In Canada, unions and trade groups are afforded some of the most lucrative tax benefits in the entire world. What's more, these same unions are free to contribute unlimited amounts of money to political messaging and advocacy - and union members are left in the dark about how their own money is being spent. Whether we look to the United States, Europe, or Australia, Canada lags far behind the international standard for union disclosure.
Crestview, the lobbying firm founded by Hudak’s campaign manager, Mark Spiro, has been hired by large labour organizations to lobby the federal Conservative government about legislation that would hobble their ability to fund political campaigns such as Working Families, that devastated Hudak’s political ambitions in the last election.
A proposed private member's bill that would compel unions to disclose their spending is causing ripples in Canada's labour community. Bill C-377 - put forward by Conservative MP Russ Hiebert -- would reveal how labour groups use funds collected through union dues.
Two of the country’s most prominent unions are quietly holding merger talks in what could become the biggest consolidation in Canadian labour history.
In a response to harder times for organized labour in a tough economy, leaders of the Canadian Auto Workers union and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union revealed Thursday that discussions have started and will probably accelerate during the next few months.
On December 5th Russ Hiebert, Conservative MP for South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale, B.C. introduced Bill C-377 an act to make union books public. You might remember in early November his previous bill C-317, on the exact same topic had to be withdrawn due to parliamentary procedures and didn’t even make it to second reading. It must have been a big defeat for Mr. Hiebert given he had the coveted 1st spot on the private members bills priority list and now it’s back again (at the bottom of the pile) with a new name and a few changes (he can’t introduce the same thing it’s against the rules).
For organizations that claim they have nothing to hide, Canada’s big labour unions definitely don’t act like it. Take the saga of Conservative MP Russ Hiebert’s recent private member’s bill which, if passed, would have obliged labour unions to regularly and publicly file statements of their finances. This is a basic level of transparency and accountability that applies to Canadian charities, for instance, as a condition of their preferred federal tax status.
The move by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada — the people who police our food safety, monitor the ozone layer and the threat of invasive species, protect the security of your personal information and forecast the weather — have, in effect, fired the first shot in the coming war.