Friday, 9 December 2011

Coverage of St. Catharines Communist Party candidate in Vapaa Sana, a Finnish-Canadian newspaper

by Sofia Vuorinen for Vapaa Sana

I first encountered Saleh Waziruddin at a luncheon meeting of the Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association.  I took particular note of him because he was carrying an armful of People's Voice.  He is the co-convenor of Niagara Coalition for Peace and a member of the Canadian Peace Congress executive council.  There are occasional Niagara News Bulletins in People's Voice.  In the November 1-15, 2011, Saleh wrote an article titled in the paper entitled "Canadian Peace Alliance campaign for "Peace and Prosperity, not War and Austerity."  

The Canadian Peace Alliance held its bi-annual convention in Toronto on October 14-16 this year.  The theme of the convention was on "Peace and Prosperity not War and Austerity."  They were agitating for shifting public money from militarism and war into public services, jobs, and the environment.  Postcards can be signed on-line at and Prosperity.html.

Several resolutions were passed, including support for the campaign to let U.S. War Resisters stay in Canada, helping students counter military recruitment, and participating in elections by encouraging peace candidates and clear anti-war positions.

I was particularly interested in getting in touch with Saleh when I was informed that he was going to run as a Communist candidate in St. Catharines in our October provincial election.  He had been campaign manager in 2008 in the federal election and in 2007 in the provincial election.  He also ran as a candidate in both the federal and provincial elections this year.

Saleh was born in Montreal to an Indian father and a Pakastani mother.  He lived in the U.S. for 12 years and has now returned to reside in Niagara Falls, Canada.  I wanted to know how he was received in the election as a Communist candidate.  He gave me some very interesting information.  He was approached by different people before the debates who had recognized him from his previous federal candidacy.  After the debate, one individual who was actually working for the Progressive Conservative party told Saleh that he made the most sense of all the candidates!

One of the major issues that he addressed was about the situations in local hospitals in the Niagara area.  The Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) has been cutting emergency rooms in favour of  P3 (public-private partnership) hospitals and mismanaging a bacteria outbreak linked to over 30 deaths.  

Niagara Falls residents have protested three bacterial outbreaks including C-Difficile with several deaths where the outbreak was declared late. The Health Minister Andrews denies that the  cause is funding cuts but adds that they will have to find money to deal with the outbreaks and added housekeeping staff.  

Saleh felt he did very well in certain high schools.  In one, he had the second most votes of any party.  Keep up the great work you are doing in many aspects of your life. Further details of "A People's Agenda for Ontario" is available at

Niagara News Bulletin Dec 1-31

People's Voice Niagara Bureau

* A second Niagaran has died from the second hospital infection
outbreak, after the previous one in October led to 35+ fatalities.
Local 26 of the Ontario Nurses Association issued another warning
that nurses could not provide the standard of care necessary
because of understaffing, despite the province saying earlier cuts
were not the cause of the health crisis. McMaster University
released a survey showing 50% or more of residents in municipalities
covered by the Niagara Health System (NHS) don’t trust it, up to 80%
in Ft. Erie. Meanwhile the inquest continues into the role of moving
emergency rooms to a more distant P3 hospital in the death of a
teenager who could not be treated locally because of the cuts. The
Region has also released a “Let’s Start a Conversation” video which
shows that local health care problems are rooted in poverty and the
economy, copying a similar documentary from Sudbury.
* A Niagara Falls fast food worker has started a campaign to ban
smoking from drive-throughs, since the health of service workers
is left unprotected by the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. The local Liberal
MPP thinks it’s a good idea, but wants to leave it to businesses to
* CUPE-affiliated Steel City Solidarity, a Workers Action Centre
organized to extend labour’s support to non-unionized workers,
picketed a Grimsby restaurant where the manager had not paid a
worker almost $2,000 in wages despite being ordered a year ago by
the Labour Board to pay up. Scheduled to be open, the restaurant
was closed up during the picketing.
* Rural Niagara residents were again warned they might see soldiers
running around with weapons and military vehicles on exercises in
civilian areas as part of militarization.
* A city councillor has denounced the Niagara Regional municipal
council as a “dictatorship”. The council refused to hold a byelection after a councillor representing Welland was recently elected
as a provincial MPP. Calling a by-election “financially irresponsible”,
the regional body tried to appoint a replacement despite opposition
from Welland council.
* As part of municipal cuts from provincial underfunding and
downloading, St. Catharines will stop shovelling the driveways of
seniors and the disabled, originally implemented to make it a
“walkable city.”