February bomb threat against Unifor Local 594 not credible: Regina police

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan premier calls bomb threat against Unifor blockades ‘very alarming’'
Saskatchewan premier calls bomb threat against Unifor blockades ‘very alarming’
WATCH: Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said Tuesday that a bomb threat delivered to Regina’s mayor threatening to blow up Unifor blockades if they weren’t dismantled was “very alarming.” – May 19, 2020

UPDATE: Unifor says it will examine its options for expanding an existing complaint against the Regina Police Service. This comes after learning Regina police kept a bomb threat against picketing members in February a secret.

“Regina police have been at the beckon call of the company from the beginning of the lockout,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National president in a statement. “Now there is clear evidence that their loyalty to the refinery has veered into a recklessness that could have cost lives.”

Dias said the union will also appeal to have redacted portions of documents they obtained uncovered.

On Wednesday, Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili once again called on Premier Scott Moe to impose binding arbitration, ending the lock-out.

“This lockout has gone on far too long. The premier needs to show leadership and bring it to an end,” Meili said.

Story continues below advertisement

“When the Sask. Party appointed special mediator Vince Ready months ago, they seemed confident that he would come to a resolution. Instead, the impasse drags on because the Premier won’t act, which is bad for the province, bad for workers and bad for our economy.”

The Saskatchewan government has repeatedly said the best way to get a solutuion in this dispute is at the bargaining table.

Original story continues here.

Unifor Local 594 is wondering why it wasn’t informed of a bomb threat against its picket lines earlier this year.

“People tell us where to go, people tell us that they’re going to run us over, but this was another level,” said Local 594 president Kevin Bittman.

“Having the threat of an actual bomb placed at our picket lines scares people to death.”

READ MORE: Saskatchewan farmers caught in the middle of Co-op, Unifor labour dispute

The threat came in the form of a letter sent to Regina City Hall and the provincial government on Feb. 18.

It was then forwarded to Regina Police Service (RPS) and the RCMP for further investigation.

Story continues below advertisement

The letter outlined farmers’ concerns with fuel shortages and out-of-province workers involved in the Co-op Refinery labour dispute.

It also included a bomb threat, stating if police don’t remove the illegal barricades, farmers will do it for them.

READ MORE: City of Regina inserts itself into Unifor, Co-op Refinery labour dispute

“We farmers have always had issues with beaver dams on our land and we know how to get rid of them with some special products that usually blow the dam in all directions,” the letter said.

According to the letter, “special mixes” were placed at some of the Co-op Refinery gates that threatened to set off explosions.

“Pallets and gates may start flying. Only a cell phone call away from ignition time,” the letter said.

In a release, Regina police said “the threat was taken seriously,” which led to an “immediate and thorough investigation” with the help from the Forensic Identification Unit and Canada Post.

Story continues below advertisement

On Feb. 12, a court ruled the blockades be dismantled. The barricades were taken down before the letter was received.

According to police chief Evan Bray, officers had been on scene at the refinery for weeks leading up to the threat.

READ MORE: Unifor rejects Co-op’s latest offer, calls on province to end labour dispute

“Because we were confident, having been on scene for so many days prior to receiving the letter, we didn’t feel there was any credibility to this threat,” Bray said.

“Communication didn’t happen but, again in hindsight, if we could do it again I think we would have communication [between Unifor and the Co-op Refinery].”

Bray said they still don’t know who sent the letter.

Unifor Local 594 filed a Freedom of Information request with RPS earlier this year, according to Bittman.

Story continues below advertisement

He said the union just got the 3,000-page document back last week, which contained the letter.

“We had all our families on the line, we had lots of people in and around [the gates] and to not even know that there was a threat made is really disturbing,” Bittman said.

Unifor sent a letter to Bray on Tuesday, according to Bittman.

Story continues below advertisement

“You wonder how many people knew about this, how high it goes up. If the RCMP knew about it, RPS knew about it, the mayor knew about it, who else knew about it and why were we not notified about it?” Bittman said.

Bittman said a previously scheduled meeting with RPS is set for Friday. He hopes to get more clarity then.

Click to play video: 'Regina mayor expresses ‘deep concern’ for public safety to Unifor president'
Regina mayor expresses ‘deep concern’ for public safety to Unifor president

Sponsored content