Magazine article Canadian Dimension

The Election, MAI, and Other Struggles

Magazine article Canadian Dimension

The Election, MAI, and Other Struggles

Article excerpt

The election is over. Mixed reviews at best. Historic breakthroughs in the Atlantic matched by heartbreak in most of the rest of the country. In Ontario, the NDP remains mired in a post-Rae credibility crisis. In the west, there is Preston, with much working class support. It will be good to have the NDP voice back in the House of Commons. Official party status in itself won't be enough to stop the Liberals from continuing their assault on trade union rights and further privatizations. It will, however, give a national voice to the extra-parliamentary struggles which will be waged against the forces of cutbacks and globalization.

Hopefully the election represents a turning point for the labour movement. Union activists, from all unions, worked their butts off for the NDP. All of the major unions found ways of contributing considerable quantities of resources or money or both. Union support was no small factor in the NDP victories in the Atlantic, Manitoba and Vancouver.

This time, without the finger pointing about the reslts, it will be possible to move on to develop common strategies.

The CLC, Jobs and MAI

Speaking of common strategies, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) will be holding a major conference on jobs in January 1998.

While the NDP leadership did everything possible to keep the focus of the election on jobs and unemployment, the Party was painfully short of details concerning its own jobs strategy.

People live in regions and they work in sectors. The Left needs to articulate an alternative industrial strategy which would challenge the dismal failure of the private sector to create jobs in many areas of the country.

The CLC Jobs Conference will be an excellent opportunity to build upon the analysis of the Alternative Budget.

Our ability to use the state to develop industry and create jobs will be severely restricted if the OECD is successful in the current negotiations on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). …

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