Apr 24, 2010

‘The fight’s on’—Sinclair

Fed boss vows with coordination, cooperation, labour movement and NDP can defeat BC Liberals

VANCOUVER—The 2013 provincial election campaign has already begun, and the labour movement must work with the NDP now to ensure the BC Liberals are defeated and voters elect a government that puts working people first, BC Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair told delegates at CUPE BC’s annual convention.

Sinclair focused on the need to do more to bring young workers into the labour movement. Noting that just a few years ago the BC Fed convention had fewer than ten delegates under the age of 30, Sinclair challenged CUPE BC to send a minimum of 25 young worker delegates to the next Fed convention. He said a new generation of members and activists is vital to the future of the labour movement and a strong voice for working people.

Sinclair called BC Liberal cuts to K-12 education “an act of treason against young people” and called public education the most important public service for working people. Without a high-quality public education system, low-income British Columbian families are doomed to live in poverty, he said. He called on the BC Liberals to reverse the billions in high-income and corporate tax cuts that have resulted in cuts, and said “it’s not about Gordon Campbell, it’s about values.”

The BC Liberals’ recent decision to eliminate dental services for children living in poverty is a new low, Sinclair said, and one more example of why the labour needs to do a better job in the next election.

The BC Fed will be continuing its fight for an increase to BC’s minimum wage, Sinclair said, noting that it is now the lowest in Canada. He said the Fed will put additional pressure on BC Liberal MLAs in marginal seats, work more directly with faith leaders, and that it will unveil soon a new umbrella organization for young workers—the Employee Action Rights Network, or “EARN.”

Sinclair said the Federation will also continue its efforts to protect farm workers, some of the lowest-paid and most vulnerable workers in BC.

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