Ontario Lobby Firm Trades Principles for Dollars

If you had to put a value on your principles, what would it be?  How much money would it take for you to turn your back on everything you believe in and have been working towards?

Recently, a conservative lobby firm named Crestview did just that.  During the recent Ontario provincial election, Crestview’s founder, Mark Spiro was campaign manager for Conservative leader, Tim Hudak.  Today, Crestview is the registered lobbyist for U.S labours giant AFL-CIO and the Canadian Building and Construction Trades Council.

What is particularly troubling about the business dealings between Crestview and the largest and most powerful union in the U.S. and Canada is that it was those very unions who robbed Tim Hudak – and by extension Spiro – of his election win.  They did this by painting Tim Hudak as a dangerous right winger who would destroy the lives of workers and families.   The infamous “Working Families Coalition” which is a coalition of Ontario unions and hardcore left wingers, spent between $7 and $10 million on advertising before and during the campaign to ensure their good friend, Dalton McGuinty held onto power.

And now the unions have hired Crestview to help them stop Bill C-377, which would force unions to publically disclose their finances and expose these types of campaigns, which are financed by the mandatory union dues of their members.

While Crestview says it’s a multi-partisan firm and they are certainly free to take on any client they wish, most principled conservatives I’ve talked to find this particular business transaction shocking and disturbing.  I personally think that Crestview has sold its soul to the highest bidder and find the whole thing appalling.

Here in Alberta, the union movement has a history of working against conservatives much like they do in Ontario.  During the 2008 election, they attacked Premier Stelmach and the PC Party through nasty ads.  Those American style attack ads were brought to Albertans by a group that called themselves “Albertans for Change”, which as it turns out was a coalition of Alberta unions.

Many people in Alberta know my views about these types of attack ads, which are paid for by mandatory union dues.   Most people also know that I am a very active supporter of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta.  I wear my passions on my sleeve and always stood up for the conservative principles I so strongly believe in.  I for one would never, ever even consider working for the organized labour movement and that’s why I find it so hard to believe that Crestview sold itself out.

How much would you sell your principles for?  My values are definitely NOT for sale … but maybe that’s just me?


2 thoughts on “Ontario Lobby Firm Trades Principles for Dollars

  1. Mine aren’t either, which is why I would never work for many of the groups with which you are associated. On the other hand, I don’t think people need to worry that organized labour will be offering you employment or that Merit will come a head hunting for me.

    I think you have misrepresented Bill Bill C-377. For more information on this see http://www.una.ab.ca/news/archive/BillC377 or http://www.workersbuildcanada.ca/

    Finally – good use of oxymoron in the ante antepenultimate paragraph

  2. By the sound of it, Crestview isn’t doing anything unprincipled, but is merely looking out for its own economic interests by representing a paying client. This isn’t so different from what the Merit Contractors do, is it? Their anti-union campaign, after all, isn’t about principles, but about giving member companies an unfair advantage in competition with unionized contractors.

    Be that as it may, the fact Crestview stands accused of “painting Tim Hudak as a dangerous right winger who would destroy the lives of workers and families” sounds to me like what is known in law as a “fair comment.” That is, a comment supporting a conclusion that a reasonable person could reach based on provable facts. That doesn’t mean every reasonable person must reach that conclusion, only that one could. What we know about Mr. Hudak and his platform and attitudes supports this conclusion.

    As for Bill C-377, the intention is in the details and the details of this likely unconstitutional piece of legislation pretty clearly show it is designed to harass unions, cost them tens of thousands of hours and dollars, and put them at a disadvantage in negotiations with corporations (and secretive employer-supported lobby groups like the Merit Contractors) that are not held to the same reporting standards even though they benefit from huge publicly supported tax breaks, do business with the government and gain from many other mandatory subsidies from taxpayers.

    If this level of reporting is deemed appropriate by the state, surely it should be applied to the aforementioned groups, not to mention think tanks and other charities with a political agenda, as well as labour organizations? Of course, Bill C-377 does no such thing because its goal is to make it difficult for unions to operate, not to encourage openness or transparency, an area in which even the worst unions outdo virtually all corporations.

    Finally, a minor correction. The AFL-CIO is not a union. It is a federation of unions, rather as the Merit Contractors is a federation of anti-union companies.

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