Tim Hudak softens his stance on unions
Politicians should be allowed to change their minds from time to time, but there’s something a little strange about today’s Tim Hudak news. After a year and a half of promoting his party’s “right to work” proposal, which if enacted would have ended mandatory union dues by doing away with the Rand formula, the Ontario PC leader unceremoniously killed the idea during a breakfast speech today before the Toronto Region Board of Trade. “If we are elected, we’re not going to do it,” he reportedly told a roomful of Toronto business leaders. The party is pushing another policy that would merely force unions to compete for government contracts, rather than gut their ability to raise funds.
It’s the second reversal for the Tories in two days. Yesterday’s stunner was Doug Ford’s announcement that he won’t be running on the PC ticket in the next provincial election, which is expected to take place in the spring.
Like Doug Ford, Hudak’s right-to-work policy was controversial. Similar measures have been vote-getters for U.S. Republican candidates running in places like Wisconsin (where governor Scott Walker’s anti-union legislation set the stage for a bitter recall campaign, the fallout from which continues to divide the state’s electorate). But here in Ontario, the idea of seriously curbing the power of unions caused discomfort even among members of Hudak’s own party. This may not be the last pre-election adjustment we see from the Tories as they ready themselves to capitalize on two and a half years of gas-plant-related bad press for the Liberals.