Sunday, October 07, 2012

Free speech for me, but not for thee

Needless to say, the Regina Chamber of Commerce's attempts to paint concerns about its purporting to speak on behalf of the City as having anything to do with free speech generally have no basis in reality.

But if we want to look for somebody who's making a concerted effort to silence key voices on the political scene, we can look no further than...the Regina Chamber of Commerce, seeking to make it more difficult for unions to participate in politics through its submission to the provincial employment law consultation (PDF; bold in original, italics added):
Are trade unions sufficiently accountable?

No, the issue is that unions will on many occasions support causes or political parties that do not reflect some of the membership.
Should union members be able to stipulate what their dues are used for?

Yes, this would stop unions from being quasi political entities and force them to represent the interest of the workers they represent.
So let's ask a few questions: does the Chamber assert that every single one of its members supports every single political statement it's making surrounding the municipal election? Does its dues process include some means to ensure businesses who disagree don't see any of their contributions go to the Chamber's advertising?

And how in the world can it reconcile its bleatings about "free speech" on behalf of a representative organization with an express intention to "stop unions from being quasi political entities"?


  1. Stephen M9:51 p.m.

    As mid-term season approaches, I feel compelled to say, "Let's review."

    A representative of the Chamber appeared at the federal boundary-revision hearings in Regina, to speak in favour of the current rural/urban splits.

    Asked by the commission about the process the Chamber had engaged in to consult its members before speaking on their behalf at the hearings, the representative could only offer that an "informal" consultation process had occurred.

    A meeting? A survey? An email asking for feedback?

    "Informal" was the only answer forthcoming.

    So, the Chamber itself can apparently engage in an "informal" process of no particular description before taking a stand on behalf of its members on an issue related to Saskatchewan's federal political representation, but unions--the leadership of which is democratically elected and accountable at regularly scheduled meetings--must be held to a higher standard.

    Not very credible.

  2. Great point Stephen.

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