Opinion: Alberta’s labour movement ramping up for a fight

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That’s why we in the Alberta labour movement have begun discussions, internally and with allies around the province, about ramping up protest efforts.

Albertans have been writing letters to their MLAs; they’ve been making calls and sending emails. But it’s clear that the government is not listening.

The only thing that can stop authoritarian-inspired political bullies is an energized, motivated and united citizenry willing to use their democratic right to free speech and free assembly to protect their communities and each other.

Premier Kenney understands this. That’s why, over the summer, he passed Bill 1 (which suppresses the significant aspects of right to protest) and Bill 32 (which attempts to defund unions).

We can’t let these heavy-handed legal maneuvers stop us from pushing back against the UCP’s destructive agenda for our province.

Political scientists have concluded that peaceful protest movements that engage at least 3.5 per cent of the population have never failed to bring about change. With a population of 4.4 million, that means we need at least 150,000 people willing to engage in sustained provincewide peaceful protests that could include work stoppages.

Alberta’s labour movement will not shirk its responsibility to take a leadership role in this struggle. For the time being, let’s focus on getting our kids back to school as safely as possible. But the fight to stop our province from being transformed in the image of Trump’s America is coming.

Stay tuned.

Gil McGowan is president of the Alberta Federation of Labour. The AFL is Alberta’s largest worker advocacy group, representing 175,000 Alberta public and private-sector union members.

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