Chomedey MNA blasts labour collusion and violence

By Robert Frank

Guy Ouellette is calling for the Quebec government to protect workers whose jobs, lives and livelihoods he said have been threatened.

“People in Laval and in Montreal haven’t been paying enough attention to what has been going on in Sept Îles,” Chomedey’s elected representative in Quebec City told The Suburban in an interview.

The Liberal labour critic was reacting to a 129-page judgment, March 27, which, he said, revealed that “workers have been terrified by death threats against them and their families, violence and intimidation.”

He called for the government to protect the 40 victims mentioned in the report against potential reprisals against, and berated the Parti québécois for having “a double standard” on the issue.

“They passed legislation to regulate the issuance of public contracts,” Ouellette explained, “but in terms of manpower you need to have a license or permit issued by the labour ministry.”

“If you’re not in the right union, you don’t get to work, which means that you don’t have money to bring home to feed your family,” he added. “That’s not the kind of society that we want to live in.”

“If you’re professional and competent, you ought to have the same right to work, regardless of which union you belong to.”

He accused labour minister Agnès Maltais of taking on too many responsibilities and dropping the ball on the issue.

“She’s minister of the feminine condition, minister of employment and welfare and also labour minister,” Ouellette lamented. “She has been so preoccupied by welfare reform and has so much on her plate grappling with that policy, that she hasn’t had time to devote to her labour responsibilities.”

In addition to those three ministries, Maltais is also minister responsible for the Appalaches-Chaudière region as well as for the Quebec City region, giving her a hefty five cabinet posts.

Ouellette is also calling for the government to enforce Law 30, “to put an end to intimidation, collusion and fraudulent practicees in the construction industry.”

“It requires unions to publish and provide financial statements to their members,” he noted. “The minister is supposed to implement a regulation to require unions to post their financials on the internet. They collect so much money from their members that we have good reason to ask what they are doing with that money. We need to know where it goes and what they are doing with it.”

“With everything that is going on in Quebec these days, it’s important to ensure transparency,” he concluded. “Plus you shouldn’t have to fear for your safety, just because your name is mentioned in a judgment.”

As The Suburban went to press, Ouellette indicated that he plans to raise the issue again in the Quebec legislature this week.

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