Thursday, February 12, 2009

In support of northern workers

This week Northern Ontario workers in Marathon, Thunder Bay
and Sudbury received devastating news.

The Thunder Bay Chronicle reported that 1,000 laid-off workers
at Buchanan Forest Products' three Thunder Bay lumber mills will
not be getting their severance pay.

The paper also reported 200 workers at Marathon Pulp Inc.
learned on Tuesday their plant is being idled and they are losing
their jobs. This despite an agreement last fall by plant workers
to cut their pay by 12 per cent.

And in Sudbury, the Star reported today that 700 workers laid
off at Xstrata are resigned to not getting their jobs back.

Here are some quotes from these papers about what workers are

From Buchanan:
"Same stuff we've been hearing for years, nothing new," said one
employee on his way out the door.

"I should have just stayed home. It's the same old story –
there is no light at the end of the tunnel," said another.

From Xstrata:

"There's no real hope for this thing to turn around and us get
our jobs back in the next couple of months, or even in the next
year or two, maybe," said miner Darren Anderson, 29.

"I've been laid off, I've got a wife and two kids and we bought
a house when I started (three years ago), so it's going to be
a struggle," Anderson said.

And the Thunder Bay Chronicle reported that workers at Marathon
Pulp were shocked but not surprised as the plant had been
struggling as much as other area mills with high costs and a
slump in product demand.

This is Dalton McGuinty's status quo. It's wrong and it won't
stop until we:

• give northerners control over their economic destiny with a Northern hydro
system and a commitment to keep resource revenue in the North.
• save forestry jobs by embracing a value-added forestry
• Promote new industries for the North such as light-rail

I will be in Thunder Bay Friday morning meeting with workers
representatives because workers need to know that McGuinty's
lack of action doesn't mean there is no hope.

Ontario New Democrats will work with our federal counterparts
in the North to help workers get the severance pay they earned
from Buchanan. At a time when Canadian workers are footing the
bill for billions of dollars given to banks, we will not allow
workers to be denied their severance pay during these tough times.

We have made-in-Ontario solutions to bring down the costs for
small plants like Marathon Pulp to keep workers on the job.

As leader of the Ontario NDP, I will work with our northern
federal counterparts to fight for workers.

I will be in Subury on Sunday, February 15 and Monday morning
when I will meet with workers and their representatives.
Ontario New Democrats are committed to fighting alongside northern
workers to keep their jobs and to help northerners gain more
control over revenue generated from northern natural resources.

Protecting and creating good jobs

Feb. 12, 2009

This week I released my leadership platform based on
protecting and creating good jobs for Ontarians.

I want to thank Wayne Fraser, the elected Director of
District 6 of the United Steelworkers, representing
more than 80,000 Ontario workers, who announced his
support for my campaign.

I made it clear to the media that I am opposed to
McGuinty's plan to abandon manufacturing and forestry
while subsidizing low-wage paying employers.

Instead of acting to save good jobs, Dalton McGuinty
tells workers they’re on their own during these tough

McGuinty's move to abandon Ontarians when they need
government most, shows it's time for real leadership
that will put people first in Ontario.

Here is my plan to keep Ontario working:

* Invest in sector strategies that bring government,
management and workers together to sustain and improve
and create new industries – everything from light-rail
to forestry.

* Provide government investment in companies, or
workers, who are willing to innovate to create
high-value manufacturing and preserve jobs – through
worker ownership, by accepting unionization and
partnering with organized workers, by providing education
and skills development.

* Protect vulnerable workers in low-waged jobs by raising
the minimum wage, expanding enforcement of employment
standards, and protecting the right to organize and bargain

* Reject new proposals for wage insurance and calls to
abandon manufacturing and forestry sectors.

I also made it clear that we do not need another round of
across the board corporate tax cuts. We can’t cut taxes and
expect to invest for the future.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Campaign Trail Tales


January 30:

We made a brief stop in the lovely City of Kingston to meet with NDP Queen’s University students on our way to Ottawa. We had a quick bite at the Grad Club before continuing our trip to Ottawa.

Thank you Alexis White for the invitation to meet with you and your friends. I really enjoyed the wide range of issues we discussed and the sense of hope and enthusiasm we all shared for the re-invigoration of our party.


After battling a brief snow fall we made it to our lodgings in Ottawa. The Capital is beautiful covered in snow and the view of skaters on the Rideau Canal as we drove past was straight out of a greeting card. I had an early night in order to prepare for the leaders debate the next day.


January 31:

I started off the day with a swim, followed by a lovely brunch at one of Ottawa’s many quaint restaurants. Then it was off to the Lord Elgin Hotel for the debate. The turn out was impressive. It’s a great feeling to be looking at a full room of New Democrats of all ages who are engaged in the political process. After the debate I met with some of my local supporters at the Lord Elgin CafĂ©. I really enjoy chatting to people from all walks of life. It was a great way to unwind from the debate, listening to what local Ottawa activists have to say and how they see the future of the party.

February 1:

In spite of the bitter cold in Ottawa, we had a great turn out at my meet and greet brunch at Carmello's restaurant. It was especially warming to see the number of young people who showed up to talk with me. Among them was Natalie Beaudin, president of the Carlton New Democrats, and one of my youngest supporters - Gordie – 2 years old and he’s already canvassed! Thank you all for coming.

The brunch was followed by a fundraiser organized by some of my local supporters. There was some wonderful items donated included hand made finger puppets of all four leadership candidates. It was a great success and not only did we raise some money but I got to meet some great people who are active in the Ottawa community. Thank you all (and Maureen and Andrea in particular) for making this event possible!

February 2:

I had never toured Parliament Hill and was looking forward to our brown bag lunch in one of the meeting rooms in the Confederation building. A number of MPs attended including the 3 Hamilton MPs, David Christopherson, Chris Charlton and Wayne Marston, Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie) and Dennis Bevington (Western Arctic) attended along with numerous staffers. Thank you David Christopherson for giving us a back stage tour of Parliament. Off to Brantford to walk a picket line!