Local 793 Business Manager Mike Gallagher, alongside officers, executive board members, staff and students, welcomed Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford to the Union’s head office and training facility in Oakville on Friday, May 27.
His visit was to officially accept the Union’s endorsement of his party ahead of the June 2 provincial election.
Having backed the Liberal Party for many years, Business Manager Gallagher gave three reasons why the Union has switched its support to Ford’s PC Party this time around.
“The number one reason would be his leadership,” Gallagher said. “Doug Ford has shown his leadership throughout the last two years where we had an unprecedented pandemic, and he was able to adapt to changing circumstances that happened very quickly. The ability to keep everyone informed on a weekly basis as Premier Ford did at the time was absolutely essential to the safety of the people here in the province of Ontario and to our members of Local 793.
“Another reason would be the unprecedented $158 billion investment in much-needed infrastructure. We need to keep the economy going, especially with the impact of inflation and the pandemic that we went through. We fully support the investment in needed infrastructure and the commitment to affordable housing which has been made.
“Last but not least, is the commitment to skills training, compulsory certification and mandatory training,” Gallagher added. “Here today we have a graduating class of our students who will go out into the industry and help build it for the future and we need jobs. We need jobs for them and we need support for our skills training. So, it’s definitely hats off to the Premier and his team.”
During his visit, Ford shook hands and chatted with apprentices and grabbed the chance to operate a Liebherr HS 8050 crawler crane (under the careful supervision of Local 793 Vice-President Dave Turple), fulfilling, in the words of Local 793 President Joe Redshaw, “every little boy’s dream.”
Ford, who was joined by Ontario Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton, Oakville MPP Stephen Crawford and Mayor Rob Burton for the event, has already picked up several endorsements from construction unions during his election campaign.
“Each of these organizations knows what it takes to build and each of these unions are lining up behind our plan to build Ontario,” he said.
“Every day more and more people are lending their support for our plan to build Ontario and nowhere is that support growing more than among our women and men who work in the skilled trades. I’ve been so proud to welcome the support of a growing number of unions representing the women and men who are building Ontario.”
Pointing to the apprentices lined up behind him, he added, “Make no mistake, each and every one of these folks, they’re helping to build Ontario. We couldn’t build anything if it wasn’t for the cranes right here, so I am very, very grateful.”
Business Manager Gallagher urged all members to cast a vote in Thursday’s election and ended his comments by adding, “We look forward to working with Doug Ford when he is returned as Premier of the province of Ontario on June 2.”