NDP leader John Horgan brings down the house in speech at HEU convention

On day four of convention, BC NDP leader John Horgan gave a rousing speech to delegates that put HEU and NDP values front and centre.

Recognizing HEU’s dedication over the years, the new leader of the official opposition applauded the union and its members.

From fighting privatization in health care or pushing for a living wage, the union has worked hard to protect the things that matter, said Horgan.

Working together, the party and HEU can achieve even greater gains for working families – especially by electing NDP governments federally in 2015 and in B.C. in 2017, he said.

Horgan spoke passionately about the damage the BC Liberals have done to health care since 2001 – privatization, contracting out, heavy work-loads, and incompetent health care management.

In particular, he singled out Bill 29 and its impact on long-term care – for both residents and HEU members who care for them.

“You are the continuity for people at the end of their time,” said Horgan.

The BC NDP leader then went on to reaffirm the NDP’s commitment to repeal the rest of Bill 29:  “We will destroy it.”

Horgan also spoke personally to members about his own experience battling cancer in 2008.

When he entered the hospital for treatment, he was scared. “But I knew I was loved,” said Horgan. “HEU was there for me.”

Earlier, CUPE BC president Mark Hancock brought solidarity greetings and urged delegates to help defeat Harper’s Conservative government in the next federal election.

He reminded delegates how important it is to “vote for labour-endorsed candidates” in B.C.’s  upcoming municipal elections.”

Caucuses elect 12 regional vice-presidents

HEU delegates broke into their regions Thursday morning to elect 12 regional vice-presidents to serve on the union’s Provincial Executive over the next two years.

On the South Island, Bill McMullan was re-elected RVP, while Barb Biley was re-elected to represent the North Island.

For Coastal, Louella Vincent and John Fraser were re-elected and are joined by Leonora Calingasan.

In the North, Sarah Thom and Mike Cartwright are the new RVPs.

The Fraser region returned Jodi George as an RVP and she’ll be joined by Debbie Dyer.

And in the Interior, delegates elected Dawn Thurston (Okanagan) and Jody Berg (Kamloops-Thompson) – and re-elected Shelley Bridge (Kootenays).