Union leader condemns UCP’s Bill 81 as a “blatant effort to silence workers while magnifying the power of the rich”
The following is a statement from Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, which is Alberta’s largest and oldest worker advocacy organization.
EDMONTON - “Here in Alberta, the only way that groups can legally run public advocacy campaigns on issues of concern to their members is to register as a so-called ‘third-party advertiser’ as defined by the Election Finance Act.
But with Bill 81, the UCP is banning unions in general and the AFL in particular from registering as third party advertisers.
That effectively makes it illegal for workers to advocate for themselves through the very structures they have created for advocacy.
At the same time, they’ve created a backdoor mechanism for wealthy people to funnel unlimited amounts of money to their preferred political candidates and parties.
This is a blatant and outrageous effort by Premier Kenney and the UCP to silence the voice of working Albertans while magnifying the voice and influence of the wealthy.
All I can say is: Mr. Kenney, your authoritarianism is showing.
If this bill is passed, corporations and oil companies will continue to be able to spend money to advocate for themselves. The constellation of right-wing groups with close ties to the UCP will also be about to continue campaigning.
But the same will not be true for the nurses, paramedics, education workers, construction tradespeople and other workers who have chosen advocate through their unions and through the AFL.
The UCP says this is about getting big money out of politics, but it’s really about ensuring that there is no effective counterbalance to the money being spent by corporations and wealthy individuals who support the UCP. This is a very dark day for democracy in Alberta.”
Director of Communications, AFL