CUPE has started the process of developing an environmental policy, in accordance with the mandate entrusted to it at the last CUPE Convention in Vancouver. A two-day strategy meeting was held this week in Ottawa to establish guidelines for the work.
More than 45 people attended, including CUPE activists, staff members and special guests. The members of CUPE’s National Environment Committee and representatives from CUPE locals in the energy sector were present.
A panel of experts was held on the morning of Wednesday, January 9 to open the discussion. The panel, moderated by journalist Mike De Souza, included Steven Guilbeault of Équiterre, Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network, and Angela Rickman from the Office of the Leader of the Opposition Thomas Mulcair. The panel focussed on the urgency of the climate crisis, the harmful impacts of the Conservative government’s natural resources exploitation agenda and the negative environmental aspects of trade deals.
On Thursday morning, John Cartwright, President of the Toronto and York Regional Labour Council, was guest speaker. He presented several possible solutions for greening our economy while creating quality jobs and emphasized the role of unions and civil society in this process.
The rest of the time was spent in workshops in order to discuss and develop policy content. A number of ideas and suggestions were raised, regarding energy, transportation, water, waste management, energy efficiency, and much more.
CUPE National President Paul Moist and National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury attended the two-day event.