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Paul Moist had delegates to the HEU convention on their feet Nov. 5 calling for solidarity across the country.

“Sisters and brothers across Canada are battling from coast to coast to coast,” Moist told the delegates representing 43,000 hospital, health and community social service workers in BC.

“We have had some successes, but could not have won without solidarity and the support of other unions.” Moist pointed to the recent Journal de Québec dispute and the boycott of Petro Canada as examples of unions supporting each other.

Moist congratulated the HEU on the June 2007 Supreme Court of Canada ruling striking down Bill 29.

He called it “the first expression of collective bargaining rights embedded into our constitution.”

He added that “The complete Bill 29 victory will come when we replace the Campbell government next May and bring all health care workers back under public control.”

Moist stressed that as well as fighting what we are against, “we need to champion what we are for – for public education, for public resources and for public health care.”

Many of Moist’s comments were directed at HEU president Fred Muzin, stepping down after 15 years. Moist honoured Muzin’s “unwavering dedication to global justice.”

CUPE National secretary-treasurer Claude Généreux spoke to the convention of the  Canadian government’s  support of a free trade deal with Colombia despite that country’s horrific record on human rights.

Delegates elected Ken Robinson as HEU’s new president. Robinson cited “critical staff shortages, ongoing privatization and lack of access to resources for seniors” as the most pressing issues coming from the convention floor.

The convention continues until Nov. 7.