MFL Executive Council Report (Dec. 2011)

 

Report of the Regional Executive Vice-President, Prairies to the Manitoba Federation of Labour Executive Council submitted for the December 2011 meeting. This report covers the period from the last MFL meeting.


Robyn Benson, Regional Executive Vice-President
Public Service Alliance of Canada, Prairie Region
Report to the Manitoba Federation of Labour, December 2011

PSAC has just launched a brand new public engagement campaign called the Third Choice Campaign. The goals of the campaign are to: depopularize cuts and inspire Canadians to demand a third choice; encourage Canadians to engage in a conversation about the importance of strong public services; and demonstrate the value Canadians place on their public services

We hope to inspire more people to question the absurd choice they are being given by government – between no deficit and strong public services – and demand a better choice. Engaging a bigger audience means demonstrating that we have a positive, easy-to-get-behind approach that focuses on transparency, discussion and a “Third Choice” that offers both a strong economy and strong public services for all Canadians. Visit www.thirdchoice.ca to learn more and participate in one of our online actions.

Earlier this fall, PSAC members gathered together in major cities across the Prairie Region to discuss important political issues and current campaigns. Members were especially interested to discuss the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and their attacks on public service workers. We discussed the best ways to dispel the lies being spread by CFIB President Catherine Swift, and how to promote the benefits of strong public services. You can find more information about PSAC’s efforts to fight back against the CFIB at www.psac.com.

We also discussed the PSAC national petition to Treasury Board President Tony Clement, and the urgency to get as many signatures as possible. This petition calls on the Conservative government to reverse plans to cut jobs and public services by $4-billion per year. It is crucial to send a strong message to our MPs, and to Stephen Harper, that Canadians do no support his government’s regressive, deficit reduction plans.

In preparation for the Manitoba provincial election in October, we hosted a telephone town hall as a way to allow members to learn about election issues. I’d like to thank Brother Kevin Rebeck for joining me as a guest on the call to discuss the priorities that affect working families.

Finally, PSAC members in Manitoba and across the Prairies share the concerns of western farmers fighting to keep the Canadian Wheat Board. My husband and I run a cattle farm in Ste. Anne, Manitoba, so we know first hand the pressure facing farming families. Stephen Harper, however, doesn’t know the first thing about farming, and the struggles farming families face every day. It’s illogical for him to make a decision that profoundly impacts thousands of farmers. They deserve the opportunity to have their voice heard, and we will stand beside them in solidarity, with the entire labour movement, to demand the Conservative government respect their right to democratically vote on the proposed changes to the CWB mandate.

In Solidarity,

Robyn Benson
Regional Executive Vice-President
Public Service Alliance of Canada, Prairies