This is an example of democracy working at its best
EDMONTON - Alberta unions are celebrating today’s historic agreement between the federal government and Canada’s NDP, saying it has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of working people in all sectors of the economy and all corners of the country.
But given the fact that many of the policies included in the agreement will require provincial buy-in, there is also concern that conservative provincial governments, like the UCP government in Alberta, could play the role of spoiler.
“This is an example of Canadian democracy working at its best,” says Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan. “Two parties, together representing a majority of Canadians, have put partisan bickering aside and are cooperating to deliver policies and programs that will dramatically improve the lives of citizens. This is how we got Medicare, now we’re finally going to get Pharmacare, public dental care and a host of other policies that will improve the lives of ordinary Canadians in tangible, long-lasting ways.”
McGowan continued by offering congratulations to the leaders of both the government and the NDP.
“Thanks to Jagmeet Singh for using the NDP’s leverage in a minority Parliament to get big things done. And thanks to the Liberals for showing that politics can rise above partisanship. Bravo!”
McGowan points out that the UCP government here in Alberta is already acting in bad faith by trying to slow or stop the roll-out of the federal government’s national child care program. He worries that the UCP will try to play similar games with the new federal deal on Pharmacare and public dental care.
McGowan says unions across Canada will work hard to mobilize support for the progressive agenda that lies at the heart of the agreement. Unions will also remind their members and the public that the agreement reflects policy priorities that are widely supported by the majority of Canadians, including residents of provinces like Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario that are currently governed by Conservatives.
“Unions and workers have been advocating in support of many of these issues for decades and we will keep pushing until the deal is fully implemented,” concludes McGowan. “And we won’t tolerate misinformation and mischief from conservative politicians. Like the majority of other Canadians, Albertans have shown that they clearly support these initiatives and they will not look kindly on the UCP if they try to stand in the way.”
Director of Communications, AFL