ON THE CLC CONVENTION
25th Convention of the Canadian Labour Congress
was held in Toronto in the last week of May, 2008. Some 1800
delegates from across Canada convened in Labourís
parliament to chart a course for the next three years.
Over five days, the convention adopted position
papers covering key issues:
: Growth and Strength
Change and Green Jobs: Labourís Challenges and
Growing Gap : Inequality, Poverty and the Fight for
Womenís Economic Equality
Agenda for Good Jobs
the convention, a series of presentations provided solid
background to a number of key economic and social justice
will be a Structural Review carried out by a special task
force which may suggest changes to how the CLC functions,
including the role of provincial federations of labour and
labour councils. A focus on raiding was added due to
pressure from a number of Ontario leaders.
the lead-up to the convention, this Labour Council initiated
the “Action Agenda Ė Building Labour Power in the 21st
Century”. It was endorsed by a number of other labour
councils, and distributed to all delegates. A packed Action
Agenda Forum took place on the Sunday to highlight
groundbreaking struggles across the country as inspiring
examples of building labour power.
eleven resolutions of the Action Agenda were incorporated in
either the position papers or resolutions endorsed by the
Convention. The delegates supported a major effort around
organizing, including looking at a new role for the CLC in
organizing efforts. They
also endorsed the need for a coordinated campaign to win
card-check in every province, and to tackle issues of
precarious employment including migrant and temp agency
work. Womenís equality was highlighted, and political
action confirmed support for the NDP along with issues
campaigning and a focus on municipal work.
response to the looming economic crisis included calling for
renegotiating NAFTA, and regaining control of Canadaís
energy supplies by nationalizing the oil industry. However, in the wake of massive layoffs in the
manufacturing sector, the proposals seemed to lack the
militancy that many felt are necessary to take on corporate
fact, the crucial question coming out of this convention is
“how to make it real”.
Will the major affiliates agree to invest their
resources, staff and leadership time to get behind mass
campaigns and seriously build collective labour power?
Will the re-elected CLC officers capture the sense of
urgency expressed by the delegates and inspire the
affiliates to put aside differences and work on transforming
dialogue initiated through the Action Agenda clearly needs
to continue. Across Canada, unions in very different
circumstances have shown the ability to carry out
extraordinary campaigns, often defying the odds to gain
victories for working people.
By continuing to assert that boldness matters and
risks need to be taken to build real power, we can
contribute to the process of shaping the future of labour in