As mentioned in a previous post, between the months of January and September 2008 I was hired to be a Database Cop for the Caisse de Défauts (Master Sabia coined this phrase in a TVA interview btw, not me!) and clean up a department where developers were giving the impression of being cowboys with some pretty mission-critical financial data. Here are the notes from the first meeting last week at the Workplace Relations Commission (CRT: Commission des relations du travail, located in Montreal, 35 Port-Royal East, 2nd Floor).
Why I am doing this? Public Interest and to its right to know what the infamous Commission Parliamentaire hid from Quebeckers
I believe some significant personal sacrifice is necessary to maintain Canadian Unity whilst I attempt to impartially describe this horrible situation our Pension Fund manager has been putting me through over the past fiveteen months (their victims are many, even some friends have mentioned psychological harassment until suicide after working there), but first, the disclaimer. Most
importantly this post is a warning to Database Administrators in general who have been in hostile environments, this is the nightmare that we have to walk into frequently enough when only Developers have controlled an environment (Brad McGehee discusses this partially in his DBA Manifesto), or if there is only one 'token' subordinated/muzzeled DBA in-house to maintain compliance with legislation.
Disclaimer: Veuillez prendre en note que je ne suis pas francophobe, je blogue en français et je partage, vers un côté de la famille, les mêmes racines que la majorité ici. Je suis né à Vancouver, et ma soeur Monique et moi aussi, nous sommes allés à l'école bilingue. Je veux que nous améliorons notre société au Québec; non pas seulement pour faire des accommodations raisonnables aux nouvelles arrivées dans la province, mais pour rendre du 'respect' à la minorité anglophone qui vit ici depuis des siècles. Le mal traitement dont j’ai vécu à la Caisse de Dépôt est un cauchemar absolu, mais ce n’est pas isolé à cette organisation gouvernementale exclusivement, et existent dans certaines sociétés privés au Québec. Je resterai toujours positif, parce que je suis un Champion pour le Canada, and Quebec is included in my country. Mais, il faut que ces extrémistes ultranationalistes soient mis en règle afin de laisser le Québec se progresser, car à mon avis, c’est leur faute que la province est en déclin tranquille (à cause de deux referendums, et maintenant $47 Milliards perdus à la CDPQ). J'emploi mon droit constitutionnelle de s'exprimer - to clearly counter sovereigntist bullies who have repetitively told me that my constitutional rights in Quebec do not exist.
First image: Interview dates, time, place from an e-mail I sent to the Working Standard Commission complaint validators in April 2009, about five months after I submitted the original complaint to them on December 8th, 2008. The complaint made via this government body responsible for Workplace standards was initially rejected by the Caisse, but eventually led to a mediation date five months later in July 2009 that was cancelled at the last minute by their lawyers flip-flopping on whether I was subject to conditions as a permanent employee, which means complying with the Labour Standards Act, or if I was only a lowly consultant that they can treat with disrespect repetitively (as if harassment by workplace bullies is okay?). I even wrote to their new CEO, Michael Sabia, with a personal hand delivered note in protest for their bureaucratic juggernaught response of pulling out of scheduled mediation with the Working Standards Commission, but as usual, there was no response. It is clear to me now after this long that my rights to them are not important, so I shall make this publically clear in writing. Je vais mettre ces 'maîtres' à genoux avec ma plume s'ils vont pas faire valoir mes droits !
Now for a bit of Background - What is this organisation?
The Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec - short name in English, although seldom used, is CDP Capital, and the long name Quebec Deposit and Investment Fund. This forty-three year old Quebec-based über-bank is the largest institutionalised fund manager within
Second Image - the Job Offer itself. I met with the Senior Vice President of the department January 18th, 2008. Priorities were to deal with optimisation, backups, and alleviating production support from my former DBA colleague. The VP clearly indicated that this was for a permanent position, and I agreed that if I made it past the first six months, we'd switch over officially. I have e-mails to confirm this agreement, and e-mails are contractual according to educaloi.qc.ca. I even had a confirmation meeting with the internal Human Resources Department representative (and actually a neighbour) in March, 2008, to ensure their intentions.
Please note that what public details you see here are correspondent with discussions at the CRT – I have no intention of tarnishing the Judge’s decision making process. However, still outraged as I am at this continued denial of my rights, I wish to seek public aid in pressuring the organisation, which holds over two hundred billion dollars of our provincial investment in its hands (including Real Estate Assets), to remediate this situation immediately. This is a David Vs Goliath situation, and is evident by the fact that four lawyers showed up to in defense of the latter! And to help readers to understand the extent of denial I have witnessed during this whole complaint process, even Legal Counsel at the Caisse de Dépôt itself (Mélanie Julien), told the Working Standards Commission's validator that the man above, whose Business Card clearly states he is a Senior VP, was not a Vice President in the first place. Sort of like her attitude during our November 2008 meeting, stating to me that I have bascially no rights, not even Human Rights, since I was on contract still and they can cut the cord whenever they felt like it, no matter what the circumstance (Audit failure, racial comments, firing the whistleblower, asked to bring the department back into control etc).
Just another anecdote of twisting the truth - pointing out that only I waited till the last minute to file a complaint: one thing my opposition in the public hearing, just last week, forgot to mention was that I tried to make an internal complaint to the CDPQ within the 90 day limit for filing with the Commission des normes du travail (Working Standards Commission) after the forced departure on September 9th, 2008 and even had a meeting on November 12th, 2008 with the Complaints Director herself and a junior lawyer. The end result was no action whatsoever on their part (what Daniel Laprès describes as Quebec's Laïcité stricte?). All I got while leaving the meeting was a verbal sorry, but a warning that the corporation will do all it can to protect itself - nice job, victim intimidation (!), en plus. I know I mentioned bureaucratic warfare before - and I thoroughly believe now after living through this debacle, that this white collar crime has contributed to hundreds of thousands of native English speaking Quebeckers to leave the province since the beginning of the 1970s (known as the Anglo Exodus). This trend has only reversed within the past years with the return/influx of many Anglo-Quebeckers, in addition to the question of sovereignty returning to a hypothetical situation (after two referendums defeated) and due to a clear lack of legitmacy for such a retrograde cause.
I was warned beforehand that It's the Caisse - Discrimination is acceptable there when against Anglos.
I was told by a senior consultant friend before starting there that within six to eight months senior managers would find a way to force me out, as is done on a regular basis to Anglophones who work there – even confirmed to me by several security guards who work for the organisation (that wish to remain anonymous!) that it is practically modus operandi at the Caisse to do so. This is a clear violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and my Human Rights - hence my
But, hey, don`t listen to me with respect to the English speaking provincial minority, just listen to TVA.Canoe.com's analysts point out that Sabia is an Anglophone from Ontario (although his Grandfather arrived in QC originally with pennies) and the fact that it created a huge contraversy in the QC FR-speaking media provides clear proof to the underlying message that 'He's not one of us' - and thus, should not be on the list for the Caisse's top job (remember your detestable knee-jerk reaction André Pratte?). He even complaints about Sabia's level of French, and note that Jean-Philippe Décarie propagates and idea from the 60s that Anglophones who work in Montreal (ne faîtes pas l'effort) do not want/or make the effort to learn French, nor know it well - this is nothing more than prejudice since a qualified majority of Anglophones speak la langue de Molière (10 years ago when I arrived from Brussels, a cosmopolitian/trilingual city in itself, it was around 80%) around Montreal speak and work in French. But due to this prejudice we are literally shut-out of the provincial government job opportunities, whether they are for the Federal or Provincial level here. What bothers me personally, is that during out first hearing the oppositions' principal Lawyer Maître l'H[mister unhappy] stated to the Commissaire (Judge) with a 'oh, not another' tone that this case was about `discrimination parce ce qu'il est Anglophone'. If this lawyer, who entitles himself to take advantage of a provincial minority and downplay the discrimination we live by means of the our local government (which we pay taxes too, just like everyone else buddy!), he's already tripping over himself. Had such a thing be said in the United States about a minority during a public hearing it would make Front Page news. Here, as I stated above, it is considered normal. I hope the Judge recognises this and puts a stop to it on my behalf of all Anglophones, and all minorities for that matter, in the province.
On being labelled an Anglophone - Je déteste cette `labelling' employé au Québec - Je SUIS BILINGUE, je suis allé à L'école bilingue durant mon enfance à Vancouver. I'm part of both founding nations of this state, à quand la fin de cette chanson 'which side are you on boy' (Pete Seeger) - I want to be ABOVE this shite, as our Border Reivers (Anglo/Scotch Clans) ancestors where for centuries, on the Graham side, of the family http://en.wikipedia.org/wi
It would seem that the Quebec Government and Media are completely oblivious to the fact that Racism has its costs – the victim pays dearly. It is now fifteen months later and I have only just managed to recover my company’s finances (and during a recession too, imagine) while I went through another round of psychological harassment and defamation by the one sovereigntist bully developer controlling production in the office at my next mandate (bad news comes in threes?). The issue here is not that so many Quebeckers hold these views against the English-Speaking minority, it is simply that the one Blueneck in a group of ten QC Francophones will go out of their way behind the scenes to make someone's life miserable, while profiting from the complacency/passivism of the group.
Image Three: the call to testify last week. The recruiter is involved in this case and it is unfortunate, because they were perfectly professional during these whole events and I would still recommend them to anyone, despite the filibustering has-been lawyer they have on board. This image below provides the case number also (CM-2009-4697).
Where does this go from here?
Next public testimonies are scheduled for May 10th, 12th and June 11th, 2010 to establish that I was indeed under the conditions of an employee and not a consultant at the Caisse de Défauts. This means months of waiting again in this bureaucratic nightmare, but it is absolutely necessary - asking my company to get involved means I need representation, and prior to this step in the direction of the CDP, Intellabase was profitable for seven years. I find this completely ironic also that an organisation that is founded upon the principle of contributing to the economic development of Quebec (but from my experience they are in part responsible for Quebec's blight) is responsible for trying to destroy my business. My goal is to clearly point out how their goal is to only keep the majority in control of resources and prevent the advancement of minorities – and is clearly Racist as typical of any overly passionate and Nationalistic government organisations can become without being reminded of their folly - I would even go as far to describe their mindset as inebriated from illusion tranquille. There is much jurisprudence with respect to cases like this (clear jurisprudence for employee conditions i.e. subordination, equipment, fixed hours), so I shall be very ready with my legal councel by the time we are in the next public hearing. Only next fall, we will get into the details of the psychological harassment itself in court, if a settlement is not reached in the meantime.
It was somewhat amusing to watch lawyers wandering in and out of the room – obviously they keep trying to negotiate a settlement, but the Caisse de Défauts is not known for eating much humble pie, as experienced journalist Konrad Yakabuski noticed while covering this organisation. Thankfully new CEO Michael Sabia has played the role Charest was expecting him to do and clean out the organisation at the top (as Accountant CEOs do, and as he did at Via Rail and Bell in the past), and new Finance Minister Raymond Bachand has confirmed that Risk is managed appropriately now. Regarding the department I was serving, it has been swept under the control of the I.T. department after my departure and the Senior Consultant who forced me out was also eventually dismissed - so, yes, there is good Karma and some retribution already. And I was rather happy to thanks to the great editors at Simple-Talk.com, based in Silicon Fen, to have published the Disaster Recovery Plan (aussi en français) a generic version of what I did for the Caisse itself while there: viewership has reached over twelve thousand for this open-source DRP.
History of Government Dishonesty Repeats Itself
It is interesting to note that on Tuesday February 9th, 2010 the cases listed for public audience were incorrectly named, as if to conceal that someone was pursuing the Caisse? What bothers me the most is that journalists who regularly take aim at the CDPQ in French (mainly from La Presse), or English (Montreal Gazette, National Post and Globe and Mail) have not shown up to the public hearings, despite multiple reminders I have sent. I really don't understand this crazy complacent ear-plugging occurring, but hey call me crazy, I am suing through two government bodies (not at the same time, their is procedure, double-recourse simultaneously is not possible), the largest institutionalised pension manager in the land. They perhaps cannot believe it happened or is happening, thus publishing myself. This must not happen anymore to Quebec's minorities and I will expose as much of the truth as is revealed in the public hearings (The Caisse manages all of our Pension Money, they must be held accountable), as opposed to how my forebearer did: Major-General Frederick Barton Maurice, who took on publically, via letters to the [London] Times and Daily Chronicle, U.K. Prime-Minister Lloyd George in 1918 for exaggerating troop numbers in Parliament concerning General Haig's fighting strength on the Western Front. This is known in British History as the Maurice Affair/Maurice Papers. The scandal provokes a no-confidence vote in Westminster, which Lloyd George had to litterally threaten and buy his way out of losing his post as First Lord. It was noted, after studying situations my ancestors were placed under, that taking on the government itself should not be done without another government faction involved, or better yet, two of them. See, I'm a typical DBA, I always have a backup 🙂
Fear Plays A Big Factor in Quebec
Many persons, of diverse backgrounds, during this same time period in 2008, have suffered from this type of harassment (details to come later publically and during the next meeting in May), but they gave up right away due to the size of this institution - even though several have remained unemployed ever since (15 months). Since I have witnessed too much to stand by and do nothing about this ethnic cleansing - defined as 'the planned deliberate removal from a specific territory (govt workplace in this case), persons of a particular ethnic group, by force or intimidation, in order to render that area ethnically homogeneous,' and there is significant legal backing, I shall litterally drop the gloves on the CDPQ until they cede - following a hold-fast/siege strategy until justice is obtained. And for those who think that I am just attacking Quebec because the bashing has been a little too frequent lately, I am simply following a family tradition on the other side of the family at questioning government over its tendency to tyranny. Doctor John, as affectionately called by seniors in the Shebbeare family, was highly critical of Colonial Magistrates and wrote out during the American Revolution in the same way. He was also extremely critical of His Majesty King George III (the mad one), but ended up as a pamphleteer for the same King he was attacking, around the time an another ancestor became Prime Minister.
Parting words for this hopefully enlightening post: I love my job as a DBA, and nobody is going to break multiple laws in front of me without a fight, no matter how many years it takes, no matter how much I have to write and testify – when you know you’ve got at least four, and arguably six technical reasons behind a fight, then it is rather motivating to know beforehand that you can be very consitently cogent in the future. I have prepared all these related posts over the past year, of which many of them were SQL Server Central front-pagers (if you read between the lines, the extent of what I witnessed made it very, very easy to thoroughly document) - here they are again if you missed them beforehand:
Segregation of Duties (Bill C-198 Compliance)
Transaction Log Files (so that you know who did what and when)
Database Compression (so that you are not wasting double the disk space unnecessarily)
Monitoring Database Activity (again, compliance, validating authorised access)
Templates for Change Management (to maintain Internal Controls)
This is just another part of the series, next one will follow once the jurisprudence is settled for the conditions that place my case under the protection of the Labour Standards Act. Thank you very much for reading.
P.S. The details of this case have been documented by a trained historian, and now I can sincerely thank all the professors at
P.P.S. BTW for those of you who just watched the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies, and heard complaints about the lack of French, please understand that Vancouver is FIVE AND HALF hours by plane from Quebec, and there are very few bilinguals to learn the beautiful language with, as I noticed while growing up. From reading up in La Presse recently (at least pointing out that our first Canadian Olympic Gold won at home was by the Great Alexandre Bilodeau) it seems as if the journalists were hoping for bilingual levels the equivalent of Ottawa, on the border of the province: they seem to have a complete lack of the importance of geography regarding this issue. Whatever the case, the QC media can try and rain on Vancouver's great Olympics all it wants, they have New Yorker's approval and that is far more impartial.