Conservative Member of Parliament Pierre Poilievre said that Canada's largest union of federal civil servants should not have endorsed Quebec's separatist parties and is now calling for legislation that would allow workers to opt out of paying union dues.
It was reported earlier this week that the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) would be supporting the Parti Quebecois (PQ) in the provincial election held Tuesday. The move indicated that it was more interested in promoting the union’s rights than coalescing the nation.
The PQ won a minority government and now a Tory Member of Parliament is telling the largest union of federal public servants: you shouldn’t have done that.
Nepean-Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre is planning on urging his cabinet to make revisions to certain legislation that would permit federal civil servants to opt out of paying union dues. This measure has been compared to the “right-to-work” legislation in the United States that has been adopted by about 20 states.
Poilievre stated, however, that the majority of unions in Canada are provincially regulated and that any legislative changes would not affect them at all.
“I accept the results of the election,” said Poilievre, reports the Ottawa Citizen. “But I can’t accept a union representing public servants working for the government of Canada which forcefully takes money out of the pockets of Canada’s public servants to support parties that want to break up the country. How can it be in the interests of public servants to support the breakup of Canada?”
PSAC argues that it didn’t support the separatist parties, but explained that it issued a report card to the provincial parties and endorsed the ones that would better represent workers and back public services.
“Mr. Poilievre is raising this issue now to distract from the fact that he and his government have been cutting valuable public services and good jobs without being transparent to Canadians,” stated Robin Benson, the national president of PSAC, in a statement issued.
Claude Poirier, president of the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE), told the Ottawa newspaper that he suspects Poilievre’s motivations relate to the recent incident where the RCMP grounded a plane that PSAC hired to flaunt a banner that read, “StephenHarperNousDéteste.ca” (Stephen Harper Hates Us).
In the past, PSAC has supported separatist parties, including the Bloc Quebecois (federal) and the PQ in previous provincial elections.
At the last PSAC convention, the union attempted to seek an increase in dues, which could jump as much as $7.84 each month. The delegates voted in favour of the increase.