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Politics and its Discontents: Thomas Walkom Today

The union movement is one of the last remnants of the great postwar pact between labour, capital and government.

That pact provided Canadians with things they still value, from medicare to public pension plans. Good wages in union shops kept pay high, even in workplaces that weren’t organized. Unions agitated for and won better health and safety laws that covered all.

True, union rules made it more difficult for employers to axe slackers. But they also ensured that when someone lost his job, it was for real cause — not because he or she had refused to sleep with the

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Politics and its Discontents: That Man Behind the Curtain

While I strongly believe in being critical of unions when their behaviour warrants it, I am steadfast in my belief that they serve a vital role for the working person, which, essentially, is all of us, at least until retirement. I therefore must disagree with those who claim that the harsh measures about to be imposed by the McGuinty government of Ontario are somehow at least partly attributable to union intransigence.

In his Star column this morning, Martin Regg Cohn offers a good analysis of the politics motivating Mr. McGuinty as the legislature prepares to resume tomorrow to deal with

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Politics and its Discontents: Ontario’s Impending Austerity Budget

Reading my morning Star, I learned that there is wide-spread support among the public for austerity measures to reduce Ontario’s deficit. I suspect that there will be a particular appetite for the following:

Hundreds of thousands of teachers, nurses and all other public employees face higher pension contributions or reduced payouts to keep their plans sustainable, the Ontario government will announce Tuesday.

Although I am a former teacher receiving one of those ‘lavish pensions’ that come with no benefits (I pay about $3,000 per year for supplementary health insurance), I shall not use this space to offer a defense

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