Making Waves! What civil society must do to build power for social and system change in Canada

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Last fall some seventy activists, progressive writers and political analysts gathered at the CAW Family Education Centre in Port Elgin Ontario.

The gathering, sponsored and financed by the CAW, was intended to address a question that has faced the left for many years but has clearly now become urgent: What are we doing wrong?

Deep values studies in Canada reveal with absolute consistency over a period of forty years that two thirds of Canadians support strong government, robust social programs, human rights and economic equality. So why is it that for almost 25 years we have had governments at the federal and provincial level that have deliberately set out to dismantle those things?

There are thousands of dedicated activists out there and hundreds of progressive organizations -- but whatever we are doing isn't working. And we are all getting tired and demoralized.

One of the initiatives that came out of the Port Elgin Assembly has tried to examine that question, identify the problems and a least begin to address them.

The result is the Making Waves document -- click here (pdf) to read the full report.

It is not a manifesto. It is not focused on policy (we have access to lots of great policies). It is intended to start a broad discussion amongst all social and labour activists about how we can do politics differently -- what we need to do to truly engage the millions of Canadians who share our values so that when elections come around those values are expressed in the governments which get elected and the social movements we build.

This is a long document but the problems we face are big and complex. Making waves was written on the basis of listening to what many people are saying about the state of progressive forces.

We hope you will take the time to read it, distribute it to your friends and colleagues and discuss it.

We will soon have an interactive web site where such discussion can place in such a way as to move the process forward. - Murray Dobbin

Read the full Making Waves document here

Making Waves was written by Tony Clarke in consultation with a contact group including Murray Dobbin, Joel Harden, Ken Lewenza Jr, Matt Price, and Clayton Thomas-Muller. Other contributors are listed throughout the document. 


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