'The Harper government made it clear in the fall economic update that they are going to legislate away fundamental human rights, such as the right to collective bargaining and the right to equal pay for work of equal value.'
Ottawa (28 Nov. 2008) – “There’s one deficit the Harper government has not shied away from creating and that's a labour and human rights deficit”, says NUPGE president James Clancy.
He was referring to the announcement as part of its economic statement on Nov. 27, that the government intends to legislate contracts, including roll-backs of settlements already negotiated, as well as eliminating the right to strike.
“This government just can not hide its ideological slant,” adds Clancy.
“Only days after opening the new Parliament, it’s ready to legislate away fundamental human rights by taking away the right to strike and severely limiting collective bargaining rights of over 100,000 Canadian workers.
“Taking away the right to strike while telling workers and their unions they must accept the government’s last offer or else have a contract legislated on them makes a mockery out of out of collective bargaining. Their actions show that they have little respect for human rights.”
In June 2007 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that labour rights, including the right to collective bargaining without government interference, are fundamental human rights protected under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Supreme Court justices noted that the right to bargain collectively is supported by the Charter value of enhancing democracy and equality.
“Prime Minister Harper is on a collision course with this landmark decision. He knows that denying federal government workers their basic human rights won’t stand up to a constitutional challenge,” said Clancy.
“It’s a extremely sad commentary on this government that only days away from celebrating the 60th anniversary of the proclamation of the UN Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, it’s prepare to legislate away human rights. Labour rights are a critical component of human rights helping to protect and promote the social and economic well-being of the human population.”
“Their only interest in introducing such undemocratic legislation is to provoke a confrontation," Clancy said. “Confrontational politics is the last thing Canada needs now.”
“This is politics at its absolute worst. It is astonishing that as we head into an economic recession, with Canadians fearful for their jobs and their savings, the Harper government has chosen to play petty partisan games." NUPGE