Canada

The Conservative government has been touting their new income splitting plan, billed as the “Family Tax Cut”, across Canadian airwaves. The advertisement, brought to you by the Government of Canada, informs us that Canadian families have been working hard and deserve a break. The Family Tax Cut allegedly gives families this break by allowing one parent to transfer up to $50,000 to the other parent’s income in order to fit into a lower tax bracket and therefore pay less taxes. But, do all families really get a break with the Tories’ plan?

The bankruptcy of the capitalist system was recently laid bare by Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz’s advice to unemployed youth who continue to struggle to find jobs in the stagnant economy. Rather than be discouraged, Poloz suggested that young workers “might as well go out and do something for free” until the economy improves. Youth and working people were rightfully insulted by his crass remark, which suggested they should not only bear the brunt of the bosses’ economic crisis, but be prepared to give up their labour for nothing! 

With each passing day, the stage is being set for a big showdown between workers and Quebec’s Liberal government. Since the government announced that they would attack municipal workers’ pensions (which effectively means a wage cut), tens of thousands of workers have been taking to the streets, participating in various actions and mobilizations across Quebec. The attack on pensions is also just a part of a much wider austerity package which is targeting childcare services, health care, and a myriad of other social services, all of which are part of the general social wage in Quebec won by the labour movement over decades of struggle. 

Over 130 people packed packed into a small classroom at Montreal’s Concordia University on Nov. 19, to discuss the kidnapping of 43 students in Ayotzinapa and developing mass movement in Mexico. The event was organized by Fightback/La Riposte in cooperation with SOSporMexico (Montreal); discussions took place in English and French, with consecutive translations. The discussion was very animated and passionate, with many people bringing forward many important points and contributions. 

Ottawa was rocked on Wednesday by news that a lone gunman shot, and killed, a Canadian Forces reservist on Parliament Hill, before storming Parliament itself. This attack came just two days after a similar incident in Quebec. The fact that these two individuals recently converted to a fundamentalist form of Islam, and apparently expressed support for ISIS, has raised fears that Canada is now facing a wave of terrorist attacks.

The 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident has brought into focus the history of Canada’s immigration policy. The anniversary of this mass deportation has been marked by coverage and specials in the mainstream press, by statements from politicians, as well as remembrance ceremonies, particularly in the Sikh-Canadian community. 

As the provincial election crawls along, Ontario workers fear the prospect of a Tim Hudak-led Conservative government winning power at Queen’s Park.  Hudak has made it crystal clear that his government would slash jobs and program spending in order to balance the province’s books.  This has led many in the labour movement, and even in the so-called “left”, to push Ontario workers to re-elect the Liberals in order to stop Hudak’s advance.  However, this “advice” will only disorient the labour movement and ill-prepare workers for the coming attacks and austerity, which will occur regardless of whether the Tories or Liberals are elected.

Over 60 people packed a room at Oakham House at Ryerson University in Toronto on Wednesday evening for a discussion with invited speaker, Rob Sewell, the editor of the British Marxist journal Socialist Appeal. The event, organized by Fightback, focused on the developing situation in the Ukraine in the context of the capitalist crisis today and the similarities with the political forces that gave rise to the First World War 100 years ago. 

Less than two years after it was kicked out from power, the Quebec Liberals have been returned to government with a crushing victory in the Quebec provincial election. With over 1.7-million votes (41% of the total), the Liberals took 70 of the province’s 125 seats. The 33-day campaign started with premier Pauline Marois confident that her Parti Québécois would be forming a majority government. Instead, the election ended with Marois losing her own seat and the PQ capturing its lowest vote total since 1973, with just over 1-million votes (25% of the total) cast for the party.  Now, there is an ominous feeling amongst Quebec’s workers and youth as memories of Jean Charest’s majority

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Just 18 months since the last election, voters in Quebec will once again head to the polls on Apr. 7. With a weak minority government and a parliament that has been deadlocked on pretty much everything, the Parti Québécois is looking to secure that majority government they failed to obtain in the fall of 2012. The PQ’s support has increased by about ten percentage points in less than a year, making this goal a possibility. But what does this election mean for workers and youth in Quebec today?

The Canadian government has become the latest imperialist power to jump to the defence of the far-right protests in Venezuela.  Parliament has just passed a unanimous motion that places the responsibility for the current violence in the country on the shoulders of the Venezuelan government rather than the opposition gangs that initiated the unrest.

On the weekend of February 15th-16th, approximately 60 people participated in the fifth annual Marxist Winter School in Montreal, this year held at Concordia University. Organized by supporters of Fightback (Canada), La Riposte (Quebec), and the Workers’ International League (USA), this year’s school was certainly a big success. Activists traveled from Ottawa, Toronto, New York, and Boston to join comrades in Montreal for enthusiastic discussions throughout the entire weekend. Continuing the tradition from last...

On December 11, the day after Parliament broke for Christmas holidays, Canada Post’s management announced that they plan to end home mail delivery.  The bombshell announcement came as a complete shock to many. 

Last year, we saw a continuation of the revolutionary process of social upheaval all around the world. From Turkey to Brazil, from Egypt to Greece, people take to the streets searching for a way out as capitalism offers no future.

On the surface an eery calm seems to have settled over Canadian society with an apparent absence of mass movements or major labour struggles.  But, it would be incredibly shortsighted to assume that this calm suggests an era of peace or stability.  On the contrary; Canadian society rests on a knife’s edge and almost anything could set the class struggle alight.  There is a paralysis of leadership on all sides — both from the labour movement and the capitalist class — which means that the underlying contradictions within society continue to build up.

What the hell is going on in Toronto? This must surely be the response of people around the world as the surreal scandal surrounding Toronto mayor Rob Ford filled newspapers from Britain to Germany to South Africa.  How is it possible that a crack-smoking drunk-driving man who likes to urinate in public parks and go on half-naked vodka-fuelled benders at City Hall still be the mayor of Canada’s largest city?  The fact that he remains in power speaks to the vacuum of leadership present in both the labour movement and within the ruling class.

Canada has become the latest country to be caught in the scandal surrounding electronic espionage. In many respects, the fallout from Canada’s spy activities in Brazil could end up being more damaging than the revelations around the NSA and Spygate earlier this year.

November 3, 2013 is the date set for municipal elections across Québec. The past few years have been a roller coaster ride of scandal and corruption for municipal politicians across the province. Gérald Tremblay, the mayor of Montreal since 2002, resigned on Nov. 5, 2012 as a result of allegations of corruption and Mafia ties. His successor, interim mayor Michael Applebaum, was not even able to finish the remaining term in office; in a pre-dawn raid on Jun. 17, 2013, Applebaum was arrested on 14 charges including fraud, conspiracy, breach of trust, and corruption in municipal affairs.  Montreal’s bourgeois parties are in crisis.

After weeks of rumours, the Parti Québécois government has finally released the details of their proposed “Charter of Quebec Values”. According to the PQ government, the charter is needed to continue the traditions established during the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s, ensuring a proper separation of church and state and defending Quebec society from the dangers of religious indoctrination.  However, for many in Quebec, the charter is correctly seen as an attempt to target ethnic and religious minorities for the crisis that plagues Quebec society, and to set one sector of the working class against the other.

As the 2013-2014 school year begins, youth across Canada will once again have to face the crisis facing them under capitalism. Tuition fees continue to rise across the country, making post-secondary education increasingly inaccessible to a growing number of youth. Moreover, the lack of stable well-paying jobs means that students are graduating with a record level of debt that makes a decent future seem like a pipe dream.

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