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It was one of the less well attended quarterly meetings of the Ontario NDP provincial council. And as one delegate put it, it was “one of the whitest council meetings in years.”

An effort by the Socialist Caucus to get the meeting to direct the executive to provide a room for the Socialist Caucus to use during the Saturday lunch break won the support of about a quarter of the voting delegates at the council.

But after shifting from one spot to another, the Socialist Caucus did find an available, empty room (one booked by the party, which party officials neglected to mention to us). So we held an Socialist Caucus forum there on policies for the NDP federal election campaign, and provided a short update on the two strikes by university workers in Toronto.

Amazingly, 15 people found their way to the gathering. Three of them donated a total of $220 to rent a room for the Socialist Caucusforum at the next council meeting, which is expected to occur in June in Toronto.

At the SC forum there was a good discussion of four P’s for the NDP federal campaign platform: Pharmacare, no Pipelines, much more Progressive Taxation, and Palestine (BDS against the Zionist apartheid state). Members supported my proposal that the SC initiate a petition to leader Tom Mulcair in support of our four P’s. I will circulate a draft text very soon.

Most of the emphasis in ONDP leader Andrea Horwath’s presentation on Saturday was on Liberal broken promises, rising fees, the sale of public assets, and how ‘democracy matters.’ But not so much concern for democracy inside the NDP, apparently.

The Treasurer revealed that the Ontario party now has 22,000 members, 6,000 of whom are in PACs (i.e. they give money each month to the NDP through their bank).
Some emergency resolutions passed, one supporting doctor-assisted suicide.

At the Toronto regional caucus, several delegates spoke about the Toronto Area Council decision to organize a big conference to re-launch the NDP as a municipal party. One current city councillor present, Gord Perks, inveighed against the idea, and we answered him. There will be a big fight over this issue – that much is clear.

On Sunday, the OFL report was not delivered by Sid Ryan, as he was busy elsewhere, so it lacked fire and a sharp direction.

The visiting NDP federal president’s report centred on preparations for the October 19 election, on fund raising (quel surprise), along with political themes – above all, an appeal to the “middle class”. The federal NDP has thus far nominated 177 candidates, 41% of whom are women. In Ontario, 57 NDP candidates are nominated. The jet and buses are booked. They’re ready to roll. And the tele fund raisers will keep calling every supper hour.

I asked a question about the four P’s. Got applause for three of the issues. The answer from the front table, to put it politely, was evasive.

During the weekend gathering SC members sold close to $80 in booklets, buttons and press, mostly from a display table in the corridor next to the main meeting room.

In sum: even at a poorly attended NDP provincial council meeting, where militancy is at an ebb, socialists still enjoy significant support.

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