Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson

MLA’S CORNER: NDP ignore experts, remove worker rights

The secrecy of a person’s ballot is fundamental to democracy: MLA Doerkson

It’s been a busy week for our NDP government. Between increasing taxes on used cars and online marketplaces and giving themselves tens of thousands of dollars in pay raises — which they’ve made retroactive to last year — they also introduced legislation that infringes on the rights of B.C. workers.

Since forming government, John Horgan has made no secret of the fact that he wants to scrap the secret ballot from union certification.

Now, despite the NDP’s own expert panel warning against the idea, this government has gone ahead with removing the secret ballot, and in doing so, eroded the rights of workers across the province.

The secrecy of a person’s ballot is fundamental to democracy — whether we are voting for our elected representatives or voting to join a union. It’s alarming to me that this NDP government thinks it’s okay to take away something so important, and to be so casual about it.

With this decision, the government knowingly puts people at risk of coercion or harassment, forcing them to declare publicly whether they want to join a union. It’s not fair, it infringes on people’s rights and it’s not a step that government should be taking.

Unfortunately, they’ve decided to go forward with it, despite the criticism, because it benefits NDP friends and supporters. In fact, this is just the latest example of the NDP choosing to look out for specific supportive groups, rather than the rights of all British Columbians. Let’s not forget the NDP themselves have implemented what they call “Community Benefits Agreements” for large public infrastructure projects, which have had the effect of excluding the vast majority of B.C. workers from government projects.

If nothing else, it’s incredibly hypocritical for the most secretive government in the country to remove people’s right to a secret ballot — but I guess the NDP expects full transparency from everyone but themselves.

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