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Robert Silver

Would NDP be neutral were it in power during a labour dispute? Add to ...

The NDP's main criticism of the Conservative's back-to-work legislation for Canada Post employees is that the Tories have stepped over the line. By trying to impose a wage settlement, they have shown a clear pro-management bias as opposed to letting the strike-turned-lockout play itself out through the collective bargaining process.

Assume for a second that's the case – that the NDP have a point and the Conservatives have demonstrated that they are little more than champions of management through their legislative intervention. Make that assumption, the Conservatives are pro-management and that governments should be neutral in these types of disputes.

As we watch the NDP's filibuster stretch on, and on, and on, there's a pretty simple question for a party that is now the government in waiting: If the NDP were to ever form government, why in the world would we assume that a NDP government would be anything other than “pro-union” in any labour dispute that took place under its watch?

Listen to their speeches; these aren't neutral remarks. They are brazenly pro-big labour.

That's of course their right as parliamentarians, as a party with deep ties to big labour and fine if the NDP's aspiration is to remain a party of protest. But as a party of power, I have no idea why a “pro-union” stand is or should be any more acceptable than a “pro-management” one.

In either case, the notion that the NDP would be “neutral” if faced with a strike or lockout under their watch fails to pass the laugh test.

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