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Democracy in action at the CMG convention

Nearly 200 delegates and guests assembled in Toronto from across the country between June 8 and 10 for the CMG’s national convention. It was a busy weekend!

Click here to view the photo album created by Hyungwon Kang, Guild vice president at Thomson Reuters.

Delegates voted to retain the existing approach to our convention, with elected reps and rank-and-file members representing each workplace and location on a population basis and convening every two years.

We also voted to “support the people of Quebec who are protesting Bill 78 which restricts the right to protest. The Guild supports the democratic principles guaranteed by the Charter.” There was a lively debate and, in the end, delegates voted for the principle of freedom of expression and freedom to protest. We also approved a resolution to align the Guild location unit elections with the national elections. The local elections will now take place every three years instead of two. The next local and national elections will be held together near the end of 2013.

We voted on 18 resolutions altogether and heard from nine guest speakers. Most of the discussion took place on the floor, but for the first time ever, delegates also discussed the issues on Twitter, using the #cmg2012 hashtag.

Former Globe and Mail journalist Jan Wong spoke about the experiences she relates in her bestselling book, Out of the Blue: a memoir of workplace depression, recovery, redemption, and yes happiness. She reminded Guild activists that mental injury and illness are the last taboo in our society and urged employers and unions to improve the way they address them.

Comedian and activist Sean Devlin brought the audience to its feet with his sometimes hilarious, sometimes touching, sometimes pointed speech about the social challenges we face in Canada today, including environmental degradation for private profit, attempts to stifle expression and dissent, and a sense of hopelessness among young people about the future. He also poked fun at the media’s tendency to cover the fluff instead of the meaty issues.

Carmel Smyth with CWA President Larry Cohen

Our parent unions were well-represented on the weekend. CWA president Larry Cohen spoke about the union’s campaign to unite the 99% and work in coalition for social and economic justice. Bernie Lunzer, president of The Newspaper Guild, reported on the revolt by New York Times reporters against concession bargaining. And Martin O’Hanlon, director of CWA/SCA Canada, called for us all to keep increasing the numbers of media workers represented by the union and to fight for quality journalism.

We also heard from MP Andrew Cash, the NDP heritage critic for English Canada. He pledged his support for public broadcasting and labour rights and promised us we have allies in Ottawa.

You can find out more about the convention here.

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