Monday, October 19, 2009

Sudburians honoured in late NDP leader's name

Sudburians honoured in late NDP leader's name
By Carol Mulligan, from The Sudbury Star

A short time ago, John Moore hadn't heard about the Jack Layton Award for Social Justice.

So it came as a surprise to learn that a group that has been fighting for him for years was nominated for the honour.

Justice and Freedom for John Moore, a group of a half dozen or so people fighting to clear the Sudbury man's name, is one of three groups short-listed for the Outstanding Achievement Award in the program named after the late New Democratic Party leader.

Myths and Mirrors and the Ontario Coalition Against Replacement Employees have also been nominated in that category.

The Jack Layton Award for Social Justice, the first of its kind in Canada, is a program organized by Sudbury New Democrats to recognize outstanding community members who work to build a more equal society.

"Jack Layton's commitment to social justice touched the nation," said Richard Eberhardt, president of the Sudbury NDP. "In his name, we are proud to recognize those who are carrying on his work."

Three individuals were nomi nat e d for the Leadership award in the program -- Laurentian University professor Gary Kinsman, Leo Therrien, executive director of Maison Vale Hospice, and longtime activist Laurie McGauley.

Three people were nominated for the Youth award, which recognizes people who encourage awareness of social justice among their peers.

Laurentian University labour student Nicole Beaulieu, Laurel O'Gorman, president of the teaching assistants' union at Laurentian, and Max Merrifield, a rap artist involved with the Occupy Sudbury movement, were short-listed for that award.

Moore has tried for decades to clear his name after being convicted June 30, 1978, in the death of taxi driver Donald Lanthier in Sault Ste. Marie.

Moore, an Ojibwe, was convicted of second-degree murder under a section of the Criminal Code that was later ruled unconstitutional. No one in his position today would be charged with a similar crime, let alone convicted of it.

Moore said Wednesday that a handful of people meet monthly to discuss how to have him exonerated. He will speak this weekend to students at Waterloo University about his case and has several speaking engagements at Laurentian University in coming weeks.

Moore and his supporters are asking for a review of his conviction.

Wyman McKinnon, former president of CUPE Local 4705 representing inside employees at the City of Greater Sudbury, is a member of OCARE (Ontario Coalition Against Replacement Workers).

The group supports the efforts of Nickel Belt New Democrat MPP France Gelinas to have the province pass legislation prohibiting the hiring of replacement workers during labour disputes.

Merrifield said he was "absolutely honoured and a little bit shocked to be nominated for ... an award in the name of such a fierce leader and fighter for social justice as Jack Layton. To even be short-listed is an absolute honour."

The awards will be presented at a dinner March 1 at the Steelworkers' Hall.

Tickets cost $100 for two or $60 each. There will be a silent auction at the event and proceeds from that will be donated to charities of the award-winners' choosing.

Tickets are available by phoning 705-562-1239.

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