Front line workers call on Harper government to act on climate change



    OTTAWA, Dec. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Front line public service workers have
felt the impact of climate change and their union the Canadian Union of Public
Employees is calling on Stephen Harper's minority government to show
leadership and embrace the initiatives to reduce green house gases that are
being discussed in Bali, Indonesia.
    "Whether it is health care workers dealing with extreme weather
conditions such as blistering heat waves, extreme rain or bitter frost, or
hydro workers clearing fallen lines and working to restore power to
communities, front line public service workers have seen the real face of
climate change in our everyday lives," said CUPE National President
Paul Moist.
    CUPE represents over 560,000 workers across Canada and today in Ottawa
the national executive board voted unanimously on a plan of action on climate
change. "Canadians want leadership on climate change. We want enforceable
agreements to reduce green house gases by 2009. Governments need to work with
labour and non-governmental organizations to develop a Just Transition program
aimed at mitigating the potential displacement of workers.
    The Just Transition program needs to be developed hand in hand with an
Adaptation fund to provide municipalities with funding to invest in measures
to adapt to climate change," said Moist.
    Should the Harper Government continue it's dithering at the Bali
Conference, the consequences on the country's infrastructure will be
disastrous. Sewers, buildings and power lines will have to be completely
redesigned to sustain extreme weather, and that implies staggering costs.
    "Our members have been telling us that they fear that municipalities are
not equipped to deal with the increased demand for public services due to
extreme weather - that means everything from emergency rooms to food banks."
    "The moment is now - there can be no better time than right now for
Stephen Harper's government to commit to a reduction in green house gases and
implement an action plan that considers the needs of working Canadians and
their municipalities," concluded Moist.




For further information:

For further information: Paul Moist, CUPE national president, (613)
558-2873 (cell); Catherine Louli, CUPE communications, (613) 851-0547 (cell);
CUPE's plan of action on climate change is available at:
http://www.cupe.ca/climatechange

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Canadian Union of Public Employees

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