Re: Senate ‘guts’ MP’s bill, June 27.
The only thing more remarkable than the Conservative-dominated Senate sending MP Russ Hiebert’s Bill C-377 back to the House for major rework was Hiebert’s sputtering indignation at this turn of events, calling them “unjustified” amendments.
Apparently, the South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale MP thinks the Senate’s role is to act as a rubber stamp and cheering section for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s policies – much like the role played by Hiebert as MP for this riding.
Now, I’m all for transparency; let’s start with members of Parliament.
But changing union-disclosure laws would require labour legislation – something clearly within the purview of the provinces, not the federal government. Hiebert knows this, which is why his bill depends on a tortured and selective amendment to the Income Tax Act.
It starts with the premise that union dues are deductible, therefore the public has a right to know how these funds are spent. Oddly, other organizations with tax-deductible dues – like the Canadian Medical Association and the Law Societies – are not subject to his bill.
One of the provisions in the bill would require a union to publish details on any expenses over $5,000. This would mean union members receiving disability insurance of over $5,000 would have their names, addresses and the natures of their health problems published on a public website. Same goes for the spouses of deceased union members receiving death benefits.
And here I thought Conservatives were all about “smaller, less intrusive” government!
What possible public benefit is there in requiring the publication of this personal information?
Conservative Senator Hugh Segal called the bill “immature, ill-conceived and small-minded.” I think that sums it up pretty well.
Jeff Ballingall, Surrey