He Was A Voice For The 99% Long Before The Term 99% Was Around
Posted August 4th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
A Foreword by NAL publisher Doug Draper –
News of Mel Hurtig death this August 4th at age 84 first entered my inbox fittingly from the office of Maude Barlow, chairpserson of the Council of Canadians, the nation-wide citizens advocacy organization Hurtig founded more than three decades ago.
Mel Hurtig was also one of the first Canadians of any note out of the gate to oppose global trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Act (NAFA) because he knew then what growing numbers of others have come to know the hard way – that these were not fair trade deals that respected good paying jobs here.
They were deals that allowed corporations to shut down manufacturing and other operations here, throwing tens-of-thousands of people out of work – and move to countries where they could pay slave wages, rape the land of resources and pollute the planet without fear of penalty.
Concern that Canada and its people were being sold down the river by rich and politically powerful bodies that were making a lie out of their claims that they were “good corporate citizens,” was one of the alarm bells that led to the founding of the Council of Canadians.
It also raised Mel Hurtig’s stature as a national figure who won the respect and support of many everyday Canadians and the scorn of corporate elites and their stooges. They would do their best to brand the Edmonton, Alberta native and independent bookseller who would go on to publish the Canadian Encyclopedia, form the National Party of Canada to run against the country’s mainstream parties and write the 2002 book ‘The Vanishing Party’ as a backward thinking protectionist and scaremonger.
The smear job was enough to allow the 1 % to continue on with most of what they were doing, including outsourcing every more jobs, but Mel Hurtig was at least able to live long enough to witness one of his desires come to pass.
“His loathing for (former Canadian prime minister) Stephen Harper (was) almost Olympian,” wrote Calgary Herald political columnist Don Braid, and last year he was able to see Harper and his federal Tories turfed from power.
Now here is a tribute letter on Mel Hurtig that Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow sent out to COC supporters this August 4rth, along with a note from members of Mel Hurtig’s immediate family and an invitation to make a donation to the organization in his name.
Dear (Council of Canadian supporter),
I’m writing you with a heavy heart. Yesterday, our friend and mentor, Mel Hurtig, passed away peacefully at the age of 84. Mel founded the Council of Canadians, along with many dedicated Canadians, to fight for a better Canada and a better world.
Thirty-one years later, his values and vision still resonate throughout the important work of the Council of Canadians. Mel’s family issued this lovely statement earlier today:
Canadians knew dad as our country’s consummate patriot.
He was a bookseller, publisher, and a politician, an author and an activist. In every chapter of his life, dad’s cause was Canada and his commitment was unconditional. Dad’s love of country was exceeded only by his devotion to his family and friends.
To us, he was an extraordinary father; to so many others, he was an irreplaceable companion, colleague, and compatriot. We will share our plans to celebrate dad’s life in due course. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Council of Canadians – or to the political party of your choice.
Barbara, Jane, Gillian, and Leslie Hurtig
An online memorial page has been set up where you can make a donation to celebrate Mel’s life and legacy.
You can also add your personal condolences, which we will send to his family. You can also call us at 1-800-387-7177, or mail in your gift and condolences to 300-251 Bank Street, Ottawa, ON K2P 1X3.
Mel not only started this amazing organization, he has left a legacy that continues to inspire the fight for a better Canada. Please join me in remembering and celebrating our friend, Mel Hurtig.
With thanks and hope, Maude Barlow National Chairperson The Council of Canadians does not accept corporate donations or government funding. We are an independent citizens’ advocacy group. That means we rely of the generosity of individuals like you to bring about the better Canada we know is possible.
Other ways to donate: Prefer to donate by phone? Call us toll-free at 1-800-387-7177 (Monday-Friday, 9-5 ET)
Read a related CBC account of Mel Hurtig’s life by clicking on – http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/mel-hurtig-author-publisher-edmonton-dead-1.3706776 .
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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders