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International Operating Engineer - Fall 2015

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The quarterly magazine of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

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Canadian News Historic Federal Election Sees Liberals Take Majority Trudeau promises more infrastructure, better labour relations Canadian Conference 2015: A focus on political activism other groups that were isolated and targeted by Stephen Harper. The Liberals also announced million for union training centres and reinvestment of training equipment. They plan to continue to support the provinces in skills training delivery with renewed labour market agreements. THE CANADIAN Regional Conference was hosted this year by the Atlantic Region at the end of August in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Many of the meetings and speakers focused on the Canadian Federal election. The Election Writ had been dropped on Sunday, August 2. Senator Cowan provided a recap and personal thoughts on the process through which Bill C-377 was developed and passed through both the House of Commons and the Senate. He also expanded on what changes must be made to the Senate to make it an effective and respected voice for all Canadians. [above] Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau speaks at Local 793’s head office in Oakville, Ontario on August 27 where he proposed increasing the country’s investment in infrastructure. [photo] Grant Cameron/Local 793 LASTING A TOTAL of 78 days, Canadians endured one of the longest federal elections in Canadian history. On October 19, the nearly ten year rein of Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government came to an end. The Liberal Party, led by Justin Trudeau, who had begun the election campaign in a distant third place, won the election with a significant majority. Prior to the election the Liberals had just 34 seats in Parliament, but emerged with a majority 184 seats on election day. In addition to being one of the longest elections in Canadian history, this election also produced the greatest voter turnout in nearly 22 years, at just over 68% of eligible voters casting ballots. The Liberals plan to act quickly on their priorities and promises. Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau and his Federal Cabinet will be officially sworn in on November 4 and it is expected that Parliament will be called back before December. Both the Liberals and the New Democratic Party (NDP) ran on a campaign of “Change,” while the Conservatives ran on their economic record. The Liberals were able to distinguish themselves from the NDP and became the chosen agent of change. The turning point occurred on August 27, when the Liberals announced a historic new investment in infrastructure at IUOE Local 793’s Oakville training facility. Standing alongside dozens of IUOE members, Trudeau promised that the Liberals would nearly double the government’s investment in building infrastructure to 5 billion, from the current billion, over the next decade. This meant the Liberals will run a small budget deficit over the next few years to pay for these investments, while the NDP promised that they would not run a deficit. This bold approach to rebuilding the nation’s roads, bridges and transit systems, while creating thousands of construction jobs, shifted the momentum of the campaign. The Liberals began to increase their support almost daily all the way through to election day. On other important issues to the Operating Engineers, the Liberals have promised to repeal several pieces of anti-union legislation—Bills C-377 and C-525 in particular—enacted under the Conservative government. The Liberals want more collaboration and a stronger working relationship with labour and This federal election marked the first time the IUOE took an active role in Canadian political campaigning. The International and Local unions invested a significant amount of time and resources to educate and mobilize the membership. Members received direct mail, were contacted by phone and directed to the website www. to learn more about the parties’ positions and federal voting procedures. The IUOE believed that our membership, as well as middleclass Canadians, would continue to suffer under another Stephen Harper Government. The Harper administration spent nearly a decade undercutting labour unions and the middle-class with policies that favored corporate interests over working people. Under the Conservative Government, the Canadian economy had fallen into recession and had faced six straight deficits. Canada needed a change. Operating Engineers were there throughout the campaign and now have an opportunity to work with a new government to advance the interests of our members and their families. IUOE looks forward to working with the Liberal government and holding them accountable to their promises as they implement policies that benefit all working people in Canada. Among the guests invited to speak at the conference were two Members of Parliament running for re-election, Megan Leslie (NDP) and Roger Cuzner (Liberal), as well as Senator Larry Cowan, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, and Hassan Yussuff, the president of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). Leslie spoke to the Operating Engineers assembled in Halifax about the value of our work and contribution to Canadian infrastructure, and about the balance Canada needs to strike between jobs like ours and the environment. She was not re-elected on October 19th, despite being well respected by all parties for her work on the environment file. She was a casualty of the so-called ‘red wave’ which brought in a surprise Liberal majority. As a Liberal, Cuzner handily won his re-election in October. At the conference he spoke about the Conservatives’ anti-labour policies, like Bill C-377 and C-525, and how the Conservatives were trying to divide Canadians. He focused on how the Liberals would be more respectful of all Canadians and how they would work with the labour movement. At the top of their campaign agenda was repealing Bills C-377 and C-525. While in opposition, Mr. Cuzner had served as the Liberal parties Labour critic. Yussuff spoke about the need to defeat Stephen Harper and the Conservatives and reminded us of their attacks on Canadian labour rights and Canadian values. He touched on the “Better Choice” campaign which was the campaign the CLC was running up to and during the election. Yussuff also emphasized how mean spirited and divisive the Conservative Government had been to Canadians and how it would only get worse if they were reelected. On the final day, a resolution was unanimously adopted which said the IUOE in Canada would adopt an “ABC” campaign – Anyone But Conservative campaign—which meant the IUOE would support either NDP or Liberal candidates depending on which had the best chance to defeat a Conservative on a riding-by-riding basis. We were successful in that campaign. Though the political and other business discussion were serious and of utmost importance, the conference, as always, was a chance for union sisters and brothers to gather socially and reacquaint themselves. One particular highlight was an elaborate lobster dinner organized by our hosts at the famous Shore Club outside of Halifax. The host locals are to be congratulated for the wonderful conference they put together which was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended. 18 INTERNATIONAL OPERATING ENGINEER FALL 2015 19

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