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City of Toronto union leadership concedes "numerous concessions"; Vote "No" and fight austerity!

Mark Ferguson, the president of CUPE local 416, which represents 6,000 outside municipal workers in Toronto, emerged Sunday morning to announce that his bargaining team and the City of Toronto had reached a tentative settlement, preventing a lockout that was to commence that same day.  Although very little details have yet emerged of the agreement, it appears that the union leadership made "numerous concessions" that may cost thousands of jobs for outside public sector workers, and may weaken the resistance to capitalist austerity.

Historic cuts by Ontario governments: Resistance to austerity must start now

In very quick succession, the bad news continues to rain down from the different layers of government in Ontario.  The Rob Ford municipal government in Toronto is making no effort to hide the fact that they are preparing a long lockout of city workers in January 2012.  Meanwhile, the provincial Liberals’ throne speech outlined historic cuts in provincial spending — even greater than those seen in the Mike Harris days. As 2011 comes to a close, it is appearing that Ontario workers will have the fight of their lives on hand in 2012.

Apathy wins: More than half of Ontario voters tune out provincial election

Judging from last night’s Ontario election results, it would not appear that we are currently living in the most turbulent time in several generations.  The disappointing campaigns of the three political parties — the Liberals, Tories, and NDP — carried through into the election where, for the first time in Ontario history, less than half of eligible voters found a reason to cast a ballot.  The CBC was vindicated in their decision to give preference to the Leafs’ 2-0 shutout of the Habs and punting election coverage to CBC News Network. The ineptness of the Liberals and Tories should come as no surprise; it is hard to build a campaign around cuts and austerity.  However, as we warned earlier, the NDP ruined all of the goodwill built up in the months before and squandered the opportunity to organize an opposition to the capitalist austerity that is to come.

Ontario NDP campaign fails to inspire: Anaemic platform may pave way for coalition with Liberals

At the time of writing, we are past the halfway mark of Ontario’s provincial election.  Many may find it surprising as this has probably been one of the most boring elections in recent memory, and largely ignored by most people.  Given the absence of any real platforms or solutions proposed for the crisis of capitalism, it is no wonder that people are paying more attention to Rob Ford, or even the Leafs’ training camp, than what the provincial party leaders are saying.  This includes the NDP who, up until this point, look like they are going to squander a wonderful opportunity to represent the interests of working-class Ontarians in the fight back against austerity.

Mobilizing against Rob Ford: Which way forward after the Dufferin Grove mass assembly?

On Saturday, 10th September, approximately 500 people attended a gathering at Dufferin Grove Park in Toronto to challenge the austerity cuts being put forward by Mayor Rob Ford. It was an impressive gathering with a large diversity of people, a visible fighting spirit, and a keen interest in politics by those in attendance. The attendance of this meeting shows the great potential and willingness of Toronto residents to fight against the upcoming cuts. We believe, however, that our friends at the Stop the Cuts Network made important mistakes that will seriously weaken the great potential of this gathering, and that an orientation to the workers' mass organizations is crucial in building up to a one-day Toronto general strike to reverse the cuts.

2011 Ontario provincial election: Vote working class!

Ontario's provincial election is now in full swing.  Working-class Ontarians will have the opportunity to end 16 years of attacks by the Conservatives and Liberals — the parties of the Bay Street bosses.  We must use this election not only to push the NDP to stand on a solid socialist program, but to also build and strengthen a grassroots movement in the workplaces, campuses, and neighbourhoods — one that is capable of carrying out the necessary struggle against austerity and cuts.

Stop Rob Ford’s austerity! For a one-day general strike to reverse the cuts

The recently completed core services review has stripped Toronto mayor Rob Ford of his populist façade, and revealed the true extent of the austerity to come in Canada’s largest city. Almost every single aspect that makes capitalism semi-bearable for working-class people is about to be taken away.

Defend our housing! Tenants and organized labour must smash Rob Ford's agenda

Working class people in Canada are today experiencing the hardest economic times in recent history. Unfortunately, the worst of it is yet to come. The latest assault, declared by Toronto mayor Rob Ford during the recent Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) corruption scandal, is to “absolutely” privatize our housing. Ford intends to place 164,000 of our homes on the market for purchase by the highest bidder.  Tenants and organized labour need to mobilize to kick out the TCHC bureaucrats, as well as fight for affordable housing for all.

Toronto garbage privatization: Dump Rob Ford in the garbage, not union workers!

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has thrown down the anti-worker gauntlet declaring that he would privatize garbage pickup in the city. He notified CUPE 416, Toronto’s outdoor municipal employees union, that he plans to put in a competitive bid process for residential waste and recycling pick up in half of the city, while increasing the use of private companies who operate litter vacuums and remove trash from parks. This is a blatant attempt at union-busting that needs to be opposed by every member of the working class.

Toronto municipal elections: Reformists to blame for advance of the Right

It is unusual that a municipal election (even in Canada’s largest city) should make much news, but this year’s elections in Toronto are making waves for a specific reason. According to a number of polls, rabidly right-wing candidate Rob Ford—widely held to be a nut job, at best—may be poised to become the next mayor of Toronto. In a city that is described to be diverse and cosmopolitan, how can this be possible?