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CUPE national’s energy locals’ meeting, hosted by both Local 1000 (Power Workers’ Union) and Local One (Toronto Hydro), took place in Toronto on June 26 and 27. CUPE National President Paul Moist and National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury were on hand to speak with the members. Over 30 people were present, including elected officials representing eight locals and staff members.

The discussions led to a number of conclusions.

Privatization and deregulation in the sector have clearly not been beneficial for the public: they have led to major rate fluctuations and increases and have limited the government’s ability to plan production on a long-term basis. Public electrical power generation, transmission, and distribution are by far the most reliable, the least costly, and the most environmentally sustainable systems.  

While the current public debate emphasizes the development of non‑renewable resources (including oil) in any Canadian energy strategy, CUPE locals will be sending a clear message to federal, provincial and territorial governments that public electric power generation is essential for sustainable economic development.  

The importance of establishing energy security for Canadians and using our energy and natural resources for the public good and for job creation were identified as key issues, along with protecting the environment and cutting greenhouse gases.

The meeting was an opportunity for local unions to discuss everything from national energy policy to provincial energy development projects to challenges on the local labour-relations front. Despite the differences from one province to another, the meeting served as an opportunity to share information and find common ground.

Sector representatives discussed strategies to send our messages to the premiers at their upcoming Council of the Federation meeting in Halifax in July and to the energy ministers who will meet in Charlottetown in September.