Mario LeClerc on Bill C-377 – Letter to the Editor – December 11, 2012

The purpose of this Bill is to require unions to make their finances public, including assets, liabilities, and expenses. Unions already provide this information to their members through financial audits, reports, and regular membership meetings.

The reality is C-377 could result in costly legal challenges. The Canadian Bar Association, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada informed us that C-377 exposes the government to legal action on a number of fronts, including the Constitution and the Charter of Rigths and Freedoms. It also encroaches on provincial jurisdiction, violated privacy rights, threatened freedom of association, contravened provincial privacy laws, and C-377 is a serious threat to commercial privacy and private business.

Furthermore, the cost to Taxpayers cannot be determined. The Canada Revenue Agency charged with implementing C-377 has produced reports with costs ranging form the millions to the tens-of-millions. And the Parliamentary Budget Officer says the provisions of C-377 are too unclear to surmise the cost to taxpayers.

The final vote on Bill C-377 will take place, Wednesday December 12, 2012 – tell your conservative MP not to proceed, this Bill is a boondoggle. We should be focusing on job creation and economic growth rather.

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  1. Unions are no longer needed. Yep….Unions are very honest and aboveboard with their members….OH? OK I, for one believe in the Bill and think that unions should be more accountable to gov and it’s members.

    The Union is not a private business, without it’s members dues, they wouldn’t exist, that being said, they shouldn’t be concerned about privacy laws. Unions of all organizations should be more transparent.

  2. Just for clarity, Mr. LeClerc is a federal NDP candidate.

    I agree with stellabystarlight, accountability is key. People are forced to pay dues when taking a job at a union shop and should be able to see where it goes. Works that way already with PSAC.

    Not saying there is any funny business, but removing the opportunity is a good thing.

  3. First paragraph: Information is already provided
    – Remainder of article, it will be very expensive

    question: why should something that already exists be sooo expensive to generate?

  4. I have to write in support of this article. Every member of a union already has the right take part in their union, this is done when the union locals hold general membership meeting. Also any member of the union has the right to see it local’s financial reports, all they need to do is contact their local union exec members.

    This private member’s bill is just another attack on democartic organizations that are strong enough to speak up against Austerity agendas in today’s workplaces and communities.

  5. travis….you are right when you say “they have a right to see their local financial report” The main word there is local. It’s the upper echelon that is not tranparent. Member’s union dues should not support any political party…..and it does.

  6. stellabystarlight, so by your logic my employer can support a political party or multiple parties but not my union who fights for my rights can’t, doesn’t seem fair to me. I don’t have thousands of dollars to support even a single party or politician. I might not agree with all the positions my union takes, but by the same measure I don’t agree with all the stances my employer takes either.

  7. Boar…for the sake of discussion only, unions should be more transparent. If you only knew the half of where your dues go, you would change your tune.

    What your employer does with his money is his business, however, your dues which is your hard earned money goes to a political that may or may not be the party you would want in power.

    Besides, your dues, which is your money, should be kept for the members. What did the union do for Domtar employees when they lost their jobs? What did they do for all the Cornwall citizens who faced the same demise? NOTHING.

  8. I totally agree with Stella: members’ union dues should not support any political party (it does currently).

    Boar71, your employer can support any party it wants with his/her own money; he cannot deduct it from your salary to support his preferred party. As well, unions cannot use my (forced) membership dues to support NDP or the Liberals while my party of choice is Conservatives.

    Bill C-377 is long overdue.

  9. Ontario union dues supported the Red Square student revolts in Quebec.

    Join dues should not be going to support dissent within the students of Quebec as well as the separatists.

    Oh the seeds we sowed.

  10. Unions exist due to freedom of association. Associations are private unless supported by taxpayers. Unions are supported by private contributions from private members. Union or association affairs are private matters. How unions allocate its resources is determined by the unions. The public has no right to be privy to your private affairs nor the private affairs to the private associations you may have chosen to be a member with.

  11. Darcy, unions and member dues are perhaps voluntary in private enterprises, but that’s not the case in the public service. That’s why Bill C-377.

  12. @Darcy….How unions allocate its resources is determined by the unions. The public has no right to be privy to your private affairs nor the private affairs to the private associations you may have chosen to be a member with.

    In this country one has no choice in whether one wants to be associated with a union in a unionized place. That being said….members have the right to know how the association is spending their dues, which now they have no access to.

    If union members have to join a union, the association should be more transparent and accountable to their members and gov because they are receiving money and giving some of that money for political purpose which does not directly benefit it’s members. Any organizations that receives funds should be held accountable.

  13. Mario
    It should be public knowledge. If you truly believe in brotherhood and sisterhood and all things being equal, why not show us what you are doing?

    Unions seem to think everyone else should be transparent and forth coming, yet when they hand the same expectations to you ther seems to be issue. Why is that?

    I would truly like to see what the OSSTF does with over 5 thousand members investing onto the business.

    How can a union such as OSSTF aid in the financial demise of one of the richest NHL franchises.

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