For better or worse

Provincial New Democrat leader Carole James won't be having a Sister Souljah moment at the British Columbia Federation of Labour convention, scheduled to start next Monday (November 29). But she won't be cuddling up to the union movement either. According to well-placed insiders, Ms. James will be delivering a speech stressing the need to put an end to polarized politics in this province. It will be similar to the one she gave to the Coalition of British Columbia Businesses in July. During that speech, Ms. James told the audience that meeting with, and listening to, business leaders was "a top priority." She also said she wanted "the NDP and the business community to work in partnership."


Carol may be sincere in here wish to have a productive, non-confrontational relationship with the business community. The problem is that many in her party see the world in pretty simplistic "Good vs. Evil" terms. And you can guess who the evil people are.

The comments I read from NDP supporters on this site and others, like are pretty out there and if they are an accurate reflection of where the grassroots of the party stands, in terms of its attitudes towards the business community and competitiveness, then Carol's words are pretty empty at best.

I actually think that organized private sector labour - when you get past all the chest thumping and rhetoric - gets the fact that business and labour must work together. Its the public sector unionists and the NDP "activists" who are still completely out to lunch when it comes to understanding what is required to have a strong economy that provides jobs and supports public services.

There are too many New Democrats with their heads in the clouds dreaming about performing all sorts of wild economic and regulatory experiments in the province and these are the folks who are the backbone of Carol James support in the party.

wow, what a breath of fresh air

iknow mainstream british colombians are on the sane,,, or i mean,,same page,,,

look forward to more post.


I agree John,

However with private labor unions, for the most part, they seem to comprehend that a strong economy means more jobs, and that if you cannot remain competitive, you loose the jobs.

Public sector unions could care less about anything but more money for themselves, and consistently screw the public in the process. Look no further than what the HEU did. There is a reason why private clinics start to look like a good idea, and the HEU does a beautiful job to illustrate the reason.

Can you imagine not being allowed to vote on either an arbitrated adjustment to your benefits or a cut in your wages?

finally someone sees and understands the difference between private and public sector unions.

You baffle me Larsen. One on hand, you make numerous generalized statements about how bad unions are, without specifying either public or private sector, on the next you're stating that

"However with private labor unions, for the most part, they seem to comprehend that a strong economy means more jobs, and that if you cannot remain competitive, you loose the jobs."

As a member of a private sector union (which also represents units that are public sector) any infringement on the free collective bargaining process is wrong. As previously stated, with HEU, the government were the ones that didn't allow the process to work itself out. Of course, it was Campbell that lied through his teeth when it came to HEU, promising them that he wouldn't tear up collective agreements if elected.

What you are forgetting Kevin in stating the entire diatribe against the HEU in this thread and the other one, is that there were essential service levels that were set by the LRB, in consultation with the government (err Health Authorities) and the Union. And the employer was the one playing games, short staffing and screwing around with the schedules, messing around with the service and staffing levels in the hospital.

But I guess when you only derive your information from the CanWorst Gliberal media chain, and Gordon Campbell press releases, you remain somewhat shunned from the truth. Were patients hurt through this dispute. Yes. Was the job action by HEU "illegal" in the context set by a government who's made its reputation on breaking contracts, and acting illegally as far as contractual law goes. I suppose it was. But ask yourself this Kevin, what if it was you who was facing the last statement you made in your post, having that rammed down your throat by this government:

Can you imagine not being allowed to vote on either an arbitrated adjustment to your benefits or a cut in your wages?

The above scenario spells out more: Would you like to be shot or electrocuted, then it does a choice. And actually your statement should have read, "Can you imagine an employer coming down with a choice between huge wage concessions or huge cutbacks in your health and welfare and vacation entitlements, in exchange for your union being allowed to remain in existance, and for you to hopefully not have your job contracted out from underneath you?"

What would be your choice Kevin? What would you choose, a huge wage cut or a partial wage cut and cuts to your health and welfare package that would have been more detrimental in the face of this government and their penchant for increasing medicare premiums and eliminating services from MSP.

Has anyone ever come up to you Kevin and held that kind of gun to your head? And to sit here and preach about how bad the HEU is, because they took a stand against an unlawful immoral act of government, is wrong. Because if the government or my employer acted against me the way they did against HEU, I sure as hell would have been out on the street (as I was in support of HEU). How far it would have gone, who knows.

The Fed convention and Carole's speech should be interesting. I do agree that a strong economy is needed for jobs. Its how people are treated in that economy however determines whether its sustained or just a flash in the pan. But the most ideal situation in BC always occurs as it does in labour relations... if management and labour aren't entirely happy with things, but can live with them, this province seems to boom.

But when one party comes in and caters to the Big Unions, and the other party comes in and trashes labour or attempts to and mollycoddles big business, it never works. We need to get back to that centre left moderate approach that has been a Canadian characteristic. Enough of the extremeism. Enough of the neo cons and neo comms.

wow ,,kegler rightward ho by the day eh.
there is a couple of pointsi would like to make.
free collective bargaing should mean the employer,,eg: ndp gov,t should bargain for the public,, right,, and theHEU for there members..
but what we seen was the NDP ASK CHRIS ALLNUT ??? what do we make this cheque out for?

personally, i would of just froze them out for a couple of years.
labour should learn, don,t be to greedy when you have power,, but wait ,,thats human nature..

Rightward ho by the day? Not necessarily nic. My basic belief has always been that Canada has always and should always have a strong social policy stance, within our means to pay. Here's a little secret, Yes I'm a NDP supporter and member, but only for the past 2 years. I chose to get involved during the time the party was rebuilding and where there was an opportunity to work with people who wanted to move the party away from the Che Guevara revolutionary nutso perception it had at times, to where most political parties in Canada had traditionally been. If you go back and have a look at the traditional stances of the major political parties, for the most part, they've inhabited the centre of the political spectrum. The PC's traditionally were centre right, the NDP centre left, and the Liberals Center which ever way works to get them elected. Its only been in the past 15 years that this extreme-ism and polarization has reared its ugly head. And yes it did start with Preston Manning, who believed the Brian Mulroney wasn't right enough for him.

Within the NDP, there's different ideals. You have "Left Turn" who advocate the party going further to the left, to where they perceive the party originated from. Then you have realists who believe the party should be more moderate in its stances with labour and business, as it was under Mike Harcourt, the person who brought in the Labour Relations Code. Not everyone was happy on either side with the LRC, which is probably a good thing, as that's a good sign that its a workable agreement for both parties, because both sides (management and labour) didn't get everything they were asking for. So in terms of what kind of NDP I support, its one thats akin to the way it was when Harcourt was the leader.

In the interests of brevity, I'll copy and paste what I wrote in another thread, with regards to the HEU/NDP thing.

"The NDP in its dying days signed the HEU agreement, and granted, there was a lot to be desired in it. Campbell cut taxes, rather than looking at the books first, Campbell should have looked at the books. Very easily, he could have approached HEU, and said, "hey look, alot of this stuff is too rich for where we are right now. Let's sit down and discuss things, and maybe come to some sort of arrangement or understanding, whereby we don't have to resort to look at alternate ways of controlling health care costs."

The public would have perceived this as a government attempting to rectify a situation with dialogue and negotiation, and believe it or not (coming from me) I think had the union rejected this outright, Campbell would have smelled like a rose, he would have been able to say to the people of BC,

"I attempted to renegotiate a contract that we believe was not fair to the people of BC, and these people refused to do so. With regret, I must take actions to control health care spending."

And also exert public pressure on the union to come to the table. Instead what did he do? He went backwards on his public promise made at the HEU convention to not tear up existing collective agreements, and well the rest is history. He let ideology get in the way of good governance. And since 2001, that's been his government's biggest weakness. Ideology dictates to Campbell, "don't make the mistake you made in 96, by telling people the truth. Tell them what they want to hear, then when elected, do what you really want to do." And he's followed that strategy to a T."

No one really knows what the leadership of HEU would have done had this approach been taken. Some would surmise that it wouldn't have mattered, they would have taken the same militant stance etc, but we'll never really know because the process wasn't allowed to play out, either in 2001, or earlier this year. But I agree that the way in which the HEU agreement in 2001 came into being, could have been very unfair. But as Campbell has proved, 2 wrongs don't make a right.

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