NDP Leader Candidates Survey Questions and Answers (Charlie Angus)

Good jobs and fair wages are important to our members. How will you potentially as the next Prime Minister ensure Canadians have access to good jobs?

This work will need to begin before I get the chance to become Prime Minister in 2019.

Right now we are facing a number of crucial issues that workers will need a strong voice in Parliament to stand up for their rights. You need a champion this fall who will fight against Trudeau’s plan to sell off our airports. You need someone in House who will stand up for workers’ rights while Trudeau renegotiates NAFTA. This is our second chance to final get this trade deal right, but you will need someone in Ottawa to make sure the Liberals don’t give it all away… again.

As Prime Minister making sure Canadians have access to good jobs would be my top priority. One of the first things that I would put in place is a job pledge as part of all big federal contracts to ensure that workers and our communities benefit the most of these projects. It is not acceptable for a company like Bombardier to receive federal funds and then turn around and ship the work out of Canada.

With regard to working conditions, I would raise the federal minimum wage, fight outsourcing in the public sector, pass anti-scab legislation, fight for pensions, and step up labour inspections. I would work to expand employee ownership of workplaces through a phoenix cooperative law allowing workers the right of first refusal to buy closing companies.

 

Many IAM members work in manufacturing and industry. It seems harder to find employers willing to support training and apprenticeship completion rates have fallen. What should a Prime Minister be doing to support new and young workers?

I would also look at ways to encourage and promote apprenticeships across the board. Perhaps with the tax or other incentives to help companies be solid corporate citizens. I also want to make post-secondary education more accessible to both young and older workers by phasing out tuition fees and making sure that midcareer students are getting aid appropriate to their needs.

As Prime Minister I would ensure that contractors and sub-contractors working on federal projects would need to provide support training and apprenticeship. Along with the job pledge it make sure that we not only supporting our current work force but also the training the workers of tomorrow.

 

Many of our Members, particularly in BC and Alberta, work in resource-based industries (mining, forestry, oil etc.). A) Environmental concerns in these industries?

Luckily our workforce is ready to take on the challenge.

Too often we pit jobs and the environment against one another, as if we can only have one or the other. However, I have found that in cases that industries that need to be more environmentally friendly they also create more jobs. When hard caps where placed on many of the mining companies due to acid rain, these industries invested and built new technology to deal with this environmental problem. They actually turned it into a side business, capturing and selling the acid to other industries. We have an opportunity now to build the infrastructure for the next century. That will mean jobs and opportunities that should boost a generation of workers. B) Employment concerns of workers in these industries? A large part of Canada’s wealth has and will be our resources. Mining, forestry, even oil production will still be needed, especially if we are moving to a more green economy. We will still need steal, plastics, aluminum, etc, to build and produce this next industrial revolution.

 

Concerns have been raised about labour issues like anti-scab, minimum wage, contract flipping, and airport privatization. Your views?

New Democrats have always stood up for workers in Parliament and have pushed forward legislation that would curtail bargaining rights, and workers’ protections. For years, we have proposed and even brought to a vote federal anti-scab legislation. I have proposed that we bring in a $15 minimum wage that is indexed to inflation so workers do not fall behind. I think that contract flipping is wrong and the practice is a way to suppress wages and keep workers down. As PM, I will ensure that this practice stops. Of course, I will oppose any effort by Trudeau government to privatize our airports.

 

As leader; what is your position to support our union and workers in general?

As I mentioned above, need to wait to see action from us on contract flipping, airport privatization and NAFTA. We will be pushing the government to ensure that they start siding with workers over their Bay Street friends. Too often these days, governments have been short sighted in trying to save costs but eliminating unionized positions. That will not happen under my leadership. We need a strong unionized workforce to ensure that we have a strong and prosperous middle class—who have the means to raise their families and to retire in dignity. We will also ensure that barriers put in place against unionization are removed and that health and safety regulations are up to date and fully resourced.

 

Is there anything else you would like our members know?

We must once again be bold and unapologetic in standing up for our values. This cannot wait until the next election. There is too much at stake for workers, pensioners, and their families. Unfair labour practices, selling off of public assets like airports, and NAFTA have the potential to keep pushing workers and our economy further from our control.

As leader of the NDP, I will make sure that IAMAW and other workers have a voice in Ottawa and that they will know that I will always have their back.

This leadership race is an opportunity to re-forge the connection between the NDP and the labour movement in Canada. It only takes looking south of the border to see what happens when the political left becomes disconnected with workers and the needs of their community. That is a big reason why I entered this race. We cannot pretend that the election of a Trump like figure cannot happen here. Harris, Wall, Pallister, Harper, have all done their damage.

 

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1st Ballot for NDP Leader
Thought on Labour

“The rich run a global system that allows them to accumulate capital and pay the lowest possible price for labour. The freedom that results applies only to them. The many simply have to work harder, in conditions that grow ever more insecure, to enrich the few. Democratic politics, which purports to enrich the many, is actually in the pocket of those bankers, media barons and other moguls who run and own everything.” ― Charles Moore

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