Tuesday, 29 April 2008

May Day Rally - May 1 - Legislative Building - Regina

May Day Rally - May 1
Noon - Legislative Building

Then in the evening attend:

Thursday, May 1, 2008
7 pm - 11 pm
The Exchange (2431 8th Ave.), Regina
$7-12 (pay what you can)
All ages, free for kids under 12

What's right is right: the Supreme Court gets it

Well known, and nationally highly respected University of Saskatchewan Law Professor, Ken Norman recently authored a paper entitled: What's right is right: the Supreme Court gets it. Professor Norman's paper is based on the June 2007 Supreme Court decision respecting HEU v the B.C. government and makes a profound statement about the Charter Rights of workers in Canada, including free collective bargaining and the right to strike.

The paper opens as follows:

"The Supreme Court’s judgment in Health Services signals a crucial change in the discourse of labour rights in Canada. In this case the Court rejects, in principle, its previous stance that the rights to organize and to engage in collective bargaining are not fundamental constitutional rights at all. The reasoning in Health Services stands on a recognition of labour history as establishing that labour rights are fundamental and predate the Charter; of labour rights as reflecting the Charter values of human dignity, equality, liberty, respect for the autonomy of the person and enhancement of democracry and of Canada’s commitments to collective bargaining rights in the international conventions as providing a floor of labour rights for interpretation of freedom of association, s.2 (d) of the Charter." (read more....)

Monday, 28 April 2008

GrainAction: Putting Producers First

Why BIlls 5 and 6 Matter

Jaime Garcia, 2nd Vice President & Youth Chair for Local 397 of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees union has a great commentary posted on the COPE 397 Website entitled: Why Bills 5 and 6 Matter.

"Why Bills 5 and 6 Matter

Many people misunderstand or are not aware of how Bills 5 and 6 will affect them. Frankly, some people don’t even care. But beware of apathy.

I have to admit, I have friends and family in the apathetic camp. I am not surrounded of “union” types, the “politically correct” crowd and the partisans typically supporting a wide range of causes. I am just like anyone else and even within my family there are people with different opinions in the vast political range.

So why should you care about Bills 5 and 6? Honestly, I can’t tell why you should care, but I will tell you why it matters to me:"
(Read more....)

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Canada Post CEO suing Union over Blog Posting

Talk about a thin skin. Looking for a good laugh?

Canada Post CEO, Moya Greene is suing past Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) President, Deborah Bourque for libel over a satirical blog posting.

You can read all about it on the CUPW Blog site at: Moya Greene Sees Red – Gives Notice under Libel and Slander Act.

Tim Naumetz of the Canadian Press has written about the subject at: Canada Post, its union and Tim Hortons tangled in libel suit.

Environmental Disaster Explained

SFL marks Day of Mourning in ceremonies across the province

SFL marks Day of Mourning in ceremonies across the province
April 28th marks the International Day of Mourning for workers killed and injured on the job.

In 2007, over 800 workers died from workplace injuries and diseases in Canada. Close to a million injuries, half of which are dehabilitating, occur annually.

37 Saskatchewan workers died from job related injuries or illness this past year.

“Last year, a worker died every two weeks in our province. Saskatchewan has the second worst injury rate in the country. We mourn today with all of the families devastated by these deaths and injuries. With heavy hearts, we recognize that so many deaths and injuries could have been prevented,” said SFL President Larry Hubich.
(Read more....)

SFL Labour Reporter - May 2008 Issue

The May 2008 issue of the SFL Labour Reporter is now available on line.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

The tide turns against biofuels - The Real News

The tide turns against biofuels
As biofuel production booms, concerns grow about food supply and environmental damage. (Read transcript and further information)

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Premier's Letter Misrepresents Consultation with Labour

On April 16, 2008, Sask. Party Premier Brad Wall wrote to the Chair of the Regina Labour Council Political Action Committee to advise that he (the Premier) would not be able to attend the Labour Council's public forum/debate on Bills 5 and 6. (See letter here)

The letter attempts to leave the impression that the government has engaged the labour movement in extensive consultation around the Bills. It refers to alleged meetings held with the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, with leaders of the labour movement, and with me specifically. Some of those meetings never occurred as suggested, and if they did occur - the portrayal of the purpose, and content of the meetings is false.

Representatives of the government have consistently refused to meet with labour on these matters, and have refused to attend public forums to discuss them with the people who will be affected.

On April 22, 2008 I wrote to the Premier expressing my deep concern about the misrepresentations contained in his letter. (See letter here)

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Business Council resorts to Half-Truths and Outright Lies

The so-called Sask. Business Council ran a large ad in Saskatchewan's major daily newspapers on Friday, April 18, 2008. It is their attempt to con citizens into believing that the government's anti-worker, anti-democratic labour law changes are good for people.

The ad is riddled with half-truths and outright lies. You can view a larger version by clicking the image below:

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Near-feudal conditions endured by immigrant workers

What an international embarassment we've become in this country. If this is indicative of Gordon Campbell's, Ed Stelmach's, and Brad Wall's "New West" (supported and encouraged by Stephen Harper) - I want no part of it.

"A bitter harvest for B.C. berry pickers

In a lengthy and stinging ruling, judge details near-feudal conditions endured by immigrant workers harvesting produce


From Saturday's Globe and Mail
April 19, 2008 at 1:02 PM EDT

VANCOUVER — In a stinging 801-page ruling on an employment insurance scam, a federal Tax Court judge says widespread exploitation of Indo-Canadian berry pickers in fields outside Vancouver is reminiscent of scenes from John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.

"When a 65-year-old grandmother leaves her village in India, travels nearly two days to Vancouver and is hired within a week by a labour contractor who transports her - at dawn and back at night - in a crowded van for up to eight hours a day so she can earn eight hours pay at minimum wage - or less if paid on piece rate - something is radically wrong with certain aspects of the federal family reunification program and also the berry and vegetable industry in British Columbia," Dwayne Rowe, a Tax Court of Canada judge, stated in a ruling issue this week."
(Read more ....)

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Unrepentant: Kevin Annett and Canada's Genocide

Kevin Annett & The Truth Commission...
1 hr 48 min 56 sec - 2007-03-19

"...This documentary reveals Canada's darkest secret - the deliberate extermination of indigenous (Native American) peoples and the theft of their land under the guise of religion. This never before told history as seen through the eyes of this former minister (Kevin Annett) who blew the whistle on his own church, after he learned of thousands of murders in its Indian Residential Schools..."

Legislation restores health care workers' collective bargaining rights

10 months after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the actions of the Gordon Campbell B.C. goverment violated workers constitutional rights - legislation has been tabled in the B.C. legislature to start to repair the damage done to thousands of workers in that province. The cost to B.C. taxpayers: between 75 and 100 million dollars.

How much are the heavy-handed and undemocratic actions of the Sask. Party Brad Wall conservatives going to cost Saskatchewan taxpayers?
"Legislation restores health care workers' collective bargaining rights

BC Liberals table bill to bring provincial laws into compliance with last June's Supreme Court of Canada ruling that struck down key provisions of Bill 29

April 14, 2008

More than six years after imposing a law that rewrote collective agreements, the BC Liberals have tabled a bill to implement last year’s historic Supreme Court of Canada ruling that struck down key provisions of Bill 29 – the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act, as unconstitutional." (Read more....)

See the Canadian Press coverage of the story here.

RCMP Execute Search Warrant on Conservative Party Headquarters

The mainstream media is buzzing with reports that the RCMP have raided the headquarters of the Conservative Party of Canada for files related to election expenses. More details are available:

Globe and Mail
Canadian Press
CanWest Global

The $3 Trillion Shopping Spree

The $3 Trillion Shopping Spree

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Anti-Unionism: The Last Legal Hate

Excerpted and reproduced below, and then linked in full, is an article/commentary written by Humberto da Silva. It was written in February of 2003, but is as relevant today as it ever was. At the time of penning this article, da Silva was a labour activist and writer living in Scarborough, Ontario.
"Anti-Unionism: The Last Legal Hate
Hating unions, ... is not only acceptable in good company, it is encouraged.
We live in a society where everyone from a single mother doing a tightrope act on the poverty line to Conrad Black say that they are part of the middle class. The single mother is just indulging in a little of the opiate of the masses she got hooked on in school. Conrad is selling crack. But the Big H when you need to feel better about yourself is still definitely Hate.
Thankfully we have managed to get our ruling class to legislate, at least nominally, against the evils of racism, sexism, ageism, and discrimination because of disability or sexual orientation. These haven't disappeared, but like drunk driving, they are no longer anyone will admit to in polite company.
However there is one hate that still dares speak it's name: class hate, and because we are a classless society, this is manifested as union hate. Hating unions, and by extension, hating union members is not only acceptable in good company, it is encouraged. Racist jokes are generally now met with stony silence or a polite rebuke. But bring up those unions and everybody has a story to tell." (Read more....) Adobe PDF Format

Friday, 11 April 2008

Dear Mr. President Live - Pink

Fire them first - ask questions later

On March 6, 2008 the mean-spirited Sask. Party government walked into the Labour Relations Board in the middle of a hearing and fired the Chair and Vice-Chairs of the Board, and replaced the three of them with 1 hand-picked Chair.

This mean-spirited and vindictive knee-jerk action by the new government is rapidly becoming their trade mark in how they deal with people that they determine they don't like.

Their action was so ill-conceived that it actually violated the Trade Union Act (the very Act which the Board is legislated to administer and uphold). These actions have been soundly condemned by the organization representing over 300 labour lawyers across Canada.

In an attempt to try and partially correct their blunder, yesterday (April 10 - over a month later) the Sask. Party government introduced, yet another amendment to the Trade Union Act - "Bill 24". It's a very short Bill that achieves one thing - it tries to cover-up the mistake. (see below)
2 Subsection 4(1) of The Trade Union Act is amended by adding "not more than" before "two vice-chairpersons".

Thursday, 10 April 2008

If it's good enough for farmers, it's good enough for workers

Today (April 10, 2008) the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour issued a news release applauding the Sask. Party government for conducting public meetings respecting Crop Insurance.

Worker’s Deserve Public Consultations

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) applauds the provincial government’s announcement that they will conduct ten public meetings across the province this spring to discuss an overhaul of Saskatchewan Crop Insurance.

“It is important that farmers will have an opportunity to have input into the overhaul of this program which is of vital importance to them”, said SFL President Larry Hubich. “Crop Insurance is vital to farmers and they should be consulted”.

“It’s interesting to contrast this consultation process against the lack of meaningful public consultation when it comes to developing new labour laws (Bills 5 & 6) that are important to all Saskatchewan workers”, Hubich said.

Hubich stated “Labour has asked the Premier, the Labour Minister and other MLA’s to meet on Bills 5 and 6 and to participate in public debates on these issues. To date no elected government members have stepped forward. They are ignoring the workers of our province on these matters”.

“I once again call on the government to abandon Bills 5 & 6 and conduct public hearings or public debates so that we can discuss this legislation in an open, respectful and thoughtful manner. Legislation that affects citizens, whether labour laws or crop insurance, should have broad public consultation. We know that farmers deserve and appreciate being involved – workers deserve the same courtesy and respect”.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Saskatoon Labour Council to hold Public Forum on Labour Bills

The Saskatoon and District Labour Council will be holding a public forum on the Sask. Party government's anti-worker, anti-democratic labour bills (5 & 6). The forum will be held on Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.

The Brad Wall government has been invited to participate and the government has decided to send two bureaucrats to speak on the government's behalf. The moderated forum is open to the public and the following individuals have been confirmed as speakers:

Chris Axworthy, President
University of Saskatchewan Faculty Association

Barb Cape, President
Service Employees International Union Local 299

Mike Carr, Associate Deputy Minister
Labour, Employee and Employer Services (Government)

Larry Hubich, President
Saskatchewan Federation of Labour

Mary Ellen Wellsch, Director
Legal Policy and Legislative Services - Labour (Government)

Download a copy of the poster/notice here. (PDF Format)

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Is "clean coal" possible? - The Real News

In Saskatchewan and Canada it's now okay to hate:

Given the events of the past few days I am trying out a new feature on my blog.

On the right side of this blog, immediately below my photo is a poll that will be running for 2 weeks.

If you wish, you can select multiple choices from the available options.

Monday, 7 April 2008

HYPOCRITES! Every last one of them!

Kathy Young, Premier Brad Wall & Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski in 1991 video

Wander over to the "Owls and Roosters Blog" for the best analysis, so far, of the now infamous 1991 Saskatchewan Conservative Hate Video.

Blog owner, Joe Kuchta does a masterful job of chronicling the double standard and hypocrisy of members of the Sask. Party, members of the Federal Conservatives, and of other right-wing political operatives and their supporters.

He also challenges a number of members of the mainstream media for what can only be described as some of the worst examples of a double standard and media bias, that we've seen in this province in decades.

If this was anybody else, other than the current conservative governments of Saskatchewan and Ottawa, who had produced this video, we would be hearing relentless calls to have them punished and punished severely.
Apologies appreciated,
but actions speak louder than words.
Correction: I don't think "all" members of the mainstream media are biased. Just some of them. For instance, I don't think Murray Mandryk is.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Sask Premier Wall Serves Notice To Sue The Canadian Press Over Headline On Video Story

"REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has advised The Canadian Press he intends to sue the national news agency for defamation for a headline it ran on a story featuring controversial comments he made on a home-movie videotape made more than 16 years ago.

"The headline of the article is false and defamatory of Premier Wall and, given the breadth of its publication, is likely to result in significant damage to Premier Wall's reputation," says the letter from the premier's lawyers, dispatched Friday to The Canadian Press.
-Canadian Press"

h/t to Buckdog

"Mean-spirited government" cuts funding - contributes to poverty

The mean-spirited Sask. Party government recently announced that they would renege on funding previously committed to the building of a communty enterprise centre (including health facilities) in Saskatoon, Sk. - "Station 20 West".
As a result, thousands of Saskatoon residents, and their supporters attended a rally on April 5, 2008 to support calls for the Sask. Party government to live up to the commitment to provide the money already set aside for the project.
Photo by Heidi Fischer

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Organization representing 300 Lawyers condemns Wall government over LRB firings

The Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers which represents more than 300 labour lawyers from across Canada has issued a news release and open letter to Sask. Party Premier Brad Wall and Labour Minister, Rob Norris condemning their government's actions in terminating the Chair and Vice-Chairs of the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board.
"In an open letter forwarded to Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and the Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour, Rob Norris CALL/ACAMS spoke out against the summary replacement of the neutral hearing officers at the Labour Relations Board as an affront to the Board, the public and the stakeholders appearing before it."

You can view the New Release and Open Letter by clicking here. (PDF Format)


Here are links to two videos on the Global National Web-Site about the political goings on in Saskatchewan today. (April 3, 2008) - Videos will open in an external window.

Global - Video 1
Global - Video 2
Full video from CBC Site

Photo credit - canada.com

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Olbermann: Wal-Mart wins "Worst Person in the World"

Global disapproval of anti-worker Brad Wall government growing

As of today, more than 2100 e-mail letters have been sent to Sask. Party Premier Brad Wall and to Minister of Labour, Rob Norris calling on their government to withdraw the anti-worker, anti-democratic labour law Bills 5 & 6.

Letters have come from around the world including from individuals in these countries:

Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Cayman Islands, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Turkey, UK, USA, United Arab Emirates, Virgin Islands (U.S.), Zambia.

Send an e-mail telling the Sask. Party government to withdraw and abandaon Bills 5 & 6 at: http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/solidarityforever/show_campaign.cgi?c=350.

When all else fails: LIE

Reproduced below is an e-mail that was recently received by a citizen in Saskatoon who wrote to Sask. Party MLA Serge LeClerc regarding the Brad Wall government's anti-worker, anti-democratic labour legislation - Bills 5 & 6.

The modus operandi for this new government seems to be "When all else fails: LIE"

From: Saskatoon Northwest [sergemla@sasktel.net]
Sent: Mon 24/03/2008 10:07 AM
To: Craig
Subject: Response from Serge LeClerc-Bill 5 & 6

Dear Craig;

The Sask Party Government, and myself, feel that Bills 5 & 6 are extremely important pieces of legislation intended for the well being for people of Saskatchewan, and as well speaks to the true fairness that should exist in a democratic country/province. These Bills are also essential for the growth and sustainability of the economy of this province for the financial benefit of all of our citizens - now and in the future.

One bill speaks to essential services legislation which every other province and jurisdiction in Canada has and all we are doing is proposing to implement the best practices that exist in the rest of Canada so that our citizens are protected and not used as pawns in a power struggle over wages: ie snow plow operators going on job action just before a snow storm. This essential services legislation is balanced and fair using as a guideline the best practices what the other provinces currently have in place for their citizens. We are the only province in Canada that does not have this legislation, and we are the only province that puts union/employee/company/crown corporation bargaining ahead of the required mandated safety of its citizens which should and must be utmost for government to insure.

The second bill speaks to the certification and decertification of unions by the employees who they impact. Again, this legislation exists in every other province and jurisdiction in Canada and we have proposed the best practices that currently exist in the rest of Canada. Simply put, it will require democracy to be implemented in the certification, or decertification, process of a union by requiring ballot instead of an open vote during which a person can be bullied, threatened, or intimidated - secret ballot is the mainstead and foundation of all democracies and Saskatchewan is the only province which currently allows open vote. The legislation will also require a 45% vote for certification, or decertification, rather than the current 20% which again only exists in Saskatchewan. Most jursidictions in Canada and the USA require 50% plus 1 and so again, we think that this change is very reasonable and protective of our citizens in the workplace. Further, the legislation requires the best practice which exists throughout the rest of Canada that 50% plus 1 of the total work force within a company which is dealing with the possible certification or decertification of a union must be present for the secret ballot vote.....again, proper protections for all workers in the workplace and true democracy.

Thank you for your interest in Bills 5 & 6 and I trust that my comments on them have put perspective on our belief of the importance of passing these pieces of legislation for the full benefit of all of the people of Saskatchewan and for our future generations.

Respectfully yours,

Serge LeClerc, MLA

Saskatoon Northwest
Legislative Secretary: Corrections

Ryan Long

Constituency Assistant to
Serge LeClerc, MLA
Saskatoon Northwest
934-2867 (fax)

BC residents find no interprovincial trade barriers at BC- Alberta border

Photo - Council of Canadians
"Golden, BC - On the first anniversary of the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) between BC and Alberta, a group of Golden residents traveled to the provincial border armed with a magnifying glass to challenge one of TILMA's core premises. Upon close examination of the border, they concluded that there are no significant trade barriers to justify an agreement that undermines local democracy." (Read more....)

Canada blocks asbestos ban - The Real News

"Canada blocks asbestos ban

UN Rotterdam treaty on toxic trade restrictions marred by Canada's stance on asbestos

Tuesday April 1st, 2008

Kathleen Ruff is founder of RightOnCanada.ca, a human rights website that supports citizen action. She was the former director of the B.C Human Rights Commission. Barry Castleman is an independent consultant in toxic substances control and author of several books, including most recently, Asbestos: Medical and Legal Aspects."