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Unions Spending $4 Billion To Run Attack Ads at Hudak — Time to Stop this Outrageous Abuse

(Editor’s Note:  This explains why TV stations like CITYTV have become the 24 hour “Attack Tim Hudak” channels.  All day long, every commercial break there are TWO anti-Tim Hudak ads.  It has become totally insane.  We are in desperate need of legislation to prevent this abuse of our election process.  Thanks to Colette for this GREAT article!!!  — DQ)

Labour’s $4B election fund: Unions free to spend compulsory dues on political activities

Scott Stinson — National Post — June 6, 2014

In the fall of 2012, Ontario held two provincial byelections that were unusually important. If the governing Liberals took both, then-premier Dalton McGuinty would have upped his seat count just enough to have turned a minority legislature into an effective majority.

The upstart NDP blocked his path to comfortable rule, taking a riding it had never held before in affluent Kitchener-Waterloo. Union support was considered a big factor in the win, as labour organizations had mobilized against the Liberals when Mr. McGuinty brought in austerity measures the previous spring. Indeed, at the NDP victory party in a Waterloo banquet hall that night, leaders of four of the province’s largest labour unions stood, in orange shirts, smiling as Ontario’s newest MPP was introduced. One of them bragged that the NDP had been handed a “Cadillac of campaigns” thanks to union largesse.

It was only months later, after financial statements were filed, that the extent of the largesse was known. Unions representing elementary teachers had spent more than $846,000 on advertising campaigns. The secondary-school teachers had spent another $676,000 on ads.

The New Democratic Party itself had spent $50,000.

The campaign is a microcosm of what is happening in Ontario’s general election, now entering its final week. Unions have adjusted their sights to Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak, who is proposing his own austerity measures, and everyone from teachers to service workers to nurses to police — yes, police — has joined in the advertising strafing runs.

Ontario has laws — or a lack of them — that make its situation unique, but it is not alone in feeling the effects of a strong union influence on public policy. In British Columbia, a contract dispute between the Liberals and the teachers’ union has brought strike action, a heavy advertising campaign, and no end of court battles. In Quebec, the Charbonneau commission has uncovered union funds being spent in all sorts of non-bargaining ways, including the construction of a strip club. In Alberta, public-sector workers including doctors, teachers and nurses have all sparred with the governing PCs in recent years.

And in every case, the ability of public-sector unions to mount pet campaigns is driven by money — and a lot of it.

Canada is unique among major Western economies in allowing both the collection of mandatory union dues and the use of that money to fund political activities. In the United States, workers have the right to opt out of the portion of their union dues that would be used for non-bargaining activities. In the United Kingdom, workers cannot be compelled to join a union as a condition of employment; they can opt in or out.

(Several U.S. states have adopted similar laws.) France, Germany and Italy prohibit the use of compulsory union dues for political contributions. And in Australia, workers can neither be forced to join a union if one exists at their place of work nor have to pay the portion of union dues that would go toward political activities.

Meanwhile, those countries all have systems in place that require unions to disclose basic financial information about major expenses.

In Canada, union financials are utterly opaque. According to the Ministry of Finance, about $860-million worth of union dues were deducted from tax returns in 2012, the last year for which numbers are available, up from $705-million in 2007. There are estimates that the total amount of dues collected runs into the billions. That money, which is exempt from federal taxes, can be spent however the union chooses: office space, staff salaries, organized protests, political attack ads. And the employee has no say over any of it.  Continue reading here….

Canadian dollar money

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