Sunday, April 16, 2006

Reciprocal back-scratching

Why are unions such frequent and ardent supporters of and financial contributors to progressive social and environmental advocacy activists? Despite the apparently disparate ostensible aims of these organizations, each is built and depends upon the same pillar of central legislative command as the only comprehensive tool to enforce political objectives that would otherwise be selectively or not at all attainable if dependent on the rationally discriminate choices of free individuals or the effects of unattenuated market processes. The strengthening of the rule of political mechanisms over natural ones benefits each. From the Edmonton Sun:

Susan Comstock, a Catholic who has been a member of the Public Service Alliance of Canada since 1972, wants her union dues that went to a political campaign lobbying for gay marriage diverted to a charity. She also wants to scrap the union's zero-tolerance policy against "heterosexism," which she claims violates her religious freedom.

PSAC prairies region executive vice-president Robyn Benson says the union's social justice fund has long been used to fight for equal rights for its "diverse" membership. "Same-sex marriage is a human rights issue."

Comstock says she's "not homophobic, but by the union's definition of heterosexist, I am, by virtue of my religious beliefs."

Comstock, who works in the Department of Indian Affairs, has filed for a judicial review in Federal Court of a Human Rights Commission decision and expects the case will be heard in November.

Comstock believes the union should stay strictly focused on workplace issues, but PSAC vice-president Ed Cashman said affecting change in the greater community is a key role. "What happens in the community inevitably impacts the workplace and vice versa," Cashman said.
… which effectively ends any rational debate of any action on the part of the union unlike, perhaps, workplace issues. What "happens in the community" is entirely subject to politically-motivated characterizations and interpretations. I wish Comstock good luck with the court review — courts in Canada have long favoured expanding political processes that favour arbitrary community concepts at the expense of restricted objective standards that do least harm to the individual. Better counsel would be to find work in a non-unionized workplace.