I was dreaming of my father last night, right before the thunderous rain against my bedroom window jolted me from my already restless slumber.
The dream was a real memory of mine, of something that occurred when I was very young – surely before I was 6 or 7, but without asking him, I can’t put a year to it exactly.It was in the early 70’s, for sure. My father was working construction out-of-town again, having to leave us for months at a time just to make a living. That particular year, he had been gone a lot, and as Christmas neared, it became harder and harder to wait for him. We didn’t know if he was going to make it, because of the deep snow and cold, but if there was anything my dad could do to get home, I knew even then that he would do it. He was just that kind of guy. He never let us down.
The days passed, and as Christmas arrived, my father was nowhere in sight. I was devastated, until the moment I heard a truck come down the road through the snow,later that evening, bearing the two best Christmas presents ever – my dad, and Ballerina Barbie.
To this day, I have no clue how my dad managed to come home from up north through all the snow, and still find Ballerina Barbie somewhere in one of the little towns along the way. That was where the dream abruptly ended last night, but as I lay in the warmth under my covers, unable to sleep with the wind whipping the rain and trees outside, I marvelled at what kind of working conditions my father must have endured in those out-of-town construction jobs.
My father was a carpenter, and worked a variety of jobs while I grew up. He worked on dam up by Hudsons Hope one year, where my mother, brother and I lived in a tent trailer in a campground nearby during the summer so we could be close. He worked on other big BC projects that were built during the 60’s and 70’s, but things were never easy. Although I was too young to remember, my father told me once about a time that he was on strike – for a very, very long time. Strike pay was non-existant, yet the workers never gave up, strong in their union brotherhood support. That was back in the day where people became so angered that often fights would break out at union hall meetings. Everyone was desperate for an income, but the strike had to continue. He explained to me why the workers needed to fight for their rights and benefits: to honour the people who had fought for the benefits and working conditions he had, and to protect the working conditions of those who would come after him.
I’ve always been proud of my father, because of the lessons he taught me without even saying a word.Sometimes we do need to stick up for ourselves and others, just to leave something for those that come after us. And as I go here and there, and talk to people on the street as I kind of really like to do, I’m realising that we’ve reached those kind of times again, and the people have had enough.
They simply can’t take anymore, and everywhere I go, and every email I get from readers, is echoing that sentiment. No one can live on the $8.00 an hour Campbell thinks is a realistic wage – and he had said he has no plans to increase it- mainly to avoid imposing costs on business! The irony of the Liberals throwing out money here and there for exorbitant Olympic expenditures, has created an aura of contempt among the public in the face of continuing social and educational cuts. Toss in the HST and the crappy manner in which they decide to legislate the BC paramedics back to work and you see the pot begin to bubble closer to the rim….
In my opinion, people are not looking to a general strike not only to support hard-done by workers in this province, but as a matter of social justice against everything the Liberals have done in British Columbia. For some it might the low wages, for others, the cuts to special needs programs and assistance.
For me, and perhaps for others, it is the crappy, dictatorial manner in which he is systematically selling off and giving away our resources, our jobs and our future as British Columbians, to outside corporate influences who care not one bit for the quality of life others have worked so hard in the past for us to enjoy now.
It has to stop, and we, the people of British Columbia, must stand up and take back our province. The time is now. Are you up to the challenge?
( For an interesting read, check out this link to an article titled: ” 25 years ago: British Columbia on the brink of a general strike”…. the times described bear a striking resemblance to our current unrest among both union and non-union workers in BC. Another article talks about the conditions leading up to the labour unrest in BC in 2004. Tell me what you think.)