It’s shocking enough that a bomb threat was made against picketers at the Co-op Refinery, but to learn that no one – not Regina Police, not the mayor, not the province – lifted a finger to warn anyone puts every citizen of Regina in danger.
Think about it. A bomb at a refinery. An explosion there would put thousands of lives at risk far beyond the picket line – so you have to ask why would anyone bury such a threat.
That answer is simple, and it’s disgusting. It’s because they knew that making this threat public would change the debate and force the province to bring the dispute to an end.
Ask yourself, what do you think would happen if a threat had been made against the Co-op Refinery itself or CEO Scott Banda? I’ll tell you – the targets would have been warned immediately and the person doing the threatening would likely be sitting in jail.
Instead, the threat was against workers, so nothing was done and the threat was buried in hopes that no one would ever find out. Not a finger was lifted to warn us, and we can safely assume no finger was lifted to find out who did it.
Instead, the police, the mayor and the province decided to put the lives of hundreds of workers at risk to protect the interests of Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL).
Even Premier Scott Moe described the threat as “very alarming,” and appeared unaware yesterday that his own government was aware of the threat.
The letter, acquired by Unifor Local 594 as part of a Freedom of Information request was received by Mayor Michael Fougere on February 18 and forwarded to police. A copy of the threat was sent to Saskatchewan’s Justice Minister, Don Morgan who is also the Minister of Labour Relations.
“Only a cell phone call away from Ignition Time,” the chilling letter reads. “If we see no progress this week — it will be time to act.”
At that time, Unifor was stepping up its presence at the same gates being threatened. There were workers and supporters from across the country on the line over several weeks. Spouses. Children. Families.
Regina Police were there, too, and said nothing. In fact, Unifor was in regular contact with police throughout the lockout. I met personally with Police Chief Evan Bray on January 23. We have each other’s phone numbers and other contact information and spoke frequently. I was never more than a phone call away, and Regina police have been a near-constant presence on the picket line.
The Regina Police Service has never been particularly shy about taking Co-op’s side, arresting members of Unifor and our supporters, including myself, and ticketing and towing cars as recently as last week.
Locked out workers, supporters and labour leaders were exercising their legal right to peacefully picket. Regina police chose to arrest them, ticket them, and tow them. Yet when thugs threatened to plant bombs that could injure or kill dozens of those same picketers, police did not lift a finger and deemed the threat not credible, apparently with little or no investigation.
Not good enough. Not by a long shot.
None of this would have happened, of course, if FCL and Banda had not locked out the workers and then refused to negotiate a fair deal.
If the cowards behind these threats had followed through, what would the police, the mayor and Morgan have said to the 730 families represented on the picket line? How could they explain their actions - or lack thereof?
As long as the Saskatchewan government continues to fail workers, and as long as employers such as FCL continue to bully their staff and make unreasonable demands, this lockout will continue to hurt the people and the economy of Saskatchwan.
Until the out of province scabs are sent home and this dispute ends, there will be threats of violence made towards our members, who are residents of Regina.
We all deserve better.