Bill C-38 is no ordinary piece of legislation. It is a full frontal assault on Canadian institutions and Canadian workers. That point is made this morning by two men from opposite ends of the political spectrum. Andrew Coyne writes that Parliament is defending its vital interests:
It should be noted it is not only the opposition’s interests that are being defended here. It is Parliament’s. Were MPs on the government side more mindful of their responsibilities they would be as vigilant in its defence as the opposition. So while there is a strong element of partisanship in all this, there is also a vital question of principle; though the opposition parties may be accused of past acquiescence or even participation in some of the abuses of which they now complain, that does not preclude them from discovering their backbones now. It may look tedious, even inane — all those MPs bobbing up and down in their place as their names are called, hour after hour after hour — but let us not succumb to cynicism: They are bobbing for democracy.
However, the opposition parties are defending more than democracy. They are defending working Canadians. The bill, writes Ed Broadbent, shows that Stephen Harper is no pragmatist. He is a radical who has Canadian workers in his sights:
So what is Harper up to? Why does Flaherty say any job is a good job? The message to Canadians is that you are lucky to have a job and don’t expect too much. The message to employers is that you can continue to drive down wages, even more so for women, racial minorities and foreign workers.
The Conservatives have reinforced those provisions by attacking the fundamental right of workers to strike in areas of federal jurisdiction. This right is recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the two principal Covenants to which Canada has committed itself. It is a right fought for and won by an earlier generation of Canadians. Canada is being reshaped in an ideological direction reminiscent of the 1920s.
Th Conservatives claim that their budget is about "Jobs and Growth." It is about neither. It is about concentrating power in the cabinet. And, in the Harper government, that means concentrating power in the hands of one man. Stephen Harper can only do that if he cripples the institutions and the people who stand in his way.