March 23, 2015

Union leaders admit to big spend on election

Brian LilleyArchive

Canada's labour movement is organizing to defeat Harper this fall.

It's an admission of something labour watchers have been predicting for months, Canada's unions plan to spend big bucks this summer to convince Canadians to dump Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives. 

“We’re participating pre-writ and after the writ is dropped," Unifor president Jerry Dias told The Hill Times.

In an article headlined, "Third-party spending in next election expected to be in millions," Dias said Canada's largest private sector union will push their agenda:

“We will be out there, we will be talking about the issues and we’re going to be encouraging our members to vote. We’re definitely going to make sure that there’s going to be a working-class perspective in the minds of Canadians when they vote because the messaging can’t be by the corporations only. … We’re going to participate, no question about it.” -- Jerry Dias, Unifor

While third-party spending during the election period is monitored and capped, spending that takes place before the election is called, the pre-writ period, does not count towards any spending limits.

That may be why Canadian Labour Congress president Hassan Yussuff told The Hill Times that his organization is actively building a ground game now:

Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff told The Hill Times that his organization has already started to hold meetings with members across the country to seek input on issues such as health care, pensions, jobs, and childcare and what the union’s involvement should be in the next federal election. As of last week, his union had held 17 meetings in major urban centres across the country and was planning on holding about 17 more.

While union leaders are pushing their support to left-wing parties such as the NDP, Liberals and even separatist Bloc Quebecois, union members often vote Conservative. One recent poll puts support for the Conservatives at nearly a third.

Yussuff told one organizing meeting in February that the most comprehensive survey the CLC ever conducted of their members showed many supported Harper, believing the Conservatives have done a good job.


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commented 2015-05-07 23:11:37 -0400
It should be illegal for unions to use their members funds for anything that is not strictly union business.
Their expense accounts should be carefully and regularly scrutinized and publicly published.
commented 2015-05-03 19:10:54 -0400
These Union folks(leaders) are pushing Anarchy which is treason!!! Go ahead you sick idiots the TPPBrother of Nafta is going to ensure 3rd world conditions(wages) which is by design so if you back these Union dicks you will deserve what you reap.
commented 2015-04-25 15:44:54 -0400
Just as a second thought, when Harper is elected we all know it will be his last…let him go out with a bang and legally disband public sector unions and legislate a completely transparent union books along with a right to work law setting in stone the people’s right to go union or not…their choice and all union dues be voluntary.
commented 2015-04-25 15:33:56 -0400
This is yet another reason why unions are such an abomination. They would rather elect an incompetent manboy, or an irresponsible hack as PM so they can get what they want. To hell with the country, we as a union could care less about the country of Canada, I want my place at the trough no matter how much the country would be put in danger from terrorists, going bankrupt etc…..we the union don’t care about Canada all it is is a place for us to stick our nose in the trough. It is no wonder unions are looked at with such distain and are so untrusted…THEY DESERVE IT… the best thing that could happen to Canada is to rid our society of all unions….they are less than useless… and you union members, how does it feel to have your pocket picked by your leaders who do nothing for you but collect 6 figure incomes and dine in style while you eat Macdonald’s…how stupid are you….bend over, here comes the union to pick your pocket and give you nothing you couldn’t get on you own….Spineless much.
commented 2015-04-18 11:54:20 -0400
Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t there a bill sitting in the Senate right now that was brought forward to try and expose the unions finances to their
membership and members of the Senate were busy doing some changes to it, perhaps the RCMP should check out who’s involved with this
little caper and why the Senators felt it necessary to make these changes.
commented 2015-04-16 22:59:27 -0400
Unions the scourge of Liberty? Can’t be so. We have their word they are doing it for us. The members believe this and that just means we should all be unionized for equality sake.
To make sure no confusion exists we will call them the Party of Labour.
This worked so well for the Soviets.
When Putin visits………………………
commented 2015-04-16 01:34:38 -0400
If the Rand formula says Union dues must be deducted, then let it to be for legitimate union roles, negotiations and strike preparation only. What we have now are unaccountable activists, having taken over union leadership, imposing their agenda. Political activity instead of being tax deductible must be banned. Negative option agreement for the use of union fees to support the leaders activism is against democratic practices. If the union can’t get the individual’s voluntary agreement for additional levies for their “social justice” then why are individual members forced to support them? And to make it interesting how about the penalty for misdirection of union funds being a five year ban from holding any union office. Bye bye Sid.
commented 2015-04-15 12:21:11 -0400
I hope they are happy with their Liberals. Toyota is leaving Ontario, heading to Mexico. Can anyone say cap not trade or ridiculous energy costs. Toyota says it costs more here to build than even in the US. What about a photo op Kathy Wynn?
commented 2015-03-23 22:08:18 -0400
Come on! There’s no amount of money that would make anyone vote for Trudeau!
commented 2015-03-23 20:52:36 -0400
In an opinion piece published in the Financial Post in September 2013, Terrance Oakey, commenting on the CAW/CEP merger that created Unifor, Canada’s largest union, opined, “though one could be forgiven for mistakenly assuming this new entity is actually a political party”. He noted that politics was front and centre at Unifor’s founding convention with a speech by avowed socialist Naomi Klein revealing a clear political intent: “It feels like this could be the beginning of the fight back we have all been waiting for, the one that will chase Harper from power…So welcome to the world of Unifor”. Oakey referenced more politics coming from a CEP vice president and declared communist who wrote that Unifor’s goal is “transformative” and “to reassert common interest over private interest”. Is it surprising that Unifor’s logo is a RED shield with a white “U”? Is it any wonder that the Communist Party of Canada’s (CPC’s) newspaper called the “Peoples Voice” (‘Carrying on the Tradition of the Communist Press in Canada Since 1922’) features articles about Jerry Diaz and Unifor. For example, the November 2014 issue of PV along with a glowing report of a Parti communiste du Quebec event “in honour of the heroic guerilla leader” Che Guevera being “a big success”, also reported on a jobs summit hosted by Jerry Dias and Unifor that included as politician participants Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, NDP MP Peggy Nash, and Toronto Mayoralty candidate Olivia Chow. Talk about birds of a feather flocking together!
The CPC’s March 2015 issue of PV talks about its “struggle against the Harper government’s viciously anti-democratic ‘Anti-Terrorism Act’ (Bill C-51”, a campaign that it is fighting along with its union friends, civil liberties and environmental organizations, against what it describes as a part of PM Harper’s “larger agenda to strengthen the repressive apparatus of an authoritarian, national security state”.
Call me narrow minded, but when the Communists of all people are taking a stand against what it deems to be an increasingly “anti-democratic” and “authoritarian” state, that’s a clear signal to flee in the opposite direction!
commented 2015-03-23 16:29:37 -0400
Seems like the “working class” perspective is different from that of their Union bosses if the polls are to be believed.
commented 2015-03-23 15:32:52 -0400
Be careful what you wish for unions. Point in fact, the last Ontario election, the conservatives said no cuts to nurses. BAM, last week CHEO announced 50 nurses lose their jobs even after the nurses union spent $700K supporting the Liberals. A sound business plan will trump government intervention every time.
commented 2015-03-23 14:28:56 -0400
There really needs to be a law against this. If they want to go this route then register as a political party and run candidates. Otherwise STFU
commented 2015-03-23 13:17:41 -0400
If Unions encourage their members in Eastern Canada to vote Liberal or NDP, they will bear the responsibility when Canada splits apart. Western Canada simply will NOT have another Trudeau as PM and another Liberal is even “iffy”. An NDP PM is absolutely unthinkable.
commented 2015-03-23 12:21:38 -0400
Unions should NOT BE INVOLVED in Politics. You can’t tell me that every single union member in any union votes for the same party. The Union LEADERS are taking away Union MEMBERS DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS. When I think about it, UNION LEADERS are taking away ALL CANADIAN’S DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS. How many UNIONS vote by secret ballot?? We might as well not bother with elections. Just look at the Ontario Election where the UNIONS crowned Wynne as the Premier. The UNIONS run this province.
Union Dues should be spent at the negotiating table for member’s salaries and benefits – not for politics.
commented 2015-03-23 11:29:26 -0400
All my life I have wondered why union memembers have a tax deduction for their union dues. How come unions are not treated like any other business? Why do they have tax free status? They are not a church or hospital so why are they treated so? It’s time we stop all these so called charities, If you want to give, GIVE. Unions have no right to spend their member dues on elections If thery want to spend money on elections, there is a conflict of interest and their members should not be able to vote in any election their union spends their money. Just seems fair to me I don’t have tax free syatus becausE I’m a WASA.
commented 2015-03-23 11:13:07 -0400
We knew this was coming.

In my riding, our long-time Conservative MP Barry Devolin is retiring and the NDP has already for some time been promoting its star candidate, Mike Perry. He’s very savvy and prolific on social media. I tweeted a question aboit the C-51 protest in town and he tweeted back his position with an attached NP article and an invitation to meet.

The Liberals in our riding are quite late choosing a candidate and the one set to run, Lance Sherk, has run afoul of one snafu after another. It seems to me that big labour intends to promote either the Liberal or NDP they think can best win in a riding but not both. The anyone but Harper strategy.

The Conservative Party candidate in our riding is known to the public as he was Mr. Devolin’s assistant for many years. Our riding is mostly rural but this the first election with new riding boundaries. And while our riding almost always votes Conservative, it doesn’t always. It voted Liberal provincially when John Tory thought he didn’t need to talk to local folks, just the media, because we were so true blue.

How to win? I’ve tweeted our Conservative candidate, Jamie Schmale, to ask him to pick up his social media game or hire someone to do it for him. But he won’t listen to me. I’m not sure that is the best approach with changing demographics across Canada.

I support Harper, his Cabinet, government, policies and platform to win but I wish the party would pull up its socks. It got to where it is with a pitch to ordinary Canadians and small business. At the constituency level, it would serve us well to remember we can only win one vote at a time.
commented 2015-03-23 11:09:34 -0400
Unions should NOT be allowed to spend ANY money whatsoever with the singular goal of defeating a particular candidate! Our federal government needs to tighten the laws about third-party spending on elections.