Archived Winnipeg Labour Council Stories

CLC Poster Irks Bankers


In preparation for a rally in Hamilton protesting layoffs, tight credit at high interest rates and other issues, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) printed a number of posters to advertise the rally. The posters contained a number of 'slogans' addressing issues such as companies that break their promises, CEOs who pad their own nests and a government that refuses to fix the Employment Insurance program or protect the hard-earned pensions of Canadians. The slogan on one of the posters upset the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA).

The poster that upset the bankers included the line "It's time to protect people instead of profits for the banks". Nancy Hughes Anthony, president of the CBA, disliked that statement so much that she wrote a letter to Canadian Labour Congress president Ken Georgetti asking that the slogan be removed from all rally posters.

In her letter she expressed her belief that it is "unfortunate that in encouraging people to come to a rally about jobs and other serious economic issues that are affecting many Canadians that the Canadian Labour Congress resorts to 'bank bashing'."

Georgetti responded by pointing out that Canada's banks, despite the Bank of Canada slashing interest rates and significant support from the federal government, have not moved to help consumers but instead have driven up costs. As he put it in his letter, "the medicine of low interest rates is not getting through to the patient, the sick Canadian economy."

He also told Anthony that "contrary to the signal from our Central Bank, members of your association are currently raising the rates charged on loans and lines of credit to Canadians, even those who are considered not to be bad credit risks.

Georgetti concluded his letter by saying that "I most certainly agree with the many Canadians who believe that the recent action of Canadian banks in driving up interest rates and further restricting credit is a national scandal."

Needless to say, the CLC did not remove the slogan that offended the Bankers Association - and the rally was a tremendous success. An estimated 2,000 people packed the Hamilton Convention Centre to hear speeches, stories, poems and songs for about 90 minutes. Speakers included New Democrat Member of Parliament David Christopherson and newly elected Ontario New Democrat leader Andrea Horwath. Rally participants then headed out on the streets with their signs and banners and marched to Hamilton's federal building.


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