Earlier, we reported the United Steelworkers of America have been opposing an initiative to change the relationship between the provincial New Democrats and the labour movement. Of course, some operatives find it more that opposition more than a little curious. The reason: at the November 2004 New Democrat leadership convention, the Steelworkers endorsed Oak Bay councillor Nils Jensen - the one candidate who was most unequivocable in his support for change. In fact, in an interview prior to that convention, Mr. Jensen told Public Eye a new relationship with labour was necessary "because part of the perception people have of the NDP is its close connection with labour. And some often feel they can't support us because of the perception that the party is beholden to labour. And I think Vaughn Palmer said it interestingly a number of years ago when he quipped that (then British Columbia Federation of Labour president) Ken Georgetti was the nineteenth cabinet minister. Now that we're in the 2000s, I think that kind of perception has to be dealt with." Mr. Jensen was also endorsed by the Industrial, Wood and Allied Workers, its secretary-treasurer David Tones and its second vice-president Wilf McIntyre. That union is now part of the Steelworkers.
October 5, 2005