On Openness

The labour unions in Canada are screaming about a bill which would potentially allow workers to opt out of paying union dues. There is merit to their position that this could reduce membership, and is aimed at weakening their bargaining power.

In the same bill is a provision that unions would have to publish their finances: how much they collect, and how they spend it, how much they retain, invest, whatever. There are howls of outrage against this as an invasion of ? what? privacy of special interests? What could the union possibly be doing with the money that they are ashamed, or afraid, for us to know about?

Meanwhile, the aboriginal showdown against bill C-45 continues. I agree that the omnibus bill makes environmental damage easier to get away with, makes assessments go away in too many cases, and is (with its some 70 changes to federal statutes) and affront to democracy. I agree with Chief Spence and am sorry that a hunger strike is needed to get things fixed in Attawapiskat.

At the same time, the aboriginals seem ready to go to the wall to prevent their fincances from becoming a matter of public record. Why not? A lot of money goes into each reserve, and conditions don’t seem to improve.

Now for the dumb questions:

in each case, why is the funding and spending held secret? Could it be that with visibility comes accountability?

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