Archana Rampure | CUPE Political Action

We now have a Prime Minister who calls himself a proud feminist. So surely it’s time for this federal government to move beyond symbolic actions such as a gender-balanced cabinet.

Because it’s 2016, it’s time the Prime Minister and his Cabinet took note of the fact that Canadian women make 73 cents to every $1 Canadian men make. It’s time for legislation mandating pay equity. 

The Trudeau government has made good on their campaign promise to repeal Bill C-377, which tried to force unions to disclose their spending, and Bill C-525, which made it harder for unions to be certified in the federal sector while simultaneously making it easier to decertify them. Bill C-4 repeals both these toxic Tory bills and is currently making its way through the House.

Watch closely to see what the Conservatives do with it once it hits the Senate, where they still hold a majority. Will they honour their past cries of “respect the democratic will of the elected House of Commons!” or try to stop C-4?

It is important to remember that the repeal of C-377 and C-525 return us to where we were before the Conservatives tried to take a machete to the collective rights of workers.

Proactive legislation has been introduced and tabled by the NDP that seeks to have strike breakers (“scabs”) prohibited in the federal sector. The NDP also used their Opposition Day to bring forward a motion that calls on all parties to acknowledge that mounting job losses, combined with a lack of access to Employment Insurance, contribute to growing income inequality. Unfortunately, the Liberals and the Conservatives joined forces to vote this down because they weren’t comfortable with the idea of a universal qualifying threshold of 360 hours for EI claimants.

There are many other good ideas that the NDP has brought forward including regulating the use of precarious workers, bringing in legislation that protects interns and funding more innovative parental leave policies.

Will the Trudeau Liberals support these good ideas? Because its 2016 – let’s hope they embrace progress for working people.