Toronto – September 2, 2015 – Labour Day is a celebration of the hard-won gains of working people and the labour movement — and this year, an ideal time to get together as we look ahead to electing a new federal government that is really on the side of everyday working families.
When you go back a century, the first Labour Day parades in Canada were to pressure the federal government to expand democracy and drop the ban on unions, and it worked. Moving forward, as unions and solidarity grew across Canada, so did the rights of all working people. And thanks to the efforts of the labour movement, many of the things we take for granted today like universal healthcare, public pensions, statutory holidays and health and safety laws became a reality.
But we can’t take them for granted anymore. This is pretty clear when you look at the ten-year record of the Harper federal government which over the past decade has attacked the rights of workers and their unions, is pulling back $36 billion from public healthcare, axed two years of benefits from Old Age Pension beneficiaries, while at the same time handed over billions of dollars of tax breaks to the richest corporations in Canada.
It is time for change and this October 19, we can work together to change our country for the better. The six week campaign between Labour Day and Election Day is a tremendous opportunity to bring fairness back to Canada for middle class families. A century ago on Labour Day, workers demonstrated that nothing would be gained without pushing on the politicians, and pushing out the bad ones. Nothing has changed on that front and what brought victory then can bring it now.
Best wishes to you and your family for Labour Day and in the days ahead to bring fairness back to Canada.
Paul R. Meinema
On September 7, share the celebration and the solidarity with UFCW Canada members, activists, family members, and other labour allies at Labour Day marches, rallies, picnics, and gatherings across the country.