The Canadian labour movement was challenged to be "true to its own story and not to lose its soul" by the Most Rev. E.W. Scott, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, speaking at the opening of the convention of the Brotherhood of Railway and General Workers in Toronto, today.
"Is the labour movement concerned about groups who are powerless, or is its primary interest to increase its own power?" Archbishop Scott asked. Since unions grew from experiences of injustice and a sense of powerlessness, Archbishop Scott wondered what part they were now playing in the struggle of the "powerless peoples" to share in the economic benefits and decision making of an increasingly inter-locking world economy. He said he has already asked the same question of representatives of Canadian business, federal and provincial governments and within the church.
"How many Indians and Eskimo people have been welcomed into organized labour and how hard does labour work to equalize the benefits within its own ranks?" he asked. Archbishop Scott said "many people rightly criticize the church as it so often fails to be true to its own principles, the same may well be true of the labour movement."
"One of the things that people who have been oppressed learn all too well is how to oppress when they gain power," said Archbishop Scott. He appealed to the convention to "rise above that very real temptation and be true to your own story."