Delegates to Unifor’s recent Ontario Council meeting unanimously supported a call to develop a national energy and environmental strategy for Canada, to ensure that our energy resources are developed in a way that maximizes environmental sustainability and the creation of good, stable jobs in Canada. The recommendation outlines several principles for a progressive energy and environmental strategy for Canada, including the need to manage future energy expansion in line with clear and binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions; requirements for made-in-Canada upgrading and refining, and greater use of Canadian-made inputs and services; and the completion of a Canada-wide energy grid.
The recommendation calls on government to begin a national dialogue, engaging all stakeholders: workers, business, environmental NGOs, First Nations, and federal and provincial governments. It also endorsed the Unifor National Executive Board’s call for a moratorium on unconventional fracking, until environmental and First Nations concerns associated with that new technology have been fully addressed.
The goal of developing a national energy and environmental strategy will be taken up by Unifor’s new Energy Council, to be constituted in coming months by delegates from all energy-related locals in the union. Unifor hopes to present its strategy to Canada’s premiers next year.
Participants in the floor debate over the recommendation included Lana Payne (Unifor Atlantic Director), Scott Doherty (Unifor Western Director), and Unifor National Executive member Angela Adams (Secretary-Treasurer of Unifor Local 707A in Fort McMurray), all of whom attended the Ontario Council as observers and supported the recommendation. That input demonstrated Unifor’s ability to pull together working people from all sectors, in all regions of Canada.
Ontario Regional Director Katha Fortier heralded the recommendation as an example of the careful, consensus-building approach to energy and environmental issues that will be needed in order to win the reforms we need. “Unifor represents members in all parts of Canada, and virtually all sectors of our economy. We are passionate environmentalists, and we are determined to defend our jobs and widely manage our resources. In that way, Unifor is like a microcosm of Canada. We can show how to develop a progressive, sustainable strategy for managing our resources sustainably and fairly.”