Posted: Monday, 9 May 2011
Hundreds of delegates and labour activists came together for an evening of solidarity, spectacular entertainment and challenging words on Sunday at the Human Rights Forum.
Following greetings from CLC Secretary-Treasurer Hassan Yussuff, delegates were treated to a mesmerizing, high-energy performance of traditional aboriginal hoop dancing by three-time world champion Alex Wells.
Keynote speaker Haroon Siddiqui later challenged the audience to recognize that while the Conservative Party has earned the right to govern by virtue of its own winning “divide and conquer” strategy, it is the labour movement’s responsibility to hold the government accountable.
“While Canadians have conferred a majority mandate on Mr. Harper, they have not crowned him King of Canada; he said himself on election night that he intends to be Prime Minister for all Canadians. Your job is to make sure that he is,” said Siddiqui.
The award-winning journalist challenged activists in the room to match Conservative strategies with new strategies of their own, including modern tactics that engage people where they live and work.
The CLC’s Yussuff acknowledged the hard work and dedication of several trade union activists who are retiring from their roles as Equity Vice Presidents: Sonia Reynolds (SEIU) and Philip Paul (CAW) from Workers of Colour; Darren Patrick (COPE) from Aboriginal Workers; Victor Elkins (CUPE) from Solidarity & Pride; and Lynn Taylor (CUPE/HEU) from Workers with Disabilities.