Budget bill endangers Canadians' basic freedoms: open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper

TORONTO, June 2, 2013 /CNW/ - A group of Canadian academics, journalists, actors and union leaders sent an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper today urging him to remove provisions in budget implementation bill C-60 that would allow for government intervention in Crown corporations, including CBC and Canada Post.

The House of Commons will vote on Bill C-60 this coming week.

The letter is signed by 89 Canadians, including former Canada Industrial Relations Board chair Warren Edmonson, former Radio-Canada VP Sylvain Lafrance, writer Susan Swan, actors Shirley Douglas, Wendy Crewson, Peter Keleghan, and Sarah Gadon, Canadian Labour Congress president Ken Georgetti, lawyers Paul Cavalluzzo and Michel Coutu, and academics George Smith, Larry Haiven and Collette Brin.

The text of the letter is below.

The letter with the full list of signatories can be found at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/fix-bill-c-60-r%C3%A9ctifiez-le-projet-de-loi-c-60.html, where Canadians are invited to add their name.

Honourable Stephen Harper, MP, PC
Prime Minister of Canada

We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned about provisions in the omnibus budget Bill C-60 that allow for direct government involvement with negotiations between employees and their employers at 48 Crown corporations, including CBC, Canada Post and Via Rail.

The changes Bill C-60 makes to the Financial Administration Act go against the spirit of the Canada Labour Code to support productive relationships between unions and management "in the best interests of Canada in ensuring a just share of the fruits of progress to all…" They stand to take away a fundamental freedom of Canadian democracy: the right to free collective bargaining.

The government already exerts significant power over Crown Corporations, which are supposed to be at arm's length, by appointing the presidents and board members.

The government intervention in Canada Post's negotiations with employees in 2011 would become a permanent feature for all Crown Corporations. The new government powers would disrupt the relationships between Crown Corporations and their employees, which we believe will have negative consequences on Canadian society and the economy for years to come. 

Furthermore, by participating directly in management decisions at CBC/Radio-Canada, the government could participate directly in discussions about news programming and assignments at the largest news organization in the country. This is a line that should not be crossed in a democratic country.

We believe this legislation will curb the rights of Canadian workers and employers to negotiate collectively for fair wages and working conditions.
We ask you to remove these unprecedented and unnecessary new powers over Crown Corporations from Bill C-60.

SOURCE: Canadian Media Guild

For further information:

contact Karen Wirsig, Canadian Media Guild, 416-578-1651 or karen@cmg.ca.


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