Workers Speak Out About Their Concerns
We Must Ensure that Politics Is Based on Facts and Discussion Around the Facts
– An Alberta Railway Worker –
In my opinion, from a worker’s perspective, Andrew Scheer is nothing other than an extension of Jason Kenney and Doug Ford. Those who financially support Kenney and Ford also back Scheer.
Once he was elected in Alberta, Kenney immediately set out to attack workers and their valid legal contracts. He introduced legislation to modify those signed collective agreements, which workers had voted on and agreed to in good faith that they would be honoured.
Doug Ford is taking the same type of action in Ontario. Neither of them was elected on the basis that they would attack workers. They were elected by saying the same thing that Scheer and the Conservatives are saying at the federal level, which promises the moon and the sun but in fact is deception to attack workers once in power.
They consider workers easy pickings. Their attacks on public sector workers feed off the misconception they are spreading that public sector workers are fat and lazy. These are workers who provide important services to Canadians and are entitled to negotiate their working conditions. At the moment, Kenney is taking on thousands of provincial employees.
Workers in Canada should be very cautious and suspicious of Scheer. Just like all Canadians, we are entitled to our rights. Governments have to let the process roll out; they have to let us negotiate.
As for the Liberals, they did not pass back-to-work legislation against the railway workers in 2018. There was a very short strike; the country did not suffer long because of it. We signed a negotiated agreement, which is how things are supposed to work. However, in the case of the postal workers, the Liberals forced them back to work.
I am not suggesting that workers should vote Liberal. What I am saying is that workers must pay attention. Workers deserve to negotiate their conditions. We are entitled to that. We want our rights recognized under the Charter to be respected.
I think that working Canadians should be concerned about the anti-worker, anti-immigrant and anti-gay influence coming out of the U.S. We are now seeing political parties essentially repeat the comments we find in American politics, along with homophobic slurs and attacks on the rights of gays. Although this also exists in other parties, it is very widespread in the Conservative Party.
Immigration in Canada is necessary. We need good people coming to Canada. Every one of us is the product of immigration if you go back far enough. However, we are seeing racism rear its ugly head.
When immigrants become citizens, their vote is just like yours and mine. If the Conservatives are elected federally, as they have been in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick, very broad attacks will be launched against Canadians.
I see a definite U.S. influence in the campaign rhetoric, a lowering of the common denominator to that of the southern U.S. states.
I see Quebec bashing being promoted. I see politics of division being pushed throughout Canada. In Alberta, the Conservatives are promoting the hatred of eastern Canada. They are misrepresenting the truth, blaming the people of Quebec for the lack of pipelines. They are now bringing up the issue of equalization payments as retaliation against Quebec, irrespective of the fact that those payments have nothing to do with the pipelines.
They are pushing politics of division and disrespect from east to west. Kenney is promoting the same policy of division between Alberta and BC. He is saying that the people of BC are bad, that they do not like Alberta. Yes, the people of BC have concerns and are expressing them. They want protection, they do not want accidents, they do not want oil spills or to have the coastal marine population killed off by tankers. These are valid concerns.
I think that the federal election this year may turn out to be the worst election in terms of lowering the level of politics. Look at what is happening in the U.S., where all the disputes are based on anger and division instead of facts.
We must ensure that politics is based on facts and discussion around the facts.
(Photos: RU, AUPE)