Harris Retreat Retrospective

October 21, 1997


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Harris Retreat Retrospective
Harris Retreat Retrospective
dated October 21, 1997

Harris Retreat Retrospective

In recent weeks the Mike Harris government in Ontario has been retreating. It amended Bill 136, removing the ban on the right to strike, and Premier Harris sacked his Education Minister. This is not just a case of a government trying to get ready for an election in 2 years; it's a result of people fighting back.

Sam Gindin,
CAW Director of Research


"
We recognized that you have to fight back, we've got no choice but to fight back and people began to mobilize, and we began to mobilize with the community. You saw the labour movement, leading a movement that was much broader and saying, wait a second we're the ones that really represent the needs of the community and what's good about the community, not the corporations and not the Harris government."

The impact of the Days of Action and other protests is not just about defeating the Harris Government and its agenda.

Sam Gindin,
CAW Director of Research

"I think there is something much more important in all of this, and this is that sense that no matter what government is in power we have to keep fighting and pushing, we can't just leave it to governments. And we can't just step back. I think what has changed is that people recognize that what democracy means is that we have to be constantly active. We have to broaden the debate all the time."

Labour is leading the way, in Ontario; across Canada; and around the world.

Sam Gindin,
CAW Director of Research

"What you see around the world happening is that people are starting to fight back. You see it in the demonstrations in France, in South Korea and Brazil. One of the things I think people in the labour movement should be proud of is in all those cases that fight back isn't being led by political parties, who presumably that's their job, it's actually being led by workers and their unions, and then of course it's very important to get the politics into this."

The successful mobilization of the public against the Harris government is ground for optimism about the future.

Sam Gindin,
CAW Director of Research

"You've got high school students who have really been active; there are more high school students out in each of the Days of Action then there were in the previous one. It just kept growing in terms of participation by high school students, and we see high school students playing a very active and, in some cases, a leading role on what's happening to our educational system. So I'm optimistic about people generally fighting back and I'm particularly optimistic when I see what's happening with young people."

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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