In Politicians We Trust (?)

March 10, 2014

Corrupt, embarrassing, pathetic, typical. I’ve heard these words a lot the past year in conversations about Canadian politics and politicians. The first three accurately describe high-profile scandals, such as Senator Mike Duffy’s expenses and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s crack smoking. The fourth, however, is most troubling. The widespread perception that these antics are “typical” is [...]

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Unpacking CLAC

July 25, 2013

“What do you do for a living?” This question is asked of all of us on a regular basis—on vacations, during casual conversation with the new neighbour across the street, or, as was my case recently, while chatting with a stranger sitting beside me on a three-hour flight between Saskatoon and Toronto. The length and [...]

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It’s Still Not about the Money

July 9, 2013

This July marks the tenth anniversary since the signing of the first collective agreement between CLAC’s member firefighters and the city of Hamilton, Ontario. An anniversary gives us a chance to reflect on past experiences and revisit some highlights. From 1998 to 2001, the provincial government restructured many of the municipal boundaries in Ontario, causing [...]

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Fare Vs. Fair

June 20, 2013

After three days on the road, I was looking forward to going back to my home in Fort McMurray. I was booked on the six o’clock flight from Edmonton. It bothered me that I wouldn’t be home in time to see my young daughter before bedtime, so I was very excited to discover that they [...]

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Good News! It’s Tax Time Again

March 26, 2013

Life is full of variety, but it’s lived within the familiar cycle of annual routines that characterize the various seasons and events of the year. We’re into spring now, and for many people this is a favourite time of year—except for the annual obligation to file your taxes. I recently read an article about tax [...]

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The Puck Stops Here

November 15, 2012

As I’m sitting here writing this, I’m still waiting to see whether or not I’ll be able to watch my favourite hockey players play this season. There’s been no word lately from the powers that be, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr, head of the NHL Players Association (NHLPA). Some of you may not [...]

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A good thing to struggle with

April 3, 2012

Are you for the oilsands or are you against them? These days, we hear a lot of passionate debate from both sides in Canada, the US, and around the world. From environmentalists we hear that continued development of the oilsands will lead to irreparable damage to the landscape and catastrophic climate change. Their opposition to [...]

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Rebooting the “brand”

February 14, 2012

“Unions must overhaul themselves dramatically—and fast—or face a slow death.” This was the conclusion of a recent leaked document, as reported by the Toronto Star. The “secret” paper was prepared for discussion at merger talks between the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union and the Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers (CEP) union. According to the Star, the [...]

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Power Politics

December 19, 2011

It was a done deal. The recent decision by the International Trade Union Confederation of (ITUC) to suspend CLAC’s membership clearly had been made long before the process even got started. The suspension came at the request of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and was an exercise in pure power politics. The investigation, report, and [...]

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Reflective Spirit

March 14, 2011

If turning 40 came as a great shock to you, or is looming ominously, wait until you hit 60! I recently reached this milestone, and although I am not usually affected much by birthdays, for some reason this time I was hit by a reflective spirit, forcing me to stop and think about the impact [...]

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