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On a Knife’s Edge: Canadian society stands at the brink

class struggle canadaOn the surface a calm seems to have settled over Canadian society with an apparent absence of mass movements or major labour struggles. But, it would be incredibly shortsighted to assume that this calm suggests an era of peace or stability. On the contrary; Canadian society rests on a knife’s edge and almost anything could set the class struggle alight. There is a paralysis of leadership on all sides — both from the labour movement and the capitalist class — which means that the underlying contradictions within society continue to build up.

 

Gross overspending enough to sink Harper's battleships?

warships canadian flagA report by Canada’s auditor general now confirms that the plan by the Department of National Defence (DND) to procure contracts to build 15 new warships will cost in excess of $100-billion over the next 30 years. This follows on the F-35 fighter jet cost scandal of 2012, and has Canadians once again asking why they are being asked to sacrifice to the demands of austerity while their government spends extravagantly on its own priorities.

 

Canada-Brazil Spygate scandal: Imperialism gets caught red-handed

canada imperialism go homeCanada has become the latest country to be caught in the scandal surrounding electronic espionage. In many respects, the fallout from Canada’s spy activities in Brazil could end up being more damaging than the revelations around the NSA and Spygate earlier this year.  The alleged activities by the Communications Security Establishment of Canada (CSEC) reveal the lengths that are being taken to defend Canadian corporate interests, at the expense of the working-class both in Canada and abroad, all in the name of so-called “national security”.

 

Canadian health care under attack!

One of the most important reforms won by Canadian workers, public medicare, is coming under relentless attack by government austerity programs.  Recent provincial budget decisions in Ontario, for example, have cut $3-billion from health spending, which is putting the health of Canadians at extreme risk — especially those from the most marginalized sectors of society.  For the sake of our own health, we need to put a halt to the austerity agenda.

Mass demonstration in Montreal against EI reform

April 27 marked the first demonstration of the spring season in Montreal. Tens of thousands of people gathered from across Quebec in a protest called by the main workers' unions against the Employment Insurance (EI) reform put forward by the Harper government. The draconian measures are meant to push unemployment recipients back onto the job market at reduced pay. These measures are being resisted by workers across the country, and the weekend’s demonstration in Montreal was a good beginning for the movement. We must extend the fight against austerity at federal and provincial levels, and the student strike last year has shown us that militant action is the only way to win.

Say “No” to Euro free trade (CETA): Agreement would hurt labour, empower corporations

Negotiations for the Canadian-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) are being conducted by the Harper government in secret. The agreement, if passed in its current form, would not only be full of the same flaws that have marred previous Canadian free trade agreements, but would introduce a few special problems of its own. The NDP, as the party that represents Canadian workers, must oppose the CETA and oppose capitalist free trade agreements. There is nothing positive in this agreement for Canadian workers.

Abolish the Senate!

The Senate is often an afterthought in the minds of people in Canada, with most writing off this body as inconsequential to the everyday life of the working class. Normally, the extravagant privileges of Canada’s unelected senators are written off by the media and other commentators as an unfortunate quirk of Canada’s parliamentary system.  However, this time around, this sort of tactic is not working; the wave of scandal is sticking and there appears to be a new popular groundswell to finally abolish the Canadian Senate.  What has been the change this time around compared to previous scandals?

Conservatives target the unemployed with EI changes

Strict new changes to Canada’s Employment Insurance (EI) program took effect across the country on Jan. 6. The Conservatives’ plans to “reform” EI have been public knowledge since the Harper government tabled its last federal budget in March. Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley claimed the new changes merely clarify what is expected from EI claimants and help better connect job applicants to available work. In reality, they represent the latest attempt by the Canadian bourgeoisie to make workers pay for the ongoing capitalist crisis through austerity and a reduction of the social wage.

Is crisis coming to Canada? New economic figures warn of Europe-style collapse

Every day, new figures and stories come out describing Europe’s decay into virtual anarchy.  Once known for providing its workers with a relatively stable standard of living, one European country after another is pushed into crisis and austerity, provoking social explosions across the continent. The Canadian ruling class, on the other hand, has taken a certain satisfaction in asserting that this country is above the European fray.  Do these claims actually have any weight?  Or, does the Canadian economy have the same underlying weaknesses that have brought European capitalism to its knees? How close is Canada to a Europe-style meltdown?

$30-billion fighter jet scandal shows real priorities of Conservative austerity government

Before Parliament was dismissed for the summer, the federal Conservative government was being rocked by the scandal surrounding the government’s purchase of the infamous F-35 fighter jets.  At the same time as the federal Tories are crying poor and demanding historic cuts from workers across Canada, the government is trying to hide the fact that they they fabricated the original public costs of the jets, and are prepared to pay nearly $30-billion for the fighter planes.  The F-35 scandal not only reveals the incompetence of the Conservatives, but what the genuine priorities are for the ruling class.