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VICTORIA—The B.C. division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees concluded its 44th annual convention here today by electing a new executive and passing a number of key resolutions—including two that call for more democratic accountability in the B.C. legislature and one that endorses the federal NDP’s universal drug coverage plan.

In the union’s biennial elections, CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill was acclaimed for a sixth term and secretary-treasurer Mark Hancock for a second. For the first time in CUPE BC’s history, all four general vice president positions are now held by women.

During the convention, delegates passed emergency resolutions to oppose Bill 36 (the overhaul of TransLink), support the protection of severely allergic children through Opposition Bill M210, oppose Bill 20 (which undermines the authority of democratically-elected school boards in B.C.), and endorse the federal NDP’s universal drug coverage plan, which was unveiled at convention on Friday by Jack Layton.

“Delegates have shown through these resolutions that CUPE members are committed to building strong communities in this province,” said O’Neill.

“I know this was a successful convention because we are more united than ever as we move on from this weekend to do just that.”

The environment was also a priority for delegates, with a resolution committing CUPE BC to oppose any development of commercial coalbed methane gases in Telkwa or anywhere else in the province.

Also at convention, delegates passed a unanimous motion to send a $2,000 donation to the locked-out unionized workers of Le Journal de Quebec.

Contact:  Dan Gawthrop, CUPE Communications 604.999.6132

Barry O’Neill, CUPE BC president: 604.340-6768