Canada

The 2015 provincial election in Alberta was truly historic. Not only have the people of Alberta elected the first NDP government in the history of the province, but also the 44-year reign of the provincial Progressive Conservatives has - finally - come to an end. This represents a historic and seismic shift in the history of the province, and marks a new stage in the class struggle both provincially and nationally.

News of the death of comrade Camilo Cahis came as a brutal shock to all who knew him.

These perspectives, authored by our late comrade Camilo Cahis, are featured in a special commemorative edition of Fightback magazine. This will be available at both the funeral for Camilo and the revolutionary celebration of his life and ideas. We believe that the best way to memorialize the life of our dear comrade  is to learn from his ideas and to build the movement of revolutionary Marxism.

The movement has lost a great fighter. Camilo Cahis, succumbed to mental illness on the night of Saturday 25th April, 2015. We, his comrades, are forever in his debt.

Camilo Cahis's last article before his tragic death proved to be his most popular, read by tens of thousands of people. It is even more remarkable in the light of the electoral earthquake which took place in Alberta yesterday reflecting the class contradictions which Camilo explained in his article.

The mandate for the two-week student strike is coming to a close this week, and ASSÉ’s weekend congress will be dominated by debates over the way forward. Much controversy has arisen over the fact that the ASSÉ executive has put forward a proposition to end the strike and wait for possible strike action on the part of the unions in the fall.

On March 21st, thousands of students took to the streets of Montreal to protest austerity. The demonstration was part of the “Spring 2015” anti-austerity movement, organized by various student associations. On Monday March 23rd the student strike was officially kicked off with over 50,000 students commencing strike action which will continue for the next two weeks leading up to a big demonstration on April 2nd. Another 150,000 students will vote for strike actions in the coming days. Many people believe this is the beginning of another “Maple Spring” as was seen during 2012 with hundreds of thousands on the street for several months.

Over 80 people registered to participate in the annual Marxist Winter School on the weekend of February 15-16 in icy Montreal. This year’s school, held at Concordia University, broke the record for the highest attendance in the event’s history, and saw revolutionary activists visiting from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Boston, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and California.

Prison populations are rapidly increasing, far outstripping the capacity of the provincial and federal prison systems in Canada. The Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Corrections revealed that Ontario prisons had reached 98.5% capacity, representing a six-year high. This meant that on any typical day during 2012 about half of Ontario’s 25 prisons were overcrowded (at over 100% capacity).

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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