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April 27th, 2021

REALITY CHECK: The Liberals have a short memory on the Charter

By drafting their special bill to force the dock workers at the Port of Montreal back to work, the Liberals are showing that they have a short memory, because they are forgetting a detail, a major one.

Let's refresh their memory with a crash course on Canadian constitutional law!

Embedded in the country's Constitution is what is known as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Liberals should be familiar with this document, as it was Trudeau Senior who inserted it into the Constitution in 1982.

But the document has evolved since then. The Supreme Court of Canada recognized in 2015 that the right to strike is "fundamental" and "constitutionally protected."

Justice Abella even wrote clearly in her ruling that "this collective action [a strike] at the moment of impasse is an affirmation of the dignity and autonomy of employees in their working lives," and that "the right to strike also promotes equality in the bargaining process".

If the Liberals decide to go ahead with their back-to-work bill, they are denying workers the very affirmation of their dignity and the right to a fair bargaining process. They are clearly tipping the scales in favour of the employers.

How then can the Prime Minister try to sell us this when he is about to kill negotiations with his special bill?

"We do not believe in political interference at the bargaining table, on either side, unlike the two parties opposite. We will continue to respect the capacity to do collective bargaining at the table. We hope all parties reach the right settlement"- Justin Trudeau House of Commons, October 31 2018.

Does he think Canadians are a bunch of fools?

The Liberals will have to understand that the Charter is not a document that we can decide to respect whenever we want. The rights enshrined in it are inalienable, period.

Canadians deserve better.