BC Fed 2014 Convention Diary – Day One

November 25, 2014

We asked Stephanie Smith, co-chair of MoveUP’s Youth Action Committee, to contribute to a convention diary. Here are Stephanie’s thoughts and impressions of the first day of the 2014 BC Federation of Labour convention.

As this is my second time at convention, I found myself not as nervous as the first time, but just as excited! We have a strong young workers delegation attending the convention this year, and I’m trying to take an active role in mentoring them and leading them through convention.

8:00 a.m. – Meet up with the MoveUP young workers and walk together down to the BC Fed at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Young worker Lilia lead the way, which was super helpful as I’m from the West Kootenays and I don’t know my way in downtown Vancouver–so much for me helping them!

8:30 a.m. – Registration for convention. Wow, what a turn out! The line for registration was so massive I actually had to leave the line to attend a meeting!

9:00 a.m. – Balloting Committee meeting. This is my second time being on the Balloting Committee at the BC Fed Conventions. Apparently my past experience wasn’t going to do me any good. Past MoveUP President Andy Ross, who is chair of the elections, said they’re changing it up this year! That’s good. It keeps things fresh and always improving.

10:15 a.m. – Registration for convention – Part 2. This time the line was much more manageable: as in there wasn’t one. I was able to get my credentials, say hi to some familiar faces, and go help set up our COPE tables on the convention floor. While the tables are already set up, we like to make them our own with our COPE table tags and balloons so other unions know who we are. (We later had to take the balloons down, but they looked great while they were up!)

11:00 a.m. – Convention starts. For the first little bit I was helping set up some of our young workers as mic muffins (folks who sit in line at a mic so that MoveUP can speak to a certain topic when it arises). It was a new experience for them, and me! We had a minor hiccup, but boy did they do us proud! Way to go team, and thank you for muffin’ing!

Jim Sinclair gave his final welcoming speech. He touched on major topics ranging from health care and education, to temporary foreign workers, the BC Fed’s role in society, and politics. His speech was enlightening in some topics, and reaffirming many others. The reception he received at the end of his welcome spoke volumes to the respect and thanks the labour movement has for him.

Tom Mulcair spoke in the afternoon, and while I always look forward to hear him speak, I always find myself quite sober after it. He always brings to light facts about the current government that don’t sit well, like clawing back medical funding to provinces, anti-union bills, and not delivering on the promises of childcare. We need to wake up, and we need to act now. We have an election happening next year, we can’t wait to ready ourselves. The work starts here.

The rest of the afternoon was filled up with committee reports (Political Action and Women’s Rights) and resolutions. I was proud to see multiple members of MoveUP taking part in the discussion!

5:00 p.m. – Volunteering for the Hockin/Ekman Campaign. We all have to do our part! It was an honour to go and volunteer for Amber Hockin and Aaron Ekman in their respective runs for President and Secretary-Treasurer in this year’s leadership race. The great thing about volunteering on this type of campaign within the House of Labour is that everyone’s pretty friendly, even if they’re not in agreement with your stance.

Day 1 – Done!