With a new Private Member's Bill now introduced in the House of Commons, Canadian labour organizations, including unions, may soon be required to open up their finances to public scrutiny.
Canadian labour unions should be required to be more transparent and financially accountable to their members, says Niels Veldhuis, Fraser Institute senior economist.
The Conservatives have launched another salvo at Canada's unions - this time through a private member's bill that would force labour organizations to disclose their financial statements to the public.
The head of Elections Canada said he hasn’t received any evidence to support Conservative allegations that the New Democrats skirted an elections fnancing law when they accepted money from labour unions and allowed them to advertise during its spring convention in Vancouver. Chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand told a House of Commons committee Tuesday that the only document he has seen is a letter from the Conservatives accusing the official Opposition of accepting illegal contributions. “There is no evidence with it,” he said.
A private member's bill to force unions to disclose how they spend hundreds of millions of dollars in dues is not part of a larger plot to intimidate the labour movement and expose the relationship unions have with the NDP, says the MP who penned the legislation.
The introduction of a private members' bill in the House of Commons by British Columbia MP Russ Hiebert (South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale) aims to promote greater financial transparency on the part of unions in the near future.
All three backbench Conservative MPs have introduced private member’s bills for their controversial measures, moves that play to the party’s small-c conservative base. There are others, as well: a private member’s bill to eliminate prohibitions on hate speech and another member’s motion asking the government to condemn an agency that provides abortions.
At a news conference on Parliament Hill today, MP Russ Hiebert said his new private members bill will require public financial disclosure by labour organizations.
Ken Georgetti, Canadian Labour Congress President says "Our financial records have always been open to our members and if Russ Hiebert knew anything about unions, he would know this."
With the first session of the 41st parliament comfortably underway, the House will soon turn its collective mind to the first batch of bills and motions set to be brought forward for consideration under the respective names of the first 30 members eligible to introduce private members' business.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Studies (CCPS), an Ottawa-based conservative think-tank says "Canada lags far behind other countries at protecting union workers from union abuses."
Merit Canada, representing Canada's open shop construction associations, strongly support a new federal Private Member's Bill introduced today by MP Russ Hiebert that would, if passed, ensure greater accountability and transparency among Canada's unions.
“We always share our financials with members — even you can come and see it, anybody can." (CAW Local 444 president Rick Laporte).
The bill's content is still confidential [at time of posting], but its title shows it will seek to change the rules governing labour organizations under the Income Tax Act, which exempts unions, along with charities and municipalities, from paying taxes.
With Ontarians heading to the polls in a little more than a week, and up to four other provincial elections possible this fall, unions across the country have ramped up their political activism. Unfortunately, the unionized workers footing the bill through forced union dues will be left in the dark about the millions of dollars unions spend on political attack ads and donations to advocacy groups and political parties.
Outsiders have never been terribly welcome in Canadian election campaigns. In federal votes, the 95 per cent of us who don’t belong to registered parties face a bulwark of laws restricting third-party campaign spending—rules rooted in the fear that, left unguarded, democracy will be sold off to the highest bidder. This theory has been an article of faith among left-wingers since the early 2000s, when a conservative activist named Stephen Harper waged a court battle against the limits, to the delight of Bay Street’s heavy hitters.
The vast majority of non-unionized Canadians have no interest in joining a union, according to a new poll released Monday.
The Canadian LabourWatch Association, which describes itself as a not-for-profit, pro-employee choice advocacy group, commissioned Nanos Research to survey working Canadians on their impressions of unions and found just under a third belong to an employee union. For most, membership came when they took the job.
If Canadians can opt out of joining a union on religious grounds, why shouldn't that right extend to other political and ideological reasons? It's an answer organized labour doesn't want to hear.
In the case of Working Families, there are likely many unionized employees who would vehemently disagree with a political campaign attacking the Progressive Conservatives, but who nevertheless are being forced to support such an effort.
How is using so-called “forced” union dues for political purposes any different from, say, the Harper government using taxpayer dollars to promote its own political agenda, such as the advertisements touting infrastructure spending prior to the last federal election? Only a minority of Canadians voted Conservative in the last federal election, yet the majority of Canadians are forced to pay for their political messaging through taxes.
Here's how it works: union bosses come up with the political agenda, while unionized employees are forced to come up with the cash. Or to put it another way, unionized employees in Ontario must pay for union boss propaganda campaigns whether they like it or not.
Union members used to rally the streets to proclaim Bill Vander Zalm was destroying British Columbia. Now they're among the biggest financial backers of his anti-HST campaign – whether they support the tax or not.