Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan receives ‘threatening’ email from Premier Brad Wall supporter
Ever since it was established in 1997, the right-wing Saskatchewan Party has been home to rednecks, racists, bigots, sexists, homophobes and others with extremist views.
The challenge for party brass has been how to keep this unsavory bunch happy, but in check, and out of the public eye as much as possible.
Every so often though, one of these Neanderthals manages to break from the pack and says or does something asinine to embarrass the whole lot.
On June 24, 2011, Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan president Cathy Dickson issued a special message to all members alerting them to a threatening email she had received the day before from a supporter of the Brad Wall government.
“During our lengthy strike action, we have received many e-mails from both members and non-members, offering their opinions on our public statements, negotiating strategy or approach to job action,” said Dickson. “That is everyone’s right to share their opinions.
“However, one e-mail I received a few days ago concerns me greatly,” she said. “It is a threatening e-mail, which comes from someone who describes himself as a strong supporter of Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party. He equates the work of our union with “treason” and goes on to suggest that he and other Saskatchewan Party supporters have the money and the power to “chop us down to size”.”
Dickson called on the premier and health minister to back up their often repeated claim of how much they ‘respect’ the specialized health care professionals in the HSAS “by publicly renouncing these types of threats from their supporters.”
The Wall government has so far remained silent on the matter and the media, who are aware of the situation, have said nothing.
The email in question appears to have been sent by
According to his Facebook page, Pischak owns a business called ‘professional home detailing’, hence the sender’s email address firstname.lastname@example.org. However, a search of the provincial corporations branch database shows no company by that name is registered to Pischak.
Pischak apparently attended Mount Royal Collegiate (1976-1980) and the
Prior to 2000, the provincial Public Service Act required that any promotions, transfers, resignations and dismissals of employees in the public service be published in the Saskatchewan Gazette.
The October 27, 1995, edition of the Gazette shows that a Blair W. Pischak was terminated with cause by the Department of Health. When something this severe happens it’s usually for a good reason.
The HR Council, an Ottawa-based agency (funded in part through the Government of Canada’s Sector Council Program) that takes action on nonprofit labour force issues, states on its website that “termination with cause or termination with just cause means that an action or omission by the employee has irreparably damaged the employment relationship between the employer and the employee. Usually, termination with cause occurs when an employee is dismissed for a serious reason related to the employee’s conduct.”
It appears that unions aren’t the only target of Pischak’s wrath. Earlier this year it seems that Pischak, under the username “blairgolf511” (the same as his Twitter account), posted a message at WrongPlanet.net railing against new immigrants to
In response to a Winnipeg Free Press story on February 5, 2011, about Muslim families in that city wanting their children excused from compulsory elementary school music and coed physical education programs for religious and cultural reasons, Pischak had this to say: “I’ve had it with immigrants showing up in Canada and expecting all of us to accomodate any and all of their traditions, customs, ways, religious beliefs, religious ways, etc, etc! BS! Like the leader of
We know that Premier Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party despise working people, especially those belonging to unions, but do they share Pischak’s disturbing view of immigrants as well?
In his email to Dickson, Pischak criticizes union leaders for recently pulling crop insurance adjusters off the job and for “belly aching about essential services laws.”
“We were the LAST province or territory in
One person that deserves to be called on the carpet for their rotten behaviour on these files is Pischak’s hero, Premier Brad Wall.
Leader-Post political columnist Murray Mandryk said last week that Wall was “overreacting” to the 470 crop adjusters, made up mostly of farmers or former farmers, for hitting the picket line for a couple of days after being without a contract for nearly two years. [Banging head against a Wall (StarPhoenix, June 25, 2011)]
He called Wall’s angry letter to Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union president Bob Bymoen on June 22, 2011, condemning the strike “over the top” and suggested its use of loaded words such as “unconscionable” and “deplorable” were for the benefit “of farmers and others on the political right who are predisposed anyway to hate anything and everything unions do.” Someone like Pischak, perhaps?
Wall’s ridiculous threat to recall the legislature because he’s mad at the SGEU leadership “also makes for bad public policy and bad politics.”
Mandryk made the important observation that “crop insurance adjusters have no responsibility for health or public safety. In fact, we likely have never legislated back to work a bargaining unit that has so little responsibility for the public’s well-being.
“And having crop adjusters walking the picket line for slightly more than 24 hours doesn’t constitute a provincial catastrophe.”
The main duties for the province’s crop insurance adjusters’ are to help farmers with three forms: the unseeded acreage benefit claims; the stored grain declaration; and the benefit establishment claim that counts the number of plants per square yard that have germinated.
“While the forms are somewhat annoying and difficult to fill out, it’s something farmers can do themselves,” said Mandryk. “As happened last year, adjusters could do spot checks later. Given that the government also announced [June 22] that the deadline for all these forms would be pushed back to June 30, there is also no urgency.
“Wall could have taken a more measured approach. He could have appealed to the better nature of people to do the right thing.
“Instead, he chose to demonize union members as untrustworthy and to order them back to work - a move that was drastic, unnecessary and not all that politically wise.” [Acting in anger bad policy (StarPhoenix, June 24, 2011)]
That’s Wall’s M.O. though. He, too, is one of those individuals that Mandryk says are predisposed to hate anything and everything unions do. His government’s attack on labour has been non-stop since winning the provincial election in November 2007.
Prior to the election, the public was told that essential services legislation wasn’t necessary. However, within a month of taking office the Wall government introduced it then insisted that was the plan all along.
Thanks to Mandryk, both Wall and Health Minister Don McMorris were exposed as dishonest and two-faced.
In a column on December 7, 2007, Mandryk noted that on October 1, 2007, a mere 10 days before the election call, McMorris told CBC reporter Geoff Leo that legislating essential services was “not on.”
According to Mandryk, McMorris also told the Leader-Post in a June 28, 2007 story, after the Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan strike, that an agreement around essential services should be forged between the parties without having to legislate the matter.
Mandryk noted that Wall himself in a September 22, 2007, story said the same thing.
“There’s some common sense at play here that simply says before collective bargaining begins, before the expiration of a contract, both sides (should) sit down and agree to providing essential services.” Wall told LP reporter Angela Hall, even going so far as to say legislation wouldn’t necessarily be required to set out essential services.
“How is this a clear message from the Saskatchewan Party that it really was contemplating essential services legislation all along?” Mandryk asked.
“The minimum expectation voters should have is for their politicians to be honest and forthright.” [Basic honesty minimum expectation (StarPhoenix, December 7, 2007)]
Wall and McMorris were neither.
HSAS president Cathy Dickson is correct when she says that in other provinces where a union’s right to job action is limited by essential services legislation there is always an independent resolution process, like third party binding arbitration, but not in
HSAS also has the public’s support behind it.
The results of a public opinion poll conducted on behalf of HSAS and released on May 24, 2011, shows 67.5 per cent support for independent, binding arbitration to settle the current contract dispute between specialized health care professionals and health care employers.
The poll also shows that 40.6 per cent of respondents say the essential services legislation has hurt negotiations, while only 23.7 per cent say it has helped.
In March 2010, labour leaders were vindicated when the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) issued a ruling that found Bill 5, The Public Service Essential Services Act, and Bill 6, Amendments to the Trade Union Act were in violation of international law and the human rights of working people in