Why principals, teachers don’t belong in the same union

New legislation will allow Manitoba to follow the lead of Canada’s biggest provinces, creating clear lines between management and staff

Why principals, teachers don’t belong in the same unionPrincipals and teachers shouldn’t be in the same union. That was a key recommendation of the Manitoba Commission on Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education report. Clearly, the Manitoba government has taken this recommendation to heart. Bill 64, the Education Modernization Act, proposes to remove principals and vice-principals from teacher bargaining units. This is a significant…

The Alberta government is not taking too little from taxpayers

It’s time for Alberta’s politicians to start living within taxpayers’ means.

The Alberta government is not taking too little from taxpayersAlbertans have many legitimate beefs with their governments. They have municipal employees having pension parties on their dime. They have a federal government that is getting ready to hammer us with its second carbon tax. And they “have the most inefficient provincial government in Canada by a country mile,” to quote Premier Jason Kenney. But…

Memories of Walter Reuther, an American labour giant

Reuther had his finger in everything from labour negotiations to legislation to civil rights to election campaigns

Memories of Walter Reuther, an American labour giantAmity Shlaes’ Great Society is a chronicle of the United States in the mid-20th century. And reading it reminded me of Walter Reuther, a once famous name I’d almost forgotten. Reuther was a hugely influential player in organized labour and Democratic politics. With the United Auto Workers (UAW) as his power base, he had his…

At 90, Thomas Sowell remains one of a kind

As a libertarian conservative, he’s a minority in the economics profession. Stir in the fact that he’s Black and you get a rare bird indeed

At 90, Thomas Sowell remains one of a kindThomas Sowell celebrated his 90th birthday this summer by publishing his 56th book. Entitled Charter Schools and Their Enemies, the book returns to one of his recurrent themes. He believes that the American public school system fails children from impoverished backgrounds by prioritizing the interests of teacher unions and their political sponsors. In Sowell’s reckoning,…

Alberta is right to expand its employee sunshine list

The single biggest day-to-day expense for the Alberta government is labour costs

Alberta is right to expand its employee sunshine listThe single biggest day-to-day expense for the Alberta government is labour costs. And with taxpayers footing the bill, we deserve to know just how much we are paying for all government employees with six-figure salaries. While Alberta’s sunshine list discloses the salaries and benefits of bureaucrats making more than $111,000 per year and employees of…

Unions fail to measure up in a time of economic crisis

By reducing business profits, unionization ultimately makes workers worse off, diminishing employment and wages

Unions fail to measure up in a time of economic crisisA recent story in The Monitor – a magazine published by the left-wing, union-friendly think-tank Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – provides an important lesson in basic economics. The headline triumphantly proclaims: “Gig workers win the right to unionize.” The end result was unfortunate for the workers, however. An editor’s note at the top of…

Alberta municipal gov’t labour costs out of touch with reality

Alberta municipal gov’t labour costs out of touch with realityStruggling families and businesses can’t afford to pay big property tax bills to fund bloated municipal governments. Alberta municipalities need to reduce that burden by addressing the cost elephant in the room: labour. For many Albertans working outside of government, the last five years have been nothing short of a nightmare full of job losses,…

CN strike exposes Canadian infrastructure flaws

Most of Canada’s transportation system, from Halifax to Vancouver, has been undercapitalized for years

CN strike exposes Canadian infrastructure flawsAfter a harvest from hell across the country, farmers now have to deal with a new problem: the CN strike. Over 3,000 Canadian National Railway Co. employees out of about 24,000 in Canada and the United States are off the job. They’re asking for better working conditions and safety improvements. Perhaps it’s not the most…

Fiscal responsibility starts with wage restraint

Fiscal responsibility starts with wage restraintThe 1990s were a great time in Canadian political history. They marked a course correction after many years of higher taxes, increased spending, and never-ending deficits. Premiers Ralph Klein in Alberta, Roy Romanow in Saskatchewan and Mike Harris in Ontario changed all that and Ottawa followed. In recent months, those provinces have stemmed the growth…

Small class sizes no guarantee of quality education

To listen to the teacher unions and their supporters, the sky is about to fall if class sizes for secondary schools get bigger. The evidence shows they're dead wrong

Small class sizes no guarantee of quality educationClass war may soon break out in Canada. More than half of Canadian high school students are in Ontario or British Columbia. Teacher negotiations continue in both provinces with secondary school class sizes a central issue that could trigger strike action. The B.C. Teachers’ Federation wants to retain or lower high school class size limits…

Unionizing the gig economy would be a disaster for workers

Unionization would mean fewer jobs and fewer hours of work. The workers might be unsatisfied with their current position, but it’s certainly better than unemployment

Unionizing the gig economy would be a disaster for workersThe push for unionization among some food couriers at Foodora Canada and among hundreds of Uber drivers in Canada will ultimately do more harm than good for workers in the gig economy. The drive for unionization will actually result in increased unemployment and underemployment. Unionization defies the law of demand, a central economic concept. Unionizing…

On Labour Day, celebrate labour, not unions

Unions harm workers more than they help. And they seek a bigger slice of the economic pie, even while shrinking the pie through productivity loss

On Labour Day, celebrate labour, not unionsLabour Day is a day, as its name suggests, to celebrate labour. This is entirely appropriate – labour is a necessary input for the production of goods and services on which our standards of living rely. We make a mistake, however, when the celebration is of labour unions instead of the workers who supply the…

Rigid focus on seniority hurts teachers and students

Rigid focus on seniority hurts teachers and studentsImagine you are a public school principal. You need to hire a teacher and you have two applicants who meet the basic job requirements. The first applicant has 10 years of teaching experience and regularly scores outstanding performance reviews. The second has 15 years of experience but receives only satisfactory performance reviews. Which teacher would…

Don’t romanticize the Winnipeg General Strike

The dangerous, violent seeds of the communist revolution were being sown in Canada

Don’t romanticize the Winnipeg General StrikeThis month marks the 100th anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike, the most dramatic moment in our nation’s labour history and one highly romanticized ever since 1919. All of this romance seems to have caused people to forget what was really at stake. In 1919, the communist movement was gaining ground in Europe and elsewhere.…

The unexpected rise of Margaret Thatcher

Into the U.K.’s Winter of Discontent came a woman of sharp edges and a clear mind about how change would be managed

The unexpected rise of Margaret ThatcherOn May 3, 1979, United Kingdom voters trooped to the polls and produced a result that nobody would have countenanced a mere five years earlier. Defeating the sitting Labour government, Margaret Thatcher led the Conservatives into a lengthy sojourn in office. The novelty derived from the U.K. never having had a female prime minister, let…

Legislation to ensure pay equity for work of equal value falls flat

Only a free market will balance out pay inequities. If a company fails to compensate fairly, employees will simply move on

Legislation to ensure pay equity for work of equal value falls flatFrom conception to implementation, pay equity is a sham. It’s obscured in double speak, packaged in seemingly laudable goals and promises great results. However, it can’t deliver them because it’s based on false premises. Any good that comes of it is far outweighed by the harm. That’s why Canadians should be wary of any legislation…

The subsidy table is set, and actors and writers will dine

The CRTC has backed away from a 21st-century funding model for the creation of Canadian content. We'll all be poorer as a result

The subsidy table is set, and actors and writers will dineThe leaders of Canada’s creative rebellion have emerged victorious after two years of struggle. That means consumers will almost certainly pay more for years to come for their much-loved Canadian television content. The news came just prior to the Labour Day weekend. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued a decision confirming that it…

Understanding the downward trend in unionization 

In B.C., it's a matter of industrial change, technological innovation, and the increased role of self-employment and small businesses

Understanding the downward trend in unionization The arrival of another Labour Day provided an opportunity to reflect on the place of trade unions in our economy. The unionization rate – sometimes called union density – measures the share of employees in the workforce who belong to a union. In B.C., the rate has dropped significantly in recent decades. The trend has…

Powerful government unions weaken the economy

While the U.S. is curtailing the strength of such unions, Canadian government finances are stretched by the cost of public-sector workers

Powerful government unions weaken the economyAmerican taxpayers and workers won a big victory recently, with the United States Supreme Court ruling 5-4 in Janus versus American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) that government employees not part of a union could not be forced to pay union dues. Previously, government employees in 22 states were forced to pay…

Unions can help teachers resist pointless education fads

Being on the front lines, teachers must implement the latest fads. Then they get blamed when the fads crash and burn

Unions can help teachers resist pointless education fadsThe primary responsibility of teachers’ unions is to represent their members. This includes advocating for better wages, opposing unfair working conditions and ensuring that all teachers receive due process when their jobs are in jeopardy. Obviously, these are the very basic issues. Unions can do something else that would be of immense benefit to their…

How to get high-performance government

The private sector can help revolutionize government services by improving productivity, cutting costs and introducing new ideas

How to get high-performance governmentAmen to the ideas offered in It’s Time for High-Performance Government, written by Howard Risher and William Wilder and published in 2017. But how do we bring about high-performance government? The authors say it’s not about efficiency, it’s about engaging workers. And on that score, government is 30 years behind the curve. The 1990s began…

Can B.C. climb back to the education mountaintop?

For almost 20 years, the government has been at war with the teaching profession. New contract talks can change that

Can B.C. climb back to the education mountaintop?British Columbia’s educational system is one of the best in the world, according to documents published by the Conference Board of Canada and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). A BBC article referred to Canada as “An Educational Superpower” and British Columbia even ranks ahead of all other Canadian provinces. Yet B.C. schools are…