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Myth that 'big labour' & 'big business' are equal

The myth that 'big labour' and 'big business' are equal

British Columbia experience shows
business outspends labour $14 to $1

Vancouver - The mainstream media display a consistent bias toward the Liberal and Conservative parties by portraying "big business" and "big labour" as more or less synonymous. The impression created - and intended - is that the labour movement's traditional support for the New Democratic Party offsets the big-money marriage of convenience that has always existed between Liberals and Conservatives and their friends in the business community

Political contributions:
Big Business vs. 'Big Labour'

The myth has never been true but that fact has never stopped pro-Tory and pro-Liberal reporters, editorialists, columnists and commentators from endlessly peddling the suggestion. Nor has it prevented the old-line political parties, whenever they feel heat from the left, from resorting to the same tactics to confuse voters and misrepresent labour unions.

In fact, Premier Gordon Campbell and his B.C. Liberals are again gearing up to spin voters in exactly the same way during the campaign for the next B.C. election that, by law, must be held this May.

$16.1 million vs. $1.15 million

To show how misleading the comparison is, one need only look at the numbers. Labour's political clout is, unfortunately, minor compared to that of business.

Between 2000 and 2003, the B.C. Liberals raised an astonishing total of $23.8 million - with 68 cents of every dollar (68%) coming from corporations, unincorporated businesses or commercial organizations. That's $16.1 million of their entire total. So much for being a people's party.

Meanwhile, labour's contribution to the provincial New Democratic Party over the same period was only a fraction of that total. The NDP raised $11.6 million from all sources over the same period (less than half of what the Liberals raised) and only $1.15 million came from labour. The rest came from individuals and other sources.

For every $14 the Liberals raked in from the business community, the NDP got just $1 from labour unions. Put another way, the Liberals rely 68% on business for their financing while the NDP gets just 10% of its political funding from labour.

Remember that the next time the media and the old-line political parties peddle the notion that big labour in any way matches the clout of big business. NUPGE


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