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Election brings untriumphant victories

As the dust settles on the 2008 Federal Election, there have emerged some wins, some losses, and some “victories” that, on closer inspection, aren’t all that triumphant.

The clearest winner to emerge from this election is the NDP.  The NDP increased its percentage of the popular vote, and made inroads in Newfoundland, Alberta and Northern Ontario.

The Bloc Québécois held its ground, entering the race with 48 seats and leaving with 50. Leader Gilles Duceppe unified Quebeckers against the Conservatives over their $45 million cuts to arts and culture, and their harsh proposals for sentencing young offenders.

The election night’s unequivocal loser was the Liberal Party, finishing with their worst showing in over 20 years at a loss of almost 20 seats.

Stephen Harper’s Conservatives did pick up 16 new seats but they had higher expectations.

So what do these election results mean for CUPE members?

Harper will continue to push his partisan and ideological agenda through parliament.

Harper will use economic woes to justify a smaller government and reduced public services.

CUPE members must be ready to push back against cuts to public spending and jobs.

CUPE members must keep pressuring the government to engage in public discourse about issues that affect our jobs, families and communities.

The best news to come out of this election is that Canadians do not want the Conservatives to have a free hand to govern our country.

CUPE thanks everyone who worked hard to campaign and show support for the NDP.  At half a million members strong, we’re ready to keep up the fight.

Health care workers in Western Newfoundland chose CUPE

CUPE 488 has won a major representation vote for health services workers on the west coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The vote was between CUPE and NAPE, the provincial government union there.  More than 1,600 employees in health services cast their ballots last month.

Says CUPE NL. President Wayne Lucas, “We never wanted this vote in the first place.  It was forced upon us by the employer, but we are very happy to say that the majority of CUPE and NAPE members have chosen CUPE as the union to represent them on the west coast.”

Lucas says, “We want to extend a very warm welcome to the 700 former NAPE members who will now be in CUPE and look forward to working with them to build an even stronger local union for employees of Western Health.”

New Brunswick P3 conference attracts 200

More than 200 people gathered in Saint John, New Brunswick this week at a conference on public-private partnerships, organized by CUPE New Brunswick.

The delegates came from CUPE but also from other organizations around the province.

The privatization summit was intended to review past P3s and examine how they have failed, hear about other P3 projects in Canada and develop strategies for ensuring that public services stay public.

BC paramedics call for more funding

CUPE 873 members took part in a province-wide action this week to call for more funding for ambulance and paramedic services.

Hundreds rallied at the provincial cabinet offices in downtown Vancouver to demand action to improve the province’s ambulance service.

CUPE BC Secretary-treasurer Mark Hancock called the underfunding “shameful.”

You do some of the most difficult jobs – made more difficult by the lack of needed resources,” he said.

Demand for ambulance services has risen by 25 per cent in the past four years.

Halifax flight attendants say: Rodney come fly with us

Rodney Macdonald offered to get on a plane to Ottawa to make a plea to keep Air Canada’s Halifax flight attendant base open.

CUPE 4090 President Lisa Vivian Anthony told the Nova Scotia premier “Let’s go!  Just name the date and the flight attendants will be there.”

CUPE Nova Scotia President Danny Cavanagh says, “We need to see some decisive leadership from the premier on this issue.”

CUPE Québec pleased as government supports UQAM

CUPE Québec welcomed this week’s announcement that the provincial government would assume part of the University of Québec at Montréal’s $180 million debt and increase funding to the university by $85 million.

This is excellent news for UQAM but we have to recognize it won’t solve the problem of chronic underfunding that’s been plaguing all Québec universities,” said Roland Coté, CUPE 1294 President.

:te/cope 491