MONCTON, N.B.– National President Paul Moist observed 25 young people making protest posters at the annual New Brunswick Federation of Labour summer camp this week at the Universite de Moncton. He encouraged the group to join a 24-hour labour rally organized for Aug. 8.
“Make plenty of noise when we are outside the premiers’ meeting here tonight,” he said. “Our provincial premiers need to learn about the issues you have been learning about at this camp and we need to tell them to address them now.”
The Council of the Federation brings the premiers together annually in the summer to exchange views on issues. This year, N.B. Premier Shawn Graham has focused the discussions on climate change and energy. The premiers were also to meet with aboriginal leaders.
Thanks to CUPE and other unions, the 15-18-year-olds from across the province are learning about labour issues such as privatization and social issues such as equality, harassment and human rights.
“We come with some knowledge of labour and social issues,” said one participant, “but we come away with a huge amount more.”
CUPE NB president Danny Legere also addressed the group, explaining that the labour rally was important to defend public services and other parts of the economy.
CUPE National supplies the annual five-day residential camp with materials and CUPE NB provides $700 to sponsor one of the classroom spots. Twelve of the participants come from CUPE families.
Earlier, the two CUPE leaders attended an all-day conference on health care sponsored by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions at which Assembly of First Nations leaders Phil Fontaine called for support to fight poverty among First Nations peoples. He also raised the issue of reviving the Kelowna accord, the Liberal agreement that the Tory government rejected.
Moist kicked off the labour rally at 5:30 p.m. and will be monitoring the premiers’ meeting until Friday.