Every May Day, I am struck by the differences in how this holiday is celebrated by nations across the globe. In Canada, we celebrate the advances that the labour movement has brought to the working conditions of all workers, like paid leave for those who are injured at work, free access to public education and a public health-care system that is envied by people everywhere.
At the same time in certain countries in South America, the military moves in to suppress the public demonstrations led by Labour. In other countries, their governments take the day as an opportunity to display their military might by parading their weapons through the streets.
The privileges that many of us take for granted today, like free vaccinations during a pandemic, textbooks for our kids in schools that are simply provided for them and the opportunity to advocate for paid sick leave without the fear of being shot at, are based in our history of electing governments that are open to these sorts of ideas, even if they are forced to adopt them by public pressure.
I want to share with you this statement from Public Services International, our international affiliate, which shows how important our work continues to be in light of the global pandemic.