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Federal New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton met with CUPE’s Colombian visitor on July 30 in Moncton, N.B., where Maria Fernanda Bolanos began the next leg of her six-week cross-Canada tour.

Layton and local NDP member of Parliament Yvon Godin chatted with Bolanos before she attended a meeting of about 20 members of the Moncton District Labour. Council vice-president Kenneth Thompson assisted with preparations.

She also met with Paulette Sadoway, Atlantic regional director of the Canadian Labour Congress, the CLC’s Jean-Claude Basque, CUPE’s Michel Boudreau, president of the N.B. Federation of Labour, and Judith Weiss from the Council of Canadians in Sackville, N.B.

Bolanos, a waste management worker in Cali, Colombia, also toured the water treatment facility at Allardville near Bathurst. CUPE NB vice-president Serge Plourde led the tour, accompanied by plant managers. Bolanos was impressed at how toxins are removed from the waste before the water is recaptured in a pure enough form to drink.

At historic Acadian Village, a blacksmith forged a special nail for Bolanos. At Caraquet, she also got a sense of Acadian culture. En route through the Miramichi region, she tasted blueberries for the first time in Brantville, N.B. She also stopped to see the giant lobster in Shediac, N.B., before visiting Hopewell Rock on the Bay of Fundy to see the high tides.

She also enjoyed a home-cooked chicken dinner prepared by CUPE NB president Danny Legere, known for his culinary expertise and his healthy eating habits.

Our guest was also assisted by national global justice committee member Serge Landry and member-translator Anne Robichaud, who assisted with translation through the first part of the N.B. tour, including interviews with local French media.