Canada

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.

Over 70 people crammed into the Yellow Griffin Pub in Toronto’s west end to celebrate the life of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez.  The fact that so many people came out on a few hours’ notice demonstrates the effect that Chávez and the Bolivarian revolution have on the lives of people around the world.

Thousands of protesters took part in demonstrations across the country on Dec. 21 under the banner of Idle No More, a grassroots movement dedicated to protecting the environment and Aboriginal treaty rights against new federal legislation. First Nations activists and their supporters mobilized nationwide, with the largest protest on Parliament Hill drawing more than 2,000 people. Solidarity rallies took place around the world — from New Zealand to Los Angeles to the United Kingdom. Some activists also started blocking key roads and railways. In the span of a few weeks, Idle No More has become the most significant social movement in Canada since #Occupy and the Quebec student strike.

Over the past year, there has been an unprecedented interest amongst students across Canada in the fight against rocketing tuition fees. The major factor that has contributed to this growing political awakening among students, other than the unprecedented cost of education and student debt, has been the magnificent example set by the students in Quebec who were able to beat back tuition hikes, resist the attempt by the courts and the cops to repress their movement, and bring down the hated Liberal government of Jean Charest.

Last week the newly elected Parti Québécois government tabled their first budget since taking power. Finance minister Nicolas Marceau vowed to “balance the books” and “cut spending” in what is a clear austerity budget; new expenditures are being increased by the lowest amount in 14 years and almost no new money has been allocated to education spending. The government is also promising to pass a zero-deficit budget for 2013/14. Within an extremely short period since being elected, the PQ has now shown their true colours as a party subservient to Quebec big business, in line with the general austerity plan of the recently ousted Liberal Party.

Every day, new figures and stories come out describing Europe’s decay into virtual anarchy.  Once known for providing its workers with a relatively stable standard of living, one European country after another is pushed into crisis and austerity, provoking social explosions across the continent.  New reports from several leading financial institutions reveal that the European contagion is rapidly spreading across the Atlantic and threatening to overwhelm Canada’s own shaky situation.

A bleak future awaits today's youth as they are being forced to bear the brunt of the capitalist crisis despite having had nothing to do with its creation. Youth are facing challenges today that are unprecedented in history and they are living less stable and secure lives than previous generations. Indeed, youth today will likely never be able to afford the standard of living that their parents and grandparents were able to achieve; owning a home or vehicle is out of the question for a growing percentage of youth entering their adult lives. While record amounts of wealth is being accumulated in private hands, and billions of public dollars are being handed out for bailouts and tax cuts

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For seven long months, Quebec students waged a valiant battle on the streets against the Liberal government’s tuition hikes and undemocratic laws. Former premier Jean Charest called the election as a referendum on who runs society — was it the students and the “street”, or was it the government and the so-called “silent majority”? The results of this election show a complete rejection of the Liberal agenda and in many ways, represents a real victory for the student movement.

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