Delegates gave a warm and loud welcome to Premier David Eby. The Premier began his first address to a CUPE BC convention as premier and leader of the BC NDP leader with a heart-felt thank-you to CUPE members for their work during the pandemic.
“You helped keep our schools, our libraries, our universities open when they were needed most,” said Eby. “British Columbia owes you a debt of gratitude. British Columbians owe you a debt of gratitude that we will repay every single day.”
The Premier highlighted the many advancements for workers the provincial government has enacted with the support of CUPE BC and the province’s labour movement, in stark contrast to other conservative-led provinces.
“Workers are facing big challenges…. There are people out there that believe we should be addressing these challenges with cuts and more privatization of public services,” said Eby, sharing what he’s heard from other premiers. “The labour movement and this government doesn’t believe in this race to the bottom. Workers don’t deserve this.”
Eby cited the province’s wage growth – particularly for women, one-step union certifications, investments in public infrastructure and public services, work to achieve universal before- and after- school care, and a commitment to protecting public health care as key contrasts between his government and the opposition.
“They stood in the legislature and voted against improved cancer care. If you need an example of the difference between this government and the other guys, I can’t think of a better example,” said Eby, committing to defend public health care, and to stand against any movement to expand privatized service or two-tier health care.
The Premier concluded with a look ahead.
“We know we have a lot more work to do. But what I hope to accomplish as the new guy, is to show how much we can accomplish together. A better British Columbia,’ said Eby. “Not just for those at the top, but for everyone.”