CUPE veteran John “Lofty” MacMillan, 81, has received an honorary degree from the University of New Brunswick.
Speaking to the graduating class after receiving the Doctor of Letters title, Lofty held to his life-long concerns: “Today in Canada there are a million unemployed and a million under-employed. What role can we expect you to take in bringing greater social justice to these Canadians?” He said there are more Canadians now using food banks and soup kitchens than in the Great Depression.
Born in Cape Breton, MacMillan was a coal miner, policeman, municipal councillor and union organizer. In 1957 he was hired as a staff representative for NUPE, a forerunner to CUPE.
Lofty had this to say to his friends about the honorary degree: “I was pleased it was at the University of New Brunswick, Saint John Campus. We have a union there. I would have said no if the honor was held in Fredericton. It would have been silly, me sitting there by one of the Irving clan.”