CTV image: Libby Davies, NDP deputy leader early Friday, June 24, 2011
Members the Official Opposition spent the night in the House of Commons in a filibuster of the Tory’s proposed back-to-work legislation, which is intended to put an end to the week-long labour dispute at Canada Post. MPs spelled each other in overnight shifts, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper showing up around midnight and other cabinet members making appearances at different times.
Formal debate began on Thursday morning, and will continue as long as MPs raise issues. The moment debate ends, a vote can be called.
Ironic, isn’t it, that the longer the New Democrats—champions of unionized workers—keep talking, the more wages the poor union guys and gals will lose at Canada Post. Interesting that socialists always seem to make their ideological points at the expense of others—often those less fortunate than themselves.
To show how duplicitous these people are, NDP members are offering amendments to the government’s legislation, even though they have not the least intention of voting for the legislation no matter how many amendments are made to it.
Of course, the NDP is not simply the party for labour, but is officially the party of labour, with labour organizations embedded in its very structure. And one might imagine labour union leaders wondering whether the resurgent NDP intends to broaden its appeal at the expense of its traditional ties to the labour movement.
In a bid to counter such concerns, Jack Layton credited the NDP/labour unions relationship for the historic gains made in the May 2 election and his party’s attainment of Official Opposition status. The all-nighter on Parliament Hill is another of Layton’s attempts to pass the unions’ loyalty test and show that his party is still worthy of their funding.
With the $2 per vote subsidy being phased out, it is more important than ever that the Dippers not lose their traditional trade union funding. And with the new emphasis of the party on its Quebec agenda, labour union leadership are probably questioning whether the party can really do justice to being the new “Quebec Bloc” and being the party of labour—being both may be too much for this group.
Aren’t Layton and his team in some sort of conflict of interest here? Aren’t they supposed to represent all Canadians and not just the few who belong to labour unions? Then again, one shouldn’t look to the socialists if one wants fair and balanced representation.