Canadian Council August 21-23, 2015
Report by Maurice Kenny
September 13, 2015
Canadian Council August 21-23, 2015
Unifor President, Jerry Dias kicked off Canadian Council by declaring he “loved Montreal because Prime Minister Harper was so unpopular here.” In the last 2 years 10,000 new members have joined our union while Unifor was entering into the terrible two’s phase. “This is a period of development when you push boundaries by defying authority and becoming unruly.” “We were born to fight, it is in Unifor’s blood”. Unifor recently negotiated a contract with Metro stores that included guaranteed part time and full time hours and 40% wage increase for the lowest income classification. Unifor played a role in defeating the Conservative government in Alberta.It seems at some point Albertans realized the lies and questioned where the oil revenue went. With a new NDP government, Albertans chose hope over fear. So let’s hope we see a repeat in the Federal election on October 19.
The Conservatives have started the longest election campaign in Canadian history with over $100 million (more than the NDP and Liberals combined) and with the recent unfair election act rule changes Harper is determined to hold on to power. Recent polls show few Canadians believe Harper did not know his Senate appointees were abusing their tax paying privileges(much more than the three that were kicked out). Ask yourself: Do you know of anyone like Nigel Wright who pays $90,000 out of pocket to help someone in a financial error, without expecting something in return? The Conservatives may sacrifice their own, one at a time (Voter suppression Michael Sona whose robo calls misdirected voters to wrong polling stations & their ethics transparency pit bull, Dean Del Mastro,who is underhouse arrest before jail). The smell of political rot is undeniable once that many conservatives are thrown under the bus.
Harpers economic mismanagement is catching up to him. Only months ago they declared they had balanced the federal budget by selling off GM shares (secured no future GM product), raided the Federal contingency fund and depleted E.I. revenues and now they have to admit they do not have the revenue for balanced budget.Harper is the first Prime Minister to hold power in two economic recessions.
Retired and Respected Lieutenant-General, Romeo A. Dallaire(author of “Shake Hands with the devil”) addressed council and asked us to vote for anyone but Harper. He spoke about the abandoned soldiers when they try to return to civilian life. More veterans returning from Afghanistan took their lives then all that were killed by enemies and friendly fire in that war. Between 2006 and 2014 the Conservatives clawed back more than $1 Billion dollars from the programs used for returning veterans. The Conservative appointed Veterans affairs managers, whoreceived $500,000 in bonuses for exceeding their cost cutting targets.
Romeo A.Dallaire spoke about the work he is doing in NATO/Africa/United Nations in changing the direction on dealing with child soldiers by making it possible to hold war lords accountable as war criminals when recruiting child soldiers. Romeo Dallaire wishes Canada could do more but Canada has lost its position as a world arbitrator. Developing nations do not turn to us, nor do world powers because Canada is no longer considered an honest broker.Harper’s Conservatives have aligned themselves 100% with USA &Israel. Only under Harper would Canada walk away from a Security Council seat.
Ruth Ellen, a Quebec, MP, one of a panel of women who spoke on women in electoral politics described her desire for a better Canada. She is campaigning for the NDP $15 a day family day care knowing this will help most working families rather than Harper’s new income splitting.
The NDP is running with 45% female candidates and has already achieved the highest number in Canadian History of having the largest number of females in Parliament caucus.
During council the fourth anniversary of Jack Layton’s death was remembered. We miss you Jack, you still give us hope.
Canadian council voted in favour of all five recommendations. To see the full description, log on to www.unifor.org
Unifor Canadian council supports the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 recommendations to address the damage inflicted on indigenous people by the Indian Residential School system.” Not likely to happen under the Conservatives who in 2014 were the only U.N. member state to oppose the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
New UAW President, Dennis Williams (elected June 2014), stated how Unifor and the UAW are united in trying to lift people out of poverty. “It’s time to take back our country and change the global market.” “It is wrong for the Auto Companies to increase their investments in China and Mexico after all the Government aid and worker sacrifices that the auto companies took advantage of.” “The world wide exploitation of workers is immoral and criminal. We need to stop the Billionaires from running our lives.” With the co-operation of Volkswagen management the UAW is currently in bargaining with them with 60% of workers paying union dues.
Council had the opportunity to listen to workers who had never belonged to a union; yet went ahead and organized one in their place of work. There is something to be said when you have to fight for something. These workers express shear elation having organized a union that brought structure and progress to their workplace. They really feel the emotion of being a part of a greater collective in standing up for working people.
The Ontario Federation of Labour will have their election for a new President in October and Unifor’s very own Chris Buckley will contend for the spot. Chris aims to unite the house of labour and continue to get labours message out to the public.
Unifor economist Jim Stanford has a very short and informative YouTube video (it is on www.uniforlocal1285.ca )that demonstrates the reality of the Conservative economic record since 2006. “On average, the Harper government came last among the nine postwar governments, and by a wide margin, falling well behind the second worst government (the Mulroney Conservatives of 1984-1993).”
“Canada’s economy has never performed worse, since the end of the World War 2, than under the present Conservative government.” Worst in Job creation/labour force participation/job quality/GDP growth/Real per capita GDP growth/household debt and Exports. Harper ranked 8th out of 9 on Youth employment/employment rate/business investment/labour productivity/personal incomes and inequality. The conservatives ranked 7th out of nine on Government debt and 6th on social wage and unemployment rate.
Yes, let the record speak for itself.
Unifor Local 1285 Canada Council Delegate