Budget for the Rich, Not Workers

People’s Voice Editorial

The first Tory majority budget was delivered two days after this PV went to the printshop. But the outlines were hinted at for weeks by Conservative cabinet ministers. Like the rest of the capitalist world, Canada remains in a protracted economic crisis, and the working class will be forced to pay the price through austerity and war.

Of course, the Tories argue that their “responsible leadership” has left Canada in a relatively well-off position. Measured by the rebound in corporate profits and share prices since the 2008 meltdown, that may be true for the wealthy. But for the 1.5 million Canadians officially counted as jobless, or working people struggling to survive on low wages, or Aboriginal peoples who remain in dire poverty, there is no “recovery” or security.

Instead of tackling the serious problems of unemployment and poverty, the Tories are joining the global capitalist attack on pension eligibility. Instead of investing in desperately needed low-income housing and affordable child care, they pour billions of taxpayer dollars into prisons, cops, and military hardware. Rather than increase taxes on corporate profits, they download costs to the provinces as a way to artificially “reduce” the federal deficit.

Whenever the Harperites say that “everyone” must help to tackle the deficit, remember that Canada’s economic problems were created by big business and the wealthy – those who reap the benefits of lower taxes on profits and the highest income brackets. By “everyone”, they mean the workers who create the wealth of our society, but have no voice in determining the future of Canada. In our system, budgets are just another form of class war by the rich against the poor. More than ever, we need to build a powerful coalition of the working class and its allies to change course, to win policies for the needy, not the greedy!

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No Move Left for NDP

People’s Voice Editorial

     With Thomas Mulcair as the new leader of the NDP, it appears that Canada’s mass social democratic party will likely continue its long-term drift to the political centre. In fact, none of the seven candidates who made it to the ballot were clearly associated with strong left positions, even on issues where working people favour a move towards genuine progressive reforms.

For example, a growing majority of voters support increased taxes on the wealthy and the corporations, to help shift the tax burden from the needy to the greedy and to help pay for vital social programs. Yet no NDP leadership candidate made more than a timid gesture in this direction. Nor did any of them mention the need for public ownership of critical economic sectors such as the energy industry – even though nearly half of Canadians back such a demand, according to surveys over recent years.

Mulcair brings a particularly poor record on issues of peace and war to his new post. Canada already has a viciously anti-Palestinian Prime Minister, and now we also have an Official Opposition leader who has been vehemently pro-Israel in his public statements. Nor did Mr. Mulcair raise any objection to the Harper government’s aggressive militarist foreign policy. The NDP has shifted from its identification with the anti-war movement of a decade ago, into the camp of those who support imperialist interventions in the name of “humanitarian intervention.”

None of this is any big surprise – the NDP has been on a trajectory away from left policies for many years. But those who counsel “keeping our powder dry” by blocking attempts to mobilize public opposition against the Harper Tories – so that we can elect an NDP government in 2015 – are making a huge mistake. More than ever, the main focus of opposition to the Tory/corporate agenda must be extraparliamentary, in our workplaces and communities.