Report from David Bush, CLC convention delegate and RankandFile.ca editor
Day 3 of the CLC convention started off with the all-candidates debate at 8am. This debate only happened because a motion from the floor to amend the agenda to include a debate passed overwhelmingly on the first day.
Husseini withdraws from presidential race
The biggest development of the day happened during the opening of the debate when Hassan Husseini withdrew his candidacy for president of the CLC and threw his support behind Hassan Yussuff. Husseini stated that Yussuff’s campaign has moved closer to his vision of the building a fighting labour movement on the ground. Earlier, during the Husseini caucus there had been a good debate about whether to withdraw and support Yussuff or stay in the debate.
The Husseini campaign was never just about the vote. It was a space to start to (re)build a labour left network. The vote was simply a tactical question, not a point of principal. By taking it to a vote there was a danger in splitting the supporters of Husseini, especially those most rooted in the labour councils and among the handful of national unions that supported his campaign. By withdrawing Husseini probably preserved the largest base of supporters willing to build some sort of organization or network after the convention.
There was also a danger that the Husseini campaign would be blamed if Georgetti wins on the first ballot. It would be an unfair accusation but one that would stick. The reality is that the convention seems split and the Husseini camp needed to show in public that momentum was swinging to the non-Georgetti camp. The debate was the only time the Husseini campaign could have effectively done so before the election.
Maybe it was the wrong tactical play. Time will tell. But in the circumstances, to withdraw and support Yussuff at the debate was perhaps the best chance at preserving the widest possible network of people who would be interested in organizing along progressive lines at the CLC, and more importantly at the affiliate level.
It is hard to say who won or lost the debate because few substantive issues were actually debated.
After Husseini endorsed Yussuff the convention floor erupted in chanting, but when the excitement died down we were all treated to a yawn-fest of a debate. It is hard to say who won or lost the debate because few substantive issues were actually debated.
Resolutions, Campaigns and Canada Post
After the debate the rest of the day spent voting on various resolutions such as supporting young workers, taking a strong position against the violence against aboriginal women and girls, and opposing the cuts at Canada Post.
The resolution on violence against aboriginal women elicited some of the most powerful comments and speeches from the floor.
The posties fired up the crowd calling on all unions to support their fight. Sid Ryan, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour also took a shot at other unions and the CLC saying that our national leaders and unions have left the CUPW to fight alone.
why wouldn’t we plow millions of dollars of ads and organizers into the first 11 communities being targeted by Canada Post for the elimination of home mail delivery?
One wonders if we are spending millions on a Together Fairness Works campaign, why we wouldn’t plow millions of dollars of ads and organizers into the first 11 communities being targeted by Canada Post for the elimination of home mail delivery? From the convention floor, postal workers have argued that this is a winnable fight if fought by all of labour, tooth and nail. But perhaps having a coherent strategy involving actual organizing is asking too much from the Together Fairness Works campaign.
There were two other notable developments which RankandFile.ca is looking to follow up on. One is the fight over the future of labour councils. There are major difference which didn’t quite make it out to the floor over how much power should labour councils have in the CLC. The second was international solidarity forum where an organizer from Bangladesh talked about creative ways they are organizing and how people in this country show solidarity.