August 20, 2012
Building Trades applaud Enbridge Ontario pipeline flow reversal project, slam Bill C-377
The Canadian Building Trades is praising the federal Conservative government for its recent approval of an Enbridge Inc. pipeline project and for regulatory reform but expressed concern about a private member’s bill currently in the House of Commons that proposes stringent financial reporting for all unions and which the Building Trades says would increase the cost of energy projects.
The Canadian executive board of the Building and Construction Trades Department (BCDT) of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) stated in a press release Thursday it supports the federal government’s decision to approve, with conditions, an application by Enbridge to reverse flow on a pipeline between Hamilton and Sarnia, Ontario.
“Allowing the reversal to proceed will help to strengthen Canada's national energy security framework while protecting well-paying Canadian jobs,” the Building Trades announced in a press release. The organization is affiliated with 15 American-based unions.
Last week, the National Energy Board announced it approved Enbridge’s application, with 15 conditions designed to address pipeline integrity. NEB said the $16.9-million project involves infrastructure additions and modifications at four existing sites along the pipeline segment, which goes from Sarnia to the North Westover Pumping Station near Hamilton.
In a press release, Robert Blakely, Director of Canadian Affairs for the Building Trades, praised the federal Conservative government while describing a private member’s bill on union finances as a “step backwards.”
“The Harper Government is demonstrating its knowledge of, and commitment to, our industry,” Blakely, stated. “The reversal of Line 9 is an important step which could allow for the flow of Oil Sands crude to Eastern Canadian refineries who now depend on the volatile Brent Crude market for supply."
In the same release, the Building Trades expresses concern about Bill C-377, the Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (labour organizations) tabled in the House of Commons by Russ Hiebert, a Conservative backbencher and Member of Parliament for the South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale, British Columbia.
Hiebert’s bill would require unions and other labour organizations to submit financial statements to the government, and ultimately the public.
In addition to balance sheets and income statements, unions would be required to compile and make public a set of statements listing the totals, and all disbursements over $5,000, of several categories of expenditures, including labour relations activities, political activities, lobbying activities, conferences, conventions and legal activities. They would also have to publish the name and address of the payer and payee, the purpose and description of the transaction and the specific amount that has been paid or received, or that is to be paid or received.
"The Harper government is taking many right steps to help create and protect jobs for Canadian workers,” Blakely stated. “Bill C-377 will undermine all of the positive results that the Harper government is delivering for Canadian workers."
The Building Trades notes private sector unions, unlike charities and political parties receive no public subsidies monies, and there are already processes in place to provide accountability and transparency to dues-paying union members.
“Costs of compliance will be extraordinary and beyond that required of any other tax entity and will add considerable costs to the bottom line of large-scale energy projects,” Blakely stated.
The Building Trades, which represents about 500,000 skilled workers in Canada, is affiliated with: the United Association (UA) of Journeyman and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting industry of the United States and Canada; the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers; International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE); Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association; the International Association of Heat and Frost Allied Workers; the International Union of Elevator Constructors; Operative Plasterers & Cement Masons’ International Association; Teamsters Canada; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT); Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA); the International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers; the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America; and the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers.
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