Can you imagine voting in this October's federal election without a secret ballot?
It's true many of us are open about our political beliefs.
We post them online, we have signs posted in front of our homes during the campaign, we try hard to convince our friends and family to vote our way.
But even those of us that are open have the advantage of the secret ballot.
Without a secret ballot elections would be won by whichever side could use thug tactics to intimidate voters.
Elections used to be done that way, candidates would hire thugs or buy voters drinks and take them to vote when sufficiently plied with alcohol.
We’ve had the secret ballot since 1874.
Yet two of the political leaders seeking to replace Stephen Harper as prime minister want to ditch the secret ballot for unions and let thug tactics return.
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau have both promised to repeal bill C-525 if elected. Passed last December the bill gives workers in federal workplace jurisdiction the right to a secret ballot to certify or decertify a union in their workplace.
In essence, Mulcair and Trudeau want unions to be able to use the intimidation tactics that we wouldn’t allow in a federal election to rule supreme when workers decide whether to join a union.
It's understandable for Mulcair, his party has long been associated with big labour and he won the leadership with union support. But Trudeau is a different story.
Earlier this week Trudeau waded deep into NDP territory when he promised not only to repeal C-525 but also bill C-377 if he leads the government after the October election.
Bill C-377 is the bill currently before the Senate that would require unions to disclose how they spend the billions in dues money collected off workers paycheques each year.
Trudeau went before the International Association of Fire Fighters convention in Ottawa and promised to scrap not only C-525 but also C-377 which he dubbed a “masterpiece of anti-worker sentiment."
Here’s the thing though, the IAFF, a powerful union and lobby group, is headquartered in Washington, DC and has been living under the type of disclosure rules the C-377 would bring about since 1959.
That’s when the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act was passed by Democrats and Republicans -- supported even by the likes of then Senator John F. Kennedy as a way to fight corruption in unions.
Canada’s union leaders claim there is no corruption to worry about, they don’t need to live under these sorts of rules and yet experience tells us differently.
Last week Ken Pereira, one of the star witnesses at the Charbonneau Commission that helped expose collusion between union leaders, organized crime and politicians in Quebec spoke in favour of C-377 at the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs committee.
He told stories of fraud and embezzlement of dues money and what happened when he tried to tell the truth.
"I no longer work in my beloved home province of Quebec. I live there with my wife and our two kids, now young adults, but I have to work elsewhere," Pereira said.
"My life was threatened. No one should have to do what I did to ensure financial activities are lawful. I am a big union believer, but there are things in this country that must change. This necessary disclosure bill is a start."
Pereira, despite having his life threatened and career destroyed, still believes in unions, he just wants them to operate in the sunlight.
The reaction of Canada's "progressive" political leaders Trudeau and Mulcair? Shut the bill down.
“This is an attempt by the Conservatives to break down the system of representation and protection of workers’ rights in Canada,” Mulcair said.
No, this is an attempt to shut down the kind of corrupt union bosses that Pereira was blowing the whistle on.
What Mulcair and Trudeau want to protect is corruption.
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