I find that Premier Lord’s approach to unions has been politically masterful (maybe not so good for taxpayers but I digress). He talks tough and negotiates hard and then gives the unions basically what they were asking for.
Politically, this serves two objectives. One, it makes average New Brunswickers think his is being tough with unions and two it placates the unions and they are left complaining about the ‘process’ and how they were treated ‘unfairly’ during the ‘process’. Which is true. But for the most part they do not question the outcome (except for maybe those poor Stenos).
I know Vive will question this but I saw a report last year showing that public sector unions in New Brunswick have received the highest average wage increases of all provinces except Alberta since Lord took office.
However, now Lord is being attacked by the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. They issued a press release yesterday nationwide called “Where is Bernard Lord”.
“I think I will send Mr. Lord a road map so he knows how to get fromFredericton to Bathurst, to Edmundston and to Miramichi. These communities aresuffering major economic hardship and our Premier has not even shown up toacknowledge their plight,” says Max Michaud, Atlantic Region Vice President of theCommunications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.
While the Newfoundland government is spending $150 million to save jobsin Stephenville and the governments of Quebec and Ontario are investinghundreds of millions in the pulp and paper industry, New Brunswick is sittingidle, Mr. Michaud added.
Now, our wannabe Prime Minister-in-waiting should take this as a warning shot across the bow so to speak. Just ask former Premier Camille Theriault what happens when you really annoy the unions. You get a massively funded ‘Toll Busters’ campaign running ads daily during an election campaign paid for by CUPE money.
New Brunswick unions have a lot of power and sway. He would be wise to at least drive up to northern New Brunswick and feign an interest in the serious problems up there.
Because if the unions start funding a “Lord Busters” campaign, in the near future he may well be collecting an EI cheque from Ottawa rather than an Equalization cheque.