Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says he couldn’t be prouder of the young workers who stood up for what they believed in and turned their backs on the Prime Minister at this morning’s Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) summit.
The youth involved included a number of members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union’s (OPSEU) Provincial Young Workers Committee, who expressed frustration over how the Prime Minister has failed to live up to the promises he made during the election campaign.
“News reports of young activists heckling the Prime Minister come as music to my ears,” said Thomas. “The federal and provincial governments continue to let our youth down, and to show little regard for the challenges facing our young people, who continue to experience double-digit unemployment.
“Instead of support from the federal cabinet, we have a Finance Minister who is telling them to ‘get used to job churn.’ Then again, it’s not surprising that he just shrugs it off. Somehow I doubt that [federal Finance Minister] Bill Morneau ever in his life had to face the struggle to find decent work that is the reality for those not born into privilege.”
Reacting to reports of criticism of the youth by CLC President Hassan Yussuff, Thomas pointed out that the CLC should have known what they were in for.
“After the kind of callous disregard shown for youth by this Prime Minister and his Finance Minister, how can the CLC invite him to speak and then be surprised when the young workers in the room voice their outrage? I certainly wouldn’t cheer for a hypocrite who seems to find a new promise to break each day he’s in power.
“I salute the young activists who are standing up for what they believe, both in and out of the labour movement. The time to fight back is here. You deserve better – I’m with you one hundred per cent.”
For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931