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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.

Record profits for the banks; Austerity for the rest of us

In the fall of 2008, as the financial crisis was just starting to impact the United States, the Harper government was lauding Canadian banks as the “soundest in the world.” This was to become a well-rehearsed and well-worn talking point for government and corporate mouthpieces throughout the duration of the 2008-10 recession. However, a recent study released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) reveals a staunchly different picture. Massive government bailouts were dolled out to the country's largest banks to the tune of $114-billion of public money being pumped into the financial institutions.

Welcome to the new security state: Conservatives' omnibus crime bill criminalizes youth and workers

The relentless austerity measures currently being visited upon the Canadian working class are typically justified by the mantra, “There is no money.”  We are constantly told that all levels of government are broke, spending cuts are needed, and that workers must tighten their belts and permanently accept a lower standard of living. But for the state security apparatus, things are very different. Despite an apparently desperate need to cut public spending, the Conservative government plans to massively increase spending on domestic and foreign defence.  None of this security spending will aid working-class people; instead, it is very likely that our own money will be used against us in our attempts to fight austerity.

Stephen Harper outlines corporate agenda at the World Economic Forum

Maybe it was the high Swiss altitude, or perhaps the high of being amongst the world’s most successful capitalists, that caused Prime Minister Stephen Harper to give some uncharacteristically candid reflections on his agenda for 2012 in his address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. After several minutes of trumpeting Canada’s relative economic success compared to other G20 countries, a comparison similar to being the thinnest person at fat camp, Harper got down to business.

Robocalls scandal further exposes façade of bourgeois democracy

The Harper government has come under fire after Elections Canada’s announcement in February that it had traced fraudulent phone calls made during the last federal election to an Edmonton-based call centre that worked for the Conservative Party in ridings across the country.  The "robocalls" scandal is only the latest symptom of the bankruptcy of capitalism and bourgeois democracy.  An ever increasing number of workers and youth are beginning to realize that we need to change more than just the electoral system.

Canada's 2011 Election: Historic NDP breakthrough; Liberals and Bloc Quebecois decimated

The political landscape of Canada has changed, potentially in an irrevocable way. The Liberal Party, formerly Canada’s “natural governing party”, has been reduced to a rump of 34 seats, having received only 19% of the vote. The separatist Bloc Quebecois, which has dominated Quebec since the party’s foundation 20 years ago, has been swept aside by the NDP’s “orange wave” and has been left with only four seats. The New Democratic Party, Canada’s labour party, has leapt into second place with a record-breaking 103 seats, and 31% of the vote.

Federal election: Kick out the Conservatives!

Canada is entering its fourth federal election in seven years. In that time, we have veered from minority Liberal to minority Conservative regimes. What has remained constant is the erosion of the standard of living of workers and youth, and the transfer of wealth to the rich and the corporations. We need to use this election to kick out the Conservatives and build support for socialist ideas.