The revolutionary vanguard

In September, Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer reported the British Columbia Federation of Labour was hiring regional political coordinators "to push the union agenda in advance of the provincial election." That hiring process was completed last month. But the names of the successful candidates have been kept under wraps...until now. Yesterday, after some discussion, the federation agreed to release those names to Public Eye. We have prepared the following backgrounders on those coordinators.

Mable Elmore is an executive member of the Vancouver and District Labour council and the Multi Union Pride Committee. She is also co-chair of the Canadian Auto Workers peace and justice committee and chair of Local 111's political action committee. That local represents bus drivers in the Greater vancouver area. When asked by Seven Oaks magazine about how the union movement should react to the provincial government's recent "anti-labour onslaught," the self-described radical said it was "time to strike back and to become more militant." In the same interview, Ms. Elmore, a co-ordinator with Stopwar.ca, said convincing union members to oppose the conflict in Iraq was difficult because of "vocal Zionists in our worksites." She was also a member of Vancouver's women's task force.

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Anne Forrest was the national executive vice-president for the Canada Employment and Immigration Union, a component union of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, between 1993 and 1996. Before that, she was vice-president of women's issues for the union's Ontario/Quebec region.

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Gord Lechner is the recording secretary for the Canadian Auto Workers Local 2301, the bargaining agent for 1400 workers at Alcan Inc.'s Kitimat aluminum smelter and Kemano power generating facility. Mr. Lechner, who designed the local's Website, is a member of its 2005 negotiating committee and the union's media association's advisory council.

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Richard Tones co-managed federal New Democrat Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidate Nathan Cullen's successful campaign during the last election. His father David was the powerful national financial secretary of the Industrial, Wood and Allied Workers before the union merged with the United Steelworkers of America. In 2001, Mr. Tones ran as the provincial New Democrat by-election candidate in Delta South, winning just 2.4 percent of the vote. Following the by-election, he was appointed special assistant and later ministerial assistant to Energy and Mines Minister Dan Miller. He later worked as a senior aide to Finance Minister Paul Ramsey, who is now co-chairing the party's platform committee. Mr. Tones, a former organizer for Industrial Wood and Allied Workers, was also the University of Victoria Students Society's resource coordinator.

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Cheryl Tellier is the past president of the Nanaimo, Duncan and District Labour Council and an executive member of the provincial New Democrats Nanaimo constituency association. She most recently managed Leonard Krog's unsuccessful party leadership campaign. Between 1999 and 2002, the former Telus employee was also a British Columbia Transit board member. In 1997, Ms. Tellier unsuccessful ran for the federal New Democrat nomination in Nanaimo-Cowichan.

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Brad West managed federal New Democrat Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam's candidate Charley King's unsuccessful campaign during the last election. He is also president of that riding's constituency association and vice-president of the party's provincial constituency association in Port Coquitlam-Burke Mountain. Between 2002 and 2004, Mr. West, who has worked as an organizer for the British Columbia Government Employees Union, was secretary of the provincial Young New Democrats, having previously been the organization's co-chair. In 2000, Education Minister Penny Priddy appointed the then Riverside Students Association member to her Teen Advisory Team.

33 Comments

Looks like labour has decided not to try and defeat the Liberals. Not exactly people that are going to make much of a political impression. Sounds like generic left wing that are not yet aware that it is 2005 and not 1975

Oh, it isn't that bad. Certainly not generic- well, except for Brad West. That kid is the cookie-cutter description of bland. I've met Ann Forest, and she's fantastic. And Richard Tones is anything but generic, whether you like him or not.

Brad West . . . generic? Have you actually met the guy? That 'kid' is perhaps the smoothest political operative I've met. Love him or hate him, he's anything but ordinary.

God! Nice pick in Mable Elmore. Got to have the militant anti-zionist to be credible. And Richard Tones- the NDP Hack who only got his job because he took a hit for the party in Delta.

Anyone who managed Charley King's campaign couldn't be considered generic. Look at King's website www.charleyking.ca. Doesn't exactly strike me as a typical New Dem.

Yeah, West is militant rather than typical.

Mind you, anyone who hires an 18 year old campaign manager cant expect much else.

I am certainly not generic but I would like to see more debate on whether I am left wing or not. I have friends and enemies on both sides of that debate. LOL

Richard

Brad West is an interesting one. Schmoozes like he is from Kits, dances like he is from Chilliwack, and Politics like he is from Nova Scotia.

I wouldn't say left wing either. He has cat like reflexes and can keep his stick on the ice. I would put him between the pipes any day.

I have also heard that Brad West isn't you typical Poco boy. I hear that he likes sushi, greenpeace and the TV hit "Painted House".

Richard

Richard clearly has a keen sense of the absurd. The only Greenpeace activists favoured by West are the ones begrudgingly extracted from the tires of his SUV.

Although I'm not one for rumours, I have it on good authority that Richard Tones drives a hybrid car, is a subscriber to the Georgia Straight, and prefers organic veggie burgers.

Makes you wonder.

Is that Anne Forest or Ann Frost? There was an Ann Frost who was the BC NDP's Federal Council Delegate some years ago.

It doesn't look like there are any non-Anglos is in this group of organizers, despite one surname of francophone origins. That's not going to help the NDP crack the Liberal stanglehold on the immigrant vote, which is the main reason why Campbell's BC Liberals are so much stronger in the Lower Mainland than anywhere else.

That geographic cleavage, with the NDP doing best outside the Lower Mainland, is the exact opposite of what you would have found in any typical NDP-SC matchup of the 1970s or 1980s, or even an NDP-Liberal matchup of the 1990s.

Along with his pal Charley King and Brad Zubyk, Brad West is one of the most right-wing people in the NDP. Shame!

I just had a look at Charley King's website. Can't see whatthe fuss is... he seems pretty moderate to me.

That's the problem Genghis. It's normal and moderate to regular citizens, but to NDPippers people like West and King are "right-wing".

My god... I didn't mean anything about his politics, though if you want to know, slippery is a polite way of saying it, and this forum is nothing if not polite and respectful of all people mentioned (which is lucky, because there would be ammunition). But since I wasn't describing his politics, but his personality, I'll repeat- Boring! Dull! Bland! Urgh! Workers of the world united by him? Ever heard the term, "Labour fakir full of guile"? He might not be typical, but that doesn't make him interesting, and that certainly doesn't make him militant.

But that Richard Tones, now he's a firecracker... :)

And it is Ann Forest.

Sounds like someone has a hate-on... I'll take bland anyday over a militant anti-Zionist who would voluntarily associate with the fringe Sevenoaks magazine. Anyone who would give an interview, much less even read SevenOaks has ZERO credibility in my view. It may not be a bland read, but it is NUTS!

i've never met ms. elmore or read seven oaks (though my mom was born near the site of the massacre). i don't know about her organizing skills or what constitutency she brings with her - actually i can guess at the latter.

i think the bcfed made a big mistake. if the libs start bandying around her use of the word zionist (which in 2005 in canada means what? jews? people who support israel's right to exist? people for a two-state solution - from their words, at least, this includes the palestinian authority)the fed and the party will deserve it.

I agree that she could be a huge liability. From reading the interview article, she seems to be equating 'zionist' with 'racist' or pro-American imperialism in any event. Is this someone who can work with a diverse group of people with differing world views. Not likely.

Brad West is corrupt. He, along with his girlfriend Ulla, have built a political machine in PoCo based solely on support from too put it politely non-law abiding organizations in the Polish community from which they come. that and the church.

Though Mable Elmore and her far-left views and anti-semitism seem to be a far greater problem.

I think certain groups in the left, though not the entire left, misunderstand Zionism, and therefore equate it with imperialism. Its not a difficult conclusion to reach, but I think its the wrong one.

And I don't have a hate-on for Brad West. Hate is not at all logical; my feelings toward the kid are extremely logical.

live long and propser, chelsea. hate is not only illogical, it leads to the dark side. :)

i've heard it described by people who hurl the word around as "colonial" not imperial, as in people from eastern europe (not a state, mind you) started buying farmland west of the jordan until the WWII victors gave them and their ilk half of someone else's country.

i guess that would make marcus garvey a imperialist/colonialist, too - but it's hard to keep things straight sometimes

come on snbaz -- don't be mixing star trek quotes and star wars philosphy!
after all carole james is no princess leia and jim sinclair is no han solo as much as we know they want to be.


why isnt anyone talking about me???

sniff sniff sniff

lost again in the heartland/hinterland.....

;-)

I hear the guy in the North, Gord Lechner, has stunningly good looks and is a homeowner.

You can check out his profile at

lavalife.com/glechner

There ya go buddy!

Richard Tones being hired as an organizer when in the South Delta by-election he had the WORST result for a New Democrat in BC history?????

Frankly after his pathetic campaign there, the party should have dumped him for not trying or he should have dumped them for not supporting him. Hiring him is about as dumb as the Liberals hiring Martyn Brown after his disasters with the Socreds and Reform

Being successful means working with people that know what success is.

Meanwhile Gord Lechner seems to be far the best of this group, the question is if he can be allowed to do what he did with the CAW within the BCFed confines. He seems the one with the most real world experience and most real life campaign experience.

Ya! That Richard Tones is Scum!

I am sure there are some biblical references I could add but I didn't bring it with me today.

Go Mable. The BCFed needs more militants like you. Angela Schira needs a wake-up call to what real workers face. "Real Workers" are with you.

Yah! You go, girl! Us REAL workers are consumed with ferreting out Zionists from our workplaces. Forget earning money to pay the mortgage and send the kids to university. That is SOOO generic. Now, defending suicide bombers porting exploding pizza boxes . . . THAT's where it's at.

With Mable on our side, us working folk can sleep better at night.

Zionists are the scourge of humanity. God on Mable for exposing them and taking them out where they stand.

It is disturbing how casually Mable Elmore is slinging labels around. In the blink of an eye, she has dismissed all of her opponents as some nameless, faceless collective -- 'the Zionists'. Such a lack of respect for human dignity! Note that stripping individuals of their humanity has been the precursor to some of the world's great tragedies -- apartheid, genocide, the Holocaust, etc.

It seems that if you're not with Mable, then you're a 'Zionist'. Doesn't she realize that this 'us versus them' mentality perpetuates racism? Or is this exactly what she is trying to accomplish? Shame on the labour movement for affiliating themselves with a woman like this.

Yes ,agree with Susan,the right questions are yours being asked.Possiblily, adversarial loggerheads being confrontational,the advocate for labour is provoking disunity to her advantage?
Then win favour with the group with most votes and/or influence.This some times works,wait and see.

Let's talk about winning the election... joining workers in a campaign to get rid of Campbell.

Bringing up Zionists and Palestine in the workplace is counter productive to social change here.

Can we not fight that 50 year old battle another day?

Have I stumbled upon the bash Tones and West site?
From what I know of Rich he's an honourable and respectable person; knowledgeable and not afraid to speak his mind.
To me that is the signs of a good person and as for why he's an organizer, don't you think he's earned it?

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