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FEATURE ARTICLE  

Feature Articles : Asper/Canwest Temple of Hypocrisy
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the Asper/Canwest Temple of Hypocricy
 

OPINION

Supporters of Workplace Mobbing Start Human Rights Museum!?

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the Asper/Canwest Temple of Hypocrisy

Mobbing is an affront to human dignity. The process of elimination at work in mobbing has been equated to the process used against Jews (and others) during the Nazi riegn of terror. (See also: Mobbing: A Familiar Pattern) Mobbing is a plague on humanity of global proportions and is responsible for the deaths of countless targets every year. You do not need to travel the world to find examples of such blatant violations of human dignity. Such perverse attitudes and conduct are alive and well right here in Canada, in our public and private sectors, from the smallest businesses to our largest corporations.

  The Passion of the Christ
  © Icon Distribution, Inc.
 

The Passion of the Christ and the Holocaust are both archetypal examples of mobbing.

   

So, what does this have to do with the Asper family or Canwest Global, you may ask? The answer comes from my own chilling, personal experience with both.

I endured years of torment at the hands of bullies at the Calgary Herald newspaper. This abuse reached a fever pitch once Canwest purchased the Calgary Herald as part of the multi-billion dollar deal with Conrad Black. Canwest was calling for staff reductions but I was safe as I was very good at my job and was half way up the seniority board in the union of which I was a member (the CNPTU, Local 1).

By 'union' I mean a good-ol'-boys-club controlled by a corrupt clique of self-serving bullies. In cases of mobbing and workplace bullying unions, contrary to their raison d'être, generally choose to allow the abuse of one of its members to continue unchallenged, preferring to maintain a cozy relationship with management. In addition to this abdication of responsibility to represent is the reality that many unions are themselves directly implicated in the targeting, assault and betrayal of one of its (dues-paying) members. Such was my experience with the CNPTU.

Unfortunately, my exceptional skills and dedication to a career I loved irked senior union members and the union executive as my contributions resulted in greater efficiency and helped to reduced overtime. My work ethic had been a thorn in the side of union bullies for many years but being good at my job and contributing to the success of the company was the last straw. The harassment and mobbing intensified with management's full knowledge and support.

The more I demonstrated my value to the company the more the bullies attacked. They slandered me to co-workers, supervisors and management - to anyone who would listen. My character was assassinated, my work was deprecated and software I had developed was sabotaged. The bullying had become malignant and grew into a full blown mobbing.

By this time I had learned about 'mobbing' on the internet. After reading Tim Field's Bully OnLine and articles by Prof. Kenneth Westhues I could see what was happening. Unfortunately by this time most of the damage had been done. I realized I was at the final stage (the final solution) of mobbing - elimination.

 

"One would not expect a victim of rape to have to single-handedly identify, trace, catch, arrest, prosecute, convict and punish the person who raped her. Targets of bullying often find themselves doing all of these whilst those in positions of authority persistently abdicate and deny responsibility."

"Good management and bullying have as much in common as great sex and rape."

~ Tim Field

   

I appealed to my supervisors (some were also senior union members!!) and asked them to look at what was happening objectively. I sent them information about mobbing hoping they would read it and stop the abuse as I had been pleading with them for many years to do. Emails I sent them were deleted without being read. I printed copies of articles about mobbing for them - they were simply thrown in the trash, as my life would soon be. They needed to find an excuse to meet the numbers for staff reductions being demanded by Canwest head office. They allowed the mobbing and its devastating effects on my family, my health and my finances to escalate.

The union refused to do anything, of course, so I appealled directly to the HR manager. She refused to intervene and stop the mobbing or re-evalute the situation objectively despite written recommendations by my doctor and the company's own EAP provider. I requested to see the company doctor. The HR manager refused to allow it. The HR manager had also "come down hard" (her words) on the EAP person who had supported me and she insisted that I meet with a different (ie. less ethical, more compliant) EAP person the following week to discuss the situation and the possibility of having to go on long term disability as a result of the bullying.

Continued below...

Cartoon: Good morning, Human Resources. How may I demean you?
Used with permission, courtesy Carol Simpson DesignWorks

I agreed to the meeting but it turned out to be nothing but a stalling tactic and after being purposely disabled by union goons and Calgary Herald management, I was preemptively fired only days before going on long term disability. To knowingly disable someone and then to fire them for the disability you have inflicted is grossly immoral to say the least. The question of whether it is legal is irrelevant to companies like the Calgary Herald and Canwest Global. With their financial resources the already pathetically feeble laws protecting workers in Canada are rendered moot. In order to destroy any chance of rebuilding my life or seeking any legal remedy against the Calgary Herald or the union I was denied a severance and was offered nothing after 22 years as a dedicated employee.

As two primary bullies in this case were senior union members, the union refused to grieve this outrageous treatment. One of the bullies was the president of the union and was also allowed to be on the committee which decided whether or not to grieve, in spite of my protests of the obvious conflict of interest. The union was in full collusion with the company, my rights were denied and I was railroaded by a corrupt union executive which abdicated its responsibility to represent. The treacherous conduct and depraved indifference of the CNPTU executive is a disgrace.

 

"Bullying consists of the least competent most aggressive employee projecting their incompetence on to the least aggressive most competent employee and winning."

"Nothing can prepare you for living or working with a sociopathic serial bully. It is the most devastating, draining, misunderstood, and ultimately futile experience imaginable."

~ Tim Field

   

Mission accomplished. The union goons had punished me for my work ethic and the dramatic success of projects I had undertaken which benefited the company greatly. Weak and incompetent managers desperate to meet numbers for termination demanded by Canwest head office were happy to use this opportunity to placate their superiors - no matter how valuable or dedicated an employee I had been. Meanwhile, union bullies, slackers and saboteurs are rewarded with continued employment.

Contributions I made to the company were driven by my genuine desire to be the best at a job I loved, to be worth more than I was paid, going above and beyond the bare requirements of the job - providing real shareholder value. The union and management bullies involved in this mobbing certainly cannot say the same.

Having learned more about mobbing I knew senior management at Canwest would not likely intervene, but they needed to know what was being done in their name and I wanted to give them the chance to act honourably - to do the right thing. I contacted the Asper family (Leonard Asper, David Asper and Gail Asper) directly in hopes that they would have the decency and sense to address so serious an impediment to productivity, profitability, and human dignity as mobbing. Sadly and predictably, they did not.

You can imagine my shock and disgust at learning that the Aspers were campaigning to develop the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The Asper's involvement in such a project is inappropriate and offensive - to say the least.

As part of the museum there is a planned display called "None is Too Many" which will commemorate the failure of Western countries to intercede and offer safe haven to Jewish refugees. Western countries looked the other way while atrocities were committed, just as the Aspers now do with employees who are targets of mobbing.

[Pieter Tigchelaar recieved the Yad Vashem Award]My wife's family is honoured to have a member, Pieter Tigchelaar, who recieved the Yad Vashem Award. (Photo)

"In 1963 Yad Vashem embarked upon a worldwide project to grant the title of Righteous Among the Nations to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. To this end, Yad Vashem set up a public committee headed by a retired Supreme Court justice, which is responsible for granting the title. This project is the only one of its kind in the world that honors, using set criteria, the actions of those individuals who rescued Jews during the war." >>> More

My wife and family have suffered, and continue to suffer horribly as a result of the mobbing. The devastation of mobbing pervades all aspects of a targets' life and destroys whole families. I had genuinely hoped that appealling to the Asper family for help would not fall on deaf ears precisely because their family had endured the horrors of the Nazi pogroms. I thought they would care that violations to human dignity were being perpetrated in their company and in their name. The Aspers did not have to risk their lives as my wifes' family had done while hiding Jews in their home from the Nazis. Interceding would have cost the Aspers nothing, it would have been easy for them to stand up for human dignity. Even so, the Aspers chose to look the other way, they chose to do nothing, while our lives were destroyed for nothing more than the personal amusement of bullies at the Calgary Herald.

Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil.

~ Elie Wiesel

I do not believe this failure can be ascribed to a lack of courage. Rather it seems to be a case of utter, depraved indifference to human misery.

As Gail Asper says in the video tour of the museum, "Its going to be the only place that will transform visitors from passive listeners to active fighters for human rights in this world." I sincerely hope the Aspers visit the museum and are so "transformed" themselves.

Perhaps someday when the Aspers have cleaned thier own house, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights can be seen as the laudable project it wants and deserves to be. In the meantime it remains the Asper/Canwest Temple of Hypocrisy.

~ Anton Hout

The world is a dangerous place,
not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~ Albert Einstein

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever
human beings endure suffering and humiliation.
We must always take sides.
Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.
Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

~ Elie Wiesel

There may be times when we are
powerless to prevent injustice,
but there must never be a time
when we fail to protest.

~ Elie Wiesel

 

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Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil.

~ Elie Wiesel

 
 

You take my life when you do take the means whereby I live.

~ William Shakespear, The Merchant of Venice. Act iv. Sc. 1

 
Interview with a Target of
Workplace Bullying

by John Peel
on Home Truths,
BBC Radio 4
(mp3)

Courtesy BullyEQ
 
 

WEBQuotes


Calgary Herald
"...grossly unacceptable employer behaviour."
> AFL
"There was a lot of bullying in the newsroom and it was a gift to be able to stand up and say we are prepared to do something about it."
> UNB

Canwest Global
"The CanWest corporation is showing the ugly and intolerant face of modern media," ... "While openly interfering in editorial content it cravenly punishes those journalists who have the courage to protest."
> IFJ
"Many journalists left CanWest, deciding to quit or take disability leave after the frigid mood of their newsrooms made them ill."
> Canwest Watch

Imperial Parking
"Timothy Lloyd decided he had had enough of "going in to war every day." ... I was very unhappy in my work -- burned out, stressed out ... There were constant threats of dismissal, constant invading of my personal space, and use of profanity that was personally directed at me."
> HealthSmith

Annuity Research & Marketing Service Ltd.
"Every employer, said Justice Dambrot, owes a contractual duty to its employees to “treat them fairly, with civility, decency, respect, and dignity.” By failing to protect Ms. Stamos from Mr. Hammami’s harassment, the court concluded that the employer had breached this contractual duty."
> Labor Relations Consultants


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