Ernie Tate

Ernie Tate (front left) and Toronto Hydro strikers, 1989.
Photo by Jess MacKenzie.

By Rob Fairley

April 23, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Spring — Following Ernie Tate’s death on February 5, 2021, numerous tributes have been published highlighting his lifelong commitment to socialism and remarkable contribution to the anti-war movement. (Links are provided below.) His two-volume memoir, Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s, provides a detailed account of this work.

Ernie’s role as a union leader has received less attention. Working at Toronto Hydro from 1977 to 1995, he served as an Executive Board member and eventually as Vice-President of CUPE Local One, which represented roughly 500 blue collar and 450 clerical and technical workers at the utility.

This article includes recollections of several local leaders at the end, retracing some of Ernie’s activity in Local One, including a few of the many battles Ernie had a hand in. With others there at the time, I describe the community of which Ernie was a part, and some of its history and his contributions.



January 18, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — What follows is chapter fifteen from volume one of Ernest Tate’s memoir, Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s and 1960s, published by Resistance Books, London. In this chapter, using archival sources, he describes in detail how a small group of Canadian revolutionary socialists in the Socialist Educational League, S.E.L., later to become the League for Socialist Action, L.S.A., of which he was a leader, organized in 1960 to defend the early Cuban Revolution against a right-wing propaganda offensive inspired by American imperialism, designed to quarantine it from the Canadian people. Their campaign in defense of Cuba, he writes, was one of the most successful of its kind in the English-speaking world.


March 7, 2017 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left UnityOne of the most important areas of work for socialists in Europe in the period of Trump will be to establish ongoing working political relationships with comrades in the US and Canada. To that end Left Unity will increase our coverage of politics across the pond. We will begin with a new ‘letter from North America’ courtesy of Ernie Tate. Ernie is a lifelong revolutionary who emigrated to Canada from Northern Ireland as a young man. In the 1960s working in Britain he was one of the most important activists of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign. He has recently produced a two volume memoir of that period, “Revolutionary Activism of the 1950s and 1960s”, published by Resistance Books. Now at the age of 82 and living in Toronto he is still active and an acute observer of the political scene. Ernie will send us his thoughts twice monthly. Below are the first two instalment written to Phil Hearse his longtime friend and comrade.