Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid. . . . .

Anyone who is concerned with their basic democratic and human rights should be deeply concerned about how the Canadian government is acting toward unions and labor disputes. Collective bargaining has long been recognized as a fundamental human right and is essential to the working of any free and democratic society. The power relations between workers and employers dramatically favors, in capitalist societies, employers, particularly in a context of globalization. This inequality of power becomes deeply problematic when, as presently prevails, large corporations (particularly financial institutions) are able to operate more and more outside of the law and governments (also often operating outside of the law) begin to favor employers.  The Harper government has demonstrated that it is willing to abuse the law in order to undermine the basic rights of collective bargaining. It did so earlier this year when it imposed a settlement on the Postal Workers that was a clear violation of the Supreme Court ruling in the case of HEU vs The Province of British Columbia. Now they are abusing the law by using the Canada Industrial Relations Board to actually prevent a strike at Air Canada. If an employer wants a service to be deemed essential and therefore out of the purview of possible strike action, they need to give 15 days notice and then an essential services contract is supposed to be negotiated between the parties. In basic violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the law, the Harper Government is attempting to use the CIRB to postpone a strike just long enough so that they can introduce back to work legislation before a strike even takes place.

Other than basic legal fairness, the reason that such tactics should concern everyone, and not just those who are presently facing contract negotiations, is that the power relations are slowly being tipped such that people's rights can slowly be eroded until you live in a third world economy of sweatshops and maquiladoras. Keep in mind that the flight attendants at Air Canada are NOT employees of the government, they are employees of a private corporation. The fact that the Government can take away their rights and legislate them back to work means de facto that none of us has any real rights to speak of.  If we let the government take away the basic rights of collective bargaining, legislate private workers back to work and impose settlements on employees of private corporations, this means it can happen to ANYONE. It means that the government, in the abstract "national interest," can come to your workplace and tell you how much you can be paid and what hours you have to work, etc, etc. These were some of the first basic steps taken by fascist governments in the 1930s.

Until we stand up for basic rights like collective bargaining, all of our rights are at risk. All of your basic human rights owe something to the Labor movement and our neglect of labor rights will see all of those rights eventually taken away. I would say "bank on it" if the banks weren't part of the problem!


Anonymous said...

People were warned about Harper and what he will do to this country.

Canada is a cesspool of corruption, because of Harper. He is giving the U.S. and China, Canadian jobs.

China has sent their people to school, to learn English. They will work our coal mines. A lot of Canadian contracts go to the American company's, such as the smelter tear down in Kitimat BC. They brought their own workers.

Any of the eight mines going into Northern BC, that are Chinese or American, will bring their own people.

Harper kisses China's butt, to the nth degree. China bought a huge chunk of the dirty tar sands.

Harper is rabid to be an energy big shot on the global scene. We don't own our country anymore. Harper has given Canada away, for his own selfish goals.

I read Harper is a neo-Nazi, since 1989. Other country's have noticed, how Badly Harper has destroyed democracy in Canada. We are in a fascist, dictatorship regime.

I had six members of my family in WW11. Ask a veteran if Harper is a Nazi. He fits the profile to a T.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to law and rights for the Canadian people, there are none in Canada. Canada is now a low brow country, on the globe. Our friends now are, Columbia and Equador.

We have absolute criminal politicians in this country. Gordon Campbell has, the dirtiest most foul political record, in the history of Canada. He is Harper's favorite henchman. Because Campbell has no morals or ethics either, Harper put that scum as High Commissioner to England. Imagine, Campbell twice lied to be re-elected for two different elections. No decent person would even allow Campbell into their homes. Harper and Campbell should be tried for high treason and jailed.

The everyday U.S. people said, if Harper wins a majority, we can kiss Canada good-bye. All we can do is, approach another country to fight for the Canadian people. Or perhaps just BC, needs protection from Harper. There are many country's that would protect us from Harper. The other country's politicians, can't stand Harper.

Canada is no longer a good country people. We have lost our good standing, with the rest of the world. Harper even lost Canada's seat in the U.N. Canada is, just one more corrupt country among the others. We are no longer, proud to be Canadians, we have nothing to be proud of.

Owen Gray said...

It's quite clear whose interests the Harper Conservatives will defend.

I would not be surprised to see a general strike at sometime in the future.