AFL President Gil McGowan kicks off Convention 2019: Calls on delegates to learn from our past as we prepare for what lies ahead

If any labour movement is prepared for what lies before us, it is our labour movement

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Over the next few weeks and months, the labour movement will face aggressive legislative attacks on workers’ rights, including the right to organize, the right to bargain and even the basic right to speak out and advocate on behalf of working people who we represent.

The Alberta labour movement is going to need all of the creativity and passion and solidarity that we can muster, but if any labour movement is prepared for what lies before us, it’s us, it is our labour movement.

“I think it’s important for us to spend at least a little time reminding ourselves of who we are as a labour movement,” said AFL President Gil McGowan. “We need to remember our accomplishments and victories, and to look back on our past to draw lessons and find inspiration that will strengthen us and give us hope and direction in the battles that lie ahead.”

President McGowan concluded with a strong call to action to convention delegates:

“… at this convention… we’re sending a message to the new government and putting the new premier on notice.

We won’t sit idly by while they lie to working people and attempt to exploit their fears and anxieties for political gain.

We won’t sit idly by while they underfund our vital public services and open the door to American-style health care.

We won’t sit idly by while they go after our pensions.

We won’t sit idly by while they suppress wages and the worker bargaining power that is necessary for a healthy middle class.

We won’t sit idly by while they give unnecessary and irresponsible breaks to corporations, creating deficits that will lead to mass lay-offs and massive service cuts.

We won’t sit idly by while they use the smokescreen of “red tape reduction” to gut the rules that protect consumers, workers and the environment.

We won’t sit idly by while they ignore the real challenges facing our oil and gas economy, and refuse to prepare our economy for the change that is so clearly coming our way.

And finally, we won’t sit idly by while they try to undermine the ability of working people to organize and advocate on the political stage.

With that let’s start the work of this convention … the work that will help prepare us for the fights that lie ahead of us!

And let’s show Premier Kenney that he’s picking a fight with the wrong labour movement!”