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Conference Report

Dozens of NDP activists gathered at the University of Toronto for the Federal Conference of the NDP Socialist Conference on Saturday, December 5, 2015.

They charted a clear course to turn the labour-based party sharply to the left, with a focus on a range of efforts leading up to the NDP federal convention set for April 8-10 in Edmonton, Alberta.

The SC conference began with a panel discussion on “Energy Policy for the Future”, featuring Ontario MPP Cheri DiNovo and Science for Peace spokesperson Judy Deutsch.

DiNovo, who spoke about the current campaign to keep Ontario Hydro public, described recent NDP federal and provincial election campaigns as “disastrous”. She called on party members to reclaim the values of democratic socialism. “We have to remember who the hell we are,” DiNovo said.

Conference participants, who came from NDP district associations across Toronto, and from London, Welland, Hamilton, Oakville and Thornhill, were joined on-line by members across the country.

The gathering approved (with minor changes) twenty-five policy resolutions that had been circulated in advance, plus four new resolutions presented on Sunday on the following topics: Reform the Bank of Canada Act, Policy Prioritization by the Membership Prior to Conventions, For a Guaranteed Annual Income, and Put Socialism Back into the NDP Constitution.

Once the entire package of approved resolutions is edited and formatted, it will be posted on the SC web site and forwarded to all SC members. You are asked to present them for adoption at district association, affiliated union and/or youth club meetings.

The conference decided unanimously to urge a Yes vote for a Leadership Review at the April party convention (that is, to remove Tom Mulcair as Leader, opening the way to radical policy change and to make the party much more democratic), and to run a team of SC candidates for the federal party Executive to be elected at the federal convention.

Following an informative report by Turn Left editor Sean Cain about the new SC web site, and on plans for the next edition of the magazine, SC members present pledged $1,100 for the publication which will be distributed at the NDP federal convention. The conference set a fund raising goal of $4,000 — so your donation is urgently needed. Please send it now via PayPal, or by cheque, money order or cash in the postal mail.

The SC federal steering committee is joined by new members Chris Gosse in Newfoundland-Labrador, Elise Palma in Toronto Centre, and Dirka Prout from London, Ontario. Prout is the new SC Women’s Director, and Yasin Kaya is the new SC Youth Director.

Elizabeth Byce, who ably chaired the SC Conference, remains as the SC Treasurer, and Barry Weisleder continues as the SC Male Co-Chair.

The gathering concluded ahead of schedule with a rousing chorus of “The Red Flag”, anthem of the British Labour Party, sung in celebration of the recent and inspiring leadership victory of Jeremy Corbyn.

2015 NDP Socialist Caucus Conference Agenda
December 5, 2015.

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Registration: $5.00 (or PWYC)
Held at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
252 BLOOR ST. WEST, Room 5-250, at St. George Subway Station

10 a.m.
Energy Policy for the Future

“Why and How to keep Ontario Hydro public” with speaker Cheri DiNovo, NDP MPP Parkdale-High Park, and “Is the Alberta govt’s ‘new energy policy’ good enough?” with speaker Judy Deutsch, member of the Board of Directors, Science for Peace.

Noon Lunch break

1 p.m.
Policies, tactics and strategy for the Federal NDP Convention in Edmonton, Alberta, April 8-10, 2016

Barry Weisleder, chair, Socialist Caucus. We will discuss how to advance socialist policies prior to, and at the convention, including via resolutions, an SC forum, briefing reports for delegates, and the campaign for a leadership review.

3:00 p.m.
Turn Left Magazine – Sean Cain, Editor

3:30 p.m.
Selecting our Socialist Caucus Candidates for Federal NDP Executive

The Executive is elected at the Federal NDP Convention.

4:15 p.m.
Welcoming new members to the Socialist Caucus Steering Committee.

5 p.m.
Adjournment. Social at a nearby pub.

The conference will be live-streamed via the internet. For more information, e-mail [email protected] or call 416.535.8779.

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