VICTORIA—CUPE BC’s 54th annual convention kicked off Wednesday night in Victoria with greetings from other unions and a rousing speech from President Paul Faoro.
Faoro opened his address by recognizing victories achieved by a number of CUPE locals in B.C., including the successful culmination of Local 1978’s campaign for a publicly owned and operated sewage treatment facility. He also saluted CUPE’s membership growth and welcomed more than 100 new members to the union.
“Last year when I spoke to you, it was 377 days until the provincial election,” said Faoro. “Well, doesn’t time fly. Now we’re just 13 days away from defeating Christy Clark and electing John Horgan and the BC NDP. My friends, that’s worth fighting for.”
Faoro saluted the 8 women from the CUPE family who are BC NDP candidates in the provincial election– Lisa Beare in Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows, Rachna Singh in Surrey – Green Timbers, Sylvia Lindgren in Shuswap, Tracey O’Hara in Chilliwack, Stephanie Goudie in Peace River South, Barb Nederpel (HEU) in Kamloops North, and Natalie Fletcher (HEU) in Prince George – Valemount, and former CUPE National President Judy Darcy in New Westminster.
Referencing the past 16 years of BC Liberal government and its regressive right-wing policies, Faoro singled out the tragic case of Alex Gervais, who took his own life just prior to “aging out” of foster care as he neared the age of 19.
“We haven’t heard a lot about Alex during this election,” said Faoro. “But his terrible, sad story puts a face on the BC Liberal record. This is the real-life outcome of bad government policy and deliberate underfunding. Bad policy has human consequences, and we need to remind people that elections have consequences.
“We can’t forget Alex. We know the government has. For the Liberals, this was just one more issue to manage. Now more than ever it’s time for a government on our side.
“We’ve got 13 days left. When we get home from Convention at the end of the weekend, we’ll have a 9-day sprint to E Day. I ask you all to dig deep, to find that second wind, and do everything you can to elect the NDP candidate in your riding, so that on May 9 we will finally have a government that’s there for you, not the wealthy and the well-connected.”