March 12th, 1991
“As a dues-paying member of CUPE and as an elected member of the executive board of my local (he’s been active for 13 years) I strongly object to the arrogance and immorality of the NDP and the labor movement in claiming to represent our views and opinions on this and many other issues…”
If you’re one of the 390,000 members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, you’ll be pleased to know what you thought about the just completed Gulf war.
According to CUPE’s official statement, signed by National President Jeff Rose and Secretary-Treasurer Judy Darcy, and loaded with phrases like “CUPE members do not want”, “CUPE believes” and “CUPE condemns,” here’s your opinion.
As a CUPE member you were upset that Prime Minister Brian Mulroney “parroted” the line of U.S. President George Bush, “slavishly followed the Bush lead” and acted as a “spear carrier for the U.S.” You were some ticked off that “Mulroney had External Affairs Minister (Joe) Clark beating the war drums in perfect time with the White House and Pentagon.”
You were outraged that Canada’s reputation as a country “committed to peaceful solutions has been shattered by the Tory government’s mishandling of the Persian Gulf situation.”
You were worried that coalition forces might sustain at least 20,000 casualties and you “did not want Canadian sons and daughters to have to die – or to have to kill” in a war that was probably “less about deterring aggression than about protecting the oil interests of the U.S. …”
Oh yeah. You were also opposed to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and believed sanctions should have been given more time. In other words, you were a good little NDP leftie.
You’ll also be pleased to know that in the interests of allowing free thought on this issue, CUPE’s national office sent this statement out to all CUPE locals, divisions and councils shortly before the Gulf war started as a basis for – get this – encouraging discussion “within your memberships.”
Yeah, right. Now at this point I could give you my opinion about how unrepresentative, unfair, intimidating and undemocratic this union missive is, how it obviously doesn’t speak for all CUPE members, and how incredibly insensitive such a statement would have been to those CUPE members who have family in Canada’s armed forces.
But Jeff Goodall, a Metro clerk and elected member of the executive board of CUPE Local 79 beat me to the punch. And, frankly, his words should carry a lot more weight than mine.
Goodall sent along a copy of CUPE’s statement on the Gulf war to the Sun along with the following comments.
“As a dues-paying member of CUPE and as an elected member of the executive board of my local (he’s been active for 13 years) I strongly object to the arrogance and immorality of the NDP and the labor movement in claiming to represent our views and opinions on this and many other issues…
“The tragedy is, of course, that such blatant misrepresentation destroys the credibility of people such as Jeff Rose and Judy Darcy, thus damaging their ability to represent the labor movement on legitimate issues which do count and which they should be addressing themselves to on our behalf.
“I am proud to be a member of CUPE, and I am proud to serve the members of my local in an elected capacity. What I am not proud of is the disgusting arrogance and presumptuous claims and misrepresentations engaged in by Jeff Rose, Bob White and other so-called ‘leaders’ of the labor movement.
“Stick to what you’re paid for, and don’t claim to speak for me outside of bargaining and workplace representation. And, above all, don’t try to tell me what to think.”
If only there were a lot more union members like Goodall prepared to stand up to this sort of union garbage.
We might actually have a country again.