“Mr. O’Leary’s wilful promotion of contempt and hatred towards unions reflects a viewpoint that has often ended in violence perpetrated against union members and leaders around the world.”
Ottawa (14 October 2011) – The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), along with its Ontario Component, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), today filed a formal complaint with the CBC Ombudsman against television personality Kevin O’Leary for offensive anti-union comments he made on an episode of CBC’s The Lang and O’Leary Exchange last month.
During the September 19, 2011 episode, Mr. O’Leary stated that if he were elected Prime Minister, he would “make unions illegal” and union members should be “thrown in jail”. Later, he evokes religious imagery to promote the destruction of unions, stating that “Unions are sheer evil.” … “Unions themselves are born out of evil. They must be destroyed with evil.” … “Look, no one could contain unions in hell. They were so evil they came out of hell and they came upon earth.”
The complaint is signed by NUPGE National President, James Clancy, and OPSEU President, Warren “Smokey” Thomas.
To view the full complaint please click here.
“These comments are not only highly offensive, they are very disturbing, irresponsible and potentially illegal,” says Clancy. “Mr. O’Leary’s wilful promotion of contempt and hatred towards unions reflects a viewpoint that has often ended in violence perpetrated against union members and leaders around the world.”
The complaint refers to several instances of violence against OPSEU/NUPGE members participating in a legal strike against their employer, Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology, around the same time Mr. O’Leary made his despicable remarks.
“Mr. O’Leary’s comments help foster an environment in which violence against union members, as occurred during the recent OPSEU strike, is deemed acceptable behaviour,” says Thomas.
In the letter of complaint, both Clancy and Thomas request that CBC take immediate steps to address the remarks made by O’Leary.
“In dealing with this matter, we urge CBC to demand that Mr. O’Leary publicly apologize for his comments and take proactive steps, with the aim of making Mr. O’Leary accountable for future behaviour on the CBC.”
For further Information contact: Mike Luff (office) 613-228-9800 (cell) 613-853-8255
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE