On Just Us!

In July 2010, I resigned my position as manager of Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-operative’s Spring Garden café over concerns I had with the co-operative’s senior management. While I stand by that decision and the reasons I gave the co-operative’s senior management and board for it at the time, I am not convinced that my experience from three years ago is relevant to the current situation. Rather than adding fuel to the fire, I intend to await the ruling of the Labour Board.

It is my sincere hope that this matter will be resolved amicably for all parties, and will furthermore act as a catalyst for increased involvement of café staff in the co-operative’s democratic structure, whether through the formation of a union under SEIU Local 2 or facilitated membership in the co-operative itself. The senior management at Just Us! have been given a chance to live up to the values that they have publicly championed over the past eighteen years, and as a former employee and member—and current investor—I encourage them to seize this opportunity.

Fine Arts

Tomorrow morning, I’m meeting with my university’s Dean of Fine Arts to discuss all of this.

The facts are these: between 15 and 20 per cent of the Fine Arts faculty’s $3.9 million non-salary and non-permanent budget will have been cut when Concordia’s 2013-14 fiscal year begins on May 1.

I had a thought after writing all of that. Last year, the provincial government here in Québec fined Concordia University (where I’m studying theatre) $2 million because of their overly generous severance pay to exiting senior administrators. The most recent of these, former president Judith Woodsworth, received a severance package totalling $703,000 when she was forced to resign in 2011.

Let me recap. The Faculty of Fine Arts will likely lose 25 course sections going into the 2013-2014 academic year for a total savings of $250,000. One disgraced administrator is valued at $703,000 plus a fine of $2 million.

Where are our priorities, honestly?

Message Failure

According to pollster Nik Nanos, Canadians had a hard time getting excited about the War of 1812.

“What I thought was quite surprising was that things that affected the day-to-day lives of Canadians, like the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the vote for women, had a significant amount of support in terms of something to celebrate,” Mr. Nanos said.

How is it at all suprising that the most meaningful historical events are those that still tangibly affect our lives in a positive way? Sometimes I wonder about pollsters.