Canadian workers will have a strong voice in the first NDP Official Opposition caucus.
Twenty-three CUPE members, staff and retirees ran for the NDP, gaining over 220,000 votes collectively.
Six won and will soon be taking their seats in the House of Commons.
Robert Chisholm, formerly CUPE Atlantic Regional Director and former leader of the Nova Scotia NDP, is now the MP for Dartmouth – Cole Habour.
“We have a tremendous leader in Jack Layton. He helped us create a real sense of hope amongst voters and we were able to bring that home,” said Robert in his victory speech to supporters on election night.
Alexandre Boulerice, a communications representative for CUPE in Quebec, was part of the remarkable NDP breakthrough in Quebec as the new MP for Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie. As an MP, he plans to focus on job creation, cultural issues, immigrant integration, global warming, scientific research, affordable housing and public transportation.
Ruth Ellen Brosseau, a former member of CUPE Local 3011, was also part of the New Democrats landslide victory in Quebec. As the new MP for Berthier-Maskinongé, Brosseau sent a message to voters in her riding, saying, “I will make sure voices of regular families like ours are heard loud and clear in the House of Commons.”
Also in Quebec, CUPE 4545 member François Pilon won Laval-Les Îles for the NDP. A life-long resident of Laval, he has worked for the City for almost 25 years. He’s been active in CUPE for many years, and served as the local vice-president for seven years.
“It’s indescribable,” François told the Montreal Gazette after winning the riding by more than 14,000 votes. “This will certainly change my life completely … and for the better.”
Sylvain Chicoine, a member of CUPE 1186, support workers at the University of Montreal, was elected in Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, Quebec.
In Ontario, Rathika Sitsabaiesan, a member of CUPE 1281 – University of Toronto Students’ Union, was elected in Scarborough-Rouge River. Rathika has a long recored of social, student and labour activism. She is active in the Canadian Federation of Students, served as vice-president for the Carleton University Students’ Association, worked with the Service Employees’ International Union on the Justice 4 Justice campaign.
“The people were fed up and wanted change and that’s what we’re delivering,” said Rathika in her victory speech.