The Government Services Union held its triennial National Convention at the Delta hotel in Ottawa this past September. The delegates to Convention were democratically elected through their Locals and we had 80 delegates and approximately 30 guests and observers. It was a great opportunity for the delegates to get to know each other and find out information about what was happening in the different locals and the regions.
The Convention opened Tuesday morning with an Aboriginal prayer and the singing of Solidarity Forever and the national anthem. There was a welcome address from the National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Sister Robyn Benson who spoke of the ongoing negotiations with the federal government and how we have to be organized to fight for our rights.
Next the Regional Executive Vice President of the PSAC for the NCR, Brother Larry Rousseau, also spoke about the on-going struggles we are having and will have, in this round of negotiations and how we need to be prepared.
Tuesday morning also saw our National President, Sister Donna Lackie, inviting former PSAC National President, Brother Daryl Bean to come forward and present Brother John Jedrasik with a plaque and a pin from the PSAC to commemorate his 35 years of service to the Union.
We finished Tuesday morning with an address from former PSAC National President Nycole Turmel who is the Member of Parliament for the electoral district of Hull-Aylmer. She also serves in the NDP shadow cabinet as the party whip. She too was very concerned about what the future holds for Federal government employees and urged our members to fight back and to be organized and prepared.
After lunch the Convention reconvened and got down to business. Over the summer each Local had been given the opportunity to present resolutions to the Convention and we received 35 at the National Office. Each resolution was placed into one of three committees-Finance, By-Laws or General and then after going through the Convention Committees made up of a small selection of the delegates, they were debated on the floor.
There were debates on the finances and the proposed budget that was voted on for the next three years. One of the highlights was that it was a “no dues increase” budget thanks in part to the continued growth of our component which now numbers more than 7,000 members across the country.
On Wednesday morning Candy Palmater spoke to the delegates. Candy is both inspirational and funny- she studied and became a lawyer and then quit to become a comedian as well as an international speaker and educator of aboriginal perceptions and gay rights. Currently she has her own show on the APTN network.
After Candy spoke the delegates got right back to business and by the end of the day we had debated all the resolutions that had come forward. Our closing speaker was Paul Dewar the NDP Member of Parliament for Ottawa Center who took time from his Parliament Hill work to come and encourage the delegates to get active and change the government.
Thursday was dedicated to the election of your representatives at the Component level and they were conducted by Brother Chris Aylward the National Executive Vice President of the PSAC. The first election was for National President and Sister Donna Lackie was elected for another three year term. The elections were then held for the National Vice President positions and the first one was for the NVP with the Equity portfolio and Sister Lori Walton was elected to that position. Brothers Jack Gale and Bob Cameron were elected as the other National Vice-Presidents.
After the elections for the national positions, the Convention broke off into regional caucuses and elections were held for the Regional Vice-Presidents and their alternates. After the regional elections all the delegates reconvened and Brother Aylward held the final round of elections for delegates to the PSAC Convention to be held in the Spring of 2015.
This was a very successful Convention and the first in GSU history where all the resolutions were debated and dealt with by the delegates on the Convention floor.