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Rally Against Bill C-10 Budget Implementation Act - Saturday

by Shirley Di Liberatore

Rally Against Bill C-10 Budget Implementation Act - Saturday
Rally Against Bill C-10 Budget Implementation Act - Saturday
Rally Against Bill C-10 Budget Implementation Act - Saturday
Rally Against Bill C-10 Budget Implementation Act - Saturday
Rally Against Bill C-10 Budget Implementation Act - Saturday
Rally Against Bill C-10 Budget Implementation Act - Saturday
Rally Against Bill C-10 Budget Implementation Act - Saturday
Rally Against Bill C-10 Budget Implementation Act - Saturday
Rally Against Bill C-10 Budget Implementation Act - Saturday
Rally Against Bill C-10 Budget Implementation Act - Saturday

Original CP article here

PSAC pressuring Liberals to remove wage, pay equity clauses in budget bill

HALIFAX, N.S. / CANADIAN PRESS — Calling the Liberals "cowards," about 100 unionized public sector workers braved wind and icy rain in front of a Halifax hotel on Saturday to urge the party to push for changes to the federal budget before it is implemented.

Members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada and supporters chanted and waved signs as federal MPs arrived in advance of their leader to participate in the Nova Scotia Liberal Party's annual convention.

PSAC fears center on what union officials call "three poison bills" within the Budget Implementation Act, including clauses that they claim will cut wages, deny pay equity and complicate the employment insurance process.

"There are parts of this bill that need to be changed," said Jeannie Baldwin, regional executive vice-president of the union.

"We want to send a message to Michael Ignatieff that we want these clauses carved out of Bill C-10," she said.

The vote on budget implementation is expected to take place sometime before the middle of March.

Baldwin said the rollback clause would take a 2.5 per cent wage settlement, negotiated just last year, and roll it back to 1.5 per cent in November, costing 30,000 Canada Revenue Agency employees about $528 each.

"What we're saying is to stimulate the economy you shouldn't be acting that way," said Baldwin.

"You know the $528 from every worker is going back into the market and the economy."

The New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois tried to get the Tories to drop the offending clauses from the budget bill during recent parliamentary committee hearings.

But when it got down to a vote the Liberals abstained, not wanting to make it a confidence issue.

"At the end of the day our leader has made the decision that we're going to let this budget pass because people don't want to have an election," said Dartmouth MP Mike Savage, who came out of the hotel briefly to meet some of the demonstrators.

"We agree with the workers on these clauses. They're gratuitous and should come out but at the end of the day the Harper government is not known for being co-operative."

Savage said if the Liberals return to power in an election they would look at rescinding the legislation.

Megan Leslie, Halifax's New Democratic MP, was among those at the demonstration calling for action.

She said she was especially disappointed with provisions in the budget bill that would deny women in the public service the right to go to the Humans Rights Commission to fight for pay equity.

She said the Harper government has not been able to answer questions about how much money the measure would actually save.

"All they can say is, 'Well this will stop litigation.' When I heard that I realized that it's not about money. It's about ideology."

Union officials passed out flyers that listed contact information for the area's Liberal MP's urging supporters to keep calling and emailing until they got satisfactory answers.

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