My esteem for Buzz Hardnose, leader of the CAW, fell dramatically today when he gave a ringing endorsement to Paul Martinette and the Gliberal Party. I’ve always been impressed with Buzz’zzz forthright talk on behalf of workers, but I swear when I saw him on TV presenting Martinette with one of those cool CAW jackets, his hardnose was streaked with brown. God, it makes me wish for a return of that rare but brilliant breed of unionist, the Indigenous Belligerent Bobwhite.
The prime party of union members has always been the NDP (aka National Deficit Party) or its predecessor, the CCF (Can’t Continue Forever). Well, that’s the Canadian mythology anyway. But the relationship between unions and NDP has always been also fairly tenuous. The Canadian Labour Congress would endorse the NDP and give them money too and then union members would vote for whoever the hell they felt like. Nevertheless, one could always expect a certain base of support.
But now! Now the NDP has the most interesting and dynamic leader it’s had for years, and what happens? The country’s largest union smacks it upside the head. This tells me either the union movement has abdicated its role as defender of workers, or the NDP is completely off the track.
I think maybe it’s the former. The NDP still has some principled stands. Neither the Gliberals nor the Constipators seem to have any principle other than what is likely to garner votes. This is not a recipe for consistency. Neither party has demonstrated a consistent policy with respect to the governance of this country.
Hardnose’s endorsement is one of mere expediency. It completely ignores the main reason the government fell in the first place, the question of integrity, ethics, honesty. The fact that he and his union can endorse a party with such large questions hanging over its head is not a good sign. Heaven help us if Buzz decides to take up politics in the future.