Alexandre Boulerice Posts Ad For Unpaid Interns - Adds Justin Trudeau Is Forcing Him To Do So

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Mighty Middle
Alexandre Boulerice Posts Ad For Unpaid Interns - Adds Justin Trudeau Is Forcing Him To Do So

NDP deputy leader wants to hire unpaid interns but says he wouldn’t have to if the Liberals banned them

The NDP’s newly-named deputy leader, Alexandre Boulerice, is looking to hire unpaid interns at his Montreal constituency office, but says he wouldn’t have to if the Liberal government heeded his party’s long-standing call to ban such positions.

The MP for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie has distributed at least three job advertisements seeking university students for unpaid trainee positions by the end of the month.

The advertisements were shared by the Concordia University political science department on Facebook on March 6, 7 and 11. One calls for applications to work in Boulerice’s office as a public relations assistant. The others are for unpaid jobs as a community relations assistant and a trainee to work with Boulerice’s parliamentary assistant.

In a written statement to the Star, Boulerice said the NDP believes interns should be paid, and that his budget would allow him to pay them if the Liberal government banned unpaid positions.

The NDP pledged to “end the exploitation” of unpaid internships during the 2015 federal election campaign, while party leader Jagmeet Singh has criticized the Liberals for delaying restrictions to such positions in the federally-regulated workplaces. The party’s 2018 policy handbook also states, under the section titled “Our rights as workers,” that the NDP believes in “abolishing unpaid internships.”

“The NDP supports paid internships and we believe the laws should be changed so that work done is paid,” Boulerice told the Star. “That’s why we’ve been calling on the Liberal government to change legislation to force internships to be paid. If the law was passed, budgets would allow for paid internships.”

Boulerice has an annual office budget of $382,150, according to the House of Commons Members’ Allowances and Services Manual.

In response to questions from the Star, NDP spokesperson Guillaume Francoeur said the NDP will review its caucus employment practices, but that the party itself does not employ unpaid interns.

https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2019/03/14/ndp-deputy-leader-wa...

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

I get the point Boulerice is trying to make here...but it seems like this has the potential to backfire.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Heather Bradley, spokesperson for the Speaker of the House of Commons, said she is not aware of any rule that prevents MPs from paying interns or student trainees.

Is she incorrect?  Otherwise it's not clear why Boulerice couldn't choose to pay interns.

pietro_bcc

Honestly taking advantage of unpaid interns while denouncing the practice makes him look terrible. He would look a lot better if he was one of the few who chose to pay his interns.

wage zombie

I think he was not paying his interns / looking for unpaid interns and he was criticized for it, and this is the pivot.

It doesn't look good, he should pay his interns.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

This is disgusting, especially since it is the second time he has been called out over it. Doesn't anybody care about workers rights?

Sean in Ottawa

Nope -- Not okay.

I understand his point but it does not make his point a good one. Even if everyone else crossed picket lines for example -- should the NDP?

If you do not beleive in it don't do it.

Send out an email for donations to compete if you want but don't bring in unpaid interns not ever.

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i can only hope he fixes this..and fast.

jerrym

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Nope -- Not okay.

I understand his point but it does not make his point a good one. Even if everyone else crossed picket lines for example -- should the NDP?

If you do not beleive in it don't do it.

Send out an email for donations to compete if you want but don't bring in unpaid interns not ever.

I agree totally.

 

WWWTT

Ken Burch wrote:

I get the point Boulerice is trying to make here...but it seems like this has the potential to backfire.

I understand also where Boulerice is coming from. 

Not really sure if you can go ahead and pay interns out of pocket due to political contribution laws?

And if you can’t then this would seriously hurt the NDP. 

Sean in Ottawa

WWWTT wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

I get the point Boulerice is trying to make here...but it seems like this has the potential to backfire.

I understand also where Boulerice is coming from. 

Not really sure if you can go ahead and pay interns out of pocket due to political contribution laws?

And if you can’t then this would seriously hurt the NDP. 

There is no law against paying them - it is about money. The point is about the competion not having to pay them so the NDP won't.

Unionist

Here's what I'd like to understand:

Quote:

Boulerice has an annual office budget of $382,150, according to the House of Commons Members’ Allowances and Services Manual.

And Boulerice was quoted saying:

Quote:

"If the law was passed, budgets would allow for paid internships."

So is he saying that because the law allows for unpaid employees, the budget limits are set artificially lower in consequence?

I'm not justifying his position. Unpaid labour is abhorrent - period. Just trying to understand it. I'll ask him - but he's a busy dude - I thought some of the deep thinkers here could help me decipher it first.

Sean in Ottawa

Unionist wrote:

Here's what I'd like to understand:

Quote:

Boulerice has an annual office budget of $382,150, according to the House of Commons Members’ Allowances and Services Manual.

And Boulerice was quoted saying:

Quote:

"If the law was passed, budgets would allow for paid internships."

So is he saying that because the law allows for unpaid employees, the budget limits are set artificially lower in consequence?

I'm not justifying his position. Unpaid labour is abhorrent - period. Just trying to understand it. I'll ask him - but he's a busy dude - I thought some of the deep thinkers here could help me decipher it first.

I think your assumptions are correct. He is saying that there is not enough money to run the offices and pay interns and that to try compromises the activity. He seems to want a level playing field and a recognition of the costs in the budgets.

I see the point but still think this is hypocritical. Positions of principle do often come with a heavy cost but that does not mean they are not worth it.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
There is no law against paying them - it is about money.

But evidently, two of the job ads indicate that the intern will not be paid due to HoC "rules". 

A casual read of that would imply that paying interns is somehow forbidden, not that the rules don't force all parties to pay interns and therefore the NDP chooses not to if the others won't.

Here's the line from the actual job ad, in case there's a subtlety of French that I would miss:

the ad wrote:
Rémunération

Stage non rémunéréen raison des règles de la Chambre des communes

Le NPD milite activementen faveur des stages rémunérés auprès du gouvernement fédéral.

Mighty Middle

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I think your assumptions are correct. He is saying that there is not enough money to run the offices and pay interns and that to try compromises the activity. He seems to want a level playing field and a recognition of the costs in the budgets.

The week he posted these intern jobs is the same week he was appointed Deputy Leader and Quebec Lieutenant for  the NDP - so he is being asked  to raise the profile of the NDP in Quebec and recruit candidates. Obviously he needs more staff to do so.

Problem is that all of these new duties Boulerice now has falls under the category of partisan party work - meaning taxpayers money cannot be used for the extra staff he needs to boost the NDPs profile in Quebec.

Which means the extra staff he needs to prepare the NDP (in Quebec) for the 2019 election, must come through donations. Right now they have no money, having mortgaged the NDP building and now on the hook for millions of dollars for the satellite offices.

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
There is no law against paying them - it is about money.

But evidently, two of the job ads indicate that the intern will not be paid due to HoC "rules". 

A casual read of that would imply that paying interns is somehow forbidden, not that the rules don't force all parties to pay interns and therefore the NDP chooses not to if the others won't.

Here's the line from the actual job ad, in case there's a subtlety of French that I would miss:

the ad wrote:
Rémunération

Stage non rémunéréen raison des règles de la Chambre des communes

Le NPD milite activementen faveur des stages rémunérés auprès du gouvernement fédéral.

according to rules that do not provide enough money.

I do not think that the NDP can justify this and this is effectively a self inflicted wound.

R.E.Wood

The optics are terrible. For NDP policy to be banning unpaid internships, but to turn around and hire unpaid interns because the law still allows for it is utter hypocrisy. Very disappointed that Boulerice would defend the practice.

brookmere

Boulerice has been criticized for seeking unpaid workers before. Last year, Le Soleil reported about an online backlash when he posted a job advertisement on Facebook for an unpaid photographer.

The more recent postings describe a range of job duties, such as implementing public relations strategy in the community and researching local issues, while two of them indicate the positions are unpaid because of House of Commons rules.

Heather Bradley, spokesperson for the Speaker of the House of Commons, said she is not aware of any rule that prevents MPs from paying interns or student trainees. Commons policy on employee remuneration says MPs can use their office budgets to pay workers but can’t hire immediate family members or a political party executive.

https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2019/03/14/ndp-deputy-leader-wa...

Disappointing as I think Boulerice is otherwise one of the better MPs. If he wants someone to work for free he should just ask for volunteers and not try to point fingers.  Also the NDP probably doesn't have the option of moving government funding from other constituencies to help him out. Isn't that the sort of thing that got the party in trouble a few years back?

Sean in Ottawa

The value of the salary is less than the value of the unpaid negative ad that has gone out. The NDP and Boulerice are showing very poor political judgement here even if you extract the principle of the matter.

swallow swallow's picture

According to the ad posted on Facebook and linked from the Star’s coverage, these stages are reserved for students who will receive course credit for them. Since they get academic credit they do not get paid. It tends to be one or the other (credit for a course or pay, but not both) in these things. This is a big issue among Quebec students who are trying to change that. 

lagatta4

Boulerice is my MP and I constantly receive requests for donations, probably because I worked on his campaigns twice, though I don't actualy belong to the NDP - too many policy differences, but I will support left candidates. The optics of this are terrible, although I see the point he is trying to make.

Pondering

Except he isn't making a point. He is the one with unpaid interns. If he wanted to make a point he should point at the unpaid interns of the other parties. This was not to make a point. It was to hire unpaid workers to save campaign money. 

The NDP has to rely on getting a lot farther with a lot less money. To do that they have to convince people that they really are different from the other parties. The NDP has to compete on ideas. I am again hopeful for Singh because I have been hearing the right things about income inequality but I hope that isn't reduced to the 15$ federal minimum wage thing.

AB needs to say he made a mistake. 

The NDP needs to focus on how the other parties make much more money in donations because on average their donors are wealthiest. The NDP serves the middle class, workers and the poor who don't have as much to spare for political donations. The wealthy deduct their contributions on their income taxes costing the government approximately X million dollars that has to be made up by other taxpayers. 

The government loses mony through giving tax breaks to people who donate to political parties. Instead of giving tax breaks the equivalent should be distributed through a per vote subsidy. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
according to rules that do not provide enough money.

Oh.  We call budgets "rules" now?  Is that some kind of translation thing or something?

Otherwise he's just saying what every skinflint employer says:  "we'd love to pay you but we just don't have the budget for it".

What "rule" forbade him from paying a photographer?  Damn Trudeau wouldn't give him another $400 this year?

WWWTT

I still like Boulerice despite this issue. I also believe that he, and the NDP for that matter are caught between a rock and a hard place. 

Lets face it, so called Canadian style western democracy is stacked against the middle lower income earners from effectively taking power. 

Best hope is that the NDP gets elected to form government federally