Dear fellow CWA Canada members,
We’re less than a month away from the federal election – an election that will be pivotal to us and to our families as working people and as Canadians. It is vital that we all understand the issues in this campaign so that we can make informed choices.
Do we want a government that supports workers, decent pay, good pensions, fair working conditions, and public broadcasting? Or do we want legislation and policies that drive down wages, delay old-age pension, hurt workers, and threaten the very existence of the CBC?
Do we want a Canada where we work for the common good, build each other up, and respect democracy?
As a leader who represents thousands of journalists, I cannot support one political party over another. But that doesn’t mean I must sit idly back when a government, political party or any group threatens journalism, the democratic process, or the economic interest of our members.
Please take a minute to look at the four key issues below of special interest to us all.
Please also take a minute to share with your friends, through social media or otherwise, the importance of electing a government that will strengthen Canada by supporting decent wages, stronger pensions, fair working conditions – and public broadcasting.
All the best,
President, CWA/SCA Canada
1) Save the CBC
We have lost 2,000 jobs at the CBC in the last five years. Unless we get a government that will provide adequate funding, the survival of our public broadcaster is in doubt.
That unthinkable prospect would be a huge blow to Canadian culture and it would mean the loss of CBC News, with far fewer journalists to keep an eye on government, politicians and corporate power brokers, and to tell the stories of Canadians. Does anyone think that’s good for democracy? For society? For the economy?
Even the president of the CBC is finally admitting that he should have sounded the alarm earlier. In a speech last week, Hubert Lacroix admitted that “like the proverbial frog put in cold water that is slowly heated, we’ve resisted telling people that we risk being boiled to death.”
Each of the three opposition parties has promised to reverse the $115 million the Conservative government cut from the CBC budget. The Conservatives have not responded to our request for their position.
Here is a link listing each party’s commitment on the CBC:
And here is a link to our Save the CBC campaign webpage:
2) Anti-union Bill C-377
It took two years for the Conservative government to force this fundamentally flawed bill through Parliament. It’s so bad that it was originally defeated in the Senate last year – with the help of some Conservative senators.
The Harper PMO was finally able to ram it through this year, but only after having Tory senators overrule longtime Senate rules.
The Conservatives say Bill C-377, which is a copy of anti-union Republican legislation in the U.S., is about making union finances more transparent. That is a lie. Union finances are already transparent. Our books are audited and any member can see them. But union financial information is for members – not for the public. It’s telling that the bill does not apply to any other member organizations like lawyers and doctors groups.
The bill’s real intent is to tie up unions with red tape and make suck out financial and other information for right-wing propaganda.
It is an intrusive, unfair, unnecessary and ideologically motivated piece of rubbish that will cost taxpayers millions of dollars a year to administer and yield no benefit to society. It is unconstitutional and we will challenge it in court if the Conservatives are re-elected.
The opposition parties have said they will repeal the bill.
For more information:
3) Secret police Bill C-51
Bill C-51 gives the government unprecedented and intrusive new powers, which, in the words of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) “presents disturbing implications for free speech, privacy, the powers of government, including CSIS, and the protection of civil liberties in Canada.”
We strongly support a Charter challenge against Bill C-51 which has been launched by CJFE and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA).
The NDP has said they will repeal the bill; the Liberals have said they will change it.
For more information:
4) Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
The TPP is a huge international trade deal being negotiated by the federal government – in secret – with plenty of input from multinational corporations, but nothing from labour leaders, environmentalists and other experts. Even our MPs don’t know what’s in it.
It’s actually far more than a trade deal. It’s a corporate rights deal that would give multinational corporations the power to override Canadian sovereignty by suing governments under secretive trade tribunals — rather than through the courts — if they feel our labour, environmental, health or other standards contravene the TPP and could lead to a loss of profits.
Canada would lose thousands more jobs under the TPP as companies move manufacturing and other jobs to low-wage countries such as Vietnam.
The TPP would have a major impact on Canada, yet almost no one is talking about it. How can there be so little debate – and information – in a democracy about such a huge deal?
Please educate yourself. For more information:
On Facebook, check out: Trade Justice Network
On Twitter, follow: @TradeJusticeNet