Paul Moist | CUPE National President

Paul MoistIt’s undeniable that many Canadians, and many CUPE members, are cynical about politics. Voter turnout in the last federal election was less than 61 per cent – that means almost nine million Canadians did not vote.

The troubling thing is, there’s a lot of people who like it this way. They’re hoping Canadians stay home on election day. The fewer people who vote, the fewer people they need to elect them into power. That’s how our current federal government won a majority with only one in four eligible Canadians voting for them.

But it doesn’t have to be this way, as the people of Alberta have shown in their most recent provincial election. How was a 44-year political dynasty unseated, something many considered unthinkable just a few months ago?

People voted for change.

Albertans have shown the rest of Canada just what is possible, and it helped create a new optimism about what could happen this October. We are one election away from the change we want.

But we need to vote, and we need to encourage our families, friends and neighbours to vote too. That is why CUPE is kicking off a new Fairness Project, encouraging our members to talk about this election.

To help start discussions in our workplaces, all CUPE locals will receive a kit that will include some valuable resources for member-to-member conversations. In addition to tips on organizing and conducting conversations, the kit will include facts on issues important to workers and the importance of voting.

The kit will help us talk about protecting our pensions and helping workers without a pension by expanding the CPP. It will help explain how our votes can get us quality affordable child care, and strengthen our public health care system. It will start conversations on how our votes can build an economy that works for workers, with well-paying jobs.

If we can get our members to vote, and encourage others to vote – other union members, community activists and allies, young people, Indigenous peoples and racialized Canadians – we can get the change we want for Canada. 

Paul Moist