An open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper
On June 3, a coalition of academics, journalists, actors and union leaders sent an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. They are demanding the withdrawal of the provisions of the budget implementation bill (C-60) that would allow Treasury Board to intervene directly in negotiations involving Crown corporations, including the CBC and Canada Post.
The House of Commons will be voting on Bill C-60 this week.
The letter has already been signed by 89 influential people in Quebec and the rest of Canada, including the Secretary General of CUPE Quebec, Denis Bolduc, the former Chair of the Canadian Industrial Relations Board, Warren Edmonson, the President of the Canadian Labour Congress, Ken Georgetti, professors of communication Colette Brin and Jean-Hughes Roy from Laval University and l’UQAM, the former Vice President of Radio-Canada, Sylvain Lafrance, and Daniel Boyer, Secretary General of the Quebec Federation of Labour.
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.,
Prime Minister of Canada
We the undersigned are deeply concerned about the provisions of the budget implementation bill (C-60), authorizing the government to intervene directly in negotiations between employees and employers in 49 Crown corporations, including the CBC, Canada Post and Via Rail.
The changes brought about by Bill C-60 to the Financial Administration Act run counter to the spirit of the Canada Labour Code that “deems the development of good industrial relations to be in the best interests of Canada by ensuring a just share of the fruits of progress to all.” The changes adversely affect one of the fundamental freedoms of the Canadian democracy: the right to free collective bargaining.
Although Crown corporations are supposed to be independent from the government, the latter already has great powers in their regard since it appoints those who will preside over them and sit on their boards of governors.
If Bill C-60 is passed, the government’s interference in post office negotiations with its employees in 2011 will become a permanent fixture in all Crown corporations. The new powers of government will hinder relations between Crown corporations and their employees and that in our view will have a negative impact on the companies and on the Canadian economy for many years to come.
Furthermore, by participating directly in the decisions of Radio-Canada and CBC management, the government could intervene directly in the programming and assignments of the largest news service in the country. That is a boundary that should not be crossed in a democratic country.
We believe that this bill will restrict the right of Canadian workers and their employers to negotiate fair salaries and working conditions.
We are asking that you withdraw those new unprecedented powers from Bill C-60.