From one ocean to the other, the All Together Now! (ATN) campaign's Fairness Express rolls into beautiful British Columbia for its 38-day tour to highlight the problem of rising income inequality.
After starting out in Atlantic Canada, the ATN traveling road show hits the west coast, looking to engage British Columbians in the conversation about why tax fairness is essential to providing our communities with quality public services, good jobs and strong labour rights.
National tour travels across B.C. from August 15 until September 21
The Fairness Express has been touring the country since September 2013 in an effort to meet Canadians where they live, to hear how they and their families have been coping in this post-2008 recession economy. The big green bus, the Fairness Express, with the slogan, "Only Fair is Fair, Income Inequality Isn't" plastered on its sides, has garnered a lot of attention on its journey.
"The teams on the Fairness Express have been listening to people in communities big and small about how they are doing. We are sharing information about how we think things can improve for everyone and, of course, having some fun along the way," says James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), which is sponsoring the national tour.
"Our members realized more than four years ago that rising income inequality is one of the biggest challenges in our time," Clancy said. "It doesn't affect just union members, it's something that affects everyone. And we need to be actively working toward a solution."
Despite the seriousness of the issues, the national tour wants to attract people from every walk of life to get involved in the campaign. The carnival atmosphere of the road show, complete with stripped tents, popcorn, cotton candy and games allows people to learn more about the issues in a fun, easy way.
People know the system isn't working in their favour and want to help fix it
Income inequality is a serious topic. People are falling behind financially, the middle class is collapsing, and yet the wealthy are getting richer. Most of us know this is a problem that can't continue.
The All Together Now! campaign is built on the premise that we have a tax fairness problem in our country (and around the globe). People and corporations are avoiding their responsibilities or aren't paying their fair share, which means government has less revenue to provide the essential services our communities need. Labour rights are being trampled on in a race to the bottom. Good jobs are disappearing.
"What we're hearing on the road is that this isn't the kind of Canada people want to live in," continues Clancy. "We can do better. People are a looking for ways to help change the direction of our country. Our campaign is one way for people to get involved in these issues and build a movement based on fairness and equality."
Follow the Fairness Express
In British Columbia, the tour will kick off in Victoria before crossing the province and ending in Saltspring. Members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) and the Health Sciences Association of B.C. (HSABC/NUPGE) will be teaming up to visit towns and cities to share this ongoing conversation across the miles.
Here is a tentative location schedule:
Saturday, August 16 – Victoria
Sunday, August 17 – Nanaimo
Monday, August 18 – Comox Valley
Tuesday, August 19 – Campbell River
Thursday, August 21 – Prince Rupert
Friday, August 22 – Terrace
Saturday, August 23 & Sunday, August 24 – Smithers
Wednesday, August 27 – Prince George
Thursday, August 28 – Williams Lake
Saturday, August 30 – Armstrong
Sunday, August 31 – Barriere
Monday, September 1 – Kamloops
Wednesday, September 3 – Nelson
Friday, September 5 – Creston
Saturday, September 6 – Rossland
Sunday, September 7 – New Denver
Tuesday, September 9 – Cranbrook
Wednesday, September 10 – Fernie
Friday, September 12 – Vernon
Saturday, September 13 – Kelowna
Sunday, September 14 – Summerland
Monday, September 15 – Merritt
Wednesday, September 17 to Saturday, September 20 – Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley (specific communities to be confirmed)
Sunday, September 21 – Salt Spring