Premiers gather in Manitoba for Council of the Federation

"The creation of this institutional capacity is a prerequisite to the kind of provincial collaboration and leadership that Canadians need," Climate Action Network executive director Graham Saul said in a statement.


Winnipeg (August 5, 2010) - Labour and environmental groups will jockey to get the attention of Canada's provincial and territorial leaders today as the leaders gather in Winnipeg to discuss issues ranging from the ongoing economic recovery to protection of the nation's water resources.

The National Union is a member of Climate Action Network-Canada (CAN-Can). This broad network of non-governmental organizations is calling on the provinces to take a bigger leadership role to reduce emissions and promote wider use of clean energy, including the creation of "a provincial-territorial climate action secretariat" to foster inter-provincial collaboration on climate change.

A challenging discussion is expected with Premier Stelmach championing the tar sands in discussions at the Council of the Federation meetings. “I will ensure my colleagues across Canada understand that Alberta’s oil sands contribute to Canada’s GDP, create jobs in other provinces and provide a secure source of energy for North America,” Stelmach stated.

“While oil may run your car, it shouldn’t run your government. Canada is not a petro-state and Big Oil should not be calling the shots and governments should not be ignoring the environmental destruction of the toxic tar sands,” said Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Melina Laboucan-Massimo, from the action.

“Until both the federal and Alberta governments stand up to the oil industry, greenhouse gas emissions will continue to increase, more animals will die, more residents will be poisoned by the air they breathe and the water they drink, and more treaty rights will be violated in favour of profits in the senseless quest to squeeze every last drop of dirty oil from this province.”

Demonstrations Planned

Gaile Whelan-Enns, director of Manitoba Wildlands, said a number of rallies are planned at the Hotel Fort Garry where the premiers meet until Friday afternoon. One is a rally sponsored by the Manitoba Federation of Labour, Canadian Labour Congress and other groups to push for changes to Canada's public pension system.

"It is key that the premiers hear our message and commit to taking effective action to convince the Harper Conservatives that this is the right thing to do and the right time to do it is now," MFL president Kevin Rebeck said.

Also Wednesday, a coalition of poverty activists asked the country's premiers to ramp up the fight to eradicate poverty in Canada. Representatives from business and community groups across Canada, as well as provincial and federal politicians, came together for a roundtable in Winnipeg to discuss a strategy to eradicate poverty.

They will giver the premiers a draft of their comprehensive anti-poverty strategy, asking the premiers to create a working group on poverty reduction, which will report back at the council's meeting next year, and to pressure the federal government to do their part to reduce poverty in Canada, said Sid Frankel, roundtable organizer.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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The Council of the Federation is made up of Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories. The Council promotes inter-provincial territorial cooperation, meaningful relations between governments based on respect for the Constitution, and shows leadership on issues important to all Canadians.



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