Left unity in action took a step forward in Toronto on May 26 with the first of several upcoming public meetings across the country on the topic “Convention 2016, the Leap Manifesto, and the NDP Leadership Race. What should the Left do now?”
The public forum, sponsored by Momentum, the NDP Socialist Caucus, and prominent members of Renew NDP, and NDPers for the Leap Manifesto, brought together over 40 party activists to the University of Toronto.
Elizabeth Byce, a retired member of CUPW and the Treasurer of the NDP Socialist Caucus, chaired the meeting and introduced the speakers:
- Crystal Sinclair, indigenous activist, member of Idle No More, and one of the initiators of the Leap Manifesto
- Barry Weisleder, chairperson, NDP Socialist Caucus
- Timothy Ellis, Renew NDP supporter, President of Etobicoke Lakeshore NDP, and Bernie Sanders organizer
- Guy Fogel, NDP Momentum, administrative committee member
- Hans Modlich, NDPers for the Leap Manifesto, web site manager
Each speaker took up to 7 minutes to address the topic. Several brought different philosophical approaches and political emphases to bear, but all agreed on the need to win the NDP to No More Pipelines, to reduce society’s fossil fuel dependancy, to reject austerity, and to strive for greater democracy in the party.
A lively open floor discussion followed in which over a dozen people participated. They included Turn Left editor Sean Cain, Martin Lukasc from the Leap Manifesto writers’ group, OPSEU Local 532 President Julius Arscott, long-time peace activist Eryl Court, High Park NDP member Kathleen Smith, Momentum coordinator Jason Baines, and Thornhill NDP President John Orrett.
At the end, the meeting adopted the following resolution: “Resolved that this meeting endorse the Leap Manifesto, promote it in the NDP, labour unions and beyond, and work to find a candidate we can support for NDP leader, preferably a socialist, social democratic, anti-austerity candidate.”
In addition, ten people volunteered to work together to implement the motion. In a collection, participants contributed over $80 to cover meeting expenses and to advance the ongoing cause.
The next joint NDP Left meeting is set to take place in Montreal on May 27, in Vancouver on June 2, and in Hamilton, Ontario on June 13 (7 p.m. at the George Hamilton Restaurant near the corner of King and Bay Streets).
Plans for such meetings are also being made in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; in Kingston and Thornhill, Ontario; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Calgary, Alberta, and a second meeting soon in Edmonton.