Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher was quoted in an article that was written by Catherine Levesque and posted on the Huffington Post Quebec website. The original article was in French, and it has been translated into English. The article is posted below.
Mike Gallagher, Director of Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, does not appreciate accusations of fraud from the Conservatives towards his union.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau travelled to Oakville, Ontario, last August 27 to make an announcement on its infrastructure investments before some 300 people. But nobody was paid to do so, argues Mike Gallagher, himself a Liberal supporter.
“We had workers and members of the community on-site. Everyone was there voluntarily,” he said. “Never would I have thought to pay for their presence.”
The Official Opposition has attacked the Trudeau Government since the beginning of the week to see if the Liberals have received other illegal donations from trade union organizations during the election campaign.
MP for Louis-Saint-Laurent, Gérard Deltell, said that there were two other events organized by the big bosses of the unions during the election campaign, including that of Mike Gallagher.
During question period, he asked the Prime Minister if there was illegal financing at the rallies in Oakville as well as Vaughan, October 8.
“The Liberal Party has always obeyed and protected the laws of Elections Canada in their application and we are proud of our record on it. Attacks by members of the Conservative Party are really appalling,” said Trudeau.
Deltell unveiled Monday that the Liberals had sought the help of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Industry of the Plumbing and Piping of the United States and Canada for an election announcement in Waterloo, Ontario.
23 union members were paid $100 each for their presence, thereby contravening the Electoral Act. A spokesperson for the Party responded by e-mail that these payments were made without the knowledge of the Liberal Party of Canada.
At rallies in Oakville and Vaughan, there was nothing to report on. “No, we are not aware of any payment in connection with these events,” said Christina Topp.
Mike Gallagher thinks that it is distressing to see the Conservative Party attempt to stain the reputation of the unions, while they have “never bothered to check the facts.
“They seem to want to demonize people. Instead of dragging us through the mud, why don’t they come and meet us?”
Workers all wore red hardhats during the visit of Justin Trudeau. The Liberal slogan also hung at the end of a crane while he spoke to the crowd.
But Mike Gallagher is of the opinion that the reception would have been the same no matter what party leader came to see them in their region.
“We did nothing wrong. I don’t like unfounded accusations like that,” he concludes.