THE CITY WE WANT by dfsdf224s


									                                 Labour Action
                                                                                                             Summer 2010

THE SUMMER OF 2010 has already served up more                 n A framework of democratic governance that enhances
than the usual share of drama and excitement. Most              accountability and engagement of all residents of each
people haven’t focused yet on the upcoming municipal            community.
elections, but the jockeying for position is already taking
                                                                 The fact is that it will take women and men of courage
place. Is there a surprise in the level of support for Rob
                                                              to work for these principles in the face of huge political
Ford’s simplistic tax cuts message? We know it goes
                                                              and financial pressures. The wealthiest citizens may pay
beyond hard-core conservatives to include some union
                                                              lip service to these ideals, but today they are focusing their
members and residents who feel alienated from City
                                                              efforts on an agenda of privatization and outsourcing.
Hall. But we also know what happens when that kind
                                                              Let’s be clear – most employers don’t want City Hall to
of right-wing populism prevails – the devastation and
                                                              play a role around fair wages; most landlords don’t want
turmoil of the Mike Harris years were ample proof.
                                                              anybody helping tenants; and none of the polluters want
   If it is clear what we don’t want, why aren’t
more people raising their voices about the kind
of city we do want? Has the relentless griping
from pundits and wannabe mayors left us with
selective amnesia about our past efforts to
build a livable city? The Labour Council has
been a very strong advocate for the kinds of
policies needed for an incredibly complex city.
There are no shortcuts or simple answers. This
is, after all, Canada’s largest urban centre, an
economic powerhouse with the most diverse
population in the world.
  We need to remind ourselves and our neighbours of
                                                              restrictions on how they do business. A slash and burn
some key elements of a strong Toronto:
                                                              Council would no doubt deliver what they want, while
n A foundation of strong public services, publicly
                                                              turning its back on the most pressing needs of a 21st
  delivered and fully accountable to the residents of
                                                              century Toronto.
  each community.
n A reliable source of revenues for the city government,         This summer we can’t rest while the political forces of
  transit authorities and local school boards.                the right gain momentum. Union activists, community
n A practice of planning and decision-making that             leaders, social justice organizers – all of us need to
  results in environmental sustainability in all aspects      be speaking out about the city we want. We’ve got to
  of both public sector and private sector activity.          network and build connections in our workplaces and
n A commitment to the integrity of decent jobs with           our neighbourhoods. Once Labour Day arrives, there
  fair wages in every sector of the economy.                  will only be a few short weeks when the election outcome
n A goal of social and economic equity that ensures the       will be decided. We all need to be well prepared for that
  prosperity of our cities is shared by all.                  historic challenge.
                                                                                           Labour Action • SUMMER 2010
                                                                                   G20 – The Real Sto
                                                                                                                                   Thousands of people
                                                                                                                                   from all walks of life
                                                                                                                                   marched on Saturday,
                                                                                                                                   June 26th to raise issues
                                                                                                                                   of global importance
                                                                                                                                   while the G20 leaders
                                                                                                                                   were in Toronto.
                                                                                                                                   To see a short video go to
Photos by Judy Vashti Persad and Jessica Bell


                                                Public Inquiry Needed On G20
                                                Labour Council Condemns Both                                                           including journalists, who had nothing
                                                                                                                                       to do with vandalism or violence.
                                                Vandalism And Mass Arrests                                                             Hundreds were arrested and held for
                                                                                                                                       many hours without being allowed to
                                                The Toronto & York Region Labour          condemned the senseless acts of
                                                Council supports the call of the          vandalism that erupted on downtown           notify family or legal counsel. Many
                                                Canadian Civil Liberties Association,     streets, pointing out that the destruction   had merely been bystanders caught up
                                                Canadian Labour Congress and              of windows and vehicles by the Black         in the day’s events.
                                                Amnesty International Canada for an       Bloc drowned out the voices of the              This is the largest mass arrest in
                                                independent inquiry into the actions of   thousands who marched peacefully             Toronto since the infamous bath house
                                                the police forces and the unprecedented   to raise issues of global justice and        raids of 1981 when 286 gay men were
                                                scale of arrests on the June 26/27th      environmental sustainability.
                                                weekend. With over one thousand              However, the extreme response of
                                                people incarcerated, it was the largest   police in clearing streets late Saturday
                                                mass arrest in Canadian history.          and throughout Sunday was clearly an
                                                  During the weekend, the Labour          over-reaction and a violation of the civil
                                                Council issued a media release that       rights of hundreds of women and men,
                                                SUMMER 2010 • Labour Action
ory On The Streets

 swept up by police. It also recalls       aggression against peaceful protesters     intervention? Did the chain of command
 the bitter experiences of immigrant       in the downtown area and outside the       change from one day to the next?
 workers on picket lines such as the       temporary detention centre on Eastern      How could the bill for this rise to the
 Artistic Woodwork strike in the           Ave. Those actions, and the secret         astronomical figure of over $1.2 billion?
 early 1970’s. In both cases, the public   adoption by the Ontario Cabinet of            There was good reason for people to
 response led to a significant change in   extraordinary regulations for arrest,      be in the streets as the leaders of the most
 policing standards.                       set a dangerous precedent for abuse        powerful nations adopted an austerity
    The events of June 26th and 27th       of power and erosion of civil liberties.   agenda that will result in deep cuts to
 require an independent investigation      The Canadian Charter of Rights and         public services and workers standards
 to bring to light every aspect of the     Freedom is supposed to guarantee the       in many countries. There is reason to be
 disturbing images and experiences         rights to freedom of speech, freedom to    concerned that the unacceptable police
 of the weekend. There are numerous        assembly and freedom to exercise our       actions could become a standard practice
 stories coming to light of police         right to peaceful and lawful protest.      in future demonstrations against the
                                              There are other questions that need     impact of that austerity agenda.
                                           to be answered as well. How is it that        That is even more reason why there
                                           the Black Bloc group was allowed to        needs to be full accountability for
                                           roam the streets smashing windows          the decisions made, and a renewed
                                           without any police presence? How did       commitment to safeguard the civil
                                           the police cars get torched without        rights of all Canadians in the future.
                                                                                              Labour Action • SUMMER 2010
                             INTroduCINg...                       2010 muNICIPAL ELECTIoN
                             KrIsTYN                                   ENdorsEmENTs
                             KRISTYN WONG-TAM                   n Joe Pantalone
                            has a great chance to fill the
                            Ward 27 seat being vacated
                            by veteran incumbent Kyle           TORONTO CITY COUNCIL
                            Rae. She has deep roots in          n Cadigia Ali, Ward 2
                            the community, established          n Anthony Perruzza, Ward 8
  through her 23 years experience as a community                n Gord Perks, Ward 14
  activist. She also owns an art gallery on Richmond St,        n Howard Moscoe, Ward 15
  and helped launch the Church Wellesley BIA (Business          n Kevin Bealieu, Ward 18
  Improvement Area). Kristyn is working full time on
                                                                n Adam Vaughan, Ward 20
  the campaign, and already has an impressive number of
  dedicated volunteers, and endorsements including the          n Joe Mihevc, Ward 21
  Labour Council and City Councillor Adam Vaughan.              n Mohamed Dhanani, Ward 26
    Kristyn’s position on key issues reflects the labour        n Kristyn Wong-Tam, Ward 27
  movement’s commitment to building a thriving and              n Pam McConnell, Ward 28
  equitable Toronto. A neighbourhood priority for               n Mary Fragedakis, Ward 29
  Kristyn is improving community housing so that more           n Paula Fletcher, Ward 30
  Torontonians can find affordable housing.                     n Janet Davis, Ward 31
     “I’m the daughter of a unionized hotel worker and          n Sandra Bussin, Ward 32
  a garment worker,” Kristyn says. “I spent much of my          n Shelley Carroll, Ward 33
  early years living in social housing, and that has left a     n Adrian Heaps, Ward 35
  lasting impression on me as a woman. We have a 40
                                                                n Glen DeBaeremaker, Ward 38
  per cent vacancy rate in one of the TCHC buildings in
  my ward because so many apartments are in disrepair.          n Neethan Shan, Ward 42
  We need a champion at city hall to repair our TCHC
  buildings.”                                                   TDSB SCHOOL TRUSTEES
      Kristyn’s interest in worker’s rights led her to become   n Chris Tonks, York South Weston
  the co-chair of the community support committee               n Irene Atkinson, Parkdale High Park
  for the Hotel Workers Rising campaign. But she is             n Maria Rodrigues, Davenport
  also committed to building a strong public sector and         n Adam Chaleff-Freudendthaler, St. Paul’s
  believes in local procurement. “I do not support the          n Cathy Dandy, Toronto Danforth
  privatization of the TTC or Toronto Hydro. It doesn’t
                                                                n Sheila Carey-Meagher, Beaches East York
  make sense to sell our most valuable commodities.
  It’s basically equivalent to selling water and air. I don’t
                                                                n Michael Coteau, Don Valley East
  think corporations can provide better, cheaper service        n Parthipan Kandavel, Scarborough Southwest
  because their goal is to make profit,” she said.              n Sam Sotiropoulos, Scarborough Agincourt
    The Labour Council is committed to making our               n Ashwin Balamohan, Scarborough East
  equity policies real, which means campaigning to
  ensure Toronto City Hall better reflects the ethnic and       For further information and endorsed
  gender demographics of Canada’s largest urban centre.         candidates contact information visit our
  Kristyn is certainly one of the powerful new voices           website at
  needed at City Hall.
                                                                Endorsements for other candidates including
    For more information or to get involved in her
                                                                York Region and TCDSB will be forthcoming
  campaign go to

SUMMER 2010 • Labour Action
                 our                                                           INTroduCINg...
               QuEsTIoNs                                                       moHAmEd
Before Labour Council endorses someone for
City Council, we sit down with them and go
over the key issues for this election. What kind                               MOHAMED DHANANI
                                                                                is the city council candidate
of questions do we ask? We want to know about
                                                                                for Ward 26. Mohamed’s
their participation in the local community, and                                 priorities are local economic
their priorities for the ward after the election. A   development, improving access to public services – most
real emphasis is on the role of public services in    notably transit – and environmental sustainability.
our society, and where they stand on alternative         “There are so many issues facing our community’s
financing, contracting out and privatization of       poorer neighbourhoods that aren’t being addressed
public services. Transit is a big ticket item, from   by our current councillor, John Parker,” says Dhanani.
expanding to the suburbs to keeping it affordable     “There are 20,000 people living in Flemingdon
and under public control. And the Fair Wage           Park, yet we don’t have a bank. There are 17 high
                                                      rise condominiums in the Wynford Concord
policy needs updating.
                                                      neighbourhood, but there’s not one playground. These
                                                      are issues that we can fix.”
  Of course we want their views on finding
the balance between fair taxes and the cost of           Ward 26 was also set to benefit from the Transit
                                                      City Plan although construction has been delayed as
services. But there is also a role for the City
                                                      a result of the province’s decision to cut funding. “We
around economic development, protecting or            need to invest in public transit infrastructure so we
creating good jobs in the diverse sectors such as     can connect neighbourhoods like Flemingdon Park to
aerospace, film and green manufacturing.              downtown,” says Mohamed.
                                                         Mohamed stepped down from his job as senior
   And finally, we want to know about what            advisor to the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure
work they have done on equity and human               at Queen’s Park where he helped usher in the visionary
rights, and how they would promote the equity         Green Energy Act. He currently serves as a board
agenda as a City Councillor. There are no simple      director at the Flemingdon Food Bank. The incumbent
answers to running the fifth largest government       John Parker beat Mohamed in 2006 by just 214 votes.
in the country. When you see someone being            A number of other candidates that ran in 2006 are
                                                      supporting Mohamed this time.
endorsed by Labour Council, we have given
a lot of consideration to why they would earn            “The same kind of political climate that brought the
                                                      Mike Harris government in the province is starting
our vote.
                                                      to take hold in the city of Toronto,” warns Mohamed.
                                                      “And John Parker is a former member of the Harris
                                                         Mohamed continues: “We have to make sure that
                                                      we maintain a socially progressive agenda in these
                                                      economically difficult times. People who are concerned
                                                      about equity, fairness, and social inclusion, must come
                                                      forward and vote for candidates who have values
                                                      aligned with theirs.”
                                                        Seems like Mohamed is one of them.

                                                                                Labour Action • SUMMER 2010
 Imagine solar panels being manufactured in the GTA
 and installed on every public building, creating good
 green jobs for all.
                     Toronto Hydro can help make it happen.

 The Good Jobs for All Coalition is calling on Toronto Hydro to:
 linstall solar panels on public buildings;
 lbuy “made-in-Ontario” local green products;
 lencourage solar panel manufacturers to come to Toronto, or help existing manufacturers retool;
 lensure workers of colour and youth from marginalized communities get equitable access to new
  jobs in the green energy sector.

 Take Action
 Encourage a public building to partner with Toronto Hydro and go green
 Endorse the campaign at
 Request a speaker
 Tell others about the Green Jobs for All at Hydro campaign

 About us
 The Green Jobs for All at Hydro campaign is a project of the Good Jobs
 for All Coalition, which is an alliance of over 40 community, labour, social
 justice, youth and environmental organizations. The coalition campaigns
 for a just society with healthy communities, a sustainable economy,
 strong public services, equity, and decent work for all.

                                                 Judy Vashti Persad
                                           Good Jobs for All Coalition
                                                 416-441-3663 X 224

SUMMER 2010 • Labour Action
                              “We lost nearly 60,000 manufacturing jobs in
                              Toronto over the past decade. Toronto Hydro has
                              the opportunity to help rebuild our manufacturing
                              sector and revitalize our city.”

                              Carolyn Egan, President,
                              Steelworkers Toronto Area Council

       “Rexdale has the highest unemployment rate in
     Toronto. Creating good green jobs is the lynchpin
    that will turn our community around. All the public
buildings that we own, like our schools and hospitals,
                  can be a part of the green economy.”
    Nigel Barriffe, Rexdale resident, teacher, &
           Good Jobs for All Coalition member

                              “By investing in the green economy and hiring
                              more youth, people of colour, and newcomers,
                              our publicly-owned utility can be a leader in greening
                              our city while building an equitable Toronto for all.”
                              John Camilleri, president of the Canadian
                              Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1,
                              which represents Toronto Hydro workers

    “All my friends work casual jobs at movie theatres
          and restaurants. I have a career. I think other
       young people like me should have careers too.
                  That’s why I support this campaign.”
  Chris Williamson, pre-apprentice electrician
 and graduate of the Building Trades’ Hammer
    Heads program which helps priority youth
                 secure trade apprenticeships
                                                                Labour Action • SUMMER 2010
 Cancel Corporate Tax Cuts To
                              that politicians seem to feel is impolite to mention in mixed company. That
 the G20 leaders left         is that both the federal and Ontario governments are implementing a series
                              of corporate tax cuts that deplete public revenues by billions of dollars
 Toronto agreeing on          every year. So while ordinary Canadians are being told there isn’t enough
                              money for transit or education or health care, the wealthiest companies are
 one main thing —             getting bonus tax cuts.
 an austerity agenda             Even companies that send jobs overseas are rewarded with the lower tax
                              rates. The figures are staggering. Stephen Harper’s corporate tax cuts will
 to reduce deficits           end up depleting federal revenues by nearly $14 billion every
 within three years.          year. How many nurses could be hired for just a fraction
                              of that amount? How does that compare with our country’s
 We have all heard            transit needs, the resources needed to tackle climate
                              change or the partisan cuts to international aid
 about the government         efforts?
 budget deficits in              The Conservatives claim that by cutting tax rates we
                              will help to attract business to this country.
 Canada. The feds and         The flaw in that argument is simple — we
                              already have one of the lowest corporate
 the province have            income tax rates in the industrialized
 massive shortfalls           world. A recent report by global business
                              consultant KPMG compared 10 key
 because of the global        countries, and found that Canada’s rate was
                              the lowest. We are at 12.2 per cent — far less
 recession and money          than the U.S. at 28.3 per cent or Mexico at 28 per
                              cent. When you add other business
 for infrastructure           levies, the difference between us and
 stimulus. Both               the Americans widens even further.
                              So why the rush to give up revenues that
 finance ministers have       most people would want to be used for vital
 appeared numerous               Some might suggest that it is driven by the same
 times to sternly warn        ideology that led to cutting the GST with its massive loss of funds. They
                              would say that the same Jim Flaherty who served as a loyal minister under
 that belts will have         Mike Harris simply wants to shrink government. Or, even more cynically,
                              to create a crisis that will provide the excuse to sell off public assets. Let’s
 to be tightened and          not forget that the outrageous sale of Highway 407 provided the cash
 spending reduced if          needed to balance a provincial budget savaged by tax cuts. Consumers have
                              been paying through the nose ever since.
 we are to tackle the            The trouble with blaming everything on the Conservatives is that some
                              of the provinces are also reducing corporate taxes. Ontario’s will end up
 new fiscal reality.          costing $2.4 billion each year, yet we keep hearing there is not enough

SUMMER 2010 • Labour Action
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                                                                                                                      CANCEL ATE
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                                                                                     Graphic by Patrick Corrigan/Toronto Star

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                                                                                                                                                Labour Action • SUMMER 2010
   Big Issues
                                    Public services
                                    work for all of us
                                    From hospitals to youth programs, libraries to electricity delivery,
                                    subways to home care—our quality of life depends upon good
Good transit for all. Improve       public services. Well-funded and publicly owned services ensure
and expand public transit.
                                    a good life is affordable and achievable for us, our families, and
                                    all Torontonians. Let’s make sure our elected officials support
                                    well-funded public services for all.

                                    Toronto votes for its mayor, city
Our city is not for sale.
                                    councillors, and school trustees
                                    on Monday, October 25, 2010.
Keep our services public
and well-funded.

                                    Who will you support?
                                         Know the candidates                                                         Get involved
Good jobs for all. Decent                Know what they stand for                                                    VOTE!
jobs are crucial for the future.

                                    About us
                                    The Public Services for All campaign is a project of the Good Jobs for All Coalition.
                                    The coalition is composed of over 40 community, labour, social justice, youth and
                                    environmental groups. Since 2008, the coalition has campaigned for a truly just society
                                    with healthy communities, a sustainable economy, strong public services, equity, and
                                    decent work for all.

It takes a city to raise a child.
Investing in each generation
builds an equitable Toronto.                       A C O M M U N I T Y– L A B O U R C O A L I T I O N
Open For Business
Privatization, not higher standards,
the main goal of Canada-EU
free trade talks
BY THE END OF 2010, Prime Minister                            aimed at advancing privatization to benefit their
Stephen Harper hopes to complete a new free                   corporations that dominate the world’s private water
trade agreement with the European Union. The                  markets.
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
will go much further than NAFTA in ensuring that public       Where “Buy Local”
policy at all levels – from your local high school and city   and ethical purchasing fits in
up to the federal government – does not interfere with            The European Union wants any conditions provinces
“trade and investment”. When asked, most Canadians            or municipalities can now put on public spending, such
say we should be trading more with Europe. But trade          as local content rules, environmental or ethical sourcing,
agreements are less about tariffs on imports, and more        or requirements to hire locally – to be potentially
about other government policies that get in the way of        illegal under the new deal with Europe. This is why
business profits.                                             Canadian premiers have been asked to participate in the
                                                              negotiations. It is because their powers, and the powers
There’s money in Canada’s                                     of cities, school boards, health authorities, universities,
public services                                               etc, will be substantially altered or curbed.
   While Canadian companies, including large agriculture
and financial players, are looking for better access          Take Action!
to the European market, EU negotiators are clearly               We must put pressure on Premier McGuinty to reject
after Canadian services contracts, including public           any agreement with Europe that would curtail the right
services. Their goals have not changed since 2002,            to keep important services such as health care and water
when international trade expert Ellen Gould listed the        in the public realm. Municipalities must be consulted
European demands as follows: “It is telling Canadians         on the Canada-EU agreement because they risk losing
that the management of their pension funds should             so much control over how public tax dollars are spent in
be opened up to private firms. It is telling the people       their communities.
of Saskatchewan, Quebec, and British Columbia they
                                                                 We must demand a say in trade agreements that put
should surrender auto insurance services to foreign
                                                              a premium on no-questions-asked corporate profits
companies… People in all provinces with public
                                                              at the expense of all other social goals, including local
monopolies on alcohol sales are being told these should
                                                              democracy itself. Contact your elected representatives
be eliminated.”
                                                              today and tell them that public services, water resources,
                                                              and our ability to set good public policy such as ethical
Europe thirsty for Canada’s water
                                                              sourcing and buying local should not be a part of any
  Europe’s largest and most notorious private service
                                                              trade deal.
providers are its major water companies, including
Veolia and Suez, both of which signed a joint business          For more information go to
“Declaration in Support of a Canada-EU Trade and
Investment Agreement.” The EU’s demands are clearly
                                                                                         Labour Action • SUMMER 2010
                             INTroduCINg...                                           ToroNTo
                             mArY                                                       QuIZ
                             FrAgEdAKIs                        With all the griping by would-be mayors and business
                                                               lobbyists, you’d think Toronto is the worst place to live on
                               the planet. If you can guess the answers to these skill testing
                          MARY FRAGEDAKIS is                   questions, maybe you’re smarter than most of the people
                                                               making news....
                          a city council candidate for
                          Ward 29. A Greek-Canadian
                          and life-long resident of
                                                               1   This year, an international survey of 21 cites said “Toronto
                                                                   leads the study in city livability, with high quality of life and
                                                               health and a diverse population with advanced education. The
  the ward, Mary grew up on Langford Ave, went to              city works well for business, too, offering strength, good value
  Wilkinson Public School and now lives on Floyd Ave.          and, this year, building more skyscrapers than any city except
     Mary has the credentials to run a winning                 Tokyo.”
                                                               How many construction cranes are in Toronto’s skyline today?
  electoral campaign and work as a great progressive                 a) 24             b) 39              c) over 100
  city councillor. She has considerable experience as a
  political fundraiser, manages her own award-winning
  marketing business, and co-founded the Broadview
                                                               2   What percentage of all taxes paid by Torontonians goes to
                                                                   the City?
                                                                     a) 32%         b) 22%            c) 7%
  Community Youth Group, which provides affordable
  educational programs for youth aged four to 12.
     One of Mary’s key priorities is to ensure the city’s
                                                               3   Who said Toronto leads on environmental issues?
                                                                    a) Bill Clinton
                                                                    b) Al Gore
  public services are maintained and kept in public                 c) Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
  control. “These were all paid by the public and selling
  them off for a one-time gain is short sighted and
  serves no one but the corporations who are anxious to
                                                               4   How many kilometers of light rail will be built, mostly in the
                                                                   suburbs, in the Transit City plan?
                                                                     a) 59            b) 82           c) 120
  purchase them for profit making.” she says.
    Mary also sees the value in taking advantage of            5   Who led the fight to have the TTC subway cars built in
                                                                   Canada instead of China?
                                                                    a) Howard Moscoe and David Miller
  the subsidies offered in the Green Energy Act, and
                                                                    b) Dalton McGuinty
  turning public buildings in Toronto into major power              c) Jim Flaherty
  generators through the installation of solar panels on
  roofs. “Locally-based manufacturing and installation
  would also give us the greatest benefit for our
                                                               6  The subsidy for each transit ride in York Region, which leads
                                                                  the way in privatized transit, is $4.55. What is the cost per
                                                               TTC rider?
  investments,” she says.                                            a) $2.20        b) $3.20           c) $.60
     “Good public transit is a very important issue to
  residents in my neighbourhood,” Mary says. “We have
  a good subway line on the Danforth, but residents
                                                               7   Over the past seven years, violent crime in Toronto has:
                                                                    a) Risen dramatically
                                                                    b) Stayed the same
  elsewhere depend upon buses. We need a reliable and               c) Dropped significantly
  affordable transit system so people can get to work,
  including people who work shifts.” Mary believes public      8   True or False?
                                                                     A. Toronto has the highest rate of solid waste diversion
  transit improvements depend upon the provincial and                    for houses in Ontario
  federal governments restoring fair funding.                        B. Toronto has the lowest cost of drinking water
     Ward 29 is set to be a key municipal race. In 2006,                 treatment in Ontario
  the race was decided by just 20 votes. The retiring right-         C. Toronto has the highest rate of library use in Canada
  wing incumbent Case Ootes hopes to be replaced by                  D. Toronto’s property tax rate is higher than Brampton
  Jane Pitfield. But a win for Mary in Ward 29 will also                 or Pickering
  be a win for the labour movement and a progressive                 E. Toronto Community Housing Company houses more
                                                                         people than the population of Prince Edward Island.
                                                                 except D.
                                                                 Answers: 1–c, 2–c, 3–all, 4–c, 5–a, 6–c, 7–c, 8 all true

SUMMER 2010 • Labour Action
YorK rEgIoN LABour AWArds
The first ever York Region Labour Awards social provided a
wonderful opportunity for members of many different unions to
meet each other and honour the efforts of union and community
activists in York Region. Keynote speaker Daniele Zanotti of
the United Way of York Region spoke of the new partnership
forged with the Labour Council, and presented the United Way
Leader Award to Gerry Harrison of OSSTF D16. Labour Council
Vice-President Mike Seaward received the “Julius Deutsch
Labour Veteran Award,” named after the former Labour Council
Executive Assistant who headed up the Council’s initiatives in
the region.
    Other awards included:                                                                Above: Meeting
–   Community Leader – Fa Lim of the PMP Workers;                                         sisters and
–   Equity Leadership – Vinay Sharma, CAW 112;                                            brothers from
                                                                                          other unions was
–   Health and Safety Activist – Doug Dutton, CEP 52;                                     the highlight of
–   Best newsletter – OECTA York Sentinel;                                                the evening.
–   Best website – CAW 112;
–   Highest number of Union Counselor graduates – CUPE 905;                               Left: York Catholic
–   Newly organized workplaces – USW (Sears Warehouse) and                                Teachers receive
                                  ATU 1587 (transit employees).                           best newsletter
                                                                                          award from
                                                                                          Labour Council’s
Photos by John Maclennan                                                                  Ana Fonseca.

LEArNINg From A mAsTEr
In late May, fifty union activists from Labour Council affiliates were
privileged to spend a weekend training with Marshall Ganz, one of the pre-
eminent organizers and social justice teachers in North America. Marshall
started his activism with the civil rights movement in Mississippi, then went
on to join Cesar Chavez in the United Farmworkers. He came to Toronto in
the late 1960s to set up the famous Grape Boycott that forced the growers
to recognize the union in California. Recently he was in charge of all the
training for the local committees of Obama’s presidential campaign.
“Leadership, especially leadership on behalf of social change, often requires
telling a new public story, or adapting an old one: a story of self, a story
of us, and a story of now. A story of self communicates the values that are
calling you to act. A story of us communicates values shared by those whom
you hope to motivate to act. And a
story of now communicates the urgent
challenge to those values that demands
action now.”
                        – Marshall Ganz.

                                                                                Labour Action • SUMMER 2010
                             NEETHAN sHAN
                             The Labour Council is
                             endorsing NEETHAN
                             SHAN’s campaign for city
                             councillor of Ward 42, which
                             incorporates the Malvern
                             region of Scarborough.
    Neethan became involved in community organizing
  soon after arriving in Canada from Sri Lanka as
  a teenager fleeing the ethnic turmoil in his home
                                                               CArE gIVEr AdVoCATE
  country. He has been a champion of human rights,             rECEIVEs PrEsTIgous
  the interests of new Canadians, education reform, and
  poverty reduction strategies for over ten years.
     The Labour Council has worked extensively with            Pura Velasco, former nanny and long-time leader in
  Neethan in his capacity as executive director of the         the fight to win rights for live-in caregivers was the
  Council of Agencies Serving South Asians, which              recipient of the 2010 Bromley L. Armstrong Award.
  advocates for the empowerment of Toronto’s growing           Pura has led demonstrations, organized countless
  South Asian community. Neethan is also a member of the       meetings, sat on federal committees, and performed
  Good Jobs for All Coalition, and is a school board trustee   daring rescues of nannies from abusive employers in
  in York region – a position he has held since 2006.          her two-decade long fight to secure better working
                                                               conditions for caregivers. Last April, the Ontario
     One of Neethan’s goals is to help Ward 42 develop
                                                               government finally committed to regulate Ontario’s
  in an equitable way, by facilitating the development of
                                                               nanny recruiters, ban placement fees on caregivers, set
  local good green jobs – such as the jobs that will be
                                                               up an “abuse hotline”, and enforce labour laws.
  created by expanding the city’s public transit network.
  Neethan also wants to remove barriers to employment               During her presentation speech, Pura declared the
  by providing affordable training and childcare,              award is “not only for me nor for the Caregiver Action
  supporting small businesses, and ensuring that lands         Centre, which I represent. This award should go to the
  zoned for employment are preserved.                          almost 10,000 live-in caregivers who come to Canada
                                                               each year and continue to fight for fair employment
     Public transit is another priority for Neethan.
                                                               and fair immigration policies in this country.”
  “Scarborough has been underserved by public transit
  for many years,” he says. “Someone going from here to
  downtown and back loses four hours a day on transit.”
  The issue of public transit has become an even hotter
  issue since the Ontario government delayed and scaled
  down the construction of the Scarborough Malvern
  Light Rail Line. The revised line will no longer connect
  the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus to the
  subway system, and won’t be completed until 2019,
  making it the last of the seven proposed new lines to
  be up and running.
     Neethan’s success will help infuse more diversity
  into our political system. The current city council does
  not have any South Asian councillors amongst the 44
  seats. If elected, Neethan would be the first Tamil to be
  elected to Toronto City Hall.                                Terri Monture with plaque commemorating Aboriginal labour
                                                               leader Tim Brown.

SUMMER 2010 • Labour Action

                           The Global Picture
                           THE THEME OF THE 2010 Aboriginal/Workers
                           of Colour conference was “International Solidarity for
                           Economic and Racial Justice in the context of a Global
                           Two hundred people participated in workshops and
                           presentations that described the adverse impacts of neo-
                           liberal globalization on the economy, workers’ lives, and the
                           broader society. The conference framed global migration not
                           simply as an issue for or of migrant workers, but rather as a
                           labour market issue that impacts all workers.
                              Since 2008, the number of people entering Canada as
                           temporary workers exceeded for the first time the number
                           of people arriving as permanent residents. This immigration     fosters honest conversations around difficult questions, i.e.,
                           trend is the result of an immigration policy shift that         being critical of immigration policy, without becoming anti-
                           radically re-structures the labour market and the Canadian      (im)migrant worker. And union members were challenged
                           workforce. This is a policy question that goes beyond the       to critically reflect on our organizing practices among
                           interests of migrant workers and                                                               migrant workers in the light of
                           goes directly to the issue of the                                                              two principles: mutual solidarity
                           kind of workforce we want to                                                                   and self-determination by the
                           create and the kind of society we                                                              workers and respecting the
                           will become.                                                                                   agency of workers to empower
                              Two questions come to mind                                                                  themselves.
                           immediately: How will this                                                                     A great panel outlined the key
                           policy favouring temporary                                                                  issues – Aboriginal union activist
                           workers impact on union growth                                                              Terri Monture of the Canadian
                           and the job security of union                                                               Media Guild , Deena Ladd and
                           members; two, what happens                                                                  Beixi Liu of the Workers Action
                           to society when you have a                                                                  Centre, and Chris Ramsaroop of
                           two-tiered workforce where one is paid less than the other      CUPE and Justice For Migrant Workers together with Joel
                           as a matter of principle? These two questions are not simply    Charles describing the struggles of migrant farm workers.
                           about “migrant workers issues”.                                    It became clear that migrant workers issue is a union
                             The conference aimed to provide a safe environment that       issue and a social justice issue – it is in the vested interest
                                                                                           of unions to pay attention to how immigration/migrant
                                                                                           workers policy is expanding precarious work everywhere. It
                                                                                           is clear that we have to affirm our “class solidarity,” rooted in
                                                                                           our common identity as workers: our unity crosses race and
                                                                                           ethnicity, immigration and employment status, industry or
Photos by John Maclennan

                                                                                           occupation, union affiliation, and national or geographical
                                                                                             Thanks go out to the Equity Committee and Labour
                                                                                           Education Centre for helping to lead the way in our
                                                                                           understanding of these crucial issues.

                                                                                                                          Labour Action • SUMMER 2010
City Hall Chambers Packed
For Vote On Toronto Hydro
                                                                 THE GALLERY AT TORONTO CITY HALL was packed
                                                                 on July 6th for the vote on Toronto Hydro. A staff report to
                                                                 the City Council Executive recently recommended asking the
                                                                 provincial government to cancel any taxes that would be paid
                                                                 if the city wanted to sell off its public utility. Instead, Deputy
                                                                 Mayor Joe Pantalone moved a motion explicitly calling for
                                                                 keeping Toronto Hydro in public hands.
                                                                    After hours of debate, his motion passed overwhelmingly
                                                                 with a vote of 30-6. The unrepentant privatizers who opposed
                                                                 Joe’s motion included Karen Stintz and John Parker, but
                                                                 for once they were not joined by Rob Ford. He didn’t say a
                                                                 word. Maybe he read the opinion polls and understood that
                                                                 the public overwhelmingly wants to keep Hydro public.
                                                                 Congratulations to CUPE Local 1 and their many allies who
                                                                 organized a great turnout.

  Corporate Greed Knows No Bounds!
  A recent article from outlined some outrageous examples of corporate activities in the U.S.

       1.   BP is so well connected in Washington that even after being cited for 760 different safety and
            environmental violations, the company still got environmental waivers for the Deepwater Horizon rig
            that has caused the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

       2.   Exxon Mobil made billions in profits, and yet paid not one dime in federal income taxes in 2009.
       3.   Massey Energy was cited more than 2,400 times for safety violations in its mines, but chose not to fix
            potentially lethal problems because low penalties meant it was cheaper to simply keep paying the fines.
            This spring, 29 miners were killed in an underground explosion at a Massey mine in West Virginia.

       4. Michael Taylor was the FDA official who approved the use of Monsanto’s Bovine Growth Hormone
          in dairy cows (even though it’s banned in most countries and linked to cancer). After approving it, he left
          the FDA – to work for Monsanto. Until last year... when he moved back to the government – as President
          Obama’s “Food Safety Czar.”

       5. Top executives at nine major banks including Citibank, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs,
          and Morgan Stanley paid themselves over $20 billion in bonuses just weeks after taxpayers bailed
          them out to the tune of 700 billion dollars.

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