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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Sid Ryan endorses Dimitri Lascaris for Green Party leadership

The well known militant labour leader and former head of the Ontario Federation of Labour has been a staunch supporter of and even run for the NDP both federally and provincially.

In a striking turn of events Sid Ryan -- the well known militant labour leader and former head of the Ontario Federation of Labour who has been a staunch supporter of and even run for the NDP both federally and provincially -- has endorsed the insurgent eco-socialist campaign of Dimitri Lascaris for leadership of the federal Green Party of Canada.

Ryan has praised Lascaris in the past but on August 25 he posted on Facebook:

A Dimitri Lascaris victory in the Green Party leadership contest would change the face of Canadian politics. His outspoken advocacy for social justice in Canada and abroad is well documented. His workers rights agenda is by far the most progressive on the political front in the country. He will most certainly force the NDP to up their game on international affairs and take a more aggressive position on wealth and corporate taxes.

The Lascaris campaign has also posted this to social media:

Ryan becomes one of a growing number of left activists -- many either present or former New Democrats -- who see in the Lascaris campaign possibilities for a left economic, environmental and foreign policy platform that is missing in Canadian politics.

Lascaris is a noted critic of Canada's imperialist, pro-American foreign policy, especially of its support for Israel and abandonment of Palestinians and their fight for freedom from occupation.

Ryan's endorsement is notable as Lascaris has made a point of appealing to disgruntled New Democrats asking them to take a leap of faith and take out a Green Party membership to back him.

Lascaris sees the NDP as having abandoned the left field and thinks the way for the Greens to succeed is to seize it as opposed to being another progressive centrist party.

This was reflected in a profile in a Kamloops paper when he recently campaigned through BC:

Lascaris said leadership in the party has, for the past 15 years, been positioning it as centrist, which he argues does not inspire people, and not only because doing so does not address the core problem of crises facing society — the economic system.
“Does it really make sense for us to be competing with the NDP, who have now moved the centre, and the Liberals?” he said. “We’re going to fight with them on their own ground? That is not a winning electoral strategy.”
Lascaris said the NDP has abandoned socialism, which presents a “tremendous opportunity” for the Greens.
“That’s how we are going to grow the party,” he said. “We made a major mistake by trying to position ourselves as a party of the centre. We should be boldly and unapologetically a party of the left.”

Lascaris' platform on Workers' Rights that Ryan refers to includes subsections for Improving Bargaining Rights, Raising Wages, Democratizing Corporate Governance, Improving Health and Safety and Increasing the Social Relevance of the Economy.

It is very impressive with calls for a $20 an hour living wage, amending federal bankruptcy legislation to give workers’ claims during bankruptcy the highest priority, facilitating worker buyouts and cooperative or collective forms of ownership, enshrining in law a guarantee of workers’ rights to bargain collectively as well as ensuring that the law makes certification easy, among many other essential proposals.

For Lascaris' full platform visit his website. To support his campaign you must be a member of the Green Party by September 3, 2020. The leadership vote will take place between September 25 and October 3, 2020.



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