Union vows to campaign against Harper

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Photo: flickr/Sean Connors

The union that represents professional public sector employees announced that it will deviate from its long-held policy of neutrality to oppose Harper in the upcoming federal elections.

In a special statement released last week, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) board of directors declared that Harper's policies have created "an exceptional circumstance that requires an exceptional response."

PIPSC represents most of the federal government's scientists as well as other professionals, who have been deeply affected by research cutbacks made by the Conservative government.

Statistics Canada reports that in the past 5 years, a total of $596 million has been cut from science and technology budgets at federal organizations, and over 2,000 jobs have been eliminated. Though cuts have occurred in research departments across the board, Environment Canada, the National Research Council, Fisheries and Oceans have all suffered severely.

The Treasury Board of Canada has started negotiations with all 27 bargaining units in the core public administration. Of the 7 bargaining units represented by PIPSC, all but one of the contracts has already expired.

As PIPSC begins contract negotiations with the federal government for most of its 55,000 members, the union has declared that it cannot maintain its neutrality when faced with the Conservative's blatant anti-unionism exhibited through bills such as C-377, C-525, and C-4.

Delegates from across Canada attending the Institute's 95th Annual General Meeting in Ottawa agreed to "take all necessary action to ensure that Canadians are aware of what is at stake in federal public service collective bargaining and in the upcoming federal election in 2015," "energetically defend and promote federal public services and expose the damage this Conservative government has done to these in the run-up to and during the next federal election campaign," and "undertake all necessary planning, training and preparation to ensure that our membership is ready for job action."

"This government has forced non-partisan organizations such as ours to make a very difficult choice: to remain silent or to speak out," said PIPSC President Debi Daviau in a press release. "We have chosen to speak out."

Ella Bedard is rabble.ca's labour intern. She has written about labour issues for Dominion.ca and the Halifax Media Co-op and is the co-producer of the radio documentary The Amelie: Canadian Refugee Policy and the Story of the 1987 Boat People. She now lives in Toronto where she enjoys chasing the labour beat, biking and birding.

Photo: flickr/Sean Connors

Further Reading

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.