The Senate will soon consider a government bill (C-4) that seeks to restore balance between federally regulated employers and unions. It repeals two acts (formerly bills C-377 and C-525) introduced by two Conservative MPs who received support in their crusade from organizations that were clearly against unions.
"We will certainly be taking a very close look."
Revelations that Liberals repaid an ineligible campaign donation add twist to question period.
In its essence, the bill is an act of contempt for unions, brought in at the behest of employer associations and well-funded right-wing think tanks. Bill C-377 imposes heavy reporting obligations on unions under the pretext that workers are entitled to a tax credit for their union dues.
Some may recall the last time they heard about Bill C-377, Conservative Senator Hugh Segal shot holes through the Bill, questioned its constitutionality, and then made several amendments that were passed in the Senate on June 26, 2013. The Bill returned to the Senate upon their return after prorogation in the fall of 2013 and was left on the backburner, until now.
Liberals should also be wary since unions will quickly throw their money at another party if you dare step out of line, as happened in the 2012 Ontario by-election in Kitchener-Waterloo when unions spent over $1.5 million in ads in support of the NDP campaign following a government showdown with teachers' unions. That is perhaps the most disturbing element of this big money politics: it is hard to see it as anything other than buying influence.
"Pick your battles" is a familiar refrain for anyone involved in politics, advocacy or any endeavour wherein opposing points of view will be competing for public attention. Most organizations will review issues and determine which are critical and which are not, and then fight for the most precious while conceding that others are perhaps not as important.