Open season on Canada’s middle class


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This reshaping of Canada is also reflected in the Harper government’s attack on unions and the hard fought-collective agreements that have helped to build our country’s middle class. That attack started in earnest last week with the swift decision by the (anti) Labour Minister Lisa Raitt to violate the labour rights of Canadian workers.

No doubt about it. The Harper majority has ushered in a new reality — it is open season on working people and their unions. Just hours after Air Canada workers exercised their right to strike to bring pressure on the corporation to bargain more fairly with its concession-weary employees, the Harper government announced it would legislate the members of the CAW back to work.

Unions and progressives who for years knew what a Harper majority would mean had their greatest fears confirmed.

This government would not support labour rights.

Indeed it would not even remain neutral.

The threat to legislate back Air Canada workers is a blatant interference in the right to free collective bargaining. It also sent a very clear message that this government would be using the power of its majority to violate the legal rights of workers in our country.

And then within hours of Canada Post locking out its 50,000 workers, the Harper government indicated it might legislate these workers back as well.

The issues in both labour disputes are the same. Both employers want to strip collective agreements, including pensions. Both want a two-tier system so they can pay new employees less. The message to the next generation of workers is dismal.

And under the surface of this story of working people struggling to protect a decent living and retirement for themselves is one of hypocrisy, a growing income gap between the rich and the rest, and government collusion.

Take the CEO of Air Canada, Calin Rovinescu. He has held the job for about two years. In that time, he has seen his salary increase by 76 per cent in a single year to $4.55 million. He will be also paid a $5 million bonus in a few months and his “defined benefit” pension plan is worth about $3.1 million.

That’s his entitlement after two years. At the same time, at the bargaining table, he is attacking the pension of plan of Air Canada employees, including a proposal to slash the pensions of recent retirees.

This attack comes after a decade of concessions by Air Canada employees.

It is this kind of hypocrisy and assault on Canada’s middle class being supported by the federal government that could lead to the kind of social unrest we are witnessing around the world.

The Harper majority has emboldened those who now see this era as an opportunity to attack the very things that have created a middle class in our country.

The situation at Air Canada and Canada Post are but two examples.

Even in our own province, employer groups are feeling bolstered by Ottawa’s right-wing government as they attack the excellent work ethic of the working people of our province.

Is it any wonder people are angry? War has been declared against them.

Welcome to Harper majority time — open season on workers, unions, Canada’s middle class and the Canada as we know it.

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This reshaping of Canada is also reflected in the Harper government's attack on unions and the hard fought-collective agreements that have helped to build our country's middle class. That attack started in earnest last week with the swift decision by the (anti) Labour Minister Lisa Raitt to violate the labour rights of Canadian workers.

them.

Welcome to Harper majority time — open season on workers, unions, Canada's middle class and the Canada as we know it.

She ought to know about waging war on the middle class. Lana Payne and her cohorts have been doing it for years. We pay and pay and pay richly in taxes for all of the monopoly public service worker deals extorted from governments across Canada.

Note to JD. In the interests of full disclosure you should have left her job title in your cut and paste job, lest one might think you are trying to deceive the people here to think this is a non-partisan analysis.

Edited by dagger
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Typical of the moneyed elite.

It's not just them though. I think we all share a bit of the blame being more concerned about our own special interests rather than the big picture. I listen to some of the reasons people voted conservative and the self interest focussed on petty little things just staggers me. I'd expect more of hill billies in some cases. I've yet to hear an objective cogent explanantion of why they represent what Canada needs today. I even read their election platform (well as much as I could before I tired of unsubstantiated claims and illogical rhetoric). It's nothing but marketing and spin.

We are not heading in the right direction as a society. This country is going to look a lot different different in 5 years. In 10 it will be even worse but at least I understand why we're spending so much on prisons today.

Edited by Specs
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It's not just them though. I think we all share a bit of the blame being more concerned about our own special interests rather than the big picture. I listen to some of the reasons people voted conservative and the self interest focussed on petty little things just staggers me. I'd expect more of hill billies in some cases. I've yet to hear an objective cogent explanantion of why they represent what Canada needs today. I even read their election platform (well as much as I could before I tired of unsubstantiated claims and illogical rhetoric). It's nothing but marleting and spin.

We are not heading in the right direction as a society. This country is going to look a lot different different in 5 years. In 10 it will be even worse but at least I understand why we're spending so much on prisons today.

:tu:

:unsure:

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Every unionized worker who refused to support the CAW by crossing their picket lines or by boarding an Air Canada flight has little room to whine about how the Harper Gov doesn't support labour :Tantrum:

If you aren't willing to stand up for your fellow worker then why would you expect anyone else to??

just my opinion

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Every unionized worker who refused to support the CAW by crossing their picket lines or by boarding an Air Canada flight has little room to whine about how the Harper Gov doesn't support labour

If you aren't willing to stand up for your fellow worker then why would you expect anyone else to??

Well said AME.

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I'm not sure I agree with that either. You get yourself into a fight, you better be prepared to get yourself out. None of this third man in thing should apply. What is annoying though is thet the Harper govt effectively became the third man in. That's not fair.

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Seems to me all that our Government did with their threat of back to work legislation was to focus minds on both sides and thereby allow collective bargaining to work. I fail to see how their action favoured either side when both subsequently agreed on a tentative agreement or are those folks saying that the Union Caved and that the company triumphed?????

Regardless of outcome I do not agree with the process where the government interfered. It is not a matter of whether or not their action favored either side. It is the matter of the government basically throwing out the right to collectively bargain.

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Seems to me all that our Government did with their threat of back to work legislation was to focus minds on both sides and thereby allow collective bargaining to work. I fail to see how their action favoured either side when both subsequently agreed on a tentative agreement or are those folks saying that the Union Caved and that the company triumphed?????

Once you threaten to enact back to work legislation, you take away the only weapon labour has left. How much weight do you a think the threat of a pilot strike will carry once those negotiations start up again if everybody knows it's now an empty threat due to the conservatives immediate back to work threat?

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Note to JD. In the interests of full disclosure you should have left her job title in your cut and paste job, lest one might think you are trying to deceive the people here to think this is a non-partisan analysis.

Noted

JayDee

Note to Dagger. In the interests of full disclosure you might want to give the forum a brief analysis of your job description, lest one might think you are trying to deceive the people here to think your analysis on any Airline related issue is non partisan.

Edited by Jaydee
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Noted

JayDee

Note to Dagger. In the interests of full disclosure you might want to give the forum a brief analysis of your job description, lest one might think you are trying to deceive the people here to think your analysis on any Airline related issue is non partisan.

In all fairness I think that we can all agree that there lies a significant difference between the requirement to divulge the source and relevant information of a articles author versus the employment information of a poster.

We can safely assume that all of us are involved in aviation in some sort of capacity.

The respective title/position of an Author very much gives light the articles purpose - whereas, our purpose is nothing more than industry perspective based banter.

jmho

SB

Edited by SkyBlazer
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The government isn't going to support a strike when the offers the companies, ( Air Canada, Canada Post, or who ever? ) have on the table aren't out of line with the present economic conditions, or the companies finances.

Or, if the union's and company's demands aren't far apart.

They won't risk damaging the employer, or the economy, for labour's right to strike!

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"Stephen Harper clinched the majority in Ottawa he was hoping for by stressing

his success in shepherding Canada through the 2008 recession."

That's frigging rich. If Harper had been in power in 2000 we would be in the same mess that the U.S. is in. The only reason that "Canada's New Government" was able to cope with the fiscal meltdown of 2008 was because as Finance Minister, Paul Martin told the Canadian Banker's Association that he was not in favour of the U.S. style banking deregulation that they were all clamouring for whilst claiming that they couldn't compete.

Sheesh. Short memories.

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