Yesterday, (June 8, 2007) the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that collective bargaining for unionized workers in Canada is a Charter Right (full text decision available here).
In a six to one (6-1) decision Canada's highest court ruled that the actions of the right-wing Gordon Campbell B.C. government violated the constitutional right of workers in that province. The Court ruled that the stripping away of workers rights and the cancelling of various provisions of duly signed collective agreements by Campbell's government was unconstitutional and violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The mainstream media is buzzing with commentary. A listing of articles is set out below.
What's equally fascinating around this particular matter is that it is the same B.C. Cabinet Minister, Colin Hansen, who was in charge of the B.C. Health Portfolio in 2002 when this happened - who is now in charge of implementing and ramming through an anti-democratic B.C./Alberta trade scheme known as TILMA.
Various news reports illustrate that during the time when the right-wing B.C. government was firing (predominately female) health care workers and/or cutting their wages in half it was Colin Hansen who is quoted as saying "We cherish consultation". The truth of the matter is - workers were never consulted about the B.C. government plan to wipe away their rights, cut their wages and cancel their agreements, and the Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged that. Just like no one has been consulted around B.C. and Alberta's TILMA scheme which was signed in secret, in the back rooms.
And the man who wants to be Premier in Saskatchewan - Brad Wall - is saying he wanted to be in those back rooms. Cutting that anti-democratic deal (TILMA) with Campbell and Alberta's Ralph Klein. That's the kind of government Wall idolizes, and constantly sings praises about. He said within the last two weeks that he wants to have "joint cabinet meetings with B.C. and Alberta". To whose benefit? To violate the constitutional and charter rights of other citizens in this province, and this country?
This is the same man (Wall) who has acknowledged (on John Gormley's show) that he will "Go to War" with workers if he becomes Premier.
In "Going to War" with workers what will he do? Will he rip up collective agreements? Will he fire health care workers and cut their wages in half? Will he sign sweet-heart deals with governments who violate working peoples' constitutional and charter rights? Will he sign on to trade schemes that attack the democratic rights of citizens, and strip away authority of municipal governments to act in the interests of their communities?
A list of articles on the Supreme Court Decision:
Campbell Government Violated Charter Rights: Supreme Court [The Tyee]
Collective bargaining now a Charter right [The Hamilton Spectator]
Court ruling 'Major victory for working people' [The Edmonton Journal]
Liberal arrogance gives unions a big win [The Times-Colonist]
Court tears up B.C. labour law [Canada.com]
Unions hail ruling as 'tremendous victory' [The Globe and Mail]
Collective bargaining rights protected under the charter, top court rules [Canada.com]
Campbell Liberals stung as high court creates a new right for labour [The Vancouver Sun]
Court ruling should force both sides to bargain in good faith [The Vancouver Sun]
Ruling may impact other contracts [The Vancouver Sun]
Top Court condemns ripping up contracts [The Vancouver Sun]
Nurses call court ruling good news [The Daily News]
Collective bargaining upheld as a 'right' [Canada.com]
Canada's high court hands victory to public unions [Reuters]
Charter protects bargaining, Supreme Court rules [The Globe and Mail]
Big win for unions as ruling says bargaining protected [CBC]
Supreme Court ruling opens the way to Ontario farm worker unions [UFCW]
Labour demands that Campbell recall Legislature to repeal Bill 29 in wake of Supreme Court ruling upholding bargaining rights [BCFL]
Supreme Court strikes down Bill 29 provisions in landmark ruling [HEU-CUPE]
Supreme Court of Canada ruling on Bill 29 – what does it mean? [HEU-CUPE]
Supreme Court ruling on Bill 29 ‘an historic win for labour’—CUPE BC [CUPE]
Supreme Court of Canada says collective bargaining protected by Charter [CUPE]
Collective bargaining rights protected under charter, top court says [Times Colonist]
Supreme Court says Collective Bargaining Right Protected by Charter [Canadian Labour Congress]