With the Ontario election going on, there has been a lot of debate about whether unions should be allowed to pay for political advertising using their members’ dues money. Terrance Oakey, of Merit Contractors Association, an employer association, recently wrote and article in the Huffington Post decrying union spending on political ads. While I understand his concern, I disagree with much of what he said, because he only focuses on one side of the political fence.
I have spent a great deal of time working with governments of all stripes on behalf of my members regarding specific workplace concerns and offering constructive solutions. Who do I typically see coming out of the door as I am going in? None other than corporate lobbyists (such as Merit).
Like some unions’ lobbying efforts—see the Working Families Coalition, for example—many of these corporate lobbyists not only attempt to get the government of the day to see it their way, they also spend a great deal of time and money trying to directly influence the political process. I am concerned about the influence of big money on elections—no matter which side of the political fence it comes from.