National Union statement of solidarity with the Atlantic Provinces

September 25 2022

NUPGE is horrified by the damage by tropical storm Fiona and pledge solidarity and support. It is also thanking first responders and NUPGE members (NAPE, NBU, NSGEU, PEIUPSE) for stepping forward to assist. And it calls on the federal government to commit to helping the people of the Atlantic provinces rebuild.

Ottawa (25 Sep 2022) – The past few days have been devastating for the people of the Atlantic provinces with all indications being that there will be further difficulties in the days ahead. On behalf of the 400,000 members of the National Union of Public and General Employees, Secretary-Treasurer Jason MacLean and I want to extend our deepest concern for all who have suffered loss and damage as a result of the storm.

We are both residents of the Atlantic Provinces. I have lived my whole life in Newfoundland and Labrador. Jason is a proud Cape Bretoner. We know the resiliency and pride of the people of our home communities. These are people who have worked hard for everything they have. Many have sometimes struggled to make ends meet and provide for their families. Seeing so much destroyed in such a short period of time must be incredibly painful. 

As leaders of a national union, we know the deep sense of solidarity all our members have for each other. The bond that people from all provinces feel for our comrades in the Atlantic provinces. We know that they want us to assist their counterparts in the East in any way we can. As our Atlantic Components did when the people in other parts of the country, and around the world, also faced catastrophe. 

It is important to take note of all those whose job it is to respond to a catastrophe such as this. People who have chosen careers to defend and support their communities. Whether it is paramedics, highway maintenance workers, hydro crews, hospital workers, police, firefighters and so many other workers – all of us owe you an immense debt of gratitude right now.

Jason and I are proud and honoured to represent a union that has members who will rush to provide aid, comfort and support to others in times of crisis.

We have been in touch with the presidents of our Atlantic Component unions over the past few days. First to ensure their safety and then to provide what emotional support we can. Soon we will turn to discussing how we, as a national union, can provide support. 

Our first action though, is to call on the federal government to immediately step forward and commit to helping the people of the Atlantic provinces rebuild. And not just return to what was but to build back better. 

In solidarity

Bert Blundon