February Canada Supreme Court Date:
Bill 29 Goes on Trial
by Marco Procaccini
The legality of the legislation used by the Campbell government to shred signed collective agreements for health care workers—Bill 29—will be decided by the top court in Canada early in 2006.
On Feb. 8 and 9, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear the legal arguments advanced by B.C. health care unions and then determine whether the legislation violates basic rights protected by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Throughout the long legal struggle mounted by the BCGEU along with the Hospital Employees’ Union and the B.C. Nurses Union, the unions have alleged that the heavy-handed legislation violates constitutionally protected equality and freedom of association rights.
This is the final legal round in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge first launched by HEU, the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union, the B.C. Nurses’ Union and others in March, 2002.
“Bill 29 virtually shredded legally negotiated collective agreements in the health care sector and made it possible to fire thousands upon thousands of skilled, experienced health care workers in every region of the province,” says HEU’s secretary-business manager Judy Darcy.... con't
Don't believe the hype:
What's really behind the Fraser Institute's "Tax Freedom Day."
(OTTAWA) Each summer the Fraser Institute announces the arrival of "tax freedom day:" the day when Canadians allegedly stop "working for the government" and start "working for themselves." A study by Neil Brooks, released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, takes a closer look at Tax Freedom Day and finds that to arrive at this politically loaded and heavily-reported date the Fraser Institute's calculations understate the income of Canadians, overstate their taxes and misuse the concept of averages.
"The concept of Tax Freedom Day is a gimmick designed to suggest that Canadians derive no benefit from the taxes they pay when nothing could be further from the truth," explains Brooks. "With their taxes, Canadian citizens buy their most valued goods and services: high-quality public schools, world-class universities, excellent medical services, public parks and libraries, safe streets, and liveable cities."
In addition to reinforcing the suggestion that the goods and services Canadians provide to themselves through their taxes do not enlarge their freedoms or enrich their lives, the methods used by the Fraser Institute to calculate Tax Freedom Day are also deeply flawed.... con't
CPPNews - A former Canada Post Corporation Security Chief, implicated in spying and illegal covert activities against Canadian Union of Postal Workers leaders in the 1990’s, may be poised to do the same to locked-out TWU members in the bitter Telus dispute.
Accufax Investigations has hired Michael Thompson in a high-level position at the same time as major client, Telus, initiated lock-out action against its own workers. “We don’t think this is a coincidence”, said CUPW National President Deborah Bourque.
“AFI is a notorious strikebreaking firm and we are worried the hiring of Thompson may have ugly consequences for TWU activists” added Bourque.
“The unsavoury tale of Thompson’s crusade against CUPW leaders in Toronto surfaced in author, Andrew Mitrovica’s, 2002 investigative book, Covert Entry”.
In his capacity as manager of Canada Post Corporation Security and Investigations, Thompson ordered his inspectors to investigate and collect information on virtually every facet of postal union activists’ lives” said Evert Hoogers, CUPW National Union Representative.
“The list included financial information, telephone records, intimate details of workers’ personal relationships and, disturbingly, even the names and addresses of the schools attended by union leaders’ children”, explained Hoogers.
A CPC Security inspector who worked for Thompson has also made the highly publicized, unrefuted claim that Thompson ordered and participated in the break-in of CUPW leaders’ cars just prior to the CUPW strike in 1991. The same inspector said he was authorized to intercept and scrutinize mail destined for the homes of his CUPW targets.
“Any corporation allowing covert actions such as these utterly disrespects its workers and their union”, said Bourque. “If Telus, either on its own or through AFI, contemplates a similar course of action, it will reap the same response Canada Post did in the 1990s – poisoned labour relations, a state of war between workers and their employer, and a sullied reputation in the minds of the public and potential customers.”
AFI International Group announced on August 8, 2005, the appointment of Michael Thompson as Executive Vice-President, citing his “esteemed career” and describing his investigative service as “revered for its preventive programs designed for the corporate sector”.