You can’t legislate docility

Jonathan McLeod

March 23, 2012 | 1 Comment

The Tories struck a blow for vacationing upper middle class families when they decided to step in and take some fundamental rights away from the workers at Air Canada. The assumption was, I guess, that if they bullied the unions quickly and swiftly, the unions would just roll over and take it.

But, that’s not what happened.

The other day, Air Canada pilots all called in sick. Today, some ground crews went on a wildcat strike. This is a predictable result when the government (any government) decides that they can legislate solutions to any human activity to which they happen to object. You can’t legislate preferred behaviour. Whether we’re talking about labour relations, drug use, sexual activity or offensive speech, people won’t be altered by laws - though they might be beaten into submission by force. And, no doubt, that’s the government’s next step.

Update: The crews are back to work and, thankfully, will not face disciplinary action.

Update II: I had not heard what caused the walkout (I’d assumed it was just a reaction to the government’s thuggish legislation):

Air Canada… suspended three workers at Toronto’s Pearson Airport on Thursday evening, setting off a chain of events that led to the illegal action.

The workers had apparently applauded sarcastically as Labour Minister Lisa Raitt walked through the airport on Thursday evening.

The employees were suspended for 72 hours. The striking workers said Friday morning that’s how long they’ll keep up their protest.

You know, Ms. Raitt deserved such derision, and the suspensions warranted a response from workers. Their bargaining rights have been taken away, their workplace has been politicized (by management), and now there basic political freedoms are being trampled.


One Response to “You can’t legislate docility”

  1. Milan
    March 25th, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

    The government is definitely behaving inappropriately. Air Canada is a private company, and the workers have the right to strike.


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