Hugh Segal, Conservative Senator and former advisor to Premier Bill Davis and Prime Minister Mulroney, has spoken out in defence of trade union rights and against Bill C-377.
Ottawa (20 Feb. 2013) - A highly regarded Conservative Senator, Hugh Segal, spoke out against Bill C-377, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (requirements for labour organizations), during a debate in the Senate.
Senator Segal explained that Bill C-377 is "bad legislation, bad public policy and a diminution of both the order and the freedom that should exist in any democratic, pluralist and mixed-market society."
He goes on to say that he believes that "society prospers when different views about the public agenda, on the left and the right, are advanced by different groups, individuals and interests. Debate between opposing groups in this chamber, in the other place and in broader society is the essence of democracy. Limiting that debate as to scope and breadth is never in the long-term interest of a free and orderly society."
Furthermore, he thinks that making the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) "police how trade unions spend their money, in denominations of $5,000 or more, is to increase the role of CRA and of the state in ways that create a bigger, nosier and more expensive government. As a taxpayer and as a Conservative, I oppose that kind of increase in any government's power or expenditures."
At one point Segal says that "this bill is about a nanny state; it has an anti-labour bias running rampant; and it diminishes the imperative of free speech, freedom of assembly and free collective bargaining."
"The bill before us today, as well as right-to-work legislation that is being proposed in the other place as a private member's bill, is not who we are as Canadians. It is time this chamber said so."
Segal concludes by suggesting that the bill should be stopped "dead in its tracks".
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