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AVAILABLE EXPERT - 2016 NDP Convention in Edmonton

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Queen's University labour and political history professor Christo Aivalis is available to provide comment and commentary on the NDP Federal Convention in Edmonton, AB, taking place April 8-10. Amongst other events, party leader Thomas Mulcair will face a leadership review vote on Sunday. Late on Monday evening, it was reported that Canadian Labour Congress president Hassan Yussuff has voiced his opposition to Mr. Mulcair remaining the party leader, in contrast to a number of NDP-aligned unions which have voiced support.

"This is a massive development just a week before the NDP convention," says Dr. Aivalis. "As it stood last week, it was likely that Mr. Mulcair would have the majority labour support in Edmonton. Major unions like the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and United Steelworkers (USW), were steadfast in their support for Mr. Mulcair staying on and UNIFOR President Jerry Dias suggested that Mr. Mulcair be given at least until 2018 to improve the party's positioning. Because getting to Edmonton has a logistical effect for many central Canadians, labour support in getting delegates to convention must not be underestimated."

Dr. Aivalis says this development could spark political and ideological divides within the labour movement and the NDP's various wings; with the effect of these comments extending well beyond the convention.

"Its unclear if this will hurt Mr. Mulcair substantively, because people motivated by the remarks might have not planned a cross-country trip," says Dr. Aivalis. "In any case, this will manifest on the convention floor, giving ammo and a big name to the pro-change factions. If not altering the result of the convention and its leadership review, this will undoubtedly alter the tone."

Dr. Aivalis will be available for media from Tuesday, April 5 until Thursday, April 7 at 10 am. He will also be in attendance at the NDP Convention.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Chris Armes (613-533-6000 ext. 77513 or chris.armes@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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Attention broadcasters: Queen’s has facilities to provide broadcast quality audio and video feeds. For television interviews, we can provide a live, real-time double ender from Kingston with HD-SDI. Please call for details.

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