Monday, October 02, 2023

Walking the Walk

Pierre Poilievre claims he's a friend of the working man. But he doesn't like workers when they're on a picket line. Linda McQuaig writes:

The Conservative leader fumes relentlessly about today’s “affordability” crisis, and he correctly points out that workers are struggling to pay for groceries, rent, mortgages, etc.

Yet he seems confused about what actions workers should take to ease their affordability problems — other than voting for him.

In fact, the proven most effective way for workers to increase their pay and improve their working conditions hasn’t been to vote Conservative but rather to join a union and, when necessary, go on strike.

Still, despite the success of unions in increasing their workers’ pay — unionized workers in Canada have received on average about $5 more per hour than non-unionized workers over the past decade — Poilievre has never seen much merit in unions. Indeed, he’s sided with corporate interests that have persistently acted to suppress unions.

In 2012, when Poilievre was a young parliamentary secretary, he pushed hard for Canada to adopt notorious “right-to-work” laws, which are favoured by corporations because they undermine unions. Barack Obama famously described them as being about “the right to work for less.”

Back then, the bespectacled Poilievre was a far-right political gadfly. His support for “right-to-work” laws — which originated in the U.S. South to weaken unions and their efforts to promote a cross-racial brotherhood of workers — was regarded as too extreme by even the staunchly anti-labour Harper government.

Today, the smoothed-down, done-over Poilievre is less overtly waging class war on behalf of the corporate elite. Instead of focusing on crushing unions, he now presents himself as battling the more neutral-sounding “affordability crisis.”

That's quite a contrast with Joe Biden, who last week joined a picket line in Michigan. Poilievre has a hard time talking the talk. And he's incapable of walking the walk.

Image: France 24



Trailblazer said...

Poilievre is a career politician ; his mentor Steven Harper was a little better in that he worked in the mail room of an oil company!
This tells us lots about the quality of today's Conservatives.

Politics has become a battleground of the charismatic , the headline makers those that have little substance.
In the day of facebook likes and two thumbs up this is, unfortunately, a winning formulae.
With the use of AI the situation is bound to become far worse!


Owen Gray said...

Gravitas doesn't matter anymore, TB.

Hels said...

I am writing as much as I can just now about the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919, and find that nothing much has changed in your description of Pierre Poilievre's anti-workers movement and pro- Right To Work laws.

Poverty, inflation, disease, unemployment and fear of immigrants' politics damaged workers and their families in Winnipeg in particular, and then elsewhere in Canada. The only unique aspect of the 1919 strike was that those soldiers who survived WW1 were dishonoured back in Canada and not given jobs.

I despair.

Owen Gray said...

Unions are about sharing wealth, hels. The ability to share wealth makes an economy work. Poilievre wants to burn it down.

Northern PoV said...

Winnipeg General Strike in 1919 ...

and now another ray of sunshine briefly illuminates Manitoba.

Go Wab!

Owen Gray said...

It's an historic day in Manitoba, PoV.

jrkrideau said...

”That's quite a contrast with Joe Biden, who last week joined a picket line in Michigan.

I was not impressed. Biden has no power in this fight. Where he did, in the railway strike he sided with management.

Owen Gray said...

Point well taken, jrk. But it's clear where his sympathies lie. Just as it's clear where Poilievre's sympathies lie.