Coalition Yes, CAW Council Says

December 6, 2008, 3:30 PM EST

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Liberal Leader Stephane Dion and NDP Leader Jack Layton attended CAW Council on December 6 to outline the need for ongoing support of the Parliamentary coalition opposed to the Stephen Harper Conservatives.

Dion and Layton each spoke to CAW Council delegates after a mass rally at Nathan Phillips Square outside Toronto City Hall where thousands gathered to demonstrate their support of the Parliamentary coalition.

They urged support for a new Liberal/NDP Coalition government with the support of the Bloc Quebecois and Green Parties that will provide an economic stimulus package.

Dion slammed Harper for refusing to do anything to prepare for the recession. Harper's response was an economic statement that was an ideological document that did nothing to save a single job, said Dion.

The tragedy is that 66,000 job losses occurred in Ontario last month alone and Harper's response was to suspend Parliament in an effort to save his job and avoid a vote that would have meant the democratic defeat of his government, Dion said.

Canada must invest in its economy just as other governments are doing around the globe. "This is about the economy - Stephen," Dion said. 

He stressed that the only good news coming from the recent Conservative economic statement was that it brought together, despite their differences, the Liberals, the NDP, the Bloc and Green parties.

Layton blasted Harper for using "divide and conquer" tactics and using divisive terms such as separatists.

"We've got to say no to that - our country is too important for that," Layton said.

The NDP leader cautioned that the next seven weeks leading up to the return of Parliament will not be easy as the Conservatives will spend millions on advertising in opposition to the Coalition.

"I'm here to tell you I'm part of the 62 per cent majority," Layton said to cheers and applause as 1000 delegates and staff held up Coalition Yes, Make Parliament Work signs.

Layton said Harper has refused to deal with the economic crisis using the excuse he wouldn't pick winners, leaving workers and whole industries without any government support at a crucial time.

"This week he put a padlock on the House of Commons," Layton said, stressing that Harper had no right to close this democratic institution.

He urged delegates to continue supporting the coalition government that will build a consensus-based response to the economic crisis. Layton said a new coalition government would support workers and industries such as auto and forestry that are being so hard hit.

CAW President Ken Lewenza told delegates the Coalition leaders are presenting a historic opportunity to bring about progressive change.

Lewenza thanked both Dion and Layton for their courage in stepping forward and building a coalition that will work on behalf of working people. He said while Harper has millions to spend on advertising, the CAW and working people have "human capital."

Lewenza urged delegates to step forward and become actively involved in the work of supporting the Coalition in the coming weeks.

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