What Working in a Mass Labor Party Looks Like
A large crowd of NDP members,
the general public and news media gathered at OISE, U of Toronto, on the
afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 1 to hear the candidates for Ontario NDP Leader
answer questions and debate issues.
People continued to arrive as the debate got underway after 3 p.m. at OISE Auditorium.
MPPs Gilles Bisson, Andrea Horwath, Michael Prue and Peter Tabuns each had two minutes for introductory remarks, and the same amount of time to answer each question.
Our panel of Cathy Crowe, Jan Johnstone and Barry Weisleder each presented two questions to get things started.
Then it was the turn of the audience members. A long line at the floor microphone showed a high level of interest. Questions about public funding of Catholic separate schools outnumbered other issues raised, which included public ownership, party democracy, labour law reform, workers' compensation for injuries on the job, social housing, the minimum wage and rising student tuition fees and debt.
Earlier on Nov. 1, activists
from eight cities and over a dozen NDP riding associations across southern
Ontario discussed the results of the recent federal election and debated
Socialist Caucus policy resolutions destined for the ONDP Convention in
Hamilton, in early March 2009. SC treasurer Elizabeth Byce was in the chair
both at the conference and for the Leader candidates' debate. Following two and
a half hours of debate in front of about 150 eager participants, over a third
of the crowd retired to a nearby pub where refreshments and conversation
continued well into the evening.