A recent story by Vancouver Sun reporter, Peter O’Neil, reveals that a poll widely cited by Tory MP, Russ Hiebert, to support Bill C-377 might have contained some dubious claims. The Senate just recently sent the Bill back to the Commons with a list of amendments. Let’s not forget that the poll, commissioned by the anti-union organization, Labour Watch, was conveniently made public shortly before C-377 was tabled in the House of Commons. Canada’s Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA) is now investigating the poll and the polling agency, Nanos Research for an alleged breach of professional standards. The complained was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress. Read the story for more information on the case.
It’s worth mentioning that despite the flaws in Labour Watch’s poll, there is some useful information that anti-union policy makers and lobbyists, like Labour Watch’s president, John Mortimer don’t regularly cite. For instance, over half of the respondents believed that union dues are well spent. Of those respondents who are union members, 64 percent had confidence in what their organizations were spending money on.
In a members survey conducted by Leger Marketing for the Building Construction Trades Department, which represents construction unions in Canada and is a member of the AFL-CIO, results show that the union members are strongly opposed to the type of financial disclosure protocols that would be mandated by Bill C-377, with 73% responding that the law is not necessary. Seventy-eighty percent believed that the legislation is unfair because it focuses exclusively on unions (and not private companies) and their requirements to publicly disclose financial information. In fact, most members (74%) believe the current transparency and information disclosure rules for trade unions are already fair. A majority (72%) of the union members polled are aware that they can request to see financial information from their union, which is the case with most labour organizations. In a response to criticism of Bill C-377, Mortimer has claimed that the union-funded poll “reflected the same inescapable reality of where unionized Canadians stand… in favour of greater transparency.” Interesting. Again, Mortimer dodge facts. (For a bit of background on Mortimer, check out this presentation.)
Why is this important? First, the supposed polling evidence supporting claims that Canadians favour the type of invasive transparency rules contained in 377 is bunk. Second, even the now-discredited Labour Watch poll revealed that both the general population and union members have confidence in how trade unions spend dues. It’s time to take aim at Labour Watch and its method of manipulating public opinion.