The last entry was about a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that declared legal for governments to expropriate stuff without compensation: we are the government(s) serfs. This entry is about eating crow, tasty tasty black crow.

I have been labouring under the theory that the canadian constitution’s “freedom of association” (section 2(d)) doesn’t relate to issues like the current Ontario controversy about Bill 115. Well, blow me down and call me a duncefiend, for it seems I am wrong.

It turns out that our neighbourhood Supreme Court has also dealt with that exact issue. Specifically, the 2007 Health Services and Support … v. British Columbia case was a shocking reversal of the court’s prior precedent, and decided to hold that government employees’ collective bargaining rights are substantially protected by those three little words in the constitution. (I’m obviously not well-versed in labour law, so I don’t know to what extent this applies to private sector unions.) The ruling goes into some detail as to the requirements of process:

It means that employees have the right to unite, to present demands to government employers collectively and to engage in discussions in an attempt to achieve workplace-related goals. Section 2(d) imposes corresponding duties on government employers to agree to meet and discuss with them. It also puts constraints on the exercise of legislative powers in respect of the right to collective bargaining.

The gist of it is that whoever tries to be a local Scott Walker has quite a hill to climb. The courts will get involved in micromanaging labour issues, and they’re on the other side. The constitution is effectively unamendable, and the ruling was nearly unanimous, so it’s not like one can wait for one or two judges to retire.

UPDATE: why not mention the sad case of Hassan Rasouli, wherein the same supreme court is now to decide whether government employees have the unilateral power to kill patients if they deem treatment medically hopeless. Like the Baby Joseph case from a year ago, it’s a tragic situation. Provincial or federal law outlaws people raising funds & paying for their own medical services – should they compete with the socialized medicine industry. So very sick people are at the mercy of the system. It won’t kill them if they murder someone (no capital punishment here), but it may kill them if they are in a hospital. Because nothing says Universal Health Care like killing the sick.

So, to summarize the law of the land … as of the early 21st century, the government owns us, and labour unions own the government. Maybe it will rule that the government can also kill us. We’re probably stuck with this for a generation (or earlier, whenever Maggie Thatcher’s “other people’s money” runs out), or until a cunning plan is used to defeat such rulings with other absurd ones. Egads. Any wonder why folks like I consider the State to be, on the whole, a threat?