The message at the 14th annual North Bay Labour Day picnic was simple – educate yourself and then get out and vote.
North Bay and District Labour Council President Henri Giroux told the crowd he’s not telling anyone who to vote for.
“Read all the party’s platforms and then make sure you vote for the party that you believe will be there for you.”
Giroux said casting a ballot is one of the most important things Canadians can do.
“We’ve had people who made the ultimate sacrifice and others who suffered abuse for the right to vote,” he said, adding every vote counts.
“There’s been countless elections in the region where there’s been a tight race – a difference between 11 votes. So you can’t say your vote doesn’t matter.”
Giroux said although the writ hasn’t officially been dropped, the labour council is asking voters to aspire to more.
“This is about upholding values like fairness and equality.”
This year’s theme was A Fair Canada for Everyone.
“That’s what we’re pushing,” Giroux said, adding Canada’s unions are calling on voters to support candidates who will support candidates who will support bold ideas like universal pharmacare and retirement security and who will prioritize good jobs, a clean environment and equity and inclusion.
Giroux said the stories are heartbreaking.
“I know parents forfeit their medication or split their doses into half so they can feed their kids,” he said Monday at the North Bay waterfront.
“Universal PharmaCare for everyone would be the perfect thing to have.”
More than 1,700 people attended the free event that celebrated the contributions of working people and to highlight ballot box issues.