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Conservative policies starve northern indigenous communities

Child holding sign that says, "I need milk" in Northern indigenous language and EnglishThroughout their nine years in power, the Conservative government has developed a tradition of brushing off the concerns and challenges faced by Canada's aboriginal peoples. The latest example to get national attention is the failure of the Nutrition North Canada Program (NNCP), which was meant to ensure the affordability of healthy foods shipped to isolated Northern communities, where food insecurity is up to six times the national average. Since it was implemented in 2011, prices of food and other basic necessities have skyrocketed, leaving some with no option but to scavenge in garbage dumps to feed their families.

Sixty years after the Richard Riot: Hockey and the class struggle in Quebec

Maurice RichardSixty years ago this month, Montreal was the scene of one of the most significant riots in its history. Following the suspension of Montreal Canadiens star player Maurice "The Rocket" Richard, thousands of Montrealers took to the streets, keeping the city police occupied throughout the night. Many consider this as a harbinger of the Quiet Revolution that would shake the province in the early 1960s.

Target store closures part of mass retail layoffs across Canada

Facade of Target store

Tens of thousands of Canadian workers are set to swell the ranks of what Karl Marx called the “reserve army of labour” following a wave of layoffs in the service industry. The elimination of 17,600 jobs at Target stores – one of the largest mass layoffs in recent history – is only the most egregious example in a series of announcements that also included the elimination of 350 positions at Tim Horton’s and up to 1,000 job losses at Future Shop.

Changes to Canada’s prostitution laws put sex workers at further risk

Sex workers protesting in front of the Supreme Court

A year ago, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark decision that struck down Canada’s antiquated prostitution laws for endangering sex workers far above “the aims of the law”. It is with a cruel irony that the Conservatives’ new prostitution laws came into effect on the 25th anniversary of the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre, particularly as the new laws will only put sex workers (especially women) at further risk of violence and unsafe conditions.

2015: The storm clouds are gathering

As they danced away the Old Year and welcomed the New with, as usual, copious quantities of the finest champagne, the bourgeois from New York to London must have felt a satisfying glow of confidence. Seven years after the 2008 calamity, are they not still firmly in command? All this reminds one of the mood of false confidence that must have existed in the ballroom of the Titanic just before someone on deck spotted the dim outline of an iceberg. Hovering over this merry carnival of money-making, those with eyes to see could already detect the gathering storm clouds.

 

Bank of Canada governor’s advice to unemployed youth? “Work for free”

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! 

 

End Violence Against Women: End Capitalism!

25 years ago, a gunman targeted and killed 14 women, injuring another 10 women and four men at the École Polytechnique in Montreal. This horrific event brought the issue of violence against women into the public spotlight and many women’s rights groups pointed out that this was a symptom of systemic sexism, rather than the isolated actions of a deranged individual. While strides have been made in women’s rights since then, women remain unequal to men in almost every aspect of life. Formal equality under the law can never fully emancipate women under capitalism, which relies on the exploitation and oppression of women for its survival.

The crisis of missing and murdered Aboriginal women is a crisis of capitalism

Demands for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada have been reignited following the murder of Tina Fontaine, an aboriginal teenager, in Winnipeg.  Stephen Harper’s response to these demands is that the issue “should not be viewed as a sociological phenomenon”, but rather as crime and dealt with as such. Harper’s statement should not come as a surprise; further examination on the miserable conditions suffered by Aboriginal peoples — and especially women — would reveal that the terrible poverty and exclusion they face cannot be resolved under capitalism.

Tim Hortons-Burger King merger: What it means to workers

In light of Burger King’s recent acquisition of Tim Hortons, economic and political pundits on both sides of the border have been debating about the motivation of this $12.5-billion takeover.  In reality, there is no debate since it is clear that the deal — accompanied by the relocation of Burger King’s headquarters to Canada — is all about dodging taxes and increasing profits for the bosses while workers get left behind.