The following is the lead article from the May 2011 issue of the SFL Labour Reporter - the issue is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights, in Saskatchewan, Canada and abroad.
You can download the complete issue here...
Stand up for our human rights
The provincial government’s attempts to roll back human rights are steadily mounting.
Among the first official acts of the current government, upon taking office in 2007, was to strip working people across the province of their freedom to associate and to express themselves as union members.
The “essential services” legislation has robbed tens of thousands of Saskatchewan people of their right to assemble, to raise awareness of their concerns, and to strike.
The Trade Union Act was simultaneously weakened, making it much more difficult for people to band together and to negotiate collectively with their employers.
Last year, the International Labour Organization ruled that these laws violate workers’ freedoms under international law, but the government refuses to comply with the United Nations ruling.
Inside you will read about the government’s attempt to amend the Marriage Act, to legalize discrimination against same-sex couples.
The unanimous Saskatchewan Court of Appeal decision on the duty of marriage commissioners to marry same-sex, inter-racial and inter-faith couples in our province is a human rights victory for Saskatchewan citizens.
Now the government has introduced Bill 160, which if made law, will seriously weaken the Human Rights Code.
I invite you to read selections from a very important address given by Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.
He sounds the alarm on several aspects of Bill 160, including the abolishment of our human rights tribunal and changes that will make complaints much more likely to be dismissed by the chief commissioner.
Governments are supposed to promote human rights, not lessen them. As you’ll see on p. 7, the Harper government has an equally offensive record on human rights. I encourage you all to vote for human rights and for open and transparent government on election day.
And I look forward to seeing you all at Movement for May Day on May 1 (p.8), where together we’ll tell our elected officials it’s time to respect our human rights!