By Tim Harper, Toronto Star, September 20, 2011
The labour minister (Lisa Rait) said the Conservatives will intervene whenever they see a labour disruption having a significant effect on the economy or the general public.
She didn’t mention two other reasons.
First, the Harper Conservatives are micromanaging labour disputes in this country because ideologically they are delighted to put unionized workers in their place.
And they are doing it because no one can stop them.
The government’s latest move to usurp bargaining rights in this country was as certain as leaves in Ottawa changing colour in September.
Even the president of the union representing 6,800 flight attendants told his membership in August that the Harper government had them over the barrel when he urged ratification of an earlier agreement....
Raitt has been quick in the past to point how rarely back-to-work legislation has been used in this country and how extraordinary such a measure would be.
It is extraordinary no more.
The last three major potential labour disruptions — none of which resulted in a full-blown strike — have been met with legislative threats or action from Raitt, a self-styled friend of labour and daughter of a union organizer.
How times change! The political and economic and philistine cultural winds are blowing across this country like a typhoon, the warning signs of which storm were clearly evident on May 2, after weeks of watching and listening to Harper refuse to answer questions, refusing to say much except "we need a majority" and like lambs to the slaughter, Canadians went unconscious into the polling stations and marked an "X" beside so many conservative candidates that we can now all take the punishment. After all, we authored this government.
And they are not going to let us forget our "part" in the fiasco that is only beginning, in the words of Justice Minister Nicholson. An omnibus crime bill that replicates failed policies in many of the U.S. states, to the extent that 35,000 inmates were released from California prisons because of cruel and unusual punishment, mostly resulting from overcrowding, a development that is only months away in Canada.
And the pristine and sefl-righteous PM stands in the UN in a small meeting room where he chairs a forum on baby, mother and child health in the developing world, without mentioning his government's removal of funds that would permit necessary abortions in that part of the government's "aid kit".
He "tells" Palestine to talk to Israel and not the UN.
He "tells" anyone who will listen that Canada will be there until the job of building a government and a country in Libya, promising a three-month extension, knowning his minions in the House of Commons will rise dutifully, and pass the 'motion' without a peep of opposition.
And these stories bubble along the pages of our dailies, all the while reminding Canadians of the lost seat on the Security Council, where the government would have had to vote on the promised application for statehood by Palestine.
This is a government that "tells" anyone who will listen whatever it wants. It is authoritarian, arrogant, 'not governing by statistics but by what is right' again to quote the Justice Minister.
In the past, governments had to demonstrate the utility and the value and the cost of their measures. This government sees the need to do none of that. Even the costs of the crime bill are and will not be available..."we will pay those costs because we are doing what is right for the Canadian people," just overhearing the Justice Minister one more time.
We are a disengaged, dumb and completely responsible electorate, and we will have four years of this repressive legislation, after which, we will need a strong government (read majority) on the other side to clear up the messes left by this gang, just as we did in Ontario after the Harris gang left their still lingering messes.
Unions will be, if they are not already, emasculated.
The environment will be, if it is not already, eviscerated, especially in Northern Alberta.
The military will be sailing and flying in "Rolls Royce" equipment that celebrates a long lost age, and the ego's of this government.
The prisons will have exploded, and the resulting violence inside will outstrip the violence outside because we have replaced rehabilitation with overcrowded incarceration.
The "Kyros's" of the world will have been stripped of their funding because they do not pass the smell test of political correctness, as prescribed in some secret manual by this government.
The provinces will have forgotten their former relationships, because there will not have been a single meeting between the premiers and the current prime minister....
And the cash-rich contributors, all many thousands of them, will be partying in the streets, because they will have completely wrested the political reins of power from the "evil" and irresponsible "left".
And we will have no one to blame but ourselves for having given them the power to do what they want.