Two minutes of politics, March 15

- March 15th, 2012

Air Canada
The good news is: If you’re somewhere warm for March break scheduled to fly home on Air Canada, your return trip should go as planned. There will be no strike – the Conservative-controlled Parliament worked overtime Tuesday night to pass Bill C-33 into law, blocking both lock-out and strike at the airline.

Canada’s Labour Minister, Lisa Raitt, explained that “Canadians mandated our government to protect the Canadian economy and Canadian jobs, and grounded flights translate into lost opportunities for Canadian families and businesses.” She added that disrupted air services would “harm businesses and travelers alike.”

Rather predictably, unions don’t agree with this bill. They say it makes a mockery of collective bargaining rights. Winnipeg Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux says his party is also concerned with the public and the economy, but “support the concept of the free collective bargaining process” which he says the government doesn’t. No doubt he’s referring to previous back-to-work bills, including at Canada Post shortly after winning the election last year.

You know, unions and their political allies do have a point. It’s kind of silly to give unionized employees the right to strike only to slap unions threatening to strike with back-to-work legislation. I wish the government had the guts to go one step further and simply remove the right to strike for employees in industries that are deemed crucial to economic stability – or to stable public services.

Why not? The majority of us in the real, non-1970s world, manage to live full and rewarding lives without the right to strike. Well, I guess we do have a right to strike of sorts: We all have the right to quit our job if we’re really all that unhappy about it. What’s so special about airline pilots that they deserve the right to inconvenience customers?

No group of employees should be allowed to hold the rest of us hostage just because they’re unhappy with their working conditions. It’s an inane way to do business.

Categories: Two minutes of politics

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