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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tommy Douglas' big dreams

Tommy Douglas' big dreams

Douglas knew how to dream big, championing medicare even when the critics said he'd never succeed.

Wed 24 Mar 2010
By Jack Layton, as published in the Mark
When Canadians voted Tommy Douglas our “Greatest Canadian” in 2004, we honoured a man whose example sets the highest bar for today’s political leaders. A portrait of the preacher from Weyburn hangs in my Centre Block office, watching over every meeting with every delegation from every corner of this country. A momentary meeting of the eyes often brings to mind Tommy’s essential teachings.
“Dream no little dreams,” Tommy would say – then show us how. Medicare is impossible, the world cried out. You’ll never balance Saskatchewan’s budget. The medical establishment won’t allow it. It can’t be done. Then he got it done, through a dramatic team effort sparked by his courage to dream big. That same courage lowered Saskatchewan’s voting age to 18, pioneered public-sector bargaining rights, prototyped public auto insurance, launched a public air ambulance service, and issued a bill of rights – all in Tommy’s first term as our party’s first provincial premier.
Contrast Tommy’s vision with more “modern” leaders whose idea of nation-building is to prop up big business and hope for the best. We need more of Tommy, and less of that. More of that Douglas-style dreaming that’s genetically linked to getting things done.
When he came to Ottawa as the NDP’s first federal leader, Tommy set to work building bridges with Lester Pearson’s minority government. Persistently. Pragmatically. The results became defining aspects of Canadian society – national medicare, the Canada Pension Plan, a world-class affordable housing strategy. That’s why older Canadians aren’t surprised to see today’s New Democrats making minority Parliaments work. We’re learning from the very best.
But Tommy’s example also underlines vital limits on compromise. Forty years ago, I was studying at McGill University when Pierre Laporte was murdered by the FLQ. Like so many, I found myself carried away by the popular impulse to applaud Trudeau’s drastic crackdown on the threat that the FLQ seemed to represent. Then Tommy began powerfully condemning the suspension of civil rights under the War Measures Act – risking terrible ostracism to give sober voice to principle: we mustn’t use fear as a smokescreen to trample basic rights. As the vans plucked hundreds of peaceful separatists from the streets of Montreal, something clicked and I rushed to become a New Democrat.
Dream big. Be pragmatic. Stick to your principles. That’s Tommy’s distinguished example. There’s none better for aspiring young leaders looking to make a positive mark on their country.

Abbotsford NDP Candidate David Murray with Ed Broadbent at Halifax convention

Mr. Kamp Says Middle Class Doing Better Under Harper

Wayne Clark: Mr. Kamp Says Middle Class Doing Better Under Harper

By Wayne Clark. According to Mr. Randy Kamp Maple Ridge MP, the middle class is doing better under the Conservatives! This stands right up there with other outrageous statements by Conservative MPs, for example Canada’s Minister of citizenship, immigration and multi-culturism Chris Alexander who announced “poverty has been eliminated in Canada”. How removed from reality is this government?
Amazing how you can make numbers say anything you want especially if you don’t mind misspeaking a little along the way. First revelation from the Conservative ideological bubble $120,000.00 is not the middle class. I am sure this lower end of the upper class are paying less taxes, the rich are the only people that are paying less, the middle class average family income is from $60,000 to $85,000 dollars and this group is shrinking while the poor and lower middle are growing.
Of course Mr. Kamp doesn’t mention that 1 out of 5 children are living in poverty. Or our First Nations people have had a 2 percent cap on costs since 1996. They are getting the equivalent of .23 cents on the 1996 dollar. Mr. Kamp didn’t mention the 30,000 Canadians sleeping on the street on any given night, or the 16.2% of Canadian people living below the poverty level. As well as all the seniors that are falling into poverty and debt trying to keep their heads above water.
This sham of a government has been playing a giant shell game cutting transfer payments, social programs, medical and anything else for the people and diverting our tax dollars to subsidizing corporations. Any government can download the taxes on to the provinces and then the provinces download them to the municipalities.
Thanks to the Conservative government cutting transfer payments to the provinces for such things as medical, the citizens of BC pay more for MSP than all the corporations pay in corporate taxes in BC. I pay from $35-$65 dollars a month in bridge tolls (TAXES) now, and the corporations get to use the infrastructure I pay for, for literally nothing, not only that but exploit our resources for a pittance, never mind about all the new fees and doubling and tripling of existing fees.
Then you have the nerve to say you have cut our taxes, if you put all the Federal, Provincial, Municipal taxes, fees, tolls the money governments take out of Hydro BCAA, liquor and sales taxes you would find you give by far the lions share of your earnings to the government.
If the real rapidly shrinking middle class is surviving it is only till they run out of credit as Canadians owe more now than they have ever owed, just like their government who has Canada owing $647 billion dollars the largest deficit in Canadian history.
Thanks to the Conservative inept and dangerous economic polices we have a 7 percent unemployment rate , this in spite of about 500,000 million foreign workers doing Canadian jobs. This is destroying unions as they have also destroyed the very organizations that trained our apprentices and journeymen. Companies are quite happy to hire foreign workers for less money than Canadians contrary to Mr. Kamp’s misspeaking. Then we have a .90 cent dollar which I am sure Mr.Kamp will tell you is a good thing and they are trying to get it down to .60 cents and then everything will be wonderful.
Talk about painting an incomplete picture these people do not have even a slight grip on reality.

Wayne Clark is the author of this story and is a Maple Ridge BC resident. He has been a long-time activist and has a regular column in the Pittmeadowstoday

 My name is David Murray and I am currently on City Council in the City of Pitt Meadows British Columbia.
I ran Federally for the New Democratic Party in 2011 in Abbotsford and with the great team we had in place had the distinction of being the only riding in Western Canada that doubled our NDP vote!
I am the Editor of the Pitt Meadows Today Community Online Newspaper which together with its sister papers the Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Langley Today are receiving 250,000 hits a month!

My family goes back to the CCF-NDP party circa October 1935 as my father "Bud" Murray worked on Tommy Douglas's first campaign!

I am a union activist for CUPE and sit as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Fraser Valley District Council and am on the executive board of the Fraser Valley Labour Council (CLC) as the Political Action Chair.

Juno Beach Landing 70 Years Ago

Column: Juno Beach Landing 70 Years Ago

By David Murray. June 6th 1944 saw my father “Bud” Murray land on Juno Beach with his Canadian brothers in France. He was with the second wave of soldiers hitting the beach. The first group that landed got bogged down and took many casualties. My father remembered the first couple of soldiers jumping into the water from the landing craft go down in front of him. Luckily he was able to get a few feet ahead to where there was a couple of pieces of metal he could stand behind and exchange fire from his weapon. He did not realize it , his adrenaline pumping , his left leg had a big piece missing from shrapnel which had exploded just inches from him.
His group was lucky, they had an armoured vehicle land beside them and that gave them some cover. Unfortunately the driver of the vehicle popped his head up briefly, it was within an instant my dad said that a sniper shot him. The commanding officer yelled out, can anyone drive this vehicle . My dad yelled out, still not even realizing that he was wounded said he could drive it. He got in the armoured vehicle , kept the lid down and figured out how to drive this machine.
My dad drove a lot of different tractors on the farm and he could figure out how to drive most vehicles very quickly.
Wave after wave of Canadians hit Juno Beach June 6, 1944

My father was 33-years-old the day he hit Juno. He turned 18 in 1929 which saw the worst economic depression of the last century. He always was amazed, he used to tell me. There was no money anywhere before the war started. The second Canada declared war on Germany there was no shortage of money anymore. This always bothered my father. A man who played pro hockey, rode the rails from coast to coast looking for work , and getting involved politically, first on the On to Ottawa Trek and then working on Tommy Douglas’s winning campaign in October 1935 in Weyburn Saskatchewan.
My dad passed away in 1984, very seldom speaking of his experiences in the war. To all the remaining veteran’s who survived the horrors of this day. Thanks very much from my generation. We owe you all so much!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Unions Have Made A Better Life For All Canadians

Unions Have Made A Better Life For All Canadians

By on March 24, 2014
David Murray
By David Murray. I was at the local gym in Pitt Meadows today working out. I overheard a conversation from a young man who was talking to a young lady. He was telling her that he was doing all the work and the older guys, twice his age were doing nothing. He was saying that he hated working for a union.
I guess it would be hard to blame him in some ways. After all he was all of 22 years old! His generation has not seen much positive press about belonging to a union. When the B.C. Liberals took over the government in 2001 approximately 44% of all workers belonged to a union. Today sad to say it is only 26%. 2001-to 2014 , that is a couple of generations for a young worker.
I went up to him and started talking to him. I was interested in why he had such a bad opinion about unions.
He went on to tell me that at his job , there are two-tiers. Workers with benefits and young workers with little or no benefits (medical-sick leave-etc). Most of his generation are not getting 40 hours a week. A lot of them are working part-time and have to get a job somewhere else. This makes it hard to participate in a lot of the union activities, meetings etc. (Companies are making it harder all the time for younger workers-With all the new labour language it is getting harder and harder to get union benefits)
After I let him have his say, I agreed that things certainly were not perfect in the union movement. That being said I started to ask him some questions? Did he know that people used to work 10 hours a day and six days a week , with NO overtime. Sunday was the only day they got off. There was no medical plans what-so-ever. No seniority, when you got old and couldn’t do the job any longer you were let go for a younger worker.
There was no work safe policies that all workers enjoy today. Women had it even harder, very low pay, no sexual harassment policy. And of course no child labour laws, kids were in factories working at age 8 and 9.
He didn’t realize that the union movement did so much for workers in the early part of the century.
Why would he? Now a lot of companies when you are being hired as part of your training show you a video on why you do not need to belong to a union.
Plus so many companies have reduced their amount of workers so that low paying contractors can come in and do as much as cheaply as possible. We have a “Free Trade Agreement” with China. This is making it hard to compete for workers. Outsourcing of jobs in our country has reached epidemic proportions.
This has not been the fault of Unions and Canadian workers.
It has been caused by corporate greed! Canadians companies currently are holding billions of dollars in surplus money and not reinvesting it in our country to create jobs or stimulate and grow the economy. It is shameful.
The young man after talking to him for five minutes, thanked me for telling him about the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who toiled and suffered under adverse conditions so we all could enjoy a better life.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mike Farnworth first to cast hat in ring for NDP leadership


Mike Farnworth first to cast hat in ring for NDP leadership

Mike Farnworth first to cast hat in ring for NDP leadership

NDP leadership candidate, Mike Farnsworth, speaks during a debate themed on "youth" issues at SJ Willis school in Victoria on March 31, 2011.

Photograph by: Lyle Stafford , Times Colonist

Christy Clark may have won an election few expected her to win, but Mike Farnworth says he knows a thing or two about winning himself.
Now he’s out to prove it.
“I’m running for leadership of the New Democratic Party,” the veteran NDP MLA told me.
“I don’t believe for a minute Christy Clark is unbeatable. I’m running to be premier — and I intend to win.”
With those words, Farnworth, 54, becomes the first official entrant in the race to replace Adrian Dix as NDP boss and leader of the Opposition in the legislature.
Farnworth, first elected as MLA from Port Coquitlam in 1991, didn’t expect to get another shot at the job after finishing second to Dix in the 2011 NDP leadership contest.
“Like everyone else, I thought we were going to win last May,” he said. “But we didn’t seal the deal.”
Despite a 20-point NDP lead in the polls at the campaign’s start, Clark’s Liberals cruised to an upset victory, forcing Dix’s resignation announcement in September.
How did the NDP blow it? Farnworth points to Dix’s mid-campaign policy flip-flop on the proposed Kinder Morgan oil pipeline.
Dix maintained for more than a year that he was neutral on the Alberta-to-Burnaby pipeline, pending the outcome of environmental hearings. Then, out of nowhere, he announced on Earth Day that he was opposed to the $5.4-billion project.
“That was not good,” Farnworth said.
“One day I’m on the doorstep saying one thing to voters, and the next day I have a different message. And it was like, ‘Where did that come from?’”
Farnworth said the so-called “Kinder surprise” threw a scare into voters over the NDP’s ability to manage and grow the economy.
“I think many voters said, ‘Wait a second. Resource development is important and these are our jobs,’” he said.
“It allowed the Liberals to characterize us as a party without an economic vision.”
He said that’s why he wants to be an NDP leader who supports jobs and economic growth.
“We can’t be perceived as the party of ‘no’. Otherwise, the people of this province, especially in the Interior, will just say ‘no’ to us again.”
He said he personally still supports the NDP’s original position on Kinder Morgan — neutral, pending the outcome of environmental hearings — putting him offside with the party’s current stand against the project.
Farnworth also criticized the NDP’s “positive” election campaign, saying the party should have fought back harder against the Liberals’ negative attack ads.
“I admire what Adrian did in terms of having a positive vision for the NDP,” he said.
“But we didn’t fight hard enough to hold the Liberals accountable for their record on things like the HST.”
Does that mean he would run negative ads next time?
“You know that’s what the Liberals are going to do and you have to fight fire with fire,” he said. “If I’m leader, we will never fight an election campaign with one hand tied behind our backs.”
By the time that next election rolls around in 2017, the Liberals will have been in power for 16 years.
Farnworth said the party can break the dynasty by beating the Liberals in Lower Mainland suburbs, where the New Democrats were badly beaten in May.