Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Little Insight Before Election Day

If anyone is thinking of voting Liberal tomorrow, especially if you live in the North Centre riding in London, Ontario, you should be aware of an experience I had with our Labour Minister. Joe Fontana has represented London North Centre in the Liberal government and was Labour Minister. He was the Labour Minister who called the two sides together in the final week of the CBC Lockout. Fontana stated publicly that he was going to lock the two parties in his office until they came to an agreement, or something to that effect. At the time he said that, I sent him an e-mail. I felt the union’s (the CMG’s) issues were not my issues. I had learned on the picket line that many others had strong issues, but the CMG was not addressing them. I thought this not only might interest him, but might assist him in bringing the two sides together. As we all know, the two sides came to an agreement just in time to get the NHL season started (what a great coincidence!) and that agreement was ratified on October 7th. All of that is old news, but this is where is gets downright funny and I am offering a word to the wise about voting for Fontana and his party.

On December 7th, more than two months after my e-mail to Fontana and exactly two months following ratification, I received a reply from the Labour Minister. It was not one of those automated replies that goes to every address from which he receives an e-mail. It was written to me about the CBC Lockout. But I have to question if Mr. Fontana can read. I was not some citizen who wanted my CBC back. I told him that I worked there. I told him how, to many employees, the issues differed from ones the CMG was emphasizing.
The following is Fontana’s December 7th reply:

Thank you for your Internet message concerning the recent work stoppage affecting the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the Canadian Media Guild. I appreciate your taking the time to write and welcome the opportunity to respond.
You may be aware that I met with representatives of the employer and the union on September 26, 2005. Mediation talks resumed immediately and continued in my offices until a memorandum of settlement was concluded on October 2, 2005. The settlement was ratified by the union membership on October 9, 2005, and employees began returning to work on October 11, 2005.
While this was a lengthy and difficult dispute, I am very pleased that we were able to assist the parties in renewing their collective agreement and that normal broadcast programming at CBC radio and television has been restored.
Thank you again for writing and for informing me of your concerns with respect to this dispute.
Sincerely, The Honourable Joe Fontana, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Labour and Housing

“You may be aware”, he says about the agreement and return to work. No, really Mr. Fontana? I was on the picket like, I was locked out of my work, and I cared enough to get involved in the issues, but I didn’t know it had been settled! (Pardon the sarcasm Mr. Labour Minister.) Then, he actually takes some of the credit for the so-called resolution. Gee thanks, Joe. Great job.

This is a fine example of the competence of a Liberal government. Frightening.


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