The Revenue Canada office with its face-to-face service is gone. Parks Canada jobs at SS Klondike and Dredge No. 4 have been transferred to the private sector. We’ve endured cuts to warden patrols and search and rescue operations in Kluane National Park and contemptuous disregard for 250,000 irreplaceable historical and archeological objects with cuts to both staff and the budget of Klondike National Historic Sites.
It is definitely hard to stomach and many honourable people and stakeholders who spent countless hours on rescue efforts feel badly betrayed by an MP who misled, rather than led them.
On the positive side, organizations and citizens worked well together as a powerful force. New friendships and alliances were forged and these will serve us well in our next inevitable encounter with the Harper government.
The lack of real representation was also brought into much sharper focus. The combination of a territorial government, the Yukon Party, with its close ties to the federal Conservatives and our Conservative MP Ryan Leef whose allegiance is to Ottawa and the Harper government, makes it much more difficult for us to win our collective goals: more difficult, but by no means impossible.
I propose that we go into election mode now and prepare for 2015. Candidates should declare themselves as soon as possible because Ottawa is not finished.
Last year’s cuts to public services and employees will combine with new ones that will be announced (or rather, hidden) in the March 21 federal budget. Fuelling it all is the blatant manoeuvre to privatize everything. That is why it is so important to remember that public services do not exist without the people to deliver them.
Health-care workers know a lot about this. They have always been the bellwethers of patient care. When nurses, cleaners and other health-care workers are cut, patients suffer, infection rates rise, and so on. Undoubtedly, we all understand this relationship and can appreciate the fact that when human beings are axed from the equation, so are the services they provide. What remains for the public is always less.
Finally, remember that we can achieve change. Unions know this because we have always had to fight for change in tough times and yet we’ve won many gains like maternity leave, unemployment insurance, old age security and much more. We recently won a landmark court decision that states employers have an obligation to try to provide accommodation for an employee’s child-care needs. This will eventually flow out to other jurisdictions so that all workers, union and non-union, and all families with children benefit from it.
Change is possible.
Be certain of it. Let’s organize together and broadly and we will be successful in what we set out to do.
Public Service Alliance of Canada