The Labour Movement and the Youth

by Rick Gunderman

In the midst of the capitalists’ economic crisis, organized labour in Canada has been seeking for several years now to reorient itself to meet the needs of the Canadian working class.

Canadian workers on the picket line

Attacks on the public sector include the imposition of a wage freeze in various jurisdictions, the designation of ever-more segments as “essential services” to undermine the right to strike, and back-to-work legislation. The response needs to be a determined, united and militant struggle of the working class. Continue reading

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Striking Shifts in Education and Community Activism

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

The Fall 2012 issue of Our Schools/Our Selves is about the links between education and activism, but it focuses extensively on issues raised before, during and since the Québec student strike.

Student Strike – Popular Struggle

The strike provides us with a superb case study of how the Charest government labeled student resistance as evidence of an outmoded, entitled ideology, and then used the negative public sentiment towards students that it had itself helped fuel to distract public attention from the wider debate the students were trying to have on the effects of an austerity agenda and, more immediately, a construction/corruption scandal. In this case, it backfired. Spectacularly. And resulted in a pretty remarkable victory for progressives. Continue reading

Statement from the YCL Central Executive Committee

Young Communist League of Canada

Education is a right, not a privilege!

The unity and militancy of the Quebec student struggle has begun to shake the rest of Canada. Across the country, the youth and student movement has been inspired and emboldened by the struggle in Quebec. Many have correctly concluded that the best form of solidarity is to step-up a united fight back at home.

The Young Communist League of Canada supports this growing mobilization, made stronger by work like the Casserole Night in Canada protests that heard post banging from Antigonish, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia; and here in Ontario, by solidarity tours like that organized by the Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario and the Toronto student strike workshops which drew in over hundred eager participants.

Now is the time to start building a broad, militant and united fight back for accessible education, which is in crisis in our province:

• fees in Ontario are 23 higher than the cross-Canada average
• college tuition has outstripped inflation by 378%
• university tuition has outstripped inflation by 509%
• students graduate with an average debt of $37,000

The McGuinty Liberal government has just announced dangerous plans to compress four year degrees into three. In Canada and around the world we are seeing a new kind of education system where we pay more and learn less. As all students scramble to find work and pay our bills in an economic crisis of capitalism, indigenous peoples, women, and racialized communities face growing barriers to post-secondary education. International students are exploited as ‘cash-cows’. Continue reading

PQ Minority Government for Quebec

by Johan Boyden

Quebec headed to the polls on Sept. 4 for a historic election. The Liberals, including leader Jean Charest, went down to defeat, as voters granted a slim minority government to the Parti Québécois (PQ) led by Pauline Marois.

Supporters of the Parti Quebecois celebrate their election victory

The PQ’s first act will be to cancel the tuition fee hike and abolish Law 78, which effectively criminalized the student strikers. Their platform also called to abolish tuition increases until 2018, eliminate the health tax, reconsider additional fees for Hydro Quebec usage, increase taxes and fees on natural resource exploitation, expand daycare spaces, and enact Employment Insurance reforms by repatriating EI to Quebec. Continue reading

Why Don’t the Greek Communists Just Link Forces With the Radical Left Coalition?

by Johan Boyden

The political assessment of the Communist Party of Greece (which we posted here) deserves some introduction for our readers in Canada. Afterall, as Greece heads towards Sunday elections, all eyes seem to suddenly be turned to the volatile situation in the Hellenic Republic.

UPDATE: View the election results in graphic form and read the assessment of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece.

Progressive-minded people in Canada are optimistic. After years of hard struggle with countless general strikes and mass rallies, maybe these elections will hand a victory to political parties that identify with the left? Maybe they will demonstrate a different direction from austerity and economic crisis to the world?

There is also a certain renewed anxiety in the voices of the ruling class.  “We cannot have a Greek election determining the future of the global economy. That’s not fair to anybody,” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said recently. Today, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney referenced Greece and the European situation to warn of more mass unemployment and ‘recession’ over here. Continue reading

Quebec Movements Face Election Challenge

by Johan Boyden, Montreal

The community of Trois Pistoles along the northern banks of the St. Lawrence river is known for its picturesque beauty and historic links to Basque whalers, who travelled there hundreds of years ago from Spain. Now it has become a symbol of the pre‑election polarization and fear‑mongering going on in Québec.

A student protester in Quebec

An ecological festival in the town, put on by community activists including some who have been fighting high‑risk shale gas development in the region, wanted to invite student leaders to speak at their event.

A storm of controversy erupted. Mayor Jean‑Pierre Rioux met with organizers and threatened to withdraw all funding. “Around here, people think that [student leader] Gabriel Nadeau‑Dubois is […] like Maurice `Mom’ Boucher” one festival organizer said.

Mom Boucher is, of course, the convicted rapist, drug dealer and murderer who leads the Montreal Hells Angels. Continue reading

Quebec’s Bill 78 Shifts the Struggle to a Battle for Democracy and the Right to Dissent

Rebel Youth Montreal Bureau

Last night the Charest Liberal government tabled its repressive Duplessis-style legislation while thousands of protesters marched well past mid-night in the streets of Quebec City and Montreal, waving flags, chanting and even burning a draft of the repressive law.

Bill 78 passed this afternoon with the right-wing CAQ party voting in favour, propping-up the precarous posistion of the Charest Liberals who are currently holding onto a majority of only one vote (following the resignation of the Minister of Education last week).  Links to the law in English are below.

The vote passed 68-48 at about 5:30 p.m. Continue reading