The Interim

A Calgary machinist is taking his fight to Canada’s top court in an effort to keep his union dies from promoting abortion in Canada.

Martin Doyle, a devout Roman Catholic, argues his belief should justify with-holding the portion of money which supports the “pro-choice” position of the Canadian Labour Congress.

Doyle is not a member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, but because of a requirement in the collective agreement with his employer, Canadian Airlines, he must pay union dues of $50 a month.  The Canadian Labour Congress collects millions of dollars from this union and is notoriously and actively pro-abortion.

After he discovered his dues were supporting CLC policies, he wrote requesting the money be redirected to a charity.  This was denied.

But he says he has powerful legal support to carry his fight forward.

Canadian law clearly allows the option of paying union dues to a registered charity when an employee “because of his religious convictions or beliefs, objects to paying regular union dues to a trade union.”  This provision is contained in Section 70 (2) of the labour code.  He has already invoked Section 70 (1) allowing him to withdraw from the union even though he still must pay the dues.

But the Canadian Labour Relations Board refused the exemption saying his objections are political rather than religious.  Now he’s fighting back claiming the ruling was too narrow.

The Board said that for the exemption to be granted he would have to object to all trade unions because of his religious convictions.  It stated that the Catholic Church favours the principles of collective bargaining and encourages the work of unions and so Boyle is not justified in saying his religion prohibits union support.

His fight has reached all the way to the Federal Court of Appeal where Doyle was to represent himself against his union’s lawyers.  However, Justice Julius Isaac decided the case warrants a full Federal Court hearing which is scheduled in the upcoming months.