Today’s HILL TIMES blared this headline:
“PSAC head says avoiding Conservative government ‘No. 1’ election issue”
and how are they doing this?
By inferring that the Liberals better play ball with them when it comes to upcoming negotiations with public service unions or they will support the NDP. The irony is that they are not in a legal strike position until long after the election is over.
Cloaked in those threats and lots of bravado is the underlying story how all of these public service unions plan to become third party advertisers in the upcoming election, all to defeat the Conservatives.
This is nothing new, as UNIFOR and other labour unions have campaigned in past federal and provincial elections as third party advertisers. This time around, they make no bones about who they may support – the NDP – if negotiations with the Liberals don’t go their way but their real target is Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives.
“There’s no way we can have more of Stephen Harper, and that’s exactly what Andrew Scheer will bring,” said Chris Aylward. “More cuts to the public service, more jobs obviously lost, absolutely no respect whatsoever for public service workers, because that’s what we went through with 10 years of Stephen Harper.”
According to the article, “Many federal public service unions have reached general collective bargaining agreements with the government as well as agreements for damages resulting from the fallout over the problem-plagued Phoenix pay system. PSAC, however, hasn’t even reached a tentative settlement around Phoenix damages.
Phoenix was supposed to streamline pay, but instead has left public servants underpaid, overpaid, or not paid at all since its launch in February 2016. It was supposed to save $70-million annually, but instead has cost the government more than $1.2-billion and counting. For Phoenix damages, the government offered, among other things, five days of leave after more than two years of talks, according to PSAC’s website, an offer which the union did not accept.
Collective agreement talks are also not progressing. “With seven of those eight bargaining tables now declaring impasse against the Liberal government, is there a chance to get this done before the election? There’s still a very, very slim chance to get it done, but the Liberal government would be well advised to try to reach an agreement before we get to Oct. 21.”
Here’s the list of unions that are registering for the upcoming election:
- PSAC (Public Service Alliance of Canada) – “We haven’t decided exactly what the figure will be” this year, said PSAC National PresidentChris Aylward, who noted the union is registered as a third-party advertiser in Canada’s first ever pre-writ period that began June 30—and will be registered during the writ period as well. “Whatever we decide that we’re going to spend certainly will be within those spending limits for sure.”
- Union of Taxation Employees (UTE), the group representing more than 26,000 employees of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), told Civil Circles that the union has launched a campaign against Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s proposal to create a single tax return in Quebec. Quebec is the only province in the country that collects income taxes from individuals directly rather than having them remitted by the federal government. If they form the next government, Mr. Scheer has said Revenu Québec would be responsible for administering the single tax return—and that the proposal would not result in any job losses.
- Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) –“We are a non-partisan union, which means that we don’t endorse any particular party or candidate, but it doesn’t mean that we’re not politically active—in fact in the last election, for the first the time, we got extremely politically active,” said Debi. Daviau. “At the end of the day, what we want is a government that supports public services.Ms. Daviau said that PIPSC wants to mobilize its members to vote and encourage their colleagues to do so as well. Ms. Daviau said her top five issues are Phoenix, the outsourcing or contracting-out of government work, public science, tax fairness, and pensions. PIPSC registered as a third party for the 2019 election with Elections Canada on Aug. 16.
- Canadian Union of Postal Workers – (CUPW) – they spent $208,572 in 2015, but Jan Simpson, national president of the CUPW, told Civil Circles that her group doesn’t yet know the exact figure that will be spent this time around. “It will all be made public, of course, we’ve registered as a third party fundraiser—we’ve made sure that we’re abiding by the rules,” said Ms. Simpson.
- Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) – While not registered (yet) as a third party advertiser, Eric Schallenberg, communications officer with the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO), told Civil Circles in an emailed statement that his organization has a long history of remaining apolitical during elections, and “maintaining that strategy is important to our members.” They are not as apolitical as advertised. Remember back in 2015 when the made their joy known as Justin Trudeau was “mobbed” and “bombarded with hugs and displays of affection” by some members of the foreign service and other civil servants?
After that public display of affection in 2015, “the president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, who on Friday said the union was so pleased at the success of its campaign to help defeat the Conservatives that it will continue with “activism.” PIPSC wants to make sure the Liberals deliver on their election promises to restore a “culture of respect” in the public service. “Remember that feeling of relief you felt on Oct. 20?” PIPSC president Debi Daviau told delegates at the union’s annual meeting. When it comes to victories it doesn’t get much better than what we achieved on Oct. 19.”
That was 2015 and the attitude has not changed.
Public Service unions are out once again to defeat the Conservatives any way they can and along with Jerry Dias and Unifor running roughshod across our media, the Liberals have an army to take to the airwaves and social media to blitz Canada with their hype.
Don’t buy into the hype or the disinformation coming from the Liberals and their minions.