C-377 comes to a vote


Bill C-377, the union disclosure bill which John Geddes wrote about last month, will come to a vote in the House this evening. Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber, who expressed concerns about the bill in October, is planning to vote against it.

Some Conservative MPs are expected to vote against the bill. Edmonton-St. Albert MP Brent Rathgeber said the amendments would improve it, but he plans to oppose it because it is based on a “fallacious” premise that receiving a tax deduction is the same as getting federal tax dollars. Mr. Rathgeber, a former labour lawyer who represented management, said he expects other Conservative MPs to join him in voting against the bill.

“As a legislator, I’m just having a difficult time determining exactly what the public interest is in this type of legislation,” he said. Mr. Rathgeber said unions are essentially private clubs like law societies or industry associations that benefit from tax deductions. “So I just cannot accept the premise that tax-deducted union dues is somehow akin to public dollars and therefore creating a public interest,” he said.

At second reading, the vote split along party lines: Conservatives in favour, New Democrats and Liberals against. With full attendance, the Liberals, New Democrats, Bloc Quebecois, Elizabeth May and Bruce Hyer number 142. The Conservatives (and Peter Goldring) number 165. So another 11 Conservatives—depending on total turnout—would have to join Mr. Rathgeber to defeat the bill.


C-377 comes to a vote

  1. This is the RepubliCon anti-union bias at work — these guys are totally in tune with the republicans in Michigan who rushed through right to work legislation as a lame duck congress. There is an article in the Toronto Star today on Canadian family income catching up with the US — the RepubliCons want to reverse this.

  2. Whether the government disburses money by tax expenditures (which are what tax deductions and credits are) or by, say, the purchase of fighter jets, the net result is the same: less money to spend on other things – an expenditure is an expenditure is an expenditure. So I don’t really see the distinction Rathgeber is making.

    Having said that, there is an inconsistency if other organizations which benefit from tax expenditures are not also required to open their books. Is that the case here?

  3. The reason that Harper wants this, not a private member is because he knows the unions waste our money, I’m in a union and I know my money is wasted. By doing this, the members will then want the ability to not pay dues therefore leading to bankrupting the unions.

    • 1) this is not a right to work type of legislation like the one recently passed in Michigan and other states. Dues cannot be withheld with this bill

      2) Right, you money is wasted. The better working conditions, salary, pension plan (or something similar to) etc, and most importantly a restored balance of power vis-a-vis the employer acquired through your dues obviously is wasted money. When your employer tries (and I say when here, not if) to take advantage of you or worse yet fire you without cause, you will be the first one on your knees beging your union rep to help you out.

      3) Those are only some of the benefits union provide to your little person. I suspect going into the good for society at large with you would just be a waste of my time.

      • 1) Agreed. But the Conservatives want to make it optional to pay dues. Once the members get pissed at how their money is spent they will cry to back out of their dues.
        2) I’m not talkin about that. The unions are a necessary evil. They protect us. I’m talking about the ways they spend our money travelling, lavish dinners, etc. on our dime. I know guys who are friends with our union folk and they often brag about the money they waste. I know they do us good, for the most part but they aren’t necessarily efficient. Harper wants to expose this and have the members turn against the union itself.
        3) Well if you want to take your dolly and go home thats your problem. I’m telling you what Harper is doing. I never dismissed the unions or their need, just what C-377 is meant to do. You made assumptions.

        Not all unions are all fine and dandy. A friend wants to be an electrician. In order to get an apprenticeship you need to bring a small companies workers into the union therefore blocking most from ever getting in.

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