BC FORUM News - From The Advocate, Spring, 2020
Standing proud, standing together
By Diane Wood
President, BC FORUM
It’s now 25 years since Ken Georgetti and the leaders of BC’s labour movement came together to create BC FORUM. A quarter century! And what a time it has been. We have faced challenges. Governments have threatened pensions, torn up contracts, imposed unfair taxes and privatized vital public services.
We have lost champions. Among them are Bill Clark, Jack Nichol, Joy Langan and Gerry Edwards who all served with distinction as president of our organization.
Through thick and thin we have moved forward. We continue our campaigns for a more civil society. We build on the best that’s gone before.
Over 25 years, we have worked with our allies to make life better for older workers, retirees and our families. Our campaigns have forced progress on improvements to the Canada Pension Plan. Our calls for the creation of a BC Seniors’ Advocate were heard. The momentum for a public Pharmacare program continues to build. And we have built the largest, most comprehensive union retiree benefits program in BC.
Thanks to you and all the members who support BC FORUM’s work, I am confident that the best is yet to come.
The labour movement and organizations like ours have a vital role to play in today’s world. Inequality continues to grow, with more wealth and more power relentlessly concentrated in the hands of the few. In many nations they already own the government and the media, and manipulate both to their own benefit. To put that in other words, ordinary people are under attack.
South of our border, an out of control president has handed billions in tax giveaways to large corporations and the wealthy, while simultaneously proposing to cut health care coverage for the most vulnerable.
His ranting tweets are devoted to “me, myself and I,” attacks on democratic institutions, and inappropriate attempts to defend cronies who have been found guilty of breaking the law.
Such is the power of American media – much of it owned by billionaires – that his insults, innuendo and repeated lies have infected political discourse around the world.
There is little restraint. Anger is in full flow. The lines are drawn harder and harder. With the growing intransigence, those who attempt to find common ground for progress through civilized discourse are too often dismissed as sell-outs. Surrounded by name calling, people are fighting fire with fire.
This, I believe, is why we can all be proud to be part of Canada’s labour movement. We are sisters and brothers. We care for each other. We do our best to be respectful of differing opinions, remembering that we are all part of the family.
It’s a model the world would do well to emulate.
Again, I thank you for being part of BC FORUM.
With solidarity and respect, we shall continue our struggle for a more civil, equitable and inclusive society.
“What we desire for ourselves, we wish for all. To this end, may we take our share in the world’s work and the world’s struggles,” said J.S. Woodsworth.
In that spirit, we shall stand proud. We shall stand together.