Unifor National President Jerry Dias opened up the second day of BC Council with a speech that focused on the mobilizing required to be successful in the 2017 provincial election.
“We need a government in BC with a working class agenda,” said Dias. “A government that lifts people out of poverty, not one that looks after its donors.”
Dias also focused his remarks on the need to keep the pressure on the federal Liberal government to deliver on “big ticket” promises like electoral reform. He said that there’s a window of opportunity that closes in 2017 and every Unifor member must lobby and push for proportional representation to make every vote count.
The call for political action was echoed by BC Federation of Students Chairperson Simka Marshall, who emphasized the role that young people can play in achieving political change.
Creating access for all was also a theme on the second day of Council. Delegates wore t-shirts with a message about removing barriers for people with disabilities to send a clear message to the federal Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities Carla Qualtrough. The minister said that she will soon be tabling a Canadians with Disabilities Act and is eager to work with Unifor to ensure that the law is written to maximize effectiveness in the workplace.
Following the minister’s remarks, BC Council delegates unanimously adopted a motion to participate in public consultations for the Act.
Saturday’s final guest speaker was John Horgan, BC NDP Leader. Horgan delivered a scathing review of the BC Liberals’ record in government and pledged to be a premier who stands with, and will work for all, working people. He discussed BC’s ailing resource sectors, and confirmed that an NDP government would increase the minimum wage as well as initiate a provincial childcare program. Delegates talked extensively about the need to mobilize in communities and the workplace to get out the vote for the NDP.