Premier Bob McLeod’s constituency meeting at Stanton Suites went awry Tuesday night when some unexpected constituents arrived.
Sean Dalton, regional vice president for the North Great Slave Region said Union of Northern Workers members showed up at the meeting to give the premier a piece of their minds (video from John Last’s Twitter account).
“I’m a constituent of Bob’s, so I came out for the meeting as a constituent along with other groups of people,” said Dalton According to Dalton, Premier McLeod has refused to answer multiple emails and questions from UNW members who are also constituents.
Earlier Tuesday the union sent out a strike notice to territorial government employees. If an agreement is not reached during mediation this weekend, thousands of government workers could go on strike as early as Monday. Dozens of UNW members were in attendance at the meeting and then in the parking lot at the Independent Grocer on Old Airport Road after McLeod left the meeting.
“And we wanted to ask him some questions,” said Dalton. “So we came to the meeting. When everyone arrived, he just left, we followed him out to his vehicle, continuing to ask him questions. He didn’t like it, he was rattled by the situation you could tell, and uncomfortable. But he’s the premier, he should be able to take tough questions but he completely shut down and walked away.”
When McLeod got into his vehicle in the Independent parking lot, some UNW members blocked his path. A video does appear to show this happening, but Northern News Services has not been able to verify that it was the premier driving.
“We can obstruct traffic for three minutes on a picket line, it’s the same idea,” said Dalton.
“We weren’t going to keep him there long, he was safe in his vehicle, we weren’t harassing him. So he put his truck in reverse and started backing out and struck me.”
Dalton said he banged on the back of the vehicle and yelled at him.
“He could see me. I could see him in his rear view mirror looking at me as he backed his vehicle into me. It’s all on video. ”
Dalton alleges the premier then proceeded to strike him a second time, so he called the RCMP to report it.
“It is a hit and run, and unacceptable,” he said. “You can’t just run people over. And that’s what he’s done. That’s our leader, that’s our premier.”
The union crashed McLeod’s constituency meeting after a communique sent out earlier Tuesday advised how government workers could cross the picket line if they wanted to return to work during the strike.
“What is he trying to do? People will be returning to their jobs after the strike and you’re trying to drive a wedge between people. This will have impacts for decades.”
People need to think of the history of strikes in Yellowknife, said Dalton.
Nine workers were killed during a strike at Giant Mine in 1992 after striking miner Roger Warren planted a bomb underground. The men had crossed a picket line and were riding in a man car that triggered the bomb Warren had connected to the tracks.
“It’s not good, especially when it’s crossing the picket lines. Nothing good comes from that.”
Dalton said he’s extremely disappointed with the premier’s actions, but not surprised by his attitude.
“That’s the unfortunate thing.”