Skip to main content

Progressive Conservative restrictions on free speech

A news report suggests an ominous interpretation of  the rather vague promise in the Ontario Progressive Conservative election platform  to “introduce paycheque protection so union members are not forced to pay fees towards political causes they don’t support.” 

This article claims they are in fact pledging “to outlaw the use of dues money for political or non-negotiating purposes by unions, unless each individual union member agrees.” 

As not everyone even agrees that ice cream taste goods, this policy would make it illegal for unions to voice opinions on anything that wasn't dealing with negotiations. Tiny minorities could block unions from speaking out.  

Well most of this web site is not about bargaining issues.  So would the PCs would want me to tear it up until all 240,000 CUPE members in Ontario approve everything in it?

When the reporter asked PC Labour Critic Randy Hillier if the PC's will outlaw business-financed political campaigns, such as past ones by the Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Small Businesses, unless each individual shareholder of member companies agreed,  Hillier said no, he is not opposed to all third party advertising.

Just to organizations of working people, it seems.   

Undermining Democracy
Yesterday, a column in the Globe & Mail recounted the comical coverage of the troubles of Rupert Murdoch in Britain by U.S. media controlled by Murdoch.  Apparently they are bending over backwards to excuse their owner.  A funny piece and no doubt to the point. 

But the columnist didn't reflect on the effects (comic or otherwise) of corporate owned media reporting on issues relating to corporate interests .  Surely a key issue as (almost) all public policy issues relate to business interests and (almost) all our media is corporate owned.  

So restricting one significant (but much less loud and much less powerful) voice whose interests are not fully aligned to corporate interests is no small matter for democracy.  

Of course, the interpretation of PC policy in the news report could simply be Hillier's interpretation -- and he is regarded as a bit of a maverick in the PC caucus.   Nevertheless, it is clear that the PCs do want to restrict trade union free speech.  

And although this news report has been out for a few weeks, I haven't heard the PCs deny it. 


  1. Unfortunately, I fear that more than suppressing free speech, Hudak's 'paycheque protection' rhetoric is just a precursor to 'workplace democracy,' a euphemism popular with the American right wing, as in Wisconsin, whereby union-membership will ultimately be made optional for those working in a unionized environment which, over the long run, will spell the demise of unions unless people fight against such measures vigorously.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Public sector employment in Ontario is far below the rest of Canada

The suggestion that Ontario has a deficit because its public sector is too large does not bear scrutiny. Consider the following. 

Public sector employment has fallen in the last three quarters in Ontario.  Since 2011, public sector employment has been pretty flat, with employment up less than 4 tenths of one percent in the first half of 2015 compared with the first half of 2011.

This contrasts with public sector employment outside of Ontario which has gone up pretty consistently and is now 4.7% higher than it was in the first half of 2011.

Private sector employment has also gone up consistently over that period. In Ontario, it has increased 4.3% since the first half of 2011, while in Canada as a whole it has increased 4.9%.

As a result, public sector employment in Ontario is now shrinking as a percentage of the private sector workforce.  In contrast, in the rest of Canada, it is increasing. Moreover, public sector employment is muchhigher in the rest of Canada than in Ontario.  Indeed as…

The long series of failures of private clinics in Ontario

For many years, OCHU/CUPE has been concerned the Ontario government would transfer public hospital surgeries, procedures and diagnostic tests to private clinics. CUPE began campaigning in earnest against this possibility in the spring of 2007 with a tour of the province by former British Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, who talked about the disastrous British experience with private surgical clinics.

The door opened years ago with the introduction of fee-for-service hospital funding (sometimes called Quality Based Funding). Then in the fall of 2013 the government announced regulatory changes to facilitate this privatization. The government announced Request for Proposals for the summer of 2014 to expand the role of "Independent Health Facilities" (IHFs). 

With mass campaigns to stop the private clinic expansion by the Ontario Health Coalition the process slowed.  

But it seems the provincial Liberal government continues to push the idea.  Following a recent second OCHU tour wi…

Hospital worker sick leave: too much or too little?

Ontario hospital workers are muchless absent due to illness or disability than hospital workers Canada-wide.  In 2014, Ontario hospital workers were absent 10.2 days due to illness or disability, 2.9 days less than the Canada wide average – i.e. 22% less.  In fact, Ontario hospital workers have had consistently fewer sick days for years.

This is also true if absences due to family or personal responsibilities are included.
Statistics Canada data for the last fifteen years for Canada and Ontario are reported in the chart below, showing Ontario hospital workers are consistently off work less.
Assuming, Ontario accounts for about 38% of the Canada-wide hospital workforce, these figures suggest that the days lost due to illness of injury in Canada excluding Ontario are about 13.6 days per year ([13.6 x 0.68] + [10.2 x 0.38] = 13.1).

In other words, hospital workers in the rest of Canada are absent from work due to illness or disability 1/3 more than Ontario hospital workers. 

In fact, Canad…