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Doug Ford cuts Toronto city council in half

Ford as Thanos, cutting city council in halfIn the latest in a series of attacks against workers and the poor in Toronto, Doug Ford has announced he will table legislation to slash the number of city councillors nearly in half, from a proposed 47 to 25. This announcement comes halfway through the ongoing municipal election campaign and mere months in advance of Toronto’s election day.

Ford, Tory use shooting tragedy to bolster policing

Ford, Tory city hall meeting  (BERNARD WEIL / TORONTO STAR)In the days since Faisal Hussain opened fire on the Danforth in Toronto, killing 2 and injuring 13 before taking his own life, both authorities and the public have been questioning what could lead to such horrific actions. Thus far, there seems to be little to indicate that Hussain posed a risk - while he had had contact with the police over ten years ago, he had no police record, and no information has been released regarding a possible motive. What has come to light seems to be the story of a man afflicted with mental illness and personal tragedy. While mental health problems are not in themselves an explanation for violence (the vast majority of individuals suffering from mental illness are not violent and are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators), this tragedy has stirred a public conversation on how to meet the mental health needs of Toronto.  

Justin Trudeau and the disorder of the Phoenix (payroll system)

Protest over Phoenix payroll system in Ottawa, Oct. 31, 2016. Credit: REUTERS/Chris WattieIt has been more than two years since the federal government rolled out Phoenix, the notorious payroll system that has failed to correctly pay more than half of the 300,000 workers in the federal public service. The Auditor General, in his spring reports to Parliament, described the system as “an incomprehensible failure”—words that will shock no one who works for the public service. Huge numbers of workers have complained of being overpaid or underpaid, and still more have gone completely unpaid for months at a time. Some are owed thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in back pay. The “solution” that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have offered could take up to a decade to come into effect, leaving many of these workers stranded and with no way out.

Doug Ford weakens police oversight

Police BrutalityAs one of his first initiatives, Ford is rolling back reforms intended to strengthen civilian oversight of police, increase accountability, and ultimately, remedy some of the worst excesses of police violence and harassment against poor, racialized, and otherwise marginalized communities. Passed in March of this year, many of the provisions of the Safer Ontario Act have not yet come into effect. Now, thanks to Ford, they will never see the light of day.

Doug Ford’s austerity targets schoolchildren

Doug Ford Cutting Carbon TaxThe first victims of Doug Ford's austerity program are children. Ford is cutting $100 million earmarked to fund school repairs in Ontario. The schools in Ontario are already in a state of disrepair. In Toronto alone there is a $4 billion repair backlog. The province overall has $15 billion in repair backlogs across 4,900 schools. Schools have inadequate heating and cooling systems, mold infestations, wiring issues, and even structural damage.

Trucking deregulation results in hundreds dead

Truckin Accident on the 401 (Credit CTV)

The King’s Highway 401, commonly known as the 401, traverses 828 kilometres of southern Ontario starting in Windsor and ending at the Quebec border where it becomes Autoroute 20. In Toronto, it widens to 18 lanes and becomes the busiest highway in North America and the world’s busiest truck route. It also continues to be, since its completion in 1968, the scene of horrific truck accidents with multiple deaths, not only from the initial collisions, but also from the resulting fires and explosions.

Justin Trudeau: the king of corporate handouts

Canadian big business has a friend in Justin Trudeau. At the end of June, it was revealed by CBC news via an Access to Information request that the Liberal government wrote off a loan to Canada’s auto industry in March. The exact amount of the loan and its recipients are unknown due to the heavy censorship of those documents which CBC obtained. However, it is highly suspected that GM and Chrysler were the two companies concerned, both of whom have amounts in arrears on commercial loans to the Canadian government to the tune of $1.15 billion as of March 2017. These loans, $1.3 billion for Chrysler and $220 million for GM, were given as part of the bailout of Canada’s auto sector after the financial collapse of 2009. In total, the Canadian government injected $13.7 billion into the auto sector at the time to keep it afloat.

Wildcat strike of Quebec crane operators: An example for the labour movement

DgO 9vOU8AEFJ8aOn Monday, June 18th, close to 2,000 crane operators spontaneously walked off of Québec construction sites in a heroic wildcat strike. The workers have struck in spite of the fact that they are currently bound by a collective bargaining agreement. This has paralyzed construction sites as crane operators are critical to many big projects. In taking this bold action, the crane operators are showing the way forward for the labour movement not only in Quebec and Canada, but throughout the whole world.

Fightback Edmonton holds public discussion on Alberta pipeline crisis

Nationalize The Oil IndustryOn June 7, around 20 people gathered at the University of Alberta to discuss the ongoing pipeline crisis and the need to nationalize the oil industry under democratic workers’ control. The event was organized by Socialist Fightback Edmonton, and brought together a variety of people who were angry about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s bailout of Kinder Morgan and wanted to discuss strategies to fight it.

Protesters halt Edmonton Pride over inclusion of cops

Pride Protestors (Photo Credit: Emilio Avalos/CBC)On the morning of Saturday, June 9, Edmonton’s Pride parade was brought to a halt after 30 to 40 protesters formed a blockade on the parade’s route. The protesters carried signs with messages such as “No pride on stolen land”, “Racism is a Queer issue” and “No pride for some of us without the liberation for all of us”. 

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