Monday 26 May 2008

What is the Sask. Party government trying to hide?

Here's a link to a fascinating article over on the "Owls and Roosters" blog entitled: Sask. Party government refuses to disclose contract and correspondence with MacPherson Leslie Tyerman lawyer Kevin Wilson; Norris dodges questions.

The article is a "MUST READ" for all of you who are interested in the significant connections between the Sask. Party's labour agenda and various players from the business crowd.

Friday 23 May 2008

TILMA is Unconstitutional: Shrybman

On May 21, 2008 Constitutional and International Trade lawyer Stephen Shrybman released a legal opinion regarding the constitutionality of the B.C. / Alberta Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA). Below (and linked here) is a 30+ minute video clip of Mr. Shrybman speaking about Bill 32 which implements the anti-democratic so-called "trade agreement" in the province of B.C.

See the CUPE B.C. web-site for further coverage of Mr. Shrybman's legal opinion.

Wednesday 21 May 2008

Money for Murder - Kill a Unionist, Pay a Fine

Four national union leaders have taken the unusual step of writing a joint letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper protesting Canada's continuing trade negotiations with Columbia. It has been revealed that there are proposals being discussed between trade negotiators for Canada and Columbia "that a free trade agreement would allow the Colombian government to pay a token monetary amount into a ‘cooperation fund’ when a Colombian trade unionist is murdered." (NUPGE Web-site)

For more coverage see:

Tuesday 20 May 2008

Is the Corporate Sector Calling the Shots with Sask. Party Government?

Today over at the Owls and Roosters blog - blog owner, Joe Kuchta has posted a very thorough and comprehensive analysis of the corporate influences at play with the current Sask. Party government.

Kuchta distills the past 9 years of corporate donations to the Sask. Party from information contained in their annual filings with Elections Saskatchewan. In addition he points to significant legislative initiatives and government policy directives. His analysis is hard to argue with.

Check it out here.

Friday 16 May 2008

Where Have All The Leaders Gone?

Former Chrysler CEO, Lee Iaccoca has a new book out entitled: Where Have All The Leaders Gone? Read an excerpt below:
"Had enough?

Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course."

Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I'll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!

You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore. The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to war on a pack of lies. Congress responds to record deficits by passing a huge tax cut for the wealthy (thanks, but I don't need it). The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we're fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving pom-poms instead of asking hard questions. That's not the promise of America my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've had enough. How about you?"
(Read more....)

Wednesday 14 May 2008

Olbermann: Special Comment on Bush’s Unforgiveable Interview

Unions take Government of Saskatchewan to court over LRB

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), and the Retail Wholesale Department Store Union (RWDSU) announced today that they will be taking the Saskatchewan Party Government go court over the government's firing of the Chair and Vice-Chairs of the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board earlier this year.
"Unions take Government of Saskatchewan to court over LRB

Today the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL), the Saskatchewan Joint Board Retail, Wholesale, Department Store Union (SJBRWDSU), and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) filed a Notice of Motion at the Court of Queen's Bench to quash a recent Order-in-Council of the provincial government. The Notice cites the Attorney-General and the Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour.

Order-in-Council 98/2008 terminated the Vice-Chairs and Chair of the Labour Relations Board (LRB) and appointed a new Chair on March 6th.

"The government agrees the firings were without cause. You don't have to look too closely at how this was handled to see that the government's actions were designed to promote business interests, rather than to uphold the purpose of the Trade Union Act, which is to promote union rights. We are alleging that the government in effect is telling the Board to violate its own Act ," said Larry Hubich, SFL President.
(Read more....)

Download full News Release in Adobe PDF Format here.

Tuesday 13 May 2008

Angus Reid Poll: Canadians Support Unions, But Many Think They Are Too Political

Angus Reid recently released the results of a Canada wide poll about Unions in Canada. The results are very interesting - both nationally and regionally.
"Angus Reid Poll: Canadians Support Unions, But Many Think They Are Too Political

More than a third of respondents would amend the Labour Code to prohibit employers from hiring replacement workers.

[TORONTO – May 1, 2008] – Canadians perceive labour unions as an essential part of our society but think they have become too entangled in political activities, a new Angus Reid Strategies poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, more than half of all respondents (59%) say labour unions are a necessary and important part of Canadian society, and 69 per cent think they effectively improve the salaries and working conditions of employees."
(Read more....)

Download the News Release and Poll Results in Adobe PDF Format.

Monday 12 May 2008

Picking Winners: The Distorting Effects of Federal Corporate Tax Cuts

The Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has released a study entitled: Picking Winners: The Distorting Effects of Federal Corporate Tax Cuts - Adobe PDF File

The accompanying Press Release is reproduced in part below:

Press Release: Corporate tax cuts will increase gap between oil-producing provinces and rest of country—study May 8, 2008

OTTAWA—The federal government's planned corporate tax cuts will only exacerbate the existing inequalities in Canada's economy—both between regions and across industries, says a study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The study, by economist Jim Stanford, analyzes the distribution of corporate profits across Canada’s provinces and across 16 major industries. It finds that the big winners from Conservative corporate tax cuts will be Canada’s oil-producing provinces, and the oil and finance sectors. In contrast, industries and regions which are struggling will receive very little benefit.

Read the complete press release

"Bomb Syria" Woolsey advises McCain - The Real News

"Bomb Syria" Woolsey advises McCain
Eric Margolis: Former CIA head James Woolsey heads group of neocon advisers to John McCain

Monday May 12th, 2008

John McCain has recruited several members of "The Committee on the Present Danger" as foreign policy advisers, including former CIA head James Woolsey. Do Woolsey's viewpoints represent McCain's vision for America and the world?
(Read more....)

New Zealand reverses rail, ferry privatization

There is an interesting article over on "" about the failed privatization of rail and ferry services in New Zealand.

Wednesday 7 May 2008

Rich wage class war, not StatsCan - Linda McQuaig

Freelance columnist and author of numerous books, Linda McQuaig, recently wrote a column that is posted on the Toronto Star web-site entitled: Rich wage class war, not StatsCan.

It's well worth the read.

Photo - Linda McQuaig at 2007 SFL Convention

Tuesday 6 May 2008

Candidates calls for change to economy rhetoric - The Real News

The Real News Network senior editor Paul Jay sat down with economist Leo Panitch interview part 2: No US candidate talking about democratizing economy. (more here....)

Olbermann: Politics of 'Mission Accomplished'

"Outrageous and Shocking!" says Georgetti on Census Numbers

The 3.5 million member Canadian Labour Congress issued a news release on May Day commenting on the statistics revealed in the latest Canadian Census numbers which show the rich getting richer, while the rest of Canadians see their wages stagnating or falling.

"Outrageous and Shocking!" says Georgetti on Census Numbers

May 1, 2008

OTTAWA – “Over the last 25 years, the people we elected have let the greedy set the agenda. It is so outrageous how the people who already have the most have designed the economy for their own benefit. Excluding the rest of us, who actually own the country and make it work,” says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress at the sight of the census numbers on workers and earnings released by Statistics Canada.

“What has happened over the last 25 years? Bad trade deals, minimum wage rates frozen below poverty lines, repeated legislative assaults on unionization, tax breaks for the rich, all these measures have made Canadians who work for wages poorer,” explains Georgetti.
(read more....)
Download the News Release in PDF Format here.

Sunday 4 May 2008

Debt-fueled rat race drives U.S. economic crisis - The Real News

The Real News Network senior editor Paul Jay sat down with economist Leo Panitch to discuss the causes of--and solutions to--the current economic crisis. (more here....)

Saturday 3 May 2008

May Day Regina 2008

Thanks to for the video

Raising the bar for Solidarity

Linked in the next paragraph is an article by University of Manitoba Assistant Professor, David Camfield which was published in the Autumn 2007 issue of Just Labour: A Canadian Journal of Work and Society.

The article is entitled: CUPE's sympathy strikes in British Columbia, October 2005: Raising the bar for Solidarity.

Photo by Buckdog.

The abstract is reproduced below:
CUPE's sympathy strikes in British Columbia, October 2005: Raising the bar for Solidarity
David Camfield
Assistant Professor,
Department of Labour Studies,
University of Manitoba,
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

From October 7-23, 2005, the strike by the 38,000-strong British Columbia Teachers' Federation (BCTF) was the "main event" in BC labour relations. Teachers demonstrated enormous solidarity and determination to achieve a fair negotiated settlement that they could put to a vote. The focus of this paper is not the BCTF strike itself but the remarkable sympathy strike action organized in support of BCTF, primarily by the BC division of CUPE. Such worker action is highly unusual. Since the 1940s sympathy strike action has been illegal and extremely rare. This paper sets CUPE-BC's strikes in support of BCTF in the context of the legal framework established over half a century ago and the decline of sympathy strikes that followed. It then summarizes the events of October 2005 and examines the effects and significance of the strikes and what made them possible. It concludes with a reflection on the implications of these events for the labour movement. The analysis here is shaped by the perspective that public sector unions are best able to resist hostile governments when they adopt a militant and highly democratic approach that aims to build a broad social movement, sometimes referred to as social movement unionism.
Full Article (PDF)

ILWU’s War Protest Shuts West Coast Ports

Jim Wilson/The New York Times

On May 2, 2008 the New York Times ran this article about the May Day protest of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union against the U.S. war on Iraq. The protest shut down the west coast ports on May Day as thousands of Longshore workers refused to report for work.
ILWU’s War Protest Shuts West Coast Ports
Published: May 2, 2008
SEATTLE — West Coast ports were shut down on Thursday as thousands of longshoremen failed to report for work, part of what their union leaders said was a one-day, one-shift protest against the war in Iraq.
Cranes and forklifts stood still from Seattle to San Diego, and ships were stalled at sea as workers held rallies up and down the coast to blame the war for distracting public attention and money from domestic needs like health care and education.

“We’re loyal to America, and we won’t stand by while our country, our troops and our economy are being destroyed by a war that’s bankrupting us to the tune of $3 trillion,” the president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Bob McEllrath, said in a written statement. “It’s time to stand up, and we’re doing our part today.” (Read more....)

With or Without You - Sungha Jung

Friday 2 May 2008

Sask. Party government in the 'Hip Pocket' of business

An article in the May 2, 2008 edition of the Regina Leader-Post by James Wood reveals that the Sask. Party got a whopping $3.02 million in donations from Corporations during the 2007 fiscal year: (Sask. Party beats NDP in election fund raising).

The article is based on the annual reports of financial disclosure posted and now available on the Elections Saskatchewan web-site.

You can download a copy of the Sask. Party annual report here: SP 2007 Report
To compare, you can download a copy of the NDP's annual report here: NDP 2997 Report

CBC reports that RAWLCO gave the Sask. Party more than $100,000.00.

My favourite part of the Woods article is reproduced below:
"The financial documents come just weeks after the Saskatchewan Party accused the NDP of being puppets of organized labour for its reliance on union donations -- $165,999 in the 2007 documents.

University of Saskatchewan political scientist David McGrane said it was a dangerous argument for the Saskatchewan Party to make given its dominance in business money.

"It's easy to turn that around now and say the Saskatchewan Party is in the back pockets of the corporations ... like it's been said before, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones," said McGrane with a laugh in an interview Thursday."

Thursday 1 May 2008

Bills 5 and 6 are Anti-Woman

'the regina mom' has just posted a blog entry that illustrates how the Sask. Party's anti-worker, anti-democratic, and anti-union Bills 5 & 6 - are also anti-woman. Check it out: MAYDAY! MAYDAY! Bills 5 & 6 are anti-woman!