Canadian teachers describe Conservatives’ C-377 as mean-spirited, biased and wasteful of taxpayers’ dollars

December 12, 2012

OTTAWA….The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) strongly condemns the Harper Conservative government for pushing Bill C-377 through the House of Commons without a fair debate and without hearing the voices of those affected by the legislation.

“The Harper Government has shown contempt for all working Canadians and their organizations,” says CTF President Paul Taillefer. “The haste in passing of this bill is a travesty of the parliamentary procedure, not to mention a cause for shame for all Canadians who want openness, fairness and sincere discussion of issues.

“Since women make up 70% of the teachers in Canada, they will be significantly impacted by Bill C-377 both as union members and as taxpayers because of the loss of services paid for by union resources which are now diverted to this unnecessary accounting exercise as well as the implementation costs which must now be borne by taxpayers.

“When the Harper Conservative government was elected, it promised to be transparent. However, this bill was drafted in secrecy, packaged as a private member’s bill and then marshalled through the House of Commons with little or no opportunity for debate. Teachers, on the other hand, belong to very democratic unions and federations that have long been champions for transparency -- their budgets are scrutinized and voted by their membership; they will lose money and services.

“The Harper government was elected on a promise of fiscal responsibility. However, this bill was pushed through the House with complete disregard for the enormous costs and even less regard for the parliamentary rules about money bills.

“The Harper government was elected on a promise of honesty. This bill was pushed through the House with government MPs claiming that it was supportive of workers while in reality, it is ideologically based and weakens the balance of power for workers. One MP, in his speech in the House of Commons, even referred to labour organization meetings as “communist get-togethers.”

“Sadly, the actions of the Harper government are predictable: stifle debate, minimize or eliminate the voices of those who don’t agree, and abuse legislative powers,” concludes Taillefer.

Bill C-377 is a private member's bill introduced by Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Russ Hiebert (South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale) that claims it will make unions more accountable, even though most unions already provide financial reports to their members frequently.

An alliance of 15 Member organizations and one Affiliate Member representing nearly 200,000 teachers across the country, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) is a member of the international body of teachers, Education International (EI). Follow CTF on Twitter @CTFPresident, @CanTeachersFed, @EnseigneCanada

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Spokesperson:

Paul Taillefer, CTF President

Media contact:

Francine Filion, CTF Director of Communications, 613-688-4314 (office)
or 613-899-4247 (cell)