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If you have the sentiment that the country is headed in the wrong direction, you are absolutely right.
Like me, you are probably wondering what happened to building a society based on fairness, solidarity and equality for all Canadians.
Well, let's be clear. The Conservative government has been acting against these principles during its too many years in office. The protection of the environment has become less important, the rights of working people and of vulnerable communities have come under attack, and Stephen Harper is building a Canada that is devoid of compassion and solidarity.
With the setbacks of these past years, it is easy for us to lose sight of the ideas that can move our society forward, not backwards. But as it goes for all things, we must remember that we are not alone. The lesson is as old as organizing goes. Working in isolation is a sure way to let your opponents gain ground. Every so often, when we are confronted with a real threat, we acknowledge that it is time to get out of our usual comfortable place and reach out to our allies, long-standing or brand new.
Over the past few months, we at the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) have been working together with some of our longtime allies as well as new partners. Coming from many different sectors and perspectives, we have acknowledged that defending some of our core principles such as democracy and justice is more pressing now than it has been for years. We have acknowledged that only together will we be able to stand up for the rights of all Canadians.
Together we have united under the banner of Common Causes, a new assembly for those of us who believe that it is still possible (and necessary!) to build strong social and equitable foundations for our society.
Next week, we will be flexing our muscle across the country. On Monday, January 28, along with some of our coalition partners, we will launch what we have come to call Common Causes: a gathering of those who feel we have lost ground and need to get it back.
In Ottawa, we will march in support of the Idle No More global day of action and join our Indigenous brothers and sisters in their demands for respect and dignity for all of Canada's First Nations communities. Other actions will be held in other communities such as Nanaimo, Sechelt, Vancouver, Kelowna, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Toronto, Guelph, London, Montreal, Halifax, Charlottetown, and Saint John. If you find yourself in one of these cities, I strongly encourage you to break down the walls that may have been created between members of your community and to join others in this action.
What we have to do is clear: show in every way that we can that we support a world where everyone is allowed to live a better life and we are ready to fight for it. By doing so, we will defeat Stephen Harper.
It wasn't that long ago that our friend and leader, the late Jack Layton, reached out to Canadians and put forward a vision for our country where we can all look after each other and where no one is left behind.
Our friend Jack made it very clear: "Don't let them tell you it can't be done." On Monday, let's show them who's in charge and who's ready to defend the rights and well-being of each and every one of us.
Dave Coles is the National President of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP).
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