Unifor’s fifth Prairies Regional Council concluded in Saskatoon on May 10. The morning opened with a speech from Alberta Minister of Energy Margaret McCuaid-Boyd. The minister thanked Unifor for helping her government advance some of the country’s most advanced Just Transition programs for workers and communities affected by the transition away from coal.
“It is refreshing to hear from a government that is putting working people first,” said Christy Best, Chairperson of the Council.
Later in the day, delegates were treated to a moving talk from CanadianRoots Exchange (CRE) Executive Director Max Fineday. CRE brings together youth committed to building relationships among the Indigenous and non-Indigenous. Fineday used engaging stories to help delegates appreciate the full scope of reconciliation and the barriers that must be overcome.
In the afternoon, guest speaker Rachel Loewen Walker shared experiences from OUT Saskatoon to underline the need to continue work to build inclusive unions and communities. Two young athletes, Yol Piok and Justin Filteau, spoke passionately about the urgent need for men to break the silence against violence against women in all of its forms.
National President Jerry Dias closed the meeting with a speech that outlined the incredible challenges facing the progressive movement, including the rise of loud-mouthed populists like Donald Trump and Doug Ford. He said despite these obstacles, Unifor’s track record should be cause for hope.
“We have to be there doing what we do best,” said Dias. “We are going to challenge injustice and we’re going to fight. It’s in this union’s DNA.”
Read more about the first day of the Prairies Council: Week of activism in Saskatoon culminates at Prairies Council