Public employees speak out in the face of cuts to essential jobs.
by Samantha Bayard, Straight Goods News staff
OTTAWA, ON, March 5, 2012: The federal government is promising to make reckless cuts to public services Canadians rely on. The Conservative austerity plan will have a devastating impact on families and communities across Canada. These cuts will hurt, not help, our economy. They could lead to the loss of up to 100,000 public and private sector jobs. It's absurd to force Canadians to choose between a strong economy and strong public services — we need both. That's why thousands of workers across the country stood together to demand better.
March 1st was the Public Service Alliance of Canada's National Day of Action. In Ottawa, a large rally gathered outside L'Esplanade Laurier in the fierce blowing snow.
"According to this government, the Canadian labour movement has lost its relevance and public support. This is obviously not the case," said Shannon Bittman, Vice-President, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC).
"It is almost certain that this government will try to balance its books on the backs of public servants. Public services matter to Canadians," she added.
Interim NDP Leader Nycole Turmel showed opposition support for the cause.
"The New Democrats are there for you. That's what we are about. And that's the message we have to send to this government. They are not representing Canadians. Don't give up the fight," said Turmel.
A strong message was loud and clear. "Destroying public services is destroying Canada," said Larry Rousseau, Regional Executive Vice-President: National Capital Region Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).
Ottawa's was just one of many rallies against cuts to the public service held by the PSAC across the country.
"My sisters and brothers from coast to coast to coast, from Halifax to Vancouver to Nunavut — all public employees are standing together at all levels whether it is federal, provincial or municipal. We stand for public services," said Rousseau.