Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

February 12, 2011 06:01 ET

Canadian Prime Minister Denounced by One Million Workers for Shameful Support of Egypt's Mubarak Regime

TORONTO, CANADA--(Marketwire - Feb. 12, 2011) - Today, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned amid a massive popular uprising for democratic reform and equal rights, making pressure from the international community for meaningful democratic reform more vital than ever. The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), which represents over one million worker in Canada's most populated province, today called on Canada's Members of Parliament to condemn the Harper government's shameful support for the Mubarak regime. The OFL also pledged support to the independent Egyptian trade unions whose members are taking action for democracy.

"Today's victory in Egypt is proof that people can topple a dictatorship, even without the support of Western leaders, like Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who chose to side with the hated Mubarak regime over the people of Egypt," said Sid Ryan, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour, Canada's largest labor federation. "The whole world is celebrating the start of a democratic revolution in Egypt. Canada must now use every diplomatic and economic tool at its disposal to ensure that democracy and justice are delivered to the people of Egypt."

Egypt has been ruled by a military dictatorship for 59 years and the people have demanded a true democracy in which they can freely elect their own government. Since the democratic revolution began 18 days ago, the Harper government has steadfastly refused to join the international call for the resignation of President Mubarak. In defiance of the will of the people, Harper supported a so-called transition plan that would have allowed Mubarak, or his designate, to retain brutal control for another eight months. This shameful position sought to bolster a regime known for oppression, torture and human rights abuses.

"The popular uprising of youth and workers in Liberation Square has been truly inspiring. We are witnessing the birth of free and independent trade unions, the cornerstone of any legitimate democracy," said Ryan. "Millions of Egyptian workers have defied the emergency laws and staged strikes and sit-ins throughout the country to send a message that never again will a privileged elite be allowed to run their country—be it a corporate elite, a military elite, or a religious elite."

"It is not enough that Mubarak has been deposed. There is now a very real danger that his regime will continue under one of his accomplices like Vice-President Omar Suleiman," said Ryan. "Canada has a responsibility to support the demand for a genuine civilian-run government and to ensure that no vestiges of the Mubarak regime are allowed to remain. Our international reputation–and our conscience–requires it."

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