LeftHand Media Co-op


LeftHand Media Co-op


LeftHand Joins Unifor

Metro Vancouver’s LeftHand Media Co-op pleased to be first workplace unionized under Unifor, Canada’s newest and largest union

An historic alliance was announced this past weekend in Toronto.  Two of the country’s more sizable unions, Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers of Canada, merged and became Unifor.  The first worksite unionized under Unifor will be the west coast’s LeftHand Media Co-operative.

“We’re delighted to be the first workplace in the nation brought under the Unifor umbrella,” said Darien Edgeler, the co-op’s employees bargaining team member.

According to Edgeler, CEP’s Local 433 had been assisting LHMC with their organizing efforts, and the co-op gained official union recognition at almost precisely the same time that the Unifor coalition was finalized.

“The two events occurring simultaneously was a serendipitous coincidence,” explained Edgeler.   “We are honoured and excited to be the first worksite sheltering beneath Unifor’s wing; the amalgamation of CAW and CEP is a momentous development in the Canadian labour movement, and we are proud to be a part of it.”

Rob Hellenius, the co-op’s president, suggests that Unifor’s size and influence will enable it to effectively defend and promote the rights of not only its own members, but all workers across the country and around the world.

“We are ecstatic that we are now in a position, as the newest member of the Unifor family, to contribute to these efforts,” Hellenius went on to say.

LeftHand Media Co-operative, now in its second year of operation, specializes in producing online media (e.g. websites, social media) and strategic communication products for unions and other socially progressive groups.

For more information, contact:
Rob Hellenius, President
LeftHand Media Co-op

Words Worth

LHMC brought me on recently as a staff scribe, and today I’ll be writing about writing.

How many times have you seen a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster that featured retina-rousing special effects but failed to engage you emotionally? On plenty of occasions, right? That’s because the producers focused their attention on CG visuals rather than on the script. Big mistake. A positively Brobdingnagian error, in fact; the script is the foundation on which everything else is built. What’s that you say, holding an index finger aloft and waggling it remonstratively? I’m biased because words are my bread and butter? You may have a point, but consider this: when it comes to making a movie, only the screenwriter is a creative artist. Only the screenwriter creates something out of nothing. All the other folks working on the film, no matter how talented they may be, are interpretative artists only.

I’m stressing the supremacy of the text because we live in a world in which new messaging channels abound. It seems that, every time you turn around, there’s an intriguingly novel technology for conveying information. And yet, with all due respect to Marshall McLuhan, the medium is not the message. The medium is the medium and, although there’s an inevitable shaping process, the message remains the message. One of the keys to effective communication is to understand the ways in which a medium impacts the content it transmits, and then leverage that set of influences.

Steve Martin’s mastery of tweeting is an excellent illustration of this notion. He took a format that some considered restrictive – tweets are limited to 140 characters – and used it to deliver carefully-concise one-liners. {Many examples of which can be found in his book The Ten, Make That Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make That Ten.} Of course, writing within a sharply-defined framework is nothing new: Elizabethan sonneteers had to shoehorn their sentiments into an inelastic rhyme scheme and I would argue that these structural limitations actually boosted their inventiveness.

Where am I going with this? Straight to a sales pitch, actually. One of my goals as an LHMC wordsmith will be to help our clients maximize the communicational advantages inherent in whatever medium they choose to use. Other objectives include…

  • Striving at all times for correctness. Sometimes this will involve simple proofreading: there’s nothing that brings me more satisfaction than standardizing Oxford comma usage, repositioning misplaced modifiers, and rescuing dangling participles.  Nothing, that is, save deep-delving research and fact-checking.
  • Bringing to bear a full arsenal of literary techniques. A writer has many weapons at her disposal: everything from antithesis to consonance, from hyperbole to metaphor, and from personification to satire. I look forward to deploying a full range of ordnance and producing powerfully persuasive prose. {Did you see what I did there? I used both consonance and metaphor in this very paragraph.}
  • Generating memorable copy. There are a variety of ways to do this, but humour and narrative are my favourites. I’ve written a number of full-length comedies for the stage and I’m convinced that readers are most likely to remember pieces that {a} tell a story, and {b} make them laugh.
  • Customizing content. Have you ever watched a courtroom drama and been convinced of the defendant’s guilt after the prosecutor’s articulate summation, only to change your mind about culpability after hearing the defence counsel’s equally-eloquent closing argument? LHMC has a history of creating compelling cases tailored to a client’s particular point of view, and I shall do my utmost to perpetuate and refine this practice.

Okay, time to wrap things up. I think I’ll close with a quote by Rudyard Kipling…

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”

It would be my pleasure to get people high on your behalf.


Darien R. Edgeler

Running With LeftHanded Scissors, Part two

In part one I told you about the moments of conception for LeftHand Media Co-op and in doing so laid out our basic principles and mission.

Today I’m going to start to describe the process we’ve undertaken to become a co-op and what the underlying reason may be for the added complexity of co-operative association registry.

If you want to become a corporation in British Columbia (the common non co-op kind), the process is quite simple and well established.  The entire process is completed online and is as follows.

  • Select a name and register it. 5 Days.
  • Adopt an incorporation agreement.  A fill in the blanks agreement is available online.  Total 13 pages, virtually guaranteed to be approved by the registry.
  • Create the company’s articles. Again a fill in the blanks agreement is available online.  Total 10 pages, virtually guaranteed to be approved by the registry.
  • File your application online with the Corporate Registry.  If you used the standard forms mentioned in steps 2 & 3 above approval should take 3 – 5 days.

Contrast that with the process for becoming a co-operative association.

  • Select a name and register it. 5 Days.
  • Write an incorporation agreement.  A form agreement is not available.  You must research similar agreement language, assemble it, explain it to your founding partners, approve and sign it and then send it to the registry for their opinion.  Approximately 70 pages.
  • Create the company’s articles. A form agreement is not available.  You must research similar agreement language, assemble it, explain it to your founding partners, approve and sign it and then send it to the registry for their opinion.  Total 10 pages.
  • File your application with the Corporate Registry by mail or in person in Victoria.  The registry will review your incorporation agreement and ask for revisions.  This process can go back and forth a couple of times until they are satisfied.  6 – 8 weeks.

So as you can see there is a significant difference in not only time but also accessibility and cognitive effort.

Maybe this is why the BC Corporate Registry states that there are approximately 325,000 active domestic corporations; 25,000 not-for-profit societies; 479,000 partnerships and proprietorships; and 550 cooperative associations in BC.

Tangentially, did you know that 2012 is the year of the co-op?

 “Co-operatives are a reminder to the international community that it is possible to pursue both economic viability and social responsibility.”

– Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General

But right now in Canada the Harper government has an entirely different perception of co-operative associations.  Right before the Conservative Government cancelled the Canadian Co-operative Development Initiative, Agriculture Minister Gary Ritz said the following in the House of Commons.

“With some 9,000 co-ops, 18 million members and some net worth of $350 billion or $360 billion, I think co-ops have a great foundation to continue this work on their own.”

Apparently the axing of the Canadian Co-operative Development Initiative netted a savings of approximately $4 million.

For a business format that has a 27% higher success rate if measured at the critical five year mark compared to conventional business models it seems that our government’s policies in this regard must be ideological and not economic or social.

To quote NDP Industry Critic Hélène Leblanc.

“It is pretty shameful how the Conservatives have treated Canada’s Co-operatives.  The canceling of the Canadian Co-operative Development Initiative and the scaling back of the Co-operatives Secretariat signals that the Conservatives are not interested in the long term success of this sector. And this in the UN International Year of Co-operatives!”

Peace & Solidarity,

Rob Hellenius

Running With LeftHanded Scissors

Rob here.  One of the cofounder’s of LeftHand Media Co-op.  With this blog we are going to be scribbling about a variety of topics centered on LeftHand’s formative growth, some of our clients topics and some of our favorite creations.

Todays topic.

Why a Co-op?

LeftHand Media Co-op was conceived out of a creative partnership I established with Ray, Chris & Dave to achieve some really interesting and ambitious communications goals while I was working at the BC Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) as a union member organizer.

During this time we produced some nice content but before we could produce some of our most impressive ideas my time at PSAC ended.

It was at this juncture that we decided the collection of talents that we had assembled had value and should continue to be used for the socially progressive values that had inspired our initial formation through the PSAC.

So right from the outset the ideals of worker-centric organizing and social justice were fundamental considerations in our team.  We formed to strive to provide interesting and entertaining platforms for that narrative so why wouldn’t we try to exemplify those principles in the structure of our fledgling business?

How are we going to achieve these ideals?

  • Become a co-operative
  • Unionize our membership

We all knew generally what a co-op was.  The specifics turned out to be surprisingly complicated.  I suspect purposefully so…

Coming in the next installment…

How long does it take to incorporate?


Peace & Solidarity,

Rob Hellenius