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Toronto- June 18, 2007 CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan has won an award for advocacy and social justice from the Canadian Arab Federation for his work as an international peace observer and his championing of CUPE Ontario‘s Resolution 50 among other initatives. The award was presented to Ryan at the CAF‘s 40th anniversary dinner in Toronto on June 16th.
“One of the things that my work has taught me is that no matter how difficult and deep-rooted a problem may be, a solution can be found,“ said Ryan. “Northern Ireland is a great example. Here was a problem rooted in 800 years of conflict between Britain and Ireland; two solitudes in a battle characterized by years of campaigns, murders and imprisonments. And yet a solution was found. The key was a political willingness to sit down with combatants on both sides, and in that, there is a lesson for the Middle East.“
Ryan said in his message to the dinner guests that the Israeli policy of refusing to talk to Hamas will never lead to a solution. Talks must include duly elected governments regardless of who they are, if peace is to be found, he said.
Ryan also spoke about Resolution 50. Delegates to the 2006 CUPE Ontario convention voted almost unanimously to support the international campaign of boycott, diverstment and sanctions against Israel until that state recognizes the Palestinian right to self-determination.
“Resolution 50 was heard around the world. While it taught me how vicious a campaign can be against those who speak out for peace and social justice, it is gratifying that support for our stand came from organizations and trade unions across the globe,” said Ryan.
He added that In Britain and Ireland today, a number of unions including the National Union of Journalists have adopted similar policies to CUPE Ontario’s Resolution 50, as have other international organizations.