How did we get here and what’s next?

By Jim Lipkovits

Labour Day - a brief rest and respite from the daily grind, not just for Union workers, but for everyone. How we got here and where to from here?

One hundred and forty six years ago there was a lot of work needing  to be done to build, extend and consolidate political power and a physical presence to the edges of Canada. A great many people were needed to do all that was needed and although it was against British law, many of these working people were able to organize in Canada and struggle for justice and their basic human and civil  rights.

Labour DayIt was in Hamilton in Ontario, on January 27th, 1872, that workers organized “the Nine Hour Movement” in support of, naturally- the nine hour day. The idea spread quickly and  it was picked up first by the Printers Union in Toronto and then spread around the country. Very quickly after that, on March 25th  of 1872  the Printers Union went on strike for a fifty-eight hour week against publisher George Brown ( a “father” of Confederation) who immediately had the printers arrested and jailed under the provisions of Britain’s Combination Act.

 A month later workers in Hamilton staged a hugely successful march through the city of Hamilton demanding the nine-hour day. The action drew widespread support from the many other “nine-hour” groups, who sent delegates to the Hamilton marchers and became Canada’s first regional labour federation. 

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CONTEMPT OF PENNIES: Kinder Morgan fined pennies while water defenders face criminal contempt charges

By Brent Patterson

The BC Oil and Gas Commission, an industry-friendly Crown corporation that regulates pipelines in British Columbia, has imposed a modest fine on Kinder Morgan for violations of the province's Water Sustainability Act, which was implemented in February 2016 by the Christy Clark government "to ensure a sustainable supply of fresh, clean water that meets the needs of B.C. residents today and in the future."

No pipelinesThe Canadian Press reports, "The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission says it has fined Kinder Morgan Canada $920 for four violations of the provincial Water Sustainability Act related to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion."

"The commission says it issued tickets late last week for one violation related to non-compliance in the use of fish spawning deterrents and three related to non-compliance in water volume reporting -- each of which carries a $230 fine."

The article adds, "[Trans Mountain's media relations department] says the water withdrawal charges are for not reporting zero usage of water after it didn't withdraw water as it was permitted to do" while the other charges relate to their installation of deterrents to discourage fish from spawning in stream areas that would be affected by construction.

In September 2017, the Canadian Press reported, "[Trans Mountain] says its biologists had temporarily laid plastic fencing on the bottom of some sections of five streams through mid-August 2017 in preparation for pipeline construction there in early 2018, adding it had identified a total of 26 streams in British Columbia and Alberta where the mats would be used prior to spawning season."

While the provincial commission has imposed this modest fine, the federal government has not taken action.

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