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From the Editor

The Peter Pan of Canadian politics

by Judi McLeod

May 18, 2004

Bad luck seems to find Peter Tabuns at election time. First came the slippery as a fish Larry Tabin, who finished New Democrat Party (NDP) Tabun’s political career in 1997 Toronto municipal elections. Tabin filed papers as a candidate with the city clerk’s office never to be heard from again--eluding an eager posse of media types in the bargain. as far as is known, Tabin never canvassed or knocked on a single door, but the familiar sounding name confusion he caused during the election campaign drew enough votes away from incumbent Tabuns, blocking his return to City Hall. The erstwhile media never did locate usurper Tabin, and the theory is that restaurant and business owners along the Danforth, fed up with the radical Tabuns, created his political doppelganger. Coming up with a counterfeit candidate in time for elections is illegal, but as far as members of the anonymous group who engineered his defeat were concerned, it did rid the City of Toronto of Peter Tabuns.

after stinging defeat, Tabuns hung out for awhile in the Toronto City Hall offices of then Coun. Jack Layton, now NDP national leader. The media complained about the inequality of his being on Layton’s payroll and the next time the long-suffering public heard from Tabuns, he was Executive Director of Greenpeace Canada.

Now that Tabuns, has given up Greenpeace to run under the NDP banner for the federal election in the Toronto Riding of Beaches-East York, he’s being shadowed by a group professing to be the Guelph branch of the NDP Radical Youth Caucus (NDP-RYC). The tag team wants Tabuns out of the race because of alleged union bashing activities at Greenpeace.

In a press release, the youth caucus demanded: "Peter Tabuns out of our NDP!"

Within the space of minutes, came a fictitious response letter from Tabuns, tendering his resignation: "I am following the high road taken by Svend Robinson in B.C." Stated the bogus resignation letter. But Tabuns did not resign.

Eleventh-hour election controversy seems to be stalking Tabuns again and that’s a problem for the federal election-bound NDP, who consider Beaches-East York as the third most winnable riding in Toronto.

Eerily, a letter posted on months ago warned the rank and file, "there must be "stars" (other than Tabuns) who would start with less negatives, and have a better chance of winning."

"He (Tabuns) locked out unionized door-to-door canvassers in an attempt to break their union," said the NDP-RYC press release. "While Greenpeace has a long history of anti-union activity, this was a new low even for them."

Somewhat naively, the group lobbying for the return of the party to its grassroots working people representation is calling on "all union, socialist, and truly socialist democratic elements in the NDP to join us in our campaign for a Boss-Free Party! Contact Jack Layton and Peter Tabuns to let them know you are shocked and outraged by these betrayals."

In the so-called Tabun’s letter, the NDP candidate allegedly responds, "To call for my expulsion from the NDP based on my position at Greenpeace, in addition to being a pipe dream, is just as bad as being a racist. There is no place in our party for discrimination against the rich or those who serve them.

"In regards to the labour dispute at Greenpeace, I am unable to comment on it at this time."

In 2003, Canada Free Press was at the forefront criticizing Tabuns for what we perceived to be his callous treatment of Greenpeace union members. Indeed we threw Tabuns on the front page as "The Christmas Grinch" upon the discovery that the 13-member OPIEU had been locked out in sub-zero temperatures during the holiday season.
Meanwhile, the attack on Tabuns by the radical party youth is laced with irony. Radical as they come, as a Toronto councillor Tabuns was chief catalyst in banning the circus from coming to town. Taxpayers paid tens of thousands of dollars in a court battle that saw a judge overturn the ban on the basis that council had overstepped its boundaries. Tabuns went on to boycott Harvey’s Hamburgers, all because they had made a political contribution to the provincial Progressive Conservative Party. Derision followed for Tabuns when it was revealed that Harvey’s had contributed to all three provincial political parties.

In their callow youth, NDP youth caucus members may be over-the-line idealistic and downright radical.

But they will someday grow up, while it’s obvious that Tabuns, like his Peter Pan namesake, never will.

Some unsolicited advice from a middle-aged journalist who’s been tracking Peter Tabuns for years: Forget computer hacking and one-day wonder letters of rebuke. If you really want Peter Tabuns, go out and get him at the polls.

Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on, Drudge Report,, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at: [email protected]

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