Article Printed in December "The Guardian"
On November 2nd a forum on the Trans Pacific Partnership was held at the Ciocaro Club of Windsor, hosted by the Canadian Labour Congress and the Council of Canadians. Guest speakers Hassan Yussuff and Maude Barlow talked about the need for trade agreements to be fair to all jurisdictions that sign on to them and to the vast inappropriateness of signing deals that affect the Health and well-being of the Canadian people. They were joined at the podium by youth activist Jada Malott, an 11 year old that knows more about the Trans Pacific Partnership than probably the majority of Canadians. Jada spoke to the thousands of pages that contains the TPP and why public consultations did not take place before the Government started negotiating with the countries involved in its implementation. She also touched on the idea that today's youth are tomorrows constituents and that Governments should not only pay attention to what they are getting involved in but also listen to their needs for their futures.
The pressure put on the Liberal government, although intense at times, was only a part of why it looks that the TPP is finally dead. The U.S. Election also played a big part in it as both candidates that were running said they would veto it as soon as elected. This may sound like a blessing to us and it certainly is to the extent that the TPP is most likely over with at this point, however the greater concern is that the U.S. Is now in a position to negotiate and renegotiate other trade deals with Canada. U.S. President elect, Donald Trump has signaled that he wants to renegotiate NAFTA and has even gone as far as to say it doesn't serve U.S. interests. This is a scary proposition for Canadians and our jobs as NAFTA has always benefited the U.S. More than Canada. Using this logic, once the U.S. Renegotiated a deal that is better suited to 'their interests' it serves to say that it will be less likely to help Canadians in any way.
The war regarding trade agreements is heating up now that the election south of the border is over and we will need to watch very closely to see how things play out over the coming years. One thing is for certain, we will need to apply more political pressure than ever before on our governments so that they act in the best interest of Canadians and our communities.
Just a short time ago we were at Queen's Park in Toronto with thousands of Skilled Trades, Apprentices and employers to protest the dangerous amendments proposed by the Ontario Liberal Government in schedule 17 of Bill 70.
These amendments will impact more than 200,000 certified trades and professionals in Ontario who will see their training and certification become meaningless due to changes that will benefit business by allowing cheaper, unskilled labour to do complex and potentially dangerous work that was previously performed by skilled trades individuals.
The fact that this government is putting the safety of hundreds of thousands of tradespeople and those affected by the work they do on the back burner is raise for great concern.
We are calling upon the Liberal Government to repeal amendments under schedule 17 of Bill 70 immediately and to show that the protection of Ontarian's is a priority to them.
Ontario Regional Council
We have just completed our Ontario Regional Council and the results of the various elections for office are as follows.
Chairperson - Dino Chiodo, Vice Chairperson - Candace Lavalley, Treasurer Tullio DiPonti, Members at Large – Keri Jefford, Ken Cole, Tim McKinnon, Jim Reed, Pearl Almeida, Stephanie Haskell, Scotty McIimoyle and Debbie, Montgomery
All of our councils are inspiring and this one was no different. We had guest speakers who gave information on a broad range of topics from Chris Buckley –OFL President, Tareq Hadhad –Peace by Chocolate, Jamie Kirkpatrick – Blue Green Alliance, Nancy Peckford- Daughters of Vote, Victoria Maxwell – Mental Health Educator and a lot in between. It is always my honour to be able to Chair these councils and to see the activism that comes right from the shop floors from the representatives of the various local unions that participate. Currently the Ontario Regional Council represents over 180,000 Unifor members in hundreds of local unions across the Province. The Ontario Regional Council is where the representatives from the local unions debate the direction of the union within the boundaries of our Province; it is where we set the direction of how, as a region, we move forward.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.