The Conservative government’s fiscal policies are wreaking havoc with good paying Canadian jobs. That was the message delivered today on parliament hill by CUPE National President Paul Moist and other Canadian Labour Leaders and Canada’s opposition leaders Jack Layton, Stéphane Dion and Gilles Duceppe. Storm clouds seemed to gather as 2,500 workers, activists and others took the time to warn the government that the increasing loss of thousands of good paying jobs in exchange for minimum wage jobs will drag Canada down.
“What kinds of jobs do we want?” Barb Byers, CLC vice president, shouted out to the crowd. And Dominique Vaillancourt of the Ottawa and District Labour Council accused the government of “exchanging good union jobs for bad, cheap paying jobs,” while the union work is sent to countries where low pay and few if any worker rights exist.
Jack Layton, federal NDP Leader, highlighted the fact that it is workers who do the community work while their jobs float away to the cheapest bidder. “Who supports the schools and the hockey teams,” he asked. “You do and now you see your jobs disappearing in community after community.” Layton called for increased support for the narrowly missed anti-scab legislation, which the Liberals failed to support during the last parliament. Meanwhile the increasing hum of the words anti-scab could be heard coming from the crowd throughout Dion’s speech in support of today’s rally.
Speaking for thousands and thousands of manufacturing sector workers in Quebec, FTQ (Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec) Henri Massé decried the loss of jobs. According to Massé 175,000 jobs have been lost in Quebec’s manufacturing sector. “Far more than during any recent recession. We are living in one of the worst manufacturing crises we’ve suffered in a very long time,” Massé said.
“You can’t have strong communities and strong public services without good paying jobs,” said Paul Moist. He spoke of the horror people feel right across the country, from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland, as they witness the export of Canada’s raw materials, like raw logs and fish, while good manufacturing jobs are lost in Ontario and mills and plants close in other parts of the country. And Moist reminded Harper that he and his government should stand up for Canadian jobs, “You can’t have human rights without labour rights in China or in Canada. Just take a close look around our own country.”