Good day fellow CUPE 1975 members,
Much has happened already in 2022 and most of it has been very troubling. On a positive note, we could finally be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for COVID. Although COVID isn’t over and we may see the ripples from it over the next number of months and years, I believe the world had done what it can to limit the number of deaths and hospitalizations over these last 2 years to combat it. I believe we will see some permanent changes in society going forward because of it. Prior to COVID we would see countries such as China and Japan, with denser populations, where many of their residents would choose to wear a mask. I believe we will see more of that here also. I believe we will see more people in the future having the ability to work from home or do some form of a hybrid of it. Online shopping saw a real increase in the last two years and I see that continuing, which will impact our local stores. These are just a few things that I suspect will change or have changed and will possibly continue going forward.
COVID also saw some people from Canada question the Government over their protected human rights. Most of us watched the occupancy of Ottawa for those three weeks earlier this year. Many different groups and individuals were involved and most had their own agenda’s. Some funding and involvement originated from the United States, and you must wonder what the motivation was. I watched tv on the Saturday when the police broke up the occupancy. I was extremely impressed that they could do so with next to no violence. Demonstrations in other countries usually end with violence and death. For anyone who feels we don’t live in a democratic nation, I suggest you research some of the demonstrations held in other countries and witness how they ended. Communist countries have dealt with demonstrators the most severely, but we don’t need to look any further than the United States, who we know are a democratic country, to see how violent some of their demonstrations have ended.
In the shadow of the occupation in Ottawa and the blockades at the border, we witnessed the buildup of Russian troops at the Ukraine border. I believe the hope of the world was that Putin would back down and recall his troops. That didn’t happen and I’m impressed with the many nations who have answered the call, trying to help and resolve this war before it becomes a European and possibly, a world war. The threat of a nuclear war is real and the support and response from supporting countries is tempered with analyses of what happens if things escalate further. As things have progressed and involvement from supporting countries has increased for those in the Ukraine, it hasn’t happened quickly enough or with enough support yet. This is what a true fight for freedom looks like to me. This has been ongoing for several years as Putin has looked to increase the size of his country and his wealth. Some of the neighboring countries have become more engaged than they have in the past over fear that if Putin is successful, one of them would be next. Many people in the Soviet Union have spoken out against Putin and they have disappeared. All public media outlets have been shut down along with many, if not all, social media accounts. Most, if not all, countries in the world know and understand better what is going on in the Ukraine right now than the people of the Soviet Union. I have heard that 10% of Canada’s population is from the Ukraine. I encourage everyone to show support for them in whatever way you can going forward. Thankfully, most of us will never directly experience anything of this nature.
My friend, Erwin Marbella, and I have talked at length about the sacrifices that people from his country, the Philippines, have chosen to make to come to Canada. All immigrants to Canada have made similar sacrifices. They do it for the things that are offered here, which those of us born here, often forget. Canada is a true democratic country with elected officials at all levels of government. Canada has many social programs that all Canadians can access such as medical, old age pension, etc. Canada is one of the first countries to offer support to those countries, such as the Ukraine, trying to fight off a communist country with a dictator in charge. People from the Ukraine and other countries often live in fear or don’t sleep soundly at night worrying about their safety and the safety of their family.
I have spoken to our membership before about our initiative regarding mental health. The number of people who have struggled and continue to struggle has grown. I encourage those of you who are struggling to reach out to EFAP. These services are provided free of charge to employees of the University and their families. I encourage those of you who can, to listen, without judgement, to our family, friends and co-worker who need that outlet. Sometimes the best therapy is having someone listen to you. I encourage everyone to show support for those people from the Ukraine or those who have family and friends in the Ukraine and to those from the regions around the Ukraine who are feeling and experiencing many of the same challenges right now. Any support shown to these people at any level is very much needed right now.
Bob Jones, President