Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - BC

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - BC

May 08, 2009 20:13 ET

CUPE BC: Liberals Alone, Unapologetic About Right-Wing Agenda

Response to CUPE questionnaire reveals governing party out of touch on key issues

BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 8, 2009) - Gordon Campbell's BC Liberals stand alone among the province's three political parties in supporting privatization and opposing a rise in the minimum wage or increased funding to deal with problems in education.

These are just a few of the results from an election issues questionnaire submitted to the Liberals, NDP and Green Party by the province's largest union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

CUPE asked the parties questions dealing with issues important to union members both in their workplace and in their communities. CUPE BC president Barry O'Neill says the responses offer few surprises but confirm that the Liberal Party stands alone in British Columbia on many important issues.

"The Liberals support privatization and they want information about it kept secret," says O'Neill.

"They want to keep the minimum wage at the lowest in Canada. They oppose increased funding to deal with the problems of education. They will not commit to a plan to reduce poverty. And they will not give an explicit commitment to free collective bargaining."

Among other responses from the parties, both the NDP and the Greens offered explicit support to free collective bargaining. The Liberals said, "We do not have any plans to revise the Labour Relations Code or the Employment Standards Act." On run-of-river projects, both the NDP and Greens called for a moratorium, while the Liberals did not.

Similarly, the NDP and Greens both opposed privatization of buildings and services in K-12 and post secondary education. The Liberals said that boards of education are in the best position to decide how to deliver local services. Finally, both the NDP and Greens supported a plan for poverty reduction while the Liberals would not commit to such a plan. Only the NDP supported raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour and linking it to inflation to help B.C.'s lowest paid workers.

"This is exactly the same Liberal agenda that is dividing the province into haves and have-nots, into people who are pals of the government and people who are not," said O'Neill.

Download full questionnaire and responses:

Contact Information

    Barry O'Neill
    (604) 340-6768
    Dan Gawthrop
    (604) 999-6132