VDLC Rejects Endorsement of Morneau

November 18, 2020

The Vancouver and District Labour Council, in accordance with the decision of our November regular meeting, issues the following statement re: the endorsement of Bill Morneau for OECD Secretary General. 

The Vancouver and District Labour Council is disappointed by Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) President Hassan Yussuff’s endorsement of Bill Morneau for Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). We object strongly to this endorsement and have heard widespread opposition to it from our affiliated unions.

We have not forgotten that as the Liberal government, in which Mr. Morneau served as Minister of Finance, introduced Bill C-27, which would allow pension administrators to convert defined benefit pension plans to defined contribution ones. This change would harm the retirement security of workers. This change was lobbied for by Morneau-Sheppell, which stood to profit from the reform. Mr. Morneau’s support for Bill C-27 should come as no surprise given his remarks in a book titled “The Real Retirement,” which he co-authored in 2013. In that book, he comments that “accepting reduced compensation goes against the grain of the labour movement, but it is in the best interests of employees to be open to the idea.”

We also recall how in 2018 that same Liberal government undermined free collective bargaining and the right to strike by legislating members of the Canadian Postal Workers Union back to work, the suffering caused by the mishandling of the Phoenix Pay debacle, the attempted contracting out of work through the WE scandal, and more.

We are also very disturbed to learn from our affiliates that this decision was made by President Yussuff unilaterally, without consultation with affiliate leaders or a decision of the CLC Canadian Council. We therefore feel that both the endorsement, and the method by which it was issued, demonstrate complete contempt for workers, affiliates, labour councils, and the democratic norms of our movement.

We therefore call for the reversal of this endorsement, and express our support for CLC affiliates in taking whatever further steps they deem appropriate through established processes to address what has taken place.

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