Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich — Gulf Islands, issued the following statement earlier today regarding the Harper Conservatives threat to use back-to-work legislation and force employees of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) to end their legal strike:
“The Harper Conservatives continually claim that they stand up for the interests of Canadians, however, time and time again they have trampled on workers’ rights to fulfill their corporate agenda. The introduction of back-to-work legislation is another clear example of whose side Stephen Harper is really on — and it isn’t with Canada’s workers.
“Blaming the TCRC, as Labour Minister Kellie Leitch has done, rather than staying neutral, illustrates her complete lack of knowledge and expertise in labour relations. After negotiations broke down, Minister Leitch quickly put the blame solely on the union, but not a word was mentioned about any responsibility that Canadian Pacific management may have in the failure to come to an agreement. Minister Leitch has shown her bias and failed in her duty to act fairly — she should step aside immediately and let the democratic process of negotiations continue.
“I believe that more and more hard-working Canadians have decided that the pendulum has swung too far in favour of the corporate agenda. This government is totally onside with corporations and clearly against creating a fair, secure, healthy and safe work environment in the interest of all Canadians.
“The introduction of back-to-work legislation will not address this problem; it will only make it worse. Thus, I ask Minister Leitch: When will you finally stand up for Canadian workers?”
“Canadian Pacific’s affluence was a gift from Sir John A. McDonald and Canada,” added Bruce Hyer, Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay Superior-North. “It is long overdue that they treat Canadians with the respect and fairness that we deserve. It is also overdue that our Conservative government stand up for rail workers…and all workers across Canada. The conservative attacks on unions are unjustified from a government that professes to believe in free markets.”