Wednesday, January 30, 2008

and so the dismantling continues....

News Release
January 30, 2008


The NDP is demanding to know what has happened to the Saskatchewan Council on Disability Issues. Several reliable sources have confirmed that the Sask Party has disbanded the council.

The council, established in 1999 by the NDP government, has improved the lives of hundred’s of people with disabilities.

“In a news release last month, Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer said one of the responsibilities of her ministry is to co-ordinate, develop, promote and implement social, economic and other policies and programs for the benefit of persons with disabilities in Saskatchewan.” NDP Disability Issues Critic David Forbes said. “One month later, we find the Sask Party is scrapping the council, without so much as a news release explaining why.”

Until recently, the 12-member council provided advice and input to the government on issues affecting people with disabilities. It also had a significant impact in the development of a government-wide Disability Action Plan and the recently announced Disability Inclusion Policy Framework, now in jeopardy. All members of the council had direct experience with disabilities.

“I must say that this action without any public notice, when coupled with the absolute lack of any reference to disability issues in the recent Throne Speech sends a very clear and troubling signal that persons with disabilities are not a priority at all for the new government. This is simply unacceptable,” Forbes said.

Forbes has outlined his concerns in a letter to Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer.

For further information, please contact Jay Branch at the NDP Caucus Office - (306) 787-7388.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

CWB - Harper and Wall's next target

Make no bones about it, Harper and Brad Wall are connected at the hip and couldn't care less about the CWB or anyone else in Saskatchewan. I mean what will it take for people to see the true story behind the "pretty new governments"?

The federal Agriculture Minister will introduce legislation as early as next month to end the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly on prairie barley sales.

But because it's a minority government, turning Minister Gerry Ritz's legislation into law will require the support of the opposition, something neither the NDP nor the Liberals plan to provide.

Ritz delivered the news Tuesday after a controversial meeting with the wheat board and barley industry representatives. Ritz acknowledged he stacked the room with people who oppose anything short of full, open marketing choice for barley producers.

To add insult to injury, our own Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud ,is headed to Ottawa to show his support for the federal government's attempts to remove the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly on barley marketing.

How many times does the Sask Party and the Conservatives have to attack the people of Saskatchewan before we wake up and see the real truth.

Either Stevie or Brad better pucker up fast, cause after they destroy the Labour laws, create massive manufacturing layoffs and destroy the CWB they need to find me. When I am getting screwed I like to be at least kissed!!!!

Manufacturing Job Losses...the real story

It was with complete and utter shock that as I watched the House of Commons yesterday (I do have a life its a job thingy), Industry Minister Jim Prentice stood up and stated that the Conservative government says the disappearance of tens of thousands of good paying manufacturing and forestry jobs in Ontario and elsewhere is nothing more than "structural adjustments."

Who the hell do they think they are kidding!!!!!!!

Almost 250,000 workers lost their jobs in the manufacturing sector in the last four years. Many factories, mills and fish plants have closed down for good. According to the Conservative this is a "structural adjustment"?

Hundreds of thousands of people across the country who used to be living the Canadian dream, enjoying a middle-class level of prosperity, have had their realities come crashing down. More than just a little "structural adjustment" Mr. Prentice.

The unprecedented surge in the Canadian dollar from 85 cents US in early 2007 to as high as $1.10 in early November is deeply disturbing in terms of its implications for the health of the economy and the job market. Very rapid exchange rate appreciation is bad news for most enterprises exporting abroad, or competing with US and Asian exporters in the Canadian market. The especially vulnerable manufacturing sector has already lost another 82,000 jobs this year, and is widely expected to cut more jobs and close more operations in 2008. But not to worry Mr. Prentice...its just a freakin "structural adjustment"

Stephen Harper and his team of Federal do-no-gooders had better get a grip on what is happening to working class families across this country. This includes the useless "dirty dozen" MP's here in Saskatchewan where we are down 23% of the jobs we had here in 2003.

Maybe Harper and Prentice aren't aware that Canada has lost 288,300 manufacturing jobs since November 2003. Or that, one in eight of the manufacturing jobs that existed in November 2002 has since disappeared.

Maybe the Conservatives don't care that while these losses were initially concentrated in Ontario and Quebec, they have now spread across Canada.

New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton said Prentice should try to tell that to Canadians who have lost their full-time jobs, only to have them replaced by one, two or more part-time jobs making minimum wage.

"This is a structural adjustment where the structure is going to collapse. These are foundations jobs," Layton told reporters later.

"The impact of this is enormous and for the government to simply wave their hand and suggest this is normal and nothing to worry about, I think, is a grave strategic error that I think is going to leave the fundamentals of the Canadian economy significantly weakened," he said

With irresponsible, uninformed statements like Mr. Prentice's, maybe the need for a Federal Election is more important than anyone understood.

The "structural adjustment" required would be to rid ourselves of a Harper led Government and replace them with a Government that actually understood what was happening to Canada!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

10 easy Steps to Political Omnipotence

Step 1:
Get Elected anyway you can. Make sure you do not actually make it clear what you are running on.

Step 2:
Set a fixed election date so that you know when to begin to buy the required votes to retain power, immediately begin to put into place, a plan to screw as many people as fast as you can. Don't worry they will forget all about it by the time you start to buy votes for the next election.

Step 3:
Target any groups, such as Unions and Organized Labour, who would be able to mobilize against you. Make sure you do it in such a way that they cannot increase their size or have the ability to use their Chartered rights to oppose your vision.

Step 4:
Create a "arms length" board where you can both control who sits on it as well as control what they do. Make certain that you, yourself, stay away from it. This way, if things get real tough, you have someone you can point the finger at for making recommendations. You can also pick and choose the ones you like and want to enact. Make sure you give any opposing groups only one seat so they cannot say you pushed them out but they won't have any real voice in the new Board. Also recommended that this group be comprised of "non-elected" people so that you can ultimately claim you were "listening to the voices of the People". What ever you do, do not be seen snickering for pulling the wool over their eyes.

Step 5:
Make a totally ridiculous announcement as soon as possible. Make sure it is one that would get the voters to respond against it, then announce that you heard them loud and clear and retract it. What ever you do, publicly say you will follow their wishes but continue on with the plan quietly and discreetly. This will result in two things. First it will fool them into thinking you actually care and listen (remember not to smirk) and second it will show you if they are actually watching what you do behind the scenes.

Step 6:
Align yourself with your Federal Counterpart. Be careful not pick a fight or open any old wounds but be passively aggressive with him. Although you should strive to be his "boy toy", do not let your voters see you doing it. Remain firm but do what he tells you. Is recommended that you get some type of promise that would bring money into your Province but make sure that it will come with no strings and that you can use it where ever you want.

Step 7:
Systematically and methodically, go through your Civil Service and eliminate anyone who does not or will not do everything you want, when you want it. Make sure you erase anyone who could or would question one of your policies. Remember, you are the boss, even the smallest chance of someone not obeying you, should be dealt with. Do not worry about collective agreements or severance pay, by the time they file the grievances, your labour laws would of been changed anyways and the cost of severance would be offset by the funds you got from your federal daddy.

Step 8:
Immediately upon starting Step 7, replace one of the top Board members with someone who will obey your every wish. The perfect candidate would be someone who was strongly connected to the previous administration but has left their ranks. The person should not only be someone who has left the political realm to advance his/her own agenda but someone who would allow you to pull the strings and tell them what to do. The perfect person would also be someone who is married to someone in a position, like a University President, who can not only help finance your Party but someone who can use his/her position to help bolster your agenda.

Step 9:
Invite a past Premier from a neighbouring Province who has been coaching you on how to become omnipotent, to come and address a group of young impressionable students. Make sure he insults anyone who might protest his visit and have him drop the notion of selling off some of your most value viewed assets. Then have one of your own puppets state that you would never do that. With the completion of Step 8, you will be able to repeat the results seen in Step 5 and the voters will be none the wiser. When ready, don't sell them but just shut them down. That way you can fall back on the line "as I had stated earlier...I wont sell them and I didn't".

Step 10:
Continue to move your agenda forward. Whenever possible publicly trash the previous administration and blame them for causing you to have to change things, after all, it was supposedly time for a change. No one ever said a change to what. Be very cautious not to admit that they played a lead role in both a booming economy, a population increase and new job records.

Although these 10 Steps are not set in stone for your transition to omnipotence, by both following them, consulting both your federal daddy and communicating to the other leaders who have the same goal of extreme power, you should be able not only eliminate anyone who dares to doubt you, you will be able to fool each and every citizen into thinking that it was time for a change and that you are indeed GOD!!!!

My way or the highway..."YOUR FIRED"!!!

So our illustrious Premier has struck out again.

The Star Phoenix reports that "As many as 70 Saskatchewan civil servants have been dismissed -- including some who had political ties to the former NDP government and others who were longtime civil servants without any party affiliation."

For a Government that wants people to come and stay in this Province, and a Government that denies any need for fear, they sure are not living up to their ideals.

Civil Servants are dedicated employees who put their heart and souls into this Province and they help build this Province daily.

Sure we all bitch and complain about them but when you see the workload they carry and the dedication they have to both their jobs and the people of Saskatchewan, it completely disgraceful that Brad Wall would go in and fire "without" cause 70 people.

Deputy premier Ken Krawetz says "There are definitely people who have very close (political) association with the former government," he said. "That had some bearing."

This has got to be the biggest crock of crap ever!!!!

Yes some of our Civil Servants are NDPers, just like some of them are Sask Party supporters, some are Liberal supporters, Green supporters, Communist supporters and so on. Last I checked, we lived in a Democratic society where people have the right to vote and support any Political Party they so choose. Every day I read and hear the news where our Brothers and Sisters are giving their lives fighting for those same rights in other countries.

One political scientist, Ken Rasmussen, is calling it a purge that flies in the face of Wall's election night proclamation that the Nov. 7 vote was a case of hope triumphing over fear;

"This government hasn't done anything yet. How would you know what kind of advice they're getting from the public service?" asked Ken Rasmussen, director of the Johnson-Shoyama graduate school of public policy at the University of Regina.

"Somebody at some point needs to say this is not good. It's destructive for the professional civil service. It's not helpful for the people of Saskatchewan and it's not acceptable."

What is next? Will anyone who has ever voted or participated in an election, or who has not voted for the Sask Party or Conservatives be routed out and dismissed? How many of our Civil Servants now have to live in fear that if they speak up at a meeting or question a policy will be dismissed?

So far our new government has shown that if you are unionized or have supported a political party other than theirs, you need to be wary of them coming after you.

Gee, kind of scary, what if I support gay marriage, or volunteer at Big Brothers or give blood? Do I need to worry that by exercising my rights I may be fired? Who knows if Wall and his puppets like those organizations?

Get a grip Mr. Premier, why don't you just concentrate on running the Province. There are a lot more issues here: Poverty, Housing, Highways , Equalization, PA Pulp Mill for a few, that are more pressing than the fact that Mr Smith and Mrs. Jones have an NDP membership or a small newspaper company that offers its paper free in your stores.

You deny that you want to make Saskatchewan an Alberta Lite yet you are following Ralph Klein and Gordon Campbell's "How to make a province mine" manual page by page!!!!

Maybe we need to pay more attention to exactly what you are doing behind the scenes! With Klein in Saskatoon preaching the "winding down of Crowns" do we need to start to fear that as well?

We have already seen that you will not follow the wishes of the citizens of Saskatchewan.

We have clearly stated that we want the Wheat Sheaf to remain and yet as you publicly say you heard our wishes, you are still removing it from all the Government websites, advertising and letterhead.

You won the damn election already, your safe for 4 years, now would you mind stop hounding out the people who may think different and concentrate on the entire Province. Get to the real issues.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Cancer claims New Democrat dynamo Pam Barrett

With great sadness, I repost this from the Calgary Herald. Pam will be missed by us all.

Pam Barrett in 2000, after she had decided to leave politics.Pam Barrett in 2000, after she had decided to leave politics.
Ian Scott/Edmonton Journal

EDMONTON - Pam Barrett, a three-term New Democrat member of the Alberta legislature who also served as party leader, died late Monday at age 54, at the Cross Cancer Institute.

Well-known for her left-wing views and the ferocity with which she pursued them, she earned the respect and affection of even her staunchest opponents.

"We didn't have the same political philosophy, but she was firm in her beliefs," said former premier Ralph Klein.

I always had a lot of time for her."

When Klein was headed into the legislature for his farewell tribute in 2006, he sent a car for Ms. Barrett.

"I wanted her there," said Klein.

Ms. Barrett won her first seat in the Alberta legislature in 1986, defeating longtime MLA and powerful cabinet minister Dave King in the riding of Edmonton-Highlands.

She took a hiatus from politics in 1993 after a spider bite caused her hand to swell, which led to the news that her immune system had been weakened by an earlier bout with cancer in 1974, when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

From 1993 to 1996, she worked as a radio host and television columnist.

Ms. Barrett became New Democrat leader in 1996 and was elected again in Highlands in 1997 to head a two-member caucus.

She made a quick decision to resign in 2000 following an "out-of-body experience" after a reaction to a dentist's anesthetic.

Sask. gov't "thought police" alive and well

This one is peripheral fallout to my previous post Star Phoenix

Free newspapers pulled from liquor stores

So Brad Wall and the Sask Party are all for removing barriers to business.

They want to change the Labour Standards so that they are more "business balanced". They want to legislate Essential Services so that we "the people" are not put in jeopardy by strikes. They want to possibly remove the minimum wage increases that the NDP brought in and they promote that Sask is now business friendly. They want something similar to TILMA where the barriers to business and growth are removed.

Can someone then please tell me why the heck they would have a problem with a small newspaper who had become a viable business in both Regina and Saskatoon, distributing FREE copies in Liquor Stores?

From CTV News:

In Regina, it's called the Prairie Dog. In Saskatoon, it's Planet S and you can pick up a free copy just about anywhere, except at liquor stores from now on. The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority has ordered the newsstands removed from it's stores.

DAVID MORRIS, SLGA: "SLGA reminded store managers that any sort of material in stores that didn't align with SLGA's core business or didn't focus on social responsibility messaging should be removed."

The newspapers relied on liquor stores for about 5% of distribution. They'd been available there for years. It's a setback to the employee co-operative that publishes the papers.

TERRY MORASH, PUBLISHER: "We are a local business and I think part of the philosophy of this government is to remove roadblocks to business and so it's kind of odd that we would find this roadblock."

The order to remove the newspapers from liquor stores came shortly after the Saskatchewan Party took office. The ministers office says it had nothing to do with the decision but some have been left wondering.

WARREN MCCALL, REGINA NDP MLA: "I don't know if it's somebody with Liquor and Gaming trying to do something they think is pleasing to their new political masters or what."

Prairie Dog, Planet S and other free tabloids are especially popular with university students who appreciate the focus on local arts and entertainment listings.

STUDENT: "I don't see any problem with it being in stores and whatnot because it's free."

STUDENT: "I don't see a problem with it. It's just there. You can pick it up if you want. You can leave it if you don't."

STUDENT: "I don't think the government should be able to restrict where they can actually place free independent media."

The government decision could also hurt the newspaper's advertisers. Ironically, one of the largest is the provincial government.

Friday, January 18, 2008

What have Unions done for us?

My good friend Shirley Klassen sent me this link. it is a must watch for anyone who doubts what Unions do have brought us. Maybe Brad Wall and the Sask Party should watch this one!!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Credit Card Charges Cashing Out Cdn. Consumers: Layton

You may not get that magazine or the postcard from your Aunt Minnie on vacation in Australia that you were expecting. But the one thing you can always expect to receive in the mail like clockwork is your bills. Especially the ones from your credit card companies.

With interest charges that can range as high as 19 per cent or more, the firms that provide you with all that plastic are more than happy if you fail to pay on time. That's the trap a consumer named John fell into. He lost his job and was forced to rack up charges on his credit card, only to find himself falling further and further into a debt hole he couldn't climb out of.

It's that kind of situation that has NDP leader Jack Layton demanding changes be made in the system. He accuses the federal government of being in bed with the banks and not doing anything to even try to help the Johns of the world. And he wants to see a cap on interest rates at no more than 10 per cent.

"The fact is the banks are taking the middle class and the hard working Canadian family to the cleaners with interest rates that are totally unacceptable", he rails. Layton is furious that some credit card companies now want to charge customers interest before they even start paying their bills. And he insists the Tories have a responsibility to deal with it before more people go for broke.

"It's not fair," he adds. "A very few banks and a very small number of credit cards are available to see the interest rates we're seeing."

Here's a closer look at how you can cut down on your own credit card debt.

Don't buy it if you don't have it
If there's not enough cash in your account, don't buy anything on the card. Remember you're only borrowing with the promise to pay off a debt. It will wind up costing you a lot more if the bill comes due and your funds aren't there.

Make a plan
Realize what your finances are, make a plan to keep them in check, and stick to it.

Pay off the biggest debt cards
The higher the interest, the more you'll pay. So if you only have a certain amount of money to go around, make sure the cheque goes to the one that will cost you the most if you leave it the longest.

Sweat the small stuff
You don't need to owe a lot to see the charges creep up. Get rid of the small amounts as fast as possible and then you can concentrate on bigger needs.

Pay off the minimum
Even a little is better than a lot. The least you can pay is often just a small amount, but it's a start to keep those interest charges from mounting.

Get help
There are several non-profit services that can help you get back in balance. Among them:


Community Credit Counselling Service

Online debt calculator: how much do you really owe?

Debt test

Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us of why unions were formed,

Once again Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us of why unions were formed, why we do the work we do and why all working people must stand together.

"So often we overlook the work and the significance of those who are not in professional jobs, of those who are not in the so-called big jobs.

But let me say to you tonight that whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity and it has worth."

For more details on the 40th Anniversary Strike and events read below.

Jan. 17, 2008

Four decades ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led what would be his last campaign--a strike in Memphis, Tenn., involving hundreds of working people who dared to take a stand
( for dignity and respect on the job and a voice at work with AFSCME.

During the strike, King spoke to the workers and reminded them of the dignity of their labor:

"So often we overlook the work and the significance of those who are not in professional jobs, of those who are not in the so-called big jobs.
But let me say to you tonight that whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity and it has worth."

Watch video of his speech here

Tragically, King never witnessed the success the Memphis sanitation workers achieved. The 64-day strike ended with a union contract
for 1,300 members of AFSCME Local 1733. The strike is credited with reviving a dormant union movement in Memphis and initiating a wave of public employee union organizing in other parts of the South.

In honor of the strike's 40th anniversary, the AFL-CIO is holding its
2008 Martin Luther King Jr. holiday observance this weekend in Memphis.
More than 900 union and civil rights activists are gathering to reaffirm their commitment to making King's dream a reality. (Learn more here
( and here

The weekend is devoted to community service projects serving the community that King worked to help--the poor and disadvantaged.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney will present a computer lab paid for by union members to a local elementary school, and AFSCME and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) will make contributions to schools and the Head Start program.

"Working people across the country know that civil and worker rights go hand in hand, and that without the tools for a proper education, students can never go on to attain the kind of economic equality in which King and other leaders believed,"
Sweeney said.

A few years before the Memphis strike, King spoke of the importance of a strong labor movement in our country's history.

"The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress,"
( he said.

This year, 40 years after Dr. King's death, we ask ourselves, "How will things be for our children 40 years from NOW?" We owe it to him to keep up this fight--and that's exactly what we're planning to do.

In solidarity,

Not-so-dear Danny: PM's letter angers Williams

As Brad Wall returns from Ottawa with absolutely nothing to show for the equalization owed to us. Harper is remains contrite knowing that he pulled the wool over another Provinces' eyes. With Harper's blatant lie to Saskatchewan, one would think that Wall, the SAVIOR of Sask, would get some sort of courage to actually fight for what has been promised to us and for what is rightfully ours!! Danny Williams, had told the CBC that he has no problem standing up to Harper, why can't Brad Wall follow his lead?

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams says a new letter from Prime Minister Stephen Harper does nothing to solve a multi-billion-dollar impasse.

'Ultimately it comes down to the integrity of the man and whether we can trust him or not,' Danny Williams says. 'Ultimately it comes down to the integrity of the man and whether we can trust him or not,' Danny Williams says.

Lashing out at Harper for the second time this week, Williams told reporters Wednesday in St. John's that Harper has put in writing what he had assumed the prime minister thought about the equalization formula.

"I think ultimately it comes down to the integrity of the man and whether we can trust him or not," said Williams, who has renewed his pledge to campaign against federal Conservative candidates in the next election, "and whether in fact the Canadian public can trust him."

Williams has been waging a rhetorical battle with Harper since the fall of 2006, when Harper informed Williams he was departing from his pre-election pledge to exclude offshore oil revenues from the federal equalization formula.

Williams said he attempted to bridge the gap during a November meeting in St. John's and in a subsequent letter, with a request for about $10 billion in alternatives, to make up for what the province would expect to lose in the next 13 or 14 years.

Williams wanted Harper to agree to compensate the province by that amount through special projects, such as the transfer of the federal stake in the Hibernia offshore oil project, or through financial support for the proposed Lower Churchill hydroelectric megaproject in Labrador.

"He made a promise to us," said Williams, referring to written pledges Harper made before the Conservatives formed a minority government in the 2006 election.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had a cool response to the suggestion the government turn over its 8.5 per cent share of the Hibernia offshore oil project.Prime Minister Stephen Harper had a cool response to the suggestion the government turn over its 8.5 per cent share of the Hibernia offshore oil project.

"He made a commitment and that has a value. He has not acknowledged that in his letter."

In his Jan. 15 letter, Harper dismissed Williams's claim, and maintained that his government has protected the Atlantic accords signed with the Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia governments.

"The assertion that there is a $10-billion value gap resulting from the impacts of the new equalization formula is simply unfounded," Harper wrote.

As well, Harper wrote that the federal government has yet to recoup what it has invested in Hibernia, the first field to go into production off Newfoundland's east coast. The federal government owns an 8.5 per cent stake in the project.

Williams has vowed to campaign against Conservative candidates in Newfoundland and Labrador. Again on Wednesday, Williams said he is willing to take his message to other provinces.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Commentary below is reproduced from the COPE 397 Website:



As most of you know, Brad Wall and his crew of inexperienced college frat buddies have recently introduced legislation that put Unions squarely in the cross hairs.

Make no mistake, this time they are coming for us. Your rights are under serious attack.

There are two pieces of legislation recently introduced [so far, we anticipate more] that threaten to turn Saskatchewan's labour climate into a one-sided Employer's holiday.

These are Bill 5 which concerns itself with essential services, and Bill 6 which amends the Trade Union Act. Both have received first reading and will soon be law.

Bill 5

Bill 5 is a particularly nasty piece of legislation that allows Employers to designate classifications that will be identified as so called 'essential services'.

Those persons designated as 'essential' will be identified BY NAME [emphasis mine] as employees 'who must work during the labour stoppage to maintain essential services'. Those named 'must work during the work stoppage ....without regard to the availability of other persons to provide essential services'.

It is not clear whether or not those named individuals would be able to refuse overtime or whether they could be called back from, or denied holidays.

DO NOT THINK FOR ONE MINUTE THAT THERE WILL NOT BE SO CALLED 'ESSENTIAL SERVICES' DESIGNATED AT SGI If this legislation is passed, it is almost a certainty that there will be individuals named as 'essential' in our workplaces. Those individuals completely lose their right to strike, and of course forcing them to work undermines everyone else who is undertaking a work stoppage.

But wait there's more.

The Government has given itself extensive powers to make regulations to this Bill without ever having to debate these changes in the Legislature. This represents an unprecedented lack of accountability.

Bill 6

Bill 6 poses as an amendment to the Trade Union Act. This Bill gives an unparalleled ability for the employer to give 'its opinion' on matters, in a manner that would previously have been illegal.

The specific wording is 'nothing in this Act precludes an employer from communicating facts AND ITS OPINIONS to its employees' [emphasis mine].

This means that an employer may comment on any grievance, workplace incident, strike vote including Collective Bargaining, as it sees fit. It is estimated that this Bill will make legal more than 90% of employer conduct which is currently illegal in almost every part of Canada and even much of the U.S.

There are other changes buried in this Bill as well, including the removal of the three year limitation for collective agreements. This potentially sets the stage for demands by employers for much longer agreements. Can the day of the ten year collective agreement be finally here? Wouldn't we all love 10 years of zero, zero, zero, zero, zero……… ?

There is no question, and no doubt that this is indeed the worst labour legislation in the entire country.

These two Bills are, in my opinion, a declaration of war on the middle class. They will undermine the effectiveness of the unions that one third of Saskatchewan working people belong to.

We encourage you to see this attack on your rights for yourself.

» Bill No. 5 - An Act respecting Essential Public Services - posted here.
» Bill No. 6 - An Act to amend The Trade Union Act - posted here.

We have copies of these two Bills in our office as well, which we will be pleased to give you on request. Please contact Patti Harris at (306) 352-4238 or by e-mail at

Once you have seen the evidence, you may wish to write your MLA and tell them what you think of our province having the distinction of having the absolute worst labour legislation in the entire country.

Garry Hamblin

Friday, January 11, 2008

Feedback vs Consultation - Norris needs a dictionary

The Saskatchewan Party government is inviting groups to provide feedback on proposed labour legislation in private meetings, but won't opt for public hearings through the legislature's committee system.

"This process is going to be best for us and the stakeholders to ensure that we get their message very clearly," said Advanced Education, Employment and Labour Minister Rob Norris.

Letters of invitation are in the process of going out, and "feedback sessions" will be happening soon with representatives from labour, business and others.

When Brad Wall and Rob Norris were out on the hustings, they were constantly pushing how they wanted to open and transparent when they took government. When this government tabled Bills 5 and 6, Essential Service and amendments to the existing Trade Union Act, they again stated that they wanted to "consult" with the stakeholders.

The definition of feedback is as follows:

...a reaction or response to a particular process or activity: He got very little feedback from his speech.
.....evaluate information derived from such a reaction or response: to study the feedback from an audience survey

The definition of consult is: seek advice or information from; ask guidance from: Consult your lawyer before signing the contract. refer to for information: Consult your dictionary for the spelling of the word. have regard for (a person's interest, convenience, etc.) in making plans.
4.Obsolete. to meditate, plan, or contrive.
–verb (used without object) consider or deliberate; take counsel; confer (usually fol. by with): He consulted with his doctor. give professional or expert advice; serve as consultant.

There is a huge difference Mr Norris and if you and your co-horts really wish to know what the stakeholders thoughts, ideas and feedback is, then you should do what is required and hold open, public consultations with all the stakeholders.

When is this government, albeit new, going to stop hiding behind committees and actually go out and speak to the people of Saskatchewan that it was elected to represent?

When you actually take the time to read both Bill 5 and Bill 6, you will see that they allow for absolutely NO debate on legislation or changes to the Regulations. Any changes can be made by Order in Council which first, are not debatable within the Legislative Chamber and second, have no recourse to change them after.

This is not open consultation with stakeholders, this is not garnering feedback from the those involved, this in not open and transparent government, what is it is a dictatorship where you will do what Brad Wall says, shut up and take it. Rather like the Harper mentality Federally.

Watch this post carefully over the next little while and I will go over section by section of both will see exactly what they mean and how the actions of Wall, Norris and the Sask Party are no where near being open and transparent or consultative.

It is no wonder that people like Larry Hubich and the Labour Leaders are concerned. They actually understand what the Bills mean and what this type of legislation means to Saskatchewan Workers, whether organized or not....

Stay tuned..this is going to make you sick!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Jack Layton's open letter to the Prime Minister

Re: Meeting of First Ministers, January 2008

Dear Prime Minister,

Canada is a modern and diverse federation. As a country, we face many multi-layered issues and challenges that need to be addressed. As in the past, it is careful collaboration and strong partnerships that will allow Canada to seize these challenges as opportunities so that we can build on past successes.

In my opinion, there is no substitute for regular, formal, in-person meetings of Canada’s First Ministers. Unfortunately, a short dinner meeting two years into your mandate does not demonstrate open federalism and will not provide for the sincere consultation necessary to address the crucial issues faced by our country. It is lamentable that you have not made it a practice of your government to hold meetings with your provincial and territorial counterparts more frequently and with more formal agendas, something that has long been proposed to be entrenched as a constitutional requirement.

As we begin 2008, there is no shortage of issues that need to be discussed constructively by First Ministers. In too many areas the country is heading in the wrong direction and is failing to build for the future. Hard-working Canadian families are demanding leadership and fairness. I have identified below some of the pressing issues that should be discussed by First Ministers.

The Economy and the Prosperity Gap

Some sectors and regions, particularly oil and gas producers, have benefited from prosperous circumstances recently. At the same time, many sectors, many working people, and many Canadian communities are being left further behind and are not benefiting from this newfound prosperity. In Ontario and Quebec, over 250,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in recent years. The forestry sector, from B.C. to Nova Scotia, is also struggling and desperately needs support. Good quality, long-term jobs that support working families are being replaced with lower-paying jobs with less security and fewer benefits. Furthermore, workers in the sectors which are facing these crises are faced with the fact that recent federal governments have made it more difficult for them to qualify for employment insurance.

Many of the challenges stem from the sharp and accelerated rise in the value of the Canadian dollar, driven in large part by the unsustainable boom in the oil and gas sector. Recent federal actions, like the October mini-budget’s corporate tax breaks, have exacerbated this situation by further stimulating the profitable oil and gas sector (and, in turn, the value of the dollar), while struggling companies in the manufacturing and forestry sectors see no benefit. This reckless and short-sighted approach to corporate tax cutting must end.


Canada’s growing infrastructure deficit has been well-documented in recent years, in particular by the Conference Board of Canada. Provincial, territorial and municipal leaders are all keenly aware of the impact of this deficit in their communities and are demanding stable investments that will build and maintain economic prosperity into the future. At a time of relative budgetary prosperity, the first order of busineess should be re-investment rather than more massive corporate tax breaks. For example, now is the time for bold new public transit initiatives that place Canada among world leaders in the transition to the new energy economy. I would expect that you would find agreement from Premiers on this.

Climate Change

Premiers have been discussing climate change action in their recent Council of the Federation meetings and many of them have adopted ambitious and comprehensive plans. Coming out of the United Nations meeting on climate change in Bali, Indonesia, this is a good time to update the premiers on international negotiations towards a post-2012 framework, and to canvass premiers’ views on better ways of working together to achieve the deep greenhouse gas emissions reductions that science shows are required.

Canada’s record of failure is beyond dispute. But, that cannot be an excuse for failing to redouble efforts in the next phase of greenhouse gas reductions. National leadership and constructive engagement with provincial and territorial partners is desperately required.

Issues of federalism and federal institutions

Several of your government’s initiatives in respect to federalism and federal institutions have not been well-received as a result of the lack of consultation preceding their unveiling (eg, Senate reform initiatives, the flawed seat redistribution bill, and the federal spending power initiative). While the federal government has the authority to act in these areas, successful action in a federation means respect for federal partners and collaborating in good faith to work towards a consensual result. In dealing with the issue of the Senate, for example, no attempt has been made to accommodate those premiers who have indicated they prefer abolition over any inadequate reform proposal.

I encourage you to use this opportunity, before the House returns, to consider any of these matters, to have a full and frank discussion among premiers about their preferences for ways of moving forward. I am confident that, as in the past, First Ministers will conduct themselves with a view to fairness and respect for the founding principles of our federation.

I wish you a constructive meeting with your provincial counterparts and look forward to hearing of the results of your discussions. I hope that this is the first in a more regular series of such meetings.

Sincerely yours,
Jack Layton,
Leader, New Democratic Party of Canada

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Dion defaults on debt to Orchard

Randy Burton from the Star Phoenix sums the entire Orchard, Beatty debacle up very well.

...."No one should know that better than Saskatchewan Liberals. Theirs is a history rife with deposed leaders and backroom deals that put personal gain above party loyalty. As a result, they remain mired in the political cellar, living at 10 per cent in the provincial polls and unable to regain much of a foothold on the federal scene."

...."People in the North are going to remember this appointment long after Joan Beatty is a footnote in Canadian political history. For proof, you need look no further than the riding of Saskatoon-Humboldt, where Jean Chretien appointed Georgette Sheridan as the Liberal nominee in 1993.

She won that year, but the internal divisions it created have never fully healed. Sheridan was defeated by Jim Pankiw in 1997 and the Reform-Alliance-Conservative metamorphosis has owned the riding every since."

Premier or Puppet?

Brad Wall is now sitting on the eve of what could be his first real challenge as Premier. Does he stand up for Saskatchewan and what is rightfully ours or does he buckle under pressure from his Federal counterparts.

As much as Wall denies any affiliation or attachment to the Federal Conservatives, now is the time he needs draw that line...does he stand up and show that he has what it takes to lead and govern Saskatchewan, or does he become a Harper puppet?

During the last federal election, Harper promised to remove non-renewable resource revenues from the equalization formula. But in the budget the Conservatives put a cap on the amount a province can receive under the program.

Lorne Calvert, who was Saskatchewan's premier at the time, was so angered that he and his NDP government filed a constitutional challenge of the federal equalization program. Wall and his Party supported the notion of a court action over equalization when the federal Liberals were in power in 2005, but changed his tune after his Saskatchewan Party took power last fall. The newly elected premier called the case "dubious."

Now that Wall is in power, he seems to of "waffled" in his position. He is now saying "Equalization is for 'have-not' provinces and we're a 'have' province." "That doesn't mean there's any less case for federal government investment and partnership in our province.

"We want to have a vision of remaining a 'have' province and then pressing hard and aggressively for a federal partnership in key areas to make sure the current boom lasts."

Wall says that's why he'll go into the first ministers meeting at 24 Sussex Drive on Friday focusing on other issues, stating that Saskatchewan can do better than equalization payments if the strategy focuses on priority areas such as the labour shortage, long-term infrastructure and the energy sector.

Calvert is justifiably concerned that this means Wall will "sacrifice" the equalization fight and should use the meeting to push Prime Minister Stephen Harper to keep his promise on equalization.

"It should not be a circumstance where even before the meeting you're saying, 'Well, I'm willing to back off that and look at some other issues like infrastructure,"' Calvert said.

"Yes, I'd be participating with every other premier in terms of federal involvement in infrastructure, federal involvement in dealing with industries in this country that are being hurt by the high Canadian dollar.

"But I would not be leaving at home the promise that Mr. Harper made to the people of Saskatchewan."

Wall will have to stand up to Harper's blatant lie to Saskatchewan people, a lie that his own "Dirty Dozen" MP's in Saskatchewan used to admit too, if he is going to succeed in any equalization payments.

Question is...will Wall stand up for Saskatchewan or will he sit as puppet for the Harper and Federal Conservatives?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Women pack more power than Harper realizes

Recent polls by Ipsos Reid for CanWest News Service show that support for the Conservatives among women trails support among men by a significant margin.

In four polls through Nov. 26, support for the party among men averaged 42 per cent, compared with 33 per cent among women. In the most recent Ipsos poll, released Dec. 22, the gap spiked to 15 percentage points. Forty-three per cent of men said they would vote for the Conservatives, compared with only 28 per cent of women.

Just over 11 per cent of Conservative MPs (14 of 125) are women, compared with nearly 22 per cent of Liberal members (21 of 96). The NDP Caucus is comprised of 41% women.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

the saga continues.....Beatty and the Beast: II

As the announcement of Stephan Dion's appointment of Joan Beatty in Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill Rivers spreads across Canada, outcry from all areas is been seeing, not only in the mainstream media but on Liberal Blogs.

Here are only a few of the many comments:

From our beloved friends at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation;
"We're not sure if Irish eyes will smile on her on St. Patrick's Day. Voters, some of which were in her old provincial riding, may not take kindly to someone who backed out on them so quickly before."

Premier Brad Wall states: "But we're just over a month from when the returns came in. It's hard to fathom that this wasn't a possibility known to others long before the decision she made here in the new year.

Lorne Calvert had this to say; ...calls Beatty's move a mistake saying if she wins the federal by-election she'll be a small voice in a large Opposition caucus. He instead thinks she should have gone with Layton's NDP. He goes as far as to refer to her as a "turncoat"

A BCer in Toronto Blog: "....If they had an appointment in mind for this riding they should have waved off Orchard long ago..."

Metis leader Jim Durocher says in an angry letter to Dion; "If this travesty occurs in Desnethe, if you sir lose sight of the basic proposition that the people of the north, be they my people, white or First Nation, have the basic right to select their own candidate, unless some emergency, I personally will not vote Liberal ... I suspect many others will in fact vote Conservative or stay home."

Murray Mandryck from the Leader Post: "At best, it appears Beatty likely got this appointment for the wrong reasons. At worst, it provides another example of what's wrong in politics today."

NewsTalk 650 Radio: "Beatty has some explaining to do. But – given this level of respect for voters -- don’t hold your breath. "

James Curran, over at "What do I know Grit" has a list of letters sent to both Dion and himself over the appointment.

"People in the Liberal Party of Canada have a national convention coming up at the end of this year. If that does not become a leadership convention, it would be an excellent opportunity to make specific changes to the constitution of the Liberal Party of Canada to limit the power of the leader to appoint candidates." writes blogger Jason Morris in

The Canadian Sentinel is reporting:
"Irate supporters of David Orchard are warning that Liberals will lose a coming by election in Saskatchewan now that Leader Stephane Dion has chosen to appoint an NDP defector as the party's candidate."

And then finally, you have the idiot comment of the week by Sask Party MLA, Dustin Duncan: ...:
the NDP party should be paying for a byelection in the Cumberland constituency now that MLA Joan Beatty is quitting provincial politics and running for the federal Liberal party in an upcoming byelection." I have to thank Buckdog for letting me know that one!!

So as you see, Dion and his cronies, have lost a huge amount of support over his actions. Joan Beatty needs to seek counselling to try to figure out how she can represent First Nations and Metis from her basement and David Orchard should seek out a new membership card. There are still another couple parties out there.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Dion's First of Many 2008 Blunders to Come

I invite you all to go over to Peterborough Politics and check out Cameron's comments. Couldn't of said it better......

Beatty and the Beast

So the Federal Liberals have anointed Joan Beatty, former Sask NDP Cabinet Minister as their candidate of choice in Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill Rivers over David Orchard.

It's not so much that Dion has found a candidate, as it is amazing that he and the Liberal Party would stifle the democratic process of a nomination race, preventing the grassroots members from deciding whom their candidate should be.

News that the nomination process might be circumvented was a direct blow to Liberal members in DMCR and has been a topic of discussion in Liberal blogs for weeks with some card carrying Liberals pondering their allegiance to the Party. Now that is has become official, it is going to be interested how much of the traditional Liberal vote will still hold.

When you look at the history of Orchard and the fact that if it hadn't been for him, and his work for Dion in the 2006 Leadership contest, Dion would not necessarily become Leader, it is completely amazing that Ralph Goodale was able to amplify his whining and convince Dion that he needed to step into the nomination.

What is even more amazing, is that Orchard had declared his candidacy in the Riding back in Oct and yet Goodale and Dion still found a way to shut him out 4 months later. I am curious as to how devote Orchard will remain to a second Party that continues to push him out of the way and tries to bury him. There's always Souris-Moose-Mountain I guess.

When you look at the Federal Liberals, it is no wonder that they flounder as the Official Opposition and are a completely ineffective in that role. Propping up Harper and the Conservatives is the only thing they can do until Dion actually figures out who is running the show in his own Party.

Joan Beatty is a wonderful lady and is committed to First Nations and Metis issues. What is most interesting here, is that she was just re-elected as the NDP MLA for Cumberland a mere 3 months ago with full knowledge of a pending Federal by-election and possible General election call.

Garnering 65.96% of the popular vote (3,124) over the Liberals measly 4.86% (230), and the Sask Party's 22.97% (1,088), the voters gave her a clear mandate to be and take their voice forward to the SASKATCHEWAN Legislature. These voters include the First Nation, Metis persons that she is so, supposedly, committed too.

Apparently, such commitment to voters is a rare thing. When you look back through history, it is not too surprising that the optics of "being in it for yourself" is presented. There are numerous examples of politicians who have jumped from federal to provincial, or provincial to federal politics under a different party's banner. Although in all fairness, not saying it was done, but it is entirely possible that a "promise of a Ministry" would and could, buy off the position of an Opposition MLA

So now the voters in DMCR, are presented with a rather interesting dilemma;

Do they vote for the Harper and the Conservatives, whom have done nothing for Saskatchewan with their current 12 MPs?

Do they vote for Dion and the Liberals, who are clearly an ineffective opposition, a prop for the Conservatives and whose candidate clearly has no allegiance to them?

Or do they put their voices with Jack Layton and the NDP, where they will be actually heard in Ottawa?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Have you made a year's salary yet?

From the Canadian Press, almost enough to make you sick. Ok I lied it is enough to make you sick!!!

Average Canadians work for shillings while CEOs make a killing

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA -- It's 10:33 a.m. on the first day of work after New Year's Day. Do you know how much your boss has earned so far this year?

If he or she is a top Canadian CEO and you are an average Canadian worker, about as much as you will make all year.

According to a new analysis of escalating CEO compensation compiled by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the average of the 100 highest-paid Canadian chief executives working for a publicly traded company earned $8,528,000 and chump change in 2006, compared to the average salary of $38,998 for people who aren't CEOs.

That means it will take little more than nine hours for the average boss in most large Canadian firms to earn what an average Canadian earns all year, or more precisely 10:33 a.m. Jan. 2 if it is assumed both were paid for the New Year's statutory holiday and got to work at 9 a.m.

The analysis by the Toronto-based think tank, an independent non-partisan research institute, contains some eye-popping comparisons.

For instance, the best paid CEO in the top-100 club earned close to $55-million in 2006, while a $3-million paycheque only got you into the club as a bottom dweller.

It would take just 64 of these CEOs to match the earning power of Brandon, Man., population 41,500.

Canada's top CEOs now make 218 times as much as the average Canadian full-time worker, compared with only 104 times as much in 1998.

The disparity may even be greater, argues the paper, if you consider large private companies or public firms that paid large salaries to executives other than their chief executives.

For instance Magna International founder Frank Stronach, who was chairman but not CEO of Canada's largest auto parts company, was paid more than $27-million (U.S.) in 2006, according to the group.

"I think you would probably have to go back to the robber baron era in North America during the late 1880s and early 1900s to find similar disparities," said Hugh Mackenzie, a former steelworker union official and researcher with the group, who wrote the report, entitled The Great CEO Pay Race.

The paper, made public yesterday, is similar to other advocacy reports from business critics and academics who, in the wake of corporate accounting scandals a few years ago, have criticized the way North American CEOs are compensated. Many critics point to Europe, which has lagged behind the United States and Canada in terms of exorbitant executive compensation.

Despite the criticism, not a great deal has changed in the system, except that compensation committees of corporate boards who approve CEO salaries are under more scrutiny from shareholders, unions and other corporate stakeholders.

As well, some mutual funds and institutional investors concerned about corporate performance have sought limits on executive compensation at company annual meetings.

John Mack, CEO of Wall Street investment bank Morgan Stanley, recently gave up his bonus for the year after the company took a $9.4-billion writedown linked to the U.S. subprime mortgage mess.

Proponents of the current system argue that CEO compensation is linked to corporate performance and stock options can inflate overall pay by millions of dollars when exercised during the kind of booming stock market we have seen in recent years.

As well, many executives - former Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli and Pfizer ex-chief Hank McKinnell, for example - had pre-negotiated employment packages that guaranteed huge severance payments if they were fired or left their company early.

Mr. Mackenzie said the figures show that there has been an explosion in CEO compensation, particularly since the mid-1990s, when regulators in Ontario and elsewhere began requiring public disclosure of CEO salaries and compensation paid to other top executives of publicly traded companies.

As well, the consolidation and globalization of industries in North America helped influence Canada's salary market for executives by what was happening in the United States.

"It appears to have had something to do with the fact that the market for chief executive officers became significantly an international market in the 1990s and the salary levels in the U.S. tended to slip over [into Canada]," he said.

"All it takes is one or two Canadian companies doing really well after hiring a high-profile American chief executive officer and others start to do it, and that tends to drive up the general level of CEO salaries."

Whether the CEOs are worth their weight in gold is a subjective matter, Mr. Mackenzie concedes, but adds: "Most of them are not Jim Balsillie of RIM [Research in Motion Ltd., maker of the BlackBerry]. Most are the corporate equivalent of rent-a-cops who come in for a short time and to suggest the wealth of these large corporations are created by one individual is ridiculous."