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In February 2001 the federal New Democratic Party launched a review process, to determine how to reinvigorate the party. The Steering Committee, comprised of 10 members, began its work in April. CUPE National President Judy Darcy was one of two labour representatives.

The Committee released its initial recommendations on September 10.

We need a bold and confident party on the left that knows what it stands for and who it stands with, said Judy Darcy at the media conference where the report was released. There has been tremendous social activism and wide-ranging debate on the left in recent months. We need our Party to reflect this dynamism, strength and passion.

A critical element in the renewal process is the debate over the role and relationship with the labour movement. As a founding partner in the creation of the NDP, labour has always played a central role in building and supporting the party. However, in recent elections, few union members have actually voted for the Party.

We have to talk a lot more about how the labour movement involves its members in politics, said National President Judy Darcy. There is a consensus within labour that, historically, weve not been very good at involving our members in political action. Part of this renewal, for labour, is a chance to get at the root of this problem and to make changes.

Within the labour movement, an exciting and far-reaching debate is beginning about how to reach out and involve workers in political action in a broad sense not only at election time but also by being active on social, economic and political issues year round.

The Renewal Committee is recommending that, over the next 12 months, the NDP will engage Party members and union members in a wide-ranging discussion concerning the Partys relationship with the labour movement.

The Committee has also recommended that the NDP reach out and build a new relationship with social movements, by working with their members to jointly organize a series of high profile Revitalizing Democracy Forums. Key to the success of this initiative will be the active participation of social movement and NDP activists in discussing strategies for bringing about social change both inside and outside of Parliament.