Alison Redford’s Leadership Win and Unions

One the funniest and most ignorant comments on Twitter about Alison Redford’s PC Leadership win last weekend has been coming from both the left and right side of the political spectrum – mainly, the idea that Alison won the election thanks to unions.

While it’s true that Redford met with the Alberta Teacher’s Association and promised to put $100 million back into Alberta classrooms within 10 days of being elected to office, she does not owe her win to organized labour.  Instead, she owes her win to teachers, parents, students, nurses, doctors, engineers, electricians, janitors and every other Albertans who gave her their vote – whether they work in a unionized environment or not.

Alison Redford’s campaign was focused on policies that matter to everyday Albertans.  She talked about increasing accessibility to Alberta’s public healthcare system and providing predictable and sustainable funding for education.  She had ideas about making Alberta a global energy capital, as well as thoughts on economic diversification and job creation.  She talked about those expensive cell phone charges that annoy Canadians to no end.

On the specific topic of labour and unions, Alison is on record several times indicating that she is fully aware that the Alberta Labour Code hasn’t been touched since 1988 and that she supports a review to ensure that Alberta’s labour market remains competitive relative to other provinces in Canada and jurisdictions around the world.

So I just can’t help but laugh when I see tweet like “#pcldr chosen by unions” from a known NDP supporter or “I can’t believe we have a ‘conservative’ Premier in Alberta that is now beholden to unions …”

Of course this is nothing more than filthy and meaningless political rhetoric from terrified opposition party supporters who know that Alison is one of the most intelligent and capable leaders the PC Party has ever elected.

However, Albertans need not be afraid.  While Alison Redford did win the election with the help of teachers, she is NOT beholden to unions.

Take if from David Climenhaga, the most hard core union sympathizer I have ever met, who said in a recent blog that:

…while it’s a fact Alberta labour leaders can’t usually deliver their members’ votes to anyone, union members are paying attention and labour votes matter anyways.  In other words, you can’t tell union members what to do, but they’ll figure it out for themselves.”

David is right – individual union members don’t blindly follow what union bosses tell them to do.  The fact that teachers may have supported Alison Redford’s leadership bid because she promised to put money back into classroom has nothing to do with the union itself.

In fact, I look forward to testing Mr. Climenhaga’s conclusion that “Alberta labour leaders can’t usually deliver their members’ votes anymore” when the Alberta government undertakes a labour code review.

Will individual union members run to the polls to take down a government that considers an idea such as eliminating the fines that a union can charge its members for working for a non-union company?  I doubt it.

Will individual union workers get fired up about potential amendments to the labour code that could allow them to opt-out of paying the portion of their union dues that go towards political causes they don’t want to support?  I can’t see that happening.

What about recommendations that would allow both union and non-union construction workers to work harmoniously and efficiently side-by-side on the same jobsite.  Do you really think union members will drop their tool belts and run to the polls to vote against the Party their hiring hall tells them is making them commit this atrocity?   I wouldn’t hold my breath on that ….

If Alison Redford is beholden to anyone its Albertans – she campaigned directly to them with policies that matter to their everyday lives.  I am confident that as long as Alison Redford continues to do what is right for individual Albertans and Alberta’s economy, she owes nothing to unions themselves.

PP

Worth the Effort

The last few days of #pcldr have been a roller coaster of emotion for @crontynen and me, as well as many on the @alison4premier campaign team. But campaigns are interesting creatures and just as quickly as we felt down, we were right back up again. Today, we are more motivated than ever to continuing to fight for what we have been talking about since long before this leadership race began – change from within.

While we didn’t start on @alison4premier’s campaign team, we now know that we are backing the right leader – the one who stands alone in talking about change. There are those out there who will call me disloyal for leaving a campaign team or not getting onside for the sake of “party unity”, but I stand proudly behind the leader I believe that represents my principles, passions and concerns –and the one who shows resilience of character in the face of relentless adversity.

There are those in other parties who will try to convince me that the #pcaa is beyond fixing – that I should just give up and join them. I respectfully disagree. This Party has a proud history and sound principles that are worth fighting for. “Values of innovation, commitment, excellence and integrity …” These are values that both @alison4premier and @hornerforAB have been talking about and fighting for and values that set them apart in this leadership race.

I respect those who fight for change in Alberta by working tirelessly for political parties other than #pcaa. But I believe strongly that #changefromwithin is worth the effort and I proudly stand behind @alison4premier as the agent of that change! If you tell your friends, family, neighbors, partners, colleagues … if you tell everyone you know to be a part of that change, together we can create an Alberta we can be proud of!

Join me on September 27th or October 1st by voting for Alison Redford.

PP