Organizing the Suburbs

Published in Briarpatch Magazine
https://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/organizing-the-suburbs

During the 2018 Ontario elections, a campaign pamphlet for Progressive Conservative (PC) candidate Raymond Cho was distributed with the words “為人民服務” – “Serve the People” – in bold. The phrase is one of the most iconic Maoist slogans – but in this case, it was used as a crude translation of Doug Ford’s slogan, “For the People.”

While the NDP won the majority of downtown Toronto ridings, they were locked out of the suburbs, where the PC Party rode to a decisive victory across the commuter belt of Mississauga, Markham, Etobicoke, and – to a lesser extent – Scarborough.

For some this was unexpected: suburban working-class and immigrant communities might have been expected to side with the Liberals or NDP, more so than the generally whiter and wealthier downtown communities. After all, left-leaning parties are supposed to be the champions of the poor and racialized. For others, election results confirmed a growing belief that Canada’s new wave of immigrants is both socially and fiscally conservative, innately.

We reject these two presumptions. Instead, we draw on the case of Chinese suburbanites in Scarborough and York Region to argue that the electoral success of the right is the result of decades of disengagement by the left and sophisticated politicking by right-wing politicians.

The detachment of intersectionality from its Black feminist roots: A critical analysis of social service provision training material based in Ontario

Wong, E. H. S. (2018). The detachment of intersectionality from its Black feminist roots: A critical analysis of social service provision training material based in Ontario. In Intersectionality in Social Work (pp. 51-65). Routledge.
https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781315210810

This chapter takes as a starting point the use of intersectionality in a range of social services training materials. The critical analysis shows that the training material detaches the concept of intersectionality from its radical political roots. This has potential negative implications for social work practices. Most importantly, in emphasising service provision over mass movement building, there is a failure to undertake the social work task of advocating for societal change, and the spirit of Black feminist thought and liberation movements from which intersectionality emerged is lost.

“The brains of a nation”: The eugenicist roots of Canada’s mental health field and the building of a white non-disabled nation

Wong, E. H. S. (2012). Not Welcome A Critical Analysis of Ableism in Canadian Immigration Policy from 1869 to 2011. Critical Disability Discourses/Discours critiques dans le champ du handicap, 4.
https://crsp.journals.yorku.ca/index.php/crsp/article/view/40261

This paper examines the literature published by the Canadian National Committee for Mental Hygiene (CNCMH), a precursor to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), from 1918-1921, and its connection to eugenicist social policies. Specifically, this study involves a critical discourse analysis of the Canadian Journal of Mental Hygiene (CJMH) published by the CNCMH, which illustrates how the roots of Canada’s mental health field are linked to a nation-building project deeply intertwined with eugenicist notions of race and disability. Foundation myths that reinforce the Canadian nation were also imbued in the literature, including: Canadian identity as linked to white non-disability, Canada as tabula rasa, and eugenicist fears of the ‘over-population’ of ‘undesirables’. On the basis of these foundation myths, the CNCMH considered mental hygiene discourse and practice as a means to further Canada as a white nondisabled nation. The desire to further the Canadian nation in this manner led to the promotion of eugenicist social policies. Many of these policies – especially, immigration controls – were put into place by the Canadian government and remain to this day.

Refugee Welcome Banner at TFC Game


Refugees Welcome banner unfurled for the second match in the row after a community resistance led to MLSE overturning a previous decision to bar “Refugees Welcome” banners from the stadium. We were kindly invited to bring the banner over to RPB Supporters Group Section 112, where the banner received a raucous reception.