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After two days of debate at an international conference of energy unions held in Quebec City October 12 and 13, more than 40 delegates from France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Ontario and Quebec worked out a joint approach to confronting deregulation of the energy sector, particularly in developing countries.

The backdrop to this conference was an agreement among the worlds seven largest energy production and distribution companies, organized eight years ago into the E-7, that they would work to electrify developing countries in a sustainable way.

In response, the unions representing workers at these companies decided to come together to form their own strategy. The meeting was hosted by the unions at Hydro Quebec: CUPE Locals 957, 2000 and 1500.

Most important, delegates agreed that electicity, like water, must be considered an essential service and not a market good.

Speaking to the conference, National President Judy Darcy underlined the importance of this joint initiative, not only to ensure that workers were closely monitoring the E-7 but “also, and more importantly, to develop our own vision of sustainable development, a union vision that brings together the vision of workers around the world.”