Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Atlantic

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Atlantic

May 10, 2011 14:04 ET

N.S. Opposition parties falsely characterizing CUPE election activity

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - May 10, 2011) - The country's largest union says the two opposition parties in Nova Scotia are misconstruing CUPE's election activities, and giving the public a completely false and misleading impression in the process.

CUPE Nova Scotia President Danny Cavanagh says, "To suggest that communicating directly with our members during election campaigns is somehow in violation of the Elections Act is patently false. Even the Chief Electoral Officer concluded this after the 2009 provincial election. We were not found in violation because we did nothing wrong."

Says Cavanagh, "What CUPE has done since election financing changes were introduced is to concentrate on the one thing we can do under the Act, which is communicate with our members. Now the opposition parties – I would suggest because of sour grapes – want to try and stop us from even doing that.

"I have news for these parties: what CUPE has been doing is perfectly legal and is protected by the 'Freedom of Association' clause in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We have the right to communicate with our dues-paying members at any time," says Cavanagh.

Cavanagh says the two parties are also ignoring a significant court ruling in B.C. in April, 2009 where a provincial Supreme Court justice struck down key portions of that province's so-called 'gag law' restricting third-party advertising 60 days prior to a provincial election.

Justice Frank Cole found key portions of Bill 42, passed by the government of then Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell, unconstitutional. Unions such as CUPE were one of the main targets of the legislation.

The judge said the bill violated basic freedom of expression rights protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Contact Information

  • Danny Cavanagh
    CUPE N.S. President
    (902) 957-0822 (Cell)

    John McCracken
    CUPE Communications Rep.
    (902) 455-4180 (o)