Corner Brook Judy Darcy, the National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), announced to the 80 delegates at the annual convention of CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador today that she has requested an urgent meeting with Premier Grimes.
Water is a vital source of life and must not become a source of profit. Re-opening the door to allow bulk exports of water from Gisborne Lake puts all Canadian water at risk. When water is exported for commercial purposes under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement, it exposes all Canadians to multinational corporate control of our fresh water supply, said Darcy.
Last month the Premier stated his government would consider reversing the provincial ban on bulk water exports and put the water in Gisborne Lake up for sale. The statement came on the eve of the province-wide strike by CUPE and the Newfoundland Association of Provincial Employees (NAPE).
Last month we rolled up our sleeves along with the government and came up with a provincial settlement that serves both workers and public service delivery in Newfoundland and Labrador. The agreement is a big win for everyone in the province, she said. And it was CUPE analysis and expertise that opened the door to a solution for pensions. The new pension plan benefits not only current workers but also retirees and the youth who are the future of public services in this province, she added.
In the same way we worked together to find a settlement to the strike, we are offering the expertise CUPE has developed in both water and trade issues. It is crucial that the Premier have all the information and understand all of the implications of exporting water from Gisborne Lake before taking this issue any further, said Darcy.
We need an economic vision that benefits people and the environment now and in the future. Todays quick fix will lead to a huge disaster tomorrow, she concluded.
The 27th annual convention of the Newfoundland and Labrador Division of CUPE continues through to May 2 in Corner Brook, at the Holiday Inn (48 West Street).
CUPE is Canadas largest union representing one half million workers delivering local services. In Newfoundland and Labrador, CUPE represents 5,500 members.