Canada

We are publishing a discussion document written by the Fightbackeditorial board. It attempts to outline the dominant trends within the Canadian labour movement to give youth and worker militants a guide to action.

The Campbell government is planning a major offensive on the rights of working people. Over the past five years, each attack of the government has been met with stiff resistance. Each battle has taken on an increasingly militant character. With most public sector contracts ending this month, the stage is set for a decisive battle.

The Liberal Party of Canada has finally been kicked out of office. The Conservatives must attempt to lead an even more fractured minority Parliament while there is little support for right-wing policies. The Canadian elite wants a strong majority government to push through attacks on the working class. But the good showing by the union-backed NDP, and the continued presence of the separatist Bloc Québécois, means the Canadian political crisis will continue until the fall of this weak government.

A group of “prominent personalities” in Québec issued a manifesto titled Pour un Québec lucide (in English, For a clear-eyed vision of Québec). Attempting to draw upon Québec’s history and using some of the strongest symbols from its past, it is nothing more than a manifesto of the bourgeoisie for the 21st century. More than that, Pour un Québec lucide is a stark warning to the working class that things are about to change.

Bourgeois Democracy in Canada is facing a crisis of confidence. The fall of the minority Liberal government presents Socialists with a choice. Do we sit out the coming federal election or do we actively participate in the debate? What strategies are necessary for increasing support for socialist ideas? And finally, what position should we take towards the federal New Democratic Party? We are producing here the text of a leaflet, Join the NDP - Fight for socialism, that tries to answer these questions.

Increasingly, Canadian workers are learning about the importance of the Venezuelan Revolution. The Ontario Federation of Labour, which represents over 700,000 workers, unanimously passed a resolution in support of Venezuela at its November 21st – 25th convention. This success is the culmination of several months of organizing activity by Hands Off Venezuela activists in Canada and is an important step forward for the Venezuela solidarity movement.

As the dust settles around the British Columbia teachers' strike there is an uneasy calm hanging over the province. Two facts are immediately apparent - first, neither the government nor the labour movement were decisively defeated; and second, this was only a dress rehearsal for the bigger battle to come in the spring.

On Monday, October 17 tens of thousands of trade unionists brought the capital city of British Columbia to a grinding halt.  Victoria was closed for business as a regional general strike in support of the British Columbia Teachers Federation crippled the city.  The strike culminated in a massive demonstration at the BC legislature.  The comrades of Fightback were there on this historic day.

In a matter of days, all of the contradictions that have been building over the last four years in British Columbia have come to the fore. Gordon Campbell's mis-named Liberals have spent their time in power attacking the working class. This has been met with several waves of unrest. Now this battle is reaching new heights. The province stands on the brink of an all-out general strike.

Yet again, the BC Liberal Government has removed the democratic right of employees to strike.  From the UBC TAs, to the ferry workers and hospital employees, workers’ rights and public programs are coming under constant attack.  Now the Liberals plan to use BC’s teachers as their next layer of cannon fodder.  On October 7, 42 000 public school teachers will illegally walk the line in defence of their right to collectively bargain, to go on strike and to save education for BC’s youth.  Fightback stands together with the striking teachers.

Also see the Picket Line Solidarity Special in PDF format...

In the last five years, gas prices in Canada have soared from about 65-cents per litre to over $1.10.  This price hike hits the working class hardest.  While the right wing are trying to blame taxes for the increase, the majority of Canadians see that corporate super-profits are the real culprit.  In a recent poll, 49% of Canadians (and 67% of Quebecers) support nationalizing the oil industry. 

Management at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is trying to force through a new contract on their employees – a contract eliminating restrictions on the broadcaster's ability to contract out work instead of hiring full-time employees. They have now applied a lock-out and it looks like it is going to a long and bitter struggle.

We’ve seen disgruntled public service workers taking action all over Canada in the last year or so – whether it be teachers in Québec, twenty-thousand Newfoundland public sector workers, Ontario’s Hydro One workers, or the members of the Hospital Employees’ Union. The increasing labour unrest culminated this summer when private sector workers stepped onto the scene in a major way with the victorious Truckers’ strike.

Telus workers across BC and Alberta have been on the picket lines since Thursday July 21st, making it clear that they will not roll over and take the offer that the company is trying to impose. In five years without a contract, the members of the Telecommunications Workers Union have put up with Telus stalling, conniving, and repeatedly bargaining in bad faith, in a blatant attempt to break the union.

Over the last few years, the class struggle in Québec has passed several milestones that had not been approached in the previous 30 years. The Parti Québecois, camouflaging their programme in nationalist rhetoric, pursued austerity measures and anti-worker policies for years. Despite the claims of the bourgeois media, the defeat of the PQ in 2003 was a reaction to its attacks on the working class rather than a rejection of separatism, or a victory of federalist policies. The issues that brought down the PQ remained unaddressed by the Liberal administration under Charest, and a renewed wave of reactionary policies were savagely affected a few short months after its election. Without the

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The continuing revelations of the Gomery inquiry have unearthed the corruption in Canada’s “democratic” system. Canadians are getting sick of stories of government money being used for kickbacks to the Federal Liberal party. However, the collapse in support for the Liberals has not resulted in any major enthusiasm for the opposition Conservatives. The common opinion is that all politicians are corrupt. This reflects the crowing crisis in the ability of the capitalist parties to rule. Such swindles are seen as a cost of doing business under the present political system. Canadian voters are wishing a plague on both the Liberal and Conservative Houses. If the NDP is going to avoid being

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Québec is in crisis and has just witnessed the largest student strike in 30 years. What is needed now is an honest appraisal of the objective failures and successes of the strike, and a sober discussion of how to build from the current situation in preparation for future battles.

Eight months into their minority government, the federal Liberals have tabled a budget that serves one main aim – survival. Their right-leaning budget aims to please everybody, or more accurately in typical Canadian fashion attempts to offend nobody, and in so doing shows the weakness of Canadian Liberalism.
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