Tuesday 26 April 2011

Stand Up for our Human Rights - SFL Labour Reporter

The following is the lead article from the May 2011 issue of the SFL Labour Reporter - the issue is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights, in Saskatchewan, Canada and abroad. 

You can download the complete issue here...

Stand up for our human rights

The provincial government’s attempts to roll back human rights are steadily mounting.

Among the first official acts of the current government, upon taking office in 2007, was to strip working people across the province of their freedom to associate and to express themselves as union members.

The “essential services” legislation has robbed tens of thousands of Saskatchewan people of their right to assemble, to raise awareness of their concerns, and to strike.

The Trade Union Act was simultaneously weakened, making it much more difficult for people to band together and to negotiate collectively with their employers.

Last year, the International Labour Organization ruled that these laws violate workers’ freedoms under international law, but the government refuses to comply with the United Nations ruling.

Inside you will read about the government’s attempt to amend the Marriage Act, to legalize discrimination against same-sex couples.

The unanimous Saskatchewan Court of Appeal decision on the duty of marriage commissioners to marry same-sex, inter-racial and inter-faith couples in our province is a human rights victory for Saskatchewan citizens.

Now the government has introduced Bill 160, which if made law, will seriously weaken the Human Rights Code.

I invite you to read selections from a very important address given by Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.

He sounds the alarm on several aspects of Bill 160, including the abolishment of our human rights tribunal and changes that will make complaints much more likely to be dismissed by the chief commissioner.

Governments are supposed to promote human rights, not lessen them. As you’ll see on p. 7, the Harper government has an equally offensive record on human rights. I encourage you all to vote for human rights and for open and transparent government on election day.

And I look forward to seeing you all at Movement for May Day on May 1 (p.8), where together we’ll tell our elected officials it’s time to respect our human rights!

In Solidarity,
Larry Hubich

Thursday 14 April 2011

Hey, Mr. Wall ............ Pay Attention!

Sask. Party Premier, Brad Wall
Since being elected in November 2007 the Brad Wall Sask Party government has been busy stripping away workers rights, and bringing in legislation that attacks democratic institutions and undermines the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I suggest to you, that Mr. Wall has been following disgraced past B.C. Premier, Gordon Campbell's playbook chapter and verse.

Yesterday, the courts once again ruled that the actions of the Campbell government violate Canada's constitution.

The following is reproduced from the NUPGE web site:

BC Supreme Court rules legislation removing teachers' bargaining rights unconstitutional

“We now have four years of consistent jurisprudence that recognizes the constituional obligation of governments to respect the collective bargaining process and refrain from enacting legislation that strips away the Charter rights of their employees.” James Clancy

(14 April 2011) – In a landmark decision handed down yesterday, the BC Supreme Court ruled that laws which take away collective bargaining rights from teachers unconstitutional and in breach of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Bill 27, the Public Education Flexibility and Choice Act, prohibited the inclusion of certain items in teacher collective agreements, including staffing, class size and composition limits.

Bill 28, the Education Services Collective Agreement Act, amalgamated school districts and local bargaining units, imposing one collective agreement on teachers in the newly amalgamated districts who had previously been covered by two or three local agreements.

Madam Justice Griffin declared that Bills 27 and 28 were a substantial interference in bargaining rights and infringed on freedom of association guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  continue reading here......

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Having Their Cake and Eating It Too: Stanford - CCPA

CAW Economist Jim Stanford exposes the Big Conservative/Corporate Lie.  The truth and the facts are that corporate tax cuts do not stimulate the economy and do not generate jobs and investment.

Corporate tax cuts economically ineffective

National Office          News Release

April 13, 2011

OTTAWA—The Conservatives’ proposed 3-point reduction in corporate tax rates would cost the public purse $6 billion per year, yet only stimulate about $600 million of new business investment annually, says a study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The study, by economist Jim Stanford, examines historical data on business investment and cash flow from 1961 through 2010. Using econometric techniques, the study finds no evidence in the historical data that lower taxes have directly stimulated more investment. Moreover, the indirect impact of tax cuts on investment (experienced through corporate cash flow) has become much weaker over time.

“Business fixed capital spending has declined notably as a share of GDP and as a share of corporate cash flow since the early 1980s—despite repeated tax cuts that have reduced the combined federal-provincial corporate tax rate from 50% to just 29.5% in 2010,” says Stanford.

After adjusting for other determinants of investment spending, incremental cash flow has elicited only small amounts of business investment in recent years: about 10 cents in new investment for each dollar in extra cash flow.

“Given this statistical evidence, the federal government would have a far more powerful impact on both public and private investment by investing directly in public infrastructure, rather than providing additional tax reductions for businesses,” Stanford says.

If the federal government spent $6 billion on public infrastructure instead of corporate tax cuts, the total increase in investment would be more than ten times as great as the increase in private investment from tax cuts alone. This includes the new public investment itself ($6 billion), as well as an additional $520 million in private business investment that would be stimulated through the positive spin-off effects of the resulting economic growth.

According to the study, Canadian corporations have received $745 billion in excess, uninvested after-tax cash flow since 2001: cash flow that was not reinvested in real capital projects in Canada. This excess corporate saving reduces expenditure and purchasing power in the Canadian economy. A lack of business investment spending was the major source of Canada’s recent downturn, and the sluggish rebound in business spending is a key reason why Canada’s recovery from the recession has been uncertain, sluggish, and incomplete.

“Corporate Canada has been consistently receiving far more after-tax cash flow than it is reinvesting in Canadian capital spending—to the tune of $745 billion since 2001,” Stanford says. “Supplementing that cash flow through further tax cuts is like pushing on a string. Those tax savings would only add to the large sums of uninvested cash flow Canadian businesses already possess.”


For more information contact Kerri-Anne Finn, CCPA Senior Communications Officer, at 613-563-1341 x306.

Download the full report and analysis here.....

Monday 11 April 2011

Global financial crisis/recovery: What does it mean for Saskatchewan?

Global financial crisis/recovery: What does it mean for Saskatchewan?
- by Dr. Simon Enoch, Director of the Saskatchewan office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

These remarks were delivered to the Saskatchewan CED and Co-operatives Conference, April 8, 2011, Mount Royal Collegiate, Saskatoon by Dr Simon Enoch.

"This is a somewhat difficult topic to tackle because as far as the global recession is concerned, Saskatchewan has weathered it rather well. If anything, our main problem may be the management of our current prosperity and resource wealth, all of which is certainly tied to the rapidity and the resilience of a global economic recovery.

Given there are so many unknowns on this issue, I will be forced to speculate based on current trends and the likelihood of potential scenarios emerging in the future. So I am certainly not offering predictions here, but rather identifying possible challenges that may arise given the uncertainty of the current global economic situation.

First off, we should ask the question of whether we are in recovery, or perhaps, recovery for whom? It is no secret that corporate profitability has reached record levels recently, so the corporate sector is certainly “recovering.” The problem is that they are reluctant to invest, sitting on piles of cash in the billions – if not trillions – of dollars awaiting the return of profitable investment opportunities."    continue reading here.....

Thursday 7 April 2011