Brian Charlton

I’m So Happy To Be Here Now

I’m So Happy To Be Here Now

In these times we live in it is easy to fall into a pit of despair, of feeling overwhelmed. The goal of a society of equals living peaceably on a healthy planet seems to be drifting farther and farther out of our grasp. Thankfully there are those who see that it is not all doom and gloom. I have known George Lakey since 1998 when I took a ’Training for Change’ workshop from him in Sunshine Valley, east of Hope (it is true). He is one of my heroes, a person of heart, intelligence and vision and he has been in the struggle for over 70 years.

Unions and Me Too

The Me Too movement has done tremendous work in a short time but, like a lot of movements, it has stood on the shoulders of those who came before. In most of the news stories and articles written about harassment in the workplace there is little acknowledgement of the hard practical work union women and their allies have done in their unions over the past 50 years. By ignoring that work we are also missing out on possible solutions to the problem.

A Valley of Activists

The Comox Valley is known for many things but one aspect that attracted me to move here 18 years ago was its long record of activism. You merely have to take even a cursory look at all the different events, demonstrations, coalitions and campaigns and you can’t help being impressed by people’s commitment.

Justice in Transition

The federal election has come and gone but the climate crisis continues on. Right wing politicians, closely allied with the fossil fuel industry, unhappy with the fact their boy Andrew Scheer is not the Prime Minister, are fanning the embers of Prairie resentment to build a separatist movement . This movement would include Alberta, Saskatchewan and in some permutations, Manitoba and parts of BC. It’s not really a separatist movement; it’s more of a pressure tactic to get Trudeau to kowtow even more to the goals of the Calgary Cabal of Climate Deniers and Greedy Oilmen. The Liberals buying a pipeline wasn’t enough for this group.

Justice in Transition

Justice in Transition

The federal election has come and gone but the climate crisis continues on. Right wing politicians, closely allied with the fossil fuel industry, unhappy with the fact their boy Andrew Scheer is not the Prime Minister, are fanning the embers of Prairie resentment to build a separatist movement . This movement would include Alberta, Saskatchewan and in some permutations, Manitoba and parts of BC. It’s not really a separatist movement; it’s more of a pressure tactic to get Trudeau to kowtow even more to the goals of the Calgary Cabal of Climate Deniers and Greedy Oilmen. The Liberals buying a pipeline wasn’t enough for this group.

Choices for October 21

Here we are again faced with the task of sorting through the issues and campaign materials and then choosing who will be our local Member of Parliament and subsequently who will govern Canada for the next four years. As with many things humans do, it is complicated, at times messy and depressing, but it is also our responsibility.

The Life of a Shop Steward

The Life of a Shop Steward

Unions are good for society not only in their ability to protect worker’s rights and to attempt to ensure a fairer distribution of wealth but unions are also important for democracies.

Union Avoidance and Bill 30

Union Avoidance and Bill 30

There is so much misinformation and ignorance about unions. Let’s look at the reality for workers trying to form a union since that is one of the flashpoints in the debate about the bill recently introduced in the B.C. legislature – Bill 30: ‘Labour Code Amendments 2019.’

Populism’s Wrong Answers

Populism’s Wrong Answers

I do not want to write about Donald Trump. He is a horrible human being and the fact he is the President of the United States scares the hell out of me.

Federal Budget – A Moral Shortfall

Federal Budget – A Moral Shortfall

The 2019 Federal budget that came down March 19 is reflective of the Prime Minister, looks good on the outside but is mushy on the inside. There are improvements that have garnered some applause but considering what is needed on issues like climate change, affordable housing and universal childcare it falls way short of the mark.

Time’s Up

Time’s Up

A shift has been happening over the last couple of years. As a number of high profile sexual harassment and sexual assault cases in the entertainment industry have become headline news, there seems to be a real change in how sexual relations are regarded. The patriarchal structure of our society is being called to account.

Strike: The Workers Tool

Strike: The Workers Tool

Back in 1975, as a worker in the Vancouver Post Office, I joined 18,000 other postal workers across Canada on the picket line. We were attempting to not only win a wage increase to keep pace with inflation, but more importantly to win protections and some control over the mechanization of our work lives. We were out from Oct 21 until Dec 2 for a total of 43 days.

On the Line

On the Line

After finish reading Rod Mickleburgh’s new history of the BC Labour movement ‘On the Line’, the first emotion I feel is anger. Anger at how the apparatus of the State, through the decades and at the behest of robber barons, company bosses and the corporate elite, have conspired to thwart working people from not only our rightful share of the economic bounty but simply having some measure of control of our lives.

Citizen Workers Vote October 20th!

Citizen Workers Vote October 20th!

On October 20th citizens all across BC will have an opportunity to elect mayors, councilors, and area directors – the leadership of our local government. Unfortunately, only about 25-35 per cent of those citizens will exercise that right. As a participant, a few years back, in a group called the Citizens Voice Project, I feel strongly that not voting in these elections is a serious omission. Local governments are the most accessible level of democratic expression and City Hall, in many ways, has the most influence on people’s day to day lives.

Let Your Vote Count

Let Your Vote Count

Canadians value fairness yet we tolerate a basically unfair system to elect our representatives. In BC this autumn we have an opportunity to correct that problem. Between Oct 22 and Nov. 30 there will be a referendum conducted by mail in ballot in which the question is asked, ‘Do you want to change the present past the post electoral system –yes or no?’ If you do want to change it, you have three choices for proportional representation voting systems and you can decide on the one you want.

The Janus decision

The Janus decision

The US Supreme Court ruled on June 27th on the Janus vs. AFSCME case that an Illinois law requiring workers, in a unionized workplace, to pay their ‘fair share’ of union dues, was a violation of ‘free speech’ and so was unconstitutional.  Essentially this makes all public sector jurisdictions in the US governed by “right to work” legislation.