BCGEU members stand before the Fairness Express.

Fairness Express rolls into Prince Rupert

A grassroots campaign says a small percentage of the population holding a majority of the country's wealth will be detrimental.

A grassroots campaign says a small percentage of the population holding a majority of the country’s wealth will be detrimental to Canadian communities.

The All Together Now Fairness Express National Bus Tour, launched by the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) in association with the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) and the Health Sciences Association of B.C. (HSA BC), was designed to initiate discussions on the growing income inequality in British Columbia and Canada.

The provincial tour started on Aug. 15, with the Fairness Express bus making a stop at the Rupert Square Mall parking lot on Thursday, Aug. 21.

Mike Nuyens, executive vice-president of the BCGEU, said the purpose of the tour is to start dialogues in communities on the growing income inequality, raise awareness on the subject and provide literature and tools to individuals to help spread the word in their communities.

“Most people, when we go through and have discussions with them, have been very warmly welcoming. They want to know what we’re going to do (to resolve the issue),” said Nuyens, noting it is up to all Canadians to reduce income inequality.

In Prince Rupert, Nuyens said an issue that was repeated by those spoken to is the number of good paying jobs in the community.

A core group of people are doing the tour, and local activists have jumped on in each community to help spread the word, such as Prince Rupert BCGEU member Lara Stroud.

“I really believe in the movement,” she said.

“Everybody stopping by says the same thing. They agree that there are inequalities going on and they want to make changes.”

The NUPGE states the key components in reducing income inequality is tax fairness, quality public services, a modern industry strategy and respect for labour rights.

“If income inequality keeps growing we’ll see increases in poverty, unemployment and an increase in lack of public services,” said Jonny Sopotiuk, BCGEU staff representative.

The ultimate goal of the campaign is to inspire British Columbians to carry the call for more progressive policies to their communities and workplaces.