Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) say in the aftermath of the Oct. 21 federal election they welcome the continuity that the re-election of the federal Liberal government represents in such priority areas as infrastructure spending and skills training.
CBTU director Arlene Dunn sent a letter to the organization’s stakeholder members first thing Oct. 22 outlining five priorities for the CBTU.
“We need to maintain focus on our priorities and that’s building Canada with skilled, unionized tradespeople from coast to coast,” Dunn wrote.
Responding to questions, Dunn said in a written statement, “We see this as an opportunity to hit a restart button, particularly on energy projects, to support and encourage our federal leaders to work alongside provincial governments, contractors, owners and Indigenous partners across Canada to get energy projects moving — built safely, efficiently, responsibly and respectful of best practices around environmental stewardship.”
The Liberals took 157 seats — 13 short of a majority — the Conservatives 121, the Bloc Quebecois 32, the New Democratic Party 24, the Greens three and there is one independent member, Jody Wilson-Raybauld in Vancouver Granville.
Dunn said CBTU post-election priorities would be:
- incorporating a skilled trades mobility program into the tax system;
- investing in energy infrastructure including a national energy corridor that includes pipelines, supports climate change goals and creates jobs for building trades members;
- applying community benefits agreements in public infrastructure projects with a focus on recruiting underrepresented groups;
- supporting infrastructure projects that create apprenticeship opportunities; and
- building upon the 2018 asbestos ban including the establishment of a national asbestos agency and mesothelioma registry.
Dunn said she was relieved there would be no delay in infrastructure program spending as the Conservatives proposed during the campaign as a deficit-cutting measure.
“Had the Conservatives been successful and carried through with their plan to cut $53 billion in infrastructure spending, this would have had devastating impact on our industry and the safety of all Canadians,” she said. “Infrastructure investment is absolutely crucial to our economy and our citizens. Safe roads, pipelines, airports, ports, bridges, wastewater systems, new housing developments, wastewater treatment facilities and clean drinking water, especially for our Indigenous populations, are not only essential but the right thing to do from a human perspective.”
The Liberals have shown they understand the social benefits of infrastructure spending, Dunn said, and the CBTU looks forward to continuing to work with them on that front.
Dunn said the government doesn’t have to choose between the economy and the environment in addressing energy projects.
“We want to open this dialogue and support our government in moving our resources to market and creating the energy systems that will enable Canada and its citizens to flourish environmentally and economically,” she said.