Topp addresses union rally on pensions, says bankruptcy laws used against workers
TORONTO, Feb. 22, 2012 /CNW/ - One of Canada's largest private sector unions, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, has today declared its support for Brian Topp as the next leader of the New Democratic Party.
CEP President Dave Coles announced the union's endorsement at a demonstration in front of Brookfield Asset Management offices in Toronto today, where Topp joined retirees protesting the loss of up to 40% of their pensions, because of corporate greed and Canada's lax bankruptcy protection legislation.
"Brian Topp shares our union's vision of economic justice and equality, and he has the intelligence and political skills to make that vision a reality," said Coles. "Brian knows that what's good for working people is good for all Canadians."
When speaking to the crowd, Topp stressed that the "heartbreaking plight of the 'Victims of Brookfield' is a result of an economic system that favours big corporations and banks ahead of workers and families."
"Canada's bankruptcy legislation - the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act - is a prime example," he said. "It allowed Brookfield to get out of its outstanding liability of $219 million to workers and retirees. This is not the first time the seriously flawed CCAA has been used against workers, and it won't be the last," he said, referring to the case of Nortel employees and other CEP members, such as those at St. Marys Paper in Sault Ste. Marie.
"If the economy falls back into recession or economic growth remains stunted, private pension plans will continue to fail and more and more workers won't receive the pensions they have paid for throughout their working lives.
"I will work to ensure workers are treated equitably when companies face financial difficulty, and to renew and improve the Canada Pension Plan."
The "Victims of Brookfield", former employees of Fraser Papers, came from Quebec and New Brunswick to demand justice. The Victims of Brookfield Association brings together some 800 retirees each from former Fraser operations in Edmundston and Thurso, Que., who have lost between 30 and 40 per cent of their pensions as a result of the restructuring of Fraser Papers.
For further information:
Dave Coles, 613-299-5628