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The NDP Federal Executive and Council met in Ottawa February 23-25 to begin discussions on a process for renewal of the NDP. CUPE has sent a strong message to the Party as it undertakes this process that it must be a broad and inclusive process if it is going to be successful.

There are vibrant social movements standing up for workers rights, challenging globalization, protecting the environment, tackling poverty, promoting equality all across Canada. In fact, its an exciting moment for the left with lots of energy, activism and youth.

It is critical that the NDP harness the dynamism of the various social movements by reaching out and involving as many people as possible and drawing on their experiences and their ideas. Together we need to set out a clear program solidly on the left that puts forward creative, innovative solutions to the key issues that confront us day to day as Canadians.

We need to tackle corporate control head-on.
We need an active government that promotes equality and assures access to vital public services like health care, education, child care and water.
We need to share this countrys tremendous wealth, including new sectors of the economy, ensuring that all Canadians benefit.
We need to defend universal programs, abolish tuition fees, deliver affordable housing and eradicate poverty.
We need to protect the environment.

The NDP Federal Council held last weekend, made some key decisions regarding the renewal process. Council passed a resolution that sets in motion a process to meet their stated goal which is to Build a strong, inclusive activist social democratic party to improve the lives of Canadians and our environment.

The resolution directs the Party to establish a steering committee to oversee a process of broad discussion and develop a set of recommendations for the Party. This steering committee will be comprised of nine members, no less than two of whom will be from Labour and no less than three will come from outside of the Party. The steering committee has been charged with making the decisions regarding the process it will undertake, and the range of questions for debate. The resolution only requires that the steering committee be as inclusive as possible in facilitating discussion among Canadians and that it prepare a report with recommendations for the NDP Federal Council meeting to be held just prior to the next convention.

Unfortunately, the NDP Federal Council also confirmed the dates for the next NDP convention which will be November 23-25 in Winnipeg, overlapping the end of our CUPE national convention. We are extremely disappointed that the Party made this decision as it is certain to limit CUPE participation.

Having said that, we must do everything in our power to ensure that the renewal process is bold and inspired. We encourage CUPE activists to jump in with both feet in the debate in the NDP and with the left more broadly in the coming months. The NDP needs to hear the voices of CUPE members who are fighting on the front line everyday. Without our activism and our perspective, the process will not be complete.