CUPE – Canadian Union of Public Employees, according to its website, represents 600,000 civil servants and is Canada’s largest labour union.
The important bit here is that it represents civil servants. Only civil servants. These are the people who put public policy into action.
As in, these are the ‘Agents of the state’!
This, of course, does not mean they are not ‘their own person’ in their ‘free time’. Of course they are, free to express their views and all that.
Still, since their role as Agents of the State is known, their actions necessarily reflect on the state, too. This places ‘greater-than-average’ responsibility on them to uphold the laws of the State and not breech them in their public conduct.
I guess what I am trying to say is that breaking laws is always bad. But, if it is broken by someone who is not just ‘an average citizen’, but by someone who is either charged with enforcing the laws (like, say, a police officer), or enacting the laws (like, say, a public servant), it reflects badly not just on the individual, but on the State as a whole.
So, when a well-know CUPE member Ali Mallah assaulted BlazingCatFur, a blogger who was acting in the role of a journalist and filming/photographing a public protest in which Mr. Mallah was taking part, it reflects badly not only on Mr. Mallah personally, but also on CUPE and on all the civil servants of Canada!
What was the provocation?
Mr. Mallah did not like that BlazingCatFur was taking images of a public protest, in a public area.
In other words, this CUPE member, this civil servant, this Agent of the Canadian State, wanted to muzzle a journalist – and when he failed, he assaulted him!
This is a very serious thing. It is not just ‘one guy getting annoyed’ and, in the heat of the moment, loosing his temper.
This is a reflection of the attitudes of the Civil Service – and a very bad PR situation for CUPE.
The attack is documented:
Quoting from the video, the CUPE member demands:
“Who gave you permission to take a picture?”
On a public street, at a public event, this public servant wants to deny citizen journalists the very right to take pictures? What a frightening attitude for an Agent of the State to take!
And, when he is not immediately obeyed, he assaults the picture-taker: BlazingCatFur!
Mr. Mallah clearly recognized BlazingCatFur and the role as citizen-journalist which he plays – so his action was not simply an attack on one person: it is an attack on every Canadian journalist!
Once this has occurred, it is really irrelevant what the public protest was about, or what the various political views of whatever actors in this event or any bystanders are. Because once violence occurs, it is no longer the ‘beliefs’ or ‘convictions’ which motivated someone to one-sided display of violence and attempt to muzzle the press, it is the behaviour – and only the behaviour - which must be the subject of investigation! Attempting to censor and physically intimidate journalists is not a matter that can be taken lightly.
This is Canada – we do NOT tolerate violence! And, we demand that reporters and journalists of all types must not be muzzled, intimidated, attacked, or otherwise interfered with!
An internal investigation (of CUPE by CUPE) is needed, so that violent elements within the union can be expelled and, if necessary, brought to criminal justice. Nothing less than that can restore CUPE’s reputation as a respectable organization. I call on CUPE to take this action, clean up their ranks, to expel and publicly denounce those of its members who would use intimidation and violence to silence journalists and reporters!
Failing that, the various levels of government who employ CUPE members will need to re-evaluate CUPE’s eligibility to represent members of the Civil Service.
And, I am not joking about this.
We cannot tolerate Civil Service Unions which permit their members to intimidate and do violence to members of the press! And, we must demand that all levels of our governments expel from its ranks any and all unions which tolerate their members to assault this cornerstone of freedom of the press, of freedom of speech, on which our society is built!