As we look back on the G20 meetings just held in Toronto, and forward to our country’s birthday, Canadian working families have a lot to think about this Canada Day.
For many of us, Canada Day is one of our favourite holidays. We spend it with friends and family, often outside enjoying the summer, a barbeque, and when the night comes a few fireworks. Canada Day is also special because it’s about celebrating everything we’re proud of as Canadians, like our freedoms and our well-earned reputation for being fair and decent.
Every July first we celebrate the fact that Canada is one of the best and highly regarded countries in the world. We celebrate that millions of people dream of becoming Canadian, and that we are lucky enough to live that dream.
This year, though, with the People’s Summit and G20 events fresh in our minds, we also need to take a long, hard look at how globalization is impacting our great country and affecting us as working Canadians.
During the People’s Summit we heard how massive multinational corporations like Walmart are using our institutions – like our courts and legislatures – against us and to trigger a race to the bottom that will only hurt our communities.
We also heard about the neo-conservative agenda and right-wing governments in Canada are using “global pressures” to bring in laws and policies, like the temporary foreign workers program, that undermine our freedom to associate and betray our values and the promise of Canada.
This July first, when we get together with friends and families we need to have a conversation about our future as workers in Canada. More importantly, we must commit ourselves to preserving everything we cherish as Canadians. We need to take every opportunity to join union actions, fully support political parties that support working families, and to have conversations about these issues with our co-workers and neighbours.
The G20 meetings last week showed us that we are facing a rapidly changing world that is creating a number of significant challenges for the union and our hard-fought living standards, but through the People’s Summit and UFCW Canada’s well attended forums we also reaffirmed a truth that never changes: working people are always stronger together, and together they create a force that can overcome any challenge.
Happy Canada Day!
Vol. X No. 25 • June 28, 2010