The resurrection of Bill C-377: A reader

A controversial anti-union bill, C-377, is being rammed through Senate this afternoon after Tory senators overruled the Senate chair to end debate.

In 2013, dissident Tory Senators helped to stall the passing of C-377 by voting on a series of amendments that sent the bill back to the House for consideration.

B4dboZjCcAI44h-Harper’s prorogation of Parliament that year effectively killed the proposed changes, returning an un-ammended version back to the Senate for committee review and debate.

Liberal Senators and a few Conservatives tried to keep up their opposition to the private member’s legislation by filibustering, but in a rather unprecedented move, some of Harper’s loyal appointees to the unelected body have overruled the Senate speaker to bring an end to debate and vote on the bill.

A product of anti-union forces
C-377 has been the topic of analysis and critique for University of Regina professors, Sean Tucker and Andrew Stevens, since the first iteration of the bill appeared in 2011. At that time, the anti-union organization, LabourWatch Canada, spearheaded interest in “union transparency” legislation with the release of a Labour Day poll in August of 2011. The poll was ultimately the subject of professional criticism and review by the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA), which acknowledged that some of the questions asked in the survey were potentially biased.

To date, only a handful of business lobby associations and their representatives have voiced support for C-377. Meanwhile, countless legal professionals, privacy experts, provincial governments, union leaders, academics, financial advisors, and NHL spokespersons have testified against the legislation. It is evident to anyone who pays attention to government labour policy that Conservative MP, Russ Hiebert’s, bill is meant to expose how unions finance and support political activism – a very dangerous and timely development considering the looming federal election.

Labour’s response
What will unions do if Bill C-377 passes? Will they comply with C-377 if it comes into force, or will organized labour defy this evidently anti-labour legislation? Will the union movement pressure the NDP to commit to reversing C-377 ( and other anti-union bill’s such as C-525) in the lead up to the election? Or will the union movement stay silent and rely on a court challenge?

For more information about C-377’s birth, death and resurrection:

What next for C-377?
May 1 2015

Senate committee hearings recommenced last month to consider testimony and evidence regarding Conservative MP, Russ Hiebert’s floundering anti-union bill, C-377. As RankandFile.ca reported in 2014, the private members’ legislation, innocuously titled “An Amendment to the Income Tax Act,” will impose unprecedented reporting standards upon labour organizations in Canada. Not only will unions be required to publicly disclose all financial information and transactions over $5,000, but elected officials will be required to account for the amount of time they commit to particular activities. C-377 is being sold by Hiebert and his political allies as a mechanism to align Canadian reporting standards with a counterpart program south of the border, the Office of Labor-Management Standards, as well as a means to uphold union transparency.

Public lecture on C-377: Working in the shadows for transparency
October 10 2014

University of Regina faculty members Sean Tucker and Andrew Stevens deliver a public lecture about the development of Bill C-377. If implemented, the legislation would require trade unions to publicly disclose detailed financial information about their activities as well as information about the proportion of time union leaders engage in political and lobbying activities.

Here is their lecture on Bill C-377 at the University of Regina. A copy of the presentation slides are available here for download.

Caution (C-525)

Working in the shadows for transparency: Bills C-377 and C-525
April 22 2014

Rankandfile.ca‘s Andrew Stevens answers a few questions from fellow Rankandfile.ca editor Doug Nesbitt about how the Harper Tories have introduced new labour legislation, including bills C-377 and C-525.

Bill C-377 heads to the Senate
June 19 2013

Bill C-377, the notorious anti-union “financial transparency” private members legislation tabled by Conservative MP Russ Hiebert, will be debated in the Senate this week. What’s interesting is that Tory Senators in particular, notably Hugh Segal, have been the most critical of the bill. Jim Stanford, the CAW’s economist, has been lobbying extensively against 377 on behalf of workers and organized labour, and has written a number of excellent pieces on the political dimension of the process, most recently in the Progressive Economics Forum. You can find Stanford’s speaking notes to the Senate committee on the site as well. Just recently the Senate committee that has been investigating 377 released a damning report on the legislation.

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