio: here!


Today’s show features a discussion with social justice activist and former AW@L radio host Alex Hundert on issues around free speech and free expression in Canada including the necessary limits and inherent responsibilities. This chat covers racism, conspiracy theories, the rise of white nationalism, and upholding community standards, in a talk that happened two weeks before the election of Donald Trump in the United States.


Recently it came to light that another show at AW@L radio’s home community station, CKMS, wanted to have on a guest that has repeatedly published racist and misogynistic opinions. There were complaints received at the station, several facebook battles, and a long discussion at the board level which resulted in a consensus decision that the proposed guest be barred from CKMS airwaves.

The proposed guest was blogger Lawrence McCurry, who also writes for Toronto based Your Ward News. In his writings(, Larry describes Syrian refugees as “invaders”, who are “90% of young men of fighting age” from a “hodgepodge of middle eastern countries”. He also writes of european countries being “swamped and invaded by Muslims” and he states “Now I’m not saying all Muslims want to take over or are evil people” he then writes about the “flood” of refugees in Paris and Germany, taking part in a “cultural genocide” of Europeans.

In his writings reflecting misogyny (, Larry refers to feminists as “feminazis” and “marxist she hags”. Among other deplorable acts, Larry defends his editor at your Ward News, James Sears, who is quoted in his own paper saying that “a lot of women” “enjoyed being slapped across the face, roughed up, and sexually ravaged after provoking a man” and when speaking about a feminist who challenged him he said “The right man had not yet domesticated this feral shrew.” Sears also uses the term FemiMarxist to describe the woman. Sears, who considers himself a “masculinity guru” and goes by the nickname Dimitri the Lover, had his medical licence revoked in 1992 after being found guilty of sexualy impropriety and gross misconduct relating to several female patients.

See the bottom of this page for a few images of Larry’s articles. When confronted with his own words, Larry responded “I stand by what I wrote”.

As mentioned, Larry also writes for the “Your Ward News” media outlet, a news outlet which has published anti-semitic (, anti-immigrant (, white-nationalist (, and misogynistic (, opinions, among other bigotries ( Your Ward News has also printed endorsements of openly white nationalist and neo-nazi political candidates and political parties like the New Constitution Party of Canada.

While Your Ward News supporters have claimed it is a satirical paper, the website has documented the hateful content released.

In response to a resident operated campaign launched in the Beaches neighbourhood of Toronto, where the paper was being mass-mailed, MP Judy Foote, the minister of public safety in the federal government, cancelled the contract Canada post had with Your Ward News, ending the junk-mailing of the paper. More information is available in the links at the bottom of this show’s summary page.

Getting back to the discussion on this AW@L radio, the host of the conspiracy show that wanted to interview Lawrence McCurry, as well as Larry himself, and several digital compatriots naively tried to turn this into a free speech issue, and now here we are…

You can read more about Alex and the campaigns he is working on from his twitter feed @alexhundert.

Thank you for tuning into AW@L radio Fridays at 4pm EST on, 100.3 fm in Waterloo Region. Visit and click on the AW@L radio link for our 200+ show archive.

Supplementary Information:


Info about Your Ward News:

Larry’s Blog:

Larry Calls #BlackLivesMatters Terrorists:

A couple telling posts from

James Sears twitter:

An ad for a talk with James Sears:

Ontario College of Physicians vs. James Sears:




From:: Grand River Community News