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CLC Sends Strongly-Worded Letter to PM on Bill C-377

Accuses Conservatives of hypocrisy, lying

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 12/14/12 -- The President of the Canadian Labour Congress has sent a strongly-worded letter to the Prime Minister regarding legislation that will harass unions, invade the personal privacy of Canadians and cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

"I write to you to express my disgust with the recent conduct of the government regarding Bill C-377," Georgetti says in his letter to Stephen Harper.

Bill C-377, a Private Member's Bill brought forward by Conservative MP Russ Hiebert, passed the House of Commons on December 12. It will now move to the Senate. The bill would force every labour organization in Canada to file detailed financial information annually on their spending, including what they pay out to private contractors for janitorial services and snow removal. The information would be posted publicly on a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website.

The Canadian Bar Association says that Bill C-377 invades personal privacy, is likely unconstitutional and should be withdrawn. Canada's federal Privacy Commissioner also expressed deep concern.

Georgetti says Bill C-377 was a Private Member's Bill in name but in reality it was orchestrated by senior staff in the Prime Minister's office. "To present this bill as serving a demonstrable need or policy objective lacks any credibility," Georgetti says in his letter. "The premise of your government's Bill C-377 is that tax deductibility creates a public interest, however, an amendment to include business organizations, whose members enjoy the same tax treatment as our members do, was voted down by all Conservative members. This confirms to us and any objective observers that this bill is nothing more than an attack on the four million hard-working Canadian union members."

Georgetti accuses proponents of the bill of lying to Canadians in saying the cost to the CRA of monitoring compliance with the legislation would be negligible. "It is hypocritical in the extreme," he says in his letter, "to proclaim fiscal conservatism and lean government, cutting front line public services like marine safety on both coasts for example, while committing tens of millions of dollars to create a wasteful bureaucracy that will serve no purpose other than to reward the Conservative Party's political friends and punish groups that challenge your government's policies."

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils. Web site: www.canadianlabour.ca Follow us on Twitter @CanadianLabour

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