June 30, 2015
To: Members of the CLC Canadian Council
RE: Bill C-377
Today, the Prime Minister used his Conservative Senate majority to re-write Senate rules, shut down debate and force through Bill C-377.
I want to thank all of you for your dedication and hard work over the last four years to try and defeat this fatally flawed Bill.
Of course, the labour movement was not alone in our criticisms.
We worked with many other individuals and organizations to coordinate our messages and opposition to C-377, including: seven provincial governments; Canada’s Privacy Commissioner; constitutional and labour lawyers; the Canadian Bar Association; the insurance and mutual fund industries; benefits and pension plan managers; medical associations; and academic experts.
We also worked closely with legislators in both the House of Commons and the Senate to highlight the Bill’s flaws and ensure it had a rocky ride through Parliament from the start. In particular, the NDP in the House of Commons, and the Liberals in the Senate, did all they could to oppose, delay and defeat this flawed Bill.
Although the Conservative majority rigged the game and forced Bill C-377 through the Senate, this is not the end of our fight.
Bill C-377 is unconstitutional, undemocratic, discriminatory, and an invasion of personal privacy. The Bill will be subject to a constitutional challenge in the courts in the future.
In the meantime, we must not forget why this fatally flawed Private Member’s Bill was ultimately able to get through Parliament: From the start, C-377 was orchestrated directly by the heavy hand of the Prime Minister.
Bill C-377 is Stephen Harper’s partisan political attack on unions. He ordered Conservatives in the House of Commons and the Senate to ignore the evidence, ignore the experts, ignore the critics, break the rules and pass the Bill.
It is clear what we are up against. Stephen Harper is prepared to do whatever it takes to silence the voice of our labour movement.
As we head towards the federal election on October 19, 2015, it is critical that we remind our members, and others, about Harper’s partisan political attack on our labour movement.
The best way we can ensure this Bill is repealed is to defeat Stephen Harper and elect a new federal government this October.
We have a lot of hard work ahead of us. Harper broke the rules to force C-377 through the Senate. What is he prepared to do to win the next election?