Conservative MP Russ Hiebert is spearheading a debate in Ottawa about the transparency requirements of unions. His private member's bill, C-377, would impose new public reporting requirements for unions. (Chris Roussakis/QMI Agency)
OTTAWA -- Union militants staged brief sit-ins Tuesday at a handful of Conservative MP riding offices to protest a private member's bill that would force unions to show how dues are spent.
The bill from Tory MP Russ Hiebert has angered the labour movement and parallels similar legislation in the United States that led to charges and imprisonment for some union bosses after the books were opened to scrutiny.
Hiebert's bill is expected to pass third reading as early as Wednesday in the Commons before heading to the Senate. The NDP opposes Bill C-377.
The party's labour critic said the Conservatives were taking a page from the Republican playbook by trampling worker rights.
Alexandre Boulerice said in the Commons the legislation is "highly flawed" and should be sent to the Supreme Court for a reference before "violating constitutional rights and provincial jurisdictions."
Tory MP Pierre Poilievre said he felt bad "to hear such distress and desperation" from a party that relies heavily on union support.
"Now they realize transparency is upon them and that we're going to find out how all of this money that these unions forcefully take from workers is spent."
Conservative MP Parm Gill's Brampton office was among those occupied.
A spokesman said about seven activists showed up at the office demanding to speak to the MP. When that couldn't be arranged, they sat down.
"After a while they gave up," said Chris Armes, who described the protesters as civil and respectful of the property.