16, 2014 - No. 74
Organize for the People's
Alberta Premier's Agenda to Smash
Resistance and Impose Monopoly Dictate
the People's Empowerment!
• Alberta Premier's Agenda to
Smash Resistance and Impose Monopoly Dictate - Peggy
• Condemn Racist Attacks on the Lubicon
Nation! Stand with Chief Bernard
Lie in the Fight for the Rights of All!
• Hold Prentice
Government to Account for Layoffs at Seniors' Homes!
• Workers in Action to
Stop Layoffs at Shepherd's Care in Edmonton
Models" for Seniors' Care Have No Place in a Modern Society
• Information Pickets at Shepherd's Care
Foundation Sites in Edmonton
Organize for the People's
Alberta Premier's Agenda to Smash
Resistance and Impose Monopoly Dictate
Jim Prentice, newly appointed leader of the PC
Party in Alberta and Premier-elect, has toured Canada making speeches
to the political and economic elite since leaving Harper's cabinet in
2011. He has been giving governments their marching orders with a
recurrent theme for the need to "get
the job done" to build infrastructure to access markets for bitumen
from the Alberta oil sands.
Prentice has gone from one end of Canada to the
other with his message that building the necessary infrastructure to
move oil and gas to the Pacific coast and Asia must become a "national
focus" for Canada. In particular, he stresses the need for
infrastructure to transport diluted bitumen to
Asia. "In the time after 2020 -- and arguably after 2017 -- Canada will
need to access growing Asian markets to sustain oil sands production
increases. Virtually all incremental demand lies in non-OECD countries,
especially those in Asia," said Prentice this January, a point which he
has constantly reiterated.
Prentice argues that without markets in Asia, the
Canadian government will have no clout to convince the
U.S. administration to keep U.S. markets open for bitumen from the oil
sands. He pleads that it is all-important to change the current
equation before 2017 when a new U.S.
president assumes office. Markets to Asia are important in themselves,
he stresses, but also a necessary bargaining chip with the U.S.
administration. The old equation established under Nixon and continued
through the regimes of George Bush where Canada is the supplier and the
U.S. a reliable
market no longer exists under the new conditions when the U.S. is awash
In the months before Prentice threw his hat into
the ring to become the Alberta PC leader and Premier of Alberta, he was
recruited by Enbridge to "lead renewed efforts to consult with and
establish partnerships with First Nations and Aboriginal communities in
British Columbia and Alberta."
His assignment was organized in March 2014 and was expected to last
about eight months. It was cut short when Premier Alison Redford
resigned and Prentice announced he was entering the race to replace her.
Prentice's job for Enbridge was to assess the
resistance of the First Nations in BC and Alberta to the Northern
Gateway pipeline project and look for ways to eliminate the resistance.
He took on this assignment while Senior Executive Vice-President and
Vice-Chairman of CIBC Bank.
As a former Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and
Northern Development, Prentice is well aware that the federal
government has a constitutional duty for consultation and accommodation
of the First Nations. They have the right to agree or not to agree with
a pipeline through their territories or
any development for that matter. This duty of the federal government
cannot be transferred to a private monopoly like Enbridge as the Harper
government has done.
In abdicating its constitutional responsibilities,
the federal government has sidelined the public authority and given
private monopolies such as Enbridge the task of negotiating with First
Nations. This reveals the extent to which governments have come under
the direct dictate of the most powerful
monopolies and private interests have been politicized. Prentice is an
example of how much the line between "public" and "private" life has
been erased under the direct rule of the monopolies, as executives move
seamlessly from a "public" role to a "private" one and back again, all
the while serving
the same master.
In the Enbridge press release, Prentice said, "I
am doing this because I believe that First Nations should be full
partners in resource development and they should be owners of projects
like the Northern Gateway. This project can bring jobs, economic
opportunity, community development and
educational opportunities to First Nation Canadians. This can be
achieved while protecting the environment and respecting First Nation's
environmental priorities. I have repeatedly said that the Northern
Gateway project represents an opportunity for Aboriginal Peoples and
Enbridge executives praised Prentice as a man who
has successfully negotiated land claim settlements and served as
federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development where he
negotiated the Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, reformed the
Specific Claims process, oversaw
the Maa-nulth and Tsawwassen First Nation Settlements in British
Columbia and the conclusion of the Gwaii Haanas Marine Conservation
Area Agreement with the Haida. Enbridge implied that Prentice could do
what the Harper dictatorship has failed to do in stemming the
resistance of First Nations
and the broad support amongst Canadians for their stand in defence of
their hereditary, constitutional and treaty rights.
The Harper dictatorship has as its
aim to extinguish the rights of First Nations, and does so acting on
behalf of the most powerful monopolies in defence of monopoly right. It
clings to a racist 19th century
colonial outlook, and refuses to develop nation-to-nation relations of
mutual respect and benefit with First Nations. It refuses to recognize
the right of First Nations, Métis and Inuit to develop their own
Prentice serves his monopoly master, and as such
claims to stand for partnership with First Nations. His arrangement is
not based on the recognition of rights but on the old colonial rule of
"might makes right" in which people agree to cooperate to serve their
mutual interests as dictated by the
Prentice and his monopoly masters refuse to accept
that colonial partnerships are finished. Partnerships today can only
exist on a new and modern basis. They must begin with the affirmation
of the modern conception of rights. Rights are inherent and belong to
people by virtue of being human.
Specific hereditary rights belong to the Indigenous peoples because of
their being. The questions of rights and nation-to-nation relations
brought forward by the Indigenous peoples for solution are fundamental
to modernizing and renewing the political, economic, social and
in Canada and are of immense concern to the entire polity.
Our Future Lies in the Fight for
the Rights of All!
1. Speech: Jim Prentice,
Senior Executive Vice-President and Vice Chairman of CIBC to the
Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, January 9, 2014.
Enbridge, March press release.
Attacks on the Lubicon Nation!
Stand with Chief Bernard Ominayak!
The Harper government has launched yet another
racist assault on the Lubicon Lake Nation and Chief Bernard Ominayak.
The Lubicon nation has won great respect and admiration the world over
for its fierce defence of its hereditary rights, while successive
Canadian governments have stonewalled negotiations
with the aim of smashing the nation's resistance and stealing its lands.
In the latest assault against
the Lubicon, the
laws, customs and traditions of governance of the Lubicon are being
deliberately misrepresented so as to claim that Chief Ominayak is not
the legitimate Chief of the Lubicon Lake nation. Further, Chief
Ominayak and his family are being accused of enriching themselves
at the expense of their nation when it is well known that Chief
Ominayak has defended his nation at great personal sacrifice. TML
calls on everyone to take a stand against this vile racist activity of
the Harper government.
The Lubicon Lake Nation is a sovereign and
self-determining Cree nation with a well-defined traditional territory
located in north-central Alberta that it continues to occupy and
protect. Lubicon Lake Nation was never approached in 1899 when Treaty
Commissioners travelled through what is now Alberta to sign
Treaty 8. The Lubicon people never surrendered or ceded their land or
signed a treaty. They have been fighting for decades to have their
nation, nationhood and territory respected and boundaries honoured.
They have participated in negotiations repeatedly but the government of
Canada has never been willing to resolve
their outstanding land claim.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee ruled in
1990 that Canada had violated the human rights of the Lubicon, failed
to recognize and protect Lubicon rights to their land, and that
intensive oil and gas development had devastated the Lubicon economy
and way of life. Twenty-four years later, Canada
has yet to conclude a negotiated settlement with the Lubicon nation.
The conditions of life are a shame and stain on Canada, with the
Lubicon people lacking even running water and a sewage system in their
community while the oil and gas companies grow rich from the plunder of
The Lubicon nation upholds its traditional form
and content of government in accordance with its customs, laws and
traditions. The Lubicon website explains, "We are governed by a Chief
and family heads. Our government is reliant upon and informed by the
leadership provided by our Elders' Council. This
is the form our government has always taken. While we are united in our
goals as a government, the layering of Chief, our Elected Councillors
and Elders' Council provides us with the assurance that all interests
are included in decision making, that authority is shared amongst the
Nation and that families who want
input into governance have the same.
shows unceded Lubicon territory in yellow.
"These customs, laws and traditions are well known
to our citizenship and are recorded in our oral traditions and history.
Our Chief for life is Chief Bernard Ominayak and he governs in concert
with our Elders' Council and our Elected Councillors."
The Lubicon Lake Nation website explains the firm
response of the people of the Lubicon nation to the dirty dealings of
the Harper government: "Attempts to divide our Nation, or to forcefully
push for roles in our governance for parties perceived as amenable to
Canadian standards and authorities have repeatedly
been quashed by our citizens. We stand unified and as strong as ever;
we maintain our sovereignty, our territoriality and our humanity in the
face of powerful challenges by the federal and provincial governments."
In true racist and colonialist fashion, the Harper
government has refused to recognize the election of Chief Ominayak, an
election conducted according to the Lubicon's own law. The fact that
the Chief Electoral Officer for the election was the Electoral Officer
for the Assembly of First Nations who has extensive
experience and knowledge of custom code elections has been deliberately
suppressed by the monopoly media who are trying to whip up racist
hysteria. With utter colonial arrogance, the Harper dictatorship gives
itself the right to declare null and void any election where it does
not approve of the results.
TML calls on all people to
condemn the racist attacks on Chief Ominayak, which heap scorn on the
right of the Lubicon to choose their form of government. The heart of
the issue is the refusal of the Harper and other governments before it
to conduct relations with the First Nations on a nation-to-nation
basis and to recognize their rights. The attempt to force the Lubicon
to abandon their own traditional and custom law and submit to the
colonial Indian Act must be condemned by all who
value democracy and uphold the rights of First Nations to their way of
life according to the two-road wampum.
the Lubicon Nation in Defence of
Its Hereditary and Constitutional Rights!
Our Security and Future Lie in the Fight
for the Rights of All!
Hold Prentice Government to Account for Layoffs at
Alberta's Premier-elect Jim Prentice recently
stated that he would increase the pace of the Alberta Supportive Living
Initiative, "partnering" with the private sector and with "faith
communities" to fund more seniors' housing. "Since time immemorial it
has been our faith communities that have provided compassionate
care to our senior citizens," he said. "And indeed, if you look back at
some of the finest facilities in Alberta, they began as faith-based
initiatives ... [in] partnership with government."
Instead of reversing the closure of long-term care
beds and moving quickly with construction of new public facilities,
Prentice says that he will provide public funding to private monopolies
as well as "faith-based" providers to build various levels of assisted
living facilities. Assisted or supportive living does not
provide the comprehensive care provided in long-term care facilities,
forcing seniors to pay for a wide range of care and services or go
without. This is an affront to their rights and dignity.
The layoffs at Shepherd's Care are further proof
that the government is evading its social responsibilities to ensure
that all seniors can live with dignity and security in retirement.
Shepherd's Care President John Pray warned in January 2013 that funding
from Alberta Health Services (AHS) was insufficient and if no change
it would have to consider layoffs or reductions in care. At that time,
Shepherd's Care workers were told of a three-year plan. Hours were cut
in year one (2013), now 157 staff are being laid off in year two, and
the workers are not sure what to expect in year three.
John Pray's silence during
layoffs on the need for more public funding appears to be the price of
"doing business" with the Alberta government. Shepherd's Care depends
on government funding not only to realize the value workers produce but
also for a major expansion, which includes a new
140 unit high-rise condo tower with an adjoining 54-bed extended care
AHS also remains silent about
the layoffs, as if it has no responsibility for the facilities it funds
or the consequences of its funding cuts. The entire AHS Board was fired
by former Minister of Health Fred Horne in June 2013, who in turn has
now been fired
by newly installed Premier Jim Prentice and replaced
by former Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel, who has not been elected to
the Legislature. The AHS is now under direct control of the Prentice
government. Prentice should be forced to intervene to stop the layoffs.
The Prentice government must provide a full accounting as to whether
Shepherd's Care is provided
sufficient funding to pay support staff wages commensurate with their
work and the value they produce, and to provide sufficient staff to
meet the needs of the residents. The government must be held to account
for its failure to guarantee the rights of seniors and the workers who
care for them!
Workers in Action to Stop Layoffs at
Shepherd's Care in Edmonton
Picket on September 15, 2014 at the Shepherd's Care Foundation
Millwoods site, one of
five held on September 15 and 16.
Workers from five seniors' care centres operated by
Shepherd's Care Foundation in Edmonton have gone into action to block
Shepherd's Care has announced the contracting out of 157 positions in
housekeeping, food services and maintenance on September 4. All workers
those services will be thrown
out on the street with their jobs contracted out to a yet unknown
worker trafficking company.
The workers held a meeting on September 9, to plan
their campaign to stop the layoffs and the contracting out of their
jobs. "The workers are determined to fight these layoffs," Alberta
Union of Provincial Employees' (AUPE) Vice-President Karen Weiers
reported. "We will be raising awareness
about our concerns with residents and their families, the church
communities affiliated with Shepherd's Care, and with the general
public. We all have a stake in the quality of care provided to Alberta
The AUPE immediately filed an
Practice complaint at the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB). The
complaint states that the Shepherd's Care Foundation is laying off the
workers and outsourcing their jobs in an attempt to avoid its legal
obligation to bargain a new contract
in good faith. Negotiations were to begin next month for a new
collective agreement, with the existing one about to expire. Weiers
stated that Shepherd's Care did not even respond to the notice to begin
bargaining, but instead made the announcement to outsource the jobs.
The framework for today's labour relations took
shape in the post-World War II era. Known as the social contract, it
was meant to provide labour peace for the employers, and in return,
they would recognize the right of workers to organize collectively with
limited bargaining rights within which
the state would provide funding for social programs.
The social contract has been shattered as
are being deprived of their right to organize, bargain collectively and
enjoy security of employment, while social programs are starved of
necessary funding. This particular employer and many others during the
anti-social offensive simply refuse
to come to the table and negotiate; they fire unionized workers and
bring in worker trafficking hooligans to supply non-union workers. This
is neither labour peace nor a civilized way to conduct
relations but rather open class warfare against the working class.
Workers are thrown onto the street to be replaced
by trafficked workers at lower wages, fewer benefits, no pension and no
organization. The right to organize and bargain collectively is not
recognized resulting in no security of employment and downward pressure
on the standard of living. This
is open class warfare not labour peace and the working class has to
respond with tactics and actions with analysis to defend their rights!
ALRB Declare the Layoffs Illegal!
Demand the Government Increase Investments in Social Programs!
Shepherd's Care Must Rescind the Layoffs Immediately, Recognize the
Rights of the Workers and Bargain Terms of Employment in Good Faith!
Join the just struggle of Shepherd's Care workers;
in Defence of Their Rights!
"Business Models" for Seniors' Care
Have No Place in
a Modern Society
On September 4, Shepherd's Care
announced the layoff of 157
workers in a statement called, "Shepherd's Care Adjusts Business
Model." The statement says, "It was with our growing numbers of
residents in mind that Shepherd's Care recently made the decision to
partner with a third party food and housekeeping professional
organization who is able to deliver the high level of food and
housekeeping service that our residents expect and allow us to increase
resources to our primary area of focus -- the care of the residents
within all Shepherd's Care communities."
Shepherd's Care declares that the well-being and
rights of its workers do not figure in to its "business model." Such
thinking does not belong in a modern society based on recognition of
the rights of all. Shepherd's Care dismisses workers as being outside
the "primary area of focus," which is said to be the care
of the residents. According to this anti-social outlook, the well-being
of the workers has no bearing on the care of the residents and is even
in contradiction with them. The statement suggests that care of
residents is not provided by human beings who have rights as human
beings and who must be provided the living
and working conditions they need to do their work, but by lesser human
beings deprived of their rights.
Calling itself a "non-profit" as a badge of
honour, Shepherd's Care touts a capital-centred "business model" that
considers the workers a cost of producing goods and service, which must
be cut to the bone. This outlook opposes a modern human-centred one,
which recognizes workers as a source of value, the essential human
factor in the production of goods and services, certainly not a cost
"Third party food and
organizations" are businesses organized for private profit, most often
big monopolies that prey on the insecurity of unorganized workers. The
main concern of those businesses is neither the well-being of the
residents nor the workers but how much of the value
workers produce can be siphoned off into their own coffers. They are
essentially "third party" worker-trafficking parasites who have no
business operating in the socialized economy. Their sole role is to
skim off the value the trafficked workers produce, removing it from the
sector and even from the economy for other
"get rich" schemes around the globe.
Similar to workers throughout the health care and
seniors' care sector, support staff at Shepherd's Care produces value
beyond what they receive in very modest wages and benefits. This value
is the target of businesses and government alike. The Shepherd's Care
statement proposes that some of the value presently
claimed by the workers should be seized by a worker-trafficking
outsourcing monopoly. The 157 layoffs confirm this treacherous aim.
Owners of capital, such as the third party
worker-traffickers trying to seize control of Shepherd Care's food and
housekeeping work, exact a claim on the value workers produce by
attacking workers' organizations, wages, benefits and working
conditions, reducing the care and services provided to residents and
demanding increased payments from the government. This must not pass!
Seniors' care workers perform an invaluable
service to society and the seniors in their care. They are producers of
value and have rights and a legitimate claim on the value they produce.
They cannot and should not be considered a cost to the work they
perform. A pro-social program declares that the value workers
produce beyond their claims should lead to increased investments in
public seniors' care or other social programs, and should not be
targeted as a source of private profit.
Increasing investments in public seniors' care
includes recognizing the right of workers to wages, benefits and
pensions commensurate with their work and qualifications and the value
they produce, and recognizing and dealing directly with their defence
organizations. The anti-social agenda of Shepherd's Care
and the government demands that value produced by the workers be
siphoned off as private corporate profit or through director's fees and
expenses, or put into government coffers to be used to pay the rich
instead of increasing investments in social programs or to improve the
wages, benefits and working conditions
of seniors' care workers.
The fight taking place at Shepherd's Care is a
fight for the rights and dignity of both workers and our seniors who
require and deserve the best care society can provide. This issue is
one of rights and the necessity to recognize the rights of all and the
general interests of society. It concerns everyone, not only
because a just fight deserves everyone's support, but also because so
much is at stake for the future well-being of all and our society.
Out to Support the Shepherd's Care Workers!
Stop the Layoffs!
Increase Investments in Social Programs!
Our Future and Security Lie in the Fight to Defend the Rights of All!
Information Pickets at Shepherd's Care Foundation Sites
at Shepherd's Care!
- 135 Ave.