Tuesday June 19, 2007
Let's get angry with Gordo
By BILL TIELEMAN
The world needs anger. The world often continues to allow evil because it isn't angry enough.
Maybe it's the lousy June weather or paying taxes for a non-stop stream of "B.C. is the best place on earth" television ads - like we don't already know! - but I can't believe how angry I am with the B.C. Liberal government.
The most likely reason, however, is Premier Gordon Campbell's outrageous attitude.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled this month that Bill 29, legislation Campbell used to rip up collective agreements, was illegal. About 8,000 healthcare workers lost their jobs to privatization.
Meanwhile about 650 more healthcare workers face firing shortly, thanks to employers still using Bill 29.
But now Campbell says he won't stop the layoff notices.
So more workers will be terminated - because the court gave the government up to 12 months to fix the problem and Campbell says he's in "no hurry".
Then I got this letter from a healthcare worker.
"Thanks for your article in 24 hours. Finally I felt someone was on our side after five years of disbelief and complete frustration. I also wanted to take this opportunity to give sincere gratitude to the six judges who saw what us health-care workers saw all along," this woman wrote. [I can't even identify her for fear she would be disciplined.]
"However, I wish they never gave Mr. Campbell a year to fix this. Mr. Campbell never gave any of the health-care workers a year," she continued.
"I have been a health- care worker for the past 21 years in the same facility.
"I started as care aide, housekeeper and my current position as a laundry aide. I wanted the public to know we are hard workers who care about the people who are in our care," she said.
"If you think I only do laundry you are truly wrong. These people are in my heart. When I walk by and they ask me to help them, I do with a smile," she concluded, after pointing out her wages were also dramatically cut by the Liberals.
Why were so many hard working, honest people who care about their patients mistreated so badly? And does Campbell allow it to continue for another year?
But that's not all I'm mad about. Campbell and Health Minister George Abbott blame "judicial activism" for the Supreme Court decision.
Since when is it "judicial activism" to expect a government to respect legally-binding, freely-negotiated written agreements?
It's bad enough that this government consistently breaks its word - remember Campbell promising he wouldn't sell B.C. Rail and then did? - but legislatively violating legal contracts is even more appalling.
And continuing to abuse health care workers is unconscionable.