thumb-2023-04-09-stephanie-kusie-psac-wages
thumb-2023-04-09-stephanie-kusie-psac-wages This article is more than 11 months old
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Conservative MP Repeatedly Refuses To Say If Pierre Poilievre Supports Giving Workers a Raise

“Ok, I’m just going to register that’s not an answer to the direct question”

Pierre Poilievre’s Conservatives are explicitly refusing to take any position whatsoever on whether striking federal workers deserve better wages.

Despite a long history advocating unconstitutional anti-worker laws, Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre has lately been railing against sky-rocketing inflation in an attempt to reinvent himself as a friend of “working-class people.”

Workers have every right to demand raises for soaring food, homes and fuel prices,” Poilievre tweeted last fall.

That also happens to be a core issue for striking public servants represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, who are now trying to bring wages back in line with reality — federal workers already earned 5.8% below average even as inflation reached 6.8% last year.

Yet on a political panel show Wednesday night, Poilievre’s Treasury Board critic struggled when asked if Poilievre supports giving workers a raise.

Asked by CTV Power Play host Vassy Kapelos if Poilievre’s Conservatives “support PSAC’s position that they would like to see a 13.5% raise over three years” to keep pace with “the rate of inflation,” Conservative MP Stephanie Kusie refused to answer.

“I’m not going to comment on hypotheticals,” Kusie replied. “This rests on Justin Trudeau and his incompetent government.”

“I don’t think it’s a hypothetical though to ask what the Conservative Party supports,” Kapelos responded. “Do you support the union’s position that they should get a 13.5% raise — why won’t you answer that?”

Kusie again dodged the question about the Conservative Party’s position on giving workers a raise and repeated talking points attacking Justin Trudeau:

“As long as the strike is ongoing, as long as they continue to be at the negotiating table, it is a hypothetical, and as such, we will rest the blame with the prime minister and with the Liberal government and their incompetence.”

“Ok, I’m just going to register that’s not an answer to the direct question,” Kapelos replied.

The majority of federal workers on strike make between $40,000 and $65,000 annually. Expired collective agreements show positions below $40,000 annually, with some as low as $28,000.

According to a recent report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, federal workers’ wages have stagnated and fallen behind for over a decade.

“The average federal public sector worker’s wages only buy the same today as they did in October 2007,” the CCPA report states. “No other industry—none—has seen average inflation adjusted wages pushed back as far as federal public sector workers.”

Chris Aylward, National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, has suggested the strike is a flashpoint moment for all workers across Canada as it will also set the bar for wages in the private sector and non-unionized positions.

“When the federal government represses its wages for its own employees, what they’re doing is repressing wages for workers right across the country. Unionized workers, non-unionized workers, private sector, public sector.”

 

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Luke LeBrun
Editor
Luke LeBrun is the Editor of PressProgress. His reporting focuses on the federal political scene, right-wing politics as well as issues in technology, media and culture.

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