A Conservative MP’s private members’ bill, currently before Parliament, has ushered in a new age of anxiety for Canada’s labour movement. Such is the consternation in union-land that members are being called to mandatory special meetings to come up with some way, any way, to sink Russ Hiebert’s Bill C-377. Members of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators were informed they would be fined $50 if they failed to show up for one meeting.
The reason is that Mr. Hiebert’s financial transparency bill – which, among other things, would require unions to disclose how much money they spend on political activities – could shatter the union business model forever. We do not know how much of the $4.5-billion collected in union dues is spent on political hobby-horses by the leadership, since there is no requirement to disclose that information. But we can assume that in many cases, those who are forced to donate around two weeks’ pay a year to the unions do not agree with the causes chosen.
The Tories argue that the bill would merely bring Canada into line with Australia, France, Germany, the U.S. and U.K. Moreover, they feel many rank and file workers sympathize with their attempts to force union disclosure, backing the NDP into a position where they have to defend the union bosses. With its very existence at stake, it’s no surprise the labour aristocracy is being forced to coerce its own members with 50-buck fines to make sure they show up and rally against the Hiebert bill.
Ce sera tordant de voir le PQ s’en prendre à Ottawa pour protéger leurs alliés syndicaux, surtout que j’ai l’impression qu’une écrasante majorité de Québécois sera d’accord avec ce projet de loi !
L’occasion idéale pour répéter que Marois a les mains attachées par le pouvoir financier des syndicats !