The Duel – 24hrs, Vancouver Edition

Heads up for all my readers to pick up a copy  of 24hrs Vancouver edition tomorrow, where I go head to head with Kathryn Marshall on  this week’s topic:

Is Bill C-377 good for Canada’s union members?

My column:

Kathryn’s column:

Who wins the battle this week? You be the judge : submit your comments below the article or email in 150 word or less at

Conservatives passed new disclosure requirements to hamper Canada’s unions

Laila Yuile, Guest Columnist

Sunday, December 16, 2012

This week’s topic: Is Bill C-377 good for Canada’s union members?

Last week, those benevolent Conservative members of Parliament bestowed an early Christmas gift on organized labour in this country — or so they would like you to believe.

Bill C-377, a private member’s bill drafted by Tory backbencher Russ Hiebert, was passed in the House of Commons and with it the requirement that unions publicly disclose how they spend their members’ dues. Detailed reports will now have to be submitted to Revenue Canada yearly — a costly venture for taxpayers and unions alike. The information will subsequently be posted online and available to the general public.

Labour Minister Lisa Raitt declared it was all out of concern for those Canadian union workers who — thanks to those altruistic Tories — will now have the information they need to make informed decisions before casting ballots in union elections. Seriously, I think I saw a tear in her eye.

Now let’s talk a little reality.

I support financial transparency in member-based organizations, in particular those that collect fees. Members should know where money is going and how it is being spent. However, I know from being in a family where nearly everyone is a unionized forestry worker, that the vast majority of unions already make their financial statements available to their members. There are even a number of provincial labour codes to support this across Canada.

Because of this, it seems to me that the Conservative government is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. The Tories didn’t target any other associations or organizations that collect dues, such as medical associations or law societies. They only targeted unions. This bill is about two things — hampering organized labour in this country and hindering the New Democratic Party, which has always been backed by union support.

Unions are closed organizations, and therefore financial transparency should be a concern limited to members — publicly posting financial information does nothing to serve the membership.

It does however, give  more than a few strategic advantages to corporations during union contract negotiations;to corporations who don’t want their employees to unionize, and to the Conservatives who will be able to see where and how the unions who support the NDP, are spending their money.

Indeed, if the Conservatives are so concerned about Canadians needing the right information to make the right decisions when casting election ballots, they might want to try legislating some financial transparency of their own.

Read Kathryn Marshall’s column.

Laila Yuile is an independent writer, blogger and political commentator.

Bits and Bites – Thursday July 23nd, 2009

*** updated 11 am, July 23rd-

Colin Hansen just announced that on July 1st, 2010, the BC government will “harmonize” the PST we pay with the Federal GST– in other words, they are going to combine the two taxes into one charge on your purchases. Read the press release HERE.  What does this mean for you ?

Currently, these are the items exempt from PST in BC, among them are: food items, drugs and medicine. Under the new combined sales tax, it appears that you will likely be paying more tax at the grocery store and in other areas, while some exemptions will remain. Oddly enough, although  the presser accentuates the virtues of the combined tax and how it is going to help us all, it goes on to mention that a credit will be issued to low income families to offset any impact the new tax will have. Meaning, this new tax will only turn out to be a good thing for the government.

Long story short ? Campbell just raised the axe again  and slashed again — in your wallets.


You know what makes running every morning at 5 am fun? Getting to see the sunrise over the hill and  feeling that cool morning air wash over me as I run. Try it, you might like it. You don’t have to run, you can walk, but just once this week, get up at 4: 45 am, get your workout gear on and head out the door to catch that sunrise. I promise you won’t regret it.

Every once in a while you read something that just blows your mind, and the first item up this morning did just that. An Ontario woman is campaigning AGAINST universal health care in the United States!! Yes, she is warning everyone- on behalf of an American organization against universal health care –  that she would have died from a growth near her brain if she had waited to be treated here in Canada. Not happy with her wait time to see a specialist, she re-mortgaged her house and flew to the US for treatment. 

Now, Ujjal Dosanjh is running around doing damage control on American and Canadian stations, telling them that yes, sometimes we do have issues, but overall it is a far better system.  You know, I feel for this woman, I really do, but has she really thought about what she is doing? Is she aware what happens to far too many people in the US? Has she ever watched SICKO? We might have our issues, but the system here is still far better than down there.

“Not only has the criminal justice system failed my beautiful child; they have failed all of you, all Canadian citizens. There is nothing there to protect you.” These words from Sandra Martin-Toner, the mother of Matthew Martin who was killed at the age of 16, in cold blood, at Surrey Central skytrain station in 2005. She was referring to the decision to allow Katherine Quinn out on bail while she awaits a new trial after her second degree murder conviction was over turned because the judge had erred in his instructions to the previous jury.  I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – it is time to hold our judges accountable by electing them. No more appointments, elect them all so they have to answer to the public.  Quinn, a mother of three, must remain in her parents home and is not allowed to leave except for doctor visits and court appearances. Makes me wonder how they plan to make sure she actually does this – like, is this the honour system here?  My thoughts are with Matthews mom and family this morning – may you all find the strength to see this through again.

In another development, Justice Thomas Braidwood is going to announce some preliminary findings today from the inquiry into the use of tasers by RCMP in Robert Dziekanskis death in 2007. CBC is reportingthat ” the announcement will deal only with “the use of conducted energy weapons by law enforcement agencies in B.C.,” but …may also include recommendations for severe restrictions on the use of the devices. ” Yes, take away those tasers. Cops survived decades without them, and can continue on that way in my opinion. Solicitor General Kash Heed is expected to hold a press conference immediately after the announcement to respond to the contents of the report.

( speaking of Kash Heed, looks like he never heard of the phrase: ” Loose lips sink ships…” )  

Much like our dear premier though, he usually refuses to comment on anything. Is there some sort of Liberal boot camp where new politicians get schooled on the art of obfuscating and stone walling?

 The weather is hot, but things might get a lot hotter on River Road in Delta today, where protesters plan to block the demolition of houses to make way for South Fraser Perimeter Road construction. Contrary to the Liberals mantra to reduce greenhouse gases, a report by the Livable Region Coalition found that the Gateway project would  actually increase provincial emissions by 30%!  “The BC government’s freeway expansion schemes are completely at odds with their own provincial greenhouse gas reduction targets,” says Surrey resident Tom Jaugelis. “Our planet is facing a climate crisis and the wasteful Gateway project will only make it worse.”

The project will pave over 75 homes in Delta and  portions of Burns Bog, in addition to acres of some of the best farmland in BC. The protest will start at 6:30 am at 10253 River Road in Delta. Details at

Enbridge will be responding to the questions of Kitimat resident Murray Minchin, as I recently detailed in this post : Here is the rather anonymous response I received from someone at the Northern Gateway office:

Dear Laila,
Thank you for your email. We also received Murray’s letter as he forwarded
it to us last Friday. I have passed it on to Roger Harris as well as
Steven Greenaway, VP of Public and Government Affairs. They have
acknowledged receipt and will respond. I have also forwarded your email to
them today.

Thank you for your interest in the project Laila, we will be in touch soon.

Enbridge Northern Gateway

You see? They are actually thanking me for my interest in their project.( Which means I’m likely on a list on some PR guys desk in Texas with a big red bullseye on it.) Oddly enough though, National Public Relationshas been visiting the site again, which means either I’m somebodies work assignment or they just really like me…. hehe.

I’m thinking things must be getting a little hot for the Premier right now, and I’m not referring to the heat… no sirreee.  He’s slashed student aid, cut back on health and who knows what else is headed our way- but the biggest question everyone has for him is still: ” WHO ORDERED THE DESTRUCTION OF THOSE EMAILS ?”  I’m guessing Gordon Campbell is  ” Under Pressure” like never before …

Keep it cool everyone !

Runners rock

A remarkable thing happened today during my morning run. I was waiting for the light to change at an intersection, nearing the last km of my near 10km run, sucking it up bigtime because I’ve ramped up the distance /frequency in the last two weeks, and by the end of my running week, it’s just damn tough at times. I’m leaning over, pacing my breathing, and I hear a voice hollering, so I look to see whats going on. A woman in a mini-van, shouts to me ” Keep it up, you’re looking good and just don’t forget why you are doing it!”….. then drives away as the light changes. Wow.

To be honest, those kind words from a total stranger, came at exactly the right moment, and I suddenly got my second wind and booked it all the way  back home, and then some. You see, sometimes when I’m out running, and I’m hurting, or its freaking hot and I feel like dying, I question why the hell I torture myself. I feel like I’m never going to hit my goal , and that maybe I’m kidding myself, or whatever, and that’s when little things that make all the difference really  do help – like the words shouted out by a total stranger today. She must have been a runner too, and saw the look in my face  everyone feels at times.

It’s not the first time something like this has happened at exactly the right time. I’m inspired to continue by others I see, or meet, and those who have stopped me on the street to chat about our progress.

To the lady in the burgandy van  today – thank you . You got me home in record speed~

I’m Laila Yuile, and this is how I see it.