The 2014 Canadian Building Trades Conference in Ottawa from May 5-7 was a great success from the BC Insulators perspective – an opportunity to meet with building trades union members from across the country and connect with politicians from all parties.
BC Insulators President Lee Loftus and Vice President Neil Munro say the Conference was productive, as there was a lobbying component both on Parliament Hill and at a reception at the Museum of History.
Connecting with federal representatives is very important in order to get our union’s interests put on the national agenda.
Brothers Loftus and Munro had a lengthy meeting with Kennedy Stewart, the New Democratic Party Member of Parliament for North Burnaby to discuss proper allocation of Jobs Grant monies, using public infrastructure projects to promote apprenticeship training, limit and tax the underground economy, and move ahead with Energy projects to create employment.
We also encouraged MP Stewart to reconsider his blanket anti-Kinder Morgan stand. Our union suggested respectfully that rather than stating the “not in my backyard” approach, we believe it would be better to engage in discussion around a just transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy while protecting jobs and our economy – and not just say “not here”.
The conference itself had some interesting political speakers, including New Brunswick Premier David Alward, US Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman, federal Conservative Employment Minister Jason Kenney, , NDP Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair, federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, NDP MPs Alexander Boulerice and Pat Martin and many other key politicians.
CBC TV’s The National commentator Rex Murphy was the keynote speaker and was hilarious and insightful. The pundit and also host of CBC Radio’s Cross Country Checkup is a true story teller.
Industry speakers talked about the immense amount of maintenance work at Syncrude. The huge Hebron GBS project was featured with an incredible time lapse film that showed the construction of the massive drilling platform. The Lower Churchill Dam was also presented, an enormous dam being built in Labrador. The scale of these projects is really impressive.
This conference was helpful to build relationships with other trades and our own while meeting delegates from across the country.