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Layton: Join the national alternative

NDP leader Jack Layton brought his message of a national alternative to convention yesterday, telling delegates that Paul Martins policies are a threat to Canada.

Martin is planning more cuts to the public sector even though the federal government has a healthy surplus, Layton said. We have to re-invest, re-invigorate and support our public service.

Recounting the story of his late fathers horrible experience with a private care home, Layton called on delegates to work against corporations that only care about the bottom line. He also denounced international trade deals that protect profits before people.

We have to mount a movement of people against the movement of money, Layton said.

We had a dream Hartman award winner

Child care activist Jamie Kass is the winner of the second Grace Hartman award named after CUPEs first female national president. A founding member of CUPE 2204 (Ottawa child care workers), Kass was recognized for her commitment to universal child care and her unrelenting local activism.

We had a dream that child care workers across the country could make a living wage; that there would be universal access like there is here in Quebec, she said.

Most of my life I bridged the gap between the union movement and the child care movement, said Kass who was introduced to CUPE activism by Hartman and Judy Darcy. I found that the gap is not that big.

The biannual award was introduced at the 2001 convention to honour Hartman who, through her leadership, vision and courage, has been an inspiration to generations of women union activists.

Forty years to greatness

Former national secretary-treasurer Kealey Cummings and our first research director Gil Levine took delegates on a 40-year journey into CUPE history yesterday. They told of the difficult and bitter times before and after the founding of our union in 1963. They shared their memories, their differences, their regrets and hopes. And they offered praise and advice.

This is the best convention we have ever had, said Gil who was with the National Union of Public Employees It gives me great hope for the future of CUPE. We are the little acorn that grew into a giant oak, added Kealey, who was with the National Union of Public Service Employees. We grew into the greatest union in Canada.

New executive members, trustees elected

Delegates elected the following regional vice-presidents: BC - Fred Muzin, Colleen Jordan; AB - Bruce McLeod; SK Frank Mentes; MB - Kevin Rebeck; ON Candace Rennick, Michael Hurley (South), Judith Mongrain (North); QC Charles Fleury, Claude Turcotte; NB David Rouse; PEI Donalda MacDonald; NS Betty Jean Sutherland; NF Donna Ryan

Delegates also elected Dharam Boodhoo as diversity vice-president (workers of colour) and Randy St. Denis as diversity V-P (aboriginal workers). Helen Gibb-Gavel was elected as the two-year national trustee and Faith Matchette to the six-year position.

Rules for CUPE elections clarified

Convention adopted resolution C12 making clear that candidates in CUPE elections cannot enlist the support of staff and C1 adding language to the list of grounds for claiming discrimination. Delegates also adopted resolution 15 calling on CUPE to develop an action plan to support members in the child care sector.

Thank you Judy

Friends and fans of Judy Darcy gathered last night to pay tribute to her 30 years of activism and leadership. Through speeches, song and a video tribute, they roasted and toasted her, celebrating her passion and her conviction.

The video, entitled Judy Darcy Forever on the front line, highlights her ideas, her energy and her deep commitment to justice and to CUPE. Copies of the video can be ordered using the order form provided to delegates. The form will be sent to all locals and the video can be ordered through cupe.ca.