Commentary
Apr 30, 2015

Never too early for election readiness

Fall federal vote will be critical to our future 

Welcome to the Convention 2015 edition of Public Employee. If you’re a delegate, I hope you will enjoy the debates, speeches and presentations we’ve got in store for you. To all of you who won’t be at Convention, I hope you find the information in this edition useful, and as always we welcome any feedback you might have on the magazine.

As you’ll see from our coverage in these pages, the next federal election is right around the corner, and CUPE BC will be encouraging all our members to support Tom Mulcair and the NDP.

The future is now

This is our best opportunity to actually form a progressive federal government that puts the interests of working people and their families first, and British Columbia will play a key role in determining the outcome of the election. I hope you’ll join with us to elect Canada’s first NDP government.

The issues that Tom Mulcair and the NDP are campaigning on are issues that resonate strongly with CUPE members—a renewed commitment to public health care, a sound and workable national child care program that will save parents money and make our economy stronger, and a strong focus on retirement security. You can learn much more about the NDP platform at www.ndp.ca. This edition of Public Employee features a conversation with NDP campaign director Anne McGrath that will give you an inside look at how the campaign is shaping up. And there’s a special two-page look at how that strategy will unfold on the ground throughout the province.

Vote ‘Yes’ for sustainability

As this edition lands in your mailbox, Metro Vancouver residents are entering the final stages of the transportation and transit plebiscite. If you live in the Metro region and haven’t mailed your ballot in—hopefully marked “yes”—it must be received by Elections BC by May 29. CUPE BC’s executive board has voted to support the Yes campaign, and I hope the outcome will send a signal to Victoria and the rest of the country that people support public services. A positive outcome is key to reducing congestion in the region, giving you more time at home and less time traveling to and from work.

A “Yes” vote will also mark a significant setback for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and their B.C. spokesperson, Jordan Bateman. They’ve set themselves up as the “No” side, and let’s be clear: Mr. Bateman and his supporters have dedicated themselves to attacking the work that CUPE members and other public sector union members do. The “No” campaign is simply an extension of their anti-union, anti-public sector, anti-government agenda. If you haven’t voted yet, I hope you’ll take a long look at who’s opposing the transportation and transit plan—and why.

Thanks for your support

Finally, on a personal note, many of you will know I’ve experienced some pretty serious health issues recently. I want to let you know that my doctors have me well on the road to a full recovery, and I want to thank the many folks who’ve sent me get well messages. It’s been heartening to receive so much support, and I can’t tell you how much its meant to me. The work we do on behalf of our members and our communities is important, but without our health we wouldn’t be able to do any of it. So please, take care of yourselves, and each other.

Solidarity!

Mark Hancock is President of CUPE BC, representing 85,000 workers in communities across BC.

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