patrick-brown-speech_thumb-1.png
patrick-brown-speech_thumb-1.png This article is more than 4 years old

Anti-union lobbyist is chairing big fundraising dinner for Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown

Merit Canada president Terrance Oakey is co-chairing Patrick Brown's biggest fundraiser of the year and handling corporate donations too.

PP.gif

Who’s helping out at Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown’s annual “Leader’s Dinner” Thursday night in Ottawa?

The president of Canada’s biggest anti-union lobby group, for one.

In fact, according to a flyer promoting the event, not only is Merit Canada president Terrance Oakey co-chairing the big fundraising event – he’s handling corporate donations too.

ottawa-leaders-dinner.jpg

Big surprise? Depends on your point-of-view.

On one hand, Brown has tried to distance himself from former PC leader Tim Hudak’s adversarial approach towards labour.

During last year’s Ontario PC convention, Brown went so far as to declare that those who “belong to a union … have a home in the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario” – quite the change in tone!

On the other hand, it’s hard to square that with the reality that the guy handling Brown’s corporate donations was also called the “true author” of Stephen Harper’s anti-union bill C-377 by one leader in the Canadian Senate.

As a Conservative MP, Brown voted for C-377 along with other controversial anti-union bills too.

Merit Canada is an organization that lobbies on behalf of non-unionized construction companies – and records listed on the website of Canada’s Lobbying Commissioner show Oakey has a long history of lobbying federal politicians in support of anti-union legislation.

Merit Canada also bankrolled “Working Canadians,” a proudly “anti-union” astroturf group that ran waves of TV and radio ads attacking “union power” in advance of the 2014 Ontario election.  

What should those who “belong to a union” make of Brown’s close ties to this kind of lobbyist?

After all, didn’t Brown say he’s trying to distance himself from this kind of approach towards labour?

 

In his short time at the helm of Ontario’s Tories, the rookie leader has gained a reputation as a serial flip-flopper.

During his party’s leadership race, Brown won the support of social conservatives with pledges to “repeal” Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum

But once installed as leader, Brown distanced himself from his social conservative base and flip-flopped on sex-ed, explaining he was “comfortable with teachings on sexual orientation and gender identity” – puzzling given he even voted against protecting gender identity as a human right years earlier when he was a Conservative MP.

Brown now says courting social conservatives was a “mistake,” though his own record shows he voted with social conservatives against same-sex marriage and abortion.

In light of that, maybe all we’re left with is this question from a spokesperson with Canada’s biggest anti-abortion group:

“What voter — whether a social conservative or of the left-leaning variety — can possibly trust this man on any issue, be it his approach to carbon taxes, or restoring PC relations with public service unions?”

Photo: Twitter.

Help us protect Canadians by holding the powerful accountable.

Journalism is an important public service. That’s why PressProgress is prioritizing stories aimed at keeping Canadians safe and holding the powerful accountable during the coronavirus pandemic.

Please consider supporting our award-winning non-profit news organization so we can keep making a positive impact for Canadians.

 

Support Our Journalism
PressProgress
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

thumb-2021-02-025 News

Doug Ford, In the Middle of a Deadly Pandemic, Calls Paid Sick Days a ‘Waste of Taxpayers Money’

Related Stories

News

Ford Government Memo Warns of $1.6 Billion in Education Cuts and Plans to Layoff Thousands of Frontline Workers

View the post
Analysis

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister’s ‘Mystery Bills’ Are a ‘Dangerous’ Violation of Democratic Standards, Experts Say

View the post
Fact-Check

Canada Proud is Spreading Misleading Propaganda Claiming COVID-19 Vaccines Will Be Distributed According to ‘Skin Colour’

View the post

Explainers

Politics & strategy

Tom Parkin

Why Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh Are Taking Very Different Positions on Private, For-Profit Long-Term Care

View the post
Human rights & inclusion

Amira Elghawaby

Why The Full Impact of Hate Groups on Targeted Communities Is Not Captured By Hate Crime Statistics

View the post
Power and democracy

Andrea Reimer

How The COVID-19 Pandemic Revealed Canada’s Most Powerful People Have Less Power Than They Think

View the post