But first I’d like to welcome two new members to the Executive: Scott Maxted and Ron Martin. Ron has recently relocated here from Saskatchewan where he was long involved with the NDP there. Scott should need no introduction ... a long time advocate on environmental and labour issues.
It is with a mix of trepidation and satisfaction that I have watched events unfold in the past month. Relations with First Nations peoples are not improving. Justin Trudeau has not kept his pre election promise to meaningfully consult (as our laws demand) with First nations affected by megaprojects that will impinge on their rights and treaties. Some are calling for the Justice Minister’s resignation. Yet there is also a silver lining in all of this turmoil: an opportunity to redefine our Nation to Nation relationship with our First Peoples.
We took part in the annual Labour Day Parade in Port Elgin (pics below). It was great to walk with so many unionists—many of whom were bussed in from other areas to take part. They know what it takes to fight for a decent wage and decent benefits that go with the job … and how easy it is to lose both.
That sense of collective responsibility was demonstrated by Unifor in its recent negotiations with GM. The union not only got a higher wage for workers (who had given up pay during the Recession) and for first hires, but it also won commitments from GM that the Oshawa plant would stay open and production moved from Mexico to St Catharines.
You’ll see below, under ‘Upcoming’ a number of events and deadlines we are paying attention to. But I’d like to draw your attention to two of them.
First, Larry Miller’s phone ‘town hall’ for constituents on Tuesday (Sept 27). Here is a good opportunity to tell our MP directly how you think our electoral system should be reformed. The NDP (and the BGOS Executive) would like to see Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMPR) with an open ballot—that is, everyone who is running for Parliament should be on the ballot. That’s something Larry himself insists on. But the Conservatives want to send the whole question to the public for a referendum—a proven recipe for no reform. I think they want to keep first past the post (the system we have now) and the Liberals want a preferential ballot (your first and maybe second choices count—they’re betting ‘Liberal’ will be everyone’s first or second choice). More information is here.
Second, there is a public town hall on electoral reform in Paisley on October 3rd, 7 pm at the Legion. It’s another chance to hear about the alternatives and to engage in a discussion of them.
Below is what an MMPR open ballot might look like. You vote for the candidate you like in your riding (as you do now). But you also vote for either the Party you like or one of several candidates running in the region (which may take in more than one riding). These candidates are elected according to the proportion of votes cast for them.
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