Politics
Outrage after union rep compares Harper to Hitler

Credits: YouTube screen grab.

JESSICA HUME | QMI AGENCY

OTTAWA — Union opposition to a bill proposing to force them to disclose detailed financial information was expected. But no one saw it coming when Humberto DaSilva, a Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) representative, took to YouTube to criticize the bill by comparing Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Adolf Hitler, calling on Canadians to stand up to the government or else "shut up and wait for your boxcar."

Bill C-377 proposes to force unions to disclose information on their spending to membership and to the public.

"In 1933 Hitler said we must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison," DaSilva said in the video posted Thursday. "Now Bill C-377 will start the process of confiscating union funds and criminalizing union work."

Tory MP Pierre Poilievre, a harsh critic of unions' lax financial reporting obligations, was taken aback by what he saw.

"The contents of this video are disgusting and have no place in our society," he said. "CUPE should disclose to workers if any of their mandatory dues were spent on this hateful video."

Despite being against the bill, union boss Gary Corbett distanced himself from the video and DaSilva - "I don't know the guy."

"Bill-377 is bad news on many fronts," Corbett said. "But there's a lot in that video I personally wouldn't have gone to."

Even NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice, who previously worked for CUPE, was perturbed.

"It's preposterous, it's ridiculous and it's absurd," Boulerice said. "When you say things like that you take yourself out of the rational debate. And this is not welcome, because it has the possibility to derail the discussion we really need to have about this bill."

Frank Dimant, CEO of the Jewishadvocacy group B'Nai Brith Canada, said: "The Holocaust is not a proverbial tool to be bandied about whenever people have political disagreements."

The private member's bill is making its way through the House of Commons.

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