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Ottawa – May 30, 2019 – UFCW activists from across the country recently gathered in Ottawa from May 28 to 29 to participate in the 2019 UFCW Canada Political Action Conference. The two-day event involved hundreds of members, officers, and staff from UFCW Canada Local Unions and the National Office and featured several prominent guest speakers, as well as a range of cutting-edge workshops.
The conference served to build on UFCW Canada's political action efforts over the last five years, with the goal of preparing Local Unions and engaging UFCW Canada members as we work to elect progressive governments at the national and provincial levels.
At the conference, participants heard from UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema, who spoke about the progress our union has made in advancing the issues that matter to workers and their families, and the political action initiatives that our union will be pursuing going forward.
“This conference provides a chance for us to build our enthusiasm, commitment, and skills, because each of us has the responsibility to help elect politicians and governments that are family-friendly, worker-friendly, and committed to tackling the critical issues facing working people in this country,” President Meinema said in his speech to the conference. “As activists, we have important work ahead of us. And I can promise you that UFCW will continue to stand up for working families in every election and at all levels of government,” he added.
In addition to President Meinema, conference attendees heard from Jagmeet Singh, Leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP); Rodger Cuzner, Parliamentary Secretary for Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour; Wab Kinew, Leader of the Manitoba NDP and the Official Opposition; student activist Rayne Fisher-Quann; and Ryan Meili, Leader of the Saskatchewan NDP and the Official Opposition.
Mr. Singh later joined Anouk Collet, UFCW Canada Executive Assistant to the National President, for a question-and-answer session, where the NDP Leader shared his views on climate change, the economy, and the recent rise of xenophobia in Canada and the U.S.
As well, activists engaged in a host of dynamic workshops that explored everything from talking politics to family members and friends, to strategies for effective lobbying, to harnessing social media for successful campaigns. Attendees also received a chance to engage with elected officials and share their views on the issues affecting their jobs, families, and communities.
On the final day of the conference, participants took in the Broadbent Institute’s Great Debate, which focused on taxation. Hosted by the Institute’s Executive Director, Rick Smith, the debate featured Angella MacEwan, Senior Economist at the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), and Aaron Wudrick, Federal Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, who discussed the integral role that taxes play in our daily lives.
As Canada’s leading and most progressive union, UFCW Canada believes that political action is essential to achieving a better life for workers and their families. To learn more about our union’s efforts in this area, visit the UFCW Canada Political Action website.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh
Activist Rayne Fisher-Quann
The Great Debate, Presented by the Broadbent Institute