My first meeting of the Executive as President went well. It is fantastic to have such an enthusiastic, well informed group of people on board. The table was laden with a delicious potluck supper served with lively conversation that included, naturally, our MP’s cautionary tweet about how easily animals and poor people come to depend on handouts. Really? There is so much to be done in our riding.
During the meeting we heard from Jo-Anne Hearns-Petican, the Vice President of the Ontario Injured Workers Group (Central ON). She spoke of the challenges – and they are legion – facing workers at every step of the way after a work-place injury. We heard how the Worker Safety & Insurance Board may reject physician assessments; how the Board is reducing its unfunded liability by reducing or denying compensation; how one-third of injured workers also suffer from trauma; how some companies pressure injured workers not to apply for compensation; how the Board uses humiliating searches for ‘pre-existing conditions’ to deny or reduce claims, even though the injury was received as a consequence of work.
The plight of injured workers is an issue Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound NDP will keep be working on over the next year. You can get more information at http://injuredworkersonline.org/injured-workers-community/ontario-network-of-injured-workers-groups-oniwg/. Look for their newspaper, “Justice for Injured Workers.” It has a lot of good information on their challenges.
Expect to hear more from various members of the Executive as we work through the things we discussed during our meeting: reconciliation with First Nations; precarious work; living wage; affordable housing; economic development in Bruce Grey.
In the meantime, welcome to new Executive member Bernie Donville. And to Ivan Smith – get well, we miss you.
I’d also like to give a quick shout out to Jeff Cronin who organized this year’s successful International Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job. In a non-partisan ceremony at City Hall, a number of speakers remembered the toll work-place injuries take on families and communities.
Some of you have told us how annoyed you are at the federal party, first for losing the NDP lead in the polls by drifting too close to the centre and now by their constant requests for money in the wake of running a bad campaign that pretty much ignored what we at the riding level was telling them. Know that your annoyance is shared.
However, it presents us with a choice: we can throw in the towel or buckle down to work on issues we know need addressing in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound. This Executive has chosen the latter path, with enthusiasm and a great deal of shared ability. We are between elections now and the work we do now will carry us into the future. All of you who are a part of this Party, this movement, believe in social justice. Moving forward together we can create change.
If you are interested in sitting on the Executive and working for a better Bruce Grey, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our next meeting will be on Thursday June 23rd at the BDO Building in Owen Sound (1717 2nd Ave E, ground floor). Potluck from 5:30 pm. Come out. Get involved. Make a difference. Or just sit with us and tell us what you think.