October 19 was a turning-point in our history—if we make that history happen.
Enough was enough. Federal public workers got involved in campaigns all across the country, and an unprecedented number ran for office. My congratulations to all the PSAC members who ran as candidates, and to all of the other public service workers who ran and who worked hard on campaigns.
For its part, the PSAC ran an effective campaign against public service cuts—one of the best I can remember.
The Harper government has been driven out, but it left a trail of wreckage in its wake. It’s time to begin the difficult and challenging task of rebuilding—and moving ahead. I’ve got a few ideas how the Prime Minister-designate, Justin Trudeau, could make a fresh new start.
Certainly Mr. Trudeau sent some encouraging signals during the election campaign, in an open letter to federal public sector workers. He promised to restore full collective bargaining rights and quality public services. Elsewhere he promised to repeal anti-labour Bills C-525 and C-377.
And he promised respect.
We will approach the future with an open mind and in a cooperative spirit. And in that spirit, I have reached out to Mr. Trudeau to congratulate him and his caucus, and to suggest an early meeting. We have much to discuss. Here are some priorities for the near future:
• Restore full collective bargaining rights;
• Restore strong health and safety protections in workplaces under federal jurisdiction, watered down by the previous government;
• Repeal anti-labour Bills C-525 and C-377; C-10; C-4; C-59;
• Restore pay equity in the public service, with full union right of representation;
• Re-open the nine veterans’ affairs offices shut down in 2014.
Canadians voted for change. We want to be a part of that. For federal public workers, there seems nowhere to go but up. But the same is true of Canadians in general. In a nutshell, we have to rebuild the public service, brick by brick. We have to rebuild our country.
I’m optimistic that we will. And I, for one, can’t wait to get started.