Convention 2012 highlights

Close to 500 New Democrats from across Manitoba met at the 2012 Provincial Convention in Winnipeg, June 1 -3.

It was an exciting weekend where we got to celebrate our success since in the last convention, engage in rigorous debate, hear from our new federal leader, Tom Mulcair, and honour two New Democrats for their contributions to the party.

Friday, June 1

Convention was again kicked off this year with a speech from our leader, Greg Selinger. Greg highlighted for convention the work that has already started on fulfilling our election commitments including; free cancer drugs; making it easier than ever to become an apprentice in rural and northern communities and renewing thousands of kilometres of roads, and renewing flood-damaged bridges and overpasses.

The night ended with the presentation of the Stanley Knowles Award by Kevin Rebeck, President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour.

The Stanley Knowles Solidarity Award is presented at each convention to a trade unionist that has shown a deep commitment to working people and the achievement of social justice through recognized contributions to the union movement and the Manitoba NDP.

This year’s recipient was Robert Ziegler who recently retired as president and chief executive officer of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local No. 832.

Robert had been active in his union for over 33 years first as a member and activist, union staff, secretary treasurer, and president. Under his leadership, the union has made significant gains for members.

He has been active in the community serving on the Manitoba Pension Commission as a member and commission chair, United Way of Winnipeg, member and co-chair of the Premier's Economic Advisory Council, member of the Executive and Treasurer of the Manitoba Federation of Labour and Habitat for Humanity.

Robert has been a long-time member and activist in the New Democratic Party. He has always ensured a close link between our party and his union. It’s a relationship that has been seen as one of the best relationships between labour and the party in the province and country.

After convention adjourned for the evening many delegates braved their fears and participated in the Manitoba Young New Democrats karaoke fundraiser.

In addition, Friday evening kicked-off the convention fundraiser which was support for the Mary Beth Dolan Fund. This fund supports recruitment and election funding for women candidates.

Saturday, June 2

The highlight of Saturday was the keynote address by Tom Mulcair, Leader of Canada’s New Democrats and of the Official Opposition.

On Saturday afternoon, Ellen Olfert and George Alevizos were acclaimed as president and treasurer respectively.

Saturday night was the annual convention dinner with over 600 people in attendance. Both Greg and Tom addressed the crowds.

Sunday, June 3

The Lucille Ono Award was presented by Premier Greg Selinger on Sunday morning. The Lucille Ono Award is given to long-term members, who have worked at several different levels of the organization and who have demonstrated steadfast support of the party and its principles.

This year’s worthy recipient was Irene Rossman. Irene has been a long time activist in St. Vital, worked for caucus for many years and is a dedicated Jets fan.

The election of members-at-large was held. For a complete list of the new executive please click here.

Convention ended with another address by Greg reminding us that we need to start now to lay the groundwork for success in the next election.

Resolution highlights

Some of the resolutions passed at convention include:

  • Better training orientation for young workers to reduce the number of workplace accident experienced by this group of 15-to 24-year-old age group.
  • Support for the government to build strategies and supports to help students stay in school and graduate.
  • A call on the federal government to reverse its decision to make significant cuts to funding of the Aboriginal Justice Strategy Fund.
  • Support for the provincial government to implement a public campaign to promote the repeal of the federal government’s regressive changes to the Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement Program.
  • That the provincial government call on the federal government to abandon plans to further restrict access to Employment Insurance for Canadian workers.
  • Calls to amend section 43 of the Workplace Health and Safety Act which would prohibit employers from assigning work that has been refused by other workers as unsafe.
  • A recommitment to continue to help Manitoban access quality health care through programs like the Family Doctor for All by 2015.
  • To urge the federal government to work with the province and other stakeholders to improve the health of Aboriginal people in Manitoba.
  • An expression of disappointment regarding the dismantling of the Canadian Wheat Board and to support efforts to work to mitigate the negative impacts on farmers and the Port of Churchill.
  • Work with stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition over the federal government’s decision to end the Community Pastures Program.
  • To move quickly on the election commitment to create a $30 million Manitoba energy jobs fund.
  • A call on the federal government to reinstate the federal ecoEnergy Program and to strengthen the provincial Power Smart Program as a way of increasing energy efficiency in Manitoba.
  • The striking of a committee to help with the recruitment and retaining of party members.
  • To publish, online, two issues yearly of The New Democrat as a way of keeping party members informed of party and government activities.

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