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May 15, 2015

Workers’ advocate Dan McCarthy seeks NDP nomination May 27

Dan McCarthy

Workers’ advocate Dan McCarthy is seeking the nomination as candidate for the NDP in the federal riding of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke.  A nomination meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 at 7:00pm at the Best Western Renfrew Inn and Conference Centre, 760 Gibbons Road, Renfrew ON

Guest Speaker at the meeting will be Winnipeg Centre M.P. Pat Martin, a long-time friend of McCarthy’s, who grew up in a working-class family in Winnipeg.

In his career as a lawyer for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, McCarthy worked tirelessly for members to earn a fair wage for a fair day’s work in a safe environment and to be able to retire with dignity and a good pension.

“I strongly believe it is time for a new voice for the Valley,” says McCarthy.  “There is something wrong when two adults working full-time at minimum wage jobs are below the poverty line and the government caters to the one percent who are rich and getting richer.”

He condemns Harper government policies that cater to the elite at the expense of the vast majority of working people. For example, he says “income splitting”  “gives billions to 15 percent of the population while 85 percent pay for it and receive nothing,” and raising the Tax Free Savings Account limit to $10,000 “will only help the wealthy but will cost current and future taxpayers billions.”

McCarthy has “grown roots in the Valley” in his 22 years living here.  He is President of the Ottawa Valley Food Coop, which promotes locally grown food and locally produced products.  He is a member of the Renfrew and District Food Bank and the Renfrew County Legal Clinic.  In his spare time, he is a birdwatcher and an avid recreational hockey player in the Renfrew area.

McCarthy lives in Burnstown with his wife, Felicite Stairs  also a retired lawyer who ran for the NDP provincially  and their dog Molly.

He had an unusual and distinguised career in two different professions. The first was teaching high school in Montreal. In his 30s, he went into law, graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School.  During law school he worked at both the legal aid clinic in downtown Toronto (Parkdale) and at the legal aid clinic at Osgoode Hall.  At the clinics he practised Family & Welfare law and Workers’ Compensation Law.

“My commitment to equality guided my entire work career, and my vision of politics is based on the same commitment,” he says.

After graduating from law school, he practised Workers’ Compensation law in-house for one union before becoming Canadian Director of Research for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. There, he spearheaded the Carpenters’ Union’s shareholder activism program.  “Before Enron  imploded, we submitted proposals to Canadian companies to ensure that the audit company was not the same company as the consulting firm that designed the accounting system,” he says.

McCarthy also led a successful campaign to force companies to include the anticipated costs of the stock options offered to executives in their financial statements.  “The shareholder proposal resonated with major shareholders and the proposal was passed despite opposition from company executives,” he recalls. “After our proposal, it became mandatory for companies to calculate the anticipated cost of stock options and add it to the expenses so that profit figures were more accurate and shareholders could see the huge payments being made to the executives without having to be an accountant.”

“People have become cynical of politics with good reason,” McCarthy says. “When the institutions of Parliament are undermined by omnibus bills, the withholding of public information, routinely limiting debate and circumventing public input to committees, it sends a clear message to the public  You are not needed, your opinions are not welcome.”

“Politics should be about promoting the common good and the interests of all Canadians,” he says. “Things like affordable day care and a living wage could enable hard-working families to enjoy a better life.”

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