Labour's gains threatened by Harper government actions



    OTTAWA, Aug. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - Labour Day provides an opportunity for
Canadian workers to shed light on the work they do-both in their communities
and across the country. According to Paul Moist, CUPE national president and
Claude Généreux, national secretary treasurer, the Harper government is
working hard to erase worker gains and impede progress.
    In fact, say the leaders of Canada's largest union, the Harper government
has recently brought about some very harmful changes in our democracy.
    In a message prepared for Labour Day 2007, Moist and Généreux point out
that Stephen Harper's government has operated behind closed doors, shutting
out the very people his government is elected to serve.
    They cancelled the Kelowna Accord that promised to provide housing,
water, and education for Aboriginal people. Child care agreements with the
provinces were cancelled and a universal quality child care system was
abandoned. They are ignoring green house gas emission targets in the Kyoto
accord. Funding to women's programs, literacy, and court challenges have all
been drastically chopped or eliminated. Funding for municipal infrastructure
renewal is inadequate and contingent on privatization through P3s. Students
are suffering under inadequate funding for post-secondary education.
    Behind closed doors Harper is looking to minimize the impact of a strong
labour force whether it is within Canada through inter provincial trade deals
or in collusion with attempted partnerships with the US and Mexico, and the
removal of barriers for the continued exportation of resources-both raw
materials and human.
    On this Labour Day, 2007 CUPE's national leadership is reiterating its
pledge to move the union line forward. Those who attempt to erode public
services and our manufacturing economy will be challenged by Canada's largest
union. CUPE's primary effort will continue to be focused on building strong
communities for our families, friends and neighbours.

    Attachment: Labour Day Message 2007 - full text

    LABOUR DAY MESSAGE 2007
    Workers didn't build Canada to see it torn apart

    By Paul Moist and Claude Généreux

    Labour Day is a moment in the long work year when we take time to reflect
on the contribution of working people to the building of our great country. It
is a historic day that commemorates that role, but it is also a day to
contemplate the road ahead.
    This year, Labour Day comes on the heels of some of the most harmful
changes in our democracy that we have ever seen. First, we have watched as the
federal government of Stephen Harper has moved behind closed doors, shutting
out the people his government is elected to serve. They cancelled the Kelowna
Accord that would provide much needed access to housing, water, and education
for Aboriginal people. Child care agreements with the provinces were cancelled
and a universal quality child care system was abandoned. They are ignoring
green house gas emission targets in the Kyoto accord. Funding to women's
programs, literacy, and court challenges have all been drastically chopped or
eliminated. Funding for municipal infrastructure renewal is inadequate and
contingent on privatization through P3s. Students are suffering under
inadequate funding for post-secondary education.
    The Harper government is committing the lives of Canadian sons and
daughters to a field of battle overseas that most Canadians see as fruitless
and unnecessary.
    There are the secretive trade deals we have witnessed of late. Just a few
weeks before we are getting set to celebrate a day that has been celebrated
for over 110 years, workers in Canada face the potential devastation of their
communities, their jobs and their local economies as more and more
manufacturing jobs and Canadian natural resources slip to our neighbours to
the South and into the bottom lines of corporations under a globalization
agenda.
    Our Premiers gathering in Moncton, N.B. in August were keen to discuss
the two most prominent inter-provincial trade deals. Fortunately, they didn't
come to any hard decisions about adopting these deals because both Atlantica
for the east and the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA)
for the west would see jobs, natural resources and our pride go South.
    The Security and Prosperity Partnership meeting in Montebello, Quebec,
saw the "three amigos" - the leaders of Canada, the United States and Mexico -
meet in a secluded setting to carve up the resources of North America.
    We also see the continued threat of private health care. Canadians are
rightly proud of our universal health care program. Over 47 million Americans
do not enjoy such access. How many more times will we have to prove that our
system is what Canadians want and need to enjoy a healthy life? And yet, just
weeks before Labour Day, the Canadian Medical Association welcomes a new
president who is committed to private clinics.
    This Labour Day, we wish that we could praise new infrastructure in
cities across the country. We cannot do so. As we watched the bridge in
Minnesota tumble on television in August, we feared for our own bridges,
roads, sewer and water systems. Will the present aging and ailing
infrastructure in our cities and towns be strong enough to keep our citizens
safe from disaster? Like other Canadians, we worry that it will not.
    We worry, too, that governments at every level will embrace privatization
as a cure-all. Corporations are promising saved tax dollars and better
services than CUPE members can provide. We think not. Privatization is, in
fact, the source of more problems than it can ever hope to solve. And CUPE
members care about the communities they serve. They spend their hard-earn
wages in those local economies to keep them strong and efficient. Their
families live where they work and, therefore, have a personal investment in
ensuring public services are top of the line.
    Finally, on this Labour Day, we want to salute the young workers entering
the labour force. Whether they are graduating university or community college
students, entering an apprenticeship program or starting their very first job,
these workers deserve healthy and safe working conditions, good pay, benefits,
opportunities for pensions in later life, and job security within a healthy
and productive economy. Joining a union, standing up for workers' rights and
fighting for fundamental human rights is central to achieving those goals.
    We also salute our brothers and sisters who are currently locked out or
on strike in Quebec City and Vancouver. These workers are on the front line to
defend media diversity and quality services.
    Let's celebrate this Labour Day with a pledge to move the union line
forward, to challenge those who would erode public services and our
manufacturing economy, and to build strong communities for our families,
friends and neighbours.




For further information:

For further information: Paul Moist, national president, (613) 558-2873;
Claude Généreux, national secretary-treasurer (porte-parole francophone),
(514) 884-5074

Organization Profile

Canadian Union of Public Employees

More on this organization


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890