C-377 is constitutional, says champion of bill forcing unions to open books
OTTAWA - With his private member's bill on union finances now in the Senate, Conservative MP Russ Hiebert is confidently predicting it can withstand a constitutional challenge.
Bill C-377 was passed by the House of Commons after it was amended to remove provisions dealing with pensions, and to make it less expensive for the government to implement.
A number of labour groups have predicted the bill won't stand up to scrutiny by the courts.
Hiebert says legal experts he consulted prior to the bill's passage have said it is constitutionally sound.
But when asked, Hiebert refused to disclose which experts he consulted, saying he didn't get permission to reveal their names.
The bill, once passed into law, will force unions to publicly disclose how they spend the dues they collect.
It would amend the Income Tax Act to require unions to provide detailed annual financial filings to the Canada Revenue Agency, which would in turn make the information public.
The amended bill that was approved in the Commons will, however, hold back some personal information from public view for privacy reasons.