Union to picket at CNE amid lockout with Exhibition Place

The union representing stagehands locked out by Exhibition Place says it plans to picket outside the CNE when it opens on Friday.

“We’re going to be trying to get our message across,” said International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 58 president Justin Antheunis at a rally outside City Hall on Monday.

The lockout affecting 400 workers happened on July 20, and came after months of negotiations for a new collective agreement.

The workers are responsible for lighting, sound, and construction. The affected venues include BMO Field, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Coca Cola Coliseum, Enercare Centre and the Liberty Grand.

Earlier in the day, the union said in a release that “replacement workers” are being brought in from Quebec and other place including the U.S.

“The CNE … has brought in labour from Quebec to do the work of Local 58, which is saddening to us because Local 58 has been in this city over 100 years now and we’ve been working down at the CNE since World War II. This is our work and this is the work that we love to do,” Antheunis said.

The replacement workers will have to set up a number of venues, including stages for the CNE bandshell concerts.

“Few, if any, of these replacements have ever worked at Exhibition Place. The likelihood of misjudgment and mistakes are high, especially from a hastily assembled group just brought in and who are racing around the clock to meet very tight deadlines,” the union said in a release.

Antheunis said the outstanding issue between the union and Exhibition Place is management’s ability to contract out their work.

However, Coun. Mark Grimes, who is the chair of the Exhibition Place, claims the union is not willing to speak to issues that are important to the venue.

“The CNE is ramping up and getting ready to open … they’re stirring things up. But again, our position is that we want a fair, negotiated settlement with the union,” Grimes said.

“Our business has changed but the collective agreement has not changed. And it is important that we do change these agreements to reflect our business at Exhibition Place. We have to be competitive not only in the City of Toronto but globally.”

In addition to locking out the workers, Exhibition Place’s negotiating team, led by a city labour relations official, rejected binding arbitration.



The SPLC’s terrible year just got worse

It’s been a rough year for the Southern Poverty Law Center — deservedly so. And it just got more difficult, thanks to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The SPLC, formed in 1971 as an aggressive civil-rights nonprofit law firm, has become the left’s go-to arbiter of what constitutes a hate group. Its pronouncements are quoted without challenge by the news media, and it has an endowment of $300 million, enriched by major corporate donors.

Yet its overly broad definition of “hate” often goes far beyond truly vile outfits to include people and groups that simply don’t toe a politically correct line. That’s why the SPLC two months ago had to pay $3.4 million and publicly apologize to Maajid Nawaz, whom it had falsely labeled an “anti-Muslim extremist.” (He’s actually a practicing Muslim who opposes extremism.)

But that didn’t stop the Star-Ledger last week from devoting an editorial to denouncing New Jersey’s ICE spokesman, Emilio Dabul, for his “links” (as supplied by the SPLC) to “anti-Muslim fanatics.” This, even though the Star-Ledger admitted that Dabul’s own writings “showed no anti-Muslim bias.” It was all guilt by association — right from the SPLC playbook.

Now Sessions has ordered a review to ensure the Justice Department no longer partners with the SPLC and other groups that “unfairly defame Americans.”

Sessions acknowledged that the SPLC at one time “did important work in South”: As an Alabama prosecutor he worked with it to convict a Ku Klux Klan member who’d murdered a black teenager.

But nowadays, Sessions charged, it uses its hate-group designations “as a weapon” to “bully and intimidate” organizations of which it simply doesn’t approve.

Groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal foundation that specializes in religious liberty — and quite effectively: It has prevailed in the US Supreme Court nine times in the last seven years. Yet the SPLC has defamed ADF as a “hate group,” a label Sessions rejected by appearing before the group.

As Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who’s also been smeared by the SPLC as an “anti-Muslim extremist,” has noted, the group these days is invested more in “profiting off the anxieties and white guilt of Northern liberals” than in actually upholding civil rights.

Sessions’ review is long overdue, and follows other government agencies that have backed away from the SPLC. It’s time for those who still merely parrot its smears to start taking a closer look.




Cause and effect: Hate speech in mosques; closure?



On August 9, 2018 Global News reported that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has recently revoked the charitable status of  the Ottawa Islamic Centre and Assalam Mosque.

According to an official document obtained by Global News, CRA audits raised concerns about “radicalized individuals” who had attended the mosque as well as its roster of guest speakers. “Many of the views expressed by the organization’s speakers are misogynistic, homophobic, racist and/or promote violence,” CRA document reads.

CRA named in this regard four speakers, three of them Canadian imams, including the current Vice-President of the Canadian Council of Imams Abdullah Hakim Quick. Here is an excerpts from the document:

In addition, in a video lecture entitled “The History of the Crusaders,” Mr. Quick advocated for the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to be liberated from the “filth” of the Jews:

“May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, the Most High, the Most Exalted, clean and…

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