Last night we saw three significant firsts for Canadian federal politics.
For the first time ever the NDP have formed the Official Opposition with an incredible breakthrough with 102 MP’s elected in every region of the country.
For the first time since confederation in 1867, the Liberals did not win or come second in a federal election.
And for the first time in the two decades of their existence, the Bloc Québécois did not win a majority of Quebec seats, and have been reduced to 4 seats losing official party status.
The Conservatives achieving their long sought majority certainly blunts the stunning NDP breakthrough, but I remain upbeat for a couple of reasons:
1. Establishing New Democrats as a governing option is the first step towards our dream of a federal NDP government. We are much closer to that dream today, and we owe a lot to Jack Layton and his team.
2. Our 24 CUPE NDP candidates did us proud. Collectively they achieved over 220,000 votes!
Robert Chisholm, formerly CUPE Atlantic Regional Director and former leader of the Nova Scotia NDP, is now the MP for Dartmouth – Cole Habour.
Alexandre Boulerice, a communications representative for CUPE-Quebec, was part of the remarkable NDP breakthrough in Quebec as the new MP for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.
Ruth Ellen Brosseau, a former member of CUPE 3011, was also part of the New Democrats landslide victory in Quebec, as the new MP for Berthier-Maskinongé.
Sylvain Chicoine, a member of CUPE 1186, support workers at the University of Montreal, was elected MP for Châteauguay—Saint-Constant.
Also in Quebec, François Pilon, a former Vice-president of CUPE 4545, was elected MP for Laval-Les Îles.
In Ontario, Rathika Sitsabaiesan, a member of CUPE 1281, was elected in Scarborough-Rouge River.
3. And the bottom line for the country, social democracy is alive and well in Canada, and our future looks strong!
We have plenty to do. We need a strong CUPE to meet the challenges a Harper majority will pose for public services.
And we will need to step up our efforts to support our Party and our new MP’s. Strengthening these relations strengthens our union and our public services.
Final word, to each and every one of you: thank you for your efforts. You stood tall and should be proud of all we’ve accomplished.