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Annual convention ends with renewed commitment to community-based initiatives

VANCOUVER — The 45th annual convention of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, B.C. division, concluded this afternoon with delegates approving an action plan for the next year that continues the union’s leading role in promoting issues of community and environmental sustainability.

This year, delegates passed 56 resolutions, including those to support coordinated bargaining efforts and campaigns to protect vital public services such as child care, and others reinforcing the union’s commitment to fight public-private partnerships.

Yesterday’s international guest speaker, U.S. economist Michael Shuman, echoed the local investment theme of CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill’s recent tour of B.C. communities.

Shuman, author of best-selling business title The Small-Mart Revolution, entertained and informed CUPE delegates with a 45-minute lesson on how smaller-scale local business and economic multipliers strengthen communities.

“His message reinforces what our members have been encountering all through this province,” said CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill. “And that is that we can carve out our own sustainable initiatives and businesses and there is an alternative to large-scale, global capital in our communities.”

Earlier today, BC Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair urged delegates to become more involved in upcoming civic and provincial elections.

Sinclair, in the final guest speech of convention, cited a lengthy list of reasons that political change is necessary.

“The records we’re setting in Canada are not good for us here in B.C.,” he said. “We have the highest child poverty rate, and right now there are 11,500 people sleeping on the streets of B.C.—that’s double the number from six years ago.”

Also in this year’s only election, Colin Pawson was re-elected as trustee.
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