Longtime labour and NDP activist Allen Schroeder will be missed. Born in Saskatchewan in 1910, Schroeder grew up watching his father and other farmers struggle to create the farmer-owned co-operative Saskatchewan Wheat Pool in order to get a fair price for their grain.
"It was my first step towards becoming a socialist," he wrote later in his memoir. "I saw how ordinary people, working together for their common welfare, could avoid being exploited by those seeking private gain."
And he never lost this vision. As a young man, he became active in the union movement with the United Auto Workers (UAW), eventually being appointed their education director for Canada. While in that position, he created the UAW Family Education Centre - now the CAW Education Centre in Port Elgin.
Schroeder ran for the CCF in 1943 and remained active with it, and later with the NDP, all his life. A veteran of many political battles and elections over more than 50 years, he remained "full of enthusiasm," according to former NDP federal secretary Gord Brigden. "He always had the attitude that no problem was insurmountable."
Kalmen Kaplansky, who died on International Human Rights Day (Dec 10), was a tireless and effective fighter for the protection of human rights since the early 1940s.
Awarded the Order of Canada for his work, he is credited with laying the ground work for the Ontario Fair Employment Practices Act in 1951 - used as a model for virtually all provincial and federal codes that followed - the Ontario Fair Accommodations Act in 1954 and, ultimately, the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Until last year he served as President of the Douglas-Coldwell Foundation, which supports research on social democracy and the NDP.
``Kaplansky's life and work is a reminder to us all that social advance is born in agitation; that agitators are often the fathers and mothers of the things Canadians most cherish - our rights and freedoms. Kalman Kaplansky made an incredible difference during his lifetime,'' said CLC President Bob White.
Howard Hampton got to know Kaplansky during his days at the University of Ottawa and then at the Canadian Labour Congress. "He was an absolute defender of the labour movement and human rights, especially international human rights," recalls Hampton.
David Orlikow, a long-serving New Democrat MP from Winnipeg died in January at age 80. He represented Winnipeg North in Parliament for 26 years. "David was always on the side of the ordinary person," writes a former staffer and now federal caucus special advisor Dan O'Connor. "He was relentless in the pursuit of justice from big government or big business. The most important job in his office was the individual case work, and he didn't trust it to anyone else. He made every phone call and wrote every letter."
"In the 1980 orientation of new NDP MPs, we urged them to take David Orlikow as the model for making their constituents the number one priority, and keeping their finger on the pulse of the communities they represented.
"He didn't hesitate to let it be known when he felt any leader, MP or MLA was harming the Party. He had no patience with anyone who felt they were more important than the Party.
"David Orlikow was never a famous MP, but he was literally one of the builders of our Party.
A group of New Democrats are working to make sure that every riding can easily have its own web page. With 40 percent of the homes in Canada having access to the Web, getting into the game has become a necessity in politics.
Spearheading the NDP Internetters has been Edna Toth of Mississauga. Now retired, she devotes much of her time to Party work and her computer. She and a group of Party members, who met for the first time at Provincial Council in November, are working together to create a web page template any riding association can use and materials to display on that page. (A web page is a display on the Internet similar to a magazine ad.) Web pages are linked to other web pages, so a great deal of information can be provided to the viewer in whatever order the viewer chooses.
Riding activists who are interested are urged to attend the next meeting when Greg Bennett, webmaster for the NDP at Queen's Park, is providing a web design workshop at the next provincial council February 28-March 1. (You don't have to be a delegate to attend; it's open to every NDP member).
For information on the event or to learn about the Internetters' plans, contact Edna Toth at firstname.lastname@example.org
Activist photos wanted!
Do you have photos from NDP events in your riding, committee or affiliate? If you do, The New Ontario Democrat would like to publish them. We need "people shots" of our members in action.
Please send your photos to us: