|Parliament should complete agenda|
|April 20, 2005
Key Canadian labour leaders have added their voice in requesting that our political parties not call an election at this time to allow
Parliament to complete the agenda they have been working on. Canadians have debated key social issues such as a national
childcare program and same sex marriage and have a right to expect that decisions will be made on these and many key issues.
CAW president Buzz Hargrove and Paul Moist, CUPE president joined CLC president Ken Georgetti and CLC secretary-treasurer
Hassan Yussuff in an Ottawa press conference to remind Parliament that in the last election the vast majority of people (76%)
did not vote for the Conservatives and instead voted for three parties with some common elements in their political program. A lot
of that legislation is now before the House of Commons and will die on the order paper if the Parliament is dissolved as a result of
a non-confidence vote.
The issues before the MP’s include 5 billion dollars into a trust fund for a national child care program, important changes to the
unemployment insurance regulations, equalization and transfer payment changes for Newfoundland & Labrador and Nova Scotia,
whistle blower protection, pay equity, protection for wages and pensions in the event of bankruptcy, anti-racism initiative,
strengthening and expanding public medicare, repairing Canada’s international reputation on workers’ rights, implementing the
Kyoto protocol with a Just Transition Plan for Workers affected, renewing our cities’ public infrastructure to sustain our quality of
life and the budget itself which has a number of initiatives that the labour movement supports.
“If the Conservatives engineer a non-confidence defeat of the government, all of the work that has been done since the House
convened in October will be lost. In effect there will be no legislative action at all for over a year bringing a lot of important work to
a standstill,” said CAW president Buzz Hargrove.
“All parties need to commit to getting the business of the people done in Parliament before they start their political games around
the Gomery inquiry. At the very least, they should wait until he releases his report."
Below is the text of a letter the labour leaders sent to Prime Minister Paul Martin, Jack Layton, Stephen Harper and Gilles
April 18, 2005
The 3 million working Canadians and their families of the Canadian Labour Congress view with alarm the prospect of losing
all of the work done on their legislative agenda since the last election, nine and a half months ago. This is why we seek a
commitment, from you and from your party, that you will support the re-introduction of the following initiatives, whatever the
outcome of a possible early election.
- A national child care program based on a commitment to standards and accountability financed by a minimum of
$5 billion over five years;
- The 28 Recommendations of the HRSDC Committee on amendments to the Employment Insurance program
particularly the reduction of qualifying hours, the increase of the maximum period to receive benefits and an
increase in the benefit rate;
- Training insurance initiatives that are being discussed in Ministries in order to develop a program to assist
Canadian workers to improve their skills;
- Protection of workers’ pensions and wages in the event of bankruptcy that has been promised by MP’s in all
- The labour-management review of Part III of the Canada Labour Code which is barely underway and is the first
review of Part III over the existence of the Code;
- The funding for the anti-racism initiative which is extremely important due to Canada’s changing demographics;
Legislation that confirms equal marriage;
- Legislation to provide protection to whistleblowers;
- The federal Task Force Report on Pay Equity which was tabled and needs to be implemented to remedy ongoing
discrimination against women workers;
- The Kyoto protocol and just transition for workers affected by any initiatives;
- The gas tax transfer promised to Canadian municipalities and a comprehensive agenda to renew our cities’ public
Working families value these initiatives and they must not disappear in the event of an early federal election. On behalf of
Canadians, we are asking a commitment from your party and from you as a leader that, if there is an election and these
issues have not been resolved, these initiatives be reintroduced in next Parliament.
Source: CAW News Now