Canada

Toronto Centre-Rosedale has long been considered an unwinnable riding by the NDP.  However, by running a grassroots, activist, and socialist campaign in the recent federal election, the NDP more than doubled their vote in Toronto Centre and came within striking distance of defeating Bob Rae.  Solomon Muyoboke and Farshad Azadian, the campaign managers for the Toronto Centre NDP campaign and supporters of Fightback magazine, recount how socialist ideas can lead to victory.

It was not that long ago that Air Canada was facing imminent bankruptcy and placing the burden on its workers. In 2004, the airline wrung concessions from their employees — at the time, estimated to cost each worker $10,000. Aside from wage and benefits concessions, the unions also agreed to allow Air Canada to stop paying into the workers’ pension plan until 2010. In 2009, Calvin Rovinescu took over as chief executive for the airline, with the Globe and Mail remarking, “The Air Canada board is clearly preparing for a showdown with unions.” The two years that followed have been marked by a string of demands for concessions by the four Air Canada unions, even as profits and

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The political landscape of Canada has changed, potentially in an irrevocable way. The Liberal Party, formerly Canada’s “natural governing party”, has been reduced to a rump of 34 seats, having received only 19% of the vote. The separatist Bloc Quebecois, which has dominated Quebec since the party’s foundation 20 years ago, has been swept aside by the NDP’s “orange wave” and has been left with only four seats. The New Democratic Party, Canada’s labour party, has leapt into second place with a record-breaking 102 seats, and 31% of the vote.

The NDP's "surge" in Quebec has caught all of the so-called pundits and experts by surprise.  Poll after poll now has the NDP as the most popular political party in Quebec, even ahead of the nationalist Bloc Quebecois.  How can this be so?  After years of the stale nationalist-federalist debate, Quebec workers are looking for new answers and a defence of workers' rights.

The Editorial board of Fightback has released the following draft document in order to encourage discussion amongst youth and working class activists. This is particularly timely, coming in the middle of the Canadian Federal elections. Those wishing to give feedback should contact the authors directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Canada is entering its fourth federal election in seven years. In that time, we have veered from minority Liberal to minority Conservative regimes. What has remained constant is the erosion of the standard of living of workers and youth, and the transfer of wealth to the rich and the corporations. We need to use this election to kick out the Conservatives and build support for socialist ideas.

Joel Bergman from La Riposte, the journal of the Tendance Marxiste Internationale, an official collective within Quebec solidaire, has written this article analyzing the current state of crisis that exists within Quebec society, and the need for a workers' party to emerge in Quebec.  The situation is very favourable for Quebec solidaire (QS) to become that party. The Quebec Marxists will be participating at the QS congress at the end of March and we wish them the greatest success.

This past Saturday (4th Dec.), thousands of workers, coming from as far as Gaspesie, braved the cold to march in solidarity with the locked out employees of Journal de Montréal. Pierre Karl Peladeau, a media baron who owns 99 newspapers and magazines, has locked out the Journal de Montréal workers for nearly two years. These 253 workers have become a symbol of resistance against the media monopoly of the big bourgeoisie.

This weekend in Hamilton saw the annual convention of the Ontario New Democratic Youth (ONDY), which turned into one of the most intense and crucial political battles that the NDP youth wing has ever seen. The ONDY has been sharply divided for weeks following the de-chartering of the Toronto Young New Democrats (TYND), one of the largest and strongest clubs, by the ONDY executive in a secret “in camera” meeting, using evidence that TYND members were not allowed to see. This un-democratic attack stemmed from the desire by members of the ONDY executive and certain Party staffers to rid the ONDY of so-called “radicals” by any means.

Even as it enjoys a new wave of growth and prosperity, Canadian airline giant Air Canada has launched another in a series of attacks on its workers. Breaking a promise made earlier this year, the company announced that it will dramatically increase executive compensation, while simultaneously refusing to negotiate with pilots, flight attendants, and maintenance workers who have borne the brunt of Air Canada's supposed financial difficulties.

The mood leading up to this weekend’s G20 summit and the protest against it became increasingly tense throughout the week. The police and the state spent plenty of time informing the public of its vast arsenal, troop numbers, facilities, and readiness to defend the fence—itself a graphic symbol of the growing class divide not only here in Canada, but around the world.

On June 2nd, the Ontario Liberal cabinet of Premier Dalton McGunity secretly passed, without any input from parliament and certainly no notice to the working people of Canada, sweeping expansions to the Public Works Act. The changes to the act give police forces sweeping new powers of search and arrest on a totally arbitrary basis. The public learned about these legislative changes only on the eve of the largest protest of the G20 summits. [Note, this article was written Friday 25th June, before the events of Saturday 26th.]

Hundreds of workers, activists, youth, trade unionists, and students gathered this past weekend at Toronto’s Ryerson University to organize “The 2010’s People’s Summit: Building a movement for a just world.” Aside from the scores of workshops, the summit was aimed at organizing the week-long series of events and demonstrations against the G20 summit in the city, culminating with the giant rally at Queen’s Park on 26th June.

After last weekend’s successful intervention at the “People's Summit” in Toronto, the Canadian Marxists of Fightback are preparing for the G20 summit this weekend with a tent at Queen’s Park and a meeting in the evening. If you are in Toronto look us up and come to the meeting.

The leaders of the world’s 20 richest nations are visiting Toronto in June, and they want your money. They want your job, your home, your education, your health care, your public transport, your social services, your pension, and your paycheque. They want to take anything that makes life even halfway bearable. They want all of these things to pay for the mess that they, and their capitalist buddies, created. But, we are not just going to sit and let them.

Canada may be some distance from Greece geographically, but the economic policies being adopted look strikingly similar, with public sector wage freezes, cuts in spending and increased costs of services. And for people in Britain who may be thinking of voting Liberal, take a look at what the Canadian Liberals are doing in Ontario.

Meanwhile in the French-speaking part of Canada, the Liberals are doing exactly the same thing as in English-speaking Canada, while the Parti Québécois and the Action démocratique du Québec, supposedly parties that are supposed to defend the French-speaking population of Quebec, have supported attacks on public sector workers and made clear they would pursue cuts of their own if they were in power.

Last year the three biggest union federations in Quebec – CSN, FTQ, and SISP – formed a Common Front that unites 475,000 public sector workers. On Saturday March 20th, this union front brought 75,000 workers from all over Quebec onto the streets of Montreal. After years of being held back, now the workers are presenting the bill just when Quebec’s public debt as at a record high.

Peter Kent, a Canadian minister, recently expressed concerns over the supposed “shrinking democratic space” in Venezuela. He was referring to measures against several TV stations. On one of these, Noel Álavarez, president of the bosses’ union FEDECAMARAS, called for another “military solution” to the political situation in Venezuela. How would Kent like it if a Canadian boss suggested Canada’s military intervene to remove his government?