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Socialism in North America?

capitalism or socialismAmerican politics has been fundamentally transformed. For decades, anyone who would have described themselves as a “socialist” would have been viewed as some sort of extra-terrestrial. Today, Bernie Sanders, a self-described “democratic socialist” draws massive crowds and is posing a threat to Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic Party nomination for upcoming presidential election this fall. Canada is not immune to this wave of enthusiasm for what Sanders calls a “political revolution against the billionaire class”.

Ontario Budget: Liberals Hide Austerity behind “Free Education”

kathleen wynne cares notOn February 25, the Ontario Liberals unveiled their budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year. The centrepiece of the 346-page document was a pledge to make post-secondary education free for families earning under $50,000 a year. The working poor have cause to celebrate: Premier Kathleen Wynne’s “activist” government seems to be finally living up to its name – but is it really? Or is this budget just another example of “talking left and governing right”?

Precarious Labour, Ontario’s Full-Time Problem

temps wantedAccording to a recent study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in June 2015, minimum wage jobs in Ontario have skyrocketed from 2.4 per cent of all employees in 1997 to 11.9 per cent in 2014. In other words, in 1997, one in forty Ontario workers were working for minimum wage. Today it’s one out of eight. While the total number of jobs in Ontario grew by 30 per cent over the past 17 years, the number of low-wage jobs (defined as making within $4 of the minimum wage) have grown by 94 per cent. Increasingly, the wealthy are putting the burden of the capitalist crisis on the backs of the most downtrodden sector of workers.

Is Canada on the Verge of a New Crisis?

canadian economy downOn January 20, the Bank of Canada downgraded its 2016 growth forecast for Canada from an already meagre 2 per cent to 1.4 per cent. “Highly uncertain” were the words chosen by the usually optimistic bank to describe the economic environment. As the announcement was made, oil prices continued on a decline that has now exceeded 70 per cent, dragging down with it the Canadian dollar to a 13-year low. The question on everyone’s mind is the same: where is the economy heading?

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.

No regime too vile to arm: Canada’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia

truedeau lavThe government of Canada has come under scrutiny for a $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. While Saudi Arabia is increasingly cited for human rights violations, the new federal Liberal government has refused to back down from the agreement, despite being very critical when it was signed by former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

CEOs’ rising salaries show the growing pay inequality

canada ceo pay inequalityOn the first Monday morning of 2016, average Canadians woke up to realize that CEOs would make their yearly salary, on average $48,636, by 12:18 p.m. that same day. Meanwhile, those who do the real work, the working class, are suffering harsh austerity cuts. With the global economy in 2016 starting on a very shaky footing, with massive losses on the stock markets, thousands of jobs being lost and rising instability, apparently CEOs have it all figured out. So how has this happened?

Quebec Public Sector Negotiations – Reject the false victory!

Following a blitz of negotiations just before the holidays, workers received what seemed to be good news. On December 19th the leaders of the Common Front (representing more than 400,000 public sector employees) announced that they had forced the government to back down and had reached an agreement. CSN president Jacques Létourneau stated that they had “stopped the impoverishment of public sector workers and had ended the lag in salaries.” Many workers have now returned to work after the holidays with the unpleasant news that the proposed deal is not all that it is claimed to be.

Liberals in action: The privatization of Hydro One

The Ontario Liberals under Kathleen Wynne's leadership are finishing what the Tory government of Mike Harris started: the privatization of Hydro One. While the newly elected federal Liberal government remains in a honeymoon period under a facade of progressive politics, the Liberals in Ontario are revealing their real character as the sweethearts of Bay Street through this fire sale of the crown corporation.

Where is the class struggle heading in Trudeau’s Canada?

justin trudeau with platform bookThe decade long rule of the Harper regime has come to an end. The Trudeau Liberals have formed a majority government, sweeping through eastern Canada and making large advances in Quebec and Ontario. Many Canadians heaved a sigh of relief as the election results came in. The perception is that the days of Harper’s right-wing reactionary policies are at an end.

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