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December 8, 2016

District 11

The Liberal Santa Clause from Ottawa

Editorial: David Chartrand, Québec Coordinator IAMAW

It's been Christmas in the business community since the Liberals arrived in Ottawa. But to get gifts from the Trudeau government, one must not be wise, but rich, very rich. According to this qualification, the citizen is far behind banks, oil companies, air carriers and multinationals.

With the proposed pro-finacial instiution (Bill C-29), the Liberals are overwhelming the Quebec Consumer Protection Act. To their delight, the banks could increase certain fees without warning you. Already too powerful and too influential in our societies, banks now have one more weapon to make money on our backs.

This situation reminds me of a battle in which I participated in 2016, against Bill C-10. The legislation freed Air Canada from its obligations to carry out its repair and maintenance operations on its domestic fleet, thereby eliminating protection of approximately 2,600 jobs. In passing C-10, the Liberals gave a gift to the airline so that the airline could distribute more dividends to its shareholders. Again, Mr. Trudeau defended the interests of the powerful at the expense of that famous "middle class", whom he had courted in an election campaign with a message of hope and "selfies".

In both cases, the Liberals eliminated laws that protected citizens, intead encouraging the enrichment of powerful businessmen. In both cases, laws were passed to favor the latter, even when the courts had ruled in favor of the citizens. For the multinationals, the Liberal Santa Clause offered, before Christmas, a new book of law tailored to protect their interests.

What about Bill C-27, which would allow employers to go back in time to reduce pension benefits that would have been paid out or accumulated? This legislation would allow Crown corporations and private employers under federal jurisdiction to withdraw from defined benefit pensions and replace them with Target Benefit Plans. This time, it is the retirees who risk being impoverished for the benefit of the powerful.

We could also address the contradictions in the actions of the federal Liberals, on one hand defending the environment while on the other, approving pipeline projects. Why not remind them that beyond words, natives are still waiting for action to help in education and water treatment ?

The Liberals will have to understand that democracy and governance is not a popularity contest that one wins with family photos on tabloid newspapers. Being responsible government means making choices for equality, justice and the distribution of wealth that we collectively create. It's working so no one is left by the roadside. Unfortunately, since the end of the election campaign, the middle class is still waiting for its savior.


David Chartrand, IAMAW Québec Coordinator and Vice-Président for the QFL