Northumberland Labour Council Day of Mourning Ceremony
After two years of doing a virtual Day of Mourning due to the pandemic, it was a great feeling to be able to observe this year’s Day of Mourning in person. Our purpose for gathering on the Day of Mourning is to mourn and to remember those who died from work related reasons and to recommit our fight for a safe workplace for the living. The turnout at Lucas Point Park in Cobourg was wonderful. We had approximately thirty to forty people in attendance. Northumberland Labour Council was proud to have the Paramedics Honour Guard participate in this years Day of Mourning.
The ceremony started with a Day of Mourning introduction and the acknowledgement of indigenous land by President Dan Tobin, which was followed with an indigenous prayer by Marsha Smoke and Stephen Pashagumskum from Alderville First Nation. Then, Linda MacKenzie-Nicholas, Sergeant at Arms, read the first story from healthcare workers regarding their working experience during the pandemic. Afterwards guest speaker Chris Leavitt, USW Health and Safety Representative, spoke a few words. Three of Northumberland Counties Mayors Mayor of Port Hope, Bob Sanderson, Mayor of Cobourg, John Henderson, and Mayor of Cramahe Township, Mandy Martin, spoke on the importance of the Day of Mourning and recognizing it in their communities.
Linda MacKenzie-Nicholas returned to the podium and read the last of the healthcare stories, and read a pandemic poem titled “The Stress of Covid” which was written by a local healthcare worker anonymously. Our special guest speaker David Pettigrew, Vice President C.U.P.E. Local 5852 and OCHU Health & Safety Committee Chair, gave us an update on Covid, and some somber statistics regarding the pandemic. Next, Northumberland Labour Council President discussed Bill 124 and the effects that it is having on our healthcare workers, urging the Provincial government to support our healthcare workers. He emphasized the need to supports of repealing Bill 124, raising the minimum wage to a living wage, and by providing paid sick days. Last on the agenda was the laying of the wreaths for the remembrance lives at the workplace.