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.

Alberta and the “phoney” class war

alberta flagThe recession following the 2008 banking crisis hit Alberta with mass service cuts and lost jobs.  Now, the Alberta ruling class, including the new premier, Alison Redford, pretend that the crisis never happened.  However, behind this happy façade, mass attacks are being prepared against Alberta workers.  As was demonstrated with the popularity of the Occupy movements in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta workers can be mobilized in a fight back against capitalist austerity.

Defend the Wheat Board; protect Canadian family farmers

wheat boardThe federal Conservative government has announced that it will dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board.  This is an attack on the viability of family farming in Canada and will only benefit the large multi-national agro-corporations. By extension, it is also an attack on all who work for a living: the youth, workers, and even small business owners. We must save the Wheat Board from this attack.

Election of Naheed Nenshi signals changing fortunes in Alberta politics

On the surface, Alberta can appear as a solid bastion of White Christian Conservatism with the Tories in complete control and the working class seemingly disinterested. The election of Naheed Nenshi, an Indo-Canadian Muslim and Harvard-educated intellectual, as the new mayor of Calgary has shown this idea to be false. The media reported Nenshi as being the first Muslim to hold the office of mayor in a major Canadian city; the fact that this has happened in Calgary makes it a bigger surprise to many.

Alberta Housing Crisis: Another Episode of Capitalist Impasse

In the midst of the oil-sand-fuelled economic boom in Alberta, people across the province are facing what could be the worst housing crisis in its history. The rapidly developing oil industry has caused a migration of people from across the provinces into Alberta and has put a tremendous pressure on the housing and rental market. The profit motive has been incapable of meeting the demands of working class people. We need universal affordable public housing now.

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