Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Did Canada's Supreme Court Have a Momentary Justice Lapse?

--> I read with interest about the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision that ruled in favour of a union’s right to videotape workers crossing a picket line.  This was a case that originated in the province of Alberta that has legislation entitled “Personal Information Protection Act”.  Management relied on that legislation to block the union involved from taking pictures.  The arguments of the Supreme Court who ruled in favour of the union went something like this:

The court has long recognized that the right to strike is a fundamental right in Canada, all else being equal.  And that “freedom of expression” is a right that goes hand in hand with labour disputes.  All this of course had to be weighed against the “privacy rights” of individuals.  However, the Supreme Court decided that Alberta’s law was wrong in providing one a greater control over one’s personal information and associated rights over those of other interests – in this case, the freedom of expression of unions in a labour dispute.

While the indirect implications of this decision for management may also be positive when it comes to how they might be allowed to collect data dealing with labour disputes (think video recordings on site, etc.), I think there are some problems with it at least from my ‘non-legal’ perspective.  And here’s why:

First, the union clearly was taking these pictures to vindictively publish them online.  And the Court decision seems to support that.  Whether it does so directly or indirectly, does not matter.  I suppose what remains now is for one of those strikebreakers (a legal behaviour) to sue the union for posting such a picture without their express consent.  And then we’re back to the Court system and maybe even the Supreme Court.

Second, the decision seems to imply that anyone out in public doing anything legal (or illegal for that matter I suppose) can be filmed by anyone else and then that image can be published for public viewing online.  You may remember all the issues with red-light cameras at intersections.  Or how about images taken by bullies of those they are bullying going online?  Or how about the legality of taking pictures of police officers while conducting their duties honourably or dishonourably?  Or how about police cameras on the squad car dashboards or on their lapels?  And why should there be no cameras allowed in the House of Commons or the Senate so that the pubic can take pictures? Or in live theatre or concert performances?  And the list goes on.

Third, what bothers me is that this decision that may be balanced on the perspectives the Honourable judges chose to consider, seems to have forgotten the very purpose of why this particular union may have been taking the pictures.  Clearly, when you threaten to publish them online, you are in essence using intimidation.  The Supreme Court in its wisdom seems to have said, “intimidation by unions is okay in Canada”.

Listen, I do not blame the unions for taking this to court.  A decision was required in this area.  And they won it fair and square.  My beef is not with them, but rather the logic behind.  It seems the overall good of society is no longer stakeholder in court decisions.  Instead they prefer to protect the interests of lobby groups, no matter who they are.

And thus we conclude:  So much for unions setting a good example in this regard.  Now bullies can try to follow.  So too can “I hate my-ex” jilted posters.  And so much for the right to work and earn an a living to feed your family when the union business agents decide to make you walk the payment and warm your hands over a fire in a barrel while they keep earning their big salaries, eating well, and enjoying television beside their warm fireplaces.  Sorry, Your Honours, I think you screwed up.

________________________________________________________________________

Thanks for dropping by. Sign up to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends. Ken Godevenos, Church and Management Consultant, Accord Consulting.  And while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.  Ken.

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

No comments:

Post a Comment