Senator Hugh Segal delivered a strong speech against Bill C377 in the Senate on February 21st.
The entire transcript is posted below, but here are a few highlights:
“Let me share my best judgment as to why Bill C-377, dealing withÂ broadening trade union disclosure to CRA, is bad legislation, bad public policy and aÂ diminution of both the order and the freedom that should exist in any democratic,Â pluralist and mixed-market society.
While I do not question the good faith and enduring belief in transparency of thoseÂ in the other place who proposed and supported the law, and of my esteemedÂ colleague Senator Eaton who sponsored the bill in this place, I want to point outÂ that, while transparency is a compelling public good, applying it in a discriminatoryÂ way is harmful and divisive.
As a Tory, I believe that society prospers when different views about the publicÂ agenda, on the left and the right, are advanced by different groups, individuals andÂ interests. Debate between opposing groups in this chamber, in the other place andÂ in broader society is the essence of democracy. Limiting that debate as to scope andÂ breadth is never in the long-term interest of a free and orderly society.Â Dispatching CRA to police how trade unions spend their money, in denominations ofÂ $5,000 or more, is to increase the role of CRA and of the state in ways that create aÂ bigger, nosier and more expensive government. As a taxpayer and as a Conservative,Â I oppose that kind of increase in any government’s power or expenditures.”