|February 13, 2006
NDP Expels Canada's best-known Labour Leader - CAW's Buzz Hargrove
|promoting strategic voting and Liberal candidates in last month's federal election. Hargrove has been a card-carrying member of the
NDP for 41 years. The decision of the Ontario NDP Executive automatically means that Hargrove’s membership with the federal party
is also revoked.
However, Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton says he wouldn't have suspended Hargrove's party membership from the Ontario wing. “I
wouldn't have gone down that path,” Layton told reporters Monday following a meeting of the party's federal caucus. “My view is that
our focus always is on building our movement.”
Layton’s comments confirm Mr. Hargrove’s suspicions that the Federal NDP Leader was not aware, or had nothing to do with the
decision to expel him.
Hargrove said that Mr. Layton called him on Friday to thank him for his help during the campaign. "Jack actually (complimented) our
union on the role we played in the federal election, then on Saturday I get this other message, so I don't believe Jack would have been
aware that this was taking place."
On December 3, 2005 - early in the election, after a lengthy and impassioned debate at CAW Council, the Union’s parliament, 900
delegates overwhelmingly agreed in the development of a CAW election strategy to elect as many New Democrats as possible and
vote strategically in ridings where NDP candidates had little chance in winning. In ridings with weak NDP support, the next best
alternative was to support a Liberal candidate. The goal was to keep as many Conservatives possible from capturing seats. The
Conservatives right-wing agenda that would work against working Canadians and the poor.
"I never had any warning that this was coming or being debated," said Hargrove. “I wasn’t even given a chance to speak. Initially,
Hargrove said that he was shocked with the surprise announcement, but now feels more “disappointed” in the way it was handled.
The ONDP says he could regain his membership if he writes a letter indicating he would not again endorse candidates for other
"Not a chance," Hargrove said in an interview with the Toronto Star. "That won't happen. I am a socialist." He also said that he has
nothing to apologize for. "Nine-hundred (CAW) delegates debated this and voted overwhelmingly, over 85 per cent, for this to be the
position of our union going into the federal election," explained Hargrove. "I defended that and promoted that throughout the
campaign. I have no regrets."
CAW International Director Mike Shields is a member of the ONDP executive. He said the Party was acting hypocritically since other
prominent NDP members had done the same thing, but are not facing expulsion. “If the puritans in the Party want to go down the
road they're going, it can be pretty slippery."
"I think it cast us in a bad light and makes us look petty and vindictive," Sid Ryan, CUPE Ontario president and an NDP candidate in
the January 23 election told the Toronto Sun.
"We have to deal with these issues in a mature way and work our way through this problem. This is not helpful."
Related story - CAW Federal Election strategy