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Saskatchewan austerity budget declares war on poor and working class

regina sk november 16 2015 saskatchewan premier brad wa4The Saskatchewan government has presented its budget for 2017-18, and the news is not good for the vast majority of the province’s residents. Desperate to reduce a ballooning budget deficit that stood at $1.29 billion at the end of the 2016-17 fiscal year, the government of Premier Brad Wall has unleashed a wave of austerity measures in the form of tax hikes and service cuts that will have their most severe negative impact on workers and youth, seniors, and the poor. Even as it mercilessly attacks the most vulnerable sections of the population in the name of balancing the budget, the Wall government has pushed through a series of corporate tax cuts, dispelling any doubts about which side it is on in the province’s intensifying class war.

Hellfire in Alberta – The Notley Government One Year On and the Fort McMurray Wildfire (Part Three – Capitalism and the Wildfire)

Fort Mac Fire AftermathWe have seen how a complex interaction of both natural and human factors developed into the catastrophe of the Fort McMurray wildfire. There was no way this specific fire could have been predicted or prevented. One of the key factors in all of this has been human activity. The issue of historic wildfire management and suppression techniques reveals the limits imposed on us by chaotic and complex systems, and shows us the current limits of our scientific understanding and our ability to manage nature. Without complete knowledge of how a given complex system works, our actions can have unintended consequences.

Hellfire in Alberta – The Notley Government One Year On and the Fort McMurray Wildfire (Part Two: The Cause of the Fort McMurray Wildfire)

lead 960The massive wildfire that destroyed parts of Fort McMurray has raised many questions and led to more than one or two intense public debates. How did this happen? How did the fire start? How did it get out of control? How was it able to enter Fort McMurray? Was there more that could have been done from the stand point of wildfire management? What were the roles of climate change and El Niño? These are just some of the questions people have been asking in the aftermath of the evacuation.

Hellfire in Alberta – The Notley Government One Year On and the Fort McMurray Wildfire (Part One: Politics and Natural Disasters)

Fort Mac FireThe people of Alberta, particularly those in Fort McMurray and surrounding communities, have had misfortune piled upon misfortune. With the collapse in oil prices and the resulting downturn the city has been hit hard by powerful, seemingly uncontrollable, global economic forces resulting in a slowdown in production, wage cuts, sharp increases in unemployment and layoffs, along with rapidly rising inequality and poverty. From the dizzying heights of the boom to the situation now, the realities of capitalism in decline are all too glaringly obvious in Alberta.

La Loche school shooting symptom of a larger problem

La Loche MemorialFour people were killed and seven wounded on Friday, January 22, in shootings at two locations in the remote northern town of La Loche, Saskatchewan. The 17-year-old male suspect charged in relation to one of the deadliest school shootings in Canadian history is said by family members, friends and classmates to have been the victim of severe bullying. As the case unfolds, politicians and pundits will no doubt harp on favoured themes such as gun control, the need for mental health services and anti-bullying initiatives. While there is an element of truth to many of these concerns, the larger social context for the shootings, resulting from both the legacy of colonialism and the damaging effects of modern Canadian capitalism, must not go overlooked.

A Very Albertan Coup - NDP Must Learn From Experience of Rae Government

alta elxn ndp 20150502The Alberta NDP’s program of modest wealth redistribution through minor increases in taxation on the wealthy and the corporations, and its planned royalty review will not be enough to reverse austerity, growing unemployment, and the cycle of booms and slumps in the oil patch, especially in the face of the concerted opposition of the ruling class.

“Butter before oil”: A look at the historic 2015 Alberta election

notleyThe 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.

Crisis brewing in the oil patch: Alberta workers under attack

alberta oil workersThe rapid crash in the global price of oil has thrown the Alberta economy into crisis mode. After years of record revenue, which partially allowed the Alberta ruling class to paper over the growing gulf between the oil bosses and the working class, the Alberta government has just brought in the most austere government budget in nearly 25 years, massively slashing public services and cutting wages of public-sector workers. And the worst is yet to come.

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.

"Oil before butter": A look back at the 2012 Alberta election

alberta election leadersAlthough the provincial Conservatives retained power in the recent Alberta election, the rise of the Wildrose Party gave the Tories their biggest scare in their 41-year reign of the province.  Wildrose is a further development in the battle within the ruling class for the direction of Alberta, primarily centred on the question of the state, and above all, on the question of oil. The intensity of the class struggle has torn asunder the very symbol of Alberta’s stability, the PC party, once a powerful, monolithic tool in the hands of the ruling class of the province.