Social Justice and Democracy

Statement by Bea Bruske: Conservatives stand against workers

February 7, 2024

OTTAWA—Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, released the following statement:

Canadians are witnessing Conservative decision-makers wreak havoc. Rather than addressing the pressing crises of health care, affordability, and climate change, Conservatives across the country are indulging in political games. And who loses? Working-class families.

A year after a landmark health care agreement between the federal government and provinces and territories, Conservative premiers have failed to act and failed to care. Canada’s unions are hearing from health care workers who are under pressure to work harder and faster, facing dangerously high patient-to-care worker ratios.

These workers deserve support and action to strengthen our public health care system and better retain and recruit health care staff—but Conservatives won’t be the ones to deliver. Conservative premiers are actively pursuing the privatization of our public health care system, and Pierre Poilievre was a cabinet minister in a Conservative government that drastically cut health care.

Meanwhile, hard-earned paycheques are being swallowed by the sky-high price of groceries and other necessities. Workers need a helping hand so they can build a good life but instead, we get cuts for everyday people and a gravy train for corporate giants—such as the Ford government’s handouts to big business while slashing public services. Danielle Smith wants to throw hard-working people under the bus by dismantling the Canada Pension Plan, while Mr. Poilievre opposes a universal public pharmacare plan that would put more money in workers’ wallets.

At the same time, Canadians are grappling with the very real impacts of the climate crisis, but Conservative leaders don’t have a serious plan for working people and our communities. How much did Danielle Smith’s seven-month moratorium on renewable energy set back Albertan workers? And Poilievre’s Conservatives are trying to block pro-worker legislation, jeopardizing jobs and opportunities in a sustainable economy.

With so many real and urgent issues on the agenda, Canada’s unions oppose Conservative efforts to stoke a culture war by attacking trans kids and adults rather than offer real solutions, as we’ve seen Blaine Higgs, Scott Moe, and now Danielle Smith do. The playbook is familiar: shirk responsibility for making life harder for working people, stoke fear about a scapegoat, and then ride the fear train for power and personal gain.

Make no mistake, Conservatives stand against workers. Canada’s unions will defend working people and their families against Conservative games at all costs. We will fight for sustainable jobs, we will fight to make life more affordable, we will fight for our public health care system—and we will fiercely oppose attacks on vulnerable Canadians.

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