Harper’s new ownership guidelines won’t stop Chinese from exerting control in Alberta’s oil sands,
according to new AFL report
CALGARY – Albertans concerned about the future of the oil sands should not be reassured by new guidelines for state-owned enterprises (SOEs) unveiled by Prime Minister Stephen Harper late Friday afternoon.
A new report prepared by the Alberta Federation of Labour entitled “China’s Gas Tank” shows that the Chinese have a plan for the oil sands – a plan that is not in the long-term best interests of the citizens of Alberta who are the real owners of the resource.
“Now that they own Nexen, the Chinese government will have control over the marketing of about 300,000 barrels of bitumen a day and they will increase their control of Syncrude, Canada’s largest oil sands producer, which will now have representatives from Sinopec and CNOOC on its board wielding veto power,” says AFL president Gil McGowan.
AFL president Gil McGowan will be available for media at the Canadian Council of Chief Executives conference in Calgary at the Palliser Hotel.
Outside the Alberta Ballroom
Palliser Hotel Calgary
133 - 9th Ave. SW, Calgary
Monday, Dec. 10, 12:30 p.m.
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour (780) 218-9888
Three Steps Toward Selling Out Canadian Energy Security
December 17, 2012
Chinese-Canadian business relations are being redefined, as we cede decision-making power about our natural resources to state-owned foreign businesses. These businesses are not bound by market pressures and will not act in the best interests of Canadians.
The economic relationship between Canada and China is being redefined.
Over the past year, three major events have dominated the headlines on Canadian business pages. These stories are each part of a larger picture in which Canada’s national interests are being subverted, and the country’s strategic energy assets are being taken over. From exploration and production to transportation and marketing, control of the oil sands is being ceded to state-owned foreign companies.
The China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) takeover of Nexen gives a Chinese state-owned oil company marketing control over several hundred thousand barrels per day of oil sands bitumen. Marketing control gives CNOOC power over the price – which means we are handing over control of Alberta’s most important source of royalty revenue to a state-owned enterprise.
At the behest of funding partners that are backed by Chinese state-owned oil companies, the Northern Gateway Pipeline locks in a future where Alberta’s resources leave the country in their rawest form possible. This will ship good paying jobs to China.
“Harper is saying what Canadians want to hear while doing what they don’t want” - AFL president
Edmonton – Prime Minister Harper’s supposedly “tough new conditions” for foreign takeovers are nothing more than a public relations ploy aimed at masking the fact that he has just allowed a foreign government to seize unprecedented control over Canada’s energy resources.
In an announcement late Friday, Dec. 7, Prime Minister Stephen Harper green-lit Chinese oil giant CNOOC’s $15-billion takeover of Alberta-based Nexen, but claimed that new conditions would prevent such deals in the future.
“The Conservatives are spinning this as a ‘sweeping overhaul’ of foreign investment rules,” McGowan said.“The new ‘guidelines’ for foreign takeover decisions will still see the process take place behind closed doors and be conducted by the Industry Minister.”
“The ‘new process’ Harper has proposed is the same as the old process, which just brought us the largest foreign oil patch takeover in Canadian history,” McGowan said. “They’re saying what Canadians want to hear, but doing exactly what Canadians don’t want. It’s the Republican Tea-Party playbook: tell a bald-faced lie, and hope no one questions you.”
Under the new conditions proposed, the federal government will weigh how much influence state-owned foreign takeovers will have over their acquisitions and an industry, and how much control over Canadian resources this will give the foreign government. Regulators will examine this in private, behind closed doors, and with no public input required.
“How do you measure this influence? What is the measurement on which this will be evaluated? These are meaningless rules – it’s just a smokescreen,” McGowan said. “Sinopec only has a nine per cent stake in Syncrude…but they used that nine per cent stake to veto upgrading projects. Is there a measurement of how bad that is for Canada?”
The proposed CNOOC takeover has been criticized by Canadians across a broad political spectrum, including Preston Manning, the New Democratic Party and the Communications Energy and Paperworker’s Union.
“CNOOC is not your typical oil company. It doesn’t operate on market principles, and it isn’t beholden to investors. If they had been serious about defending the interest of Canadians, they would have nixed the deal outright,” McGowan said. “They had a good pretext already – Harper’s 2006 campaign pledge ‘not to export more raw bitumen to countries with laxer carbon standards than North America’s.’ If they had cared about state-owned foreign ownership, they would have scuttled this deal.”
The AFL will release a comprehensive report on China’s involvement in Alberta’s Oil Sands on Monday in Calgary.
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780-218-9888 (cell)
Olav Rokne, AFL Communications Director at 780-289-6528 (cell) or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Critics say the Lobbyist Act has no teeth
Alberta Ethics Commissioner Neil Wilkinson's 2012 annual report, released November 19, has nothing but enthusiasm for the work of his office and the success of the two laws that control it, the Conflicts of Interest Act and Lobbyists Act.
"It continues to be an unqualified success in achieving the public policy expectations set out in the Lobbyists Act," Wilkinson writes. Lobbyist Act registrar Bradley Odsen concurs in the report, "2011/12 has been a year of considerable accomplishment, particularly relating to enhancing the profile of the office and the registry."
However, recent concerns raised by the media and in the legislature by members of all three opposition parties suggest that "success" does need to be qualified. Most notably, questions about a $430,000 campaign donation to the Progressive Conservative Party from Daryl Katz, the owner of the Edmonton Oilers and president of the Katz Group, and his own campaign to secure provincial funding for an area expansion, have plagued the government in recent weeks.
Though Katz himself is not a registered lobbyist, opposition parties argue his political donations, combined with "chats" he is known to have had with Premier Alison Redford and Finance Minister Doug Horner at social events, clearly amount to lobbying.
Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman and NDP MLA Rachel Notley were both members of the committee charged with reviewing the Lobbyist Act in 2011. The committee on the whole decided the only change it would make to the act was to include "prep time" in the 100 hours of lobbying work a person must do to legally be considered a lobbyist. Blakeman and Notley filed a minority report calling for an additional six changes in order to close loopholes they feared would inevitably lead to ethical abuses by those seeking to influence government decisions.
Those suggestions include empowering the lobbyist registrar to force a government official to report contact with a lobbyist, reducing the 100-hour threshold to 50 hours, removing the ability of a lobbyist to lobby a government department at the same time as they or their company is contracted to work in that department, and allowing the registrar to respond publicly to a complainant. Those recommendations were all rejected by the committee, a majority of which was made up of Conservative MLAs.
"I really knew my stuff in that committee, and everyone else admitted it," says Blakeman. "Nonetheless when they [presented the recommendations to] their caucus, they would come marching back in lockstep and vote 'no' to stuff the day before they'd agreed actually I had a really good point on."
"In terms of the Lobbyists Act itself, I mean that's one part of a very large puzzle, all of which comes together to make the most secretive government in the country," says Notley.
Notley describes meetings in 2011 with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers as an example of the ways lobbying escapes detection.
"We became aware that CAPP and the government were working together on coming up with a communications strategy around fracking to convince people that it was all safe and everything. We were told that we didn't actually need to have that kind of thing reported because they were invited there by the government," she says. Not having to register as a lobbyist or report a meeting with corporate representatives when the meeting is arranged by a cabinet member is "a huge, huge exemption," Notley says.
The Lobbyist Registry currently contains 279 registrations. The top four subjects lobbyists seek to influence the government on are the environment, with 144 lobbyists; energy, with 142; finance, with 124; and health, with 115. Social programs appear to be of the least concern, with only 18 lobbyists registered to press that subject.
Odsen has no support staff to help him review the registry applications sent in by lobbyists. The law does not ask Odsen or anybody else to regulate the information he receives from lobbyists; rather it is up to registrants to ensure what they give him is accurate.
"When an application to register comes in, I try to [ensure to] the best of my ability that it's the proper person that's applying to register as a lobbyist and is providing the correct information in that regard.... I don't follow up on each one to see whether or not it's happening. They certify that's what's happening," he says.
He also says lobbyists understand and support the registry a great deal.
"They have no objections whatsoever to this, they support it because I think in large part an awful lot of the negativity surrounding the notion of lobbying in the public mind is that it's this stuff that goes on behind closed doors.... Professional lobbyists are proud of what they do, they provide an important service," Odsen says.
Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan is a registered lobbyist who says he has quite a few objections to the registry.
"It's better to have a lobbyist registry than not, but here in Alberta it's a pretty toothless tiger. In fact it's verging on useless because it gives you the name of an individual, the name of the organization that they're representing, and then some really vague information about the subjects that they're lobbying on," McGowan says. "After working with the lobbyist registry for the last year or two, it seems to me that the registry is more about giving the appearance of transparency and accountability than actually guaranteeing transparency and accountability."
He says that based on his experiences, and recent allegations about the ethical misconduct of various government officials, he believes the government deliberately shelters its supporters and punishes its detractors.
"For example, our federation had its wrists slapped by the lobbyists registry, not for breaching the act, but for raising concerns about the act. And I got a very stern talking to. In fact, I was told that I had to come and meet with the registrar and receive a lecture about proper decorum when dealing with the registry," he says, referring to an incident in 2011 when the AFL accused CAPP representatives of failing to register as lobbyists when discussing a joint communications plan around fracking. The same meetings also highlighted by Notley. The ensuing investigation by the ethics commissioner ruled that CAPP was not lobbying the government and, therefore, the act did not apply. It went on to say that the CAPP representatives did not work for CAPP and that the government instigated the conversation, again negating the requirements of the Lobbyists Act.
The Lobbyists Act is not up for review again until 2015. Notley says the government can change it of its own volition, otherwise nothing will happen. She and Blakeman are on the committee currently reviewing the Conflict of Interest Act, the second law which governs the ethics commissioner. Both are skeptical about the review making changes in the genuine interest of transparency and accountability.Fast Forward Weekly News, November 29, 2012
Byline: Suzy Thompson
Alberta Federation of Labour urges level playing field with ban corporate, union donations
Edmonton - The Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) welcomes the support of the Wildrose Party in the fight for election finance reform.
On Monday, Nov. 26, the Wildrose Party issued a press release criticizing the Elections Accountability Amendment Act (Bill 7), and called for an end to corporate and union donations to political campaigns, a move that both the AFL and the Alberta New Democratic Party have been advocating.
“I’m actually surprised – and pleased – to hear the Wildrose Party calling for this kind of electoral finance reform,” Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan said, noting that the press release also used anti-union language. “Danielle Smith is correct to criticize Bill 7, but is wrong to equate union participation in the democratic process with how corporate interests try to buy elections.”
In 2010, unions donated about $40,000 to the major parties (PC, Wildrose, NDP, Liberals, and Alberta Party), or less than 1 per cent of total political donations. Corporations, on the other hand, donated about $1.9 million, or 35 per cent of all donations. In fact, the Progressive Conservative Party received more than half (55 per cent) of their donations from corporations.
“If unions were buying elections in Alberta, do you think we would have had more than 70 years of right-wing parties in power?” McGowan said. “The Wildrose wants what they call ‘big union’ money out of politics? Take a look at the numbers. There’s no such thing as ‘big union’ money in politics.”
Several election financing scandals during the last provincial election, including a total of $430,000 donated to the Progressive Conservative party from the Katz Group, have undermined Albertans’ faith in the electoral system. The Elections Accountability Amendment Act, which Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives brought in front of the legislature this week, will strengthen election finance and contribution disclosure rules. The bill has been slammed as ineffectual.
“Bill 7 is an incremental, barely perceptible move in the right direction, but the government doesn’t want to take the steps necessary to reinvigorate democracy in Alberta,” McGowan said. “The Alberta Federation of Labour welcomes real electoral finance reform, as long as rules are imposed fairly and evenly. Unions don’t have the same deep pockets that corporations do, but we will not stand down until there’s meaningful election finance reform.”
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact the AFL Communications Director, Olav Rokne at 780-289-6528 (cell) or via email email@example.com.
The Left should remember what the Right has known for years
How ironic that the Right seems more aware than the Left of the crucial importance of unions to progressive politics. In the past, when conservatives were less aggressive, this didn't matter so much. Now, in the age of Stephen Harper and the Tea Party, the stakes are much higher.
In the USA and here in Canada under Harper (and, of course, under Brad Wall in former social democratic homeland Saskatchewan), new laws are sapping the strength and even the existence of unions, too often with little public outcry.
In Parliament, a bill is due for debate and possibly a vote this fall that could cripple unions of all sizes with expensive and nosy paperwork. National Post columnist John Ivison, no fan of the labour movement, wrote that Bill C-377 (Public Financial Disclosure for Labour Organizations) "could shatter the union business model forever."
More worrisome still are recent threats by Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Poilevre to punish the Public Service Alliance of Canada for supporting the Parti-Québecois in Quebec's provincial election by ending automatic union membership in federal workplaces under what's known as the "Rand Formula." Although the majority of workplaces are provincially regulated, this could mark the beginning of the end of Rand and drastically weaken federal public service unions.
Regardless of whether we belong to unions or work in organized sectors, these moves threaten all Canadians, yet, to date, public response has been muted. Why are these moves such a threat?
Labour is at the centre of all progressive politics
"Labour is at the centre of all progressive politics," Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan reminded in an interview following SGN's weekend conference on labour's image. "Labour is powerful. That's the reason they've targeted us, they've put the bullseye on us because they recognize we have power at the bargaining table, we have power in our communities, we have political power, and that power can be used against them. They want to undermine that power. They want to take apart civil society so they can change Canada."
Rand has been the National Citizen's Coalition's target since it was formed, under Harper and other CEOs. Conservative activists recognized then as now that unions have a regular source of income through member dues, unlike any other progressive organizations. And unions use their influence and theie money to support and promote a range of progressive causes and activists. SGNews is one of a long list of progressive projects supported very significantly by the labour movement.
Without public services, public service workers, union members, Rand, and dues — and a great many progressive projects, and the advocates who work for them, are at risk.
Since the 1980s under Reagan, US Republicans have worked to "de-fund the Left," going after advocacy groups, university student councils, progressive lawyers and legal clinics, charities, and, of course, unions.
The Harperites understand the importance of this directive better than any conservatives in Canada before them. When they had a minority government, they worked systematically to eliminate funding for any of the issues they don't like, such as feminism, environment, and social justice. Now they have a majority, they are gunning for big game — unions — and only widespread public outrage can stop them.
At SGN's workshop, speakers from the world of advertising discussed the art and science of branding and images and showed how unions could apply their knowledge through careful research and by focussing their creative efforts . The group heard that over the years, the union image has been steadily corroded by attacks that often go unanswered from right-wing interests.
"We're facing a government that's more like the Tea Party Right," said McGowan. They have a political plan, they have a communications plan, and they're targeting us. If we're going to be successful in fighting back, we have to have conversations like we had today... We have an obligation to get our act together, protect the labour movement, and also, in doing so, protect broader civil society," McGowan told us.
Conference participant David Climenhaga, of the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA), has similar concerns. "We need to respond instantly to the barrage of anti-union propoganda that we're hearing from organizations that have been set up and intelligently run in order to attack not just unions but progressive policies and the rights of working people," he told Straight Goods News. "All the time, we cede the room to them by letting them make powerful statements that are simply based on unsound research, politically motivated research, and that are in many cases outright false. They become the truth because we don't bother speaking back to them."
As a result of the constant barrage, union support has slipped and needs to be bolstered. Janice Peterson, another workshop participant from the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA), told Straight Goods News unions need to face some troubling realities. "Not only do we have a problem with public image, but we also have a huge problem with our own members. We not only have to sell ourselves to the public, we have to sell ourselves to our own members."
It's not too late for the labour movement to rebuild its image, was the message of speaker after speaker at SGN's workshop. Doing so, however, will require hard work, open minds, a lot of listening and research, and making key people in every organization responsible for a focus on improving the reputation and image of their union and unions in general.
"I loved Terry O'Reilly's presentation on rebuilding our message and repositioning ourselves," Francine Filion, of the Canadian Teachers' Federation said. "It can be done. There is a solution."
There has to be a solution, because without strong unions, every progressive cause will be hobbled.
Straight Goods News, Monday Sept 24 2012
Byline: Isa Theilheimer
EDMONTON — Premier Alison Redford is cutting short her trip to Asia and returning home as a result of the death Thursday of her friend and mentor, former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed.
The Canadian flag over the legislature has been lowered to half staff and a dozen white roses have been placed by Lougheed's portrait outside the premier's office on the building's third floor.
The premier's spokesman Jay O'Neill said Redford plans to end her travel in Asia three days early.
"Arrangements are being made for her return," he said.
It isn't known whether Lougheed will lay in state at the legislature. The last to be honoured in that fashion was former Lt-Gov. Grant MacEwan.
Tributes have been pouring in for the 84-year-old former premier from all across the nation.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada had lost a truly great man.
"Peter Lougheed was quite simply one of the most remarkable Canadians of his generation," he said in a statement. "He was a driving force behind the province's economic diversification, of it having more control of its natural resources and their development, of Alberta playing a greater role in federation and of improving the province's health, research and recreational facilities. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Canadian Encyclopedia."
Harper noted Lougheed's legacy will live on in the institutions that he pioneered which continue to generate benefits for the people of Alberta and Canada.
Gov.-Gen. David Johnston said Lougheed never stopped believing in a better, stronger Canada.
"His was a full life, with a record of achievements that will be long remembered," said Johnston. "He was a loving husband, father and grandfather — and a dear friend — and he will be missed."
Premier Alison Redford said Lougheed was a visionary and an inspirational leader who forged for success and prosperity in the province. She expressed condolences to Lougheed's family on behalf of all Albertans.
"Peter Lougheed was a man who made us all so proud to be Albertans and he will be deeply missed," she said.
Colleen Klein expressed sympathy for the Lougheed family on behalf of her ailing husband, former premier Ralph Klein.
"Ralph, like all Albertans, understood how Peter Lougheed put Alberta on the global map, so that others, like Ralph, could follow," she said in a statement. "We are deeply saddened that he has passed away, but grateful for the doors that he opened."
Finance Minister Doug Horner, who grew up around the premier as the son of former Lougheed cabinet minister and right-hand man Hugh Horner, said Lougheed's legacy had a profound effect on Redford's Progressive Conservative government.
"He was a Progressive Conservative," he said. "We do have a social conscience and Peter Lougheed defined that and really did define what Progressive Conservative was all about."
He said everyone recognized that Lougheed always had Alberta's best interests at heart.
"From the right spectrum or the left spectrum, all of his ... political foes respected the fact he was in it for the right reasons, that he was there to do what in his heart was the right thing for his province. I think that's something all politicians should try and emulate."
Accolades have indeed come in from leaders of all political stripes.
"There's an element of grace to everything that he's done," said Roy Romanow, former NDP premier of Saskatchewan. "The hallmark of the man as an individual always will be that he was a gentleman."
Marc Lalonde, the former federal Liberal cabinet minister, there was nothing personal about the political battle between the Trudeau government and Alberta on the National Energy Program in the early 1980s.
He said Lougheed "was an extremely able politician and a very "hardball" player. He had very much at heart the interests of his province ... but nobody could question his strong views about Canada, and his strong support for Canadian unity."
NDP Leader Brian Mason said Lougheed fought for Alberta and was a tremendous builder of the province.
"His work to ensure that Albertans get a fair deal for their resources, to create a more progressive province, to improve our education system and to encourage a fairer society is of unquestionable importance to the province that we have today," he said in a statement. "He stood up for Albertans, but remained a passionate Canadian."
Liberal Leader Raj Sherman said Lougheed helped modernize Alberta.
"His zeal and determination to make our province and nation a better place will not soon be forgotten. He was a visionary Albertan who moved our province forward in the hopes of ensuring a prosperous future for our children and grandchildren."
Gil McGowan, president of the 150,000-member Alberta Federation of Labour, said Lougheed understood the concept of the public interest, and did not confuse what was good for private industry with what is good for the public as a whole.
"He was not a cheerleader for narrow business interests, and he did not engage in gimmicks or short-term thinking. He used our wealth to build a better Alberta."
The board and staff at the Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts expressed sadness at the loss of "a truly exceptional man and consummate statesman."
"Mr. Lougheed was a proud trailblazer for arts and culture in Alberta," the centre said in a statement.
The Calgary Herald, Friday September 14 2012
Byline: Darcy Henton
With files from James Wood and Kelly Cryderman
As accolades for former premier Peter Lougheed continued flooding in Friday, current Premier Alison Redford is cutting short her trade trip to Asia in honour of the Alberta icon who died Thursday.
Redford, who began her trip to China last weekend, was making arrangements Friday to return from China before its was originally scheduled to end on Monday, said her spokeswoman, Kim Misik.
"He was an important mentor for her, someone she cared a lot about," said Misik.
"She had quite a unique relationship with the former premier."
On Friday, the premier's office announced Lougheed will lie in state Monday and Tuesday at the Legislature in Edmonton.
"Peter Lougheed held a special place in Albertans' hearts, including mine as a dear friend and trusted mentor," Redford said in a press release.
"And it's important that Albertans who knew and admired him have the chance to say goodbye, and to reflect on his remarkable life and legacy."
Whatever funeral arrangements for Lougheed the province might have a hand in will "respect whatever path his family wants to take," she added.
His family has also said there'll be a private funeral for the man who was known as an elder statesman until his death.
Lougheed, who was Alberta premier from 1971 to 1985, died at age 84 in the hospital bearing his name following a lengthy illness.
He's widely credited with modernizing Alberta's social, environmental, health and energy revenue regimes while pioneering province's rights.
Flags at government buildings, schools and businesses around the province were flying at half mast in honour of Lougheed.
Earlier, Prime Minister Stephen Harper eulogized Lougheed as a driver of Alberta economic diversification while "working tirelessly toward a strong, united Canada."
The head of a political foe of Lougheed's PC's — Liberal leader Dr. Raj Sherman — said Friday that the political icon had foresight in many areas, including health care.
"A professional athlete, Lougheed understood the important role of prevention and wellness," he said, referring to Lougheed's stint as a professional football player.
"Thanks to his initiatives, Albertans received improved access to world-class publicly funded and delivered health care."
Just before Lougheed died, his successor as premier, Don Getty, was emotional about the loss, both on a personal and political level.
"My wife and I fell in love with Peter, in a way," said Getty, who recalled the times the families spent together during a turbulent era.
Getty said he's most proud of Lougheed for standing up for Alberta during constitutional battles, and also for bolstering his country.
"We had a champion ... we were dealing with oil and gas and petro-chemicals and those are the things we used to strengthen Alberta and Canada," said Getty.
In rare praise for a premier from a union, Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan credited Lougheed as a champion of all citizens rather than only big business — a philosophy the AFL head said has retreated.
"He remained engaged and outspoken in the affairs of our province, I think, because he saw Alberta's potential as more than just the success of a few industries, or short-lived booms and busts," said McGowan.
"He saw us as a community."
Calgary Sun, Friday September 14 2012
Byline: Bill Kaufman
The Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) will consider withdrawing from the world's largest trade union confederation and joining another organization, when the union gathers this week for two separate conferences in Vancouver and Burnaby.
"We will be discussing our membership in the International Trade Union Confederation (UTIC) at our annual convention this year," said CLAC executive director Dick Heinen.
"The World Organization of Workers' Congress is a response to our suspension from the ITUC. It's an international affiliation of labour unions that shares our values and we feel more comfortable dealing with."
CLAC is holding its national stewards conference and national union convention on Sept. 12-14 at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver.
The event will also provide CLAC with an opportunity to celebrate its 60th anniversary.
In addition to this conference and convention in Vancouver, CLAC is also the Canadian host for the World Organization of Workers' (WOW) Congress being held concurrently at the Executive Inn in Burnaby.
At the request of the Canadian Labour Council (CLC), CLAC's membership in the ITUC was suspended in September 2011.
CLC President Ken Georgetti has accused CLAC of publishing policies and being involved in activities that undermine the conditions of workers in Canada and hinder the organizing activities of CLC affiliated unions.
In response, Heinen said the request by the CLC to suspend CLAC's membership in the ITUC was based on a number of false allegations.
"Georgetti orchestrated an anti-CLAC drive to have us expelled and he came up with a bunch of allegations at a kangaroo court, where a decision had already been made," he said.
"We have not had a reasonable hearing with the general council or the executive of the ITUC. They did not read our defence and they haven't acknowledged whether or not there is a process for reexamination of the decision. "
Heinen said the allegations being made by Georgetti are similar to what the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) is saying on their website, TheTruthAboutCLAC.ca.
For example, the AFL claims CLAC is a company union, which accepts invitations by employers to enter into voluntary recognition agreements.
The result is the negotiation of collective agreements that are inferior compared to those obtained by traditional unions and undermines their organizing efforts.
According to Heinen, the truth is that CLAC probably has a higher percentage of certification than any union in the building trades.
"I think within the minds of the ideological trade unions to be a company union is a bad thing," he said.
"We think it is okay to co-operate with a company to grow the business,' he said.
"This is recognition of a legitimate partnership with employers, which is also the stated goal of the Alberta Building Trades."
Heinen said CLAC is an alternative to the adversarial relationship of traditional trade unions with employers.
For this reason, CLAC has a more co-operative approach to labour-management relations.
He said Georgetti is in a clear conflict of interest because he sits as vice-president on the ITUC's executive board.
The ITUC was formed in 2006 in a merger between the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions with the World Confederation of Labour (WCL).
As a member of the WCL, CLAC automatically became a member of the ITUC.
"We decided to join, even though we were hesitant with the ideology of the ITUC," said Heinen.
"We believe in a partnership approach and the ITUC is too militant. The group of unions that decided not to join the ITUC formed WOW."
CLAC is experiencing fierce competition from traditional trade unions as it expands in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
"CLAC has been involved in the construction industry since the old days of the union and we have certainly had an important presence, especially with specific crafts in the 1960s and 1970s," said Heinen.
"We currently have about 50 per cent of our business in construction and we intend to grow that side."
Established on Feb. 20, 1952 by Dutch immigrants, CLAC is based on the European model of Christian labour unions, which stress the principles of social justice and charity as taught in the Bible.
WOW is the new name of the former World Federation of Clerical Workers (WFCW) founded in September 1921 in Luxemburg.
WOW was founded as a Social Christian trade union and finds inspiration in the spiritual belief that man and universe were created by God.
The ITUC is the world's largest labour union confederation representing 175 million workers in 155 countries.
Journal of Commerce, Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Byline: Richard Gilbert