EDMONTON - The Alberta Federation of Labour applauds today's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in the House of Commons, and says its time for all levels of government to walk the talk on helping workers who may be affected by climate change policies.
"Workers in Alberta and across Canada know that action on climate change is critical for future generations" says AFL President Les Steel. "We believe that Kyoto is an important first step in addressing the problem, but we have to do it right."
"For months we've been hearing the Alberta government say how concerned it is about the potential impact of Kyoto on jobs," says Steel. "With today's ratification vote, it's time for Klein to stop the fear-mongering and work with the labour movement and the federal government to ensure no workers are made to bear an unfair burden of implementation."
Steel says that while millions of new jobs will be created in Canada even with Kyoto in place, there will be job shifts from some sectors to others. He says the AFL has always supported Kyoto, but with a just transition plan in place to help workers adapt and train for the new jobs that will be created.
"We know that Kyoto can be implemented in a way that is good for workers and communities as well as good for the environment. The best thing that the Alberta government can do now is get on board to make sure it happens."
Don MacNeil, western administrative vice president for the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, agrees.
"Our members, including 35,000 who have jobs in the energy sector, support Kyoto and know that it's the right thing to do," he says. "We have a workable just transition plan that will ensure that workers and their families and their communities can benefit from new opportunities, but it will take political will. The actions of the Alberta government in the coming months will show if their new-found concern about jobs is rhetoric or reality."
"Nobody is more concerned with jobs than the labour movement," adds Steel. "But our members know that healthy jobs and a healthy environment go hand in hand."
For more information call:
Les Steel, AFL President @ (780) 499-4135
Don MacNeil, CEP Western Regional Administrative VP @ (780) 984-5289