Canada

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.

Five unions, which represent a total of 175,000 construction workers across Quebec, went on strike as of Sunday midnight when negotiation broke down. This is the first province-wide strike of construction workers in 20 years.

More than 90 people packed a room at the University of Toronto on Friday, 14th June to engage in a public discussion and presentation on revolutionary perspectives and first-hand accounts of the mass movement in Turkey. The event was organized by Fightback and the “Canada Student Collective in Solidarity with Protesters in Turkey”. The event was language-friendly, as those feeling comfortable to speak in Turkish had the option of translation offered to them by the organizers present. An open environment was established for people of all political backgrounds and opinions to engage in what would turn out to be a productive, comradely, and ongoing analysis of the mass movement in

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The political situation across the Canadian state is characterized by subterranean moods of discontent that burst out in sporadic explosions. All of these movements are manifestations of the underlying crisis of the system. To help arm workers and young people in the fights to come, Fightback is publishing our political perspectives for 2013 — "Theses on the Class Struggle in Canada"

A wildcat strike by prison guards shook Alberta, paralyzing the prison system and quickly escalating. The government’s response to the complaints of workers in the prison system only provoked anger; the suspension of two employees for raising safety complaints provoked the incoming evening shift to refuse to turn up. Later, the government’s intention to seek a court-ordered return to work spread the strike to the 10 correctional facilities across the province. Soon after the order was issued, sheriffs at courthouses across Alberta joined the strike, and some crown prosecutors walked out as well.

One of the most disgraceful aspects of Canadian labour policy has come under the spotlight after Canadian banking giant RBC recently sacked 45 workers within their information technology (IT) division, outsourcing those jobs to lower-waged workers from India.  What was supposed to be a minor shuffling of jobs has, instead, become a raging scandal that has exposed how far the capitalist class is willing to go to undermine workers’ wages and rights — and all of it openly supported by the federal government.

With the watering down of the federal NDP constitution the party has taken a step to the right at its Montreal convention. This step mirrors similar developments within the social-democratic labour parties internationally, and is a tragic irony given the ongoing crisis of capitalism. However, disappointing as it is, the removal of a constitutional preamble that nobody had ever read does not fundamentally change the character of the NDP. Because of the crisis, mass movements are inevitable; these in turn will have their reflection in the mass organizations.

The Constitution Committee of the federal NDP has proposed a rewrite of the preamble to the party’s constitution. The new wording is supposedly a compromise, after the right-wing of the party was defeated in 2011 when it tried to remove all references to socialism. However, this new amendment is no compromise at all and marks a significant turn to the right. “Socialism” is relegated to the past in a tokenistic fashion. Most notably, sections on social ownership are removed and replaced with the primacy of the market. This is a bitter irony, precisely when “the market” is showing its abject failure globally, and in Canada. Removal of the defence of social ownership also opens up the

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Canadian politics is evolving against a backdrop of a continued global economic crisis: Europe is in turmoil, the USA is yet to recover, and there are significant weaknesses at home with high consumer debt and the possibility of the bursting of the housing bubble. In response to this failure of capitalist recovery, the federal Conservative government has embarked on a policy of austerity cuts and attacks upon organized workers. In this article Alex Grant outlines the choices for that the New Democratic Party is faced with ahead of its national convention in Montreal.

In the past couple of weeks, hundreds of innocent people have been rounded up by the Montreal police, despite the fact that these individuals committed no crimes. It is very clear that this is only the latest attempt by the state to frighten ordinary workers and youth from demonstrating opposition to the ruling class’ agenda. But, in doing so, they are playing a very dangerous game and risk destroying the veil that is bourgeois democracy.