No fruit for labour

British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union president George Heyman says the Campbell administration's climate action cabinet committee hasn't yet met with any representatives from the labour movement - this, despite having already heard at least "177 presentations from scientists, public servants, environmental organizations, academics and industry sectors." In an interview with Public Eye, Mr. Heyman compained, "I have to ask myself are (the Liberals) so ideologicaly blind" that they won't include unions in its discussions on global warming?

"The reality is there are going to be choices that have to be made," he continued. "There are going to be environmental impacts. There are effects on community sectors and industries. And the labour movement has a clear position saying that we have to tackle climate change. We understand there's going to be changes. We would like to be able to contribute in a positive way. But would also be able to represent working people and ensure when there are impacts - and there's going to be some hard choices to be made - that they are equitable and that transitions measures are taken into consideration for both communities and working people. And the premier seems to think that other people can take care of that for us. We don't think so obviously."

Mr. Heyman said he - along with British Columbia Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair - raised those concerns with climate action secretariat head Graham Whitmarsh during last week's Take the Lead BC conference. But, according to the government employees union president, Mr. Whitmarsh "didn't have a satisfactory answer" as to why union representatives didn't have a seat at the climate action table.

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