Journalists comment on Harper's Bill C-377

Bill C-377 was a Harper Conservative written federal piece of legislation that is supposed to be about union financial disclosure. However, after careful analysis we came to understand that it is a highly partisan and political attack on the right of free association in Canada. The Parliamentary Budget Office and the Canada Revenue Agency have both released costing analysis showing that the government will have to spend millions of dollars a year on the implementation of the reporting system.

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Here are some media opinions of what C-377 would have meant for not just the labour movement in Canada, but for everyone who thinks that federal laws should not be used to directly attack political opponents.

Mae Burrows & Donald Gutstein: Harper Goes After Union

Burrows and Gutstein say in Our Times that Harper wants unions gone, likening him to a Canadian version of Karl Rove.

Thomas Walkom (Toronto Star): Bill C-377 and the right’s stealth attack on union funding

Walkom describes Bill C-377 as a cynical political attack on political opponents of the Conservative government.

Martin Croteau (La Presse): Finances des syndicats: un projet de loi inquiète

Croteau outlines in a brief La Presse article that outlines the concerns of both the AFQ and the Canadian Football League over Bill C-377 especially around the impact on its members pension plans.

Tim Harper (Toronto Star): Conservatives seek transparency for all — except themselves

Tim Harper points out that, after committee hearings on Bill C-377, it has become clear that unions are already held to the same standard as every other non-profit in Canada. In fact, on many issues, they are held to a higher standard than even government for transparency. What Bill C-377 would do is open them up to be the most “transparent” entities in Canada, putting them at a huge political and economic disadvantage at the bargaining table and in their ability to protect them members – never mind the privacy implications.

Ish Theilheimer (Straight Goods): Private member’s bill attacks unions, middle class incomes

Theilheimer, the founder and publisher of Straight Goods, outlines how he sees the bill helping employers drive down wages and attack the union’s ability to bargain and organize.

Climenhaga ( Do the Bill’s Supporters Even Understand Its Implications?

David Climenhaga, who has worked previously at the Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald has written about the implications for employer groups that, to this point, have been aggressively supporting the passage of C-377 in one of his latest editorials. In an editorial posted on his blog and entitled There is a God: Merit Contractors, advocates of Bill C-377, would be caught in its web, Climenhaga outlines why the Merit Construction group which advocates (for its own interests) for open-shop unions may get a nasty surprise if the bill is passed into legislation.

In a different column for Climenhaga outlines what is in the bill for his readers and asks: MP Russ Hiebert’s anti-union campaign: is Bill C-377 another Tory ‘own-goal’?