Perhaps the creepiest thing you will ever see.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Watson Wyatt found in a survey of 3,000 Canadians that only 44 per cent trust their company's leadership, “with the levels of trust dropping substantially at lower levels of the organization.”
Furthermore, only 43 per cent of survey respondents said their leaders respond with straight answers.
“The findings clearly indicate there is room for improvement in establishing effective two-way communication with employees, in order to generate a higher level of employee motivation and commitment,” said Debra Horsfield, practice leader in organizational effectiveness at Watson Wyatt.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
PQ members looking for a scapegoat will blame Quebec Solidaire for splitting the sovereignist and progressive vote. Although there are only a few ridings where a combined PQ-QS vote would have made a difference, it is true that the PQ did have to deploy resources differently to combat Quebec Solidaire on the left, thus preventing the party from doing a better job fighting the Liberals and ADQ. That said, if there were ever a time to eat into PQ support, it was the 2007 provincial election - but Quebec Solidaire could not deliver in any significant way outside a couple of ridings.
It may be too early to predict the demise of Quebec Solidaire. Despite its poor electoral performance in 2007, reconciliation between the left and the PQ does not appear to be an immediate priority, especially while Boisclair hangs in as leader. However, if (when) the constitutional question re-emerges as a powerful cleavage in Quebec politics expect the PQ to gobble up what remains of Quebec Solidaire. The PQ, like it or not, is regarded as THE sovereignist party. Nationalism has proven to be an incredibly powerful political force in Quebec - one that Quebec Solidaire could neither harness nor overcome while remaining in the shadows of the PQ.
Monday, March 26, 2007
On an evening when members saluted late party legend Mel Swart and where the candidates spoke of preserving the legacies of Canada Pension Plan architect Stanley Knowles and medicare champion Tommy Douglas, the focus was on on the future and ending the longtime Liberal reign in Welland.
The homage to Swart started off with former party leader Alexa McDonough, who served as the special guest speaker to the meeting.
"It's something to think about how thrilled Mel would have been not only to be here tonight but to celebrate the first New Democrat MP in this area," she said...
..."I know with their support and all of you this riding will be orange. It will no longer be red," he declared to roaring applause.
The riding was a tight three-way contest in 2006, and he didn't waste time outlining what sets his party apart.
"I think at the end of the day, people will realize you can trade Liberals for Conservatives or Conservatives for Liberals and you end up with the same thing," he said.
He served notice to Liberal MP John Maloney, who opposed legal recognition for same-sex marriages, saying human rights and social justice apply to all people at all times....
...Allen will have to take a leave of absence from Pelham town council when the federal campaign begins.
Welland is one of a handful of seats the NDP will be targeting in the next federal election. The party came within 5% of defeating the Liberal incumbent last time, and with Liberal fortunes sinking in Ontario, this riding will be one to watch.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Friday, March 23, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Preference for next Premier
Dexter (NDP) 30%
MaDonald (PC) 27%
Next Liberal leader 16%
Don't Know 20%
Sample size: 850
Margin of error: +/- 3.4 19/20
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Francoise David argues that today's PQ is neither progressive nor feminist. According to the polls, Québec Solidaire is stalled at roughly 5% of the vote. Despite the fact that support for the party is concentrated in the east end of Montreal, the party is unlikely to win a seat with these kinds of numbers. That said, look for a couple of strong second place finishes in Mercier, Gouin, and Ste. Marie - Ste. Jacques.
Corporate Canada's massive lobbying effort paid off and the majority of the Liberal caucus showed their true colours.
How did prominent Liberals vote on Bill C-257?
What about the Conservatives?
Only one Conservative MP supported the bill, Jeff Watson from Essex.
As expected, the Tories overwhelmingly opposed the bill (although a handful did support it at second reading). It is interesting to note that St. Catharines MP, Rick Dykstra, one of the few Conservatives who supported the bill at second reading, decided to vote against it at third reading. Dykstra had assured local unions in Niagara that he would be supporting the bill. Organized labour in Niagara is unlikely to forget this flip flop. When Dykstra came out in support of the bill originally, many trade unionists were pleasantly surprised. Dykstra likely supported the bill to appease or neutralize the labour movement in St. Catharines, which has some political clout. Having won the St. Catharines seat by only a couple hundred votes in 2006, Dykstra was looking to make friends. However, someone with more political savvy may have informed him that organized labour was not exactly fertile ground for new Conservative votes. He clearly was pressured into changing his vote by the corporate lobby. The political fallout from Dykstra's flip flop is likely going to be significant. Why? Because unions are more willing to fight over something they had and then lost rather than something they never had in the first place. In other words, if Dykstra didn't want anti-scab legislation, he should have voted against it from the start. By extending an olive branch to unions and then using instead to beat them over the head will surely raise the ire of organized labour.
For more background info click here, here, and here.
From La Presse:
Le président de la CSQ, Réjean Parent, a indiqué qu'il n'était pas possible de rester neutre dans l'actuelle campagne électorale, mercredi, lors de son allocution d'ouverture des travaux du conseil général de la CSQ.
M. Parent a indiqué à ses troupes avoir sollicité des rencontres avec les cinq principales formations politiques et de n'avoir pu en rencontrer que trois, celles pour lesquelles il demande à ses membres de voter.
À ses yeux, les équipes Charest et Dumont représentent un réel danger pour l'avenir des services publics, en particulier en ce qui a trait à la santé et à l'éducation.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Nycole Turmel, former president of the Pubic Service Alliance of Canada, one of Canada's largest unions, has endorsed Québec solidaire. PSAC is an affiliate of the Quebec Federation of Labour, which has endorsed the PQ.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Chris Rock ponders the chances of McCain, Giuliani, Obama and Clinton.
Liberals Will Vote Against Anti-Scab Law, But Run on the Introduction of an Anti-Scab Law in the Next Election
More details in this previous blog entry about the recent demonstration in Niagara to protest Dion and the Liberal Flip-Flop on Bill C-257.
Also, Dion's ridiculous position on anti-scab laws was described in today's St. Catharines Standard.
Dion expects the campaigning to start for real, soon.
And among the campaign promises to come will be a new law to prevent scab labour, he said. That was Dion's answer to about 100 people who picketed the Club Roma visit to protest the Liberals withdrawing support for Bill C-257.
Due to receive third reading Wednesday, the bill would prevent the use of replacement workers during strikes.
The Liberals supported the bill during second reading, but withdrew support over concerns C-257 didn't protect essential services.
Bill supporters feel the Canadian labour code already protects essential services, however, said Bruce Allen, vice-president of Canadian Auto Workers Local 199.
Dion met with some of the protesters on Saturday, including members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, but didn't agree to support the bill.
"It's positive that he met with us, but we're by no means satisfied," Allen said outside Club Roma on Saturday, where protesters from Niagara, Hamilton and Toronto chanted slogans and waved banners.
"What would impress me is results, not cordiality."
Results will have to wait until the next election, Dion said.
The Liberal leader said the definition and protection of essential services needs to be "clarified" in any new legislation.
"We'll come back with a better bill. If there's an election before that, we'll put that commitment in our platform," he said.
On Saturday March 17, 2007, the St. Catharines & District Labour Council organized a demonstration outside a Liberal fundraiser in St. Catharines to protest Stéphane Dion and the Liberal flip-flop on anti-scab legislation (bill C-257). The demonstration was very successful. In fact, we had more people on the picket lines than there were Liberals attending the fundraiser!
The demonstration was timely given that Parliament will be voting on third reading of bill C-257 on March 21, 2007. Before Dion arrived, one of his staff members approached the organizers and suggested Dion would speak to a small delegation regarding his position on anti-scab laws before addressing the party faithful.
Our delegation consisted of Ontario Federation of Labour President Wayne Samuleson, a CLC staffer, a representative from CAW 199, a strking worker from COPE 343, and yours truly.
When Dion arrived, he rolled down his back seat window to take a flyer from a demonstrator before being whisked across our picket line. The delegation was already inside waiting to meet him. We met for about ten minutes with Dion, Welland MP John Maloney, and a Liberal staffer who took notes.
The CLC staffer argued that the Liberals could not justifiably use essential services arguments to withdraw support for bill C-257, given that that one has no impact on the other.
The striking COPE 343 worker gave a personal story about her 6-month long strike and how the use of scab labour is undermining bargaining efforts.
Samuleson suggested to Dion that he could not talk about social justice with a straight face without supporting anti-scab laws.
Dion agreed to disagree with the CLC position on essential services. He then suggested that should the bill not pass, his party will commit to including in its election platform a promise to implement a federal anti-scab law that fits within the Liberal framework. The meeting then came to an end.
Dion’s response to the protest signaled to me that the Liberals have no intention of revisiting their most recent flip-flop. Instead, he made some ridiculous empty promise about including a promise to implement an anti-scab law in the next Liberal platform. I think it’s clear that Dion’s decision to shift gears on anti-scab laws has more to do with partisan politics than with the public interest. When bill C-257 passed at second reading in October 2006 by a vote of 167-101, Dion was not the party leader. As leader, Dion is out to settle some old scores. I would suggest that Dion’s flip-flop was instigated by the fact that bill C-257 was the brainchild of the Bloc Québécois, introduced as a private members’ bill by Gatineau MP Richard Nadeau. Despite the merits of anti-scab laws, supporting a BQ bill would be seen as a political liability for Dion in particular.
In effect, Dion is willing to sell out working class families on anti-scab laws for his own narrow partisan interests. It is becoming painfully clear that Stéphane Dion is not a leader.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Among Francophone voters:
Pickets prepare for Dion's Niagara visit
Federal Liberal Leader Stephane Dion will be in St. Catharines this weekend, but he won't be making any public appearances in the Garden City.
Dion will attend a Liberal fundraiser at Club Roma Saturday at 12:45 p.m. Only those with a ticket will be allowed to attend.
Elizabeth Whiting, a spokeswoman in Dion's Ottawa office, said the leader of the opposition will not be making any policy announcements during his talk.
The fundraiser will be Dion's second Niagara stop on Saturday.
At 11 a.m., he will give a speech in French, open to the public, at Club Social in Welland.
Though the Club Roma appearance is a closed-door affair, members of the St. Catharines and District Labour Council will be outside protesting the Liberals' plan to withdraw support for proposed anti-scab legislation in Bill C-257.
"In B.C. and Quebec, where anti-scab legislation exists, the length of labour disputes is reduced, as are the incidents of violence on picket lines," said Larry Savage, a professor of labour relations and political science at Brock University.
Savage, who is helping the council organize Saturday's picket, said the Liberals supported the bill during its second reading in October, but have recently decided to back away from the bill over concerns it does not exclude essential services.
"Essential services are already protected in the Canada Labour Code," Savage said. "So that is a red herring. Anti-scab legislation is about restoring fairness and balance to labour relations in Canada."
Dion's weekend stops in Niagara are part of his Canada-wide tour.
When respondents were asked who they would vote for today, the results showed little difference from about a month ago (percentage-point change from a Feb. 15-18 poll in brackets):
Conservatives: 36 per cent (+ 2)
Liberals: 31 per cent (+ 2)
per cent (+ 1)
Green Party: 10 (- 2)
Bloc Quebecois: 9 (- 2)
Bloc Quebecois: 36 per cent (- 7)
Conservatives: 26 per cent (+ 8 per cent)
Liberals: 22 per cent (none)
NDP: 9 per cent (+ 1)
Green Party: 7 per cent (- 2)
Liberals: 41 per cent (+ 2)
Conservatives: 34 per cent (none)
NDP: 15 per cent (+ 1)
Green Party: 10 per cent (- 3)
Results are based on tracking among a proportionate national sample of Canadians 18 years of age or older. Interviews were conducted between March 10 and March 13, 2007. The national sample size is 1,000. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The Quebec sample is 247. The margin of error is plus or minus 6.3 percentage points. The Ontario sample is 379. The margin of error is plus or minus 5 percentage points.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Daniel Lévesque, former PQ riding association president in Montmorency, has quit his party and joined Quebec Solidaire.
Lévesque is following in the footsteps of Amir Khadir, spokesperson for Quebec Solidaire, who previously ran for the Bloc in Outremont in 2000.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
The CNTU has a long tradition of staying neutral in election campaigns, but normally makes it painfully clear which party is most closely aligned with the aims and objectives of the union.
Last year, the Montreal Council of the CNTU surprised some people by endorsing Quebec Solidaire candidate Manon Massée in a by-election. But the small left-wing sovereignist party cannot count on the union's support this time around. PQ members in Montreal are likely breathing a sigh of relief while QS activists are likely feeling a bit let down.
The PQ regained some of its social democratic credibility lately when the Quebec Federation of Labour came out in support of the party. Although the CNTU stopped short of endorsing the PQ, it did go out of its way to criticize the Liberals and ADQ.
Whereas party-union relations in English Canada have revolved around social democracy, party-union relations in contemporary Quebec have revolved primarily around the National Question. This is the primary explanation for the PQ-labour relationship.
Quebec Solidaire 90%
A majority government is likely out of the question for any of the parties at this point. However, the momentum will likely shift to the PQ. If the party can hit 35% in the polls, and the ADQ can avoid a melt down, Boisclair is almost certain to become Quebec's next Premier in a minority government, and Quebecers are almost certain to avoid another referendum during his first term of office. That way, Quebecers, who don't like the Liberals, but don't want another referendum, can have their cake and eat it too.
For more analysis on the debate, click here and here.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Fortier will need every federalist vote to win. Although the riding went Liberal in 1993, 1997, and 2007, the Bloc won in 2000 and again in 2006, despite the fact the Liberals ran Marc Garneau as a star candidate.
Here is a breakdown of previous election results in Vaudreuil-Soulanges.
Last year, Ségolène Royal, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and Laurent Fabius battled it out for the French Socialist Party's nomination for the 2007 presidential election. Royal won easily, but is in for a tougher battle against Nicolas Sarkozy next month.
Martin is likely the most right-wing NDP MP and would prefer that the party adopt the centrist Third Way approach of Manitoba's Gary Doer. Some of use believe the party would be better served by heading sharply in the opposite direction.
What drove Martin to make these comments? Is he looking for a reason to cross the floor? Is he hoping to become a cabinet minister in a future Liberal-NDP coalition government? Is he gauging support for the idea of a merger? Or is he just sticking it to Layton?
Monday, March 12, 2007
WHEN? Saturday March 17 at 11am (St. Patrick's Day)
WHERE? Club Roma (125 Vansickle Rd., St. Catharines, ON), the site of a Liberal fundraiser featuring Stephane Dion
WHY? To protest Stephane Dion and the Liberal flip flop on Bill C-257
WHO? This demonstration is being organized by the St. Catharines & District Labour Council
Sunday, March 11, 2007
This result would likely result in a PQ minority. There is something terribly wrong with first-past-the-post elections when a party that wins only 29% of the vote can form a government.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Amir Khadir of Quebec Solidaire explains why his party belongs in the 2007 Quebec election leaders debate.
Friday, March 9, 2007
CUPE's staff unions have been engaging in workplace actions designed to avoid a labour dispute.
Plawiuk has no sympathy for the unions. Here's what he wrote on his blog:
These guys make an average $110,000 a year, have a paid car, get a great benefits package, have additional monies paid to them monthly as per diem's. They are permanent staff. They are the bureaucracy striking against themselves.
Plawiuk fails to mention that the potential strike is not about wages. It's about fighting concessions on pensions. How can CUPE argue in favour of pensions for its lowest paid members when it demands pension concessions from its own members?
I am sorry I am opposed to labour fakirs and porkchoppers, the guys who live off the backs of union members, being treated like other workers who go on strike. Back at the turn of last century labour organizers were paid a $1 a day. Often they supplemented their wages by also selling life and benefit insurance through fraternal orders. Today these striking bureaucrats are part of the business of business unions. Representing workers in the business of labour relations.
Why do people romanticize the good old days when people worked for a dollar? People who work for unions are workers, not bureaucrats. These workers unionize because because their employer (in this case CUPE) acts like an employer rather than a union. I remember when I used to work for a union, the President once sat me down and told me a long story about how he once worked as an organizer for months without pay for the good of the workers. The speech masked all sorts of labour relations contradictions in the union, not the least of which included huge disparities in pay between elected union officials and union staff.
There is only one union in Canada that actually has eliminated the idea of a
professional class of labour bureaucrats; that is CUPW. The Postal workers
elect their representatives at their national convention. Being a CUPW rep
is not a permanent job , it is what is supposed to be, a member who works for
the members. Not a labour fakir bureaucrat who belongs to another union
within the union.
I think the CUPW model comes closest to meeting the ideals of union democracy, but I don't see how the CUPW example should lead us to oppose the struggle of CUPE staff unions who are fighting concessions. It is not the staff of the union that gets to decide which type of democratic structure the union will adopt - it is the members of the union who decide. I also take exception to Plawiuk's assertion that belonging to a union within a union is the stuff of business unionism. Some of Canada's biggest social unions (like CUPE) have unionized staff, and some of Canada's most renowned business unions (like CLAC) have non-union staff.
It is now up to the membership, the rank and file of CUPE to challenge the bureaucrats and their own bureaucracy to be reformed into a truly member run
It looks like thousands of rank-and-file CUPE members have already voiced their opinions - and they don't agree with Plawiuk or the President of CUPE National.
Thursday, March 8, 2007
ST. CATHARINES, ON, March 8 /CNW/ - Vincor International Inc., a Niagara Falls, Ont.-based wine producer, was fined $50,000 today for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that resulted in serious hand injuries to an employee.
On August 23, 2005, a worker was attempting to clear a jam on an "uncaser machine" (a machine that forced the bottom flaps of boxes open in order to allow bottles to drop onto a conveyor and be filled with wine) when the worker's hands became entangled in the machine's drive belt. The worker suffered a broken finger tip on the left hand and lacerations and bruising to both hands. The incident occurred at the company's bottling plant at 4887 Dorchester Road in Niagara Falls.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found the uncaser machine's "interlock system" (a system of electronic devices designed to shut down the machine to prevent worker access to dangerous pinch points) was set to a bypass position which prevented the machine from shutting down when its doors were opened. The ministry also found the injured worker did not lock out the machine to ensure movement was stopped and would not start before accessing the machine to clear the jam.
Vincor International Inc. pleaded guilty, as an employer, to failing to ensure control switches or other control mechanisms were locked out and other effective necessary precautions to prevent any starting were taken when the starting of the uncaser machine could endanger a worker's safety, as required by Section 76 of the Regulations for Industrial Establishments. This was
contrary to Section 25(1)(c) of the act.
The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Donna Cowan of the Ontario Court of Justice in St. Catharines. In addition, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
I have blogged extensively on the intersection of politics and popular music in Quebec. This short video considers whether or not the sovereignist movement has been wrestled away from politicians and is now being led by artists.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
If Quebec Solidaire has a shot at any seat in the 2007 provincial election it's Mercier, where Amir Khadir is running for the party.
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
The contradiction between Mario Dumont's support for sovereingty in 1995 and his support for "autonomy" today is causing some problems for the ADQ in a party system where the constitutional question has traditionally been used as the main political cleavage. In an attempt to justify their party's shift in preference, some ADQ candidates are arguing that the 1995 referendum question was confusing and unclear. Apparently, their leader disagrees.
Political pundits were predicting that Dumont would be in for a tough fight against popular Riviere du Loup mayor Jean D'Amour, who is running for the Liberals. Although D'Amour is likely headed for a crushing defeat, he has managed to eat into ADQ support- Dumont took 57% of the vote in Riviere du Loup in the 2003 provinical election.
Let's face it, things are not going well for the Parti Québécois. Their campaign doesn't seem to be taking off and some pundits suggest the PQ might come third – a result that would be, at best, humbling or, at worst, humiliating. But will the PQ disappear?
Everyone interested in Quebec politics should read this excellent article by Pierre Martin.
Monday, March 5, 2007
McGuinty dances around a question concerning religious discrimination in Ontario before ultimately dismissing it. Now, more than ever, we need a single secular public school system in Ontario.
Sunday, March 4, 2007
Striking Credit Union Workers in Hamilton held a large rally on the weekend. Hamilton East MPP Andrea Horwath blasts the management of FirstOntario Credit Union for its treatment of striking workers.
loco locass on refait surface
le temps dla campagne on arrive en ville
faut kla toune a spin pour contrer le spin
de la droite adroite
ouais!!! sa suffit les pirouette des idéologies
girouette qu'ici j'ai les bras long pis jtombe a bras raccourcis
sur geranium premier pis les gros légume du partie
chikichak awaye la sauce
Parti vire-capot, parti sur les chapeaux d’roues
Qui roule maintenant sur la jante des lendemains qui déchantent
La chute est touchante, même un brin méchante
Sans roue de secours pour sa flat tax
En cours de route la transmission claque
Faudrait p’t’être changer d’cap Flic flac !
D’image de marque S’mettre une cravate, s’faire socio-démocrate
Non ! En route pour la cour à scrap !
D’instinct ch’us distinct
J’ch’te dis ch’t’un dissident d’ici
Pas ben distingué
Mais je sais distinguer
Même quand elle est bien fringuée
La droite de la gauche
Tu trouves ça beau les gros sabots du petit nabot
C’est vrai qu’il est jeune et beau
Stoïque au max comme Stoïko
Il excelle au triple axel en badinage artistique
Il est retors et simplet
Sa rhétorique adroite, à droite, plaît plus que les laïus des vieux renards en complet
Changement ! Changement ! On veut du changement !
Quitte à confier au lévrier les leviers du clapier
N’importe quoi pour les Québécois pourvu qu’on soit dans l’champ
Depuis qu’t’as dropé ton drapeau
Tu sais pus quoi faire de ta peau
Ça fait qu’tu fais comme le troupeau
Pis tu joues à Super Mario
Or, tant qu’tu trippes à tribord, tu seras jamais de mon bord
Parce qu’en mon fort, ch’us pas d’accord
De flusher par dessus bord les efforts qu’on a fait pour devenir plus forts
Moi j’trouve que l’État c’est rien qu’un gros tas bêta
Dont le résultat est un duplicata d’errata
Pis toé t’es dépité pis t’es piteux pis tu voudrais des députés pas putes et réputés
Mais c’est pas tant les vieux partis pourris que ta pathétique apathie
Pis ton hypothétique et petit appétit qui aplatit ta patrie pis ton pays
J’mange pas d’ce pain-là, livide et sans levain, y’a rien à faire ça tient pas au corps
Ça bouche pas d’coin, moi j’ai plus qu’un creux, qu’une faim, là c’t’un vide ou un ravin :
L’envie d’être enfin souverain dévore mes intestins, va voir
« Les gens veulent pas savoir ils veulent croire »
OK, t’as pas tout à fait tort mais quoi croire ? ça c’t’une autre histoire
Tu m’fais pas rêver ou à ma mort avec ton moratoire
Plus question d’parler d’constitution ou su’l marché noir
Devant cette stratégie débilitante
Ma plume militante, vigilante, diligente, zélée, jamais dilettante
Illico ridiculise les tenants, tenantes
De la lilliputienne politique du dirigeant qui scande :
Comme la gangrène dans les veines
Une mauvaise graine dans la plaine
Aurais-tu l’ADQ dans l’ADN, man ?
Although organized labour has shared a closer relationship to the PQ than any other party, the move is interesting given Boisclair's recent comments on unions.
The FTQ’s 2004 convention, in a policy paper entitled “Présents sur tous les Fronts”, reaffirmed its commitment to operating with complete political independence in the realm of electoral politics. After amending its constitution to sever its official ties to the NDP in 1971, the FTQ has chosen to endorse parties in elections on a case-by-case basis. Since 1988, the FTQ has required a special convention resolution in order to endorse a political party in a provincial election campaign. In the 2003 Quebec provincial election, for example, the FTQ chose not to endorse a party and instead ran a third party campaign against the upstart ADQ. The FTQ, along with all labour centrals in Quebec, has been loathe to identify or associate too closely with a party for fear of jeopardizing its independence in political affairs.
The FTQ has endorsed the PQ in the following elections: 1976, 1981, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2007.