in Montreal on February 6th and 7th, 2015 to attend the Second COPE
SEPB Mid-Term Conference with the theme “Ten Years Later; Solidarity Works”. Each delegate received the COPE SEPB 10th Anniversary
book entitled COPE SEPB Born in
the USA – The Story of our Canadian Union, from its creation
in June of 2004 up to now. The writer, Philippe Bélisle, skillfully
tells the story of the creation of our autonomous Canadian union.
Prominent speakers took part in the celebration. Our first guest
speaker, FTQ Secretary General and founding member of our National
Union Serge Cadieux told the delegates about the importance of
strategic voting to oust the conservatives from power in the
upcoming federal election.
Our second guest speaker Alexandre Boulerice, NDP MP for
Rosemont-Petite-Patrie, called for mobilization of the middle class
in the upcoming election battle.
Barbara Byers Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) Secretary-Treasurer
and friend of COPE SEPB also addressed the conference. She talked
about her personal experience that led to her being elected at the
CLC. She hopes her story inspires her Sisters of the labour
movement to persevere.
Our last guest speaker, Dr. Dawn Harvard, Vice President of the
Native Women Association of Canada, gave an emotional speech about
the life of native women in Canada, particularly the missing and
murdered aboriginal women.
Delegates also broke out into workshops to discuss on the following
- The role of the labour movement in the next federal election;
- The tools equity groups need to take their rightful place on
the political scene and make their voices heard;
All in all this Mid-Term Conference was well-received as it was
rich in content and discussion. It offered an historical overview
of our ten-year existence and an opportunity to reaffirm our
commitment to achieving equity for all. As our National President
Simon Berlin put it “2015 is the year we show the world not that
Stephen Harper has to go, but that Stephen Harper has gone.” Let’s
work together to get this done.