Six ways Stephen Harper is killing Canadian democracy

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Six ways Stephen Harper is killing Canadian democracy

Published on Monday January 7, 2013 by UFCW Canada Political Action Blog

Labour rally in London, Ontario, Jan 2012

Labour rally in London, Ontario, Jan 2012

For many Canadians, the phrase “Canada: The True North Strong and Free” means that we are free to live in a democratic society where we have the right to freedom of expression and association, but under Government Boss Stephen Harper, many citizens are asking the question: “Is democracy dying?”

If we look at actions taken by Harper, it’s easy to draw the conclusion that because of Harper and the Conservatives, democracy is dying in Canada.

So what is Government Boss Harper doing to kill democracy?

  1. Abusing the concept of closure, and getting away with it because of subservient cabinet ministers and backbenchers, which results in legislation by authoritarian rule.
  2. Grouping a number of unrelated subjects into what is normally a budget bill, and then limiting Committee discussion on the individual issues covered.
  3. Appointing party hacks to the Senate on the condition that they support specific legislation or proposals
  4. Eliminating party financing to silence the voice of opposition parties.
  5. Attacking the idea of pluralism by cutting funding to every group that isn’t onside with the Tories.
  6. Full throttle assault on labour organizations. Franklin Roosevelt said, “It is one of the characteristics of a free and democratic nation that it have free and independent labour unions.” And it is well established that real democracy cannot function without a strong trade union movement, but the Harper government is anti-union in a way that few Canadian governments have ever been.

In his 2011 election platform Stephen Harper made no mention of labour law reform, but what has he done since the election?

  • On June 18, 2011 his government legislated the end of a 2-day strike of CAW members at Air Canada.
  • On June 20, 2011, one day after CUPW members were locked out, back to work legislation was brought in to end the postal strike. The legislation stipulated wages that were lower than Canada’s Post’s worst offer.
  • March 12, 2012, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt introduced legislation to prevent Air Canada pilots from going on strike.
  • May 27, 2012, Raitt introduced back-to-work legislation to put CP Rail workers back to work after a 5 day strike.
  • Harper also supported  private member’s Bill C-377: a Bill that will cost taxpayers millions – if not billions – of dollars and severely impact the ability of unions to service their memberships.

Even though Freedom of Association is protected by the Charter, Government Boss Stephen Harper refuses to respect the rights of workers in Canada.

In the year ahead, we cannot role over and play dead and let Harper have it his way. We must continue to support our fellow workers and union members in becoming more engaged politically. We must step up our lobbying efforts with politicians to ensure our voice is heard. Most importantly we must elect politicians and government who are dedicated to serving a free and democratic society.

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2 comments on “Six ways Stephen Harper is killing Canadian democracy
  1. many of these measures are happening because the programs were installed with the best of intentions especially labour unions but over the last 100 years they have been grossly abused and subverted to lend to the needs of the elite instead of the working man there are thousands of examples of this in labour unions including one I left years ago. The changes are designed to cull the rot once that is done I am certain cleaner meaner organizations with the true interests of the public will be formed, you must also agree with the bank bailouts eh? look at Iceland economy now they didn't bail out the banks now their economy is pumping we did and we are struggling, business unions and government have all become way too big and it is about time this is recognized by a politician with teeth.

  2. The list could be a lot longer and more serious if you didn’t limit yourself to things they have done since the last election. You missed about on the G20 police riot, refusing to produce documents requested by parliamentary committees, and proroguing to avoid a confidence motion.

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