by CUPE National President Paul Moist (Windsor Star, May 24, 2013)
CUPE, like the CAW, is a democratic and transparent organization accountable to its members. Canadian unions are among the most democratic institutions in our society.
All of our policies and major decisions are subjected to vigorous but respectful debate at every level of the organization.
Bill C-377 would impose detailed financial and information reporting and public disclosures on all labour organizations, far in excess of what is required of any other organization or individual in Canadian society. All other non-profits, business organizations, corporations, charities, and even government, public institutions and Members of Parliament are not covered by the bill.
Additionally, it does not add any reporting mechanism for political contributions that are not already covered under Elections Canada campaign spending rules, which we follow strictly.
The degree of “red tape” this bill creates and detailed reporting required will pull resources from the legitimate and important work unions and labour organizations that are established to do for their members: bargaining fair wages, delivering decent pensions, ensuring health and safety standards and fair treatment, contributing to local economy and advocating the interest of their members and all workers.
Bill C-377 also contravenes federal and provincial privacy laws which protect individuals’ most intimate personal and confidential information. Union staff, contractors, and businesses we work with would have to have their personal information, including home address, published online.
Bill C-377 is arguably the most intrusive, egregious, inequitable, onerous, and unnecessary piece of legislation we have seen in decades.
The problems with the bill are too numerous to be fixed through amendments. It must be withdrawn or defeated in its entirety.
It is a transparent attack on unions and their allies who advocate for Canadian workers. Labour is a strong voice of dissent in these times in our democratic society and this private member’s bill is designed to stifle that voice.
Unfortunately, for the Conservatives, CUPE will not be silenced by this legislation and neither will the broader labour movement in Canada.
PAUL MOIST, national president, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Ottawa