As we enter 2021, I’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the more than 700,000 CUPE members who have worked so hard through the COVID-19 crisis. 2020 was filled with challenges none of us ever could have imagined, but we met those challenges with courage, dedication, and compassion, and did our communities proud.
I am feeling hopeful about 2021. In the aftermath of the pandemic, I see this as the year we rebuild, and make meaningful progress on issues that matter to us as activists and union members.
First and foremost, this year we are going to continue our fight to radically transform the way we care for one another – especially our most vulnerable.
There’s evidence that our efforts are already paying off. In the fall Throne Speech from the Trudeau government, we heard commitments to child care, pharmacare, and national standards for long-term care. CUPE has been on the frontlines of the fight for these critical additions to our social safety net for years.
But we all know that Liberals have always been long on promises and short on delivery. We also know the Conservatives, under their new leader Erin O’Toole, can’t be counted on– no matter how much he pretends to be a friend to unions and workers. A Conservative can’t change his stripes, and we won’t fall for his gimmicks.
That’s why we must continue to keep fighting, alongside allies in our communities, the labour movement, and the NDP, for these and other changes.
And our big chance to actually get the change we deserve may come sooner than we think. It’s increasingly likely that we are heading into a federal election this year.
The next election, whenever it happens, is an opportunity for us to take the lessons learned from the pandemic and convince people across the country to vote for the future we all want and deserve.
We want a future where no one goes broke because they can’t afford to fill their prescriptions. We want a future where parents, especially women, can return to work knowing their kids are being cared for. We want a future where our seniors can live safely and with dignity.
We have weathered the worst of this pandemic. Now comes the opportunity. Together, let’s change the way we care for one another, and create a better future for everyone.