This election, choose a government that supports workers

Statement from PSAC National President Chris Aylward on the 2021 federal election

A federal election has been called. On Monday, September 20, Canadians will have the opportunity to choose our country’s path forward after the pandemic.

Will you pledge your vote for candidates who will support workers?

The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on workers over the past 18 months. Millions of Canadians lost their jobs. Thousands more contracted COVID-19 because they had no other choice but to continue going into work. Many struggled when schools and child care centres closed. 

The impact has been devastating, but it hasn’t been felt equally. We’ve seen how the pandemic has widened the gap between the haves and the have nots. How marginalized communities in Canada experienced disproportionately higher job losses, financial uncertainty and hospitalizations.  

We, and millions of other Canadians, have seen the importance of strong and effective public services in closing that divide. Whether it is a resilient health care system or the capacity to rapidly respond and support Canadians during a crisis like COVID-19. 

That’s why we need to build a Canada that leaves no one behind. As union members, we have a responsibility to elect a government that will continue supporting workers — and all Canadians — through our recovery.

But Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives aren’t the right choice to see us through the challenges that lie ahead. Throughout the pandemic, as others pushed forward new programs to support workers, O'Toole offered only criticism. And late last year, during a deadly second wave that overwhelmed hospitals and led to lockdowns, O’Toole claimed Canadians were better off without the Canada Emergency Response Benefit – a vital lifeline to millions of Canadians.

It’s hardly surprising. During the Stephen Harper years, which O’Toole served under, workers were disregarded and undermined. Conservatives slashed tens of thousands of jobs across the country, weakened employment insurance and cut vital public services Canadians depend on. They passed bills that attacked the rights of workers — which O’Toole voted for at the time.

We’ve seen Conservative governments in Ontario, Alberta, and Manitoba attack public service workers, often teachers and nurses, on the front line of the pandemic. We have no reason to believe an O’Toole government would be any different.

Electing a Conservative government would be a step backwards at a time when Canada needs to push forward.

Over the coming days and weeks, PSAC encourages you to learn more about the critical issues at stake this election. Ask the tough questions of candidates in your region, and most importantly exercise your right to vote on election day.

I also invite you to join me in pledging your support to candidates who are committed to a just recovery and brighter future for workers — and all Canadians.

August 15, 2021