Lukiwski Disingenuous About CBC

A Team Member Tom Boy Lukiwski
I recently wrote to my Member of Parliament Tom Lukiwski about my concerns about the recent cuts to the CBC. I recieved his response today. Tom must think I am stupid. I found his simplistic response insulting.

I responded this afternoon and that letter is below.

Dear Sir:

I am in receipt of your letter concerning your Government's cuts to the CBC Dated April 23, 2012.

While I am sure its content was provided to you as a kind of form letter so you could respond to the many of your constituents who have written to you and to your colleagues over the past few weeks about our concerns about sustainability of the Corporation I would like to pursue a few of your points a bit further.

First let me say that I agree with you that the Liberals cut the CBC's budget substantially during the Chretien years just as the Government did under Conservative Brian Mulroney. So, it is true you are not alone. Attacking he CBC has been a Government sport for some time.

I do find your statements that the CBC will now be able to focus on "new digital technologies" and have a stronger presence in communities to be not much more than bafflegab. Ask the people in Northern Saskatchewan if they think the closing of the La Ronge station will help to do that.

Further you should not forget that with these cuts, the CBC will no longer have the technical facilities nor the trained personnel to record local music in any of the three prairie provinces. I am not sure how that helps serve local communities or musicians.

I am also particularly interested in your comment that "it will be less expensive for taxpayers, held hostage by fewer unions" Now I know that you, or someone on your staff, just made that up. The CBC held hostage by their unions? What poppycock. You are very out of touch.

I trust you know what a shit sandwich is. Just in case you don't the internet describes it as "The news is dressed up with first a positive friendly statement then the crap in the middle, and then a positive statement like "thanks for taking the time to write" to take the edge off things at the end.

In any case, this writing style, I find quite offensive and it seems, all I ever get from you.

I am passing your letter on to the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting as an example of the double speak we have come to expect from you. Who knows they may give you some kind of honourable mention for disingenuous efforts to justify the actions of your government.


Gord Hunter

How the Government is Screwing Canadian Workers

Well. It is hard believe to what lengths Harper and his gang of thugs will go, to screw Canadian workers all in the name of the economy.

This time the Government has bent to pressure from the industry - again - and made it easier to bring in foreign workers into Canada. The waiting time will be shorter and employers will be able to exploit incoming workers further by paying them 15% lower than the average wage for the job into which they are hired, in the area.

This is a great deal for business but the effect is, that it keeps wages down for Canadians. I don't claim to know how it works across the board  but I know more about how the influx of foreign workers has effected the transportation industry.

In the last several years it has been difficult for trucking companies to lure young,qualified Canadian workers into their industry. It is a tough life, with long hours on the road and a lot of time away from home. And,  to top it off, people don't make a hell of a lot of money doing it.

The result is, that trucking companies are always looking for new recruits and if truth be known, often hire high risk drivers simply because they are scraping the bottom of the driver pool.

So what is the problem? Lots of jobs are tough. What makes this industry unique.

Well, to start with, it wouldn't be unfair to characterize their industrial relations practices within the trucking industry as neanderthal.
  • They push drivers to drive more hours than regulations allow then abandon them when they are caught doctoring their log books. 
  • When poorly maintained equipment is discovered and the driver ticketed for it by inspectors, they leave to driver to fight the ticket on their own time and on their own expense.
  • They take a laisse faire approach to health and safety
  • Ask drivers to go out on the road with trucks with poor tires and bad brakes
  • They push drivers out on the road when conditions are simply unsafe to do so
  • Health benefits and pensions are appallingly low.
  • They cheat drivers on their wages and
  • They pay wages lower than the rest of the community.
  • Drivers are paid by the mile so, if road closures or weather strands them. They can sit for a couple of says with no pay.
  • When road conditions are bad, their regular 8 hour run, can take 14 or 16 hours. Then they do it all again the next day.
 Why, you have to ask, do they get away with this? Why do people stay?

People stay because it was a career they choose years ago and they options for a career change are limited.

The industry could, if they wanted to, make the industry a great one to work in. It isn't that tough but it does require a bit of initiative and the ability to think outside the box. Not common traits found amongst truck company managers.

Instead of jumping into the breach, getting together and fixing what has to be fixed they decided that there was no need to go that far. They didn't have to. The Government jumped in to the rescue.

Now instead of paying a decent wage and improving working conditions it is easier to bring drivers in from abroad. They first went to UK but, when the word about the Canadian's treatment of workers got back to Britain, that pool dried up. They then went  to the Ukraine, then Indonesia and Mexico. They went anywhere that the economy was soft. Where people were desperate to find a better life.

Drivers and mechanics were hired in all these countries and brought to Canada to fill the jobs. It didn't matter that many of them had never even seen snow, let alone driven in a prairie blizzard or through the mountains in snow.

It doesn't take long for these guys to figure out they are being exploited and few stay beyond their original commitment or, they do stay until they qualify to stay here in Canada then they move on to another industry.

Meanwhile, Canadian drivers and mechanics continue to work for less than they should  and governments do less and less to help train Canadian workers and they continue to undercut them by bringing in a continuous stream of workers to exploit.

Trucking is only one example. In large construction projects in Saskatchewan employers continue complain that they can't get skilled workers but they still want to pay less that they do in Alberta, with less benefits To help them out, Premier Brad Wall travelled to Ireland to hire unemployed Irish workers while increasing technical school tuition making it more difficult for local men and women to afford job training.


Not a Very Christian Response

A couple of issues that are bound to get the people in small town Saskatchewan all riled up are gun control and prayer.

Bumper sticker with sayings like "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns" are common out here on the prairie. The gun registry never was about outlawing guns but telling that to a Conservative was risky. You just might get shot.

This week there is a bit of a stir in Middle Lake Saskatchewan about prayer. It seems that five or six of the 17 graduating seniors at Three Lakes School in Middle Lake voted against having a prayer before the meal at graduation celebrations. Jacob Nantau led the charge to reject the religious observance from the celebration thought perhaps a neutral moment of silence would be more appropriate in a public school.

For his efforts Nantau has been harassed, had religious tracts stuffed into his locker and had his car vandalized several times which doesn't seem to me to be a very Christian response.


Why We Should Ban Election Polling

The pollsters were positive about it all. Wildrose was going to kick Allison Redford's Ass.  What happened in the end is the media reports of that polling scared the pants off the average Albertan  proving that they are not as rabidly right-wing as the rest of Canada thought they were. OK, they are right-wing -  just not the of the loony variety.

Well, I am happy to report - perhaps I am even gloating a bit - but I was one of the few who predicted the Alberta election result with some accuracy.

Now, if I'd been a bit more accurate with last fall's Saskatchewan election, the world would be a better place.


Walkers, Ram Trucks, Bikes and Bells

Ding, Ding, Ding

Regina is one of those cities just beginning to learn about co-existing with bicycles. You wouldn't think it would take as long as it has but Regina, the little city with Alberta envy, is still pretty car crazy.

The city does sort of try and they think they are moving in the right direction but bike trails are few and far between. If you don't live near one you are relegated to the street. Most street bike lanes are poorly marked with a sort of optional feel to them. and the average tricked out Ram Charger pick-up driver doesn't give two hoots about bike riders so, anyone brave enough to drive their bike on a city street deserves a medal.

The other side of the coin is that now that spring is here more and more bike riders are sharing the paved pathways that do exist, with walkers.

We walked around Wascana Lake the other evening and to be honest I spent quite a bit of my time nervously listening for the hum of bike tires coming up behind me and watching as bike riders wove their way between family groups and wandering toddlers.

Someone is going to get seriously hurt one of these days.

It isn't that walkers and bikes can't share the space. It works well in some cities. Think of the sea wall in Vancouver as an example.

I few years back I lived in Ottawa for a while. Now. I know people in Western Canada are supposed to hate the place but, I've always been quite fond of the city. It is a city with a huge interconnecting system of bike/walking paths so I was thinking about Ottawa this weekend while we walked around Wascana Lake.

What makes it work in cities like Ottawa is a spirit of co-operation between walkers and riders and a by-law that says every bike has to have a working bell so riders can warn walkers of their approach. It is about mutual respect and common sense. We could use a little of that.