Wednesday, December 03, 2008

NUPGE's Larry Brown on the Bullying Bigots and their Bogus Democracy.

National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) on the bullying bigots and their bogus democracy. Read the full version here

Stephen Harper's bogus democracy

By Larry Brown
National Secretary-Treasurer
National Union of Public and General Employees

Ottawa (3 Dec. 2008) - Life doesn’t often get more interesting than this. The Harper government introduced a so-called economic update that amounts to a vindictive attack on unions, on the opposition parties, on democracy itself; an economic statement that had no valid economics in it.

The deficit forecasts were farcical, and there was no economic stimulus, which experts of every stripe are calling for unanimously. The update was a monumental, colossal mistake.

And now, in the face of a coalition of the Liberals and the NDP, we are being treated to completely bogus arguments as to why the Harper government should not be defeated and replaced by the coalition. Here are some of the arguments, none of which are valid.

(1) In this time of financial crisis we need a stable government.

It’s amazing the Conservatives would trot this out as an argument.
The coalition is promising to govern for a minimum of 18 months. The Harper government can be defeated any time it makes the kind of mistake it made last week.

So if we need a stable government, the choice is obvious – we should go with the coalition. They promise much more stability than Harper can. [...]

(2) It would be undemocratic to defeat Harper after winning re-election.

[...] Harper didn’t win his majority of seats, the only real reason he had called the election. A majority of voters (63%) voted for political parties that disagreed with Harper on almost every issue.

Our democratic traditions say that to defeat a minority government, and replace it with another party or parties that have the support of the House, is perfectly valid - in the period following a election. That is democracy. To argue that the voters of Canada gave Harper a strong mandate is nonsense.

(3) The Harper government has backed down on his contentious economic statement so the problem has been resolved.

[...] Harper did not back down on all of his attacks on democracy. He has pulled back on party financing, at least for now. He has grudgingly admitted that his attack on the democratic right of workers won’t proceed, at least for now.

[...] What Harper has not backed down on is his attempt to use the law to overturn freely negotiated collective agreements.

[...] What Harper also has not backed down on is the attack on pay equity that would deny women workers their democratic right to non-discrimination in the workplace. [...]

It's about time

The union, without the right to set salaries, would be jointly liable if the employer refused to agree to fair wages. These would be the same unions that Harper thinks should not have the right to freely bargain their wages in the first place!

What remains in his plan is attacks on the fundamental democratic right of federal public sector workers. What is remotely democratic about an attack on democratic rights?

What we are seeing in Parliament is democracy in action. It’s about time.


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 that our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

Web posted by NUPGE: 3 December 2008

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