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October 2011

10/10/2011 - Journal of Commerce
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Richard Gilbert

“Workers in the unionized workplaces of Canada have no say when it comes to paying their dues. If they want the job, they hand over the money,” said Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C. president Philip Hochstein. “If their workplace is being organized, they have a right to know just where their money would be spent. The transparency and accountability this bill would bring to union spending is long overdue.”

10/18/2011 - London Free Press
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QMI Agency

Canada should adopt the French model and force unions to be more transparent when it comes to how they spend workers' mandatory dues, according to experts at the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI).

Unions in Canada can effectively tax workers through the Rand formula, which makes union dues compulsory even for those who don't wish to be represented by the organization.

10/18/2011 - rabble.ca
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David J. Climenhaga

So maybe the bright light of a freshly charged forensic accountant's flashlight would be just the thing to shine on the books of private corporations who benefit from tax breaks and subsidies. This goes double for "think tanks" like the Fraser Institute and the Frontier Centre (neither of which are anything more than market-fundamentalist PR agencies) and AstroTurf groups like the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (which does not represent the interests of taxpayers) and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (which does not represent the interests of independent businesses).

10/15/2011 - rabble.ca
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Andrew Jackson

The Labour Watch site provides detailed information and advice to individual workers and employers on how to fight unionization drives and how to decertify existing unions, including by providing a list of legal firms. It strongly opposes compulsory union dues and use of union dues for political purposes. The site promotes legal provisions which make it more difficult for unions to organize.

10/17/2011 - The McGill Daily
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Henry Gass

Jinny Sims, NDP MP for Newton-North Delta - “I think that whenever any of our institutions have this kind of intrusion and oversight it hurts all Canadians, because if you’re going to do that with unions, what’s the next step? If you’re going to do it with the unions, let’s do it with the private corporations as well.”

10/17/2011 - Canadian Labour Reporter
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Danielle Harder

“With public disclosure, Canadians will be able to gauge the effectiveness, financial integrity and health of their unions,” he [Russ Hiebert] says. “The principle is, just like charities, labour organizations receive a public benefit and the public should be informed how that public benefit is being used.”

10/14/2011 - Huffington Post
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Michel Kelly-Gagnon

Yet with the Rand formula, and given the other tax privileges they enjoy, unions wield an indirect power to tax the employees they represent, a power that is granted to them by the Labour Code, and hence by government. Other than governments, unions are among the rare organizations that can count on such compulsory financing. Private businesses and charitable organizations must always depend on voluntary financing. It makes sense, then, for the unusual financial privilege of the Rand formula to be coupled with at least as much financial transparency as is required of public organizations.

10/10/2011 - Huffington Post
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Richard Gilbert

“The basic premise of the bill is that every labour union in Canada would file a standard set of financials, which would then be publicly posted on the CRA website, much like charities already are required to do,” said Hiebert during parliamentary proceedings. “The public would be empowered to gauge the effectiveness, financial integrity and the health of any union. Using electronic filing, the expense incurred by unions and by the federal government should be negligible.”

10/07/2011 - The Windsor Star
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Vander Doelen

Back in April, Essex MP and former CAW member Jeff Watson made waves by suggesting that unions, by law, should have to tell members how their dues are spent.

If you remember, the backlash from union leaders was ferocious in its intensity. So were the personal attacks and name-calling against Watson.

10/06/2011 - rabble.ca
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Jim Stanford

The actual issue contemplated by the bill (requiring unions to publicize their financial statements) is an invented non-problem. The CAW, like other unions, discloses its audited financial statements regularly to its elected board of directors, to all union locals, and to delegates to its conventions. Annual audited statements must be filed with government labour boards, both provincially and federally. Individual members can request the statements from their local, from the national union, or (if they are "frightened" by the big bad union bosses) directly from the labour boards. The whole process of auditing and disclosure, and even the pay received by the union's president and staff, is specified right there online in the CAW's constitution.

10/06/2011 - Merit Contractors Alberta
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Bill Stewart

As early as November 2010, the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario had "decided to start priming the pumps to support the Working Families Coalition (WFC) in order to combat Ontario's 'Regressive Conservatives'." The millions of dollars the coalition will pour into attack ads will come at the expense of workers in unionized settings who are required to pay dues to he means in order to keep their jobs. It's time the Canadian legislators change this.

10/05/2011 - The Globe and Mail
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Jane Taber

“Blowing a whistle that only the dogs can hear (i.e. the Conservatives’ red-meat base) while allowing the leadership to stand back and look statesmanlike,” the Canadian Autoworkers Union told The Globe in an email, explaining what he thinks is really behind the bill.

10/05/2011 - Toronto Sun
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labour-reporter.com

“It’s time for Canadian unions to move into the 21st century with regard to transparency and accountability,” Oakey [Terrance Oakey, Merit Canada] says. “Workers facing a union drive should be able to learn where their forced union dues will be spent and Canadians should know because of the tax free treatment that unions have.”

10/05/2011 - Taxpayer.com
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Gregory Thomas

The Income Tax Act gives tax breaks to Canadians for various purposes. However, there are two major groups in particular who benefit most directly from tax breaks within the Income Tax Act. One is registered charities, the second is labour unions. While both groups benefit from taxpayer-aided income tax laws, the way they disclose to the public what they do with the money is very different. A new private members’ bill in Parliament seeks to change this.

10/04/2011 - The Hill Times Online
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Tim Naumetz

The Conservative attack against the NDP and its union affiliates widened on Monday with a backbench Conservative MP tabling a bill to force public disclosure of union finances, while Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Parliamentary Secretary, Dean Del Mastro, criticized Elections Canada on how it is handling a Conservative complaint over NDP and union links.

10/04/2011 - Press Release
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National Citizen's Coalition

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.

10/04/2011 - Press Release
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Fraser Institute

Canadian labour unions should be required to be more transparent and financially accountable to their members, says Niels Veldhuis, Fraser Institute senior economist.

10/04/2011 - Yahoo News Blog
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Andy Radia

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.

10/04/2011 - The Globe (Montreal)
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Amy Minsky

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.

10/04/2011 - Toronto Sun
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Mark Dunn

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.

10/04/2011 - Press Release
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Montreal Economic Institute (MEI)

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.

10/03/2011 - The Globe and Mail
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Gloria Galloway

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.

10/03/2011 - Press Release
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MP Russ Hiebert

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.

Oct 3, 2011 - National Post
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Gerry Nicholls
10/03/2011 - Press Release
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Canadian Labour Congress

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."

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