First Published: The Worker, Vol 10, No 21, September 28, 1978
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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CPL received a perfunctory invitation to the PLP convention days before it was to take place. We did not send delegates for the following reasons.
The Progressive Labor Party leadership has treated the Canadian Party of Labour in a factional and unprincipled manner. A member of PL’s national committee came tc Canada some time ago, Spring 1977, posing as a CAR spokesman. He attempted to win a leader of Toronto CAR to opposing Quebec’s right to self-determination. He did not make any effort to contact his comrades in CPL. Some brush this off with the idea that it was for “socialism” and therefore permissible. Unfortunately for that noble theory this comrade used red-baiting as a means of struggle against CPL.
Immediately following a PLP NC meeting in May of 1978, a member of the NC began to phone everyone he knew in CPL to tell them that the CPL leadership was cowardly and revisionist. He followed up his calls with letters to the same effect.
This factionalism is poo-pooed by PL’s leadership as fighting for socialism.
At one point PL solicited materials from our cadre for their pre-convention bulletins. But when one of our own members sent in an article the editor of the internal went to pains to make a joke out of the comrade’s initials. No one would write after that, of course.
In the matter of the public debate, PLP asked for an exchange over Quebec and the national question and then opened their differences in Challenge by saying CPL had deliberately misled them and expressing dismay. This despite the fact they told our leadership that they disagreed with our views strongly and for a very long time.
Our Party chairman was invited to New York in May for friendly talks and then the PL leadership circulated highly detailed and carefully edited notes on his remarks. He was not told his views were going to be represented this way or given a chance to comment on them before they were used to misrepresent his opinions.
In short, there was insufficient goodwill and comradeship to permit our cadre to participate in the convention. Some sign of self-criticism from PLP might have changed our view, but there was nary a sound from the PLP dirty tricks department.