Mulcair disses anti-union bill in TV interview

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair speaks to the media after caucus out at Parliament Hill in Ottawa Dec 12, 2012.



OTTAWA - NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair says a Conservative backbencher's bill to force unions to disclose how they spend their money is little more than a bone being thrown to the right-wing base of the Conservative and has little success of surviving a court challenge.

In a wide-ranging year-end one-on-one interview to be broadcast Thursday at 6 p.m. ET on Sun News Network, Mulcair's dismissed the bill, brought forward by BC Conservative MP Russ Hiebert, to force more transparency and accountability in Canada's unions.

"What (Hiebert's bill) is about is trying to make life difficult for organized labour in Canada. Let's be transparent about that," Mulcair says in the interview.

The bill passed the House of Commons Wednesday night.

"It's patently illegal so it'll take a while to wend its way through the courts. It'll be expensive. It'll be time consuming but it will eventually be thrown out by the courts.

"You can't just roll back 50 years of rights as defined and 30 years of charter rights as defined," Mulcair said. "What they're trying to do is a send a message - a coded messgae to their Reform party base: 'This is what we would love to do but we're being held back'."

In the interview Mulcair said the NDP is proud of its long history working with Canada's unions.

"The NDP has fought to remove inequalities in our society which has meant we've been close partners with the labour movement," Mulcair said. "That's not necessarily a question of unions, big or small.

"It's a question of better rights for all workers and that's what we've always fought for and will continue to fight for."

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