Labour vote key to defeating Harper


The labour and youth votes will be key to defeating the Harper Government, and it’s up to Unifor members to get out and help make sure that happens, BC Regional Council heard this morning.

Unifor Political Action Director Roland Kiehne said particular effort must be made to reduce the percentage of union members voting Conservative, now at 27 per cent, to about 20 per cent.

“If we can do that, Harper has no pathway to victory,” Kiehne said.

Kiehne said polling data has shown that without strong support from union members, the NDP would not have won this year’s Alberta election. The same, he said will be true across Canada.

Peter Julian, the NDP candidate for New Westminster-Burnaby, said both the Orange Wave in Quebec and the NDP victory in Alberta was also due in part to a jump in voter turnout, and encouraged Unifor members to talk to their neighbours, to young people and to low income workers about voting.

“We need to increase the voter participation rate, right across this country,” he said. “That person-to-person contact can make all the difference.”

Patty Barrera from Unifor’s political action department outlined some of the tools members can use in their efforts to help defeat Harper.

“Tell us you want to be involved, and we will get you active, we will get you the tools,” she said. “It’s all about getting the vote out.”

Delegates unanimously passed a resolution calling on Locals to work with the Political Action Department’s regional coordinators to mobilize their members in the election.

“We are not done yet, we must work hard on this for the next 37 days,” said Simon Lau, regional election coordinator for the Lower Mainland.

Julian said the roster of NDP candidates across Canada is more diverse than any other party, including 47 per cent women – the highest among all the federal parties.

“Within days, we will see a Parliament that is more reflective of the diversity of this country,” he said.

Council of Canadians Youth Vote Campaigner Brigette DePape  said 84 per cent of those aged 18 to 35 want a change in government, and urged delegates to talk to the young people they know to ensure they get out to vote.

“If we can move that sentiment into action, we truly can be game changers,” said DePape, who is coordinating efforts to get more young people voting.

Delegates also heard from the Anyone But Conservatives veterans groups, who pointed out that many of the founding members of the group dedicated to defeating the Harper Government were lifelong Conservative voters.