OTTAWA - The president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, along with several other prominent labour leaders from across the country, will attend a special two-and-a-half hour meeting with federal Environment Minister David Anderson later today.
At the meeting, Steel will demand the creation of a substantial transition fund to help workers who may be displaced as a result of the Kyoto Accord.
"We're on record as supporting Kyoto. It's the right thing to do for our environment," says Steel. "But, at the same time, we can't forget about the thousands of workers who may lose their jobs. If we're going to go ahead with Kyoto, mechanisms have to be put in place to help workers and communities make the transition to a greener economy."
Steel says that millions of jobs will be created over the next decade in Canada, whether the Kyoto Accord is ratified or not. But, he says there is no doubt that Kyoto will result in employment reductions in at least a few sectors.
"The solution to this shift in jobs is not to forego action on climate change," says Steel.
"The real answer is to ensure that those who do lose their jobs are given options to find new employment, particularly in related sectors that are expected to experience growth. That's the message we'll be delivering to the Minister tomorrow: Kyoto, yes, but don't leave workers behind."
The meeting with Anderson will take place today between noon and 2:30 p.m. Alberta time. Steel will be available to answer questions from reporters after 2:45 p.m. Alberta time.
For more information call:
Les Steel, AFL President @ (780) 499-4135
Gil McGowan, AFL Communications @ (780) 483-3021 or (780) 910-1137 (cell)