Monday, April 28, 2008

Prairie province wants to hurt Canada's image..stop Bill 5 and 6

Please this important letter forwarded to me by Larry Hubich, President of the SFL

I have now received copies of over 2,500 letters from around the world sent to the Premier and the Minister of Labour calling on the Sask. Party government to withdraw Bills 5 & 6.
The one below is one of the best of those received. Our Premier has, in the past, made comments that he is impressed with how things are going in Ireland and he often uses it as an example of a place Saskatchewan should attempt to emulate.
Below is a letter from an individual named: Pól Ó Cearbhalláin of the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) Firefighters Branch, Ireland. He is not impressed with the direction and approach being taken by Mr. Wall and his collegues.
The letter is self-explanatory.
Larry Hubich
Saskatchewan Federation of Labour
220 - 2445 - 13th Avenue
Regina, Sk S4P 0W1
(306) 924-8573 (office)
(306) 537-7330 (cell)

From: Pól Ó Cearbhalláin []
Sent: Fri 18/04/2008 12:00 PM
To:; SFL;;;; Cara Banks; Larry Hubich
Subject: Withdraw Bills 5 and 6!

Is it not endearing and demonstratative to so many other countries that Canada has always valued consensus building in its approach to communities, and democracies enshrined at local, municipal, provincal and federal levels of government. Canadians have Like Irish citizens managed to show leadership on our merits and without becoming shadows of insignificance due to our respective large neighbouring countries. Under Thatcher's administration the anti - union stance taken by her and her colleagues attempted to smash trade unionism. The resulting polarisation in British Society can be linked back to bully tactics by government onto workers. Ireland has never chosen such a route and our national consensus model requires a tripartheid approach of government, unions and employers to produce national deals. this has worked for over 20 years and this little country had very strong union membership, over 75%.
The United States, similar to Britain had the re-emergence of anti union actions at a national level clearly indicated in the manner President Reagan and his administration handled the Air Traffic Controllers dispute, sack them all ! Of course the United States takes pride in ensuring trade union membership has been below 27% for so many years its hard to know when it was over 30%.
...and now a prairie province wants to hurt Canada's image. More specifically politicians want to take on workers in such a onslaught...and for what reason.

If there is one ideal that we in Ireland respect of Canadians is their independence of mind and positive, visible difference to their large neighbour. There is no need for such draconian legislation, this is the type of bill we would expect to see from Republican Governements in the United States.

Why oh! why would any Canadian government wish to embark on such a road.

I support responsibility, I support community, I support choice. Individual workers all understand communities be it family or wider afield, they understand the responsibilities that go with living in family or community structures and they also understand that they do have the right to consider with an individual conscience to embark on strike action. It is an affront to challenge the responsibility of an individual that is in organised labour.

It would be so heartening to see leadership and vision by the Premier and his team to decide that they will lead, not by attacking fellow canadians, not by attacking individual responsibilities, not by attacking communities, but to demonstrate that Saskatchewan and its newly elected administration is about positive and developing more and enshrining more maturity and responsibilities in provincial workers.

I dont like to use the word demand to anyone and I have chosen to alter this from the beginning of the union statement, I believe there is potential for leadership and responsibility from the

....Government of Saskatchewan to withdraw Bills 5 and 6, which by their nature are a direct attack on the fundamental trade union rights of Saskatchewan citizens. Bills 5 and 6 will uniquely tilt the balance of power in favour of one side, in this case the employers. This is not a responsible outcome by a government. Without meaningful negotiations at a tri-partheid level, workers, employers or government all loose.

respectfully I ask all those with influence to re-consider and demonstrate that Canada does its business different and should be an example to follow, not a poision to avoid.

Pól Ó Cearbhalláin, Dublin City, Ireland

Saskatchewan will have the worst labour legislation in Canada if these Bills pass. The Bills violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, the Human Rights Code, and international law, including the International Bill of Human Rights and several UN and ILO Conventions. Withdraw the Bills now.

Pól Ó Cearbhalláin
SIPTU Firefighters Branch

New Dems cashing in on Liberals indecisiveness

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OTTAWA–Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives are losing voters' support – a trend accelerated by the RCMP raid last week on Tory headquarters, according to a Toronto Star/Angus Reid poll released today.

The Conservatives stand at 33 per cent support across Canada, a loss of three percentage points since a similar poll in March. The Liberals have been the prime beneficiaries of that slide, up four percentage points to 30 per cent, according to the online poll of 1,007 Canadians.

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OTTAWA–Federal New Democrats are enjoying a bump in membership, a rise in fundraising and a spring in their step these days. And they're quietly giving thanks to Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion.

"It's so clear when you sit in the House. The moment the Liberals don't vote, Mr. Harper has a majority. ... Meanwhile, month after month passes with terrible Conservative policies being adopted," NDP Leader Jack Layton said in a recent interview.

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Conservatives tumble, NDP breaks 20 percent support

Checkout my good friend at Blogging a Dead Horse:

Jack Layton and the NDP are starting to see dividends from their strategy of taking on Harper over issues that impact ordinary people's lives like high gas prices and cell phone charges, and consistently being the country’s number one Harper fighter.

Today’s Toronto Star contains two examples.

The first is an Angus Reid poll commissioned by the Star which shows Conservative support tumbling three points in the last month, while NDP support has soared to the historic level of 20 percent – matching the 1988 election result which saw the party net 43 seats under Ed Broadbent.

Some of the regional breaks are also remarkable, including a strong showing of 19 in Ontario, 17 in Quebec, and in Manitoba and Saskatchewan where Layton leads with an incredible 46 percent of the vote. Even factoring the margin of error for the small prairie sample, the NDP still leads the Conservatives in the heart of the country.

But because polls are just polls, the other piece of good news for New Democrats is this story showing that Layton's pragmatic and principled opposition is being seen as the real force to beat Harper’s agenda -- resulting in tangible benefits in terms of increased NDP memberships, fundraising and momentum.

Political scientist Paul Nesbitt-Larking said Liberal decisions to abstain on high-profile issues has given the NDP room to present themselves "as the true opposition."

The Difference Between Tommy Douglas And Tom Lukiwski

Found at thescottross

"Clearly there is a difference between saying what one thinks is true and one saying what one knows to be hateful. "

Some have wrongly responded to those that criticize Tom Lukiwski for his discriminatory comments with references of far greater men then he making outrageous comments. For instance, Tom Lukiwski's comments are compared to those made by Tommy Douglas where he suggested being gay was a mental illness.

The problem with such a comparison is that in regards to the situation of Tommy Douglas, he didn't know better, no one did. The American Psychiatric Association up until 1975 had homosexuality on a list of mental disorders. So in regards to Tommy Douglas, he made certain comments not out of hate but out of ignorance. Tom Lukiwski on the other hand was motivated purely by hate.

Lukwiski's comments were known to be offensive by most if not all in 1991; no one could publicly utter "faggot," or suggest homosexuals are unclean and that they "spread diseases." even in rural Saskatchewan. It's easily acknowledged that Tom Lukiwski said these comments in private, but because he did, highlights the very fact he knew what he was saying was not publicly acceptable. He knew what he was saying offended others, and said it anyway.

In 1991 the opinion of hate held by Tom Lukiwski was not commonly held. In 1968 the opinion of ignorance held by Tommy Douglas was commonly held. Tom Lukiwski said what he said about homosexuals out of hate. Tommy Douglas said what he said about homosexuals because he didn't know better.

Tom Lukiwski knew what he was saying was wrong and hateful, and he said them anyway. The fact he made the decision to say such comments speaks to the character he developed for the first 40 years of his life.

Now what Tommy Douglas said was wrong, but his motivation was not hateful, Tom Lukiwski's was. It is on that note that the ignorant remarks of Tommy Douglas and other men differ from the hateful remarks of Tom Lukiwski's and cannot be compared. For others to suggest Douglas's comments are even comparable to Lukiwski's takes their motivations completely out of consideration. Clearly there is a difference between saying what one thinks is true and one saying what one knows to be hateful.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

New Democrats cashing in on Liberals' indecisiveness

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OTTAWA–Federal New Democrats are enjoying a bump in membership, a rise in fundraising and a spring in their step these days. And they're quietly giving thanks to Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion.

Dion's decisions to abstain on key Commons votes on immigration changes, climate change and the Tory's big tax cuts have given New Democrats political room to declare they are Parliament's "progressive" party.

"It's so clear when you sit in the House. The moment the Liberals don't vote, Mr. Harper has a majority. ... Meanwhile, month after month passes with terrible Conservative policies being adopted," NDP Leader Jack Layton said in a recent interview.

The Liberals have been careful in recent months not to oppose the government on key issues, which could force an election they don't want. And while the evidence is anecdotal, the New Democrats seem to be reaping the fallout.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

In and out MP's Identified

I invite you all to check the list for your MP!!!!
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Here, for the record, is the revised list of 66 candidates identified by the Liberals as having been implicated in the in-and-out scheme. The 67th candidate, we believe, is Liberato Martinelli, as noted below.

Cypress Hills-Grasslands, David Anderson
Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River, Jeremy Harrison

Winnipeg Centre, Helen Sterzer

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Mandryk calls it as it is - SP Government just plain old lazy!!

Murray Mandryck isn't that far off when he says Wall wanted to increase the limits so that they didn't have to work!!!!
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According to Wall's explanation on Wednesday, the new Saskatchewan Party cabinet has been wasting far too much of its precious time signing orders-in-council to buy fish filters and picnic tables -- the kind of expenditures that could and should be dealt with within departmental spending. Moreover, the public will eventually see this spending when final public accounts spending is tabulated in 18 to 24 months, the premier argued.

At best, this explanation suggests Wall's new cabinet either does not understand that its job is to scrutinize spending -- or is too lazy to do its job properly. At worst, this explanation is completely disingenuous and Wall has far more nefarious reasons for wanting this change.

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Sask Party about face on spending - caught in the act and running

I see Wall and his "transparent" government run fast when they get caught with their hands in the cookie jar..
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REGINA -- The Saskatchewan Party government has backed off, at least for now, from a legislative change the NDP charge would have led to less transparency in how public money is spent.

The government had proposed to increase the minimum value of transactions that must be approved by cabinet in an order-in-council to $350,000 from $50,000. Such orders are made public within a week.

"Once you've been caught you can do some quick retreating and that's what we're seeing today . . . it's either incompetence, which means they hadn't even read the bill, didn't understand what the bill said, or it was an effort to escape accountability," he said in question period.

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Sask Party Justice Minister must resign

If Don Morgan knew who the police office was, and is hiding information from us then he should resign his Ministry...oh wait...the Sask Party is the same as Harper, they do not have to be accountable to the public...never bad!!!!
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REGINA -- The NDP says Sask. Party Justice Minister Don Morgan should resign from cabinet for changing his story about how he knew an individual whom Regina police recently pointed to as the suspect in the leak of confidential police reports.

Morgan first told reporters last week he didn't know the retired Regina police officer said to be the suspect in the removal of reports from police headquarters. The documents detailed an alleged 1992 theft from the NDP caucus office and ended up in the hands of the Sask. Party.

Don Morgan, minister of justice, talks to media on Thursday.

Both Hansard records and newspaper files show that the Sask. Party raised issues on behalf of Regina police officers while in Opposition, and that Morgan was involved in a press conference about one of those issues. However, Morgan told reporters he didn't recall ever participating in a press conference with the individual he has since learned is a suspect in the matter involving the leaked documents.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Britains Got Talent 2008 - Andrew Johnston

No matter what they tell you..No matter how they tell you...NEVER, EVER sell yourself short...YOU are fantastic!!!!

Transparency and Wall....not this time either!!!

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The NDP accused the Saskatchewan Party government Wednesday of drawing a veil of secrecy over government operations with legislation introduced this week.

Bill 31 raises from $50,000 to $350,000 the dollar amount on transactions that must be approved by cabinet in an order-in-council, which are then made public within a week.

"If, for instance, this premier and cabinet wanted to make some very significant expenditures of up to $350,000 to individuals or groups in a year leading up to an election, then of course none of those expenditures would be traceable or observable until well past the election," Opposition Leader Lorne Calvert told reporters.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Premier's Letter Misrepresents Consultation

I invite you all to see Larry Hubich's comments on the typical misrepresentation coming out of the Sask Party Governments office surrounding Labour's "consultation" on Bills 5 and 6
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.
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Fixed Election Date Passed

We now have a certain date to watch the Sask Party buy our votes . The end of the constant lies and misrepresentation by them will hopefully come to an end Nov 7th.

If you look at the announcement, you see one of the biggest lies stare us right in the face. Brad Wall said that due to public pressure they would not remove the sheaf as the provincial logo, yet every news release, website, billboard and letterhead has the sheaf removed and replaced with the Ministry logo.

Nov 7th cannot come soon enough. If they lie to our faces, imagine what they are doing behind our backs. Imagine the lies and misrepresentation behind Bills 5 and 6.
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The Saskatchewan Party government today passed its first pieces of legislation since taking office last November.

Six bills were given third and final reading, including a new law establishing a fixed election date every four years.

"My very first act as Premier-elect was to announce the date of the next election on November 7, 2011, so I'm pleased that we have now passed the legislation to make this a reality," Premier Brad Wall said.

The new law sets the provincial election date as the first Monday in November, every four years.

Among the other bills passed today was consumer protection legislation to eliminate expiry dates on gift cards.

"Today, we set an expiry date on governments and eliminated the expiry date on gift cards," Wall said.

Wall said the government expects to pass several more pieces of legislation before the session ends on May 15, including new legislation that will ensure the provision of essential services in the province in the event of a strike.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

We always follow the Law as we understand it

I invite you to go check out Impolitical for an amazing take on Harper and his election scam!
"'Our position is that we always follow the law as we understand it,' the prime minister said in response to a reporter's question at a joint news conference with U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon in New Orleans.

'We were following in the last election the interpretations that had been put on that law in the past,' Harper said. 'If those interpretations change, we will of course conform, but we will expect the same rules for every single party.'"(emphasis added)
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Tories Cheat in last election

Go figure, Harper had to cheat to win....
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MONTREAL–The federal opposition parties are accusing the Conservatives of "cheating" during the last election by deliberately exceeding campaign spending limits.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Corrupt Conservatives ignore own Accountability

So here we are with a Conservative Government hell bent on accountability. It's too bad that they demand it for everyone but themselves.

The stories are amazing:

Tories accused of election advertising misspending
Opposition blasts Tories over campaign finance controversy

Yesterday, the Tories once again tried to manipulate the media by inviting only a select few to a media conference about the Elections Canada warrant. Much to their dismay the other outlets found out and when they tried to get in, the Tories left down the back hall in haste. Now that's accountability!!!!

Not only is it disgusting that the Tories broke Elections Canada laws and are claiming that it is a "publicity stunt" on behalf of Elections Canada, they are now wasting our money on mail outs into selected ridings across Canada.

Each MP is allowed to send out what is called a 10%'er. These are mailouts designed to keep their constituents informed of what is going on in the House of Commons and to keep us up to date on the issues. These mailouts are delivered free by Canada Post at the expense of the taxpayers.

The Harper Conservatives are using your tax dollars to attack Jack Layton. As the Dion and the Liberals are in bed with Conservatives and are needed to keep propping up the Government, Harper's only true opposition is Jack Layton.

What is even of more interest, is that they cannot attack the individual candidates, so they have to attack Layton directly. Jack must be doing something right if he has the entire Tory Caucus going after him!!!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

As expected the PFO from the PMO

April 11, 2008

Brian A. Nixon
93 Cartier Cres
Saskatoon, SK S7L 4L8

Dear Mr. Nixon:

On behalf of the Prime Minister, thank you for your correspondence regarding videotaped comments made by Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski in 1991.

Please note Mr. Lukiwski has apologized publicly for his comments. For your reference we have attached the statement of apology delivered by Mr. Lukiwski in the House of Commons on April 4.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to write.


Salpie Stepanian
Assistant to the Prime Minister

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What matters is not the context of Lukiwski's words - it's the text...part two

Ottawa Citizen

Eric Savoy, Citizen Special

Published: Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Harper government is not particularly interested in appeasing gay men and lesbians, who are unlikely to vote for them anyway, and by accepting Mr. Lukiwski's apology they throw a bone to their base of social conservatives, who are no doubt still smarting after the gay marriage legislation. But make no mistake: had Mr. Lukiwski described Jews, for example, as a "disease," he would share the fate of Mr. Ahenakew and be packing his bags for Saskatchewan.

What might this incident and its dubious resolution tell us about the status of gay men and lesbians in Canada? What can be said of a country that, in the spirit of pious liberalism, enacts no end of anti-discriminatory legislation, yet allows an "Honourable Member" of its Parliament to carry on despite a track record of virulent homophobia?

It would be too easy to dismiss the atonement and absolution of Mr. Lukiwski as mere hypocrisy, even if we believe it has been coldly calculated. As citizens, we are being reminded that there is a significant time-lag between the enactment of progressive legislation and the maturing of our collective social attitudes. This is not a useless lesson, and we would do well, as a nation, to reflect upon the likelihood that we are not as advanced as we think we are, and upon the possibility that we may not have come far at all.

For better or for worse, Tom Lukiwski serves the nation as a kind of Everyman. His words are evil -- indeed, they are the worst one can imagine -- but he is not evil, except in a typical and perhaps representative way.

Scratch the surface, and you may well find a considerable population of Tom Lukiwskis out there. It is not unlikely that many people will recognize themselves in Tom Lukiwski's speech act, and that some of them will burn with shame.

I still maintain that, even in 1991, no civilized person said such appalling things, but I also believe that such a toxic spill can have a salutary consequence. Mr. Lukiwski made a spectacle of himself, and that spectacle has not failed to attract our horrified fascination. Ultimately, it doesn't matter whether people countenance or condemn him. What matters is that everybody will respond to Everyman by asking "Am I that man? Is that what I am?" And precisely as such, then, Tom Lukiwski has contributed something of value to the steep learning curve of tolerance, and to the difficult project of our democracy.

Eric Savoy is a professor of comparative literature at the Université de Montréal.

What matters is not the context of Lukiwski's words - it's the text

Ottawa Citizen

Eric Savoy, Citizen Special

Published: Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tom Lukiwski must have had a very, very bad day last week when the Saskatchewan NDP released a videotape on which he spouts poisonous disgust for "homosexual faggots with dirt under their fingernails that transmit diseases." In the wake of Mr. Lukiwski's apology and the efforts of the Harper government to circle the wagons around him, much has been made of the "context" of his inflammatory rhetoric.

The video was shot as a party joke in the PC campaign headquarters of Grant Devine, during his unsuccessful bid for re-election as Saskatchewan's premier, way back in 1991. It is a "private" document, not a public one, we are told, and besides, things were different then.

Yet such explanation does not achieve what the Tories really want, which is to explain Mr. Lukiwski's hateful speech away, to reduce it to insignificance. Better, they say, to forgive and forget. Case closed.

Not so fast. There are important lessons to be learned from this unsavoury incident -- not just about homophobia, but about hate speech in general. For one thing, hate speech seems inevitably to move toward metaphors of dirt and disease, metaphors of infection and contamination. To many readers, Mr. Lukiwski's words were uncannily reminiscent of those offered by aboriginal leader David Ahenakew, who said of European Jews in Hitler's Germany, "how do you get rid of ... you know, a disease like that that's gonna take over?"

Although the histories of homophobia and anti-Semitism are very different, they converge -- and not for the first time -- in this all-too-predictable metaphor. By the terms of this inflammatory rhetoric, Jews and homosexuals are essentially interchangeable. Just fill in the blank: X is a disease, and disease transmits disease, and it endangers us all, and it must be eliminated. To write such a sentence is to realize how easily one thing -- a single word -- leads to other things. Words, then, do not simply lead to violence: they are a form of violence.

This context -- the metaphors that hate speech gravitates toward -- is, I suggest, precisely the scale in which Mr. Lukiwski's words, the harm they do, and the violence they incite, should be weighed. From this point of view, it doesn't matter that they were spoken in an unofficial context, or that they were recorded 17 years ago. If this speech act came back to haunt Tom Lukiwski on that very, very bad day, it has also returned to do its toxic work in the present, and in a very public forum. In other words, what ought matter to us is not the context of Mr. Lukiwski's words -- it's the text.

Another, perhaps more sobering, lesson to be drawn from recent nastiness has to do with what I would call comparative bias. No doubt the Tory strategizers were thinking, thank God that Mr. Lukiwski didn't target women, Jews, aboriginals, immigrants, or people of colour, because that would really be indefensible. No amount of "contextualizing" could get rid of that. This is a frank speculation, but given the realities of Canadian federal politics, it has a certain legitimacy.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Activists rally outside Lukiwski's Regina office

Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski apologizes prior to question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday April 4, 2008. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS) Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski apologizes prior to question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday April 4, 2008. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Activists rally outside Lukiwski's Regina office

Updated Tue. Apr. 8 2008 10:00 PM ET

The Canadian Press

REGINA -- Chanting 'homophobia has got to go,' members of Regina's gay community rallied Tuesday at the constituency office of a Conservative MP who made homophobic comments on an old video.

About 60 placard-carrying protesters demanded redress from Tom Lukiwski over anti-gay slurs he made on the 16-year-old video that surfaced last week.

"Obviously something has to happen to Tom Lukiwski, either he be stripped of his duties or he resign,'' said Nathan Markwart with the Gay and Lesbian Community of Regina.

In the tape from 1991, Lukiwski says "There's As and there's Bs. The As are guys like me. The Bs are homosexual faggots with dirt on their fingernails that transmit disease.''

The video, released by the Saskatchewan New Democrats, was shot during a party at Saskatchewan Progressive Conservative campaign headquarters when Lukiwski was a provincial Tory.

Lukiwski has since apologized, insisting he is not homophobic and that the comments do not reflect his beliefs then or now.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledged in the House of Commons on Monday that Lukiwski's remarks were "completely unacceptable,'' but said the Regina MP has sincerely apologized and the matter is closed.

Markwart disagreed.

"In talking to members of our community (Monday) their sentiments are very clear -- they're frustrated. They're very troubled by the actions of the prime minister,'' said Markwart.

"We demand action, we don't think the issue is closed.''

Markwart noted that just three years ago Lukiwski told the Commons that legalizing same-sex marriage could lead to polygamy and social decline. He also pointed out that Lukiwski's predecessor, Larry Spencer, was booted from the Conservative caucus after he said homosexuality should be outlawed.

Markwart also said Lukiwski still needs to answer to his Regina constituents, adding that the gay group has yet to receive a phone call or a letter from the MP.

But the community wants to hear more than just words, said Rick Pollard with the Regina Pride Committee.

"Apologies are all well and good, but in the end talk is cheap,'' said Pollard.

"If (Lukiwski) sincerely wants the queer community's forgiveness, he has to demonstrate his willingness to pay some sort of a personal price for the pain that words like that can cause.''

Lukiwski's constituency office was closed Tuesday.

The protesters called for funding for anti-homophobia organizations, asked the federal government to reverse a ban on sexually active gay men donating blood or organs and urged the Saskatchewan government to end homophobic bullying in schools.

But in the midst of seriousness in their message, they also tried to put a positive spin on Lukiwksi's remarks.

The coalition of groups at the rally have started calling themselves 'the B-Team.'

"What we're saying is if an A person casts people out ... makes everyone else an outsider that isn't exactly like them and perpetuates prejudice then we don't want to be A,'' said Markwart.

"In fact we're proud to be B. We'd rather be B."

Friday, April 4, 2008

My open letter to Tom Lukiwski

Mr. Lukiwski:

As a gay male I cannot find the words to express the shock, disgust and horror I felt when I heard and saw the comments you made in a video tape some 16 years ago. My nails are clean, and rest assured, I am not spreading diseases!!!

While it is admirable that you immediately issued two apologies, one in a scrum in the foyer and the second in the House on Friday, I feel your words ring shallow, are not sincere and is an attempt to mitigate damage and save your job.

I feel your apology is something you were forced to do and that in no way reflects the man you are. Had the comments being made when you were in your teens and did not know better, then I may, but highly doubtful, be convinced that it was a question of maturity and bad judgment.

Sir, you made these statements when you were in your 40’s. I have a very hard time believing that you now feel different towards gay men and women. A leopard does not change its spots.

Men, women and children, both in Canada and around the world are beaten daily because of their sexuality. Some are put to death for it. But it is ok because you have said you were sorry.

Children in school have been beaten and ostracized due to their sexuality. Buts their oks because you said you were sorry.

Teens have killed themselves because of the backlash from friends and families over sexuality. But it is ok because you said you were sorry.

Sir, I am 49 years old. I have lost jobs, lost friends and being cast from my family because of my sexuality. I personally, have been physically attacked and assaulted because of my sexuality. But it must all be ok because you said you were sorry. Even in 2008, I still face discrimination because of my sexuality. The whispers, jokes and comments have become a daily norm. Not a single day goes by where someone doesn’t say something about gay men and women. Every comment made is followed by a “gee I am sorry”. Apparently, one may say anything they want as long as that phrase is the tag line.

Mr. Lukiwski, we have young Sisters and Brothers, giving their lives overseas to ensure that the rights of citizens are protected. Not a day goes by where the stories of what our Armed Forces face are played on the media. They are fighting for the protection of rights and freedoms, yet here, at home, we have persons, like you, perpetuating hatred and hurtful remarks to our citizens. But it must be ok because you have said you were sorry.

As a political junkie, I watch daily the proceedings of the House of Commons. I have watched you both speak on and vote against Bills that would promote equality for citizens of my country, my Canada, yet you have the audacity to stand before the House of Commons and all of Canada, with shallow words of regret.

As a Leader, you are expected to set an example for us all. You are expected, as hard as it may be, to be above reproach. I ask that you please put actions where your words are and do the admirable thing and immediately resign as MP for Regina Lumsden Lake Centre.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski

Hateful statements by Wall and Lukiwski part 3...

CTV - Tory MP apologizes for anti-gay comments - Sask. MP apologizes for videotaped comments - babble

You can see the video of the original tape as well as videos of the events today at the CTV site as well.

I cannot believe how many people say that because it is 16 years old, one should let it go. I find that repulsive. These men are elected officials. Lukiwski was 40 years old at the cannot tell me that an ADULT did not know any better or has changed his colours to cover his ass.

When will the right wing accept that there are all types of people in this world. They constant homophobic remarks are passed of as humour. How many of our children have committed suicide because of their sexuality? How many beatings have occurred because you were gay? How many jobs were lost?

A fellow blogger, soop, has commented and added this as an example of the right wing mentality:

"... Doreen Eagles SaskParty MLA for Estevan, following a federal debate during the 2006 Federal election was heard to say something to the effect of "Who was that lesbian that had to bring up same sex marriage"

That lesbian was my mother in law ...

And if Doreen paid more attention to the debate then ensuring she cheered loudly for The conservative candidate and booed for any conflicting opinion she would have noticed that when she took the microphone she stated "As a Heterosexual Mother of 2, and happily married woman"

And even is she was a pink purple toed hippopotamus ... its an issue of human rights, the Saskparty and the conservatives continue to step on them.
Ugh ... I have to continue to shake my head"

Tory MP apologizes for anti-gay comments

Tape scandal involves Sask. Premier, Tory MP: NDP


Globe and Mail Update and Canadian Press

The Saskatchewan NDP has released a 16-year-old videotape featuring Premier Brad Wall and Tory MP Tom Lukiwski that it says contains sexist, racist and homophobic comments.

In particular, the NDP said Mr. Lukiwski made “hateful” remarks on the 1991 tape shot at the Conservative Party headquarters following a leader's debate, while Mr. Wall reportedly made inappropriate ethnic comments.

“Why would you videotape this, why would you keep it and why would you leave it behind?” NDP deputy leader Pat Atkinson said at a press conference Thursday.

“We decided that given Mr. Lukiwski's comments – he's a member of Parliament representing the people of our province in Ottawa – that the comments were so troubling and so disturbing that people needed to know what he had said,” she said.

Those comments include a homophobic diatribe, said NDP MP Bill Siksay, who repeated them during Question Period.

Mr. Siksay told the House of Commons Thursday that Mr. Lukiwski “allegedly states on the tape, ‘Let me put it to you this way. There's A's and B's. The A's are guys like me. The B's are homosexual faggots with dirt in their fingernails that transmit diseases.' ”

In response, Government House Leader Peter Van Loan said he was unfamiliar with the videotape but would take the matter seriously.

“The comments do sound distressing and inappropriate and they will have due attention,” Mr. Van Loan said.

There was no immediate comment from Mr. Lukiwski. A spokeswoman at Mr. Wall's office told the Premier was not able to respond immediately to the allegations.

"We're just now reviewing the tape," said Bonny Braden. "We just got a copy a few minutes ago."

The New Democrats say they found the tape in a camera case when they moved into Opposition offices after Mr. Wall's Saskatchewan Party won last fall's provincial election.

Mr. Lukiwski was a Tory organizer at the time and Mr. Wall was a ministerial aide.

Ms. Atkinson said the pair are heard on tape ridiculing Roy Romanow, who defeated the provincial Tories in the 1991 election. “They're done in the context of Mr. Romanow and his descent, his ethnic background,” Ms. Atkinson said.

“I would say that he is using an immigrant accent of some kind and he is referring in the end to Mr. Romanow ... There are those of us who grew up at a time when in the province of Saskatchewan negative things were said about people of Eastern European background and they were hurtful things,” she added.

Ms. Atkinson also said there were inappropriate remarks about the gender of the provincial Liberal leader at the time, Lynda Haverstock.

More to come...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

MP's voting record should hold them accountable

It is among the most fundamental pieces of information in a democracy: the record of how an elected representative votes on behalf of constituents.

But most Canadians would struggle to find a list showing how their MPs voted on legislation before the House of Commons, so buried are these data in confusing parliamentary records.

Voting records for elected representatives in other countries are readily available on the Internet. The votes in the U.S. Congress are listed on the House of Representatives website and there are numerous public-interest groups that chart online the voting records of American politicians.

One can see, for instance, that Democratic presidential candidate and Illinois senator Barack Obama missed 37.4 per cent of recorded votes in the U.S. Senate, and voted in line with Democrats 96.7 per cent of the time.

But there is no official publication that lists the voting records for Canada's MPs.

The results of recorded votes in the House of Commons are buried in Hansard, the transcript of the debates, and the House journals, and these do not list votes by MP.

To find out how an MP voted on any given bill or motion, readers must navigate through the website and, by cross-referencing with an index, find the journal for the day of the vote, then scan through it for the rollcall listing the yeas and nays recorded. For those not familiar with parliamentary procedure, the records can be confusing.

The journals list only the results of each vote and do not aggregate the results to see how any one MP voted on different bills or motions.

A Canwest News Service story this week revealed Liberal MPs have on average participated in only 64 per cent of the votes in the House this session, a rate less than the turnout in the last federal election.

Liberals aren't showing up for votes, and when they do vote, they vote with the Conservatives 60% of the time, compared to only 26% of the time for the NDP.

There is a privately run website tried to fill this information gap by collating all the voting results for MPs.

Web developer Cory Horner, of Victoria, B.C., created three years ago because he was frustrated by the process required to find voting records online, however it is lacking in current stats as it is hard to keep up updating the site.

If MP's knew their constituents were likely to be presented with this information during an election, it causes them to think twice - in a positive sense. Hopefully, the voters would use the information to help decide whom they really want representing them in Ottawa.

We should all keep these facts in mind the next time the Liberals try to tell voters that only a 'Liberal' vote can stop Stephen Harper in Saskatchewan: 'Why vote for Liberals who--even if they show up--are more likely than not to vote with Stephen Harper?'