From June 23 to 26, 2011, PSAC Atlantic members converged in St. John’s, NL, for the 5th Triennial Atlantic Regional Convention was held. With 278 delegates, 55 observers and 16 guests in attendance, it was the Atlantic’s largest convention yet.
Delegates voted on resolutions that will give direction to the region or go to the National Convention. Jeannie Baldwin was re-elected as the Regional Executive Vice-President, with Brian Oldford as her Alternate. 18 Regional Directors were also elected to the Atlantic Council.
Organized around the theme “Our Solidarity, Our Strength,” the gathering also sought to focus and mobilize the power of members on the heels of a foreboding federal budget announcement. The federal budget that was tabled by the Harper Conservatives aims to reduce the deficit on the backs of hard working Canadians by slashing quality public services.
“The Harper government is moving forward with $4 billion in cuts to public services,” Jeannie Baldwin, Regional Executive Vice-President said in her address. “From Signal Hill to Parliament Hill, we will fight back, uphold our rights and defend quality public services.”
The Convention was also addressed by PSAC National President John Gordon and best-selling author and journalist Linda McQuaig. Both speakers discussed our role in this current economic and political context. Now, more than ever, we must build our power and make our voices heard.
The delegation took part in a massive, harbour-front rally to fight the closure of the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre in St. John’s. PSAC members believe that in cutting this service, the government is acting in disregard of public will, public good and public safety. PSAC represents the 12 affected workers at the Sub-Centre who are responsible for 900,000 square kilometres of ocean and 28,956 kilometres of coastline in Newfoundlandand Labrador. The centre also deals with the most distress incidents in the country. The Unionis front and centre in the fight to support this service and the people who provide it.
The Organizing Committee raised funds for Shannen’s Dream. Its goal is to ensure that the Government of Canada meets its obligations to First Nations children and youth by providing culturally-based and equitable education and proper schools. A wall of the Convention hall was used to construct a First Nations’ school. Bricks were sold for $25.00 and name of the contributing body was written on the brick and added to build the wall. $7820 was raised.
Members of the Host Committee went out of their way to give delegates a taste of how Newfoundlander and Labradorians like to have fun. We scuffed and scoffed. We sang and danced. We ranted and roared. We even kissed salt cod and downed Screech.
The Convention issued in the beginning of a new cycle in the Atlantic, and with almost 20,000 in our ranks, we are prepared for the fight ahead.