A union representative has compared Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Hitler and caught the eye of both Sun News and the Conservatives.
Humberto da Silva, a "national representative" at the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), makes the comparison in a recent YouTube video created for the left-wing news website Rabble.
The video is on the subject of Tory MP Russ Hiebert's private member's Bill C-377, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (labour organizations), which would require unions to disclose details about money spent on political causes so they can be posted on the Canada Revenue Agency website. The bill is set to face a third reading in the House of Commons this month, the last step before legislation is sent to the Senate and then for Royal Assent.
Da Silva, who regularly does video for Rabble, suggests Bill C-377 is part of a larger Conservative strategy, borrowed from Hitler, to silence unions. Referencing recent examples of federal back-to-work legislation, da Silva says Harper is being influenced by a much-quoted Hitler line (one he may not have even said): "Close union offices, confiscate their money. and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers salaries and take away their right to strike."
"Harper set the stage by depriving Air Canada and Canada Post workers of the right to strike. Then he legislatively reduced the salary offer Canada Post made to its employees in bargaining. That's two out of five of Uncle Adolf's concise plan for dealing with unions," da Silva says. "Now Bill C-377 will start the process of confiscating union funds, and criminalizing union work."
Da Silva finishes by suggesting those who aren't voicing their disapproval about the bill should "shut up and wait for your boxcar," an apparent reference to the trains used to carry victims of the Nazi regime to concentration camps.
The video has caught the attention of Sun News, which ran a news piece on the Hitler comparison on Tuesday.
In the Sun spot, Tory MP Pierre Poilievre, a regular voice on unions for the Conservatives, is quoted as saying "The contents of this video are disgusting and have no place in our society. I expect CUPE to take swift action against the representative responsible for this video." Poilievre goes on to suggest union members should have the right to opt out of paying dues, a pet project of his that has yet to lead to any legislation.
In a statement, CUPE said it "in no way supports the video and its content" and that it is a "personal initiative." While condemning the way in which da Silva makes his point, CUPE did express solidarity with his message that Bill C-377 is aimed at "silencing unions."
This isn't the first time Rabble has been involved in comparing Harper to Hitler. In 2008, the site posted a Hitler-Reacts style YouTube clip in which Harper stands in for the Nazi leader.
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