The Liberal Party of Canada has shown a willingness to work with us

Tom Sigurdson, executive director, BC Building Trades

Tom Sigurdson, executive director, BC Building Trades

Voting is a fundamental right of our citizenship. It is something we ought not to take for granted. Your vote counts! And yes you should get out and vote.

Who you vote for is your personal choice but as trade unionists, we need to consider what each political party has done in the past as well as what is offered in the party platform.

The Conservative Party of Canada continues to advance the right-wing, anti-union agenda under Andrew Scheer as it did under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The Harper administration passed legislation that would directly interfere with the administration of all trade unions in our country and other legislation that would impact workers’ rights to organize and belong to the union of their choice. The legislation was a shameful attack on the rights of workers and the unions to which they belong. When the Trudeau Liberals were elected, they introduced legislation restoring the balance for workers and their unions; the Conservative Members of Parliament voted against the legislation, continuing to show their disdain for unions and workers.

The Green Party is primarily concerned about climate change and perhaps rightly so. However, their position on fossil fuels and resource extraction is inconsistent with the positions taken by the Building Trades. The Green position on transition from fossil fuels to renewables, as far as we can tell, does not account for the immediate impact such a transition would have on the work our members currently do in the resource sector. Canada exports fossil fuels to countries where even bitumen and LNG are cleaner energy sources than coal and dung. Pollution doesn’t respect international borders; what is burned in India or China impacts climate change. Our contribution to burning cleaner energy by way of extracting and exporting to those countries will help reduce CO2 emissions as well as ensure work for our members.

The New Democratic Party has been the traditional voice of workers and unionized workers but for Building Trades members, of late the Federal New Democratic Party has been a disappointment. Their position on pipelines and natural resource development has conflicted with the position of the Building Trades. In meetings with the leadership of the federal NDP, they have indicated that they only oppose one project (TMX) but fail to realize that their opposition translates into the loss of millions of hours of employment for construction workers.

The Liberal Party of Canada since coming to power in 2015 has worked closely with trade unions. Very specifically with the unions which make up the Building Trades. They have recognized the work we do with apprenticeship training and have provided much needed funding for equipment at our training centres. They have worked with us to develop better regulation regarding the use of Temporary Foreign Workers. They have consulted with us on natural resource development projects, on mobility issues, on Indigenous inclusion, on bringing more women into the trades, on immigration issues and the list goes on. The Liberals have seen us as valuable partners as they develop policies that impact the work we do building the infrastructure that builds our economy.

If you reside in a constituency currently represented by a Liberal or NDP Member of Parliament seeking re-election, we encourage you to vote for that incumbent MP. If you reside in a constituency represented by a Conservative MP, we encourage you to consider voting for the candidate from either the NDP or Liberal parties who has the best chance to beat the Conservative incumbent. We cannot afford more attacks on workers’ rights should the Conservative form a majority government. We do not endorse the Green Party candidates at the present time.

Belonging to a trade union and voting are fundamental rights in Canada. If you don’t get out to vote, you are surrendering your choice of the kind of government we get to others. Be heard! Vote!!

By Tom Sigurdson – Executive Director of the BC Building Trades