Friday, 29 June 2007

Sask Party rejects TILMA

On Thursday, June 28, 2007 the Sask. Party announced they would not sign the B.C./Alberta Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) in it's current form. They acknowledged the agreement raises significant concerns and many unanswered questions.

You can thank the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, Canadian Labour Congress, Council of Canadians, Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives, various Labour Councils, many Unions and numerous other individuals and groups for shedding enough light on the terrible TILMA scheme that it's flaws were sufficiently exposed for all to see.

This, inspite of a blatant and continuing media bias in favour of this anti-democratic corporate bill of rights. Joe Kuchta over at the "Owls and Roosters Blog" has done a great critique of a recent article which appeared in the National Post.


Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Olbermann: Countdown - The falafel-guy FATWA

Pro-TILMA supporters incapable of mounting credible defence

Here's an article in today's (June 27, 2007) Saskatoon Star Phoenix by Murray Lyons reporting on yesterday's TILMA love-in sponsored by Saskatchewan Agrivision and others.

You'll notice there isn't a single barrier or impediment to trade, investment or labour mobility identified in the entire article. All it does is criticize those who oppose TILMA and it attempts to defend against identified problems of TILMA.

This is just so much more of the "warm and fuzzy" Pro-TILMA spin. No substance - no facts - no justification.

Check out the real facts about the B.C./Alberta Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) by following this blog, and clicking here.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

The Secrecy Continues - why won't they say it in public?

If you have followed any of the recent public hearings into the prospect and potential of Saskatchewan signing on to the B.C./Alberta Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) you will know that the hearings raised more questions than answers.

Both the government and opposition members of the Standing Committee on the Economy (which is the committee in charge of conducting the public consultation) commented frequently during the process that they would be seeking answers to the many questions raised.

The committee advised that they would be having a session with respresentatives of both the B.C. and Alberta governments who would be appearing before the committee to answer questions.

I am now aware that the representatives of the B.C. and Alberta governments put a condition on their appearance before the Saskatchewan Legislative Committee. That being, that the questions would be asked, and answered behind closed doors, in secrecy, and out of the public eye. In other words "In Camera".

Here's the agenda to prove it: Standing Committee on the Economy Agenda - June 20, 2007.

Why is it, that the representatives of the governments of B.C. and Alberta are so embarassed of what they've signed that they will only discuss and explain it in secrecy? What are they afraid of? And what are they hiding?

Why won't the proponents of the TILMA scheme agree to public discussions and balanced seminars on the matter?

The answer to all of the above questions is that TILMA is not about Trade Investment or Labour Mobility at all. It is an instrument of deregulation, and it is a vehicle to strip away governments' ability and responsibility to legislate and regulate in the public interest.

TILMA is a massive assault on democracy and it's proponents are incapable of mounting a credible public defense of it - so they attempt to sell it, and sign it in secrecy, behind closed doors.

TILMA supporters afraid to debate the scheme in public

Today, (June 26, 2007) various Pro-TILMA (Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement) groups will be holding a TILMA Love-In in Saskatoon. They have refused, and are afraid, to hear alternative perspectives on TILMA.

Oh, they say they are interested in examining the "pros" and "cons" of the trade scheme - but not from anybody who actually opposes it. A couple of their Pro-TILMA cheerleaders will speak on the advantages/disadvantages and the pros/cons. And then they will have a stacked panel discussion facilitated by yet another cheerleader.

I have now attended two separate community forums/events where speakers in favour of this anti-democratic trade scheme where invited to attend and speak. They have refused in both cases.

In another Pro-TILMA event, held earlier in Regina - the organizers asked those in attendance (including the media) not to quote things said in the meeting. Why is that?

Those who support the TILMA scheme are afraid to debate us face to face and in the public eye. Just like the signers of the agreement - B.C. and Alberta - who signed it in secret, behind closed doors, without public consultation.

If the supporters of TILMA can't defend it in public forums then that is indicative their case in favour of it is weak. TILMA is bad for average citizens, and it destroys government's responsibility to legislate and regulate in the public interest.

Check out other posts and comments here:

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Thursday, 21 June 2007

'SiCKO' - The Trailer

Alleged barriers grossly exaggerated by business

Joe Kuchta over at the "Owls and Roosters Blog" has prepared a compelling analysis that proves the allegations of barriers being trotted out to support anti-democratic trade schemes like the B.C./Alberta Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) are grossly exaggerated.

His analysis reveals that of the 170,000 businesses who are purportedly represented by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce - only 37 of them report experiencing barriers to trade within Canada.

Let me repeat that folks: that's 37 out of 170,000. In other words - that's 2 one hundredths of 1 percent (i.e. 000.02%).

"That so few companies could be bothered to respond to the Chamber’s national survey suggests that alleged interprovincial trade barriers are not a particularly important issue for Canadian business. It begs the question who is TILMA really serving?" - Joe Kuchta

For this we should agree, and sign on to trade schemes that sacrifice the democratic rights of citizens?

Stripped of it's rhetoric and unsubstantiated allegations - the Chamber's own analysis doesn't even make a case or justify a need.

It's time for some truth!


B.C. Government is vindictive, arrogant and full of contempt

The ultra right-wing B.C. Gordon Campbell government appears to be blatantly ignoring the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision related to worker's rights in this country.

Recent online stories at both the Globe and Mail and the CBC confirm that Campbell is leading a government that is vindictive, arrogant and full of contempt for the judicial process.

Politicians who engage in this type of anti-democratic and archaic behaviour do not deserve to hold office. This type of behaviour should be (at least) as unacceptable as "drinking and driving".

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

The War on Democracy - a new film by John Pilger

Check out the new film by John Pilger - "The War on Democracy".

You can read all about it, and view the trailer by clicking here:

Monday, 18 June 2007

Olbermann: Countdown: White House of Scandal June 18, 2007

Ontario to launch Buy Ontario, Buy Local campaign

As pointed out to me by SFL Trade Committee Chair, Gary Schoenfeldt - this type of measure would probably violate the B.C./Alberta Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA).

If Ontario had signed onto (joined) TILMA it would likely open the Ontario government to challenges of up to $5 million each for each and any restaurant that doesn't want to do it.

I figure the first ones to line up at the trough would be the major fast food chains.

Because under TILMA a "measure" includes any legislation, regulation, standard, directive, requirement, guideline, program, policy, administrative practice or other procedure.

Friday, 15 June 2007

TILMA: Saskatoon StarPhoenix campaign of insults and misinformation continues, columnist refuses to consider opposing views

Joe Kuchta over at the "Owls and Roosters Blog" has just written an incredible piece that absolutely destroys Saskatoon StarPhoenix columnist Randy Burton.

Check it out here: Kuchta deconstructs Burton's Pro-TILMA rant.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Corporate apologist calls many respected provincial and national organizations "Alarmist"

Once again corporate apologist Randy Burton (StarPhoenix columnist) scores himself some "brownie points" with his boss. Contrary to what Mr. Burton alleges in his most recent column which supports and urges Saskatchewan to sign on to the B.C./Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA), no one in the labour movement is being "alarmist" about TILMA.

Nor are organizations like the Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations, the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation, the Council of Canadians, the Saskatchewan Health Coalition, the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacists, the City of Regina, the City of Saskatoon, the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association, the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association, University of Saskatchewan Faculty Association, the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, the Saskatchewan Food Coalition, the Beyond Factory Farming Coalition, and the law firm of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell. (To name just a few)

We're stating facts, quoting directly from the agreement and asking and raising legitimate questions.

But what would Burton know about that - (as far as I'm aware) he hasn't spent 10 minutes of his precious time attending the "public hearings" nor has he spent 10 seconds of his precious time talking to us to see if he can get clarification about some of things he accuses us of.

Our economic analysis is sound, and our legal analysis is uncontradicted by the other side. All Burton can muster up is resorting to name calling and mud slinging.

Good work Randy, maybe you'll get a promotion!

CLC Economist, Erin Weir provides this preliminary analysis of Burton's most recent opinion and corrects some of the serious problems contained in Burton's column.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Pro-TILMA forces gathering for seminar in Saskatoon; trade deal love-in to include NSBA, SREDA, CWF, SYPE and Sask. Chamber; SFL turned away

On June 26, 2007 a group of business organizations along with a few other Pro-TILMA supporters will be holding a "so-called" TILMA Information Seminar in Saskatoon.

When I was informed of the upcoming event, I offered to have someone from the SFL attend to provide an alternative perspective. My offer was rejected.

Joe Kuchta, over at the "Owls and Roosters Blog" has posted a comprehenive commentary on the upcoming event.

Despite having earlier received a letter from the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce (one of the co-sponsors) asking me for clarification of the SFL's position - I find it curious that now they are not interested in hearing what organizations who are opposed to the TILMA scheme have to say. I'm not sure of the reason for the change heart.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Olbermann - Countdown: The Nexus of Politics and Terror Part 1 & 2

Part 1

Part 2

Three New Posts on TILMA

Joe Kuchta over at the "Owls and Roosters Blog" has recently posted three new articles and commentary regarding the B.C./Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA).

Check them out here:

1. TILMA: Planet S Magazine boldly goes where the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and other CanWest newspapers won’t

2. TILMA: Canada West Foundation says Sask. doing well; Brad Wall instilling sense of crisis, CWF economist promotes destructive trade deal

3. Ontario Conservatives promise to join TILMA if elected

Supreme Court of Canada says Collective Bargaining is a Charter Right for union members

Yesterday, (June 8, 2007) the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that collective bargaining for unionized workers in Canada is a Charter Right (full text decision available here).

In a six to one (6-1) decision Canada's highest court ruled that the actions of the right-wing Gordon Campbell B.C. government violated the constitutional right of workers in that province. The Court ruled that the stripping away of workers rights and the cancelling of various provisions of duly signed collective agreements by Campbell's government was unconstitutional and violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The mainstream media is buzzing with commentary. A listing of articles is set out below.

What's equally fascinating around this particular matter is that it is the same B.C. Cabinet Minister, Colin Hansen, who was in charge of the B.C. Health Portfolio in 2002 when this happened - who is now in charge of implementing and ramming through an anti-democratic B.C./Alberta trade scheme known as TILMA.

Various news reports illustrate that during the time when the right-wing B.C. government was firing (predominately female) health care workers and/or cutting their wages in half it was Colin Hansen who is quoted as saying "We cherish consultation". The truth of the matter is - workers were never consulted about the B.C. government plan to wipe away their rights, cut their wages and cancel their agreements, and the Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged that. Just like no one has been consulted around B.C. and Alberta's TILMA scheme which was signed in secret, in the back rooms.

And the man who wants to be Premier in Saskatchewan - Brad Wall - is saying he wanted to be in those back rooms. Cutting that anti-democratic deal (TILMA) with Campbell and Alberta's Ralph Klein. That's the kind of government Wall idolizes, and constantly sings praises about. He said within the last two weeks that he wants to have "joint cabinet meetings with B.C. and Alberta". To whose benefit? To violate the constitutional and charter rights of other citizens in this province, and this country?

This is the same man (Wall) who has acknowledged (on John Gormley's show) that he will "Go to War" with workers if he becomes Premier.

In "Going to War" with workers what will he do? Will he rip up collective agreements? Will he fire health care workers and cut their wages in half? Will he sign sweet-heart deals with governments who violate working peoples' constitutional and charter rights? Will he sign on to trade schemes that attack the democratic rights of citizens, and strip away authority of municipal governments to act in the interests of their communities?

Ask him.

A list of articles on the Supreme Court Decision:

Campbell Government Violated Charter Rights: Supreme Court [The Tyee]

Collective bargaining now a Charter right [The Hamilton Spectator]

Court ruling 'Major victory for working people' [The Edmonton Journal]

Liberal arrogance gives unions a big win [The Times-Colonist]

Court tears up B.C. labour law []

Unions hail ruling as 'tremendous victory' [The Globe and Mail]

Collective bargaining rights protected under the charter, top court rules []

Campbell Liberals stung as high court creates a new right for labour [The Vancouver Sun]

Court ruling should force both sides to bargain in good faith [The Vancouver Sun]

Ruling may impact other contracts [The Vancouver Sun]

Top Court condemns ripping up contracts [The Vancouver Sun]

Nurses call court ruling good news [The Daily News]

Collective bargaining upheld as a 'right' []

Canada's high court hands victory to public unions [Reuters]

Charter protects bargaining, Supreme Court rules [The Globe and Mail]

Big win for unions as ruling says bargaining protected [CBC]

Supreme Court ruling opens the way to Ontario farm worker unions [UFCW]

Labour demands that Campbell recall Legislature to repeal Bill 29 in wake of Supreme Court ruling upholding bargaining rights [BCFL]

Supreme Court strikes down Bill 29 provisions in landmark ruling [HEU-CUPE]

Supreme Court of Canada ruling on Bill 29 – what does it mean? [HEU-CUPE]

Supreme Court ruling on Bill 29 ‘an historic win for labour’—CUPE BC [CUPE]

Supreme Court of Canada says collective bargaining protected by Charter [CUPE]

Collective bargaining rights protected under charter, top court says [Times Colonist]

Supreme Court says Collective Bargaining Right Protected by Charter [Canadian Labour Congress]

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada opposed to TILMA??

Is the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada opposed to the B.C./Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA)?

Below is a quote from their web-site regarding the Federal Government (Finance Minister Flaherty's) support for schemes like TILMA:

TILMA as a Model to Enhance Internal Trade

To reduce internal trade barriers, Minister Flaherty sites the Alberta-British Columbia Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) as a model for other provinces to follow. He states that TILMA, the most comprehensive agreement of its type in Canadian history, has created significant momentum. The federal government is committed to building on this momentum and will work with interested provinces and territories to examine how the TILMA provisions could be applied more broadly to reduce interprovincial barriers to trade and labour mobility across the country.

The government's intention to promote the expansion of TILMA poses a challenge to the consulting engineering industry because of the possibility that such agreements can promote low-price bidding for professional services.

You tell me.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

CUPE releases new legal assessment of TILMA

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has just released a new legal analysis of the B.C./Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA).

The expert legal opinion prepared by Steven Shrybman of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell analyses the anti-democratic trade scheme from a municipal governance perspective. It was released in conjunction with the recent Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting held this past weekend in Calgary, Alberta.

For more details and a copy of the legal opinion, click here. There are also numerous links and other articles related the B.C./Alberta agreement.


Friday, 1 June 2007

Check out Dr. Michael Geist's Blog

Check out Dr. Michael Geist's Blog at:

Here's the first paragraph from his on-line bio:

"Dr. Michael Geist is the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa. He has obtained a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees from Cambridge University in the UK and Columbia Law School in New York, and a Doctorate in Law (J.S.D.) from Columbia Law School."