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May 2 was a watershed election for all Canadians, but especially for four CUPE members and staff who are now Members of Parliament.

Across Canada, 23 CUPE members put their names on the ballot, garnering more than 220,000 votes. That massive outpouring of support translated into victory for candidates in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario.

In Nova Scotia, former Atlantic Regional Director and one-time Provincial NDP Leader Robert Chisholm gained the seat of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour for Jack Layton’s New Democrats.

Further west in the Quebec ridings of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie and Laval-Les Iles, CUPE-Quebec communications representative Alexandre Boulerice and former Local 4545 President Francois Pilon, scored massive wins for the NDP.

And in Ontario, CUPE 1281 member Rathika Sitsabaiesan snapped up the Toronto-area riding of Scarborough-River for the NDP.

“We are so proud of Rathika, Alexandre, Francois and Robert,” CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn said following the historic election, which saw Jack Layton and the NDP elevated to Official Opposition status with 102 seats across Canada.

However, the excitement of the NDP’s stunning results is tempered by the fact the Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party now has a Parliamentary majority.

While a majority Conservative government presents a clear challenge to a progressive agenda, Hahn said a 102 NDP MPs, including four CUPE members and staff will ensure the government is held to account.

“Regardless of the outcome, each and every CUPE Candidate, including the seven members and staff who stood for election in Ontario, have done their fellow CUPE members a great public service. They all deserve our admiration and thanks,” said Hahn.

As a union, we have learned many lessons from this campaign and our members have used the Federal Election to develop skills and build capacity across regions that will carry forward into other campaigns and other elections, including the Provincial Election which takes place in October.