AUPE President Guy Smith in a characteristic pose.
Who leaked the Alberta government’s response to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees’ unfair labour practices complaint to an Edmonton Journal political reporter, and why?
This is an important question because at the time the leak took place, the government document questioning AUPE President Guy Smith’s personal honesty in harsh and colourful terms was being kept confidential by the Alberta Labour Relations Board.
This was done as a fairly routine part of the board’s effort to effect a settlement of AUPE’s complaint that the Alberta government had broken an agreement it made (Read more…)
The Athabasca University board meets to discuss its vision for the future of the distance-learning institution. Actual visioning board members may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: History Professor Alvin Finkel, AU Faculty Association President Mark McCutcheon.
It took Athabasca University’s rubber-stamp board less than 48 hours to tell the university’s faculty association to forget about its suggestion an interim president be appointed to get the distance-learning institution back on track while a replacement is found for President Frits Pannekoek.
Alert readers will recall that Dr. Pannekoek, the subject of an overwhelming non-confidence motion last year by the university’s faculty (Read more…)
Wildcat strike scene, grabbed from AUPE’s website during the strike. Below: AUPE President Guy Smith, Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk.
Advice to anyone who tries to negotiate a deal with Alison Redford, Thomas Lukaszuk or any member or official of their government: take witnesses with you, and make sure you also bring a tape recorder.
You might want to bring a piece of paper, a pen, a Bible and a notary public as well. One-on-one meetings ending in “handshake deals” with these people? I don’t think so!
In what surely is one of the most outrageous Alberta news stories of the (Read more…)
Athabasca University’s isolated headquarters in winter. Below: Athabasca U President Frits Pannekoek and Alberta Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk.
Athabasca University’s Faculty Association called yesterday for the institution’s president to be replaced by an interim president chosen from among senior staff.
On the face of it, this idea makes a lot of sense, since the president in question – Dr. Frits Pannekoek – announced back in December 2012 he’s going to retire anyway, although a date has never been set for a departure that is certain to be greeted with relief by staff and faculty whenever it comes.
The association’s (Read more…)
Alberta Premier Alison Redford, right, meets Opposition Leader Danielle Smith, left, while on her way to announcing a new school opening. Actual Alberta politicians may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Premier Redford, Alberta Union of Provincial Employees President Guy Smith.
Once upon a time, while Alberta’s premier was telling fairy tales to impressionable children, some of her senior officials were spinning fairy stories of their own.
Actually, this all happened yesterday.
The premier told a group of Grade 1 students at an Edmonton school library a story about a good princess named Alison, who built schools (Read more…)
TweetThe billionaire walks… There was little surprise among the cynical pundit class yesterday as Elections Alberta announced that it had found billionaire Daryl Katz and his Katz Group broke no laws when the company delivered a donation in the form of a $430,000 bank draft to Premier Alison Redford‘s Progressive Conservative Party during last year’s [...]
“’Ave you got a leesence for your minkey?” An investigator for Elections Alberta pauses momentarily in his probe of political donations made to the Progressive Conservative Party by seeing-eye monkeys. If you don’t get it, I can’t help you. Actual Elections Alberta investigators by now have likely been transferred back to plain clothes. Below: Justice Minister Jonathan Denis, retired Chief Elections Officer O. Brian Fjeldheim and drugstore billionaire Daryl Katz.
In Alberta, lawbreakers must be punished, and they will be punished – unless, of course, they happen to be supporters of the ruling Progressive Conservative Party.
So, the government (Read more…)
The picket line during the five-day strike by Alberta Correctional Peace Officers, which ended last night. Below: Another scene from the strike; Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk; AUPE President Guy Smith.
Even without last night’s deal with the Alberta government, Alberta’s defiant jail guards would have been entitled to declare a victory in their illegal five-day wildcat strike.
And that was before the illegally striking guards reached the agreement to end their walkout largely on their terms.
The agreement came last night after negotiations between the government and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees – politely termed discussions to allow the (Read more…)
Supporters and striking Alberta jail guards on the picket line yesterday.
Illegally striking Alberta Union of Provincial Employees jail guards have reached an agreement with the government of Premier Alison Redford in “discussions” that Deputy Minister Thomas Lukaszuk said would never happen.
AUPE announced five minutes ago that it had reached ago a deal with the provincial government that includes no retribution for any AUPE member who walked off the job and a full occupational health and safety review of all issues raised by the Correctional Peace officers in the new Edmonton Remand Centre.
The guards walked off the job (Read more…)
The scene on the darkened lane that runs past Edmonton’s giant new Remand Centre has resembled the set for an apocalyptic movie the past couple of nights, with striking jail guards’ huge-wheeled four-by-fours crowding the ditches, AUPE banners flapping in the dark and strikers gathered around burn barrels.
With Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk at the helm, the stalemate in Alberta’s provincial jails continued through the night with wildcatting Correctional Peace Officers still manning picket lines and the government making dubious claims guards were returning to work.
The dispute started months ago over occupational health and safety concerns about Edmonton’s just (Read more…)
Wildcatting Correctional Officers on the picket line at the Edmonton Remand Centre just before midnight last night, long after the government’s ultimatum ordering them back to work. Below: Trade unionists occupy an Alberta Labour Relations Board boardroom yesterday afternoon in support of the striking guards. Below that: Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk as he appeared during a post-news-conference visit last night to the Edmonton Beerfest.
“You know what a tense, sensitive and dangerous situation like an illegal strike at a prison needs? Thomas Lukaszuk.”
So Tweeted well-known Edmonton New Democrat Lou Arab yesterday, the self-described political geek, Internet junkie, father, (Read more…)
Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan, right, speaks to yesterday’s AFL news conference at the Edmonton’s Shaw Conference Centre. Your faithful blogger can be glimpsed at the far right. Beside him, the CBC’s Charles Rusnell. Below: Rusnell, Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason.
Back in the summer of 2011, as Ed Stelmach’s reign as premier of Alberta ground toward its inevitable terminal moment, then-employment-minister Thomas Lukaszuk sent around a letter advising stakeholders he was about to commence a review of the Alberta Labour Code.
It had to be done, said the minister responsible for the province’s labour portfolio, “to ensure (Read more…)
“Post-secondary collective bargaining,” Alberta style. Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk and a post-secondary employer negotiator rig the deck, foreground, while a faculty association negotiators ponder what’s just happened. Actual Alberta bargaining teams may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Mr. Lukaszuk, former advanced ed minister Steve Khan.
As is well known, Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk has sent a letter to the boards of all of Alberta post-secondary institutions instructing them on what their bargaining position and final wage offer must be in negotiations with their faculty associations and staff unions.
The position can be summed up in (Read more…) phrase, now frequently heard on college and university campuses throughout the province, “Zero, zero, zero.”
Oh, wait – and I mean that literally – after three years of nothing you can ask nicely for a 2-per-cent raise. If you’re lucky, and unlike Athabasca University your institution’s . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Has Alberta pioneered an unlegislated ban on collective bargaining?
TweetOn April 23, 2012, Alberta’s most hotly contested election in decades culminated with the re-election of the twelfth consecutive Progressive Conservative majority government since 1971. Despite holding the large majority elected MLAs, the popular vote showed Albertans were closely divided between Alison Redford‘s Tories who finished with 44% compared to an impressive 34% showing for [...]
Tweet“We’ve been very clear that we will not be balancing the budget on the backs of students,” Premier Alison Redford told the media at a press conference yesterday. This statement is only partially true. The provincial government is not balancing the budget this year. Gathered to re-announced what Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk casually announced off-the-cuff [...]
Dr. Michael Giuffre jots down the Alberta Medical Association’s wish list before yesterday’s agreement with the provincial government. Actual AMA negotiators may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne, Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk.
It will take a while to sort out what really happened in yesterday’s deal between the Redford Government and Alberta’s doctors, but you can count on it there’s more there than meets the eye.
Premier Alison Redford, Health Minister Fred Horne and Alberta Medical Association President Dr. Michael Giuffre were all smiles at a news conference in Calgary yesterday afternoon where they (Read more…) the seven-year agreement that will run from April 1, 2011, to March 31, 2018. The deal will give the physicians three years with no pay increase, followed by two years with 2.5-per-cent increases, then two years of cost of living adjustments.
This will allow the government . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Count on it: Alberta’s doctors got more than the government’s press release indicates
Tweet Stephen Mandel is not ready to announce whether he will run for a fourth-term as Edmonton’s Mayor. Speaking to a crowd of more than 2000 people at his annual state-of-the-city address to the Chamber of Commerce, Mandel avoided the topic of his political future, instead taking aim at Premier Alison Redford’s Progressive Conservatives by criticizing [...]
Tweet“You don’t want to have five mediocre engineering schools. You’re better off having two really good engineering schools. There’s no doubt about it.” And on that note, Deputy Premier and Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk kicked off his overhaul of Alberta’s Post-Secondary Education system. It should be noted that there are only two degree-granting university-level engineering schools [...]
TweetEducation Minister Jeff Johnson dispatched a letter to the Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) and the Alberta School Boards Association yesterday threatening salary cuts if a new contract is not agreed to before the provincial budget is released on March 7, 2013. Minister Johnson’s statement was made the same day that Premier Alison Redford told the media [...]
Athabasca University from the air, with the town of Athabasca in the background. Below: Former VP Academic Margaret Haughey, President Frits Pannekoek and former VP IT Brian Stewart.
What the heck is going on at Athabasca University?
It was revealed to the university’s faculty earlier this week that four senior administrators have left the on-line correspondence university based in the town of Athabasca, 145 kilometres north of Edmonton.
Margaret Haughey, Vice-President, Academic Brian Stewart, Vice-President IT and Chief Information Officer Murray Walford, Associate Vice-President Finance Dietmar Kennepohl, Associate Vice-President Academic
The university’s spokesperson, John O’Brien, refused today to
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Taxpayers and students have a right to know what’s happening at Athabasca University
Athabasca University – safe for the moment, president says.
Major executive changes have been made at Athabasca University, with the departure of several senior executives widely rumoured among university staff today.
In an email to faculty sent early this afternoon, Athabasca University President Frits Pannekoek tried to reassure employees about the changes, and about reports on another blog that the university will be closed or rolled into the University of Alberta after the March 7 budget.
“I am informed that the executive personnel changes announced yesterday have fueled speculation about the future of our university, particularly with reference to rumours
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: President’s memo cites executive reshuffle at Athabasca University
TweetIs Athabasca University coming to an end? Government and institution officials say no, but sources say discussions are taking place that could alter the services provided by Alberta’s online distance learning university, including a potential merger with the University of Alberta. With a looming provincial budget and post-secondary institutions preparing themselves for potential funding cuts, [...]
TweetIn an unexpected move, Premier Alison Redford shuffled two rookie cabinet ministers out of her cabinet yesterday morning. Advanced Education & Enterprise Minister Stephen Khan (MLA St. Albert) and Tourism Minister Christine Cusanelli (MLA Calgary-Currie) were both appointed to cabinet in May 2012. Mr. Khan’s time in cabinet was largely seen as reserved and underwhelming. Ms. [...]
Premier Alison Redford eyeballs an uninvited visitor to the province’s economic summit. Without the password, you’re not getting in. Below, Premier Redford and Deputy Premier Tom Lukaszuk present their bona fides at the door. Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below them: The premier’s communications director, Stefan Baranski.
In just 10 days, “Alberta’s leading thinkers, key industry, non-profit and academic leaders, Members of the Legislative Assembly and passionate citizens will gather together for a spirited discussion on Alberta’s future.” You’re not invited.
The government announced yesterday in a terse yet effusive press release that the economic
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: ‘Leading thinkers’ to set Alberta’s new economic course lickety-split – and you’re not invited