OTTAWA — Front line public service workers have felt the impact of climate change and their union the Canadian Union of Public Employees is calling on Stephen Harper’s minority government to show leadership and embrace the initiatives to reduce green house gases that are being discussed in Bali, Indonesia.
“Whether it is health care workers dealing with extreme weather conditions such as blistering heat waves, extreme rain or bitter frost, or hydro workers clearing fallen lines and working to restore power to communities, front line public service workers have seen the real face of climate change in our everyday lives,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist.
CUPE represents over 560,000 workers across Canada and today in Ottawa the national executive board voted unanimously on a plan of action on climate change. “Canadians want leadership on climate change. We want enforceable agreements to reduce green house gases by 2009.
Governments need to work with labour and non-governmental organizations to develop a Just Transition program aimed at mitigating the potential displacement of workers.
The Just Transition program needs to be developed hand in hand with an Adaptation fund to provide municipalities with funding to invest in measures to adapt to climate change,” said Moist.
Should the Harper Government continue it’s dithering at the Bali Conference, the consequences on the country’s infrastructure will be disastrous. Sewers, buildings and power lines will have to be completely redesigned to sustain extreme weather, and that implies staggering costs.
“Our members have been telling us that they fear that municipalities are not equipped to deal with the increased demand for public services due to extreme weather – that means everything from emergency rooms to food banks.”
“The moment is now – there can be no better time than right now for Stephen Harper’s government to commit to a reduction in green house gases and implement an action plan that considers the needs of working Canadians and their municipalities,” concluded Moist.
Paul Moist, CUPE national president – 613-558-2873 (cell)
Catherine Louli, CUPE communications – 613-851-0547 (cell)