Brother Claude Généreux was one of three treasurers featured on the opening night stage of CUPE Ontario’s annual convention.
Following speeches by Ontario’s Fred Hahn and the OFL’s (Ontario Federation of Labour) Irene Harris, Généreux highlighted unity, generosity and co-operation as being historically significant to CUPE’s strength and success.
“We are strong because we support one another and we work together.” he said.
Généreux invoked the battles that CUPE members in different parts of the country have waged and continue to wage against powerful interests who promote their profits over quality public services.
He highlighted the generosity that CUPE members across the country have shown to the 280 CUPE members who work for the Journal de Québec, owned by Sun Media, a company in the Quebecor family.
To emphasize the profound generosity of CUPE members, Généreux announced an additional donation of $10,000 to the Bev Smale scholarship fund. Earlier that evening, Fred Hahn noted that $25,000 had already been raised, and expressed a hope to significantly increase that amount before the end of the 2007 convention.
“The stakes are high,” the National Secretary-Treasurer told the more than 750 delegates and guests, “And we are fighting against some very powerful threats.”
Drawing attention to the tremendous successes that Ontario members and staff have had in negotiating collective agreements and beating back attempts at privatization, Généreux went on to make it clear that CUPE expects to need to continue this fight in Ontario and across Canada.
“The powerful interests of Bay Street and Wall Street are pushing their menacing tentacles into every region in Canada.”
Speaking about so-called provincial trade agreements between BC and Alberta (TILMA), the growing push to forge such agreements in Atlantic Canada (Atlantica) and further discussions growing between Ontario and Quebec, Généreux made it clear to delegates that these agreements are aimed at breaking the public sector.
Généreux was emphatic in declaring the importance of CUPE’s need to embrace its national character as a means of harnessing the power of its 560,000 members.
“We are not going to win [the battles against privatization] one province at a time. Corporate interests have found a new way to privatize with these inter-provincial agreements – agreements that take democratic power from communities and give power to the market.”