Sunday, February 9, 2014

With Apologies, Another Post On Tim Hudak

I have to admit that I grow increasingly tired of and bored with young Tim Hudak, the boy who would be Ontario's next premier. Yet because his duplicitous tactics and rhetoric provide such a window into the sordid world of Conservative politics, sometimes I just hold my nose and plod on. But I promise to be brief.

In this morning's Star, Martin Regg Cohn examines Hudak's oft-repeated plan to bring 'workplace democracy' to Ontario, i.e., make union membership optional. Says Tim:

“We will change Ontario’s labour laws to give union members more flexibility and a greater voice. We will give all individuals the right to a secret ballot in certification votes. We will introduce paycheque protection so union members are not forced to pay fees towards political causes they don’t support.”

Such a touching concern for the sensibility of workers, to which he adds:

“Modernizing our labour laws is a part of that [bringing manufacturing jobs back to Ontario]. Makes it more attractive for jobs. Thatcher was instructive in that … they had rigid labour laws, they were deep in debt. She ended the closed shop, she modernized the labour laws.”

Assuming a rudimentary reasoning capacity just slightly beyond that of a toddler, one can fill in the details that young Tim withholds as to why making union-membership optional might, in theory, attract more jobs. No, it's not because a worker given the choice of union membership is a happier and more productive worker - without a union, he is a much cheaper worker, a reality at odds with Hudak's promise of one million good-paying jobs for Ontario.

What about the political machinations going on behind the scenes? In a party that has grave concerns about its leadership, those Progressive Conservatives who will likely run in the next election are concerned about how to best massage the message. The following, from The Hamilton Spectator, offers some insight into the sordid, morally-compromised world these people inhabit:

Internal memo shows concern over Hudak's 'right-to-work' plan

Alarm over Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak's controversial "right-to-work" policy is spreading among party activists, MPPs and increasingly skittish new candidates.

In an unusually candid memo obtained by The Toronto Star, 11 would-be MPPs express concern that Hudak's U.S.-style anti-union measures could hurt them in a provincial election expected as early as spring.

Echoing fears raised in a Jan. 22 conference call of 300 party stalwarts and earlier by MPP John O'Toole at last September's Tory convention, the candidates worry that radical labour reforms will be a tough sell to voters.

"Part of being smarter means we should recognize that campaign policies need to be flexible in order to allow for the type (of) precision needed to maximize regional support," says the draft memo, written by Timiskaming-Cochrane Tory hopeful Peter Politis with input from the 10 other Northern Ontario nominees.

"I'm sure we agree that messaging of policies and being prepared for the counter-message is the most important aspect of our campaign going forward," he writes.

Politis warns that "critical wedge issues" must be "messaged effectively in order to maximize the impact in our region while not hurting the impact of other PC seats in other regions."

"The 'right-to-work' policy also needs to be messaged effectively to maximize its impact in the south without sacrificing 11 seats in the North that can very well be the difference between a majority or minority government."

The candidates' memo is the latest sign of an internal PC schism over a pledge to eliminate the Rand Formula, which requires all workers in a unionized workplace to pay dues, regardless of whether they join the union.

Harking back to the party's heyday, the PC standard bearers urge Hudak to follow the centrist footsteps of former premier Bill Davis, who governed from 1971 until 1985 and remains popular to this day.

It is perhaps a testament to the character of the candidates that their concern over Tim's union-busting policy is prompted, not by principled objections but rather political expediency, i.e., "How can a union-busting promise be presented without damaging our chances of getting elected?"

Such is the stable from which the Progressive Conservatives draw.


  1. At least the Ontario Conservatives appear to have misgivings about their leader, Lorne. Would that the federal Conservatives had the same misgivings.

    1. Agreed, Owen. Unfortunately, however, their misgivings pertain only to Hudak's electability, not his policies.

  2. Tiresome as you may find him, Lorne, I think it's important to keep countering his words. These folks speak nicely and too many people don't examine what they hear to find the meaning.

    1. You are, of course, right, Karen. We have to keep countering the misinformation these people like to spread at every opportunity.