Where does Jack Layton stand?

Maybe they’re not quite joined at the hip, but an undeniable kinship between the NDP and the labour movement might explain why both seem to suffer from the same ailment.

Maybe they’re not quite joined at the hip, but an undeniable kinship between the NDP and the labour movement might explain why both seem to suffer from the same ailment.

A kind of dysfunction of principles, with politicians and labour leaders alike seemingly more interested in hanging on to power and its perks than safe-guarding the gains achieved by those in the past that were more committed to the cause. Yes, the folks that brought you weekends. But a not uncommon ailment it seems.

Consider the following:

After the banks showed us what real “fiscal irresponsibility” looks like, it seems laughable that the NDP should worry about being labeled with that same irresponsibility.

Then at the recent 50th anniversary convention of the NDP, considerations to merge with the Liberals – and to delete references to socialist principles from the pre-amble of the NDP constitution were left open.

In other words; remaining a possibility! Now, I wonder; when did “socialist” become a dirty word? Poor Tommy must’ve turned in his grave.

What is wrong with a social philosophy that strives for a more equitable society, one that recognizes as obscene the present contrast between bankers and CEOs going home with multi-million-dollar salaries and the many lone widows in this nation that have to get around with less than 15,000 a year?

At this point, I think, it is not unreasonable to ask, “What does Layton’s NDP stand for?”

It seems nothing was learned from the utter fiasco of the British Labour Party under

Tony Blair. The similarities between policies of that party and those of the present

NDP are not only striking but alarming.

And alarming, too, was the lack of visible support from the labour movement in the recent labour disputes at Air Canada and the Postal workers.

Has “solidarity” become another dirty word – to be deleted from the labour lexicon?

The back to work legislation might well be the first skirmish in a Harper battle to destroy the right to collective bargaining.

On May 9 to 13 the Canadian Labour Congress had its 26th convention in Vancouver (with Jack Layton as guest speaker). Among the adopted resolutions; “counter the government’s legislative initiatives with a series of targeted and specific actions,” and, “defend defined benefit pension plans.”

Laudable resolutions, but why then the silence on the part of the CLC – and Local 480 I might add.

A silence that was in sharp contrast to the reaction of the labour movement in Wisconsin recently, when in a not dissimilar situation the governor of that state, Scot

Walker, attempted through legislation, to gut collective bargaining and public services.

Sooner, rather than later, labour will have to mount a more vigorous defense of working people’s rights – Mr. Harper is in a hurry.

In the meantime, with the NDP apparently more intent on becoming just “the other party” rather than a genuine opposition, that special kinship, long the backbone of the NDP, might come to a sad end.

The resulting loss of votes might then be compensated for by those possibly more at ease with a less confrontational political party, those (still) on the prosperous side of the equation, as in, “don’t rock the boat, I’m comfortable,” but better to remember the word “fickle’.” Tony Blair could tell you all about it.

Peter van Iersel

Fruitvale

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

A volunteer delivers food to families as part of a West Kootenay EcoSociety program. Photo: Submitted
Farms to Friends delivers 2,500th bag of food to families in need

The program services communities in the Nelson, Trail and Castlegar areas

“Our language and hence our ability to communicate is being distorted and impeded by the use of COVID catchphrases,” writes Dave Carter. Photo: Brett Jordan on Unsplash
COVID catchphrases impede our communication

Letter to the Editor from Dave Carter of Castlegar

Jasmine Smith is ready to start cracking the case to the summer reading program at the Trail and District Public Library. Photo: Sheri Regnier
‘Crack the Case’ at the Trail library this summer

Summer Reading Club runs July 5 to August 20.

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

Athena and Venus, ready to ride. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Goggling double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to B.C. commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

A Photo from Sept. 2020, when First Nations and wild salmon advocates took to the streets in Campbell River to protest against open-pen fish farms in B.C.’s waters. On Dec. 17, federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan announced her decision to phase out 19 fish farms from Discovery Islands. Cermaq’s application to extend leases and transfer smolts was denied. (Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror)
Feds deny B.C.’s Discovery Island fish farm application to restock

Transfer of 1.5 million juvenile salmon, licence extension denied as farms phased out

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

FILE – Nurse Iciar Bercian prepares a shot at a vaccine clinic for the homeless in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
B.C. scientists to study effectiveness of COVID vaccines in people with HIV

People living with HIV often require higher doses of other vaccines

A 50-year-old woman lost control of her vehicle Tuesday, June 15, crashing through a West Vancouver school fence that surrounds playing children. (West Vancouver Police)
Driver ticketed for speeding near B.C. school crashes into playground fence days later

‘It’s an absolute miracle that nobody was injured,’ says Const. Kevin Goodmurphy

Most Read