Health Care and Political Responsibility
June 10, 1999
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The 800 delegates at the CAW Collective Bargaining and Political Action Convention in Toronto debated how best to advance the cause of working people within the political arena.
The issue of strategic voting in the recent Ontario election was raised by some delegates. CAW President Buzz Hargrove said it was simplistic to claim strategic voting lead to the NDP's poor showing. He urged delegates to help the party return to its roots.
CAW National President
"I wrote a book about what I think our party has to do to get back to its roots and to develop a strategy and a program and policy that will appeal to the traditional constituencies of our party which have grown enormously."
Hargrove said the party needs to reach out to workers, seniors, the poor and destitute and the many others who have been impacted by the right wing agenda.
One of the guest speakers at the convention, Dennis McDermott, former Canadian Director of the UAW, reminded the delegates of the proud Canadian heritage they share and urged them to resist the Americanization of Canada.
Former UAW Canadian Dir.
"I thank you for the privilege of being here and joining in common cause with people of many diversities. In common cause for the greatest cause of them all, the welfare of the total human family. That's what we are all about and I am proud to be part of it."
Shirley Douglas, daughter of Tommy Douglas former federal NDP leader who led the fight to establish universal health care in Canada, warned the convention that Canada's health care system has been under constant attack since Ottawa abandoned the equal funding formula without consulting the people.
Health Care Activist
"This is not how you run an agreement with people. We agreed fifty cents from the feds, fifty cents from the provinces and we will be able to achieve our health system. From there, the down loading, the privatization, the user fees- we are in a spiral my friends that if we don't do something very dramatic and very soon, we will see the end to our health care system."
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."