Saturday, August 22, 2009

Prime Minister "Sneaky Stevie" Harper continued his triumphalist tour of Canada's North with a visit last Thursday to Yellowknife, capital of the Northwest Territories. While there he continued to serve up his menu of refried beans of old policy announcements first set forward in the Jurassic and yet to be initiated. As usual the pols fell at his feet. Given Harper's proven abilities with sleight of hand, disappearing both Sacred Hosts and seal guts without ever actually eating them, it is no wonder that he can pull old items out of a hat to the wonderment of a fawning audience and disappear them once more.
The object of this little get-together was the promise of $36.5 million worth of political fertilize to be duly applied to labour training programs in the three northern territories. The President of the NWT Federation of Labour though that she should be present at such a meeting and tried to attend. The following report from the CBC says what happened. Ah, "home on the northern range; where never is heard a discouraging word". Or an honest one for that matter.

N.W.T. labour leader barred from Harper event:
A Yellowknife-based union leader said military police barred her from attending Prime Minister Stephen Harper's announcement of new northern labour agreements Thursday afternoon.

Mary Lou Cherwaty, president of the N.W.T. Federation of Labour, said she was not invited to Harper's announcement, which he made in the N.W.T. capital about 5 p.m. MT Thursday.

Harper announced that the federal government will spend $36.5 million over two years for training programs in the three northern territories. The prime minister signed the northern market agreements, which he described as "historic," with N.W.T. Premier Floyd Roland, Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak and Yukon Premier Dennis Fentie.

Cherwaty tried to invite herself to the event, which took place at the Canadian Forces' northern headquarters in downtown Yellowknife, but said she was blocked by military police.

"I believe it's a slap in the face to workers," Cherwaty told CBC News on Friday. "Any amount of money that they'll decide to throw towards the training and [the] developments that they're talking about in the North is going to be for the benefit of business and corporations and not for the benefit of workers, obviously."

Cherwaty said it's insulting for the prime minister to announce something so important without inviting any one from the labour movement.

The N.W.T Federation of Labour is an umbrella group that represents more than 8,500 members of unions and locals across the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. It is a member of the Canadian Labour Congress.

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