MBT Objects to Unregistered, Deceptive Advertising
September 6, 2019
On September 5, 2019, Manitoba Building Trades filed a complaint with Elections Manitoba. The complaint alleges that Merit Contractors Association of Manitoba is violating The Elections Financing Act by running election-related advertising on multiple platforms without registering as a third party. (The Election Financing Act, Part 12, 85 (1). A third party must register with the CEO immediately after having incurred election communication expenses totalling $2,500.)
While MBT supports the right of citizens and organizations to participate in our democratic processes, our complaint is based on two important grounds:
ONE: That any party participating in our elections should follow the law. In 2016, MBT advertised during the elections, and even though our spending was below the limit, we registered as a third party with Elections Manitoba. We wanted our advertising to be transparent and comply with our laws. We believe that every participant, whether individual or organization, should respect our laws.
TWO: We find Merit Contractors Association has been building a false narrative to support legislation that would do away with Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) in Manitoba. Merit advertising suggests that Manitoba does not have fair and open tendering rules.
That is completely FALSE. Manitoba has never had a law requiring that work be awarded to union contractors. Manitoba has ALWAYS had open tendering and all contractors, union and non-union, can freely bid on ALL Manitoba projects. In fact, over 75% of Manitoba tenders are awarded to non-union contractors. Repeating the false claim that Manitoba does not have open tendering is deceptive and intended to mislead Manitobans into supporting proposed legislation that favours private companies represented by Merit. Merit is not telling Manitobans that the CBA process it opposes sets a minimum wage for ALL workers and requires that Manitoba workers get first chance to work on Manitoba projects.
Why is Merit advocating for a new law to fix a problem we don’t actually have? We believe it is motivated by a desire to improve the bottom line for its member companies. By doing away with minimum wage rules and local hiring preferences, Merit companies can cut wages and hire more temporary out of province or out of country workers. Merit’s effort is about helping private companies make more money, not about looking out for Manitobans.
MBT will continue to set the record straight. We believe Manitoba projects should support local employment and continue to pay fair middle-class wages to people who live, work and invest in our communities. That is a good economic policy for all Manitobans.