Following federal union’s support of PQ, Tories push for new union dues guidelines

It was mind-boggling to see Public Service Alliance of Canada regional vice president Larry Rousseau unabashedly defend his union's support of the separatist Parti Québécois on national television.

With a straight face, Rousseau said that, sovereignty aside, the PQ would best represent the interests of the union's 22,000 members who live and vote in the Outaouais, despite the fact that those members work for the federal government.

That pseudo-endorsement has raised the ire of Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, Poilievre said he will lobby his Conservative colleagues for new laws that will allow public servants to opt out of paying union dues.

[ Related: PSAC vows to fly anti-Harper banner again ]

"I accept the results of the election," he said Wednesday, referencing the PQ victory. "But I can't accept a union representing public servants working for the government of Canada which forcefully takes money out of the pockets of Canada's public servants to support parties that want to break up the country. How can it be in the interests of public servants to support the breakup of Canada?"

PSAC, the country's largest union of federal employees, has endorsed separatist parties before. But in the 2012 campaign, the PQ made no bones about what its primary plank was: an independent Quebec.

[ Related: What does a minority PQ government mean to Canada? ]

In a speech days before the election, PQ leader Pauline Marois reiterated her party's ultimate goal.

"I need a majority mandate to make Quebec a country," she said, according to the Montreal Gazette.

The Tories have tussled with the unions before. Much to the chagrin of 'big labour,' the Tories have tabled six back-to-work bills since forming government in 2006 and are in the midst of cutting 29,600 public sector union jobs between now and 2015.

And it's no secret that the Harper Conservatives were already contemplating legislation that would weaken or even eliminate the Rand Formula, the principle of mandatory union dues that dates back to the 1940s.

But thanks to PSAC's support of a separatist party, the Tories will now have public support behind them.