April 13, 2022

Brynn BourkeIN THESE DARK DAYS of winter and long into this pandemic, it may feel that normal times will never come again. But I take great comfort in the fact that even in these difficult times, our members are doing something amazing.

You’re still building B.C. Babies will be born in the hospitals you’ve built. Children will learn and grow in your schools. Families will gather in your community centres and generations will discover our history and celebrate B.C.’s diverse and talented artists in the museums and galleries you construct.

Right now, there are so many forces that seem to divide us and it is normal to look for someone to blame.

There is no easy way out of this pandemic—no single public policy that will make it all go away. And the sad reality is that a whole bunch of innocent people are becoming causalities of that anger.

I know each and every member of the building trades would give the shirt off their back to a neighbour if they needed it. Many of you have done exactly that in the past.

We cannot let this pandemic divide us from our neighbours. Neighbours who are health care workers, teachers, or long-term care workers.

We’re all in this together. As has been said about this pandemic, we may all be in the same storm, but we are not all in the same boat.

Our boat as building trades members is not a cushy one.

We can’t work from home. Some of us have to leave home altogether to earn our paycheques in camps.

But there is hope, because unlike others, we are also boat builders. We have the tools to not only build a better boat for ourselves, but for others.

Over the past year, our members donated thousands of dollars to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, Variety–the Children’s Charity, UBC Diabetes Research, Red Cross Flood Relief, the Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society, the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation, Camp Jubilee, the BC Health Coalition and the list goes on, and on, and on.

When the chips were down, you showed up. You were there when others desperately needed the help.

Never forget that.

Right now may feel like the darkest of days, but there will come a sunny day again when you will be driving down a road, or over a bridge, or passing a dam and you will point to a friend and say, “I built that.”

Years from now, people will look upon the buildings that only exist because you, YOU, laid your hands upon them and they will think about you, the builders, who carried on during this difficult time in our history.

So very few workers get to have that. But you do.

No matter what happens. No matter where we go from here. The structures you are building right now will be everlasting and the message will endure: We Were Here.

By Brynn Bourke
Executive Director