Labour and environmentalists agree to work together and chart an alternative path for Canada’s economic and energy future.
Toronto, ON – The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP), The Columbia Institute and the Pembina Institute join Environmental Defence and the United Steelworkers (USW) in Blue Green Canada, an alliance between Canadian labour unions and environmental organizations to promote a green economy.
The newly comprised membership agreed to focus on a Canadian national energy strategy, unlocking the huge potential of energy efficiency retrofits and expanding the discussion of the green economy to include transportation, waste management, and other opportunities for green manufacturing.
“The Steelworkers have long understood the need to take action on climate change, but with our manufacturing sector under such strain, we obviously need to pay attention to our economy as well,” said Ken Neumann, USW’s Canadian National Director. “We think the answer lies in the pursuit of a green economy which, evidence shows, is more manufacturing and export intensive, and provides better pay and more opportunities for skilled labour. The Steelworkers are committed to advancing our green jobs agenda.”
“There is a perception that environmental organizations are anti-development, anti-economy. But this simply isn’t true,” said Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence. “We want to see Canada’s economy prosper, but we know that we cannot continue to deliver economic growth at the expense of the environment. With our wealth of renewable resources, including solar and wind power, and our manufacturing expertise, Canada is in a position to lead the North American transition to a green economy and reap the associated rewards.”
“CEP is Canada’s largest energy union, yet we fully appreciate the need to take action on climate change,” said Dave Coles, President of CEP. “The truth is, something that isn’t environmentally sustainable isn’t economically sustainable either, as is the case with the current trajectory of our energy development. Canada needs to transition to a sustainable track to ensure long term, permanent jobs for workers today and a healthy planet for our children tomorrow.”
“The green economy is central to supporting inclusive, sustainable communities,” said Charley Beresford, Executive Director of the Columbia Institute. “We see the opportunity to reduce green house gas emissions, create jobs and make communities more liveable as we work together to meet the challenges of climate change and social justice. We are delighted to join Blue Green Canada and advance this vision.”
“In our work on sustainable energy solutions we consistently find that solutions do not come at the expense of the economy. Rather, they enhance the economy,” said Ed Whittingham, Executive Director of the Pembina Institute. “Canadians want to see action on climate change, and they appreciate that sound environmental management makes good economic sense. This understanding needs to be better reflected in our public policy, especially in discussions regarding a national energy strategy. ”
About Blue Green Canada: Blue Green Canada is an alliance between Canadian environmental organizations and labour unions to advocate for working people and the environment by promoting solutions to environmental issues that have positive employment and economic impacts. The alliance is based upon the realization that a future sustainable economy must provide good jobs and protect the environment, not one or the other.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Bob Gallagher, United Steelworkers, 416-544-5966 or 416-544-5991
Erin Charter, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 258
Patty Barerra, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, 613-230-5200 ext. 277 or
613-858-1657 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
Charley Beresford, Columbia Institute, 778-772-8188
Dan Woynillowicz, Pembina Institute, 250-412-1361 or 250-551-2072 (cell)