CEP rally ‘extremely positive’: Bedard

Communications, Energy and Paperworkers members celebrated a National Day of Action for the forest crisis Monday, seeing thousands attend rallies across Canada.
The same held true for the one held at the government buildings in Dryden, which attracted more than 200 people, including just under 20 local CEP reps—one of whom was Allan T. Bedard, recording secretary for CEP Local 92.
Bedard said late Monday during a press conference here that the rally was “extremely positive,” and was impressed with the diverse group of people who had gathered in Dryden—ranging from community leaders, salary and union workers, and concerned citizens.
“With that kind of support, the politicians have to deal with it,” he remarked, adding he’d never seen anything like it in his 33 years as a CEP member.
Bedard noted several pulpwood haulers blocked off the Trans-Canada for about five minutes Monday morning while the CEP members rallied there.
Several speakers, including municipal mayors, CEP union reps, and candidates in the upcoming federal election, spoke on the ongoing crisis in the forestry sector at Monday’s rally.
At the Dryden rally, as well as at those elsewhere in the country, the federal candidates were asked to state their positions on the forest-sector crisis. These questions included:
•What is your proposed solution to the crisis in Canada’s forestry communities?;
•Would you tie any government aid packages for the industry to creating and saving jobs?; and
•Would you agree to a national summit with unions, industry, and governments to develop a national renewal strategy?
Bedard noted Conservative candidate Bill Brown and NDP candidate Susan Barclay, who are running in the Kenora riding, were at Monday’s rally and answered the three questions.
According to Bedard, both promised to work towards a solution to the crisis of Canada’s forestry communities by calling all affected stakeholders together to reach a consensus, build on that consensus, and support a national summit with unions, industry, and government to develop a national renewal strategy.
Candidates from the Liberal, Green, and Marijuana parties did not attend the Dryden rally.
From reports he’s heard coming in from across the country, Bedard said the overall National Day of Action achieved its goal of rallying support to find a solution for the forestry crisis.
“These rallies were a complete success from coast to coast, and clearly show the importance placed on our most important natural resource and crisis created in communities due to the heavy loss of jobs,” he noted.
“The rippling effect is very devastating and has pulled community leaders together in a common cause to find solutions to this very serious crisis,” he added.