Some may recall the last time they heard about Bill C-377, Conservative Senator Hugh Segal shot holes through the Bill, questioned its constitutionality, and then made several amendments that were passed in the Senate on June 26, 2013. The Bill returned to the Senate upon their return after prorogation in the fall of 2013 and was left on the backburner, until now.
Liberals should also be wary since unions will quickly throw their money at another party if you dare step out of line, as happened in the 2012 Ontario by-election in Kitchener-Waterloo when unions spent over $1.5 million in ads in support of the NDP campaign following a government showdown with teachers' unions. That is perhaps the most disturbing element of this big money politics: it is hard to see it as anything other than buying influence.
"Pick your battles" is a familiar refrain for anyone involved in politics, advocacy or any endeavour wherein opposing points of view will be competing for public attention. Most organizations will review issues and determine which are critical and which are not, and then fight for the most precious while conceding that others are perhaps not as important.
The legislative strategy behind Bill C-377 mirrors that behind Bill C-525, a Private Member's Bill introduced by Conservative MP Blaine Calkins, a backbencher from Alberta. This bill would make it easier to decertify unions in the federally-regulated sector and almost impossible for workers to certify a union to represent them in the workplace.
On May 31 Canadian Labour Congress president Ken Georgetti issued a press release suggesting supporters of union financial disclosure legislation currently before the Senate "cannot find a single constitutional expert who will agree that Bill C-377 is constitutional." We've received a legal opinion that says otherwise.
Dear Mr. Poilièvre: Everyone knows how little empathy the government, including yourself, has towards unions. In reality, Bill C-377 is your way of attacking a workers freedom of association. As a Senator, I refuse to take advice from someone who is against a firearms registry but is in favour of creating a registry of union data.
When the Senate returns this week, one of the major items on its agenda will be Private Member's Bill C-377, which would impose new financial reporting requirements on organized labour. With that in mind, here are five key aspects of the legislation to consider as the Senate debates the Bill and union leaders engage in a renewed propaganda campaign.
Recently the Conservative majority in the House of Commons passed a bill that targets a leading force for equality and democracy in our society. Bill C-377, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (requirements for labour organizations), is designed to challenge unions' involvement in political activities and divert their resources to busy work. While they claim C-377 is a way to improve union transparency, the Conservatives have shown a flagrant disregard for openness in government affairs.