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CAUT Bulletin Archives

September 2013

Remembering Errol Black, Jack Layton

[Karen Schlichting / CCPA and Matt Jiggins / flickr]
[Karen Schlichting / CCPA and Matt Jiggins / flickr]
Errol Black, Chair in Labour Issues and Jack Layton, Chair

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has established a full-time labour research position to honour a former Brandon University professor and founding member of its Manitoba office.

The Errol Black Chair in Labour Issues is a tribute to Errol Black, who died in November 2012 from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He’d worked for 30 years as a labour economist at Brandon University, serving actively during the same time with the Brandon Labour Council and the Brandon University Faculty Association.

The position at CCPA’s operations in Winnipeg is seen as essential to continuing Black’s legacy and his contribution of prolific research and accessible writing, and will facilitate research into urgent labour issues.

But it will not completely fill the void left by someone “irreplaceable,” according to Brandon faculty association vice-president Joe Dolecki, and Black’s colleague and friend for more than three decades.

“When he retired from the department, they said find a replacement, but I said you can’t replace Errol Black,” Dolecki recalls. “You’ll find someone to teach his courses, but you will never fill his shoes.”

Dolecki agrees that continuing the type of work championed by Black through the CCPA initiative is “absolutely important, particularly at a time when labour is under attack.”

“The position will help ensure an ongoing research effort to analyse issues facing working people, and keep Errol’s project going: revealing and communicating the status of labour and unions, and advocating for working people.”

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A profound sense of pride in one former Ryerson University professor has been transformed into a new chair for the department of politics and public administration.

The Jack Layton Chair at Ryerson was created with the assistance of Layton’s family after Jack’s death in 2011, and relies on donations to fund it in advancing “his legacy of political and humanitarian leadership.”

The chair will be held for three years by an existing Ryerson faculty member from the department where Layton taught for almost 10 years before launching his political career.

In 2012 Ryerson named Myer Siemiatycki as its inaugural chairholder of the Jack Layton Chair.

Among the duties of the chair are promoting work “in keeping with Layton’s wide-ranging interests and commitments on issues as diverse as environmental sustainability, homelessness, violence against women, labour rights and inclusive democracy.”

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