Thousands of people marched through the streets of Montreal to mark Earth Day on Sunday, April 22. An estimated 300,000 people attended the march, including a number of celebrities. And yes, CUPE was there too.
The leaders of three Quebec unions, including FTQ President Michel Arsenault, CSN President Louis Roy and CSQ President Réjean Parent, delivered a message to the enormous crowd to protect the common good.
Michel Arsenault, president of the FTQ:
It’s wonderful to see us assembled in such numbers on Earth Day. As a trade unionist, I want to tell you that, now, more than ever, we need to mind the store. We are faced with governments and businesses tirelessly wielding their demolition axes on our rights: our cultural rights, our language rights, our right of association, our right to bargain and our right to strike. And that includes our right to decide how best to use our resources.
On that issue, there is no room for compromise: the development of our resources must be carried out with respect for the environment and for our communities. These resources, this wealth belongs to the citizens of Quebec and it must be exploited for the common good.
Louis Roy, president of the CSN:
Water, air, earth, wind, wildlife, flora and mineral resources are part of the common good that humans must shepherd. It is unacceptable for some to exploit our common good with a short-term view to enriching a handful of individuals at the expense of our workers, our communities, our citizens and humanity.
A world that is free of the shameless exploitation of humanity and resources is possible. Respect for life, people, the environment and our students must become the foundation on which we build the future. Let us build it together!
Réjean Parent, president of the CSQ:
This spring will go down in history as a time of brotherhood and solidarity. It will give the lie to those who preach individualism and the philosophy of each man for himself.
We raise our voices today to demand that our political representatives commit to our collective welfare. We ask them to rise above selfish political interests and to have the courage and the boldness to govern on behalf of the people by listening to the people, including the students of Quebec.
The CSQ, through its network of Brundtland Green Establishments in schools and day-care centres, has always been proud to promote the values of democracy, pacifism, solidarity and respect for the environment. May these values spread across the planet! Solidarity!