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Union Demands Postmedia Executives Return $2.3M in Bonuses

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Unions representing Canadian journalists want five Postmedia executives to reject bonuses totalling $2.275 million as the struggling newspaper chain continues staff reductions.

The company awarded Postmedia president and CEO Paul Godfrey $900,000, CFO Doug Lamb $450,000, COO Andrew MacLeod $425,000, legal and general counsel Jeffrey Haar $300,000, and National Post president Gordon Fisher $200,000, according to financial documents filed Wednesday.

The money will be paid out over three instalments with the first cash payment already distributed on July 15. The next two payments will be made Dec. 2 of this year and July 14, 2017.

The bonuses were part of a retention plan to keep key employees with the company during and after its recently completed debt restructuring, which reduced its total debt of $648 million by about $307 million.

“It’s not unusual” for a company to implement such a program during these types of transactions, said Postmedia’s vice-president of communications, Phyllise Gelfand.

However, one of the five executives, Haar, will leave Postmedia at the end of November, she said. Gelfand could not confirm whether Haar is still entitled to the next two payouts of his retention bonus.

The Communications Workers of America Canada President Martin O’Hanlon said in a statement that the executives are acting in an unconscionable manner by accepting the extra money while asking employees to volunteer for buyouts or risk another round of layoffs.

“This is an absolute disgrace,” he said, calling on the five men to return the money.

Unifor Local 87-M, which represents Ontario’s unionized newspaper workers, called on the executives to give the money to Postmedia’s employees.

“That money should be spent to retain workers,” said union president Paul Morse in a statement.

Postmedia said last month it was looking to cut salary costs by 20 per cent.

The newspaper chain offered its employees voluntary buyouts in late October. The company has not yet announced whether the program reached that target, but has said layoffs may be necessary otherwise.

As of the end of August this year, Postmedia had 4,233 full-time equivalent employees, according to its financial documents — down from 4,733 a year prior. In January, the company laid off 90 people and merged newsrooms in four cities where it owns two newspapers in each market.

Gelfand said the company had no comment on either the union’s demand for the executives to return their extra pay, or the optics of simultaneously handing out hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses and working towards reducing salary expenses.

Despite the bonus, Godfrey’s total compensation fell by nearly $100,000 for 2016, while that of the other four executives rose this year by $29,800 on the low end and $113,456 on the high end. Each of their base salaries remained the same as in 2015.

Last year, the five executives and Wayne Parrish, the company’s former COO, received bonuses for their work when Postmedia acquired Sun Media’s English-language newspapers and digital properties.

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ShoutIt.ca: A new free speech social media platform changing the face of censorship

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In the wake of the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building in the days leading up to the just concluded Presidential election, social media giants have been on a strict censorship campaign.

Quite a number of high-profile personalities, notably former President Donald Trump, have had their social media accounts permanently suspended for airing views that were deemed “inappropriate” and “inciting violence”. However, there have been accusations that this censorship by social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat have been biased and targeted towards conservative voices and activists.

To combat the problem of selective censorship, a new free speech and human rights social media network is giving users such as Trump, the platform to express themselves freely without fear of censorship. ShoutIt.ca is a community-driven social network and not-for-profit initiative with the primary goal of providing a free speech platform for those seeking an alternative to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, which has been riddled with worsening censorship.

In a statement following Trump’s ban from Twitter, the company noted that the decision to ban Trump permanently from the platform was due to his continued violation of their terms of use by inciting violence and therefore, a suspension would minimize the risk of further violence.

By far his most preferred platform, Twitter was Trump’s primary mode of communication since assuming office and through this medium, he has made several policy announcements and commented on different societal and political issues. But with his account suspended, communicating becomes quite a struggle and this has led many conservatives to seek alternatives to these major social networks.

“(The social media platforms) have overwhelmingly censored Trump and his administration,” said Lon Safko, industry consultant and author of The Social Media Bible in a report.  

“Any form of censorship, any form, is unacceptable. Social platform such as Facebook, whose primary business is open communication between its over 2.7 billion members, have a moral and legal responsibility to allow those conversations to transpire, organically.”

All sides of a conversation must be heard and if any viewer disagrees or takes offence by a certain conversation, they are well within their rights to ignore the conversation and walk away.  ShoutIt.ca gives everyone the freedom to express themselves, increasing public engagement and awareness on various topic. Also, it limits the level of cultural, political and religious intolerance.

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Individual Rights and Freedoms Under Siege in Era of COVID

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In a letter to 100,000 lawyers, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Children’s Health Defense (CHD) chairman and chief legal counsel, urges his fellow attorneys to read “Protecting Individual Rights in the Era of COVID-19,” a special report prepared by the CHD team.

The report explores the legal rights to informed consent, bodily integrity, the right to refuse unwanted medical interventions, religious expression and autonomy. All of these rights will be “dramatically constricted” if employers, states and/or the federal government impose vaccine mandates.

Dear Colleague,

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven an opportunity of convenience for totalitarian elements who have put individual rights and freedoms globally under siege. A medical cartel composed of pharmaceutical industry, government regulators, financial houses, and telecom and internet billionaires are systematically obliterating freedom of speech and assembly, religious worship, property rights, jury trial, due process, and — ultimately — America’s exemplary democracy.

That’s why I am sending you this new Special Report, “Protecting Individual Rights in the Era of COVID-19.”

As a fellow lawyer who has practiced in our country’s courts for more than 40 years, I am alarmed by the growing power of global corporations to overwhelm our justice system, obliterate our constitutional liberty, and destroy public health. Throughout my career as a litigator, law professor, public advocate and author, I have worked to hold corporate giants and government institutions accountable. My life’s work has provided me with a unique perspective on our individual rights to clean air, clean water, unobstructed access to the commons, and our rights to make our own decisions about our bodies.

As chairman and chief legal counsel for Children’s Health Defense (CHD), I have now dedicated myself to protecting children’s health by ending harmful environmental exposures to children, ending the exploding chronic disease epidemic that has debilitated over half of American kids born after 1989, and to holding those responsible accountable.

A 2006 Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) study found that 54% of America’s children today have chronic health conditions — allergies, ADHD, autism, eczema, asthma, obesity, autoimmune conditions and more. When I was growing up, most of these conditions were rare or unknown. When I was a boy, I received three vaccines. Today, children receive 72 mandated doses of 16 vaccines, prior to age 18. A mountain of peer-reviewed studies points to vaccines as the primary culprit in this public health calamity. That isn’t stopping our health authorities from mandating more hugely subsidized, shoddily tested, zero-liability vaccines for children. Our vaccine safety program falls dangerously short of what our children deserve.

The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed captive corporate regulators to hold the population hostage to justify the transfer of $45 billion of taxpayer money to pharmaceutical companies to finance a gold rush of new vaccines.

Protecting individual rights in the era of COVID-19 is essential 

I urge you to read this short legal dossier, “Protecting Individual Rights in the Era of COVID-19”, with an open mind and to draw your own conclusion about the legal and ethical implications of one-size-fits-all vaccine mandates for zero-liability, heavily subsidized mandatory vaccines.

Current vaccine mandates now require most school children to receive between 50-75 shots just to attend school. A vaccine-injured child, or adult, cannot sue the healthcare provider or the vaccine producer — but rather must go to a rigged national injury compensation program to sue the very government that ordered vaccine compliance in the first place. After studying this subject for years, I am more horrified than ever by the system’s pervasive corruption.

Given existing federal legislation and judicial precedents, it is all but impossible to hold vaccine manufacturers or healthcare providers accountable for vaccine injury in the courts. Vaccine injuries are not rare — HHS’s own studies show that the agency claims that injuries only occur with “1 in a million” vaccines is a mendacious canard. The true injury rate is actually 1 in every 39 vaccines, according to the Federal Agency for Health Research Quality.

Problems with vaccine safety aren’t isolated just to children 

Federal and State officials are considering mandates for the new COVID-19 vaccine. The New York State Bar Association, an organization for which I have great respect, has given its imprimatur to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all New Yorkers if “experts” deem that necessary. But those experts are mainly regulators from captured public health agencies with pervasive and corrupt financial entanglements with pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The pharma-controlled media’s advice that we “trust the experts” is anti-democratic and anti-science. You and I know that “experts” can differ on scientific questions and that their opinions can vary in accordance with and demands of politics, power, and financial self-interest. In every lawsuit, leading, highly credentialed experts from opposite sides routinely offer diametrically antithetical positions based on the same set of facts. The trouble is that today, in the political arena, dissenting voices that question government policies and corporate proclamations are silenced by censorship and vilification.

In this special report, our CHD Team explores the legal rights to informed consent, bodily integrity, the right to refuse unwanted medical interventions, religious expression and autonomy. All of these rights will be dramatically constricted if employers, states and/or the federal government impose vaccine mandates.

I hope that “Protecting Individual Rights in the Era of COVID-19” can help you work with any future clients as you navigate the uncertain COVID-19/vaccine mandates landscape.

Sincerely yours,

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Chairman, Children’s Health Defense

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Big Tech Pushes Digital ID Cards to Track Vaccinations, Shopping, Banking Activity and More

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Story at-a-glance:

  • Tech giants with deep ties to the U.S. national security state — Microsoft, Oracle and the MITRE Corporation — have partnered with healthcare companies to create the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI) to advance the implementation of digital COVID-19 vaccination records.
  • The initiative is essentially built on a common framework of digital vaccination “wallets” called SMART Health Cards that are meant to “work across organizational and jurisdictional boundaries” as part of a new global vaccination-record infrastructure.
  • SMART Health Cards are expected to include a person’s complete name, gender, birth date, mobile phone number and email address in addition to vaccination information, though it is possible and likely that more personal information will be required as the initiative advances.
  • While the push for combining digital identity with vaccination records and economic activity appears, superficially, to be the effort of various organizations and groups, the same individuals and entities appear time and again, pointing to a coordinated push to not only implement such a system but manufacture consent for such a system among the global population.
  • Coercion is a built-in part of this infrastructure and, if implemented, will be used to modify human behavior to great effect, reaching far beyond just the issue of COVID-19 vaccines.

Tech giants with deep ties to the U.S. national security state — Microsoft, Oracle and the MITRE Corporation — announced that they had partnered with several healthcare companies to create the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI) to advance the implementation of digital COVID-19 vaccination records.

According to a Reuters report, the VCI “aims to help people get encrypted digital copies of their immunization records stored in a digital wallet of their choice” because the “current system [of vaccination records] does not readily support convenient access and sharing of verifiable vaccination records.”

The initiative, on its website, notes that the VCI is a public-private partnership “committed to empowering individuals with digital vaccination records” so that participants can “protect and improve their health” and “demonstrate their health status to safely return to travel, work, school and life while protecting their data privacy.”

The initiative is essentially built on a common framework of digital vaccination “wallets” called SMART Health Cards that are meant to “work across organizational and jurisdictional boundaries” as part of a new global vaccination-record infrastructure.

The host of the VCI website and one of the initiative’s key backers is the Commons Project Foundation. That foundation, in partnership with the World Economic Forum (WEF), runs the Common Trust Network, which has three goals that are analogous to those of VCI.

As listed on the WEF website, the network’s goals are (1) to empower individuals by providing digital access to their health information; (2) to make it easier for individuals to understand and comply with each destination’s requirements; and (3) to help ensure that only verifiable lab results and vaccination records from trusted sources are presented for the purposes of cross-border travel and commerce.

To advance these goals, the Common Trust Network is powered by “a global registry of trusted laboratory and vaccination data sources” as well as “standard formats for lab results and vaccination records and standard tools to make those results and records digitally accessible.”

Another, and related, Commons Project Foundation and WEF partnership is CommonPass. CommonPass, which is also supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, is both a framework and an app that “will allow individuals to access their lab results and vaccination records, and consent to have that information used to validate their COVID status without revealing any other underlying personal health information.”

Current members of CommonPass, including JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, are also members of the Common Trust Network. This overlap between the Commons Project Foundation/WEF partnerships and the VCI illustrates that the WEF itself is involved with the VCI, albeit indirectly through their partners at the Commons Project Foundation.

The Commons Project Foundation itself is worth exploring, as its cofounders, Paul Meyer and Bradley Perkins, have long-standing ties to the RAND Corporation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the International Rescue Committee, as noted by MintPress News.

The IRC, currently run by Tony Blair protégé David Milliband, is developing a biometric ID and vaccination-record system for refugees in Myanmar in cooperation with the ID2020 Alliance, which is partnered with CommonPass backer, the Rockefeller Foundation. In addition, the ID2020 Alliance funds the Commons Project Foundation and is also backed by Microsoft, one of the key companies behind the VCI.

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