Hudak wise to ditch "Right To Work" platform plank
In politics, there are good idea and bad ideas. And sometimes there are good ideas that are poorly timed, as then-PC Leader John Tory found a few years ago when he wanted to run on a platform that would have the taxpayers fund “Faith-based” schools. Whomever it was who convinced Tim Hudak that taking on the Rand Formula was just what Ontarians were hankering for must surely be out of the business of politics by now. As policy initiatives go, it was neither a good idea, nor a good idea before its time.
Not in Ontario anyway; the list of more compelling problems is far too long, and the number of marginal votes involved that aren’t otherwise available to the PC’s adds up to absolutely zero.
When Mercedes-Benz puts a new SUV plant in Alabama, I understand the knee-jerk reaction is to assume that “Right to Work” rules are the driving force behind the decision. Manufacturing plants are closing here at home, and new ones are popping up elsewhere. With Mexico opening two new auto assembly plants in the space of six weeks, it is clear that Ontario’s issues can’t be blamed on organized labour. Firms such as Honda, Mazda and MB are making choices, and whatever Ontario is selling isn’t being bought by these savvy folks. In Waterloo, several global tech firms have set up business of late, and the provincial union rules were likely not a topic of concern.
If you decide to shop at the Maple Leaf Gardens Loblaws today, you’ll come across a very helpful and happy unionized staff; at least that’s how they seem to me whenever I have occasion to shop there. The fact that the UFCW, Canada’s largest private sector union, looks after their affairs can’t be ignored. Some environments lend themselves to the protections that come with a union, while others, such as Google Canada, may not.
Do Ontarians wake up each morning, worried about whether or not a cashier has the right to self-select out of a unionized environment? Certainly not. Can you tell which Canadian bank branches are unionized and which aren’t? I doubt it. And for Mr. Hudak, he won’t win office trying to solve “problems” that aren’t perceived to be such by the vast majority of active voters.
What the decision to deep-six the platform idea means, though, is that the Progressive Conservatives are listening; and learning. Being pragmatic is what’s required to succeed in higher office, and voters need to see that capacity in any leader. That’s how you get elected in a Province where ideology has rarely been a winning card.
(disclosure: some of our LPs are pension plans with unionized employee beneficiaries)