No Better Lesson In Democracy: BCTF

Posted on Thursday, October 27 at 09:53 by BC Mary
B.C.'s so-called Liberals have never been shy to wield custom-made legislation — arbitrarily, unilaterally, retroactively — to drive down wages and undermine unions. They've been quick to rip up labour contracts (both negotiated and arbitrated) whenever it suited their political or fiscal interests: health-care workers, doctors, even Crown attorneys. Now the government has invented a new law to eliminate collective bargaining for teachers before it even got started. The courts have largely validated this violation of labour rights, including a path-breaking order putting the union's assets under control of a court-appointed monitor. Premier Gordon Campbell is hardly unique in his opportunistic use of legal weapons to beat down the workers; there's a long and dishonourable history in Canada of union suppression in the name of the “law.” Federal and provincial governments have used customized legislation 170 times since 1982 to forcibly end strikes, impose settlements, and otherwise restrict union activity. But Mr. Campbell has been the most blatant. I often wonder what would happen if a government unilaterally overruled the rights of corporations, ripped up corporate contracts, or seized control of corporate assets. Suppose, instead of targeting teachers, Mr. Campbell passed a law prohibiting oil companies from selling gasoline for more than, say, 80 cents per litre. If the energy giants resisted, a court-appointed monitor would seize their multibillion-dollar assets.


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