Alberta unions won’t be fooled by O’Toole’s soothing words on unions

Conservative Leader O’Toole only wants union votes, but Party is deeply anti-union

EDMONTON - Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan sent a letter to Erin O’Toole, reminding him the labour movement has not forgotten the anti-union and anti-worker policies of the Conservative Party of Canada and points out O’Toole’s party shares the same bad policies as Jason Kenney and the UCP when it comes to unions.

“Alberta unions and workers should not be fooled by Erin O’Toole’s recent feel-good platform announcements. O’Toole hasn’t changed the Conservative Party. He hasn’t even put a fresh coat of paint on it. The party he leads, the Conservative Party of Canada, has not changed Harper-era policies designed to undermine and ultimately neutralize the labour movement,” says McGowan.

“I wrote this letter to Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole because the Alberta labour movement knows that the heart and soul of his party is anti-union. It is hypocritical and infuriating when he says a few nice things about the importance of unions, or has one or two window-dressing policies, when the party he leads passed policies that fundamentally undermine labour,” says McGowan.

In McGowan’s letter, he points to O’Toole’s past support of Harper legislation: “As a Member of Parliament, you voted in favour of Bill C-377, which would have required unions to disclose financial information (including strike funds) in painful detail, and Bill C-525, which would have made it more difficult for workers to unionize. So far, you have refused to explain your support of these Conservative anti-union bills.”

Last year, Jason Kenney passed Bill 32, which “brought big government intrusion into unions’ internal affairs by disrupting how unions choose to allocate dues. Jason Kenney’s goal is to interfere in unions’ robust system of internal democracy by undermining leadership and workers’ decisions to engage in political activism,” McGowan writes.

“The Conservative Party of Canada believes that union dues for political action should be optional, despite union members democratically electing leadership and participating in decision making. The goal of this is the same for the Conservative Party of Canada as it is for Jason Kenney: to get unions out of activism so that employers can more freely reduce wages, benefits and working conditions.”

“Working people in Alberta know that unions are one of the only effective counterbalances to corporate power that we have. We know that by working together, we are stronger and we build more resilient and prosperous communities,” says McGowan. “Given O’Toole’s voting record, the policy record of the party he leads, and his silence when it comes to condemning Jason Kenney’s anti-union laws, I can only conclude that Conservative Leader O’Toole cannot be trusted.

“This election, the Alberta Federation of Labour recommends to its members that they look beyond O’Toole’s campaign performance. A vote for O’Toole’s Conservative Party is a vote against the interests of working people.”


Ramona Franson
Director of Communications, AFL
[email protected]