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Fall 2014 Edition of Turn Left Magazine
Read the Manifesto for a Socialist Canada
The document was written in 1999
by a number of SC activists, and
defines what our group stands for in
the fight for socialist democracy,
workers' rights and economic justice.
During the most recent elections, NDP leaders in various provinces copied the Third Way playbook and ran on so-called "moderate" campaigns to the centre, all of which were disasters, and that's putting it kindly. 

Read the Fall 2014 edition of Turn Left Magazine.  Also included:

Fred Hahn - Pension Reform
Barry Weisleder - Ontario Election and the Future of the NDP
Jessica Shaw - Women's Voices in the NDP
John Orrett - The Social Democratic Commitment to Tax Big Wealth
Elizabeth Byce - NDP Leadership on Gaza
Alex Hunsberger - Good Jobs Summitt
Interview with Economist Erin Weir
Tyler MacKinnon - Abandon the Generation Blame Game
Larry Rosnuk - Public Health Care
Julius Arscott - Climate Change
Sean Cain - The Life and Death of the Third Way
Attempts to Intimidate Critics of Andrea Horwath's Leadership
of the Ontario NDP Reach a New Low

The following is a detailed eyewitness account of what took place at the October 2014 general membership meeting of the Niagara Regional Labour Council (NRLC) in response to the adoption of a motion at its previous general membership meeting instructing the council's delegate to the Ontario NDP Convention to not support Andrea Horvath's continued leadership of the ONDP.  The actions described here led the Executive of the NRLC to unanimously pass a motion banning Wayne Gates MPP and Michael Grimaldi from future meetings of the council.  It should also be noted that Michael Grimaldi threatened to have the delegate status of an OPSEU delegate and NRLC Executive member withdrawn unless he reversed his position with respect to the issue in question.

By Bruce Allen


Niagara Regional Labour Council Meeting on October 8, 2014

At the October 8, 2014 NRLC delegate meeting there was an incident involving Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Wayne Gates. I am writing this letter as a complaint against Mr. Gates’ actions and statements at this meeting.

Background

During the September NRLC delegate meeting a motion passed, which would bind the NRLC delegate attending the Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP) convention to oppose Andrea Horwath in her quest for re-election as leader of the party.

The Executive had met prior to the NRLC delegate meeting on October 8th. There was a discussion in the meeting pertaining to the motion that passed in September. It was well understood by the Executive members how the procedure concerning a “motion to reconsider” could move forward. Additionally, the procedure for a “motion to reconsider” had been placed on the backside of the agenda for delegates to read. Once the Executive meeting concluded, the NRLC delegate meeting began shortly thereafter. In the hallway following the Executive meeting, I had noticed MPP Wayne Gates, along with two constituency assistants (both are delegates to the NRLC) and Mike Grimaldi.

Issue 1 (Potential Pressuring of Delegate): When the agenda reached new business, an Executive member (officer in a local NDP riding association) who abstained on the motion in question, attempted to move the “motion to reconsider.” The Executive member was well aware of the procedure surrounding the bylaw and understood that only someone who voted in favour of the motion in question would have the ability to move the “motion to reconsider.” A delegate rightly objected to this manoeuvre. It seemed possible that the Executive member was pressured to take this action by the NDP guests (Gates and Grimaldi) in the brief time between the Executive and delegate meeting. Why else would the delegate have switched their position knowing full well what the result would be?

Issue 2 (Political Interference): NDP guests and delegates (the two constituency assistants) objected to the ruling by the President and the CLC representative where it was stated that the Executive member could not move the “motion to reconsider.” The NDP guests and delegates (the two constituency assistants) claimed that the vote on the original motion was unanimous (9-0); therefore implying that the Executive member could move the “motion to reconsider,” as there was no record of abstention. However, the Executive member (officer in a local NDP riding association) stated multiple times that he/she had abstained during the vote. It could not be clearer that the Executive member abstained, yet the NDP guests and delegates (the two constituency assistants) again tried to interfere in the business of the labour council with outbursts and interruptions. Mr. Grimaldi stated that “this is bullshit!”

Issue 3 (Bylaw Infractions and the Potential Pressuring of the President): Article 4, Section 15, Point 13 of the NRLC Bylaws states: “Guests may have the privilege to speak, subject to the discretion of the Council. The Chair shall not allow a guest the privilege to speak to Motions before the Council.” First, the President granted guests (Gates and Grimaldi) the privilege to speak, not the Council. Second, the discussion was on a motion; therefore the guests should never have had the privilege to speak in the first place. It seemed possible that the President (officer in a local NDP riding association) did not adhere to the bylaws because of potential pressure and interference from the guests prior to the meeting.

Issue 4 (Political Interference): When Mr. Gates was afforded the privilege to speak (approximately 5 minutes) he made two statements that must be addressed. His first comment was directed at the mover of the motion. Mr. Gates stated that “you did not volunteer on my campaign and you are not a member of the NDP; therefore you should not have moved the motion.” The absurdity of the statement is quite evident. Labour Councils are democratic organizations where delegates have the ability to discuss various issues and present motions.

Mr. Gates was implying that if you are not a member of the NDP you should not be discussing the NDP. Furthermore, he was ostensibly unaware that the mover volunteered in both elections and made a financial contribution to his campaign. Second, Mr. Gates stated that “if a motion is to be made at an NRLC meeting regarding the NDP, I should be informed. The mover should discuss it with me beforehand.” If this were to happen it would again amount to political interference in the Labour Council’s dealings and reduce the organization’s autonomy. The CLC/NRLC do not belong to the NDP.

Issue 5 (Harassment/Personal Attacks/Vulgar Statements):
A delegate raised a point of order and left the meeting. Subsequently, another delegate left the meeting shortly after. This meant there was not quorum; therefore the meeting was adjourned. The NDP guests and delegates (the two constituency assistants) objected to this point, although, again, it was clear there were not the required number of delegates to continue the meeting.

When delegates started to pack their belongings NDP guests stated that “this is fucking bullshit.” Furthermore, MPP Gates personally insulted and attacked the Council and one of its members. Mr. Gates stated to the delegate who moved the motion that “you are an embarrassment to the labour movement” and “a fucking disgrace to our local.” He also stated that “this is a fucking joke,” “I am ashamed of the Labour Council,” and “anyone who voted in favour of the motion should be ashamed of themselves.”

It was also stated by Mr. Grimaldi that “the motion that passed is despicable. This is a disgrace to the labour movement.” While this was happening delegates were stating that this was unacceptable, yet the guests continued spewing insults and profanities. The CLC representative tried to intervene and was subsequently insulted and attacked. I would like to commend the CLC representative’s level-headedness throughout the ordeal. Bullying, harassment and intimidation have no place in the labour movement.
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