Category Archives: Human Rights

Callout for Canadian Contacts!!!

To help with the on-going actions in any way please use the contact information and links from the appeal…
GM Workers 1To give a quick overview, I am a volunteer with the Portland Central America Solidarity Committee in Portland, Oregon. I and a number of individuals from other organizations, mostly in Detroit, Michigan, have been supporting the Colombian workers who were injured while working for General Motors at the company’s Bogota, Colombia plant. The injuries were caused by extremely poor working conditions and GM instead of improving the assembly line, rigged a system to illegally rid itself of injured workers.
The injured workers have been challenging GM through all of the government regulatory processes available to them for a number of years and in August of 2011, set up a tent encampment in front of the U.S. Embassy on the street in Bogota, Colombia.

GM Workers 2Since then, they have gone through a series of 4 dramatic hunger strikes with their lips stitched closed with a needle and thread and have maintained the tent encampment to this day- over 1000 days of occupation. The injured workers have received death threats and been victims of politically motivated crimes.

But the pressure that they have generated has resulted in improved conditions within the plant, including $6 million worth of ergonomic improvements to the assembly line and the opportunity for new hires to organize without the same degree of retaliation. Though GM acknowledged the legitimacy of their grievances by sitting down to negotiate with them, the company offered a pittance of a settlement- it was not even enough to cover the back surgeries that many of them need as a result of showing up to work every day. This is a significant shirking of GM’s legal responsibility to these workers as laid out by Colombian law.

So while GM has refused to settle, the workers, permanently disabled, have been unable to find employment and have been slowly sliding into financial misery. Currently injured worker Carlos Trujillo is facing the foreclosure of his home. Luckily he has connected with a foreclosure resistance group on the ground in Bogota, Victimas de Banqueros and they have gone through his papers and found that Colpatria bank (which is owned by Scotiabank) is carrying out fraud in Carlos’ case. They are challenging it legally, though the Colombian courts are tilted heavily toward the banks, and we are trying to create an international outcry. We feel that the mere evidence of this case gaining international attention will create a significant amount of pressure and might be enough to prevent the foreclosure.

As I said, we are a network of individuals in the U.S. Our Detroit team is located close enough to the Canadian border to be planning a trip to Windsor to deliver a letter and do an action in front of Scotiabank. We are hoping to connect with others in Canada who might be willing to do similar actions in their cities as well as to participate in actions such as faxing the president of Colpatria in Colombia (we have a free way to send an international fax online).

We would very much appreciate any connection you can make for us with individuals involved especially in Latin America solidarity and foreclosure resistance campaigns in Canada, although we would be more than happy to work with anyone who cares about human rights or who is interested in supporting this international foreclosure resistance campaign.

I would appreciate any contacts that you could give me. We would be happy to prepare a communique as well as a list of actions that individuals and groups can take.

Sincerely,

Paige Shell-Spurling
503-601-9290

puppetista@gmail.com

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Community Rights, Economic Issues, Human Rights

Finally a positive step forward and (guess what?) Canada is again on the outside

July 18, 2013 – The European Union yesterday gave the aging world establishment and Canada in particular, another lesson into what creating progress means and entails.

palestine-canadaIronic, listening to the voices of the youth and elders gathered at the Assembly of First Nations conference this week that the EU managed to accomplish exactly what Aboriginal voices for change are calling for here in Canada.

They want to see action taken, amendments passed, legislation provided to follow up on the words and discussions regarding what needs to change.

“We have already identified what needs to change, what we need now is a government or other authoritative body which has the will and the power to initiate those changes with concrete action,” said one of the attendees at the AFN in Yukon, Canada.

That is exactly what the European Union did this week regarding the decades-discussed situation between Palestine and Israel.

In July of 2005 the International Court at The Hague declared Israeli presence on all land beyond Israel’s 1967 state boundaries to be an illegal occupation on illegally-occupied territory.

So what? Israel not only remained in the illegally-occupied territories (predominantly Gaza and the West Bank), but over the last eight years since the International ruling Israel has actually increased their illegal presence with army, industry and settlers – doing business in the illegally-occupied territories with companies from all over the world, including Canada and the EU.

So, after eight years of watching Israel and some of its own member states disregard International Law, the European Union yesterday decreed that all existing financial, cultural, sporting and academic agreements or arrangements between EU member states and Israeli-business conducted in the illegally-occupied territories are now null and void.

Furthermore, there will be no more agreements or arrangements between EU member states and Israeli-business in the illegally-occupied territories moving forward until Israel declares IN WRITING that it recognizes the territories as illegally-occupied and is prepared to evolve in conformation with International Law.

This is a positive step forward that wasn’t even recognized or reported on by the mainstream Canadian press.

Perhaps this wasn’t reported on in Canada to avoid any rational, sane person from seeing that the exact same exploitation that was being carried on in the Illegally-occupied territories by Israeli companies is what Canadian mining and clothing companies do themselves when they set-up shop in foreign countries. The goal is to avoid meeting the same standards of pay and regulation as they would if they were paying Canadian workers, thus increasing their own profits. That is exactly how Israeli companies exploited workers in the illegally-occupied territories.

The culture of foreign exploitation by Canadian business has become so mainstream and accepted in this country that the effects have filtered through to corrupt the biggest of all recipients of Canadian business funding: Canadian politics and political actors.

Canadian activists have become so complacent and even dependent on the status quo that they have replaced their desire for “change” and settled for simply scapegoating anyone they can blame for their problems.

Replacing real change and progress with simple scapegoating is what has made Canadian activists become pigs themselves in the eyes of the world and a hindrance to global progress.

The shame of this country has been that as soon as one level of corruption is effectually condoned by the people who do nothing to stop it, the corrupt establishment especially from Quebec, take that as their cue to then further exploit people.

So what we’ve had in this country over the last 10 years is three stages of corruption that has made this province and country dirty and sadder in the eyes of the rest of the world than it ever has been before.

The first stage of complacent corruption was seeing global business exploiting other global communities, like the exploitation of Palestinians by Israeli business, and not lifting a finger or saying a word about it.

Then came the second stage, where Canadian companies themselves began to exploit global communities. Why wouldn’t they? No one in this country gave a damn that people elsewhere were being exploited so why wouldn’t Canadian companies join in the dinosaur gravy train as well?

Now we have arrived at the third stage, where Canadian companies and politics are fully secure in exploiting their own people and resources.

Canadians didn’t say a word while our companies got fat exploiting other countries so who do Canadians think is going protect them from being exploited themselves by the same companies? Politicians? Don’t count on it. Tom Mulcair is sponsored and financed to be a puppet by the same pigs who sponsored and financed Paul Martin’s Liberals: the very companies themselves!

As the world becomes more and more determined to put an end to this exploitation, we will see more decrees like the one made by the EU this week. And as it becomes harder and harder for international companies to continue exploiting foreign workers, those companies will simply move to increase and replace their profit margins by exploiting more workers at home.

I hope Canadians are ready for what they deserve, because by doing nothing while our companies exploited others for decades, Canadians have accepted this fate for themselves.

-30-

Leave a comment

Filed under Canadian Politics, Human Rights, International Politics, Media Coverage, Palestine, Political Accountability

Owning a Canadian…

On her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox
Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22,
and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, written by a U.S.
man, and posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have
learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that
knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the
homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them
that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination … End of
debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of
God’s Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female,
provided they are from neighboring nations.
A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians.
Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus
21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her
period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24.
The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take
offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a
pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors.
They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2
clearly states he should be put to death.
Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do
it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an
abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality.
I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a
defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses.
Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around
their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27.
How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me
unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different
crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments
made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend).
He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we
go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them?
Lev.24:10-16.
Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do
with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable
expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,
Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia

P.S. It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a Canadian.

Leave a comment

Filed under Community Rights, Human Rights, International Politics, Literature, Media Coverage, Political Accountability

Canada, UK given ‘Dodo Awards’ by Civil Society – Governments Singled out on Geo-engineering, Biofuels and Financing

by globalforest

Hyderabad, India.  October 17, 2012 – The Dodo Bird is coming to Hyderabad, to give the Dodo Awards to those governments who have failed to evolve, and whose actions at the CBD are contributing to, rather than preventing, biodiversity loss.

And the Dodo Bird has spoken – the awards go to Canada and the UK.

Canada is the clear leader, for breaching the moratorium on ocean fertilization and geo-engineering adopted by the CBD in 2008 and 2010, said Silvia Ribeiro of ETC Group.  “Right in the middle of CBD negotiations, we discovered that Canada had “ignored” a huge ocean fertilization event that were recently carried out off their Pacific coast, in violation of two international conventions”, said Ribeiro.

Helena Paul of EcoNexus said Canada was also chosen for their strong stance on biofuels.  “Canada insisted that the CBD is not a place to discuss food security, and so the impacts of biofuel expansion on food should not be considered”, she said.  Furthermore, “After asserting the biodiversity benefits of biofuels, Canada threatened that they would call for a deletion of text including socio-economic issues, and re-introduce other proposals if other governments proposed any further changes to the biofuels text”.

The CBD Alliance, convenors of the Dodo Awards, also said that Canada was noted for their refusal to recognize the importance of the participation of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in the EBSA process, for trying to stop the CBD taking up Synthetic Biology as a new and emerging issue, and for blocking progress on financial commitments.

The UK was the other winner of the Dodo Award.  “The UK is busy behind the scenes blocking attempts in the EU and the CBD to adopt a precautionary approach to synthetic biology, and establish or maintain moratoria”, said Helena Paul.   “The UK government hopes to become a leader in these technologies, primarily for the benefit of their own economy”.

“At the same time, the UK is busy commodifying biodiversity and the functions of ecosystems by developing biodiversity offsets, said Paul. “Offsets don’t reduce biodiversity loss. Instead, the idea is to ‘pay for your sins’ elsewhere. Does the UK hope that biodiversity offsets and other financial mechanisms will replace the financial commitments that industrialized countries urgently need to make to the global effort to stem biodiversity loss?  Many in the global South call this the ecological debt owed to them by developed countries”, she said. “It also seems that the UK hasn’t learned the lessons about market mechanisms from the recent and ongoing economic crisis.”

The Dodo Award winners were chosen by consensus within the CBD Alliance members.  Runners up included China, Brazil, and Paraguay.

–  30 –

The CBD Alliance is a loose network of activists and representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), social movements and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations (IPOs) advocating for improved and informed participation in CBD processes.   Website:   www.cbdalliance.org

For more information and interviews:

Tasneem Balasinorwala  081-06413450   email:   just.tasneem@gmail.com

Sai Bhaskar  09246352018   email: saibhaskarnakka@gmail.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Canadian Politics, Economic Issues, Environment, Human Rights, International Politics, Political Accountability, Security Issues

What the new government may mean for language rights and education in Quebec

Aaron Rand
October 12, 2012 – Education minister Marie Malavoy yesterday announced she’ll recommend that English no longer be taught in Grade 1. Instead, she wants it pushed back until Grade 6.
At the same time, she also thinks not enough of the current history curriculum deals with the issue of sovereignty. I’m guessing that’s because without knowledge of the struggle for sovereignty, students might not understand why so many of their friends’ families decided to leave the province in the first place.
So basically, the minister of education thinks learning English is a hindrance. And what’s her rationale for reaching this conclusion?  In her own words, ” Children in the first grade, are not ready to deal with the complexities of learning a “foreign” language while they are still learning the syntax, vocabulary, and grammar of their mother tongue.”
Interesting explanation, except for the fact that it flies in the face of all the research that exists on the subject. Professional child educators agree that a child’s capacity to learn a second, or even a third language, is at its highest from infancy until age 6 or 7, and then begins to gradually decline starting at age 10.
But why rely on research when you already have an agenda designed to ignore it ?
So what’s this really about ? The narrow minded, unwavering focus on what this government’s ultimate goal is and has always been – separation. This is not about, as the PQ pretend, the vulnerability of the French language and the risk of its disappearing. It’s about their concerted effort to make English disappear from this province altogether. Why else would you restrict or delay the teaching of English to students, to a point in time where they won’t have the capacity to learn it ?
Here’s the reality … 
The “Window of Opportunity” for early language learning is between birth and 12 years of age – the earlier, the better Research has shown that from infancy to age 6 or 7, many new connections are being formed in the brain, and when exposed to the sounds of a second language during this time, the brain of a young child will actually grow connections that make a new language easy to learn.
As the brain develops most in the first three years of a person’s life, exposing your child to another language during this time actually stimulates the development of brain cells. Around age 10 to 12, the brain not only begins to slow in its ability to develop those connections, but it starts to prune away any that aren’t being used. Thus, children who don’t start learning a second language until later in life will often find it more difficult because their brain will not have developed the necessary connections.
-30-
Weekdays 3 to 7pm on CJAD 800 AM Radio in Montreal

Leave a comment

Filed under Canadian Politics, Community Rights, Human Rights, Political Accountability

TAKING LIBERTIES: CANADA’S GROWING TORTURE INFRASTRUCTURE

Matthew Behrens

September 20, 2012 The ease with which self-described democratic states embroil themselves in torture continues to be illustrated by the manner in which agencies of the Canadian state, from spies to judges, have wedged open a door to legitimize complicity in a practice that both domestic and international law ban outright.

Before dismissing that paragraph as preposterous, it is worth considering that two federal inquiries into the torture of Abdullah Almalki, Maher Arar, Ahmad El Maati, and Muayyed Nureddin revealed a sinister level of Canadian complicity in torture, from which no accountability or systemic changes have emerged. Further, damning documents reveal Canadian knowledge of and culpability in the renditions and torture of Benamar Benatta and Abousfian Abdelrazik.

Meanwhile, the Federal Court, while accepting CSIS memos acknowledging that secret trial “security certificate” cases are based largely on torture, continues with hearings that could result in deportations to torture. That latter possibility is courtesy of a 2002 Supreme Court of Canada decision (http://scc.lexum.org/en/2002/2002scc1/2002scc1.html)that left open the possibility of such complicity in torture under “exceptional circumstances.”

Outrage over Canadian involvement in torture remains fairly muted, especially as each new revelation of deepening complicity is met by government officials not so much with shamefaced promises to keep our hands clean, but rather bald-faced justifications in the name of security.Indeed, as in the U.S., there appears a growing Canadian effort to justify as legal and legitimate that which is neither.

Part of that process of legitimization — accepting torture as a normal course of social and political events in much the same mundane way we would assess price drops in overseas markets — is now firmly fixed at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). As we learned last month in a declassified memo, CSIS runs a thinly disguised torture committee, using the more group hug-like moniker of the Information Sharing Evaluation Committee.

According to a formerly secret (http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/08/06/pol-cp-csis-secret-committee-torture-evidence.html)August 2011 memo from CSIS Deputy Director of Operations Michel Coulombe, a group of six people sit around the table and shoot the breeze about information coming across their desks that may have come from torture (or, to use their preferred term, “mistreatment”). Their task is to decide whether to act on the fruits of torture and whether to share information that could lead to the torture of someone else.

This may sound familiar, because it’s exactly what CSIS and the RCMP were already found to be up to in the decade following 9/11. Rather than ending such practices, they’ve developed an Orwellian process whereby they justify doing what they are not supposed to do, with subsequent Public Safety memos from Vic Toews to the Canadian Border Services Agency and the RCMP outlining the same process.

All of these documents clearly state that the “Government of Canada does not condone the use of torture,” but then proceed to justify involvement in torture.

So what does the Gang of Six do when they decide whether they have to defy the law by getting down and dirty with torture? Their list of sources to consult starts with “CSIS databases,” a less than objective or reassuring source of information which the departed Inspector General of CSIS, Eva Plunkett, slammed in her November 2011 report as “unreliable.” (Her position has since been eliminated to save $1 million, while the War Department continues to spend upwards of $2 million on Viagra).

CSIS is then to look at their “foreign arrangements” as well as “assurances” that have been received by the foreign entity. In deciding whether to turn someone over to the Gestapo or to share information with those who turn the screws, CSIS must decide whether the Gestapo’s promise not to torture someone can be taken at face value (this practice of “diplomatic assurances” has long been condemned as another disgrace that erodes further the outright ban on torture).

CSIS can also check the human rights reports from DFAIT (the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade). DFAIT was found to be complicit in torture by two federal inquiries (and their memos with respect to the torture of Abdelrazik, detained in Sudan for years, illustrated similar culpability as well). DFAIT human rights reports are not made public, according to the Arar Inquiry, because “there is some concern about the impact public reports may have on Canadian commercial interests with these countries.” In addition, the reliability of DFAIT reports is far from certain.

The Arar Inquiry pointed out that while a DFAIT report on torture in Syria in 2001 referenced “credible evidence of torture” and the use of torture to extract confessions, the 2002 report qualifies the use of torture as “allegations” and omits mention of the use of torture to extract confessions. Notably, while Canadians like Maher Arar, Ahmad El Maati  and Abdullah Almalki were detained and tortured in Syria, the DFAIT annual report failed to make any mention of them.

And when a perhaps junior staffer at DFAIT has the gall to report the truth, it is rewritten. Indeed, we learned in 2008 that an 89-page PowerPoint DFAIT training manual listed, among countries using torture, the U.S. and Israel (both of which are well-documented facts). Former foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier reacted by declaring (http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/2008/Canada-US-Torture20jan08.htm): “It contains a list that wrongly includes some of our closest allies. I have directed that the manual be reviewed and rewritten.”

The other items checked include “open source information” (code word for the National Post and other right-wing publications and websites from which CSIS builds its cases). To cover their derrieres, they throw a sop about consulting Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and U.S. State Department reports, but they likely carry no weight given that CSIS and DFAIT officials have repeatedly refused to acknowledge that torture has been systematic in countries like Syria and Egypt.

By choosing to be part of the torture chain, and using lawyers at Canada’s Department of Justice for cover (as they were during the torture of Canadians in Syria and Egypt), it appears that the Canadian government seeks not to hide its involvement, but rather to sanction it under the cover of law.

Skeptics might ask whether this is blowing things out of proportion. Yet this is precisely what happens when the door to torture has been opened. U.S. lawyer Alan Dershowitz famously said that Americans should be able to obtain torture warrants for “extreme” cases,” yet if one is to open that door, who does the torture? How is it practiced to ensure a torture team will be available and ready to roll when it is mandated by a torture warrant?

Thus we enter the world of “torture controls and limitations,” in much the same twisted way in which we have global holocaust controls with nuclear weapons limitations.

Richard Matthews of Mount Allison University, in his excellent book The Absolute Violation, notes that just as fighter pilots need to train so they can drop their bombs, “at some points torturers have to practice on victims if they are going to be any good. The spread of state torture is not merely a risk but is in fact inevitable once the state decides that torture serves a state interest.”

In this instance, CSIS has clearly defined its state interest in torture by declaring there will be times when it is necessary to engage in the odious practice.

Matthews notes that “defenders of torture typically accept that every human being has a right not to be tortured, and they agree that this should be enshrined in international law. The debate is not about whether there is such a right but about whether such rights may ever be overridden.”

Matthews, whose book was published in 2008, has clearly hit the nail on the head, since this is exactly how the CSIS memos are structured. What follows from this rationale, he notes, is a concerted effort to incorporate such processes within the framework of the law, so that any decision that leads to blood on the hands will be seen as lawful.

This is made possible because in the UN Convention Against Torture, its early definition includes a dangerous exception in Article 1, when it states torture “does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.” From this definition, one can see the emerging legal and moral calisthenics engaged in by the Bush administration as well as Canada’s Justice Department and associated government agencies when they try and bend the definitions, use temperate language, and wrap their procedures in the soothing gauze of international law and respect for human rights.  Indeed, in the CSIS memo and related documents, torture becomes mistreatment, and an interrogation session with electric shock or genital crushing gets reduced to a “detention interview.”

Furthermore, CSIS declares that it will not “knowingly rely upon information” derived from torture, a convenient construction given the willful blindness with which it operates with its foreign partners. If CSIS does not knowingly acknowledge that Syria engages in torture, then how can it be knowingly relying on the fruits of torture when it receives information from Syria? With such reasoning CSIS maintains it is “essential” to nurture these relationships because, in their eyes, they’re doing nothing wrong.

As Canada continually refuses to apologize to and provide compensation for the numerous returnees from overseas torture whose lives the government has ruined, it becomes even clearer how high the stakes have become in these cases: any acknowledgement that what was done in these situations was wrong, illegal, or unethical, would bump Canada from its comfortable position in the global torture chain.

[Matthew Behrens is a freelance writer and social justice advocate who co-ordinates the Homes not Bombs non-violent direct action network. He has worked closely with the targets of Canadian and U.S. ‘national security’ profiling for many years.]

TASC mailing listTASC@list.web.nethttp://list.web.net/lists/listinfo/tasc

*******

Please re-post and re-publish this information

To get on/off Rights Action’s listserv: www.rightsaction.org

Follow Rights Action on facebook: www.facebook.com/RightsAction.org

Leave a comment

Filed under Canadian Politics, Human Rights, International Politics, Media Coverage, Political Accountability, Security Issues

STANDING UP TO A BULLY

Douglas Connors

August 26, 2012 – Two days ago, while shopping for jeans at Sears in the Rideau Centre in Ottawa,

I stumbled upon a great deal on a flat screen television.That particular outlet was closing and was deeply discounting merchandise.It was about 8:15 in the evening on a Friday.

As the television on sale was the floor display model, the young man who served me had informed me that the staff was not exactly sure if they could locate the remote control.I left him my home and cell numbers telling him that it wasn’t urgent that they look for it right now (in the last hour prior to closing, and besides, I’d need help to get it home so taking it home the next day worked for me too) but to call me should they find it. They most likely would have a sale.

Well that young man did happen to find it that evening and left a message on my home phone.

The following morning, he called again, on my cell this time (to make sure I got the message). I confirmed I was coming to pick it up.

While I was there to collect it, another person was interested in it (what timing, eh?). He was told that it was already sold (to me), it had been on hold.

I guess that that client spoke about the situation to someone because as I was at the cash register, fishing for my credit card to pay for it…Some lady comes up and with absolutely no knowledge of how waaaay over and beyonnd this young man has gone to provide me with exceptional customer service  literally starts tearing a strip off him for having put the TV on hold. In public. In front of co-workers. It front of customers. On a Saturday afternoon. The area FULL of customers given the time of day AND major sale going on.

This young man (who used his good judgment to make a sale) is being berated and humiliated by this lady… in front of EVERYONE!

The reason: Apparently, as the objective is to liquidate all merchandise, there is to be no holding, of anything , for anyone — which struck me as odd because, on the evening prior, the television to the immediate left of the one I was buying had a: “Sold/On hold” sign on it.. but I digress.

I was horrified!

So much so that I actually did something about it.

I went right up to her, alone (to show the example), and told her that I had witnessed the way she had spoken to that young man and that frankly, I was offended.

Her reply: “Too bad!”

And she turned on her heels and started walking away from me!

I solicited her attention again: “I’m not finished.”

“Well, I’m going to the bathroom, so unless you wanna come with me…”

“No. I don’t want to come with you. But I do want to talk to you. I’ll be waiting by the cash.”

Of course, she did not return.

So I found out from the staff that this woman’s (for lack of a better word) name is Mary or Marie and she is not a Sears employee, but rather an employee of the company — name of which I also found out but won’t publish here — that was hired to manage to closing of the outlet…

I guess Mary feels she can power trip and treat the Sears staff, and the store’s customers, like crap because ultimately those to whom she reports have nothing to do with Sears.

Well, having nothing better to do with my time (smirk), I asked that the young man who served me’s superior come to the cash so that I could report Mary.

Now I don’t know if that lady has had a reign or terror since she’s been there, but that superior was VERY reluctant to call her back up. He made EVERY excuse in the book, but I was not budging until she got herself back up to the cash.

When she did, she LIED to the super about how she “told” (her exact words) the young man about the policy.

To which I replied: “Excuse me, but did you tell him something, or did you rather berate him in front of colleagues and customers? I was having an exceptional customer service experience, provided by that young man, until YOU came along and spoiled it.”

Well once again, she said something dismissive and just started walking to go hide in another room — right in front of the supervisor as well, which just confirms that she feels she can get away with it — but that did not stop me from reminding her: “You just can’t speak to people that way!”

What Mary does not know is that I obtained the number of customer complaints for Sears Canada as well as the company for whom she works and that I’ve already reported her behaviour to both.Maybe nothing will come of it, but at least I did the right thing.

-30-

Douglas Connors is a freelancer and actor based in Ottawa, Ontario

Leave a comment

Filed under Canadian Politics, Community Rights, Economic Issues, Human Rights, Literature, Local Stories, Security Issues