To all Canadian Members:
I can’t stress enough the importance of voting in this election.
And not just voting – voting for a party that supports workers and the arts. That party is not the Conservative party. The Conservatives have been aggressive in their attacks – yes, attacks – on working people and the labour movement.
Through legislation such as Bill C-525 and Bill C-377, the Conservative party has been very clear on their position: undermining workers who want representation and pretending that they are offering transparency to union members – who already have the ability to see their union’s books through provincial legislation.
The Conservatives don’t care about members trying to see their union’s books, although that’s what makes a good sound bite. They want the public and our employers to have the legal ability to see our books, which only undermines our position at the bargaining table and erodes our ability to negotiate stronger wages and benefits for members. The larger goal with Bill C-377 is, of course, to eliminate the voice of labour and working families in the political arena. We won’t let them do it!
Here are some of the reasons why voting Conservative is damaging:
- Harper does not support our Vets. Harper claims that his government has spent an additional $5 billion on veterans since taking office. In fact, he has closed numerous Veteran Affairs’ offices, cut staff positions for Veteran Affairs and spent $700,000 of taxpayer money fighting AGAINST veterans in court. Canadian vets have mounted a campaign against him. Visit the Anyone But Conservative – ABC: Canadian Veterans Campaign 2015 Facebook page for more info.
- The economy. Harper has often said he has the best economic and job growth record of any other country, despite the fact that Canada is the only G7 country in a recession. According to economist Jim Stanford, Harper actually has the worst economic record and the worst job creation record of any prime minister since the Second World War. Watch Jim Stanford’s video with all the stats and figures.
- Bill C-51. This bill proposes to strip away our rights and freedoms as Canadians while blindly handing control over to our government and other sectors – who are not required to report to anyone! Amnesty International has spoken against Bill C-51, as have experts representing indigenous people, human rights and civil liberties groups, Muslim Canadians, environmental organizations, the legal community, the country’s privacy watchdog, immigrants and refugees, the labour movement, former judges, and many politicians. There have been country-wide protests, petitions and pending lawsuits. In fact, under certain parts of this bill some of us could be legally detained for participating in the protests and rallies often used by the labour movement to effect social change.
- Muzzling of government scientists. The Conservatives have been shameful in their treatment of our scientists and their discoveries. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada sits on the CLC’s National Political Action Committee, along with the IATSE. PIPSC is the union that represents our scientists, and they published results from a survey conducted by Environics Research, which found that over 9 out of 10 federal government scientists (91%) believe cuts to federal science budgets – most of which take effect over the next few years – will have a detrimental impact on the federal government’s ability to serve the public.
- Women’s and First Nations’ Issues. In a televised interview with Peter Mansbridge, when asked whether he would launch a public inquiry into the almost 1200 missing and murdered aboriginal women, Harper replied, “It isn’t really high on our radar, to be honest.” In an interview last month with Chatelaine Magazine, Harper denied having said that, despite the fact that he was recorded and nationally televised saying that very thing.
- Removing federal protection of our lakes and rivers. Under Bill C-45, which was spearheaded by Harper, the Conservatives have reduced protected waterways from 2.5 million to 159 – 62 rivers and 97 lakes. Nothing more needs to be said about that one.
If you haven’t already decided which way you are voting, I hope that you will take the above into consideration. I am not going to ask you to support the NDP. Yes, the NDP is traditionally labour’s party and workers would see the greatest benefit under an NDP government, but the reality is, this election is too close to call and we absolutely cannot risk seeing another Conservative government.
I am asking that you please vote for the candidate in your riding that has the best chance of defeating the Conservative candidate. To help you determine who that is, I would ask that you visit strategic voting sites such as strategicvoting.ca or Lead Now / Vote Together.
As all union members know, when we work together, we can accomplish great things.
John M. Lewis
International Vice President
Director of Canadian Affairs