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Quebec students must bring the workers into the struggle!

Quebec students marching behind an anti-austerity bannerThe 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 the other hand, the #printemps2015 committee has denounced this move and is pushing for a continuation of the strike. The sizable night demonstrations and the large numbers of students on strike show that there is an overwhelming desire among the youth to fight back against austerity and that there is a lot of energy and passion looking for direction. But what is to be done?

Thousands on the street as Quebec student strike begins

Protesters march with a banner that reads, "Refuser le desastre annonce"

On Mar. 21, thousands of students took to the streets of Montreal to protest austerity. On the following Monday, 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 Apr. 2. 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.

Quebec: No backing down! For a 24-hour general strike against austerity!

Protesters holding a sign that reads, "Vers la greve sociale!"As the Quebec Liberal government ploughs forward with its austerity measures, workers and students are mobilizing to fight back. The spirit of 2012 is in the air as trade union leaders have promised an escalation of actions to protest the cuts, and a “hot spring and summer”. The call for strike action, and even a general strike of all the workers of the province, has been gaining steam, even forcing many union leaders to comment on the issue. If the union leaders are prepared to go the distance, the stage is set for a big showdown in the fight against austerity.

New “anti-terrorism” act is an assault on democratic rights

As this article is being written, the federal Conservative government is rushing to pass Bill C-51, also known as the “Anti-Terrorism Act”. This bill has arrived in the wake of highly publicized attacks, both in Canada and abroad. During the unveiling of his new legislation, Prime Minister Stephen Harper proclaimed, “A great evil has been descending upon our world, an evil which has grown more and more powerful — violent Jihadism.” These are frightening words, but what will the Conservative's fear mongering mean for our civil liberties and democratic rights?

Alberta: The end of the oil boom marks the beginning of austerity

Aside from the immediate months following the 2008 financial crash, the Alberta economy has seemingly found itself immune to the worst effects of the global economic crisis. That is, until now. The recent drop in the price of oil has brought Alberta, and the wider Canadian economy, to a similar state as the USA and the European countries. The working class is being warned by the oil bosses that they need to start preparing to bear the burden of austerity.

Mansbridge-Lang Scandals Highlight Corporate Media Hypocrisy

Recent disclosures of conflict-of-interest among top journalists at the CBC have led many to grow sceptical of the integrity of media sources across Canada. Having discovered that high profile correspondents like Peter Mansbridge and Amanda Lang secretly pocketed money from corporations they covered as reporters, it is no wonder that people perceive the line between journalism and conveyance of business interests as beginning to blur.

Transit Crisis in Toronto Reaching a Breaking Point

ttc streetcar no serviceThe sorry state of Toronto’s public transportation system dominated the city’s most recent municipal election campaign. Thus, it didn’t come as much of a surprise that one of the first policy announcements made by the new mayor of Toronto, John Tory, concerned the state of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). However, Tory’s minor reforms don’t come close to addressing the roots of Toronto’s transit crisis or the daily hardships faced by workers and youth who depend upon the system.

Canada’s epidemic of overcrowded prisons

Prison populations are rapidly increasing, far outstripping the capacity of the provincial and federal prison systems in Canada. This has created an enormous strain on the prison system, with the practice of overcrowded cells becoming very common. It is has become typical practice for three inmates to be packed into a cell meant for two inmates. Often, inmates are forced to sleep and even eat on the cell floor. This practice has been linked to increased conflicts and violence within the prisons. It is expected that the number of inmates will only increase due to tough-on-crime laws passed by the Harper federal government.

Harper’s Family Tax Cut: Take from the poor, give to the rich

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?

 

100,000 workers in the streets of Montreal: A glimpse of what is to come

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, 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.