Justin Trudeau, in one of his first acts after being elected Prime Minister of Canada from the Liberal Party, was to meet with Canada’s Building Trades Unions to hear Labour’s views on repeal of Bill C377, the Union Disclosure Act that targets all labour organizations and which would have cost millions of dollars to implement. The bill was a thinly disguised attempt to turn members against their unions.
Administrative Assistant to the UA Canada General President Larry Cann represented UA Canada Director of Canadian Affairs John Telford at the meeting of Labour leaders and the new Prime Minister. They also discussed the repeal of Bill C525, which had changed the Canada Labour Code to make it more difficult to organize and easier to decertify unions.
“We also believe the Fair Wage Act will be put back in place on all Federal projects,” said Brother Cann. He said he expects Canada to spend over 160 billion dollars over the next ten years on infrastructure projects, all of which should be covered by the Fair Wage Act.
“This work will update our aging infrastructure and create many jobs,” he said.
The new Prime Minister also pledged funding to support training centres. The meeting covered a broad range of other topics as well, including energy, natural resources, refineries and pipelines.
The previous government under Stephen Harper had destroyed the trust Canadian citizens had in the system used to evaluate and approve these kinds of projects, noted Brother Cann.
“Labor must work with the new government to rebuild this trust and to be a supportive voice for progressive policies—and take back the field from the ‘anti-everything’ group,” he said. “We need to be engaged, involved and show we are a credible resource that can be relied upon and trusted.”
By meeting with trade union leaders so soon after his election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has sent a clear signal that he values organized Labour’s opinion and input.