Jack Layton, Federal Leader of the NDP
Paul Meinema, Executive Assistant to the UFCW Canada National President
Irene Matthyssen, NDP MP for London—Fanshawe
Nettie Wiebe, NDP Candidate for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar
UFCW Canada’s first-ever Interactive Town Hall is being hailed by activists on Facebook and Twitter as a big success for involving over 8,200 members in a real conversation about politics that included NDP Leader Jack Layton and other pro-worker candidates.
For over two hours on April 19, members from 53 priority ridings in the Western Region, Ontario and the Atlantic provinces, held centre stage in a no-nonsense talk that focused on election issues UFCW Canada members identified as top priorities through the union’s Election Survey.
To accommodate UFCW Canada members in the priority ridings – where the NDP has a real chance to win seats and send more pro-worker candidates to Ottawa – the Interactive Town Halls were offered at two different times. The Eastern session began with Jack at 7:00 p.m. (EST) and later invited Irene Matthyssen (NDP MP for London—Fanshawe), while the Western session asked the busy party leader its first question at 9:00 p.m. (EST) before welcoming Nettie Wiebe, the NDP Candidate for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar.
“With Election Day just around the corner, it is time for us to really focus our political action efforts on the ridings where we can make the biggest difference in electing more pro-worker candidates to the House of Commons,” says UFCW Canada Executive Assistant Paul Meinema, who hosted the groundbreaking event on behalf of National President Wayne Hanley, whose daughter Mariana was born just hours before. “The Interactive Town Hall provided UFCW Canada members with another opportunity to share ideas and reconfirm that Stephen Harper is no friend to working families,” adds Brother Meinema.
Throughout the lively Town Hall, participants were polled on a series of questions that clearly demonstrated the union’s belief that another Conservative government would not be good for the country and its future. In fact, the results of one poll indicated that 79% of Town Hall participants believe Stephen Harper is taking Canada in the wrong direction.
Besides leaving several dozen “comments” and “likes” on a steady flow of Town Hall tweets, many UFCW Canada activists shared their thoughts about the Town Hall through a number of supportive messages left in the union’s voice mailbox.
“As the members of Canada’s largest private-sector union, we have a real chance to make a significant difference on May 2,” says National President Hanley. “Together we create a force that matters, and together we can impact the outcome of this very important election. But to do that we must vote and we must support the pro-worker candidates in our communities. Creating a better, fairer Canada starts with us, and together we can build that kind of Canada one vote at a time.”
To find out everything you need to know about Election Day, visit www.elections.ca.
Vol. XI No. 17 • April 26, 2011