Who finances Fraser Institute’s anti-union agenda?

Extrait de: Who finances Fraser Institute’s anti-union agenda?, FP Letters to the Editor, Sep 28, 2011

Re: “Open union books,” Niels Veldhuis and Amela Karabegovic, Sept. 23

The Fraser Institute attacks trade unions for an alleged lack of transparency in how we disclose financial information. How would they know? We will gladly compare our transparency with theirs any day of the week. Our (owners) members know how and where to get their union’s financial information.

I have read the Fraser Institute’s annual report for 2010. It does not provide a financial report, but rather selective “financial highlights.” We know that they took in $10.8-million, but they don’t tell us who gave them that money.

The Fraser Institute is registered as a charitable organization with many of its donors receiving tax receipts with their thank you letters, but the actual list of donors and financial statements are nowhere to be seen. The board of directors, however, is comprised mainly of big business bosses. Might they just have an agenda when it comes to trying to discredit unions? I challenge the Fraser Institute to come clean on who finances their anti-union agenda.

Ken Georgetti, president, Canadian Labour Congress, Ottawa


Niels Veldhuis replies:

Ken Georgetti misses the point in his response to our commentary on union financial disclosure. We are not anti-union; we are pro worker choice. The evidence is clear that when workers are allowed to choose whether or not to join or financially support a union, they do so in much lower numbers.

Unfortunately, workers in Canada can be forced to join and financially support a union (through dues) as a condition of employment. What’s more, union members have little to no information available to them about their union’s finances and how their union executives spend these dues. There is ample evidence that union executives use union dues to support political causes and activist agendas that are not supported by the broad-based union membership. Additionally, union dues are fully deductible from income for tax purposes. There is a solid case for full and public financial disclosure for unions.

Finally, Georgetti’s demand that the Fraser Institute provide the names of our donors is merely a smoke screen to divert attention from the labour movement’s lack of transparency. The Fraser Institute is funded by voluntary contributions; no one is forced to donate to the Institute, unlike unionized workers who are forced to pay union dues.