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CUPE National President Paul Moist has sent the following open letter to Government House Leader John Baird calling for him to retract a statement he made in the House of Commons regarding CUPE’s position on Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan.

November 19, 2010

The Hon. John Baird
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Minister of the Environment
House of Commons
K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Baird:

I am deeply troubled to hear you deliberately misled the Hon. Jack Layton, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, and thereby the people of Canada, when you stated in Question Period on November 19, 2010 that I support your government’s position in Afghanistan.

For your convenience, I have attached the letter to the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Stephen Harper you made reference to in your answer to Mr. Layton yesterday.  Our support is limited to your government’s position on controlling access to Canadian landing rights for the United Arab Emirates airline, which is aimed at protecting Canadian jobs against an unfair competition with this subsidized airline.  There can be no mistake of the intent of this letter.

Representing over 600,000 members, the Canadian Union of Public Employees has also been clear in our opposition to the government’s deployment of troops in Afghanistan.  On September 26, 2006, the CUPE National Executive Board passed a unanimous resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan and we have been vocal on this issue ever since.

I request that you immediately clarify my position for the members of the House of Commons and the people of Canada.

Yours truly,

National President