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RWB puts ten faces to its #Fightimpunity campaign

first_img Reporters Without Borders is highlighting ten emblematic cases of impunity as part of its #FightImpunity campaign for the first International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. The aim is to involve the general public and step up pressure on governments to bring those responsible for these crimes to justice. Organisation Related documents rsf__fightimpunity_ru-2.pdfPDF – 86.18 KB Campaigns October 30, 2014 – Updated on January 25, 2016 RWB puts ten faces to its #Fightimpunity campaigncenter_img Читать по-русски / Read in RussianWhen the UN General Assembly created International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on 13 December 2013, it designated 2 November, the anniversary of the murder of the two Radio France Internationale journalists, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon in Kidal, Mali, in 2013.Reporters Without Borders has chosen these 10 cases to put names and faces to the tragic statistics and to show the scale and different forms that impunity can take. The resources deployed by authorities to solve these and many other cases have been either non-existent or hopelessly inadequate. More than 90 percent of crimes against journalists are never solved and therefore never punished.These ten impunity cases are presented on a specially created website, http://fightimpunity.org/en. Some of the victims disappeared, such Mexican crime reporter María Esther Aguilar Cansimbe, Abidjan-based French journalist Guy-André Kieffer, Iranian newspaper editor Pirouz Davani and Sri Lankan political analyst and cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda. Some were murdered such as Pakistani reporter Syed Saleem Shahzad, the young Serbian journalist Dada Vujasinovic, the Beirut-based columnist Samir Kassir and the Dagestani journalist Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev, who was gunned down in 2013.Dawit Isaak, a journalist with Swedish and Eritrean dual nationality, has been held incommunicado in Eritrean President Issayas Aferworki’s hellish prison camps for the past 13 years, while police officers tortured Bahraini reporter Nazeeha Saeed for covering pro-democracy demonstrations.“We must never abandon journalists who are the victims of crimes, not even posthumously,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “The ten impunity cases we are presenting are shocking examples of incompetence or wilful inaction by officials who should be punishing despicable crimes against those who have tried to describe reality as it is.“Such a level of impunity just encourages those who commit these abuses. International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists is an occasion for paying tribute to the victims, reminding governments of their obligation to protect journalists and combat impunity, and reminding those who target journalists that one day they will be held to account for their actions.”Whether killed execution-style, blown-up by a bomb, tortured to death or disappeared, these journalists paid the price for their commitment to freedom of information. They were targeted for investigating corruption or drug trafficking, for criticizing the government or intelligence agencies or for drawing attention to human rights violations. Some of the cases have become emblematic, others are less well known.Those responsible were many and varied, and include governments, armed groups and hit-men. RWB blames the shortcomings of police and justice systems for the failures to solve these cases or to convict the perpetrators and instigators.Around 800 journalists have been killed in connection with their work in the past decade. The deadliest year was 2012, with 88 journalists killed. The number of killed fell slightly in 2013 but the figures for physical attacks and threats against journalists continued to rise. At total of 56 journalists have been killed since the start of 2014.RWB’s recommendationsTo combat impunity, Reporters Without Borders is calling for the creation of the position of special adviser to the UN secretary-general on the safety of journalists. Creating such a post at the heart of the UN system would enable monitoring and verification of states’ compliance with their obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1738 and the General Assembly resolution of 18 December 2013.Adopted on 23 December 2006, Resolution 1738 reminds states of their “obligations under international law to end impunity.” The resolution passed by the UN General Assembly on 18 December 2013 calls on states to conduct “impartial, speedy and effective investigations into all alleged violence against journalists (…) to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies.”A resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council on 19 September called in similar terms for an end to impunity. A proper international monitoring and verification mechanism is needed so that all these resolutions can be implemented.RWB is also calling for an amendment to article 8 of the International Criminal Court’s statute so that deliberate attacks on journalists, media workers and associated personnel are defined as war crimes. As a member of the French coalition of the ICC, it is urging states to pass legislation allowing them, under the principle of universal jurisdiction, to prosecute those in their territory who committed grave crimes in another country.The European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights have ruled that respect for freedom of information not only requires states to abstain from arbitrarily interfering in the use of the right to information but also requires them to protect journalists and prosecute those who target them.RWB calls on states to implement these provisions by conducting immediate, effective and independent investigations into attacks against journalists and prosecuting those responsible. The authorities that conduct these investigations must be able to resist any political, diplomatic or technical pressure or obstacles they may encounter. In some ongoing cases, RWB has seen how the threat of ending a judicial investigation represents a victory for impunity. Help by sharing this information RSF_en last_img read more

Kurtenbach: Jimmy Garoppolo’s nightmare practice highlights a big concern for the 49ers

first_imgSANTA CLARA — Training camp is supposed to be a time where teams find answers.But heading into the most important stretch of their preseason — two joint practices with the Broncos in Colorado on Friday and Saturday and then an exhibition game against them at Mile High Stadium on Monday — there are still an awful lot of questions surrounding these 49ers.Questions about health, depth, scheme, and spending. So much — too much, perhaps — about these Niners seems to be in flux. It’s simply …last_img read more

Controls on Plastic Waste Are Getting More Stringent

first_imgLess than two years after China banned most imports of scrap material from abroad, many of its neighbors are following suit. On May 28, Malaysia’s environment minister announced that the country was sending 3,000 metric tons of contaminated plastic wastes back to their countries of origin, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Along with the Philippines, which is sending 2,400 tons of illegally exported trash back to Canada, Malaysia’s stance highlights how controversial the global trade in plastic scrap has become. Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam are all halting flows of plastics that once went to China but were diverted elsewhere after China started refusing it. They are finding support from many nations that are concerned about waste dumping and marine plastic pollution. At a meeting in Geneva in May, 186 countries agreed to dramatically restrict international trade in scrap plastics to prevent plastics dumping. As I show in my forthcoming book, “Waste,” scrap material of all kinds is both a resource and a threat. The new plastics restriction allows less-wealthy countries to exercise their sovereign right not to accept materials they are ill-equipped to handle. This narrows options for wealthy countries that used to send much of their plastic and paper scrap abroad, and is a small but symbolic step toward curbing plastic waste.RELATED ARTICLESAre We Recycling Too Much of Our Trash?Beyond RecyclingChinese Decree Alters Recycling PictureE-Waste: Taming a Global Problem A trade with few rules The Basel Convention, which governs the international waste trade, was adopted in 1989 in response to egregious cases of hazardous waste dumping on communities in Africa, the Caribbean and Asia. Many of its goals remain unfulfilled, including a ban on shipments of hazardous waste from wealthy to less-wealthy nations for final disposal, and a liability protocol that would assign financial responsibility in the event of an incident. And the agreement has largely failed to encompass newer wastes, particularly discarded electronics. The new provision, proposed by Norway with broad international support, takes a more aggressive approach. It moves plastic scrap from one category—wastes that can be traded unless directly contaminated—to another group of materials that are not deemed hazardous per se, but are subject to the same trade controls as those classified as hazardous. Now these plastics can be shipped overseas for disposal or recycling only with the express consent of the importing country. The United States signed the treaty in 1989, but never ratified it and is not bound by the treaty’s terms. However, Basel Convention member countries cannot accept any restricted waste imports from the United States unless they have reached a bilateral or regional agreement that meets Basel’s environmental provisions. The U.S. already has such an agreement with fellow OECD member countries. Operation National Sword, China’s policy restricting imports of post-consumer scrap, was a major driver for updating the treaty. Before the ban, China imported nearly half of the world’s scrap plastic and paper. Now scrap exporters in wealthy nations are struggling to find alternate markets overseas and boost domestic recycling. Crisis and opportunity for U.S. recyclers Trends in the United States illustrate these wrenching shifts. Plastic scrap exports to China plummeted from around 250,000 tons in the spring of 2017 to near zero in the spring of 2019. Overall, U.S. exports of plastic waste to all countries fell from 750,000 tons to 375,000 tons over the same period. Most U.S. waste and recycling policies are made at the local level, and the past year has been a transformative period. Without ready markets abroad for scrap, recyclers are raising prices, which in turn is leading some municipalities to reduce or eliminate curbside recycling programs. Many plastic products in groups 3-7, the least recyclable types, are being sent to landfills. More positively, recycling authorities have launched public education campaigns, and investment in recycling infrastructure is on the rise. There is palpable energy at trade meetings around improving options for plastics recycling. Chinese companies are investing in U.S. pulp and paper recycling plants, and may extend into plastics. Green-leaning states and cities across the nation have passed strict controls on single-use consumer plastics. However, businesses are pushing back, and have persuaded some U.S. states to adopt preemptive measures barring plastic bag bans. The greatest immediate pressure is on international scrap dealers, who are most immediately affected by the Norway Amendment and vocally opposed it. They are also under stress from the U.S.-China tariff wars, which could make it difficult for them to send even clean, commercially valuable scrap to China. Waste or scrap? Under the Norway Amendment, nations can still export plastic scrap if it is clean, uncontaminated, and of high quality. The measure effectively distinguishes between waste—which has no value and is potentially harmful—and scrap, or discarded materials that still have value. This bifurcation matters for the U.S. and other countries that formerly outsourced their recycling to China and are having trouble creating domestic demand for recovered plastics, because it makes a legitimate trade in plastic and other marginal scrap possible. However, there is still no guarantee that this scrap can be reprocessed without harm to workers or the environment once it has reached the importing country. Nor will the Norway Amendment do much to reduce marine plastic pollution directly. Only a tiny fraction of ocean plastics originate from shipped plastic scrap from rich countries. Most come from items that are used and discarded on land and never enter a recycling system. Curbing plastic pollution will require broader action, with a focus on coordinating scattered global initiatives and building up relevant international law. Implementing extended producer responsibility for plastics, which could require manufacturers to take plastic products back at their end of life and dispose of them in approved ways, would be a useful step. However, it should not supplant ongoing efforts to reduce production and use of plastics, which contribute to climate change as well as waste. Solutions may come from the top down in European nations or the bottom up in the United States. But as one Asian country after another shuts the door on scrap exports, it is becoming increasingly clear that business as usual will not solve the plastic pollution challenge. Kate O’Neill is an associate professor of global environmental politics at the  University of California, Berkeley. This article is republished from The Conversation under a creative commons license. Read the original article.last_img read more

10 Rules for Relationships Inside Your Company

first_imgAssume Good Intentions: In all cases, assume that your peers are operating under the best of intentions. Refuse to believe that your teammates are intentionally making mistakes, creating problems, or being difficult. Assume that everyone you work with is trying to do good work.Put the Client First: Whenever you recognize a problem or challenge, make the decision to put the customer first. Instead of focusing on what you need, what someone else needs, or your competing priorities, turn your attention to what your client needs. This isn’t easy, but your business exists to serve the client, and your internal conflicts cannot come at the client’s expense.Have the Courage to Go First: Numbers one and two are not easy, but someone has to go first. Make that someone you. You must be the one to enter conversations with the intention of helping, of resolving issues or moving forward. You be the diplomat. Expect others to be defensive and to question your motives until they understand your sincerity.Put the Relationship Above Any Challenge: When dealing with challenges, put your relationship with your teammates above the challenge. There is no reason to destroy a relationship with a peer over a challenge that will eventually be resolved. By putting the relationship first, you build the capacity to handle greater challenges together, and you engender trust.Communicate Openly and Honestly: Many of the challenges you face inside your company can be resolved or improved with open, honest conversation. Much of the time mistakes are made or problems persist because they aren’t addressed candidly (and following the rules above). Resolving issues begins with communicating about what the issue is, the implications of it persisting, and why it is important to do something now.Be Willing to Renegotiate Commitments: You are always going to have competing priorities that drive people on the same team in seemingly opposite directions. You need something now, and your teammate has a looming deadline. You, meaning both of you, must be willing to renegotiate your commitments to go back to Rule 2 (Put the Client First). This may also require that you negotiate with your company for additional resources when all else fails. This willingness to renegotiate commitments allows you to find a way forward.In Conflict, Collaborate: Conflict is a funny thing. Most of the time, it is unnecessary, an emotional response that does nothing to produce a better outcome and damaging relationships. But, conflict always gives rise to collaboration. There is always something that can be done, some change that can be made, some solution found. Instead of focusing on “the person” you focus on “the problem.” By doing so, you’ll find you have smart, client-oriented teammates who care as much of you do—and who may be more resourceful than you know.Trust Your Team: The foundation of all relationships is trust. You must trust your team to do their job, and they have to trust you to do yours. You may not always understand why they do what they do, nor them, you. Your team is charged with generating certain outcomes, and you have to let them do their job, just like you want them to let you do your job. Give them your confidence and your support.Treat Your Peers Like They’re Clients: There is a power in service. It changes the nature of relationships. Caring enough to help someone with their challenges tends to create trust and reciprocity on the part of the person you are serving. Instead of treating your teammates as obstacles, treat them as another type of client. Help them with their challenges and create a relationship where they are always willing to help you. Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Sunny days ahead

first_imgOur astrological forecast raises a toast to staying fit this summer. Here are some sunny tips for you.AriesMarch 21 – April 20Aries is a fire sign, which imparts enthusiasm and dynamic energy. You would do well at rigorous sporting activities like kick boxing and weight lifting. Team sports like football or cricket.is also a good idea for you.TaurusApr 21 – May 20Playing tennis, badminton or squash would be a good idea to keep your body and mind fit. A practical person like you would otherwise consider exercising a waste of time, if it will not mentally stimulate you.GeminiMay 21 – June 21A gemini loves entertainment and partying with a group of friends. Workouts which can give them an opportunity to meet new people would be ideal for you. Activities like bollywood dancing and gymnastics would fit the bill.CancerJune 22 – July 23Cancerians are always more comfortable at home. A relaxed environment while exercising would keep you fit as well as happy. You can set up a mini gym in your basement or a spare room. Running on a treadmill is a good option for you.LeoJuly 24 – Aug 23Leos cannot do with boredom, and tend to get lazy at times. So, exercising in the gym under the supervision of a trainer would be beneficial for you. You can also try swimming or some bollywood dancing . A dynamic workout would keep you upbeat all day long.VirgoAug 24 – Sept 23A virgo is a perfectionist and likes to push themselves harder to attain the unattainable. Rigorous running in a cross country marathon or skiing is perfect for you.aadvertisementLibraSept 24 – Oct 22Refined taste and a strong aesthetic sense comes naturally to you. A love for luxury and all things beautiful encourages activities like Golfing in a plush golf club or exercising in a well equipped gym. Workout is more appealing when they can socialise at the same time.ScorpioOct 23 – Nov 22Scorpio represents one of the strongest signs of the zodiac. This deep well of strength needs to be channelised in right direction. Kick Boxing, karate and power yoga are good options for this powerful and intense sun sign.SagittariusNov 23 – Dec 22You people love adventure and outdoor sports. Activities such as sky diving, bunjee jumping, mountaineering and rock climbing would give you some much needed adrenaline rush. But extreme sports involves risk. Take safety precautions to avoid danger.CapricornDec 23- Jan 20A Capriconian is driven by ambition. Their structured minds would do well at golf where they would be able to exercise while expanding their networking circle.AquariusJanuary 21-February 19Physical exertion is not your cup of tea. A dedicated soul like you would be more interested in alternative therapies. For instance, enrolling yourself in a Tai Chi, Chi Yung or Sudarshan Kriya class would be your key to fitness and relaxation.PiscesFeb 20 – Mar 20They are gentle, sensitive and like to live in their imaginative world. Make an effort to keep yourself calm. Healing activities like Surya Namaskar and light workouts such as cycling would release the tension and would give you a fresh perspective on things.last_img read more

As demand grows in leaps,ESPN to go the whole hog with digital

first_imgMumbai, Nov 26 (PTI) Buoyed by the increasing preference for sports on the digital platform, American sports broadcaster ESPN is aggressively working to tap this demand with more content, says a top company official.The broadcaster, which has been present here for over quarter of a century, owns two digital properties — ESPNcricinfo, a cricket content platform, and a co-branded multi-sport content offering ESPN.in, with its joint venture partner Sony Pictures Networks India that was launched 15 months earlier.Besides, it also has two co-branded sports channels with Sony Pictures Networks India.”We believe that India is a mobile-first market and data confirms that. Almost 78 per cent of all our traffic is either on the mobile web or the app. We also believe that over time people are shifting from mobile web towards app,” ESPN International executive vice-president and managing director Russell Wolff told PTI here.For ESPN, digital video consumption has been growing at 150 per cent, while mobile video demand has been growing even more dramatically, at a rate as high as 350 per cent, Wolff said.He said the company has been producing more videos for mobile and digital platforms, given the growing interest in digital content.And he is bullish about the demand, saying “we expect growth in both the amount of content we produce and the consumption of that video to continue at a pace.”Between January and September this year, ESPN.in has seen a 22 per cent year-on-year increase in traffic to 122 million a month and the unique views have grown 24 per cent year-on-year to 25 million a month.advertisementTerming India as “an amazing, complex market that is driven by cricket,” Wolff noted that the interest in other sports is also increasing and the company is quite bullish on the prospects here.ESPN.in football content had a 43 per cent year-on-year increase in unique views, tennis video content witnessed soared 160 per cent, while that for badminton surged 200 per cent over last year. The unique views for NBA (basketball) rose 60 per cent, according to the data from Kantar Milward Brown and Adobe Analytics.On an average, an Indian user spends about 500 minutes a month on ESPN digital properties, with app users generally spending a good deal more than those who visit only via the web, Wolff said.On local language content, he said they are exploring the possibility of incorporating Indian languages on its apps.India, which has one of the largest editorial teams and the largest technology teams outside the US for ESPN, is a key part of their growth plans in the Asia-Pacific region and globally.”It is definitely a market we are focused on. Our editorial and product teams in Bengaluru and Mumbai not only drive our India business but also are an integral part of ESPN around the world, contributing significantly to our global digital platform, products and business,” Wolff said.”Our focus is on creating high quality, compelling content and products, as well as developing robust technology, as we continue growing our presence in India,” he added. PTI DS BEN GK JMFlast_img read more

Uber Canadas service animal policy criticized by some disability rights advocates

first_imgTORONTO – Uber Canada has launched a new policy on how its drivers deal with customers who have service animals, but some disability rights advocates say exemptions built into the rules could still lead to discrimination.The company’s policy says drivers who refuse to give rides to customers with service animals will be dismissed.But drivers could get an exemption if they provide Uber with “written evidence, like a doctor’s or cleric’s letter … confirming that they belong to a group protected by human rights legislation and how carrying the service animal is an undue hardship,” the policy says.Uber Canada said the exemptions reflect the two most common reasons their drivers have provided for not wanting service animals in their cars: dog allergies and religious rules about contact with dogs.“Service animals must be fully accommodated, by law and by good conscience,” Uber Canada Legal Director Jeremy Millard said. “The exemptions clause was written to reflect very new court rulings on this subject.”Uber encourages drivers to use “every method … to avoid conflict and ensure service animals are carried,” including not seeking the exemption or putting a blanket down on their vehicle’s seat, Millard added.But the exemptions have raised concerns among some who use service animals and those who advocate for them.“It’s a bit puzzling and concerning to me that they are bringing religious freedoms into the mix,” said Yvonne Peters, a Winnipeg lawyer who has had guide dogs for over 40 years. “Everybody’s rights need to be accommodated, but in this case it feels to me like religious freedom would trump the rights of a service animal user (under the policy).”Matt Dierckens, who sits on the Guide Dogs Users of Canada’s board of directors, argued that people who have a medical or religious problem with service animals should simply not become Uber drivers.“If you sign up (to drive) for the service, then you are most likely going to get service dogs, it’s just one of those things that’s going to happen,” said Dierckens, who used to have a guide dog and said he was repeatedly denied Uber and taxi rides because of it.Allowing drivers a means to refuse rides to people with service animals puts Uber at odds with most other businesses and services, said James Hicks, national co-ordinator of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities“If restaurants can’t refuse people, if hospitals can’t refuse people then why should Uber drivers be allowed to refuse people,” Hicks said, noting however, that people’s beliefs and medical needs also need to be respected.“If it’s just that somebody doesn’t like dogs, well that’s too bad,” he said. “But if it’s actually something that’s going to cause them distress of any kind, whether it’s physical or mental, then I guess that’s a different story, and there’s not much we’re going to be able to do about it.”According to religious traditions followed by some Muslims, a person must perform “ritual ablutions” if they come into contact with a dog’s saliva, said Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims.“Each party in this (Uber) situation have human rights that need to be considered,” Gardee said. “At the same time, the National Council of Canadian Muslims strongly urges Muslim drivers to accommodate services dogs for riders with disabilities by considering a broader interpretation of relations between dogs and human beings that is found within the religious tradition.”The Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on 11 different grounds, including race, age, sex, ethnic origin, religion and disability.Employers and service providers have a legal duty to accommodate people who have needs related to those grounds, but there are limits to how far they are expected to go, the Canadian Human Rights Commission says.Organizations do not legally have to accommodate a persons’s disability, for instance, if they can show that doing so would cause an “undue hardship.”That hardship could be high financial costs, or risks to health and safety, but there is no standard legal definition of “undue hardship,” the Human Rights Commission says. Each case must be viewed and judged individually.last_img read more

Nova Scotia says it will boost role of Acadian black voters Definitely

first_imgHALIFAX – The Nova Scotia government says it will introduce a new law to make it easier for Acadian and black candidates to get elected in certain ridings.Government house leader Geoff MacLellan said Thursday the province would follow the key recommendations of a committee that studied Nova Scotia’s voting rules.“There’s nothing that strikes us as problematic,” said MacLellan.The committee was appointed in April after the province lost a court battle with a group that represents Nova Scotia’s Acadian population.The three-member committee submitted 29 recommendations to the Liberal government Thursday, saying the province should ensure black and Acadian minorities have a bigger say in elections, and also strengthen other means of representation.“It’s definitely a win for the Acadian community,” said Ghislain Boudreau, president of the Acadian Federation of Nova Scotia. “We’re very pleased with the report.”Doug Keefe, chairman of the committee, said the proposed law must include the broad principles for setting electoral boundaries.Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada without such a law, he said.The lack of legislation set the stage for an incendiary standoff in 2012, when then NDP premier Darrell Dexter rejected a proposed electoral map drafted by an independent electoral boundaries commission.At the time, Dexter took aim at the province’s four so-called exceptional ridings, established in 1992 to give Acadian and black voters a stronger voice in the legislature.By 2012, the populations in the four ridings had become much smaller than the provincial average, which was about 14,000 people. Dexter said the boundaries had to be changed because the number of residents did not fall within a range of plus or minus 25 per cent of the average.In September 2012, the boundaries commission effectively abolished the predominantly French-speaking ridings of Clare, Argyle and Richmond, and it said the Halifax-area riding of Preston, with its large black population, must be merged with a neighbouring district.“That was the end of the exceptional ridings,” Keefe said.At the time, critics said minority groups in each riding would see their influence reduced at election time. In the old riding of Argyle, for example, there were only 6,200 voters, and about 60 per cent of them were Acadian. Under redistribution, the Acadian proportion dropped to about 22 per cent.Three months later, the Acadian federation said it would launch a court challenge to quash the redrawn electoral map.In January 2017, Premier Stephen McNeil’s Liberal government accepted an appeal court decision that said the previous NDP government had violated the constitution by forcing an independent commission to redraw the map.On Thursday, Keefe’s committee stopped short of recommending restoration of the exceptional ridings. The committee said that decision should be left to another independent boundaries commission, which will be appointed before the next election.With a new law in place, the provincial government will be required to accept the map drafted by the commission, Keefe said.As well, he said the commission should have the ability to recommend the creation of additional ridings, over and above the 51 that already exist.Keefe said with the province’s rural population in decline, some ridings have become so large they make little sense to the voters who live there. He said some other jurisdictions in Canada have already created exceptional ridings in rural areas.He also said the committee heard during public consultations that members of the province’s black community, which makes up about two per cent of the population, had expressed their support for exceptional ridings.Boudreau, whose organization represents about four per cent of the province’s population, said the federation is in favour of creating new ridings.“We hope that there will be some protected ridings that will be re-established,” Boudreau said, adding that the federation will be pushing for a new, exceptional riding in the Cheticamp area of Cape Breton, which has a large Acadian population.MacLellan said it will be up to the boundaries commission to decide if the province needs more members of the legislature.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said every other jurisdiction in Canada has a law allowing the creation of “exceptional ridings.”last_img read more

Alberta court grants Unifor injunction blocking Suncor from random drug testing

first_imgEDMONTON – A union that represents 3,000 oilsands workers at Suncor Energy sites in northeastern Alberta has won a court injunction against random drug testing.Unifor Local 707-A had argued that random testing would be a violation of workers’ rights and privacy.Calgary-based Suncor (TSX:SU) has said random tests are needed to bolster safety and wanted to start the program this month.In his ruling, Queen’s Bench Justice Paul Belzil said the privacy rights of employees are just as important as safety.“In my view the balance of convenience favours granting the injunction,” Belzil said in a written judgment released Thursday.“The request by Suncor to increase the scope of drug and alcohol testing by implementing random testing would necessarily impact employees who have no drug and alcohol issues and who have not been involved in workplace incidents.”Belzil noted that Suncor already has non-random drug and alcohol testing. He said granting the injunction would not result in an unsafe work environment.He said both parties agree that the Suncor workplace is dangerous, but agree on virtually nothing else.Sneh Seetal, a Suncor spokeswoman, said the company would be filing an immediate and expedited appeal of the injunction ruling.“We are surprised and disappointed by the decision, especially in light of the evidence that we put forward of the pressing safety concerns associated with the ongoing alcohol and drug problems in the workplace in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo,” Seetal said from Calgary.“Preventing Suncor from taking steps to address known safety hazards associated with workplace alcohol and drug use is not reasonable.”Ken Smith, president of the union local, said Unifor members are happy with the judge’s decision.“We are very pleased with the ruling and that weight was given to a person’s dignity on the job and that human rights are being upheld for the time being,” he said from Fort McMurray.“Worker safety is the No. 1 priority here.”Suncor and the union have been battling over random drug tests since 2012. Unifor has sought leave to appeal an earlier court ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada.Belzil said if leave to appeal is granted, both sides should co-operate to resolve the case as quickly as possible.If the high court decides not to hear the case, Suncor and Unifor should go to arbitration, he suggested.Suncor presented evidence in court last month that 59 union employees have tested positive for alcohol or drugs over the last four years.The company said drugs — including marijuana, ecstasy, cannabis resin, cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine — and prescription pills such as oxycodone have been found at Suncor operations and work camps.The company’s oilsands projects around Fort McMurray operate 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Employees work 12-hour shifts operating some of the biggest and most complicated industrial equipment in the world.last_img read more