Tommy Douglas once said: “Courage, my friends; ‘tis not too late to build a better world.’”
I believe these words are true and reflect the ongoing struggle of the labour movement. Organized labour works not only to improve the working conditions of New Brunswick workers. We also work to advance issues of social justice such as poverty reduction, pay equity and accessible and affordable not-for-profit child care.
During the 2010 election campaign our members will be raising three important issues with our electoral candidates. New Brunswickers deserve to work in a safe and healthy environment and be fairly compensated when injured on the job. New Brunswickers deserve to maintain ownership and control over the decisions being made about our public infrastructure. New Brunswickers deserve to live in a society where we all pay our fair share of income taxes and benefit from fair and equitable public services.
I feel that it is important for us to carefully study the platforms of each of the political parties before we vote. For the next four years, the government we elect will pass laws and make decisions that will affect our daily lives.
Unfortunately our last provincial government made several bad decisions that negatively affected workers and their families as well as society’s most vulnerable. These decisions undermined free collective bargaining, increased costly public-private partnerships, exported our manufacturing and forestry jobs and cut taxes to high income earners and big corporations. All the while, our government chose to cut basic public services, such as court social workers, small claims court, some ferry services, student bussing, school libraries and intervention services. We also saw an increase in user fees for vehicle registration, drivers licenses, marriage licenses and ambulance services. This same government also refused to implement changes to workers health, safety and compensation benefits.
New Brunswick workers deserve better. Together, let’s make a better New Brunswick for us, for our families, for our seniors and for our communities. On September 27, let’s make sure to go vote.
Michel Boudreau is the President of the NB Federation of Labour, Labour’s central voice in New Brunswick.