Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Warren Kinsella and the JDL

One of the ironies of the past week is that Meir Weinstein, the leader of the Jewish Defence League of Canada and former North American spokesperson for the banned Kach movement, has called for George Galloway to be banned from Canada as a terrorist apologist. Hence you have a bona fide terrorist apologist, Meir Weinstein, calling someone else a terrorist apologist. Well, I guess it takes one to know one. Kach has been listed by the US State Department as a terrorist organization since 1994 and has been banned by Canada since 2005.

How is Weinstein an apologist for terrorists? Well back in 1994 Kach and JDL member Baruch Goldstein shot and killed 30 Palestinians at Hebron's Cave of the Patriarchs. Weinstein, using the pseudonym of Meir Halevi and in his capacity as Kach's North American spokesperson was asked about this by the media. Weinstein told Canadian Press ""[o]ur organization does not condemn the attack. It condemns the Israeli government for not providing adequate protection for settlers."

This leads us to our second irony of the week, Liberal aide and one time anti-racist Warren Kinsella spoke last night at a meeting organized by the JDL as a surprise guest. Kinsella hinted at this yesterday on his blog but it seems he was too embarassed to actually name the organization that called the meeting describing it only as a "Zionist group".

Now what would possess Kinsella to share a platform with a man who has been an apologist for terrorists and who, until recently, belonged to a Facebook group called מוות לערבים (mavet l'aravim) which means "Kill the Arabs" in English? Has he gone completely mad? If he was simply naive and was somehow bamboozled from Weinstein he should say so publicly and apologise. Otherwise, we're left with no other conclusion than that Kinsella has completely lost whatever political judgement he once had. Who in their right mind would associate themselves with a group that has advocated genocidal murder?


Apparently Kinsella and or apologists are now trying to tell BCL that the event was not a JDL meeting but a "public meeting at the Zionist Centre". Well that's being too cute with the truth. Yes, it was a public meeting at the Toronto Zionist Centre, but it was organized by the Jewish Defence League, featured Meir Weinstein, head of the JDL, and was billed as a JDL meeting on the JDL website.

If that's not bad enough Weinstein, in a comical appearance on Britain's Channel 4 news, showed his fascist colours by saying that if Galloway's tour organizers attempted to pursue a plan to allow Galloway to speak to planned meetings via webcast or some sort of closed circuit broadcast the JDL "will see to it that the Canadian government will be monitoring every individual and organization that will have anything to do with it” and also called for anyone associated with the Galloway tour to be investigated. Kinsella is supposed to be a liberal. Does he support the police state tactics Weinstein is advocating?

Finally, one can't forget that the JDL is a terrorist organization.
From Wikipedia:
In its report, Terrorism 2000/2001, the FBI referred to the JDL as a "violent extremist Jewish organization" and stated that the FBI was responsible for thwarting at least one of its terrorist acts. The National Consortium for the Study of Terror and Responses to Terrorism states that, during the JDL's first two decades of activity, it was an "active terrorist organization." The JDL was specifically referenced by the FBI's Executive Assistant Director Counterterrorism/Counterintelligence, John S. Pistole, in his formal report before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. While the consortium writes that the JDL does not currently engage in terrorist actions, according to The Washington Post, both active and former JDL leaders currently serve as primary fundraisers for the outlawed Israeli terrorist group Kahane Chai.Washington Report on Middle East Affairs has compiled a long list of mainstream sources it says show a thirty year history of JDL terrorism on U.S. soil, as well as its association with Kahane Chai.
And before anyone says that Canada's JDL has nothing to do with the US JDL take a look at this.

Really, if someone set up Al Qaeda Canada would anyone take seriously claims that this Al Qaeda has nothing to do with the others?

For more on Weinstein's neo-McCarthyite call against Galloway's defenders see this post on Dr. Dawg's Blawg.

Dawg has also written on Weinstein's Facebook shenanigans and his on again, off again, "facebook friendship" with Peter Kent which raises another point: if even Peter Kent knows enough to shun Weinstein how can Kinsella be so daft as to accept a speaking engagement from him?
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Friday, 20 March 2009

Kenney vs Velshi

Reading the New York Times' lexicological take on Canada's decision to bar British anti-war MP George Galloway from entering our fair land, I'm left wondering about the dynamics in the relationship between Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney and his aide Alykhan Velshi. It's quite clear who the brains is in the outfit. Velshi reaches back three centuries to find what he feels is the right word to describe Galloway as an "infandous street corner Cromwell." Infandous, which according to the Oxford English Dictionary hasn't been used in English since 1708, means something approximating 'unspeakable' or 'too odious to be mentioned'. Meanwhile Kenney, in an interview with Channel 4 News in Britain was somewhat less articulate telling the presenter that he isn't going to let Galloway "pee on our carpet". Kenney's language better reflects the actual thought processes of the government as the decision to bar Galloway from entry is infantile. Of course, we shouldn't assume that Velshi's seeming ability to find just the right arcane word is a result of a love of language - it may be the product of a love of death metal which, given our government's ideology, is not out of the question.
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Monday, 16 March 2009

Jewish Canadians Concerned about Suppression of Criticism of Israel

PLEASE POST THIS ON YOUR BLOG - FIGHT THE MYTH THAT THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IS A MONOLITH
This statement was rejected by both the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail (as an op-ed). Please help this important statement get into broad circulation - pass it on to your networks (faculty, community, MPs, university presidents, unions etc.). You may also wish to write to the Star and Globe and express your dismay that they have chosen not to publish it.

Over 150 Jewish Canadians signed a statement expressing their concerns about the campaign to suppress criticism of Israel that is being carried on within Canada. The signatories include many prominent Canadians, including Ursula Franklin O.C., Anton Kuerti O.C., Naomi Klein, Dr. Gabor Mate, and professors Meyer Brownstone (recipient of Pearson Peace Medal), Natalie Zemon Davis, Michael Neumann, and Judy Rebick. *

The signatories are particularly concerned that unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism deflect attention from Israel’s accountability for what many have called war crimes in Gaza. They state that B’nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress have led campaigns to silence criticism of Israel on university campuses, in labor unions and in other groups. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff unquestioningly echo the views of these particular Jewish organizations.

They strongly state that they are against all expressions of racism. While firmly committed to resisting any form of prejudice against Jewish people, their statement explicitly states that these spurious allegations of anti-Semitism bring the anti-Communist terror of the 1950s vividly to mind.


The statement underlines the immeasurable suffering and injustice to the
Palestinian people due to the severe poverty, daily humiliations, and military invasions inflicted by the State of Israel.

James Deutsch, M.D., Ph.D.

Judith Deutsch, M.S.W., R.S.W.
Miriam Garfinkle, M.D.

Statement: Jewish Canadians Concerned about Suppression of Criticism of
Israel

We are Jewish Canadians concerned about all expressions of racism, anti-Semitism, and social injustice. We believe that the Holocaust legacy "Never again" means never again for all peoples. It is a tragic turn of history that the State of Israel, with its ideals of democracy and its dream of being a safe haven for Jewish people, causes immeasurable suffering and injustice to the Palestinian people.

We are appalled by recent attempts of prominent Jewish organizations and leading Canadian politicians to silence protest against the State of Israel. We are alarmed by the escalation of fear tactics. Charges that those organizing Israel Apartheid Week or supporting an academic boycott of Israel are anti-Semites promoting hatred bring the anti-Communist terror of the 1950s vividly to mind. We believe this serves to deflect attention from Israel’s flagrant violations of international humanitarian law.

B’nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress have pressured university presidents and administrations to silence debate and discussion specifically regarding Palestine/Israel. In a full-page ad in a national newspaper, B’nai Brith urged donors to withhold funds from universities because "anti-Semitic hate fests" were being allowed on campuses. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff have echoed these arguments. While university administrators have resisted demands to shut down Israel Apartheid week, some Ontario university presidents have bowed to this disinformation campaign by suspending and fining students, confiscating posters, and infringing on free speech.

We do not believe that Israel acts in self-defense. Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid, receiving $3 million/day. It has the fourth strongest army in the world. Before the invasion of Gaza on 27 December 2008, Israel’s siege had already created a humanitarian catastrophe there,
with severe impoverishment, malnutrition, and destroyed infrastructure. It is crucial that forums for discussion of Israel’s accountability to the international community for what many have called war crimes be allowed to proceed unrestricted by specious claims of anti-Semitism.

We recognize that anti-Semitism is a reality in Canada as elsewhere, and we are fully committed to resisting any act of hatred against Jews. At the same time, we condemn false charges of anti-Semitism against student organizations, unions, and other groups and people exercising their
democratic right to freedom of speech and association regarding legitimate criticism of the State of Israel.

Signatories:

Abigail Bakan, Adam Balsam, Sharon Baltman, Julia Barnett, Lainie Basman, Jody Berland, Sam Blatt, Geri Blinik, Anita Block, Elizabeth Block, Sheila Block, Hannah Briemberg, Mark Brill, Stephen Brot, Meyer Brownstone, Eliza Burroughs, Smadar Carmon, Gyda Chud, Charles P. Cohen, Nathalie Cohen, David Copeland, Natalie Zemon Davis, Eliza Deutsch, James Deutsch, Judith Deutsch, Abbe Edelson, Jack Etkin, Elle Flanders, Danielle Frank, Ursula Franklin, Dan Freeman-Maloy, Miriam Garfinkle, Alisa Gayle, Jack Gegenberg, Mark Golden, Brenda Goldstein, Sue Goldstein, Cy Gonick, Marnina Gonick, Rachel Gotthilf, Amy Gottleib, Kevin A. Gould, Daina Green, Lisa Frances Greenspoon, Ricardo Grinspun, Cathy Gulkin, Rachel Gurofsky, Deboran Guterman, Yesse Gutman, Freda Guttman, Judy Haiven, Michael Hanna-Fein, Jean Hanson, Jan Heynen, Maria Heynen, Adam Hofmann, Jake Javanshir, Jeannie Kamins, Marylin Kanee, Howard S. Kaplan, Gilda Katz. Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta, Mira Khazzam, Bonnie Sher Klein, Mark Klein, Martin Klein, Naomi Klein, Joshua Katz-Rosene, Ryan Katz-Rosene, Judy Koch, Anton Kuerti, Jason Kunin, Aaron Lakoff, Michael Lambek, Natalie LaRoche, Richard Borshay Lee, Andy Lehrer, Gabriel Levin, Gabriel Levine, Joel Lexchin, Kim Linekin, Abby Lippman, Lee Lorch, Martin Lukacs, Audrey Macklin, Elise Maltin, Richard Marcuse, Wayne Mark, Gabor Mate, Arthur Milner, Anna Miransky, Dorit Naaman, Joanne Naiman, Neil Naiman, Michael Neumann, David-Marc Newman, David Noble, Clare O’Connor, Robin Ostow, Andre W. Payant, Jenny Peto, Simone Powell, Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Fabienne Presentey, Yacov Rabkin, Diana Ralph, Naomi Rankin, Judy Rebick, Ester Reiter, Jillian Rogin, Richard Roman, Joseph Rosen, Herman Rosenfeld, Martha Roth, Marty Roth, Ruben Roth, E.Natalie Rothman, B. Sack, Ben Saifer, Miriam Sampaio, Jacob Scheir, Fred Schloessinger, Alan Sears, Shlomit Segal, Edward H. Shaffer, Noa Shaindlinger, Ray Shankman, Eva Sharell, Elliot Shek, Sid Shniad, Max Silverman, Samuel Singer, Elizabeth Solloway, Susan Starkman, Greg Starr, Jonathan Sterne, Jeremy Stolow, Rhonda Sussman, Vera Szoke, Joe Tannenbaum, Howard Tessler, Marion Traub-Werner, Ceyda Turan, Sandra Tychsen, Cheryl Wagner, Jon McPhedran Waitzer, David Wall, Naomi Binder Wall, Kathy Wazana, Karen Weisberg, Barry Weisleder, Paul Weinberg, Judith Weisman, Suzanne Weiss, Abraham Weizfeld, Ernie Yacub, B.H. Yael, Yedida Zalik, Melvin Zimmerman
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Zionism is the problem

Here's an excellent op-ed from Sunday's LA Times:

Zionism is the problem

The Zionist ideal of a Jewish state is keeping Israelis and Palestinians from living in peace.
By Ben Ehrenreich
March 15, 2009
It's hard to imagine now, but in 1944, six years after Kristallnacht, Lessing J. Rosenwald, president of the American Council for Judaism, felt comfortable equating the Zionist ideal of Jewish statehood with "the concept of a racial state -- the Hitlerian concept." For most of the last century, a principled opposition to Zionism was a mainstream stance within American Judaism.

Even after the foundation of Israel, anti-Zionism was not a particularly heretical position. Assimilated Reform Jews like Rosenwald believed that Judaism should remain a matter of religious rather than political allegiance; the ultra-Orthodox saw Jewish statehood as an impious attempt to "push the hand of God"; and Marxist Jews -- my grandparents among them -- tended to see Zionism, and all nationalisms, as a distraction from the more essential struggle between classes.

To be Jewish, I was raised to believe, meant understanding oneself as a member of a tribe that over and over had been cast out, mistreated, slaughtered. Millenniums of oppression that preceded it did not entitle us to a homeland or a right to self-defense that superseded anyone else's. If they offered us anything exceptional, it was a perspective on oppression and an obligation born of the prophetic tradition: to act on behalf of the oppressed and to cry out at the oppressor.

For the last several decades, though, it has been all but impossible to cry out against the Israeli state without being smeared as an anti-Semite, or worse. To question not just Israel's actions, but the Zionist tenets on which the state is founded, has for too long been regarded an almost unspeakable blasphemy.

Yet it is no longer possible to believe with an honest conscience that the deplorable conditions in which Palestinians live and die in Gaza and the West Bank come as the result of specific policies, leaders or parties on either side of the impasse. The problem is fundamental: Founding a modern state on a single ethnic or religious identity in a territory that is ethnically and religiously diverse leads inexorably either to politics of exclusion (think of the 139-square-mile prison camp that Gaza has become) or to wholesale ethnic cleansing. Put simply, the problem is Zionism.

It has been argued that Zionism is an anachronism, a leftover ideology from the era of 19th century romantic nationalisms wedged uncomfortably into 21st century geopolitics. But Zionism is not merely outdated. Even before 1948, one of its basic oversights was readily apparent: the presence of Palestinians in Palestine. That led some of the most prominent Jewish thinkers of the last century, many of them Zionists, to balk at the idea of Jewish statehood. The Brit Shalom movement -- founded in 1925 and supported at various times by Martin Buber, Hannah Arendt and Gershom Scholem -- argued for a secular, binational state in Palestine in which Jews and Arabs would be accorded equal status. Their concerns were both moral and pragmatic. The establishment of a Jewish state, Buber feared, would mean "premeditated national suicide."

The fate Buber foresaw is upon us: a nation that has lived in a state of war for decades, a quarter-million Arab citizens with second-class status and more than 5 million Palestinians deprived of the most basic political and human rights. If two decades ago comparisons to the South African apartheid system felt like hyperbole, they now feel charitable. The white South African regime, for all its crimes, never attacked the Bantustans with anything like the destructive power Israel visited on Gaza in December and January, when nearly1,300 Palestinians were killed, one-third of them children.

Israeli policies have rendered the once apparently inevitable two-state solution less and less feasible. Years of Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have methodically diminished the viability of a Palestinian state. Israel's new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has even refused to endorse the idea of an independent Palestinian state, which suggests an immediate future of more of the same: more settlements, more punitive assaults.

All of this has led to a revival of the Brit Shalom idea of a single, secular binational state in which Jews and Arabs have equal political rights. The obstacles are, of course, enormous. They include not just a powerful Israeli attachment to the idea of an exclusively Jewish state, but its Palestinian analogue: Hamas' ideal of Islamic rule. Both sides would have to find assurance that their security was guaranteed. What precise shape such a state would take -- a strict, vote-by-vote democracy or a more complex federalist system -- would involve years of painful negotiation, wiser leaders than now exist and an uncompromising commitment from the rest of the world, particularly from the United States.

Meanwhile, the characterization of anti-Zionism as an "epidemic" more dangerous than anti-Semitism reveals only the unsustainability of the position into which Israel's apologists have been forced. Faced with international condemnation, they seek to limit the discourse, to erect walls that delineate what can and can't be said.

It's not working. Opposing Zionism is neither anti-Semitic nor particularly radical. It requires only that we take our own values seriously and no longer, as the book of Amos has it, "turn justice into wormwood and hurl righteousness to the ground."

Establishing a secular, pluralist, democratic government in Israel and Palestine would of course mean the abandonment of the Zionist dream. It might also mean the only salvation for the Jewish ideals of justice that date back to Jeremiah.

Ben Ehrenreich is the author of the novel "The Suitors."
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Sunday, 15 March 2009

In defence of Sid Ryan

Re: Front-page editorial cartoon by Gary Clement, Feb. 24.

It is beyond the pale for the National Post to equate Sid Ryan's stance on Israel with support for the Holocaust. Your vilification of Mr. Ryan is premised on the false proposition that Israel is being singled out and being treated differently because it describes itself as a "Jewish state." The fact is that the union movement has called for sanctions in the past against countries or states that violate human rights. The union movement boycotted Chile for its human rights abuses. Does this make it anti-Hispanic? Furthermore, it is normal for sanctions to be imposed on countries that violate UN resolutions.

Israel is violating a number of resolutions regarding both the occupation of the West Bank and the continued construction of settlements. If the National Post is serious in wanting Israel to be treated like every other nation, you should be applauding Sid Ryan, not calling him names.

Andy Lehrer, Toronto.
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Saturday, 14 March 2009

Zionism, not Judaism, is at issue

Re: 'Israeli
Apartheid' talk draws 100 protesters
, March 4
This headline is misleading as the article goes on to state there were only 20 protesters opposing the event and 100 supporting it. Also misleading is the portrayal of the dispute as Jewish vs non-Jewish when, in fact, a number of supporters were Jewish – possibly more than the number protesting – and a number of Jewish groups, such as Not In Our Name and Independent Jewish Voices, have spoken out to defend the organizers.
The demarcation line over the Israeli apartheid debate is not Judaism but Zionism and it's time the media stopped confusing the two. Many Jews are not Zionists and many Zionists are not Jews.
Andy Lehrer, Independent Jewish Voices, Toronto
(Note: The headline for the article said "100 protesters" in the print edition of the Star but has been revised to "20 protesters" online)
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Friday, 13 March 2009

Israel Apartheid Week talks were not anti-Semitic

For the past month, the National Post has subjected readers to endless claims that Israeli Apartheid Week is an anti-Semitic hatefest. It is therefore quite instructive that your journalists either did not attend, or at the very least did not report on, any of the actual panels or workshops during the week in question in order to relay what any of the speakers said, let alone whether or not any of the content was anti-Semitic. This is amazing to me. If IAW's importance is such that it merits daily attacks in your pages from third-hand sources, surely it would behoove you to actually have your reporters attend the events and relay a first-hand report either confirming or refuting the "hatefest" claims?
For the record, there have been no claims that anything said by any of the speakers at IAW constitutes anti-Semitism. This fact should finally put to rest claims to the contrary and prevent attempts at prior restraint of free speech by university officials or the National Post in 11 months time, when IAW comes upon us again.
Andy Lehrer, Independent Jewish Voices, Toronto.
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Saturday, 7 March 2009

NDP Convention: 3rd ballot - Horwath wins

Third Ballot

Andrea Horwath 6732.34 (60.4%)

Peter Tabuns 4420.66 (39.6%)
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NDP convention: second ballot

Second ballot results

horwath 5259.06 votes - 43.6%

tabuns 3819.82 votes - 31.7 %

Bisson 2988.12 votes 24.8%

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NDP convention: First ballot results

total weighted vote and percent
Horwath 4625.29 votes, 37.1%
Tabuns 3437.93 votes, 27.6%
Bisson 2954.23 votes, 23.7%
Prue 1438.44 votes, 11.5%

Prue just went to Bisson
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NDP Convention (5): Horwath

Marie Kelly from Steel nominates Horwath. Andrea understands how important it is to stand up for working people and keep good jobs in Ontario. Now more than ever we need a strong leader who can protect the interests of working people and the right to join a union, who will pass anti-scab laws, cares about working people. It's time for Andrea.

Tyler Downie of SEIU seconds nomination. This will be the most important decision we make as NDPers. we must take community organizing to a new level, engage young people, communities. it takes a commitment to on the ground organizing and andrea can engage and bring people together. we don't need another politician, we need an organizer.

Chris Charlton, MP: I've known Andrea for 20 years, we've been on picket lines together, fought for housing, pensions... she has enthusiaism to get the job done. she was cochair of hamilton days of action and succeeded in bringing 50,000 workers out. succeeded in getting on city council and in the legislature. now is the time.

Kormos introduces Horwath [sorry I lost my notes of what he said due to a technical glitch]

[video]

[drum band walks Horwath in]

Horwath: thank you so much. There is no other place i would rather be than right here with you because i believe the people in this room hold the seed for ontario's future. great change started in rooms like this. people like you decided that every child deserves an education... this room is filled with real people who work in hospitals, day care centres, factories... we are students, retirees... but we all came here because we are committed to change. we may not be rich but we are powerful. we believe in building a better world. you can knock us down, ignore us, write our political obituaries but we are the people who will keep on going. knock us down and we will get up again because we are new democrats. like every ontarian we are experiencing change. a week ago the steel mills in the skyline represented work. now they represent people out of work, an economy ripped apart by neo-liberalism. an economy with a gutted industrial base. those mills represent steel no longer made but also autos no longer made in windsor, a devestated forestry sector... when we look we see all of ontario. i was a caw brat. i went to university because my father had a good job. i would not be here today if it wasn't for my father's well paid union job. this economic and social crisis will effect everyone of us. when good jobs disappear how many children lose their future? when we lose child care how many families become working poor.

look at the difference a year has made. the middle class is disappearing and the working class is largely unemployed. we could accept this and adjust, that's what the other parties say, but adjust to what, growing unemployment lines and growing food bank lines, adjust to this growing . discrepency. adjust so that those who stole our money can get more of it? We refuse to adjust!

we'll invest in ourselves, our workplaces. it's our money we will demand an equity stake. it's our money. smart investments, targeted investments in products of the future. light rail. we'll build green cars. we will produce once again and we will buy our own products. we'll buy farm products grown in ontario.

we'll put light rail systems in our cities and invest in our work by making ontario a transit hub. we'll make every job a good job. we will make sure minimum wage is a living wage. we'll get rid of scab labour. we will make sure part time, casual and migrant workers are all treated like the real workers that they are and we will bring our workforce back to health. we will stop eating away at our public system. we will expand our public system. let's make child care and post secondary education fully public.

the neo liberal experiment has exploded. the invisible hand doesn't work. it never existed and we should not trust invisible hands to take care of us.

we won't adjust to the growing misery. we will change. we will think for ourselves and won't trust a few greedy individuals to take care of us.

i'm a community organizer and i trust people but it's not a blind trust. i've seen what people can accomplish together like the days of action. when i think about our climate crisis i do so with the mind of an organizer. people want a cleaner environment and i trust people will make the changes they need to make to get that. we must help them by making environementalism affordable with loans for [environmental retrofits]

we won't check our socialism at the door when it comes to building a better future. let's do for the environment what we did for health care 50 years ago. let's make environemtalism universal.

we owe people a real choice. we have to be ready to change ourselves. we have to set internal goals for our party that seem impossible. we must double our party membership by 2011. we must reflect ontario with more women, young people, diverse communities. we must work in communities like organizing by listening and working together on issues that are relevent. let's be truly representative as a party. put regional organizers on the ground. change the financial relationship between ridings and the parties. make ridings vibrant. i will spend half my time on the road to make us vibrant. it's time for us to believe in ourselves again. we can make this province a better, fairer place where the avg working woman gets the child care she needs and McGuinty gets the pink slip he deservces and that is what we owe the people in ontario in 2011.

things aren't working at queen's park. it's time for new voices, change. it's time for the NDP, in 2011 we will bring change to queen's park and i am the woman to do it.
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NDP convention (4): Tabuns

Cheri DiNovo introduces Tabuns, mentioned "democratic socialism" in her review of party history. Tabuns represents the best of the NDP's traditition. he has an industrial economic vision, zeal for a prosperous province, represents new direction and our founding values, feminist, unionist, environmentalist, democratic socialist Peter Tabuns.

Ravi Joshi: I support Tabuns because he has the best grasp of the solutions we need. Passionate and hardworking. Inspiring.

Emily Watkins: Peter has passion and energy that I admiare. Connects the jobs of tomorrow with the fight against climate change, he's an infatigable candidate. he's travelled throughout Ontario for the party. Energy and ideas. I am proud to nominate Peter Tabuns.

Irene Mathysson: I want an engaging, forward looking person, ahead of the curve, someone who believes in communities and building good teams. Party needs change and Ontarians want change.

Ontario VP of CEP: Our members need a leader who understands and believes in the importance of unions and workers rights. a leader who knows how important good wages are to workers and their families. someone who understands that this province must invest in good jobs and work hard to keep them here. Peter Tabuns is a friend of workers with a long track record. I've seen the new energy economy work and we need to see more of it in Ontario. CEP members and workers from across Ontario know we need a new economic vision, one that breaks down old walls and builds new bridges. Peter has that vision and a plan to make it reality. We can save good jobs and create new ones with the new energy economy. I ask you to join me in supporting today's leader and tomorrow's premier, peter tabuns.

[video]

Tabuns: In these past few months i've visited communities across this province and spoken to many people and something links us [namechecks cities] something moves us whether it's auto workers in windsor who want green jobs or steel workers who want wind turbines. something inspires us.

I grew up in Hamilton, I watched my parents, immigrants, struggle to build new lives in this country.

We need change - Stelco closing - we can't stay with the status quo but need to change and show people that the progressive party they need is here in this room today.

we have to show that we get it, not that we talk about the need to get it but that we show that we get it. i ask for the priviledge to rebuild, reshape and renew our party.

there's a clamour to get serious about the century ahead. if we need any proof of why think about the changes in this province since the leadership campaign began. soaring energy prices, then stock market collapse and this week hamilton, windsor, sudbury hammered by layoffs. we're losing jobs across the province all with a backdrop of an environmental challenge.

ontario is staring a rust belt future in the face. if we don't rise to the challenge with a leader who is ready our future is at risk. should we talk about internal structures? That won't cut it in a province with a job crisis. or will we just claim we're ready to govern? That won't cut it in a province facing a crisis. Ontarians are ready to connect crises with solutions. they know the price of handsoff government because they live it and they know ontario is behind the global path. denmark, germany are leading in renewable energy. Michigan is helping auto plants diversify, california is builidng the world's largest solar plant. it's the new energy economy embraced by governments who see what's coming. But you can look in Ontario and you can barely find it because the new energy econony is passing us by. We need to build jobs tomorrow by acting on environment today. in the twilight years of casino capitalism government has a role to play making good change occur and regulating against dangers. it takes more than saying we want to govern. to change our party and province for the better we need to be ready to go starting tomorrow.

looking forward, not back, to the challenges of tomorrow not rhetoric of yesterday. we can't pit north vs south, environmentalists vs workers. i reject the notion that if you support workers you oppose environmental progress. the best thing for construction workers is retrofitting homes across the province. I want cities to have public transit and those transit vehicles to be built in thunder bay. i want greener cares made in oshawa, brampton, oakville and windsor with tech from waterloo and ottawa.

i want cities to use more wind energy produced in urban, rural and northern ontario using steel made in ontario.

we don't need to pit regions or intersts against each other. we need to work for equity and fairness and acknowledge that we're in here together. the days of cobbling together enough seats for official party status need to end. these ideas don't cost much, they don't end the partnerships that fought to increase the minimum wage, they build new alliances.

with the need for smart governemnt so clear we shouldn't settle for the empty words and timid actions of Dalton McGuinty who fought increasing the minimum wage and gave money to GM to move their truckline to Mexico.

Now is the time for us in this party to force mcguinty to deliver by creating more jobs, cutting emissions and helping resource sector flourish.

let's have an election on how to create new jobs while cutting emissions, on helping working families, on putting people to work building a hydro system for the 21st century. let's start that debate with a new ndp with better communications and organizations. a party that gets out of queen's park and into the communities and which invites ontarians to join with solutions they see work.

in 3o years i've seen it work by bringing construction workers into energy efficiency projects. i've seen it work at city hall where we protected health and safety by banning smoking at work places. i've seen it at greenpeace where we and the caw pushed for green cars years ago. i've seen it at queen's park with the fight to raise the minimum wage.

you are eager to put solutions into actions. i've seen you in your homes, in church basements, you're not throwing in the towel. you're filled with the same energy as me. you want a province that accepts the need to catch up with a changing world. today is the day to choose, do we move forward or do we take a bigger risk and look backward and inward. I choose to move forward and today i ask for your support as leader so we can move forward together.
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NDP Convention (3): Prue

Video presentation - shots of Regent Park with voiceover by Prue on growing up in a poor neighbourhood and the importance of making sure children have opportunity.

Talks about his success as mayor of East York, building community centres and daycare, paying down the debt without raising taxes.

I'm a consensus builder and have a plan involving the cities and towns of the province that will bring economic prosperity.

I've won 8 elections in a row including in places such as Leaside where New Dems haven't won before.

Have travelled the length and breadth of this province. I can represent all of the people of this great province and I will do so as Premier.

(Video ends)

Music and light show -

Prue comes to podium

Begins in French, not as loudly as Bisson.

It's taken me a lifetime to get here from Regent Park.

Tumultuous times for our province and party.

70 percent share our values but only 15 percent vote for us because they don't think we can win or manage the economy. But if we make the right choices we can matter again. If I'm leader we'll regain confidence, I will rejuvenate the party and make it into one that will win.

Separate out the rhetoric from the substance being presented.

3 qualifications needed - 1 proven leadership in governing. 2 Ability to attract support from a broad range of people. 3 Comprehensive and believable economic plan.

leader needs to know from experience what to do now. can't wait for someone to grow into the job (jab at Horwath?)

I won every poll as mayor of East York at a time when provincial NDP government deeply unpopular because a broad range of people were impressed by me. I filled vacant factories, had 5 balanced budgets, paid down the debt and never raised taxes. Built daycare and community centres.

Times demanded a leader of action with an economic plan and I did it with the rest of council, not one of whom was an NDPer.

We have that opportunity again today. I have a comprehensive economic plan.
1) direct investment that will accelerate recovery
2) Buy Ontario plan
3) Cities power region plans that will make us more competitive.

The past few days have been devestating to working families in Niagara and Windsor. I watched reaction of Steelworkers as they stared at prospect of lost jobs and crushed hopes. they are looking for answers and solutions and we can provide them.

It's essential that provincial governemnt play a role in critical industries. my plan recognizes the enormity of the task. we will provide the money but we demand shares in the companies, seats on the board of directors to protect jobs and direct recovery and significant role for unions.

Buy Ontario plan gives option to councils to award contracts to local suppliers provided the bid is within 10% of lowest tender. We must give this opportunity to Municipalities, Universities, Hospitals. Does not violate trade agreements.

We will give cities and towns tools and resources to build their own success. Eliminate OMB to restore municipal control of planning. give larger cities same powers as City of Toronto. Alternative to property tax is needed. These changes will give cities ability to build infrastructure - give Windsor option to build tunnel instead of highway. Give Toronto ability to build light transit and Thunder Bay ability to build new facilities for wood products.

Every town and city will be free to make strategic decisions to foster growth in target economic sectors.

This will generate tax base needed to do what we've dreamt with, eliminated economy, greening society, relief to students and justice for first nations.

Coming from Regent Park and being a proud trade unionist i've always dreamt of eliminating poverty. End clawback against the disabled. someone born with Down's syndrome is not given a fair shake in life, but Ontario claws back half of everything they earn. that's a disgrace. I will end that practice and allow people on ODSP to keep first $8,000 they earn so they can be above the poverty line.

Must shift to greener healthier province. I worked with Sheila Basra. We forged first anti smoking bylaw. we established the Toronto anti-smoking bylaw that was later adopted by the province. we were the first to ban pesticides. we stopped Toronto from dumping its garbage in Adams Mine. I will continue that fight as leader and as Premier i will stop construction of energy plants not being built with smart tech to reduce carbon emissions. will encourage use of biomass and create a renewable energy institute to develop new tech. i will give all municipalities the tools to go green and i will give assistance to homeowners to retrofit homes for alternative power.

to do this we need to win. Beginning tomorrow i will lead a 10 person caucus but i want our party to regain our confidence and allow us to form the next government. i have a detailed plan to revitalize party.

we must learn from Obama's 50 state strategy. we must not cede any ridings to other parties and run strong campaigns in all 107 ridings. we spent $4 million in last campaign but I want to ensure each riding has $10K so they can run strong campaigns. we can't just run in 20 0r 30 ridings and win 10, we have to run strong campaigns in every riding.

we need to change the funding formula. even in my riding we have no money in our treasury to do ordinary things like sponsor a kids baseball team or participate in local parades. if that's happening in beaches it's happening across the province and we need to change that. the current revenue formula is a disincentive to fundraising.

We need to bring in new faces. I will increase grant to ONDY and provide seed money for each campus club. we need an internship program for youth to bring the best and brightest to queen's park and party hq.

i will convince new canadians to join NDP, will reach out to their leaders.

I will bring unions like the CAW back into the NDP and unions that have never affiliated into the party.

I have experience in leading a government, managing an economy, attracting business and creating jobs. I couldn't have done that without the ability to attract votes from all places and classes.

If I could do that in east york i can do that across the province in 2011.

you have a choice - change that can bring results. i'm the only candidate with proven governmetn experience. i have run an economy during a recession without losing jobs. I am the candidate for poverty reduction and green energy. I have convinced non NDPers to vote for me in the past. I can revitalize the party and I'm the only candidate with a concrete plan to transform the party.

with your vote we can have results that we've never had before.
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NDP convention 2 Bisson speech

Bisson is being nominated by France Gelinas and by a spokesperson for UFCW Canada. Third nominator is an activist for an anti-homelessness group - missed her name, but she's emphasizing that Bisson has raised the most money of any of the candidates (and thus can raise money for the party) and that the's the only NDP MPP to have increased his share of the vote in 1995.

Video presentation (pretty slick) of Bisson at various demonstrations and meetings and news clippings.

Charlie Angus, MP, speaking now saying Bisson built the NDP in the north and suggesting he's largely responsible for the NDP winning 7 of 9 northern Ontario federally. Angus introduces Bisson.

Bisson: Thanks his nominators. Namechecks the Steelworkers (who are heavily represented at convention). Argues that there's nothing wrong with having a second leader from northern Ontario - mentions northern MPPs and MPs who have been elected. "What's wrong with northern Ontario? It's a question not of where the leader comes from but what he has to offer."
Talks about lessons of Rae government. Praises NDP government's accomplishments, keeping plants open that were threatened with closure - saved jobs. "We passed anti-scab legislation... we need to aim for government".

How do we get there? Must move from politics of opposition to politics of proposition. Propose what needs to be done around economy, environment and crime.

We need to make needed changes to the party. We're $4 million in debt and need to pay it off so we can have the money we need to win. We need revenue sharing with the riding associations so they can run full campaigns across the province.

We're social democrats and understand this needs to be done together. Revenue sharing should only apply to new members, not to existing funds, so as not to starve the centre.

I can put a team made up of people from all the leadership camps.

We sold more memberships than any other leadership campaign. We've raised the most amount of money of any campaign. I have the experience, the passion, the drive, the leadership ability to get the job done. We start by taking Hamilton and then we take Queen's Park.
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NDP convention

Liveblogging from the NDP convention.

Bisson has raised the most amount of money followed by Tabuns, Horwath and Prue. We'll see the relationship between money and votes soon.

My prediction is that Horwath will win since her significant lead in the labour vote will give her a boost overall. Steel makes up more than 2/3 of the labour vote (which is allotted 25% of the final outcome) and Horwath has the backing of the Steel leadership and of most Steel locals outside of Toronto, where Tabuns leads and a few northern locals that are going for Bisson. She also has the backing of SEIU and is the second choice of UFCW after Bisson (UFCW being 8% of the labour vote).
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