Archive for the 'Human Rights' Category

Lawyer, senator, union leader agree minorities are unwelcome

Don Butler, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Justice Canada is a “very poisonous, toxic department” that drives visible minorities out the door, says a high-profile former Justice lawyer.

Mark Persaud, who left Justice in 2003, told a Senate committee the atmosphere during the decade he worked there was rife with “overt racism and intimidation of employees.”

His testimony came on the heels of charges by a senator and the Public Service Alliance of Canada that racism is blocking visible minorities from being properly represented within the federal public service. Nova Scotia Senator Donald Oliver, who is black, bluntly asserted at Monday night’s Senate committee meeting that “it is racism that is preventing visible minorities from progressing in the public service.”

And Ed Cashman, a PSAC vice-president, told senators that racism is “the elephant in the room” that nobody in government wants to talk about.


James C Best

As the PSAC celebrates Black History Month, it recognizes and honours the contributions of its Black members and members of African heritage. The actions and dedication of these members have helped advance the PSAC and put us in the forefront in the struggle for human rights and equality. Their strength, courage and vibrancy are exemplified in the success of the union in negotiations, membership representation, political advocacy and the various committees, including the Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Committees.

This year, we commemorate the contributions of an astounding labour and human rights advocate who was one of the founding members of the PSAC: James Calbert Best. The son of a human rights activist and a railway porter, his career in the federal public sector began in the Department of Labour in 1949, where he co-founded the Civil Service Association of Canada, one of the organizations that merged in 1966 to form the PSAC.

Cal was born in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, and as a young man founded, with his mother, the first African-Canadian owned newspaper in that town, The Clarion. The paper covered local news and sports, but more importantly, delved into the deeper racial issues facing black people in Nova Scotia and across North America. It featured the case of Viola Desmond, who has been referred to as a Canadian Rosa Parks. In 1946, she was arrested and fined for sitting in the “whites only” section of the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow and refused to move when authorities tried to force her to.

After achieving degrees in political science and public administration, he embarked on a 49-year career in the federal public sector, including a term as Canadian High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago.

Even in retirement, his considerable contribution continued. In 1999, he served as a member of the Treasury Board President’s Task Force on the Participation of Visible Minorities in the Federal Public Service.

Cal Best died in the summer of 2007 at the age of 81.

In honour of Cal Best, the PSAC reaffirms its commitment to combating racism in the workplace and extends this invitation to every PSAC member to contribute to the forging of solidarity between all sisters and brothers.

The PSAC is encouraging its members to commemorate Black History Month by organizing or participating in an event that raises awareness about this month, particularly the contributions of Black workers in the Canadian labour movement. Notify the PSAC’s Programs Section of any activities you hold by calling (613) 560-4387 or by e-mail at

Sharon McIvor is a member of the Lower Nicola Band, a practicing member of the Law Society of British Columbia, and a Professor of Aboriginal Law at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, where she is on the executive of her trade union, the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators. For many years, Sharon McIvor has been a national leader in the Native Women’s Association of Canada and the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action.

Recently, in an unprecedented constitutional case, Sharon McIvor successfully challenged the continuing preferential treatment given to males and those whose Indian status is traced from male ancestors, as a violation of section 15, the equality guarantee of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

On June 7, 2007, in McIvor v. Canada, Judge Carol Ross of the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that the federal government must remove sex discrimination from the determination of Indian status and restore equal Indian status to First Nations women and their descendants.

This is a ground-breaking decision that may affect the Indian status of more than 200,000 Aboriginal women and their descendants.


Picket and Rally

Wednesday, January 30, 4 pm
Picket outside the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver (1075 W. Pender)

War and Occupation are a Health Crisis.

The Israeli occupation is a health crisis for Palestinians. In particular, the total siege by the Israeli Occupation Forces in Gaza effectively detains Palestinian men, women and children in what amounts to a giant open air prison, creating a mounting health emergency by denying even the basic necessities of life. In addition to the Israeli-created public health crisis, Palestinians face arbitrary and criminal military violence from the Israeli occupiers.

The conditions in Gaza demonstrate clearly the criminal nature of the Israeli occupation:

Ongoing killings, assassinations and air attacks by Israeli occupation forces; already in January, 2008, Israeli occupying forces in Gaza have killed 26 Palestinians, including children and women, and wounded 44 others. This death toll does not include the countless others whose physical and mental health hangs in the balance of the siege.

Tens of thousands are denied access to safe water and sanitation as raw sewage runs through the streets. General scarcity of food, clean water, and fuel, resulting in malnutrition, disease are a public health clamity. Gaza is on the verge of a humanitarian, health and environmental crisis, threatening the lives of 1.5 million civilians.

Surgical operations and medical aid are suspended at hospitals due to lack of power and supplies, leaving patients languishing in need of medical attention. Furthermore, medical personal are unable to reach people due to the siege conditions.

Blockade of supplies for UN Relief and Works Agency which supplies over 900,000 Palestinians in refugee camp; humanitarian aid is suspended in a region where 85% of the Palestinian population depends upon humanitarian aid their basic needs for survival.

The U.S. and Canadian governments share culpability for this disaster as they continue to support the Israeli occupation. The U.S.A. provides billions of dollars in aid to Israel annually, much of it military aid. Meanwhile the Canadian government has over the last several years shifted to a position of essentially unconditional support for Israel at the U.N. and was the first government to cut humanitarian aid to Palestinians following their democratic election in 2006, punishment for not voting for the ‘correct’ representatives.

Peace, justice and health for Palestinians are impossible under conditions of occupation and siege. We must speak out! We must ACT NOW to break the siege and end the occupation.

Break the Siege on Gaza!

Canada & U.S. – stop supporting Israeli war crimes!

End the Israeli Occupation! Free Palestine!

Organized by the Health Now! Campaign, Alliance for Peoples Health, Al Awda – Palestinian Right of Return Coalition, International League of Peoples Struggles participating organizations in Vancouver (BC Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, Grassroots Women, Ugnayan Ng Kabataang Pilipino Sa Canada/Filipino-Canadian Youth Alliance, SIKLAB, Bus Riders Union, Filipino Nurses Support Group), Free Ahmed Sa’adat Campaign.

Email contact.

The next Human Rights Committee meeting will be February 12th

  • Human Rights Committee meeting
  • Tuesday, February 12th, 5:45PM
  • PSAC Vancouver RO, 5238 Joyce Street
  • participation via conference call is available, if requested in advance


  • Election of delegate to BC Regional Convention
  • More TBA

Please RSVP to Regina Brennan –

Minorities losing ground in PS

Recruitment rate drops as pool grows; critics call for penalties if government can’t reach hiring goals

Kathryn May, The Ottawa Citizen (Monday, January 14, 2008)

The federal government’s multimillion-dollar plan to hire and promote visible minorities has failed and it’s time to start imposing tough penalties if departments don’t meet hiring goals, critics say.

Despite the government’s push, visible minorities are losing ground in the public service, and their under-representation will only become more marked as their share of Canada’s population increases.

Staffing watchdog Maria Barrados, president of the Public Service Commission, raised the alarm when she found the recruitment rate of visible minorities fell last year even though overall hiring in departments increased. Despite that hiring spree, recruitment of visible minorities dropped from 9.8 per cent to 8.7 per cent of all hires.

“I was optimistic we could close the gaps more rapidly. I had not expected that downturn and that is quite a significant downturn. … It means that we have reached a level that we seem to be getting into the public service and we are not going beyond that because all of our recruitment is going up and the proportion is not going up,” she told a Senate committee.

In a bid to catch up, Ms. Barrados has asked Statistics Canada to determine how many visible minorities departments will have to recruit “within a reasonable amount of time” so its workforce reflects Canada’s labour force. She also launched a series of surveys and reviews to determine why visible minorities can’t land jobs in the public service in anywhere near the large numbers that apply.

What’s worrisome is that this dip comes at a time when the number of foreign-born Canadians — who are mostly visible minorities — in the labour market continues to climb.

Last year’s census revealed Canada’s foreign-born population grew four times as fast as that of the Canadian-born population during the first half of this decade and accounts for nearly one in five people who live here, a 75-year high.

“One in five Canadians will be visible minorities by 2017. That’s like the population of Quebec, which brings a lot of social, economic and political power with it,” said Errol Mendes, a law professor at the University of Ottawa.

“This is as much about the economy and sustainability of the public service and the private sector has caught onto this much faster.”

Under Canada’s employment equity laws, the government must hire women, people with disabilities, aboriginals and visible minorities in proportion to their share of the labour force. Departments are only trailing in the hiring of visible minorities, who make up 10.4 per cent of the labour force but have 8.6 per cent of federal jobs. Women, people with disabilities and aboriginals are hired at rates higher than they represent in the labour force.

On paper, getting more racial minorities into the public service has been a federal priority since the Liberals approved targets in 2000 recommended by the Embracing Change task force. It called for one in five new hires to be a visible minority by 2003. Similarly, one in five promotions into the executive ranks was to be a visible minority by 2005.

But a recent Senate study found the government went backwards and only one in 10 new hires is a visible minority.

Many say the poor showing will ratchet the pressure for new targets and tough penalties to enforce them.

Fo Niemi, the director general of the Centre of Research-Action for Race Relations, said the problem is Canada’s laws and policies aren’t enforced and there are no consequences.

The Senate’s human rights committee echoed that criticism and urged a cut in pay for deputy ministers, such as withholding their performance bonuses, if departments don’t hire enough visible minorities. Mr. Niemi, however, said ministers should be “accountable” if departments fall short.

The Embracing Change targets, led by Lewis Perinbam, lost momentum and the Harper government has shown little enthusiasm in pursuing them. Ms. Barrados said those targets are now being reworked and will have to be increased to catch up with the growth of visible minorities in the labour market. (Mr. Perinbam, a longtime bureaucrat, died last month.)

Governments have been bedeviled why visible minorities don’t get more jobs because they show such high interest. The commission’s studies reveal they accounted for 25.7 per cent of applications, but have 10.5 per cent of the jobs. This discrepancy is larger in some regions, departments and occupations.

Visible minorities are also more educated than most applicants; half have bachelor degrees or higher. Language doesn’t seem to be a barrier, especially for entry jobs, and neither does the preference for Canadian citizenship.

Ms. Barrados said the commission has been studying the recruitment process for about a year to determine where visible minorities drop out. She said they meet the advertised job requirements; fill in all forms properly and sail through the first screening. She now plans to survey visible minority applicants to ask them why they don’t think they landed the jobs.

Mr. Niemi said he suspects the dropoff happens after the interviews, which are often done by panels without visible minority members. The public service has long been dominated by white men and people tend to hire those who look like them, the Senate report said.

“It’s natural for people to like to hire and retain those they are most comfortable with. That’s the natural rule of selection and why men hire male buddies and work with people from the same cultural group,” he said.

Deborah Gillis, vice-president of the research firm Catalyst, said her studies show visible minority managers, professionals and executives in the private sector feel excluded from relationships that often help people get ahead, such as those forged by networking or with mentors and role models. She said many don’t feel comfortable going for drinks, paying golf or to see hockey games, especially women. She said nearly half felt they were held to higher performance standards and said who you know was critical to getting ahead.

Ms. Barrados said the big problem is departments aren’t strategic in their personnel planning, which should include plans for visible minorities.

She said she hoped that would change now that departments have been ordered to publicly post staffing and business plans on websites by the end of March.

She said the fact that departments rely on term and casual workers as their main pool of talent for permanent jobs also affects the number of visible minorities. These short-term workers are typically hired locally, through networks or contacts. Once hired, they get the inside track on permanent jobs. Visible minorities, however, don’t have the same contacts and are also concentrated in big cities of Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

© The Ottawa Citizen 2008

Human Rights Committee Meeting, November 6th

In attendance:

  • Chair – Sargy Chima
  • by phone – Floyd Knelson
  • Food – Wanda Mundy and Sharon Tieman
  • Alexander Bishop
  • Tracy Shudo
  • Carol Pegura
  • Rhonda Brain
  • Kim Forster
  • staff resource person – Regina Brennan

Regrets from Todd Harding, Carolyn McGillivray, and Valerie Hargreaves


1. Chair and minute taker
2. Planning for the Human Rights Day dinner
3. Poster contest
4. Announcements
5. Conferences and Conventions
6. Planning for next year

Continue reading below or download the BC Human Rights Committee meeting minutes – Nov 6 2007


New Health Canada regulations that ban gay men from donating their organs slipped through unnoticed in December. Even the head of Canada’s largest organ transplant program at Toronto’s University Health Network, Dr. Gary Levy, didn’t know about the changes.

The new regulations will ban any men who have been sexually engaged with another man in the previous five years. The rejections are based solely on sexual orientation rather than on unsafe sexual practice.

Health Canada is essentially telling Canadians that unprotected sex is safe as long as you aren’t a gay man.

Egale Canada believes that the regulations are discriminatory and should be suspended. Health Canada should be making sure the regulations stop unsafe organ transplants not creating a situation where healthy viable gay organs will be thrown in the garbage.

Let Health Canada know how you feel:

The minister’s web site says, “Tony will return all calls.”

This is a reminder that the deadline date for PSAC racially visible members to apply to attend the upcoming 2008 PSAC National Conference for Racially Visible members either as a delegate or an observer is next Wednesday, January 16th, 2008 at 4 p.m. (Ottawa time). The deadline to receive resolutions for this conference is also January 16th, 2008 at 4 p.m. (Ottawa time).

Be The Change: Create A Better World!

The objectives of our 2008 PSAC National Conference for Racially Visible Members are to:

  • Educate, politicize and mobilize racialized members by making links between the union, the workplace, the community and equality rights.
  • Create and/or strengthen networks within our union and our communities.
  • Enhance and support leadership development of racialized members in our union, workplace and beyond.
  • Develop an analysis on what is racism, the impact of racism and how to fight against racism.

For more information visit the national website or go directly to the online application form.


Filipino migrants in Canada are set to bring their fight for their rights to a new level.

SIKLAB-Canada, a national formation representing migrant Filipino workers, is readying for the historic launching of the International Migrants’ Alliance (IMA) in June 2008 in Hong Kong.

“There is an urgent need to form the IMA,” explains Roderrick Carreon, Chairperson of SIKLAB-Canada, “The issue of migration has become a global phenomenon and the focal point for much intense debate and discussion among academics and politicians on how to administer and manage international migration. It is now also time for those of us organizing around migrant rights to join together internationally to focus on the real lived experience and exploitation of migrant workers, the structures behind global migration, and the impacts of imperialist globalization,” continues Carreon.

There are over half a million Filipinos across Canada, the majority of whom are women who have entered the country as live-in domestic workers under the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP). SIKLAB is actively campaigning for the scrapping of the LCP calling the immigration program “anti-woman and racist”.

Under the LCP, migrant workers are required to live-in their employers’ home for 24 months, hold only temporary immigration status, and are tied to their employers because of the required employer-specific contracts under the program — conditions, which SIKLAB argues breed exploitation, abuse and oppression of Filipino migrant workers in Canada.

“We know that our community’s migration to Canada as cheap and expendable labour is shared by many other migrant and immigrant communities,” says Glecy Duran, Vice-Chairperson of SIKLAB-Canada, “Because we are here and legislated to perform low-wage and dangerous jobs that no other Canadians will perform, migrants of all nationalities, especially those of colour, share a common experience of exploitation. We need to unite,” adds Duran.

The objectives of the IMA are:

  • To promote the rights, livelihood and welfare of migrants, refugees and displaced persons all over the world;
  • To defend the interests of migrants, refugees and displaced persons from attacks of imperialist globalization and its lackeys;
  • To forge coordinated and joint actions and plans in advancing the rights and well-being of im/migrants and refugees.
  • To intensify campaigns for just wage, job security, against commodification and against criminalization of undocumented migrants and immigrants.
  • Extend support and cooperation among the members.
  • To further promote international solidarity and cooperation with progressive and genuine anti-imperialist organizations and alliances.

The IMA was initiated by the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) Study Commission on Migrants and Immigrants, and aims to be a broad international formation of progressive and anti-imperialist migrant organizations of various nationalities.

As a convenor of the launching the IMA, SIKLAB-Canada is also inviting other like-minded organizations of migrants and immigrants in Canada to join the significant founding of the IMA.

For more information: SIKLAB-B.C.: Glecy Duran,; 604-215-1103

SIKLAB-British Columbia
Advance the Rights and Welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers and Their Families
Member of SIKLAB-Canada
c/o Kalayaan Centre, 451 Powell Street, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, V6A 1G7
Phone: 604.215.1103 | Fax: 604.215.1905 |

Ontario turned over Ipperwash Provincial Park to a First Nation on Thursday, settling a long-standing aboriginal grievance in the province.

Read full article

Anytime a child dies is a tragedy. When a child who has serious medical condition, and is unnecessarily separated from their family and community and then dies, it is both tragic and a grave injustice.

This was the case for Jordan.

Jordan was a young First Nations boy who was born with severe medical complications. Jordan spent the first two years of his life in hospital care before his condition stabilized and doctors determined he could go home. What should have been a time of celebration turned into a time of sorrow and frustration as Jordan remained hospitalized unnecessarily for an additional two years while provincial and federal agencies became entrenched in a jurisdictional dispute over the cost of his home care. The dispute was finally settled, but not before Jordan’s unfortunate death.

Separating children from their family and community is a fundamental violation of a human rights principle which advocates that whenever possible, it is best to ensure children’s welfare within their family and community.

Jordan’s short life should never have been the stage for a jurisdictional dispute about which level of government would ensure a child received the care needed. Yet situations like this happen too often. A recent research report exposed jurisdictional disputes involving the costs of caring for First Nations children are prevalent with 393 of these disputes occurring in 12 sample First Nations child and family service agencies this past year alone. The vast majority of these disputes were between two federal government departments or between the federal government and the provincial/territorial government (for more information please see the Wen:de report (2005)

It’s time for governments to remember that their first priority is the welfare of children – including First Nations children. The Canadian Labour Congress has lent its support to an initiative that will require governments to adopt a child-first principle to resolve jurisdictional disputes involving the care of First Nations children.

The initiative is called the Jordan Principle and is being advanced in the House of Parliament by Jean Crowder, NDP Aboriginal Affairs Critic and via a petition action organized by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society.

The Canadian Labour Congress encourages its affiliates and allies to support the Jordan Principle by signing on to the declaration to support the Jordan Principle.

Click here to lend your support to the Jordan Principle

Karl Flecker
National Director
Anti – Racism and Human Rights Dept.
Canadian Labour Congress
613.526.7406 Direct line

Be the Change: Create a Better World!

We are pleased to announce the call out for PSAC racially visible members in good standing to apply to participate in the PSAC National Conference for Racially Visible Members, which will be held March 7 to 9, 2008 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Montreal, Quebec, under the theme “Be the Change: Create a Better World!”

JANUARY 16th, 2008 at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST)


The objectives of our 2008 PSAC National Conference for Racially Visible Members are to:

  • Educate, politicize and mobilize racialized members by making links between the union, the workplace, the community and equality rights.
  • Create and/or strengthen networks within our union and our communities.
  • Enhance and support leadership development of racialized members in our union, workplace and beyond.
  • Develop an analysis on what is racism, the impact of racism and how to fight against racism.

Resolution, Application and other
Forms (English)
Forms (French)

Via …

I am writing to you today to ask for your help in stopping a dangerous trade deal that you have probably never heard of. The government of Canada is negotiating a trade deal with Colombia, a country that Human Rights Watch calls the “worst human rights and humanitarian disaster” in the Americas.

This controversial deal will make many poor in Colombia worse off and help support a government involved in serious human rights abuses. The US Congress refused to approve a similar deal earlier this year, citing human rights abuses. If Canadians don’t speak up, this deal can be passed without parliamentary approval or public debate.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Write to your Member of Parliament and insist that this deal not go through without a full debate in Parliament and the explicit approval of our elected representatives.

There is not much time – negotiations are underway, and are set to be completed before the end of the year. Millions of people in Colombia have been displaced through a violent conflict over land and resources. Transnational companies have become complicit in this violence. Many people living in poverty in Colombia are concerned that this deal increases the power of corporations at the expense of the poor.

Act in solidarity with Colombian social justice activists. Tell others that trade is a matter that affects poverty and human rights, and that you care. Speak out now!

Dennis Howlett
Make Poverty History

Canadian Labour Congress to Ministers Solberg and Finley: Where are the Filipino 11?
Temporary Foreign Worker Program Should Be Suspended

OTTAWA – The Canadian Labour Congress calls for an immediate moratorium of the government’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program until a comprehensive investigation of identified abuse and exploitation cases takes place. Full suspension of this program is necessary as the government officially acknowledges that it cannot “monitor the working conditions offered by the employer following entry into Canada” – that it cannot protect these workers.

To print the English PDF version, please click the link below

Come and join the Vancouver-based P.S.A.C. Human Rights Committee members for dinner to celebrate Human Rights Day.

When: Monday, December 10th

Where: In the boardroom of the PSAC Regional Office, #200-5238 Joyce St. (one block south of the Joyce Street Skytrain Station)

What time: gather at 5:45pm, dinner will be served when it’s ready.

What: A festive, turkey dinner with all the trimmings, and a chance to meet and socialize with members of the Human Rights Committee. No official meeting agenda, and no guest speakers. Just good food, good company, and fun.

Please RSVP to or 604 430-5631 to ensure enough food for all. Thanks, we look forward to sharing a meal with you.

Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs

justice for the philippines!Dear Minister Bernier:

On behalf of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, a national union made up of over 160,000 members, I am writing to express our grave concern regarding the appalling human rights situation in the Philippines under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In recent months, we have become aware of the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Philippines marked with extrajudicial killings and trade union repression from a variety of sources.

In March 2007, we heard from individuals who survived assassination attempts under the Arroyo government, such as Dr. Constancio Claver, who told of the political targeting and surveillance he experienced that ultimately resulted in the murder of his wife and attempted murder of himself and his daughter when they were ambushed in July 2006. He also shared his frustration with the Philippine National Police’s lack of investigation and prosecutions in his case.


Here are two events upcoming in Vancouver, check back as more will be posted closer to the date …

  • December 5th – Vigil and march to honour women
  • Starts at 6 pm
  • DTES Women’s Centre, 302 Columbia Street, near Main and Cordova
  • Proceed to Thornton Park (Main Skytrain)
  • For more information: For more information, contact DEWC at 604-681-8480 x 234 or email
  • December 6th – Women Against Violence Against Women DTES Smudge
  • 10:30 AM, December 6th
  • All are welcome – join us in prayer to honour women as sacred life givers, clan mothers and leaders of our communities
  • Details in the poster (pdf)

Cheers to BC Human Rights Committee member Rhonda Brain (UTE 20029) for forwarding us this four-page factsheet on mental disorders and addictions in the workpace (pdf). Included are some …

Ways Employers Can Help Reduce Workplace Stress:

  • learn what causes workplace stress
  • provide positive feedback and engage in twoway communication with employees
  • offer flexible hours for juggling family responsibilities
  • provide employee assistance programs to help people get counseling on personal, financial or other problems
  • provide or help with cost of stress control programs
  • offer on-site fitness facilities and access to nutritious food
  • create an environment that offers fresh air, proper lighting, regular work breaks, and
  • reduced noise
  • permit someone recovering form a mental illness to work fewer hours rather than totally disconnecting them from the workplace

The full series of factsheets is available at

To: All Lower Mainland Locals, Area Councils and Committees

Greetings Sisters and Brothers!

Our 2007 Union School is fast approaching and I am very excited and pleased to extend an invitation to all PSAC members in the Lower Mainland who are not attending the school to join us this year to hear two incredible speakers who will be speaking on November 2nd and November 3rd at the Metrotown Hilton in Burnaby (6083 McKay Avenue).

November 2nd, 2007 : We are greatly honoured to present Malalai Joya, member of the Afghan Parliament and world renowned activist as our keynote speaker at the school. She will open our school at on Friday, November 2nd at 12:30 pm.

Malalai’s upcoming visit to Vancouver and to our school represents a rare opportunity for us to hear directly about conditions in Afghanistan. Malalai is one of Afghanistan’s most courageous politicians and a dedicated defender of the rights of the Afghan people and women in particular. She has survived four assassination attempts and was recently suspended from the country’s parliament to which she was democratically elected in 2005. Despite this, she continues to speak out both in her own country and around the world.

November 3rd, 2007: Malalai’s key note speech at the school on Friday will be followed by a panel discussion on defending public services with PSAC National President John Gordon and Seth Klein – BC Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) – on Saturday, November 3rd at 9AM. We are very pleased that John will be joining us – please take advantage of this great opportunity to hear him speak about defending quality public services, collective bargaining, and other important issues in our union. John, along with Seth, will also be pleased to answer questions after the panel presentations.

John Gordon was elected as the PSAC’s National President in May 2006 at the PSAC’s Triennial Convention. John had been the Union’s National Vice-President since 2000. Prior to 2000, he was the National President of the former Union of Public Works Employees component (now Government Services Union). He has also been a union activist in the broader labour movement with extensive involvement in the Labour Council of Metro Toronto and the Ontario Federation of Labour.

Seth Klein is the BC Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), a public policy research institute committed to social, economic and environmental justice. He is a frequent media commentator and public speaker on public policy issues. He has authored numerous studies and newspaper articles.

We very much hope that you are able to join us to hear these amazing speakers. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or would like more information. Hope to see you there!

In solidarity, Amal Rana, Regional Education Officer

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