2016 BC Federation of Labour Convention – Day 5

December 2, 2016

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
On the final day of the 2016 BC Fed convention, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and his wife Joan addressed delegates. The spoke about the failures of the Christy Clark government for First Nations communities as well as the labour movement.  Mrs. Phillip said, “this government has been at war with unions, with children, and with us.”  She urged the labour movement and First Nations communities to join together and “market ourselves as those who are going to bring not just change, but economic stability and prosperity to B.C.”

Chief Phillip called for the labour movement and First Nations to work together in solidarity and unity to do better. He said that in terms of the relationship between indigenous people and organized labour, “if better is possible, good is not good enough. We can have a closer and stronger relationship.”

He gave a strong call to change the government and fight the policies and projects of the current provincial government that are hurting people and our environment. He asked the labour movement to help in this, saying “our people are absolutely determined to remove this government.”

The remainder of Friday was devoted to debating and voting on the remaining resolutions put forward to the BC Federation of Labour.
A wide-ranging number of resolutions were discussed, many with MoveUP delegates adding their voices and sharing their stories. Some of the topics discussed included the BC Federation of Labour’s role in:

  • Supporting and promoting Sanctuary City’s principles
  • Continued advocacy on Trans rights at work
  • Lobbying to fund child development centres
  • Pushing for increased interpretive services in workplaces
  • Establishing and independent officer for people with disabilities
  • Working with and supporting Black Lives Matter
  • Pushing enforcement of trades qualification certification
  • Demanding fixed apprenticeship to journeyperson rations for all apprenticeships
  • Undertaking a comprehensive campaign that advocates for the use of a project development agreement that ensure site C builders are represented by legitimate unions
  •  Advocating that Site C contractors maximize apprenticeship training opportunities and engage local businesses and suppliers to their fullest capacity in the provision of the services to the project
  • Calling on the government to adequately restore public education funding and stop using public funding for private and independent K-12 schools
  • Pushing for interest-free student loans, and free tuition for first year university students
  • Establishing a union education centre
  • Demanding the government address the lack of affordable housing, create a housing strategy, and increase access to funding for safe and affordable housing
  • Strongly continuing to oppose Bill C-27 and defend secure pensions by taking all actions necessary
  • Demanding the government immediately fund and implement a comprehensive response to the opiate overdose crisis
  • Pushing for the expansion of EI benefits

*photo credit Josh Berson