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May 26th, 2013

Justice Minister approved anti-union bill that breaches the constitution

Introduced as a Private Member’s bill, C-377 was approved by the upper levels of the Conservative government

Introduced in the House of Commons as a Private Member’s bill, it now turns out that the anti-union Bill C-377 had the direct support of the Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson.

“Conservatives underhandedness in this matter is very upsetting,” argued NDP Labour critic Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont--La Petite-Patrie). “While they pretended this legislation was simply a Private Member’s bill, it is now clear it came from the upper echelons of the Conservative government. Even worse, the attorney general has shown that he is willing to look the other way when the government’s anti-union vendetta violates the Constitution.”

Testifying before the Senate trade and commerce committee, Conservative MP Russ Hiebert admitted that the attorney general personally advised Hiebert on the constitutionality of the bill, even though previous committee testimony revealed that the bill likely violates both freedom of expression and assembly rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as the jurisdiction of powers within the Constitution.

Conservatives enacted Bill C-377 despite the fact that New Democrats, unions, investment firms, and the Canadian Bar Association had expressed serious concerns with the legislation.