In this note , CUPE Local 79 President Tim Maguire reflects on the life of Peter Kormos, a great ally for Ontario workers.
It was with great sadness that I learned about the passing of Peter Kormos, former NDP MPP from Welland, Ontario.
I grew up in Niagara, and went to high school in Welland. When I first met Peter in the early 90s, I was quickly drawn to his passion for fighting for Ontario’s working families and his principled stand on issues like auto insurance.
For three Ontario elections, I was honoured to go door-to-door and campaign for Peter. What strikes me still today is how enthusiastic the vast majority of his constituents were about his perspectives, and the genuine affection constituents from all walks of life felt for him.
The accompanying photograph shows Peter and I at the 1996 Ontario NDP Leadership convention in Hamilton – my first political convention. We were engrossed in conversation about the priorities of his campaign and which convention resolutions he felt he could support. While Peter didn’t end up winning the party leadership, I will never forget his positive approach emerging from that campaign, in which he remarked that the gains made for progressive ideas shouldn’t be squandered.
I also always enjoyed seeing Peter at Queen’s Park when I was there for various issues in the past few years. I was somehow comforted knowing he was there fighting for the interests of working people, public services, and trade unions. To borrow from one of his campaign slogans: “You Bet Your Boots” he had our back!
For those who don’t know, Peter played a key role in bringing about a balanced resolution to our union’s 2002 labour dispute. He pushed the Harris/Eves regime to appoint a neutral arbitrator to resolve outstanding issues in our negotiations with the City, rather than have a biased arbitrator imposed.
For that, I thank Peter on behalf of all Local 79 members.
President, CUPE Local 79