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)


Mike The Greek said...

So the guest speaker was Kevin Wilson and the topic was "What employers need to know about union organizing drives"

Are you suggestion having some talk to employers about their rights is a bad thing?

Has the SFL or any of it's member unions ever talked to employees about organizing a union drive? Is that offensive?

Larry, the email is this case is not earth shattering. Bills 5 and 6will pass, with the support of most of the people in Saskatchewan and you and the rest of your unions can go back to supporting the NDP (which you would have done even if the bills didn't pass, and look where it got you last time.)

Enjoy bloviating... But I have to admit, it's getting tiresome.

Cathie Foster said...

The SaskParty should have campaigned that they would lie and hide from the electorate in this province once elected. But then again that would have been telling the truth, wouldn’t it? Which they can’t seem to do.

The expose yesterday that the President of the University of Saskatchewan was consulted prior to the introduction of Bills 5 & 6 continues to shed light on the connections that got the SaskParty elected in the first place.

During the middle of the election last fall, Peter Mackinnon waded in via the media and chastised the NDP for promising significant tuition relief for students at post-secondary institutions. His premise was that the government has no right to meddle in the affairs of the U of S. Janice Mackinnon-Who said a universal pharmacare plan was economically unsustainable. She didn’t provide any justification for this bald statement. She just made it. In spite of the fact that other former NDP finance ministers said the plan was sustainable and provided numbers to support their statements. I also remember Janice stating in a media interview something to the effect that she thought Rob Norris was quite smart and would make a good MLA.

Now, we can see how behind-the-scene supporters of the SaskParty, and Rob Norris in particular, have been rewarded. Janice is the head of the Crown Investment Corporation. From this position of influence, she can continue with her super right wing neoconservative agenda and gut the provincial crowns, something she started while a finance minister in Romanow’s government. Peter got Bills 5 & 6 so that he can avoid dealing in an intelligent way with the unions at the University of Saskatchewan. The CUPE strike last fall caught Peter totally unprepared and took some of the shine off the pretty image he has so carefully cultivated. With the proposed essential services legislation, Peter will have the power to declare every worker on campus essential and there is nothing that can be done about it.

Ain’t politics grand? Not really when it is practiced in this way. However, the one thing that these types of political practitioners hate is to be exposed. It is nice to see that there are people left in this province who have the will and courage to do this.

Mike The Greek said...

Talk about moral relativism.

After the 2003 election, after the NDP talked about holding the line on taxes, they raised the PST withing four months. Or do NDP and union supporters coveniently forget that.

Because we don't...

Lautermilch lied to the house. Belanger had to defend his pall Carriere. It goes on and on...

Everyone knew the labour laws would be changed. Wall talked about it on many occassions. They told people they would level the playing field between union and management and that's what they've done.

And now the unions are surprised?

Cry as you people might, the bills are going to be passed and the only people who have anything to lose are the unions; not as a result of the bills, but for underestimating the support behind these moves of regular people, not union supporters.

leftdog said...

"Cry as you people might, the bills are going to be passed and the only people who have anything to lose are the unions;"

Notice the authoritarian tone in those words. This is SO typical of the extreme right wing. There is a deep seated nastiness in what they are all about ideologically ... coupled with a self righteousness that is an elementary type of fascist thought. Unchallenged it grows and gets nastier.

Political scientists and historians are well versed in how proto-fascist political groups instinctively attack organized labour simply because the 'organization' of labour is quite often the one entity in a society that can stop them.

Larry Hubich said...

Cathie and Leftdog,

Thank you for participating in this blog, and thank you for your thoughtful and respectful comments.

I believe that governments are entitled to consult with individuals, groups and organizations in the development of public policy. In fact, I believe that they have an obligation to do so. Of course, there is (I also believe) an obligation to engage in consultation in a balanced way, seeking a multitude of perspectives.

I start getting concerned when governments only want to hear from those who they agree with. (Or those who they "think" they agree with.)

And I get extremely concerned when Cabinet Ministers and other highly placed political operatives find it necessary to resort to lying.

More on this to follow as the days unfold.

bushpilot50 said...

What a crock! Wall announced essential services legislation on December 4 - 10 days before this email. The only thing your FOI police have discovered is that people talk about issues in the public sphere.
Would you like to comment on the loutish behavior of your CUPE members towards Norris at the convention Friday? What a proud moment that was for organized labour. Their lack of respect for a guy that didn't have to be there but showed the stones to show up is a disgrace. No wonder people don't buy the labour position.

Larry Hubich said...


Thank you for participating in this blog.

The issue isn't when Wall "announced" essential services legislation. The issue is when the legislation was "tabled" and who was consulted before that tabling of the legislation occurred.

The minister repeatedly said that NO external individuals and/or groups where consulted before the legislation was tabled.

The e-mail clearly indicates differently, including the fact that a well known corporate labour lawyer from a Saskatchewan based law firm (which specializes in management side representation) was being looped into these e-mail discussions. The individual was/is a key advisor to the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce and has co-chaired the Chamber's Human Resources committee.

This isn't over yet.

Mike The Greek said...

"Notice the authoritarian tone in those words. This is SO typical of the extreme right wing. There is a deep seated nastiness in what they are all about ideologically ... coupled with a self righteousness that is an elementary type of fascist thought. Unchallenged it grows and gets nastier."

leftdog... Please... How's that handful of straws you're grasping at? Convention didn't go all that well for you? You seem edgy....

And what, Larry.... No thanks for me participating in your blog? Well that ruined my Sunday.

Now why don't we all work at buidling the province, together...

leftdog said...

Mike - you are clearly determined to be abusive. How does this help your political party and your cause? Do you think that you win support for your side? It makes you look like the bully that you are!

leftdog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank Mentes said...

Dropping aside the partisanship relating to the ideology that Mike the Greek perpetuates, let us recognize the facts here. First of all, the fact that a speaker to the Saskatoon Club speaks about “What employers need to know about union organizing drives" in itself is not offensive. The fact that it is Kevin Wilson advising employers how to avoid unionization is another matter. There is a direct link between Mr. Wilson and the e-mail noted on this blog. Mr. Wilson is also an employer side lawyer who is known for his pro-employer/ anti-union stance. This is not "having someone talk to employers about their rights is a bad thing?" as Greek suggests. Why not a Labour side lawyer presenting this topic? Perhaps the message that employers should follow the law would be too far fetched for employers such as the University of Saskatchewan to comprehend. Of course unions talk to workers about the benefits of organizing, how absurd to suggest otherwise. By the way, this is a constitutional right, protected under the Charter. Greek should really get out from under the Sask party rhetoric machine and admit, if these Bills are put up to the light of day to the masses, they would in fact be rejected because they are just bad legislation that was NEVER asked for by the people of Saskatchewan as he suggests. This lame attempt at trying to reconcile the bold face lies of Rob Norris and the rest of the government is quite laughable. Check the facts Mike, and unburden yourself from this fantasy.

Mike The Greek said...


I appreciate your comments. Unlike leftdog, who is on a bit of a name calling rant lately, you present you arguments well.

My point is simply this. This is the last jursidiction in the country to implement essential services legislation. If these are truly unconstitutional, the SFL can take them to court after implemented and, based on that decision, the bills will remain or they will change.

If the bills remain as tabled, as an employer, here's what I see. More people in SK, more jobs, more union memberships and more opportunity.

Capital flows, like electricity, flows through the point of least resistance. If the "perception" of capital is that a place is too labour restrictive, capital will come here last.

We're better than that. If the Sask Party were truly anti-labour, they would put polices in place much more restrictive that the ones they have proposed. And don't think that some in the business community don't think these bills don't go far enough.

The fact is simply this; if the SFL decides this is a hill to die on, I believe they should do what they think is right. But based on every other province, this will be a collosal waste of union dues.

Why isn't the SFL looking at working with the government to grow the province, instead of playing "gotcha"? It's an old style of politics that the majority of people, including many union members (as evidenced in the SP today in the Letters to the Editor) have rejected.

Business needs workers, but when was the last time it was acknowledged by anyone in the SFL that workers need business?