CHARLOTTETOWN, Aug. 26, 2014 /CNW/ - As premiers and territorial leaders gather in Charlottetown, Unifor is calling on them to push the federal government to renew the Canada Health Accord and to call an inquiry into murdered and missing Aboriginal women.
"Our country is in desperate need of determined political leaders who are willing to confront complex issues. Our members hope to see that leadership this week in Charlottetown," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.
"For Prime Minister Stephen Harper to declare that there is no sociological phenomenon behind the murder and disappearance of Aboriginal women in this country is disgraceful and an indication that he does not have the insight, understanding or leadership this country requires," Dias said.
The death of Tina Fontaine, whose body was pulled from the Red River in Winnipeg on August 17, has renewed calls for a public inquiry into the murder and disappearance of more than 1,100 Aboriginal women in Canada in the last three decades. Despite making up only 2.1 per cent of Canada's population, Aboriginal women account for 16 per cent of female murder victims and 11.3 per cent of women who have gone missing in Canada, according to the RCMP.
"Only a full inquiry can get to the bottom of those troubling facts and give us the information we need to develop an effective action plan" Dias said.
Dias will be at this week's Charlottetown meeting of the Council of the Confederation, along with Assistant to the President Deb Tveit, Unifor Ontario Director Katha Fortier and Unifor Director of Political Action Roland Kiehne.
Dias also called on the premiers to push Harper to renew the Canada Health Accord, which expired in March. The Health Accord is crucial to providing stable health funding and setting standards for health care across Canada.
"Without the Accord, we will see increasing disparities from region to region in the quality of care offered to Canadians," Dias said. "The very essence of Medicare, however, is to ensure equality of care, and the Canada Health Accord helped achieve that."
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.
For further information:
Please contact Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at [email protected] or (cell) 647-385-4054.