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Unions, organizers push for pharmacare at Kingston Labour Day celebrations

Click to play video: 'Unions push for Pharmacare at Labour Day celebrations in Kingston'
Unions push for Pharmacare at Labour Day celebrations in Kingston
Photo taken by Global Kingston – Sep 3, 2018

The annual Labour Day parade and picnic was held at McBurney Park in Kingston Monday afternoon.

There was no surprise that unity was a big part of the annual Labour Day celebrations, and all the major unions were there, marching in the parade from Kingston City Hall to McBurney Park.

The Kingston and District Labour Council, CUPE, OPSEU, Boiler Makers, United Steelworkers and the Kingston Health Coalition were among the groups that came out show their support at the event.

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“They play such a vital role in Ontario, and so much of what we’re proud of as a province is because of the work that unions did,” said Ian Arthur, MPP for Kingston & the Islands.

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Global Kingston spoke with Briana Broderick, president of the Kingston and District Labour Council. “The labour movement and the working people have fought for everything that we’ve always gotten,” Broderick said. “So whether that’s raises or benefits or pensions or healthcare, we need to continue to fight, and hopefully when we have events like these, people come out and have a great time.

“It’s movements like this when people come together to a single cause that we can effect change,” she said.

Leslie Jamieson, organizer of the Kingston Fight for 15 and Fairness, also attended the event. “We’re bringing together people who are in favour of worker’s rights,” she said. “It’s wonderful to have so many friendly faces around”.

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The establishment of a universal pharmacare program was a key theme of this year’s event.“We certainly want to pressure the government to start considering a universal pharmacare program,” Broderick said, “as well as a universal dental care program.”

“We have a big fight ahead of us with this current government,” Arthur said. “We are the largest opposition in a generation and we’re going to continue to fight for ideas like pharmacare.”

It’s that fight that fuels this annual celebration.

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