EDMONTON, AB (December 2, 2013): Wildrose House Leader and Finance Critic Rob Anderson has issued the following statement on the government’s controversial Bills 45 and 46: “The Wildrose believes strongly in respecting the rule of law and upholding contracts including collective bargaining agreements.
Negotiating a collective bargaining agreement that is fair for taxpayers is an important goal; however, it does not give the government the right to terminate the legal arbitration rights of public sector employees. “In 1977, Premier Peter Lougheed provided public sector employees the right to binding arbitration as an alternative to removing their right to strike. We believe that this was and still is a fair compromise that should be upheld. “For these reasons the Wildrose will be actively opposing Bill 46 in the Legislature and will repeal Bill 46 and reinstate those lost arbitration rights should Wildrose form government in 2016. “We will also be proposing Bill 45 amendments that protect the free speech rights of individual public sector workers to express opposition to the decisions or tactics of government, while supporting provisions in the Bill that deter the organization of illegal strikes by union leadership. It should be noted, however, there are already laws prohibiting illegal strikes including an expedited court process to end them, which is why the timing of Bill 45 is counterproductive as it unnecessarily creates suspicion and bad faith during the negotiation process. “The Wildrose is committed to fiscal prudence and balanced budgets. However, we will not balance the budget on the backs of front line public sector workers and services, nor will we unilaterally terminate the legal rights of any Albertan. This should never be the Alberta way of doing business. It is, however, increasingly the Redford PC way of doing business. “We are also sure Premier Redford and the PCs will make all sorts of promises to our front line public sector employees prior to the 2016 election just as they did before the 2012 election. The difference now of course, is that Albertans know exactly how much those promises are worth.”