Aboriginal Workers & Workers of Colour Conference

Port Elgin, Ontario

November 30, 2000

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Aboriginal/Workers of Colour Conference
Aboriginal/Workers of Colour Conference
dated November 30, 2000

Aboriginal/Workers of Colour Conference
Port Elgin Ontario, November 24, 2000
The 122 delegates attending the third Aboriginal / Workers of Colour Conference at the Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario were given a warning and a call to arms by the executive vice president of the Canadian Labour Congress, Hassan Yussuff.

Hassan Yussuff
Executive Vice President CLC

"We are about to get back to the 1930's. We're about to get back to where it is them and us. We're going to be poor and they're going to be rich.
They will have a health care program and we won't have one. When we become unemployed we'll be begging on the streets for food rather than getting unemployment benefits. And, when we become old, we will just die because there is no program anymore. We can't allow them to do this! The struggle for the last century has been too important.
Working people have sacrificed, died, and fought the stupid wars that the ruling class created.
We can make a difference. You can make a difference. But you've got to take some responsibility. You have to get off your ass and get involved and don't give me your excuses."

The delegates accepted the challenge. They spent the next two days in intense discussions at workshops which dealt with issues of racism. They included the political economics of racism, harassment in the workplace, racism in the mass media, and how to build a caucus to advance the fight against racism and harassment.

The passion of the debate in the workshops underlined the progress the workers of colour have made since the last conference was held. Jenny Ahn, one of the work shop leaders, pointed to the fact that most of the workers attending were in leadership positions in their own locals.

Jenny Ahn
Pres. CAW Local 40

"We're still challenging our own union to continue to address the issues of workers of colour and to fight anti-racism and harassment.
So I think that we will continue with that struggle and that challenge to ensure that our union stays progressive.
I think that also we will take on the struggle or making sure that there is representation within our union, whether it is to elected-positions, or appointed positions. And I think on a broader level there has to be still a lot of work addressing the racism that still exists."

In addition to examining the issues of racism, the delegates developed strategies to continue the growth and development of aboriginals and workers of colour.

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."

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