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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