Have Dave Coles and the CEP Walked into a Political Box Canyon?

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political storm cloudsTHUNDER BAY – Dave Coles and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada may have walked into a political box canyon. At the union’s annual meeting, “the nearly 1,000 delegates passed a resolution calling for the opposition parties to ensure that a progressive alternative replace the minority Conservative government”.

It likely means that for the CEP having any substantive results from talks with the federal Conservatives are not going to make it atop the government’s list of priorities.

It may also mean, based on the reaction by Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff to the proposed coalition government in the past that the Liberals won’t be too encouraging to meet with Coles and the CEP either.

That leaves the union with the New Democrats. Considering that only about 38% of union members vote NDP, other than the hard-core ideologues within the party, their audience might be limited too.

If the goal for the CEP is getting results and solutions for their members in badly battered sectors of the economy, the CEP might have thought longer and harder on their motion on a coalition government.

However now that the union has passed a motion effectively stating that no matter what the Conservatives do, it won’t be good enough, they have entered a political box canyon.

The only way out will be if the NDP form the next government. Jack Layton, over the past weeks has continued to prove himself a leader who can generate about 19% support across Canada.

The CEP’s chances look slim to none, and as they say in the west, Slim just left town.

Dave Coles and his union have their work cut out for them.

James Murray

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