The Electric Pencil

Archive for July 2009

Occupation to stop destruction of Guelph Old Growth Forest

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The damage at the Guelph Old Growth Forest so far. Via

The damage at the Guelph Old Growth Forest so far. Via

Residents of Guelph, ON, have been occupying the proposed site of the Hanlon Creek Busines Park. The site is also home to Guelph’s Old Growth Forest, and endangers local wetlands and the Jefferson Salamander, on Ontario’s official threatened species list.

The occupation began on Monday, July 27th. They were notified that they would be evicted as of July 30th at 4pm, but the time came and went and protestors are still there.

The fight to protect this area isn’t a new one. In 2008, Guelph residents who had been working on this issue already founded LIMITS (Land Is More Important Than Sprawl) to raise awareness and fight the HCBP development.

I also had the chance to be in Guelph a few years ago at the same time as the launch of the Plant an Old Growth Forest initiative, to restore land and grow an new old growth forest on the lands of the Ignatius Jesuit Centre of Guelph. The stereotype of southern Ontario, one I admit I often hold, is that of highways and strip malls. Many of Guelph’s residents, though, have long been an example of that other models can work.

Sunrise grounding circle on the occupied land. Via

Sunrise grounding circle on the occupied land. Via

More information is available about the occupation is available on the HCBP Occupation blog at, or contact them for interviews or more information at +15198206280, +15198206239 or hcbpoccupatio[at]gmail[dot]com.

They are also inviting supporters to the site to lend a hand – a map with directions can be found on their website.

[cross-posted from The Dominion]


Written by Tim McSorley

July 31, 2009 at 4:48 pm


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Brilliant series of spoof motivatonal posters featuring Hunter S. Thompson over at

(via @geoperdis)

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Written by Tim McSorley

July 27, 2009 at 11:53 pm

Thursday/Jeudi: La fin du néandertal

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This Thursday at 8:30pm, Bruno Dubuc will be screening his latest film at Club Social in the Mile End (180 St-Viateur East). Three years in the making, La fin du néandertal is an exploration of Montreal city politics, activism, and the hope for a better city friendly to pedestrians, cyclists and all residents, and devoid of cars: a city that has moved outside of the age of the neanderthals. In particular, it follows both the municipal party Projet Montréal and the Maison Aurore Traffic Committee, a community organisation in the Plateau, as they both set out to change the city in their own way. I had a chance to interview Bruno at the end of June just before the premier screening of the film at Cinéma du Parc. Below you can listen to the unedited director’s cut. I haven’t had a chance to see the film yet, but in a year where we are in line for a heated municipal election – and a possibly strong turn out for Projet Montréal – the film is a must-see, based on the topic alone.

Ce jeudi, Bruno Dubuc présente son nouveau métrage La fin du néandertal au café Club Social dans le Mile End (180 St-Viateur est). Un exploration qui à durée trois année, ce film chronique les changements dans le militantisme urbaine à Montréal depuis 2006. Entre autre, ça suit le développement de deux organismes – le parti municipal Projet Montréal et le comité de circulation de la Maison d’Aurore, une organisme communautaire – qui s’engage à changer comment nous vivons ensemble en ville. J’ai eu la chance de parler avec Bruno en fin juin, juste avant la première de son film à Cinéma du Parc. Vous pouvez écouter ci-bas l’entrevue en entier. J’en ai pas encore eu la chance de visionner le film, mais j’en suis certain que dans cette année qui annonce des élections municipaux chauds cet hiver, c’est une film à voir.

Bruno Dubuc: La fin du néandertal/Le lendemain de la veille/25 juin 2009/19min23sec:

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Written by Tim McSorley

July 27, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Talkin’ and writin’ ’bout 2010: The Dominion and Briarpatch

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2010 promises to be an interesting year in Canada. The Security and Prosperity Partnership makes a return, as does the G8, and, of course, the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

The questions and criticisms continue about the costs and impacts of this mega-event hitting the west coast. Building on stolen Native land, ‘cleaning up’ the Downtown Eastside, criminalising dissent: while the image painted by the government and sponsors is rosy, the reality is a lot messier.

A lot has been said already, but there’s a lot more to come, thanks to The Dominion and Briarpatch. The Dominion has sent a call for pitches for it’s special issue on the Olympics due out in November (pitches are due soon!) and Briarpatch has sent the call for it’s Resistance 2010 issue, to be published early in 2010.

I’ve posted both below, or read more here and here.

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Written by Tim McSorley

July 26, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Sunday: Alt Media Open House

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logosAnother quick post about an event this weekend. CKUT 90.3FM and The Dominion Newspaper have teamed up to host a series of Alternative Media Open Houses in Montreal.

Tomorrow – Sunday, July 26th – we’ll be setting up a table at the Maison de l’Amitié (120 Duluth St. East) at 1:30 and will hang around until 4pm to answer your questions and hopefully recruit a few of you to our groups. (We’ve done two open houses so far; special thanks to the Immigrant Workers Centre and St-Columba House for hosting us). Free food will be provided by McGill’s wonderful Midnight Kitchen.

Both organisations are constantly on the look our for talented and interested folks who want to get involved and help provide an alternative perspective to the corporate dominated mainstream media. We’ll also be joined by folks from Montreal’s Independent Media Centre, a great resource and hub for indie media organising in Montreal.

Part of the goal is to get a bit more visibility for both these outlets, sure. But it’s also to demystify and open our media outlets to folks who don’t necessarily consider themselves journalists/media makers/writers/producers… While there’s a strong emphasis in both organisations on quality of content, there’s just as much emphasis on training, workshops and openness. So stop on by, ask a few questions, and learn a bit more about althernative media in your community…

And while you’re at it, stop by the new Sunday farmers market, Marché Duluth, a little further down the street, at the corner of Laval & Duluth St. East.

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Written by Tim McSorley

July 25, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Car wash for a cause: Hoodstock Lav-o-Thon

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timthumb.phpIf you wake up tomorrow morning and decide that your car needs a wash, or even if your car doesn’t really need one – take a drive up to the Super C at the corner of Lacordaire and Henri-Bourassa. That’s where the lav-o-thon fundraiser for Hoodstock ’09 is taking place.

What’s Hoodstock, you ask? There will be more to post about it soon, but Aug. 9th will mark the one year anniversary of the shooting of Fredy Villanueva by a Montreal police officer. Hoodstock will be two days of music, discussions and workshops to reflect on a senseless death and what we can must take from it.

While I don’t like the ‘ticking time-bomb’ metaphor used by the journalist, Hoodstock co-organiser Will Prosper gives a good rundown of the event in the Montreal Gazette.

Written by Tim McSorley

July 25, 2009 at 12:53 am

Posted in Montreal

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McNamara passes, Morris speaks

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I’m a little late on the news, but former US defense secretary Robert McNamara passed away on Monday at the age of 93. He was the primary architect of the US war on Vietnam, and the target of many anti-war demonstrations, and accused of being a war criminal.

Coincidentally, as part of my work at the NFB, I’ve been working on promotion of a new film called Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary, directed by Pepita Ferrari and featuring 33 filmmakers talking about their craft. One of those filmmakers is Errol Morris, who made what is one of my all-time favorite docs, The Fog of War, whose main subject and interviewee is Robert S. McNamara himself.

You can view clips of Morris speaking about McNamara here & here.

Errol Morris on the set of Capturing Reality. Copyright 2008, National Film Board of Canada

Errol Morris on the set of Capturing Reality. Copyright 2008, National Film Board of Canada

The rest of the clips on the Capturing Reality site have nothing to do with McNamara, but they do cover the questions and quandries that come with documentary filmmaking. You can watch all four hours of interview clips on the site, as well as the trailer for the film, which features more interviews that aren’t on the site and is well worth the watch (the DVD comes with both the doc and all four hours of clips…). The entire project reminds you why the Herzogs, Obomsawins, Braults and Maysles of the world are phenomenal, and, for me at least, is an introduction to a slew of filmmakers whose work I want to discover.

And in pure self-promotion, I helped pick the 11 clips we’ve put together into a playlist on; they’re my favourites of the bunch and contain some pleasant surprises… You can view them all, my favourite is from the inimitable Werner Herzog…

Written by Tim McSorley

July 8, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Posted in media, politics

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