Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
The Op Ed piece is reproduced below, and can be viewed at the Leader-Post online by clicking here....
Labour dissent 'was not planned'
Marvin Meickel and Wanda Bartlett
Special to The Leader-Post
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Following Minister of Labour Rob Norris's speech to the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour's (SFL) Convention, it was widely reported in print, television and radio that the icy reception the minister received was in fact spontaneous. Reporters dutifully asked SFL President Hubich if he had planned the outburst and he responded "no, on the contrary".
Yet a couple of mainstream reporters, despite having not even attended the event, insisted on reporting the opposite. Leader-Post columnist Murray Mandryk goes so far as to say "Certainly, there's no doubt -- despite SFL President Larry Hubich's disingenuous assertion to the contrary -- that the supposedly spontaneous demonstration . . . was orchestrated to maximize television coverage". In the span of just three paragraphs on Oct. 25, he states four times that the actions of delegates were orchestrated.
There is simply no basis in fact for such statements and to report otherwise is to distort the events of that day. Furthermore, disparaging comments about our president, our leadership and our members is very disappointing.
Let's set the record straight. The demonstration against Norris was neither orchestrated by president Hubich, nor by the SFL executive council.
Indeed, when president Hubich indicated he would call delegates to order, the minister turned down his offer.
The truth is that the SFL executive council, composed of 24 vice-presidents and eight labour council representatives, discussed in advance the minister's upcoming visit. We decided that the most fruitful approach would be to conduct ourselves respectfully and to attempt to get answers to some very important questions from the minister.
Many of those same labour leaders then lined up at microphones following the minister's speech and proceeded to ask carefully crafted questions.
Let's be clear; the Brad Wall government has refused to consult with the working people of this province so an opportunity to meet a minister and ask questions is a rare occurrence.
The fact that the delegates on the floor chose to express their views in such a united and strong manner should signal to everyone that those 550 rank-and-file workers are fed up with being treated with disdain and disrespect by their own government. And we should all be humbled by the fact that they felt strongly enough to go against the recommendations of their own leadership as to how they should receive the minister. It is called dissent.
That workers stood up for themselves in such a manner is certainly newsworthy, but surely the media is also obligated to report on the questions asked of the minister and his evasive answers?
When asked repeatedly whether or not the minister had plans to amend any of the several pieces of labour legislation in the province, he stated they are all "under review" and gave reference to lowering the minimum working age.
When asked whether or not labour would be consulted on any potential changes to labour laws, the minister refused to answer.
Workers have been experiencing this kind of dismissive treatment ever since the Saskatchewan Party came to office. The gutting of labour laws and the refusal to dialogue with trade unions about future changes is incredibly frustrating. It should be noted that it wasn't until the minister began to sing the praises of Bills 5 and 6 that delegates got up from their seats.
Governments have an obligation to consult with individuals and groups when they intend to bring in legislation that will affect them. To refuse to do so in a meaningful way is anti-democratic. And to continue to cater to business interests and to dismiss workers' expertise and concerns is insulting.
We also note that several urgent issues of interest to the people of Saskatchewan were discussed and debated during the three-and-a-half day convention. Just some of these issues include a campaign to remove asbestos from workplaces and homes; the dangers involved in the expansion of oil extraction in the tar sands; the exploitation and abuse of rapidly increasing numbers of temporary foreign workers; and the lack of safe staffing levels in our health-care system.
As workers and as a labour movement, we will continue to take very seriously our obligation to raise these issues in workplaces, in public forums, and with our politicians.
- Meickel is the SFL treasurer and president of CUPE Local 7. Bartlett is the SFL recording secretary and president of the Weyburn and District Labour Council.
© The Leader-Post (Regina) 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Majority want leadership on poverty: Poll
October 27, 2008 National Office Topic(s): Inequality & poverty Publication Type: Press Release Research Desk: Inequality Project
TORONTO – The majority of Canadians believe Canada should try to distinguish itself in the world as a country where no one lives in poverty, according to an Environics Research poll conducted for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
The national poll reveals 90% of Canadians say they would be proud if their Premier took the lead in reducing poverty in their province; 88% want Canada to be a leader in poverty reduction; and 77% say a recession is all the more reason to act now.
“Even in the face of a possible recession Canadians’ desire for their governments to act on poverty and inequality reduction is not weakened but emboldened,” says Armine Yalnizyan, senior economist with the CCPA.
“They want governments that will do them proud, at home and around the world.”
Among the poll findings:
Environics interviewed 2,023 adult Canadians by telephone between Sept. 24-Oct. 21, 2008. A survey of this magnitude yields results that can be considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points. The poll is available at www.policyalternatives.ca.
- 90% say it’s time for strong leadership to reduce the number of poor people;
- 92% say if countries like Great Britain and Sweden can do it, so can Canada;
- 86% believe if government took concrete action, poverty could be greatly reduced;
- 89% say the Prime Minister and Premiers need to set concrete targets and timelines to reduce poverty and measure their progress;
- 81% support reducing poverty by at least 25% over the next five years: 55% say that sounds about right but another quarter (26%) say that’s not ambitious enough; and
- there is resounding majority support to raise the minimum wage, improve income support programs to help poor families raising children, create low cost child care spaces, create more affordable housing, make sure welfare rates rise with the cost of living, and invest in jobs and skills training for those in between jobs.
-- 30 --
For information, please contact
Kerri-Anne Finn, CCPA Communications Officer, at 613-563-1341 x306.
Download the Report/Study:
Ready For Leadership: Canadians’ perceptions of poverty - PDF File, 516 Kb
Mr. Weir's topic: "Is Saskatchewan getting a Fair Return in its Resources". You can read all about Mr. Weir's presentation over at the "Progressive Economics Form Blog".
A Class Act
He walked into the room,
A little big man strutting up the aisle with his minions around him.
Passing him as they left the stage,
Were 40 miners left out on strike,
By a CEO who makes more money then anyone could ever spend or defend.
The little big man speech droned on and on,
Constantly justifying the unjustifiable,
Never imagining another world where people work and sweat for a living and respect.
The workers start moving away raising from their chairs - moving together,
Creating their space of solidarity and resistance,
Singing in unison - So So Solidarity Solidarity Forever standing up for all workers.
It was a class act one for all - all for one.
Don Kossick, October/2008 -- Viva!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Poverty and inequality rates in Canada have been on the rise since 1995 and are now higher than the average developed nation, according to a new study.
The income gap is growing throughout the developed world, but the gap between rich and poor in Canada widened more dramatically than in most countries between 1995 and 2005, according to the report released in Paris today.
The 20-year analysis by the 30-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found only Germany saw a similar rate of increase during the past 10 years.
"After 20 years of continuous decline, both inequality and poverty rates (in Canada) have increased rapidly in the past 10 years, now reaching levels above the OECD average," says the report. Read the rest of article here....
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
This could just as easily be Canada or Saskatchewan, if we don't keep our eye on the ball. My favourite line from the video is:
"I have waited for others to fight a fight I should have been in since Round 1."
Check out the AFL-CIO's Turn Around America video contest web site at: www.turnaroundvideocontest.com
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
"With the Dow Jones safely tucked in back down below 9000, and European exchanges losing 7% on average, the positive overall global effect of an unprecedented transfer of public funds to the private sector, to the tune of some $4.5 trillion, has lasted about a day and a half.
The $4.5 trillion could have been used to the benefit of the people it rightfully belongs to, the same people who will soon desperately need every singly penny of it. Instead, it has been given away, and is now no longer available to help in what is cynically called "the real economy".
And that is where the reason for today’s plunging stocks lies: the real economy, in the real world, where the real people live. Unfortunately for them, financial decisions are all taken by those who live in other universes, for whom the real world has no meaning without the world of finance, who are under the illusion that their multi-million bonuses exist for the good of the people.
A nice way of putting it is this: “If you spent $1 million per day from the day Jesus was born until Christmas 2008, you would have spent $733 billion”. In other words, you could have spent a million a day for 12,000 years, and still not get to the amount spent in the past 5 days."
Can't have people reading or hearing stuff like that in the 'corporate dominated and censored media', now can we?
Read it here on breitbart.com.....
And view the accompanying video below:
Monday, October 13, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Such a move by the U.S. government has not occurred since the Great Depression.
See coverage below:
Globe and Mail: US ups ante with plan to buy stake in ailing banks
Los Angeles Times: US to buy shares in struggling banks
The Press Association: US bid to stablise markets
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 8, 2008
Economists’ Open Letter Calls For Active Response to Economic Crisis
Ottawa: Today, 85 economists released an Open Letter criticizing the federal government for its inaction in light of the deepening global financial crisis, the growing probability of a worldwide recession, and structural weaknesses in the Canadian economy. The letter challenges government claims that Canada’s “fundamentals” are strong, and highlights the significant deterioration in Canada’s economic performance over the last two years. Despite recent government statements, there remains a wide disconnect between the appropriate policy response to the looming downturn, and the “stay-the-course” approach still being enunciated by the Prime Minister.
The Open Letter calls on government and its institutions to show leadership and play a more active role in stabilizing financial markets, stimulating real investment, and maintaining employment and incomes in the face of the worsening financial and economic downturn.
four chairs of economics departments, two former Presidents of the Canadian Economic Association, a former federal Secretary of State for Finance and a former Quebec Minister of Industry
The letter is signed by:
Arthur Donner, Economic Consultant
Marc Lee, Chairperson, Progressive Economics Forum
Martha MacDonald, Chair Department of Economics, St. Mary’s University
Fiona MacPhail, Chair, Economics Department, University of Northern British Columbia
Mike McCracken, President, Informetrica Ltd.
Lars Osberg, Chair, Department of Economics, Dalhousie University, Former President, Canadian Economics Association
The Hon. Douglas Peters, former federal Secretary of State for Finance
Mario Seccareccia, Economics Department, University of Ottawa
Brenda Spotton, Economics Department, York University
Rodrigue Tremblay, emeritus professor of economics, University of Montreal, former president of the Canadian Economics Association, and former Quebec Minister of Industry.
…and 75 other economists.
To access the Open Letter and the full list of signatories go to: http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2008/10/07/open-letter/
For further information or comment, please contact:
Marc Lee (Vancouver): 604-801-5121 ext.228
Marc Lavoie (Ottawa): (819) 770-4306
John Loxley (Winnipeg): 204-474-9769
Lars Osberg (Halifax): 902-494-6988 or 902-455-9486
Mario Seccareccia (Ottawa): 613-562-5800 ext 1691
The Open Letter was conceived and prepared by the Progressive Economic Forum, a network of Canadian economists that promotes alternatives to conservative economic theory and policy.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Joe Kuchta over at the "Owls and Roosters" Blog has just posted an entry entitled: Regulatory Modernization Council: Wall government turns policy making over to business lobby group Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
The article unravels the links between the current Sask. Party government and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). It also pulls the covers off of the government's new so-called "Regulatory Modernization Council (RMC)".
In short, it shows that business is clearly in control of the Saskatchewan government. Do you know where that leads to? Deregulation, privatization, handing over billions of dollars of taxpayers money to corrupt corporations (i.e. Wall Street bailout), listeriosis deaths, pollution of our environment, for-profit health care, trade agreements that give away our sovereignty. The list is endless.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
"The creators of the financial mess may go unpunished.
For supporters of the Bush administration's $700-billion Wall Street bailout, it stands as a key selling point: a provision that limits pay packages for the heads of companies helped by the taxpayer-funded rescue program.
There's just one problem: It would do little to cap executive pay or rein in the enormous retirement packages - the golden parachutes - that have come to symbolize corporate excess." read more....