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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!