Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Canadian Labour Movement in 2011

May 9th to May 13th, 2011 witnessed the tri-annual constitutional convention of the Canadian Labour Congress and the record of that convention is part of many postings and documents throughout the world by now. The purpose of this blog is not to duplicate this, but is to remind Canadians that outside of the variety of reporting that is open to viewing the voices of 3.2 million Canadian Workers have been heard through the delegates in attendance. No one can say that the Trade Unionists that attended agreed on any every single point, but that in itself is a plus in that this debate defines the passion of those that attended.

The delegates that participated debated policy documents such as Good Jobs for All, Reclaiming our Space and Building on our Success; Mobilizing for our Future and many resolutions that talk to all manner of socially responsible initiative. The process of debate to arrive at a direction for the congress, the union affiliates and the workers represented within is clearly a departure from the corporate establishment and their political affiliations. Within the structures aligned with the corporate establishment debate is discouraged and in fact their direction is usually based on a dictatorial process with little or no socially responsible tilt unless it is done so for the express purpose of hiding another more malevolent agenda.

Hot on the heels of electing a conservative majority federal government by a minority of Canadians and electing a progressive official opposition in unprecedented numbers the assembled delegates are under no illusions of the work that lay before them. One hundred and two New Democratic Members of Federal Parliament will ensure that for the first time in history that the recent complicity of liberal and conservative philosophy will be unable to hide the heinous and despicable agenda that will negatively affect working people throughout Canada. The delegates to the convention know that the conservative policies will be of no value to workers and will only work to aid and abet corporate Canada. In this context little was uttered in the convention hall that was not prefaced with how tough the next four years will be with such regressive individuals as Harper, Baird and Flaherty in the legislative driver's seat. In other words, we are entering the future according to the philosophy of fear, aggression, union bashing, and needless attacks on social programs, secrecy and just about any other thing that is contrary to what Canada and Canada's reputation was built on.

Organized Labour has always had at its core the desire to be inclusive and to ensure that no one is left behind and the convention delegates never once veered from this core set of values. It is with commitment to these values that the delegates did all they could to set a path for the next three years that will try and bring socially responsible balance to the national scene of conservative policies that will no doubt hurt workers and to set forth an action plan to make protection of worker's rights and the vulnerable in our society as much of a reality as possible.

Dave Trumble
Grey-Bruce Labour Council