Monday 31 March 2008

Station 20 West: Sask. Party health critic Don McMorris raised no concerns with development at March 2007 committee meeting

Check out a new posting over on the "Owls and Roosters" Blog by Joe Kuchta about the Sask. Party government's recent announcement that they are pulling the funding on the Saskatoon community development project "Station 20 West".

More ideological rooted hypocrisy from our new government.
"On Mar. 26, when he confirmed that the Saskatchewan Party government would not honour a previous funding commitment made by the former NDP government of $8 million for the Station 20 West mixed-use development in Saskatoon, Finance Minster Rod Gantefoer said when his new government took a look at the project, “there were a number of problems.”

He managed to cite only one, though, and it turned out to be completely wrong."
(read more....)

Friday 28 March 2008

Job Market 2009

Sask. Party Government's Anti-Worker Behaviour a Global Embarassment

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour in partnership with LabourStart has created an opportunity for citizens to voice their opposition to the Brad Wall Sask. Party government's introduction of two anti-worker, anti-democratic pieces of legislation (Bills 5 & 6).

You can register your opposition to these two horrible Bills (which will give Saskatchewan the dubious distinction of having the WORST labour laws in Canada) by following this link and sending a letter to Sask. Party Premier Brad Wall, and Labour Minister Rob Norris:

Stop the Attack on Worker Rights in Saskatchewan

As of this posting over 1,500 letters have been sent from all over the world including the countries of:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Turkey, UK, USA, Zambia

What an enormous global embarassment these pieces of legislation are for the people of Saskatchewan.

"Body of War" with Phil Donahue

Wednesday 26 March 2008

Board Endorses External Review of Human Resources at the U of S

Logo Graphic - U of S
It has been reported over at the "Concerned Academics Speaking Out" Blog that the University of Saskatchewan Board of Governors has endorsed an "external review" of Human Resources at the U of S.

This is a clear indication that there is a high level acknowledgement of serious and significant problems with the way the U of S administration is handling the whole area of H.R. In my view this includes collective bargaining; relationships with the unions on campus; and heavy handed political interference in the dispute with CUPE 1975 in late 2007.

Further, this it to say nothing of evidence suggesting that the U of S was a big push and influence in getting the Brad Wall government to bring in Essential Services Legislation and changes to the Trade Union Act, both of which are an assault on the Charter Rights of Saskatchewan workers.

From the Concerned Academics Blog:

"There is extremely good news regarding the Concerned Academic Community's call for an external review of employee relations at the U of S.

The Chair of the U of S Board of Governors, Mr. Art Dumont, has sent a letter confirming that the Board has endorsed the concept of the review. The main points of Mr. Dumont's letter to the Concerned Academic Community were:"
(read more....)

CCPA study demonstrates Bill 6’s damaging effects on Saskatchewan’s industrial relations

"Regina – A recent Centre for Policy Alternatives’ in depth analysis of Bill 6, the Saskatchewan government’s tabled amendments to the Trade Union Act, predicts significant damages to the province’s industrial relations climate.

Jim Warren, a Regina-based researcher and labour historian, says in his study, Joining the Race to the Bottom: An Assessment of Bill 6, Amendments to the Trade Union Act, 2008 says, “As it stands the proposed legislation constitutes an effort to enhance employer power and reduce the capacity of employees to achieve union recognition and the ability to bargain collectively with their employers."

Wal-Mart Sues Brain-Damaged Woman, Family

Send Wal-Mart a letter about this horrid situation.

Monday 24 March 2008

Mounties zap details from Taser reports as firings soar across Canada

How is this acceptable in a modern democracy?

"Mounties zap details from Taser reports as firings soar across Canada

By Jim Bronskill And Sue Bailey, THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA - The RCMP is stripping crucial details about Taser firings from public reports as use of the controversial stun guns skyrockets across the country.

A joint investigation by The Canadian Press and CBC found the Mounties are now refusing to divulge key information that must be recorded each time they draw their electronic weapons." (read more....)

Saturday 22 March 2008

The real face of war - The Real News

The real face of war
Reality of war and Winter Soldier testimonials not covered by US television news

Friday 21 March 2008

'Kill Bill' Rally - CUPE Convention March 13, 2008

Listen to the 30 minute "Making the Links" radio program recorded at the CUPE Sask. Division Annual Convention.

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination - March 21

"The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March. On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid "pass laws". Proclaiming the Day in 1966, the General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination" (read more from the United Nations at ....)

Thursday 20 March 2008

Saskatchewan workers are essential 365 days a year

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have launched "Essential 365". Saskatchewan workers are essential 365 days a year. Check it out by clicking here.

Act NOW! - Stop the Attack on Trade Union Rights in Saskatchewan

Check out the LabourStart on-line campaign website and send a message to the Saskatchewan government to withdraw their anti-worker, anti-democratic Bills 5 and 6. (Click here....)

Wednesday 19 March 2008

Government Bills are an Assault on worker rights

The Sask Party government's 'so-called' Labour Bills (Bill 5 and Bill 6) have absolutely nothing to do with "fairness", "balance", "public safety", or "democratic workplaces". These two anti-worker, anti-democratic pieces of legislation are an assault on worker's rights - plain and simple.

The March 18, 2008 letter to the editor from Saskatchewan Union of Nurses President, Rosalee Longmoore is another compelling example of the truth: SUN members have always ensured safe patient care.

I expect to see Rosalee's letter appearing in the daily and weekly newspapers in the very near future. The closing paragraph of the letter sets it out quite clearly:

"SUN members do not require government intervention to fulfill their professional obligation to patients and the public. Brad Wall personally acknowledged, in his January 10th letter, that SUN members have always provided the necessary care. Therefore it is clear the true intent of the proposed Bill No. 5 has nothing to do with respect to ensuring public safety, but rather is intended to strip union members of the right to strike."

Tuesday 18 March 2008

Setting the record straight

I think it is important to set the record straight regarding efforts by the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) to foster a relationship of mutual respect, consultation and cooperation with the current Sask. Party government.

On November 7, 2007, the Sask. Party was elected to form government in the province of Saskatchewan under the leadership of now Premier Brad Wall.

On November 14, 2007 - I wrote to Premier Wall, congratulating him on his victory. See that letter here.

On November 21, 2007 - I wrote a further letter to Premier Wall on my own behalf and on behalf of organizations representing thousands of Saskatchewan citizens offering to meet with the Premier, his Cabinet and Caucus for the purposes of working with the new government in the further development of our province. See that letter here.

For reasons known only to the Premier, and his cabinet and caucus - they are not prepared to meet with us.

We (the SFL) have, since day 1, been prepared to work with the new government in a cooperative, productive and respectful manner. The government has shown little sign of being interested in such an approach. In fact, many of the government's actions are a direct attack on basic and fundamental, constitutional and human rights of working women and men in this province.

The government refuses to engage in meaningful consultation with working people and their organizations about legislative intiatives that directly impact on the Charter Rights of a significant segment of the citizenry.

The choices about what type of industrial relations and labour relations climate will exist in Saskatchewan are being made by Premier Brad Wall and the Sask. Party government.

I think I'll recommend myself for a new $180,000 a year job

StarPhoenix Legislative reporter James Wood in his covering of yesterday's Sask. Party government's credibility fiasco writes a very interesting article in today's Regina Leader-Post entitled: Sask Party slammed for "biased" legal help.

The article covers two items - the appointment of the new Labour Relations Board Chair, and the special consultations being offered to certain business groups under the guise of "extra legal advice" from a well known management-side labour lawyer.

From Wood's article:
"The government acknowledged that its recently appointed chair of the labour relations board had been a lawyer to the government's transition team, which put his name forward for the board post, and that an outside lawyer had been hired to provide legal advice to the minister responsible for the government's labour agenda." (read more....)

Meanwhile, veteran Leader-Post political columnist, Murray Mandryk (who appears to still need to be convinced that the labour law changes being proposed are absolutely unnecessary and are based in rhetoric not reality) wrote the following:
"Unfortunately for the government, its handling of these issues -- especially the essential services legislation -- has not only been a huge distraction, but also something that has done serious damage to this young government's credibility." (read more....)
Your can read the balance of Mandryk's column here: Making hard work of labour changes.

Making it up as they go along!

On Monday, March 17, 2008 the Sask. Party government changed their answers - again.

Pressed by the opposition and the media, Minister of Advanced Education Employment and Labour, Rob Norris admitted that he has been consulting with well known "management side" lawyer Kevin Wilson from the law firm of MacPherson, Leslie & Tyerman - on the "new" Essential Services Legislation (Bill 5), and on the proposed changes to the Saskatchewan Trade Union Act (Bill 6). There is absolutely no question that Wilson is a management side lawyer. In fact, he recently presented at the 13th Annual Labour Law Review in Regina on Nov 1 & 2, 2007. He is identified in the promotional material and agenda as "employer counsel".

Norris's comments today are quite a change from what he said just 3 day's ago (on Friday) at the CUPE Sask. Division Convention, when he denied any external consultation on the legislation.

The Minister's comments on Monday raise just as many questions as they answer. See the CBC's coverage here: NDP continues to grill government over labour legislation, minister.

I have linked 4 documents here that show there has been a deliberate campaign by the government to consult only with employer organizations, and to exclude the voice of workers, and unions. There are many, many more documents and examples that illustrate this further.

1. E-mail including "key messages" - dated December 6, 2007 - which shows that the government was preparing to answer questions as to "why they were not sharing the proposed legislation with Hubich?" - One can only conclude that because they didn't have a similar question and answer prepared for "why they weren't sharing the legislation with business" that they were sharing it with business.

2. E-mail - dated December 11, 2007 - which indicates Wilson was attending a briefing and consultation with the Minister on Dec. 12.

3. E-mail - dated December 13, 2007 - which indicates additional changes and outstanding items that where identified in the briefing and consultation meeting referred to in #2 above.

4. Letter from the Minister of Justice to me - dated March 13, 2008 (received March 17) wherein Justice Minister Morgan refuses to refer the two Bills (5 and 6) to the Courts for determination as to their constitutionality because: "It is not our practice to seek assistance .... in legislative drafting". This argument is diametrically opposed to what the Minister of Labour was saying Monday in the rotunda of the legislature - that he, his department, and the justice department needed the assistance of Wilson to draft the legislation.

Justice Minister Morgan is responding to the matter as reported earlier on this blog. See entries here: If you don't like working people - just say so! and here: What seems to be the problem.

I have a question: the Minister of Labour said at the CUPE Convention that the "Legislation was drafted by Justice" - who in Justice drafted Bills 5 and 6?

Okay, it's time for this Sask. Party government to come clean and to start telling the truth.

Sunday 16 March 2008

Credibility crumbling - Minister takes major hit at CUPE Convention

Blogger extraordinaire Joe Kuchta over at the "Owls and Roosters" Blog has posted an excellent and very thorough article reporting on the appearance of Sask. Party Minister of Advanced Education Employment and Labour, Rob Norris at the CUPE Sask. Division convention on Friday, March 14, 2008 in Saskatoon.

The article is linked here and entitled: Sask. Party: Labour Minister Rob Norris takes major hit at CUPE convention; Meadow Lake and Moose Jaw North MLA’s refuse to meet with unions

In his blog entry, Kuchta raises a whole series of interesting and challenging questions and points. Maybe folks should stop by the Legislature tomorrow afternoon (Monday, March 17, 2008 at 1:30 p.m.) or tune your computer to the live streaming video to watch question period and to see if the Minister or his collegues have any answers.

You can also read my earlier post on this subject: Minister Denies Any External Consultation on Legislation Prior to Tabling of Bills

And then come back to this blog Monday night or Tuesday morning, I'm bound to have something interesting to share.

Friday 14 March 2008

Minister Denies Any External Consultation on Legislation Prior to Tabling of Bills

On Friday, March 14, 2007, Sask. Party Minister of Advanced Education Employment and Labour, Rob Norris attending the CUPE Convention in Saskatoon denied that his government consulted ANY stakesholders prior to tabling of their anti-worker, anti-union legislation.

The video below is Norris answering a question from delegate Wayne Foley, First V.P. of CUPE 1975:

The e-mail that was referred to in the question can be viewed here. It suggests something completely different than what Minister Norris is saying. The e-mail was aquired through a Freedom of Information request.

Did the government consult with external stakeholders prior to tabling the Legislation or not?

p.s. And while you're reading this, check out the February 2008 issue of "Noteworthy" (the Saskatoon Club's newsletter). Notice the guest speaker and topic for the February 7, 2008 noon hour luncheon? (Bottom right hand corner of front page)

Wednesday 12 March 2008

Sask Party government prepared to break the law for purely ideological reasons?

Today (March 12, 2008) the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour issued a News Release entitled: Laws Don’t Stop Wall: SFL.
The news release calls into question the legality of a recent Government of Saskatchewan Cabinet Order (Order In Council) which terminates 3 members (1 Chair and 2 Vice-Chairs) of the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board (SLRB) and replaces those 3 individuals with only 1 Chair.

The Order in Council clearly violates Section 4(1) of the Saskatchwan Trade Union Act which establishes the SLRB and stipulates that the Lieutenant Governor in Council (Cabinet) "shall name a chairperson and two vice-chairpersons of the board" and that there "..shall continue to be a board known as the Labour Relations Board".

Why would anybody want to move to a province where the government is prepared to break the law in order to strip away workers basic, fundamental, and charter rights?

Tuesday 11 March 2008

If you don't like working people - just say so!

Today I hand delivered the letter linked here to Sask. Party Premier Brad Wall's office. (letter in PDF format)

The letter is self-explanatory.

The issue of the letter was referred to earlier on this blog at: What seems to be the problem here?

UPDATE: At 4:45 p.m. on Wed., March 12 - I received a call from Justice Minister Morgan - we had a discussion and he has agreed to send me a written response to my request within the next 2 or 3 days.

Olbermann: The 'SNL effect'

Monday 10 March 2008

Sask. Party government and Minister of Labour credibility destroyed

The credibility of both the Sask. Party government and the new part-time Minister of Labour (a.k.a. Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour), have been destroyed by the recent crass politically motivated firings of the Chair and Vice-Chairs of the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board. (SLRB).

Joe Kuchta, over at the Owls and Roosters blog has posted an entry today (March 10, 2008) that graphically illustrates how the Brad Wall government says one thing, and then does the exact opposite: Sask. Party fires Labour Relations Board chair and vice-chairs without cause; breaks election promise to provide more transparency in government.

Sunday 9 March 2008

Bush vetoes torture bill - MSNBC

Read more here....

Lost Youth

This video contains language that may be offensive to some, viewer discretion is advised.

Michael, Jennifer, John, and Nick all speak of losing their youth after suffering serious workplace accidents. Through dramatic recreations of workplace accidents and one-on-one discussions with the young workers involved and their parents, this video tells four stories of lives forever altered. All were still in their teens when they were injured on the job; none were properly trained to deal with hazards and risks at their workplaces. In emotional interviews, their parents speak of the need for everyone to make sure young people know how to be safe on the job. (17 min 44 s)

Saturday 8 March 2008

Sask Party government attempts to mislead the public

Following the recent firings of the Sask. Labour Relations Board (SLRB) Chair and Vice-Chairs - the Sask. Party government announced their choice of a new Chair for the SLRB. It will be Regina Lawyer, Ken Love.

In making the announcement, the Sask. Party government officials deliberately attempted to mislead Saskatchewan citizens about the background of the new Labour Relations Board Chair.

According to StarPhoenix reporters James Wood and Betty Ann Adam:
"Norris said Love had gone before the board "on both sides of issues," and a government press release touts Love as having represented both employees and employers before the labour board.

But Saskatchewan Federation of Labour president Larry Hubich said the federation could only find cases where Love's representation of employees involved attempts to decertify unions. Hubich said he will reserve judgment on Love's appointment, but the government is "not being honest" in its depiction of Love's background.

A government spokesperson confirmed Friday Love had never represented a union before the board."
(full article here....)

Veteran Leader-Post political columnist, Murray Mandryk, put it this way:
"labour's... assessment of Friday's new appointments is downright honest compared with the nonsense from Advanced Education, Employment and Labour Minister Rob Norris that Friday's appointments of new LRB chair Ken Love and new WCB chair David Eberle were strictly merit-based hirings. (Contrary to the disingenuous babble we got from Norris and the executive council communications branch that Love has represented both sides, he's almost exclusively been a management lawyer who hasn't represented workers unless it was to decertify a union.)" (full article here....)

Jennifer Graham with Canadian Press wrote in the Globe and Mail:
"Saskatchewan Federation of Labour president Larry Hubich said he is concerned that the government portrayed Mr. Love as someone who has represented both employers and employees.

"My research has revealed that he has only presented seven times in front of the Labour Relations Board in the last 20 years," Mr. Hubich said.

"And he has never once presented on behalf of a union. He's always been there opposing unionization."

Mr. Hubich said it makes him suspicious that "perhaps there is a political motivation behind this appointment."

Mr. Norris said the new appointments are based on merit."
(full article here....)

Why does the Brad Wall government feel it is necessary to be dishonest with the voters of Saskatchewan? What else are they trying to hide?

Olbermann: Torture evidence inadmissible anyway

NAFTA is failing working families - Layton and Dobbs

Friday 7 March 2008

Handling of Sask Labour Relations Board firings a classless act

The Sask. Party government's handling of the firings of the Chair and Vice-Chairs of the Sask. Labour Relations Board in the way that they did - "right in the middle of Board hearings" is about as classless and unprofessional as you can get.

Talk about a bunch of rank amateurs.

Here's a link to an article by Leader-Post reporter, James Wood: Sask. Party gov't fires chair, vice-chairs from Labour Relations Board

In addition, click here to view a letter which contains a transcription from a Labour Relations Board hearing yesterday (March 6, 2008) in Regina when the Vice-Chair of the LRB read her termination letter into the record.

It was determined by all present at the hearing that it could not continue because the Vice-Chair was terminated.

From the transcript:
"The submissions you provided subsequent to your March 4, 2008, telephone conversation with Doug Emsley have been received and considered. I am instructed to advise you that Cabinet has passed an order in council designating March 6, 2008, as the day on which your term of office is deemed to end and cancelling your appointment."
While I have many questions I am particularly interested in finding out who is Doug Emsley and what is his role in this matter.

Thursday 6 March 2008

Sask. Party fires Labour Relations Board Chair and Vice-Chairs

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) issued a news release today (March 6, 2008) upon hearing that the Sask. Party government has fired the Chair and Vice-Chairs of the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board.


"The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour has learned that the Chair and Vice-Chairs of the Labour Relations Board were terminated, effective immediately, this afternoon in the middle of a hearing in Regina. ....

.... “Terminating the Vice-Chairs and the Chair of the LRB in the middle of a hearing is like walking into a courtroom and firing the judge, effective immediately, in the middle of a trial. To fire these adjudicators summarily, without notice, shows a complete lack of respect for those individuals and for the labour relations community,” said Hubich."
(read more....)

Wednesday 5 March 2008

Noam Chomsky interviewed on Charlie Rose

Below is a fascinating and wide ranging interview with Noam Chomsky on the PBS show Charlie Rose. A bit dated, but still very relevant and insightful. It's an hour long.

Corporations Versus Democracy

Last year The Nation ( ran what they called the 2007 Student Writing Contest. Below and linked is an article by one of the five finalists, Ned Resnikoff. In October of 2007 Resnikoff was a freshman at New York University. He wrote this essay while a senior at Middletown High School in Middletown, Connecticut.

"Corporations Versus Democracy
- Ned Resnikoff

The most important issue to young people in the 2008 campaign is one that no presidential candidate will discuss. In fact, even touching on this subject is taboo for anyone with aspirations to Congress or the White House. Anyone who has the temerity to mention this political third rail will almost certainly lose the campaign.

The issue is the curtailing of corporate power, and as long as corporations continue to finance major candidates, it will remain unspoken. No one running for office wants to be blacklisted by corporate lobbyists in Washington.

That's a shame, because this issue is connected to almost every other problem facing America today. As long as corporations have no incentive to avoid polluting, we will continue to poison this planet at an alarming rate, and as long as corporate lobbyists hold an inordinate amount of influence in Washington, there will be no substantive solutions to problems like income inequality or our woefully inadequate healthcare system."
(read more....)


Tuesday 4 March 2008

Canadian PM Accused of Interfering in US Elections

Here's a YouTube of U.S. television coverage of the Canadian Parliament.

This video also appears on the New York Times blog site with an article entitled: Blame in Canada. It starts as follows:

"OTTAWA — It’s not at all unusual for Stephen Harper, the prime minister of Canada, and the members of his cabinet to grilled by the opposition parties in Parliament. It isn’t common, however for the partisan bickering here to be focused on the Democratic primary in the United States.

On Monday,
the fighting over a report that a senior campaign official to Barack Obama had provided back-channel reassurances to the Canadian government on the North American Free Trade Agreement, erupted in Parliament as Mr. Harper fended off allegations that he was interfering in the U.S. elections and trying to undermine Mr. Obama’s campaign." (read more....)

Labour Minister refuses to meet with SFL Executive Council

On March 2, 2008 the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) released the following News Release: Minister still won’t meet with SFL. (Adobe PDF Format)

Subsequently, I received a copy of this e-mail exchange on Monday, March 3, 2008 between Gary Schoenfeldt, and Sask. Party Labour Minister Rob Norris.
"From: Gary Schoenfeldt
Sent: Mon 03/03/2008 6:15 PM
To: R Norris
Subject: Re: Withdraw Bills 5 and 6 and hold public hearings

Dear Mr. Norris,

Your government is afraid to debate the issues giving rise to Canada's worst labour legislation. Say what you will, everyone knows that you are simply practicing the art of avoidance. That is why you refused to honour the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour's invitation to meet with its Executive Council today.

Spin it this way and that, Mr. Norris but until public consultations are held on your proposed gutting of the Trade Union Act via Bill 5 and the reactionary legislation, Bill 6 which purports to address the non-emergency of the century, you and your colleagues are going to earn zero respect for yourselves amongst the working class of Saskatchewan. Keep pandering to that tiny but wealthy constituency of yours and see how many votes Mr. Wall's "John Gormley - inspired" War on Labour produces.

This legislation is designed not to bring balance to the labour relations environment in Saskatchewan, but to TILT power (to use the more accurate term coined by the Canadian Union of Public Employees) over to anti-union employers, the real goal being to shrink the unionized workforce by frightening unorganized workers into compliance. It is designed to take away the Essential Right to Strike from public servants and anyone else that you "deem" to be providing an essential service, thereby removing the means by which organized workers force recalcitrant employers to show any amount of respect at the bargaining table.

There is one thing though, that you have said and with which I heartily agree. Regardless of how much you want to avoid any meaningful examination of the real reasons behind those two little "signature" Sask Party Bills, no matter how much you'd like to pretend that the impacts on workers are negligible, to quote your own words: "the scrutiny of the Legislative Assembly, the media, and the people of this province" will indeed come to bear over the course of the remaining four years, and longer if that's what it takes. The only question is whether a part-time minister of "Labour" will actually be up to the job.


Gary Schoenfeldt


----- Original Message -----

From: "R Norris"
To: Gary Schoenfeldt
Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 11:58 AM

Subject: Re: Withdraw Bills 5 and 6 and hold public hearings

Dear Gary Schoenfeldt:

Thank you for expressing your concerns on the government’s proposed labour legislation, the Public Service Essential Services Act and amendments to the Trade Union Act.

Our government is committed to establishing a fair and balanced labour environment that respects the rights of the province’s workers and employers, while remaining competitive with other Canadian jurisdictions. We are determined to protect the health and safety of Saskatchewan’s people by ensuring that essential services are maintained in the event of a labour disruption.

On November 7, 2007, our platform received the endorsement of the people of Saskatchewan and now forms the priorities for our government. To meet these priorities, our government introduced two labour bills in December, 2007. Subsequently, as Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour, our Ministry received submissions and I personally met with representatives of labour and employer groups as well as interested stakeholders to discuss this legislation. Additional consultations by Ministry officials were conducted and public input was requested on-line and through newspaper advertisements that ran across the province.

While I note your concerns, I can assure you that these two Bills will continue to be open to the scrutiny of the Legislative Assembly, the media, and the people of this province. Ultimately, the Public Service Essential Services Act will provide for the safety of our families and neighbours,while respecting the rights of unions to take strike action. The amendments to the Trade Union Act ensure greater freedom and democracy in the workplace and help to enhance Saskatchewan’s competitiveness.

Thank you again for sharing your views on this matter

Rob Norris, MLA
Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour"

Monday 3 March 2008

Enterprise Saskatchewan Board of Directors Appointed

Joe Kuchta over at the "Owls and Roosters" blog has posted an article entitled: Enterprise Saskatchewan: Sask. Party contributors land coveted spots on agency’s Board of Directors.

The analysis does a bit of a background check on some of the individuals who have been appointed to the Board. Very interesting reading.
"The Government of Saskatchewan has announced the names of ten individuals who have agreed to accept positions on the Enterprise Saskatchewan Board of Directors.

The Feb. 29, 2008,
news release notes that the provincial government received over 300 nominations from across Saskatchewan. Selection of the Board members was based in part on a non-partisan scoring system, along with achieving a balance for gender, age and geographical location.

Two of the individuals named to the Board are contributors to the Saskatchewan Party."
(read more....)

Saturday 1 March 2008

How much money does one person need to earn?

About a decade or so ago, delegates to the annual Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) convention debated a resolution that had been submitted by one of the affiliates which called on governments at all levels to consider legislating a "Maximum Wage". You know setting limits at the other end of the scale - kind of the opposite of the "Minimum Wage".

Casting my mind back to that time, the media extravaganza caused by that simple resolution was astonishing. You might have thought the planet had just been invaded by alien creatures from a distant galaxy.

A recent article in the Regina Leader-Post and Saskatoon Star Phoenix entitled: PotashCorp president and CEO paid $17M, reminded me of that time. Constantly reading stuff like this article makes me wonder if those delegates didn't have a point.

Executive compensation is clearly out of control, and bears no relationship to what the other 95+% of us have come to accept as fair and reasonable. When is enough - enough?

The article opens as follows:
"The top five executives of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan were paid $32 million in 2007 according to company documents, the same amount the federal Conservatives plan to give to Crown prosecutors to battle illegal drugs in its recently announced budget.

The sum does not include the value of the shares held by the top executives, which numbers $72.5 million -- $46 million of which belongs to company president and CEO William (Bill) Doyle, according to PotashCorp's management proxy circular released Friday."
(read more....)