Friday, April 20, 2012

Wild Rose labour policy MIA

Following on my earlier discussion of the Progressive Conservative labour platform, I’ve had a couple of queries about the Wild Rose platform. I’ve spent some time looking through their website and can find relatively little on labour matters in their Green Book or elsewhere. If I have missed something, perhaps someone would be so kind as to point it out.

What I have found are these promises:
  • Withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan and create and Alberta Pension Plan (akin to the Quebec Pension Plan arrangement) (p.72). Weird how the WRA wants to increase labour mobility (see below) but, at the same time, balkanize the pension plan system.
  • Take more control over immigration (a la Quebec) to facilitate the entry of “qualified and financially sponsored working-age immigrants” (p.79). This is consistent with the creeping linkage of immigration with employment and economic matters, while traditional immigration concerns (e.g., social justice, political refugees, family reunification) have largely disappeared from discussion
  • Expand the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) Alberta signed with BC to other provinces (p.78). Is it too snarky to note that the Wild Rose has the name of TILMA wrong in their Green Book and that TILMA has already been expanded to include Saskatchewan in the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA)?

These relatively high-level items aside, there is no real labour policy laid out. I do note a commitment to “consulting extensively with industry” (p.83) and “review and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens” that “harm.. competitiveness” (p.99).

This language is vague and expansive enough to house a significant attack on worker rights. For example, Wild Rose has already mooted a public-sector wage freeze. I'm rather unsettled by the WRA's lack of a position in labour and employment law. But, I suppose, I'm hardly their target audience!

-- Bob Barnetson 

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