Sunday 25 February 2007

Ministers defend secrecy of talks

The arrogance and condescension of the big business types, and so-called "experts" is beyond belief.

The SPP's business arm, called the North America Competitiveness Council, rejected the criticism as misguided, saying that there was nothing secretive about their work or that of the partnership. Tom D'Aquino of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives said there hasn't been public input because most people aren't clued in to the issues.

"How do we take a lot of issues that are really quite important but frankly quite boring, they're not terribly exciting, and bring those to the public light so that people will discuss them? All I can say is that the more of this discussion that we have, the better ... and probably the faster that it will be to get results."

In other words, all you other stupid and ignorant people can't possibly understand this stuff, and anyway they're doing you a favour because while it's important - it's boring. Only CEO's and the highly enlightened know what's best for everybody. We just aren't clued in!

Friday 23 February 2007

The bottom line: Did CN push too hard?

So Canadian National Railway CEO Hunter Harrison can justify paying himself $56 Million Dollars a year, while he pushes his workers over the edge and forces a strike.

Acceptable? You tell me.

More Mexican labour needed in oil patch, executives say

It's not about immigration at all - it's about exploitation.

More exposure of the true agenda - secret meetings in Banff, corporate privilege at the highest levels of government, etc.

The wishes of the CEO's have priority over the votes of the citizens.

It's a Massive Assault on Democracy.

Olbermann: Unspinning the UK Troop Pullout Spin

Thursday 22 February 2007

More Discussions of TILMA

Here's a blog you might want to follow:

For some additional indepth discussion and analysis of TILMA - check out "the Jurist's" Blog - Accidental Deliberations.

For a direct connection to the TILMA section click here.

Wednesday 21 February 2007

Overtime law unfair: NDP

I'm pleased that NDP MLA Ron Harper is recommending elimination of the Northern Overtime Exemption.

However, it is not necessary to then broaden an hours of work and overtime exemption to cover all "outfitters" regardless of where they operate in the province.

Two steps forward - one step back.

Canadian Government and the Deep Integration Agenda

There is an upcoming meeting between senior government ministers from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico being held on February 23, 2007 in Ottawa, to (as billed) discuss the Security and Prosperity Partnership in North America.

But the real purpose of the meeting is to advance the Deep Integration Agenda of the three countries as set out, and consistent with, discussions held in Banff last year.

An alternative conference entitled "Integrate This - Challenging the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America" will be held March 30 - April 1, 2007 in Ottawa. People need to know what our elected representatives are talking about in the shadows and behind closed doors.

Just like TILMA, they sign these agreements out of the public eye, and then try to justify and rationalize them by stealth.

Friday 16 February 2007

Pop Quiz

Question: What is this the definition of:

1. a crime that undermines the offender's government.
2. disloyalty by virtue of subversive behaviour.
3. an act of deliberate betrayal.

Answer: (Multiple choice):

A. Treason
C. Both A and B
D. All of the above

Olbermann: Right Wing Racism and Homophobic Athletes

Plans afoot to move Saskatchewan's Capital City???

I recently had the message below forwarded to me by a person who is in my e-mail loop. So, what is Brad Wall's vision for Saskatchewan in the "New West"? Is it economic integration with Alberta and B.C.? Does he plan to transfer our democratic decision making to the "cabinets" of the B.C. and Alberta governments?

Who will make the decisions for Saskatchewan citizens? Will our democracy be handed over to the corporate board rooms of multi-national Oil Companies?

Why is it that someone who wants to be the Premier is holding fund raising events in provinces other than the one he wants to be Premier of?

So many questions.......


Hi Larry,

I must have e-mailed my MLA to protest against something and now I'm on their e-mail list. I was going to ask to be taken off their list but then I figured, why not keep an eye on what they are doing. Sounds like Brad Wall has a "vision" for Saskatchewan, and it probably looks allot like Alberta - especially the labour laws I expect.

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, February 15, 2007 PM
Subject: I need your help with the 2007 Sask Party Calgary Leader's Dinner

The 2007 Saskatchewan Party Calgary Leader’s Dinner is fast approaching – it will be held Thursday evening, March 15th at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Calgary.

Dinner co-chairs Jeff Sterzuk and Brenda Barootes are working hard to make this year’s dinner the largest ever. If early ticket sales are an indication, this indeed will be a record-setting event.

This dinner will bring together people who have strong ties to Saskatchewan; whether it’s young people who were born here but now work in Alberta or those with business interests and family here.

Brad Wall will share his plan on making Saskatchewan a leader in the economy of the New West; he will outline what the Saskatchewan Party will do to realize the potential of our province.

Here is the part where I need your help: I am sure that each of you has friends, relatives, or business associates that live and work in Calgary or Southern Alberta who would be interested in hearing Brad’s message. I would appreciate your forwarding their names and addresses to me (e-mail is fine) so I can personally invite them to join us at this very important event.

As you know, 2007 is likely an election year. The outcome of this election will determine our province’s leadership and economic success for decades into the future. Your anticipated assistance is very much appreciated.

Ken Cheveldayoff, MLA

Saskatoon Silver Springs

Thursday 15 February 2007

BC-Alberta “trade” agreement a bad deal that should not be expanded to other provinces: studies

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has released two new studies on TILMA.

These studies are comprehensive, credible and raise serious concerns about the so-called "Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement".

Click here to view the News Release and download the studies.

Simply put: TILMA is an Assault on Democracy.

Wednesday 14 February 2007

TILMA Analysis

Below are a couple of quotes taken directly from a recent legal analysis of the BC/Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) prepared by Steven Shrybman of Sack, Goldblatt, Mitchell for the Ontario Federation of Labour.

"... the likely impacts of TILMA represent a fundamental assault on the capacity of present and future governments in BC and Alberta to serve the public interest. We have also been unable to find a credible rationale for TILMA, other than one that espouses the cause of wholesale de-regulation. When considered in light of the lack of public consultation that preceded it, TILMA represents a reckless betrayal of the public interest and responsible government. Clearly Ontario and other provinces should reject the invitation of British Columbia and Alberta to join the TILMA club."

"TILMA represents a far reaching and corrosive constraint on the future capacity of the governments of British Columbia and Alberta to exercise the policy, legislative, and programmatic authority that is essential to their governance mandates. Given the enormous impacts this regime is likely to have on virtually every sphere of public policy and law, it would be unconscionable for Ontario or any government considering TILMA-like obligations to proceed without the fullest and informed public discussion and debate."

An updated version of the full analysis can be downloaded here (in PDF).

TILMA is not about Trade, Investment or Labour Mobility. It is a blatant attempt to hand over complete control over everything we value to the boardrooms of multi-national corporations. It is an assault on democracy.

Monday 12 February 2007

Royal Bank CEO made $12.8 million in 2006

How many "ATM" transaction service charges does it take to pay the wages of one Big Bank CEO? Is the answer: 12.8 Million?

And while we're at it - when is enough, enough? How much profit does one company need in a year? Is it 5 billion, or 7.5 billion, or 10 billion, or more? What's the number?

To put things in context:

For 12.8 Million you could employ 410 people at $15.00/hour for one year.

For 7.5 Billion you could employ 240,384 people at $15.00/hour for one year.

Sunday 11 February 2007

Release of barley prices fans flames of wheat board debate

When you see the tactics the Stephen Harper Conservative Government and their corporate masters will stoop to it's easy to conclude that this is one of the most dishonest, manipulative, single-minded and elitist governments in the history of Canada.

They will stop at nothing to manipulate the process in an attempt to achieve the result that they want.

Olbermann regular segment: Worst Person in the World


Private Jails detaining innocent children and families

So, it's come to this - U.S. Private Jails detaining children (infants and toddlers) and families who have never been charged with a crime.

Welcome to the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.

Thursday 8 February 2007

Canadian, U.S. and Mexican officials held secretive meeting on integration

The details of items discussed at a "secretive meeting" held last year in Banff are starting to emerge. The meeting was attended by politicians from Canada, U.S. and Mexico along with Corporate Executives and Top Military Brass.

But the reason this information is finally coming out into the open is not because our political leaders are open and transparent - it's because people are forcing this out in the open through the use of such instruments as Freedom of Information Laws.

The topics under discussion at these secret meetings such as "integration" are so anti-democratic, distasteful and unpopular with the citizenry, that politicians and their corporate masters are talking about using "stealth" to achieve their objectives.

In other words, deception, dishonesty, cover-up, masquarade, are all fair game when it comes to fooling people into thinking this is something that it is not. And politicians are apparently advocating such an approach. TILMA anyone?

And we live in a democracy? If this was happening in any other country the bombs would be flying in the name of liberating the country from the "evildoers", and bringing freedom and democracy to the poor downtrodden masses.

Large Overtime Bill for Saskatoon

Article from the Saskatoon StarPhoenix
Once again, the Canadian TaxEvaders Federation is spouting off about things they either know nothing about or don't understand. Overtime is a feature of the "law" - in every jurisdiction in this country. Collective agreements are a second layer of defense against unscrupulous employers who would work people excess hours without additional compensation.

The reason for overtime in this situation is that the employer was understaffed for the work that needed to be done. That's it - plain and simple. Places where the overtime is large has nothing to do with what the TaxEvaders Federation suggests.

But then why would anyone expect anything different from that organization which has NO members and represents NO one.

Monday 5 February 2007

Saskatchewan drivers get revved up for their Lorne Loot

I wonder what the Canadian TaxEvaders Federation will have to say about this one? Nothing of course. The organization that has NO members, represents NO one, and detests public ownership - of anything. Because (they say) those decently paid unionized employees are so inefficient and make too much. More baseless rhetoric and anti-worker sentiment.

We have some of the most efficient, highly competitive, Class A corporations in the country - right here in Saskatchewan. They are our Crown Corporations, owned by and for ALL of the citizens of the province. Not just a few at the top.

And they create decent jobs, with decent pay and benefits, and the workers have rights and a democratic voice in the workplace.

Talk about the Saskatchewan Advantage!

Sunday 4 February 2007

Restaurants Ripping Off Workers

This is about as bad as it gets. A restaurant that already charges it's minimum wage servers 50 cents a shift for "washing their aprons and providing note pads and cash envelopes", trying to increase that charge to $2.00 per shift to claw back an increase in the minimum wage. I don't know why government's insist that this kind of stuff can be "legal" if the employees "agree to the deduction" - it should be illegal plain and simple, no exceptions.

Shouldn't things like this be part of the "cost of doing business"? Why not charge workers for the soap used to wash dishes? Or how about having the cooks pay for the dishes and cutlery? Unbelieveable.

Maybe people should go to the restaurant's web-site and send them your thoughts.

You know, there are far too many companies in the "restaurant and food industry" that are getting away with crap like this. Like charging minimum wage earners with "dine and dash" insurance, skimming off of the tips they receive, cheating workers out of pay by getting them to "work off the clock", and just basically breaking every labour standard in the book.

Stay tuned - I'm closely watching a case that is developing regarding a local restaurant ripping off it's workers in Regina, and once the details and facts get established in a bit more detail, I'm going to post that information on my blog.

Olbermann on Presidents and Terrorism - Jaws 2

Thursday 1 February 2007


This linked article is a recently written legal opinion that illustrates just how flawed, dangerous, and fundamentally undemocratic the B.C./Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) really is.

It is a very short opinion, is an easy read, and (while not the complete legal argument) sets things out clearly and concisely. TILMA is so sweeping in it's nature and scope that it effectively hands over control of our province to the confines of the Corporate Boardrooms of Multi-National companies world-wide.

Our elected politicians have absolutely no authority, mandate, or approval to enter into such an agreement absent a broad based public consultation and full debate of the citizenry.

If I am going to be expected to agree to hand over the control of my province and my country to the corporate elite then I want a vote on it.

The Global State of Unions

Contrary to what some would have you believe - unions are not in decline.

In fact, globally they're growing and increasing.

Check it out.

Stephen Colbert on Unions and Solidarity

Bank of Montreal to Fire 1000 Employees

Gee, the Bank of Montreal only made 2.7 Billion in profit last year. I guess that explains it, and justifies the termination of 1,000 employees. I shudder to think of what would happen if they only made 2.5 Billion.

Fraser Institute Op-Ed

The Fraser Institute recently came out with an op-ed piece full of distortions and half-truths about the Saskatchewan Trade Union Act and other labour laws in the province.

Obviously, that organization has nothing but contempt for unions and their members. Accordingly, I have responded with my own op-ed piece, which was forwarded to the newspaper that published the Fraser Institute propaganda. We'll see if the StarPhoenix prints an op-ed that represents the true facts.

Stay tuned!

Yep, my op-ed response was printed in the February 1 issue of the StarPhoenix.

(Is it just an accident that the Fraser Institute's op-ed is available "free" on-line, but my response is only available to "paid-up" subscribers?)

Keith Olbermann on Credibility