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The Cultural (Counter) Revolution in Quebec

This past February, Raymond Bachand, Quebec's finance minister, announced that Quebec was in need of a "cultural revolution." The ministry released a report that calculated that Quebec has one of the most indebted economies in the industrialized world. Quebec's $285.6-billion debt is equal to 94.6% of the province's GDP; only Japan, Italy, Greece, and Iceland have a larger debt-to-GDP ratio than Quebec. This proposed "cultural revolution" is an attempt to prepare Quebec workers and students to accept cuts to social spending on a level unseen in Quebec history.

12,000 March Against the Quebec Budget: “The wealth exists! Take it from where it is!”

One day after Quebec finance minister Raymond Bachand tabled the 2010 budget, some 12,000 people gathered at Square Phillips in Montreal to show their opposition to the budget. At least 40 buses from all over Quebec, some from as far away as Gaspé, arrived at the square. This impressive show of strength, happened just two weeks after the massive 75,000 Common Front demonstration, is a sign of the militant mood amongst Quebec workers against the bosses’ planned cuts and attacks.

Montreal's bourgeois parties linked to the mafia, workers need their own party

Municipal elections were held across Quebec on 1st November 2009. The results in Montreal are a further proof of the crisis of the bourgeois parties which has already been exposed at the federal and provincial level. The elections were plagued by accusations of corruption and mafia ties amongst the two main parties, Union Montréal and Vision Montréal. Projet Montréal, a fledgling left party, made historic gains. What is needed now is for the party to transform itself into a labour party, winning over the workers by making reforms that benefit workers, such as free public transportation, their central slogan.

Harper and McGuinty slash childcare -- Fund public childcare now!

In lieu of International Women’s Day, it is nice to know that the Ontario provincial government has a vested interest in women’s issues. At the beginning of February, Dalton McGuinty’s government announced that $63.5 million would need to be cut from childcare services in Ontario. These cuts are part of McGuinty’s attacks on workers as he tries to balance Ontario’s provincial deficit.

Quebec Common Front: 75,000 workers take to the streets

On Saturday 20th March, 75,000 workers from all over Quebec filled the streets of Montreal to show their strength, 10 days before the end of the collective agreement for nearly half a million Quebec public and para-public sector workers. For the Charest government, the end of the contract couldn’t come at a worse time, since it is faced with a $4.7 billion deficit for this year’s budget.

Harper's 2010 Budget: Good for banks, bad for workers

After undemocratically shutting down Parliament for 2½ months, the federal Conservatives have released their 2010 budget. They said they needed the time to “recalibrate”; what they actually did was increase the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. On the one side, the budget contains $5-billion per year in tax giveaways to banks and corporations. On the other side, there are plans for program cuts, privatization, and attacks on public sector workers. This all comes at the same time as the Big-5 banks are reporting $5-billion profits in the 1st quarter.

The Vancouver Olympics: An expensive attack on democratic rights

This coming weekend sees the opening of the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.  Despite the images of natural beauty and pleasant ‘middle class’ life that will be broadcast to the world, Vancouver is a troubled city and B.C. is a troubled province.  Billions are being spent for a party that most of us are not being invited to.  And, the federal Tories are using the Olympics to distract workers from the real ails that are assailing us.

20,000 protest prorogation: Where now for the movement?

On Saturday 23rd January, up to 20,000 people demonstrated against Stephen Harper’s prorogation of Parliament. Protests spanned the country, from Halifax to Victoria, with crowds numbering 3,500 on Parliament Hill, between 3,000 and 5,000 in Toronto, and over 1,000 in Vancouver. Who would have thought that an issue of arcane parliamentary procedure could bring so many out on the streets? These protests are merely symptomatic of a growing dissatisfaction in society. The question is, who will be able to give voice to this discontent?

No return to privatization! Defend public jobs and services!

In a move that would put Dr. Seuss’ Grinch to shame, the Ontario government gave Ontario workers a nasty surprise for the Christmas holidays—the renewed threat of mass privatization of public services across the province. When Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals were first elected in 2003, McGuinty promised that the bad old days of attacks and privatization that characterized Mike Harris’ “Common Sense Revolution” were finally over. For years, we have been warning that when push came to shove, McGuinty would be ready to shed his “Mr. Nice” image and reveal the Liberals’ true class interests. The capitalist crisis has given him this opportunity.

Québec Solidaire Congress 2009: Working class unity needed

For decades politics in Quebec has been dominated by the national question. Ever since the failed Common Front general strike of 1972, the formerly petty bourgeois, and now bourgeois, Parti Quebecois has claimed leadership of the struggle against national oppression and used it to blur the class differences in Quebec society. It is with this in mind that, as Marxists, we were excited with the formation of Quebec solidaire--a party that could move towards the establishment of a real party of the Quebec working class for the first time in history. Joel Bergman of the International Marxist Tendency in Quebec reports from the QS congress in November.

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