Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

5 Articles Tagged with “Thunder Bay”

  1. Free public transit: It’s not about the money

    You can pretend your opposition to free transit is purely economic, but these types of decisions are about race, class, and power.

    Last night, City Council in Thunder Bay announced they would look into proposals that the city make public transit (which means buses here) free. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that many councillors were in favour of the idea in principle, and while it’s a little frustrating that they are skeptical of the timetable (free by 2023), some of the practical considerations they raise are in fact exactly the kind of questions a city council should ask before doing something like this. So … kudos to council, I guess?

    But of course, there is the usual peanut gallery of vocal commenters who scream about their tax dollars any time the city has the temerity to talk about improving services on “their dime,” and this is why we can’t have nice things.

    I am not going to make an economic argument for free public transit, nor will I try to convince you that this is a good use of your tax money. However, I want to examine more deeply why there are good reasons for our city to provide free public transit and encourage you to examine your biases. When it comes down to it, being in favour of free transit…

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  2. Tolerating intolerance is always a bad look

    A local organization called the Urban Abbey is allowing an anti-abortion film to be screened in its space. This is not about free speech. It's about bad decisions.

    When you first opened your doors, I was rooting for you. I am not religious (far from it), but the idea that an inclusive, Anglican ministry was rehabilitating a beautiful building in Port Arthur’s downtown and planning to help the poor and vulnerable? I could get behind that. Unfortunately, events of the past week have demonstrated how easily a few poor decisions can undermine years of effort. Your decision to allow Thunder Bay Life to screen the film Unplanned at the Abbey is nothing less than an abrogation of your duties to those very same people.

    As an educator, I am ashamed that, somewhere along the way, myself and my colleagues have failed to help people understand the nuances of the concept of freedom of speech. Legally, morally, philosophically, freedom of speech has always been a quixotic, paradoxical, complicated phenomenon. These days, colloquially, it has morphed into a bludgeon with which to silence and a shield behind which to hide and claim undeserved neutrality.

    Deplatforming is not the same as the suppression of free speech. If Thunder Bay Life were denied the use of the Abbey’s space, there are other places it could screen its film. Charter rights to…

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  3. Part of the system

    Being part of a racist system doesn't make you racist. Refusing to acknowledge and stand up against system racism is what makes you racist.

    Last week the OIPRD released its findings of an investigation into the Thunder Bay police. The report, at over 200 pages, is the culmination of two years of investigation. It unequivocally states that systemic racism exists within the Thunder Bay Police Service. Also last week, a second report from a separate investigation, this one done by Senator Murray Sinclair at the behest of the OCPC, came out. It too found racism—this time from the Thunder Bay Police Services Board, which oversees the police. As a result of the report, the OCPC appointed an interim administrator to oversee the board until its members have undergone training and taken other required steps.

    Both reports also made very specific recommendations for how to address the systemic racism.

    None of this is news, really, for those of us in Thunder Bay who haven’t buried our heads in the sand, but now there are hundreds of pages of documentation backing up what is pretty common knowledge here: the police are racist, and it’s killing Indigenous people.

    Reaction though, of course, has ranged largely from lukewarm to ludicrous in the denial and shifting of accountability. Police Chief Sylvie Hauth (who took on the…

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  4. Racist op-eds need to stop, kthxbai

    Another day, another racist article in my local newspaper, The Chronicle Journal. This time it isn't an ignorant letter to the editor, though—it's an ignorant op-ed from a retired judge.

    I follow a lot of Indigenous people on Twitter, because I want to hear what they have to say. This article comes hot on the heels of a similarly stultifying piece from Conrad Black a few days ago, and it's one day after the news that another Indigenous teen (Brayden Moonias) has been found dead here in Thunder Bay, with police reporting signs of foul play.

    My city has a racism problem, and it is literally killing Indigenous people. But too many citizens refuse to acknowledge this, and now we're importing racist rants from Winnipeg when we should be standing together against opinions like this.

    So I wrote a letter to the editor responding to this piece. No idea yet if it will be published. Here is the letter in full:

    I wish I could say that I'm shocked that The Chronicle Journal ran Brian Giesbrecht's "System that rewards status Indians is spectacularly unfair" a day after Brayden Moonias was found dead here in Thunder Bay.

    Giesbrecht would

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  5. Rocking the Fort (in our own way)

    No, I didn't go to Rock the Fort this year (you American people of course have no idea what I'm talking about, let alone you poor people in Britain, Singapore, Ireland, India, etc., but bear with me). However, today my friend Laura and I did take a trip out to Old Fort William Historical Park to take a tour and have some fun (and to laugh at our friends who were working out there).

    For those of you who don't know, Fort William was the largest fur trading fort west of Montreal and was essentially the "bottleneck" for furs coming eastward from the interior of the country. Back in the nineteenth century, this is why people settled here. The Historical Park, rebuilt to detail after the original Fort burned down, attempts to bring that atmosphere alive with costumed guides who play the roles of all sorts of people there, including the famous voyageurs.

    Several of my friends work there, including Graham and Cortney, so Laura and I agreed that it would be cool to spend the day down there and take a guided tour and see if we could locate our friends. Unfortunately, that was easier said than done. Once…

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