People's Voice deadlines:
April 1 - 15
April 15 - 30
Send submissions to PV Editorial Office,
People's Voice finds many "Global Class Struggle" reports at the "Labour Start" website, http://www.labourstart.org/. We urge our readers to check it out!
* * * * * *
Central Committee CPC
Ph: (416) 469-2446
fax: (416) 469-4063 E-mailmailto:email@example.com
Parti Communiste du Quebec (section du
Parti communiste du
5359 Ave du Parc, Montréal,
Tel: (604) 254-9836
Fax: (604) 254-9803
Tel: (780) 465-7893
Unit #1 - 19 Radcliffe Close
Tel: (403) 248-6489
Tel: (613) 232-7108
387 Selkirk Ave., Winnipeg, R2W 2M3
Tel/fax: (204) 586-7824
Tel: (416) 469-2446
Tel: (905) 548-9586
Atlantic Region CPC
Box 70 Grand Pré, NS, B0P 1M0
Tel/fax: (902) 542-7981
* * * * * *
News for People, Not for Profits!
Every issue of People's Voice
gives you the latest
on the fightback from coast to coast.
Whether it's the struggle for jobs or peace, resistance to social cuts,
we've got the news the corporate media won't print.
And we do more than that
- we report and analyze events
from a revolutionary perspective,
helping to build the movements for justice and equality,
and eventually for a socialist
Read the paper that fights for working people
- on every page, in every issue!
$30 for 1 year
$50 for 2 years
Low-income special rate: $15 for 1-year
Send to: People's Voice,
You can call the editorial office at 604-255-2041
following articles are from the March 16-31, 2017, issue of People's
McKee, leader of the Communist Party (
Great Lakes Power Transmission in Sault St. Marie, Orillia Power Distributing Corporation, Peterborough Distribution Inc., Wellington North Power in Mount Forest, Haldimand County Utilities, Guelph Hydro, Toronto Hydro. Over the past three years Hydro One, Ontario’s largest publicly owned electricity transmission and distribution utility, has moved to purchase a wide swath of local utilities, most of them publicly owned.
On the surface, it sounds okay – Hydro One’s public argument has been that the mergers make the public electricity system more efficient and effective, yielding lower costs and greater reliability. Public-to-public takeovers are a win-win deal for everyone, right?
Not so fast.
You don’t have to
scratch too far under the surface to see the dangers of Hydro One’s expansion,
and the real motivation behind it. The utility itself is in the process of
being sold off, in the largest single privatization in
The government’s pause in the active sale has allowed them room to make Hydro One more attractive to private buyers, and to try to spin the sale as beneficial to the public. This is where the merger with local utilities really comes in.
On the one hand, the government can make the case to local communities that the merger relieves them of a debt-ridden utility with a huge deferred maintenance bill. Instead of paying to upgrade local transmission infrastructure, communities will benefit from letting the highly capitalized Hydro One do the job. By promising to pass on the savings achieved through “rationalization”, local electricity consumers will enjoy lower rates which will stimulate local economic growth. The discourse moves from Hydro One moves as political maelstrom, to Hydro One as modern, sensible solution.
On the other hand, buying up local utilities extends Hydro One’s operations closer and closer to monopoly status, eliminating competition and further marginalizing public-ownership as an existing alternative. Along the way, jobs are shed, wages and pensions are reduced, local accountability is marginalized, union strength is diminished, and infrastructure upgrades are paid by the public. The whole package looks a lot more attractive to corporate profiteers.
This plan isn’t that
new, either. In 2012 the
Within two years, this “nuanced” proposal for privatization through consolidation had become much more blatant. In 2015 the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets decided to “revise their conclusion about Hydro One” and recommend that a portion of the utility be sold to the private sector. Interestingly, the Council explicitly stated the province should privatize Hydro “whether or not the government needed the revenue to finance infrastructure investments.” Consolidation had opened the door to privatization for the sake of privatization.
While the government, Hydro One and private sector are all pushing hard for further mergers as a way to sweeten the sell-off, labour and community activists are responding with equal fervor. All of the deals mentioned above, whether or not they have been completed yet, have been met with strong local opposition. This fightback is rooted in the province-wide community-labour solidarity that has developed and been sustained in the campaign against the sale of Hydro One. As such, it tends to take a non-parochial approach that relates the privatization of local utilities to bigger provincial economic issues.
A notable example is in
The CPC-Guelph brief goes on to expose the reality that provincial tax cuts over the past 20 years, which add up to $18 billion in lost public revenue each year, far outweigh any perceived funding through privatization. It notes that consolidation in the current context of privatization will lead to a loss of local revenue, loss of jobs and wages, reduced infrastructure investments, and loss of transparency and local input.
The real way forward
The level of organized
opposition to the sell-off of Hydro One provides a rarely-found concrete basis
for mass mobilization that can halt and reverse the privatization process,
putting all of the electricity industry under public ownership. This is the
only platform from which we can ensure economic, social and environmental
stewardship of this key sector in
By Paul Bentley (Doctor of Education, U of T)
The militant strikes of the dirty
thirties got particularly rough in
Sometimes, however, you have no choice but to fight back.
The scene of the battle in
Despite the representations of
Doucet and many teachers to the Law Amendment Committee, neither the government
nor the media recognized the real issues of class size that face Nova Scotia
schools. In fact, according to Doucet, the
All other provinces have
either hard caps or targets for class sizes at all levels of public school. At the
Moreover, according to Doucet, what caps there are for elementary and junior high schools are often pierced so that teachers may face grade five or six classes with 32 or more students. This is an impossible workload, and a very bad learning environment. Bill 75 has set up a teacher-led Council to Improve Classroom Conditions to address these issues but, Doucet complains, there was no consultation with union leaders in the selection of teachers, or in the design of the application process. As a result, regions and subject areas are under-represented. Was it the government’s intention to stack the Council with corporate-climbers, eager to please their superiors?
Of course, increasing workloads is
one way to keep down teacher wages, but the
But why is the Liberal government so committed to austerity measures, even at the expense of the education of its children, when Nova Scotia ranks in the top half of Canadian provinces in terms of account balance, and debts service charges are at a quarter century low, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives?
No doubt the explanation lurks in the Broten Report commissioned by the Liberal Government in 2014, which calls for the current freeze on government spending to be followed by a lowering of personal and corporate tax rates. Broten, a former Ontario Liberal Cabinet Minister, argues that the existing rates say, “We don't want entrepreneurs here. That we don't want people who will take risks, who will build businesses." In 2015, Broten was appointed head of the Nova Scotia Business Development Agency. Her salary is $210,000 per year.
All of this has left her members feeling demoralized, says Doucet. However, they are determined to pursue the case in court despite the government’s claim that it has bargained in “good faith”, in accordance with recent Supreme Court Decisions on collective bargaining. This is because over a two-year period of negotiations, NSTU members rejected three contract offers recommended by their union leadership. Doucet argues that no genuine negotiations were ever really possible. The Liberal Government held the threat of back-to work legislation over their heads throughout the process, and had already proclaimed its commitment to a wage freeze before negotiations began.
Doucet has been around unions for a long time. In fact,
her father was once President of the NSTU. Given the success of the
Perhaps in these more turbulent times, teachers might benefit from looking further back into the past, to the days when McLachlan sought to strengthen worker militancy. Of course, there was the day McLachlan narrowly escaped with his life by diving behind a desk just in time to avoid a bullet shot by an undercover company saboteur.
By Kimball Cariou
Less than four months after their historic victory at the
Supreme Court of
BCTF President Glen Hansman said the agreement “will allow the next school year to start with thousands more teachers, smaller class sizes, better class composition, and specialist-teacher ratios. BC teachers have been fighting for 15 years to defend our rights and to restore our working conditions... This agreement will mean the beginning of a new chapter in public education in BC, one in which teachers will once again have the time to give students the individual care and attention they need and deserve. School libraries and counselling offices will be re-opened, shop and lab classes will have safety standards restored, and all classrooms will be properly supported.”
“Now,” said Hansman, “teachers will see full restoration of our working conditions. Schools right across BC will see smaller classes, more specialists like counsellors, special education teachers, and learning assistance teachers, and more support for children with special needs.”
The tentative agreement was approved by the BCPSEA's process, and by BCTF members, who voted March 8-10.
In January, the government agreed to fund 1,100 new full-time teaching positions for the current school year. Many of those positions are now filled and those teachers are already supporting students.
Hansman expressed his gratitude to BC's 41,000 public school teachers for standing with their union in defence of their rights. “Thank you to all of BC's public school teachers, present and past, for all of your support over the years, your tenacity in defending our rights, and commitment to standing up for your students. It took 15 years, but we are on the verge of having our language back and restoring what was wrongfully taken away.”
Meanwhile, however, a new report into last fall’s firing
Written by an appointee of the BC Liberal government, the
Goldner Report accuses four Vision
The hugely unpopular recommendation came during a long-running struggle against underfunding by the province. That battle saw a huge victory for teachers, students, parents and school trustees just a month later, when the Supreme Court ruling finally compelled the Liberal government restore a huge chunk of education funding.
Under enormous pressure earlier that year, the Liberals had made some minor announcements of funding increases. Just a week before the Sept. 26 meeting, they finally rescinded an arbitrary rule that major urban centres needed to reach a 95% occupancy target before allocating funds for seismic upgrades of schools. Clearly, the heat was on the government to go much further.
Over the years, a favourite Liberal tactic around this issue has been to divert attention by blaming VSB trustees for leading public campaigns to demand adequate funding. Events during the summer and fall of 2016 lead many observers to believe that Liberal officials were attempting to “create a crisis” in the VSB, giving Education Minister Mike Bernier an excuse to fire the trustees.
At the Sept. 26 meeting, former VSB chair Patti Bacchus put forward a motion to suspend the closure process, and calling on city staff to review the enrollment projections used by board management to justify the school closure recommendations. This calculation would be critical in light of the decision to drop the 95% school occupancy requirement. Bacchus’s motion was clearly welcome to parents and students at the meeting, but the Goldner report calls this a form of “bullying” by the Vision trustees. Within days, much of the management team booked off sick, in a transparent attempt to block the trustees from adopting a balanced budget. When that tactic failed, Bernier stepped in, replacing the nine elected trustees with one appointed person.
Responding to the Goldner report, the Vision trustees - Joy Alexander, Patti Bacchus, Mike Lombardi and Allan Wong - have stated that their “commitment was to ensure accountability in the provision of quality, publicly accessible education and sound fiscal management of the school district. Our priority was to make decisions that met the needs and concerns of students, families and communities. We are proud of our track record of advocacy and community engagement and ensuring communities had a voice in decisions that affected them. We treated all VSB staff with respect and courtesy and we did not participate in or witness workplace bullying or harassment. We are concerned to hear the findings of the report and agree that workplace bullying and harassment are unacceptable. All employees are entitled to a safe and respectful work environment.
“While we were under strong pressure from Education Minister Mike Bernier and our senior management team to move quickly to close schools, we stand by our decision to suspend the process. It was the right thing to do. We continue to be concerned by the political interference in the democratic process by the provincial government as a way to deflect from their neglect of public education.”
The May 9 BC provincial election is now just two months
away, and the anti-public education record of Premier Christy Clark will be a
major issue. The removal of elected school trustees will be hotly debated
during the campaign, in
By Kimball Cariou
Racist ideologies can take many forms, depending on the historical circumstances of the societies concerned, the personal views of individuals, and other factors.
Only the most bigoted white supremacists attempt to argue that the trans-Atlantic slave trade was somehow in the best interests of the millions of Africans kidnapped from their homelands to perform brutal unpaid labour in the plantations of the western hemisphere. Similarly, South African apartheid is almost universally condemned as a racist system which denied non-Whites any meaningful human rights, let alone social or economic equality. But even in these cases, there are still a handful who claim that some Blacks benefitted from the slave trade and apartheid, thanks to the "generosity" of the masters who provided meals or limited access to schools or Christian churches. Such are the views of racists who still believe that non-whites are child-like creatures in need of "guidance".
Some of these racists are die-hard segregationists, struggling to prevent so-called "race mixing" in order to preserve the mythical "purity" of the "white race" - in defiance of scientific knowledge that the concept of a "pure race" is utter nonsense. Others believe in the "assimilationist" strategy - that the best way to "improve the downtrodden races" is to help them overcome backwardness by discarding their shameful dark-skinned status and becoming just as "white" as "mainstream society."
The latter is essentially a paternalistic ideology,
dividing society into the superior white category and the inferior peoples who
need to accept the "benefits of civilization". Within the context of
the history of the Canadian colonial state, this ideology has been the
prevailing view of the ruling class for centuries, and elements of such thought
remain deeply embedded in
The "white man's country" ideology began by depriving indigenous peoples of their traditional territories and other forms of genocide. When such efforts failed to wipe out the indigenous peoples, other tactics were developed, notably the Indian residential school system, which was intended to "take the Indian out of the child" by removing entire generations of children from their homes, punishing them for speaking their own languages, and "educating" them to become "Canadians like everyone else."
After many years of resistance, indigenous peoples finally succeeded in achieving at least partial apologies and compensation for the genocidal residential school system. But true to their views that First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples are "inferior," some apologists for the residential schools continue to claim that despite problems, these institutions "helped" students to obtain the benefits of civilization. And after all, they say, many of the students were not sexually abused or starved or beaten or left to freeze in drafty dormitories. The majority survived their experiences in such schools, learning to read and write English and become good Christians - so why all the fuss?
Sadly, this is the view expressed by Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak, who (according to the CBC) "mounted a defence of the residential school system for Aboriginal children in the Red Chamber (on March 8), lamenting that the good deeds accomplished by well-intentioned religious teachers have been overshadowed by negative reports documented by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission."
Having spoken to some indigenous people who are members of Christian churches, Beyak praised the residential school staff, "whose remarkable works, good deeds and historical tales in the residential schools go unacknowledged for the most part." She had nothing to say about the findings of the Commission, which found physical, mental and sexual abuse was rampant, and that at least 6,000 children died while in care because of malnourishment or disease. Instead, she expressed disappointment that "the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report didn't focus on the good." In her view, that included learning "valuable teachings about Jesus and the Gospel."
Not surprisingly, Beyak is also a big fan of Pierre Trudeau's 1969 white paper on Indigenous issues, which proposed doing away with the Indian Act, treaties and eliminating a distinct legal Indian status.
"The leaders of the day called it 'forced assimilation,' but I don't believe that was Trudeau's intent," she said. "I think he just wanted us to be Canadians together. The concept was to trade your status card for Canadian citizenship … it was brilliant and revolutionary."
Of course, for those who see European ethnic origins and white skin colour as the ultimate marks of higher status, it is always "brilliant" to tell others that they should just become "white like us." And it is never a good idea to pay any attention to the opinions of the child-like brown people, is it Senator Beyak?
Some racists send in the military to slaughter indigenous peoples who get in the way of capitalist progress. Others establish concentration camps to murder "non-Aryans" by the millions. And some, like Senator Beyak, proudly flaunt their superior status as the guiding fundamentalist Christian parents of non-white peoples. In the end, they are all advocates of a genocidal ideology of white supremacy. Senator Beyak should be compelled to resign immediately. Instead, she will likely continue to receive her annual salary of over $145,000 (plus benefits) courtesy of Canadian taxpayers for spreading these poisonous views.
Resolution adopted by the
Central Committee, Communist Party of
The Communist Party of
The current wave of violent xenophobia has been fanned by recent events in the US, but it is also true that the Canadian capitalist state was founded on the basis of colonial genocide against indigenous peoples, brutal exploitation of immigrant workers, and the racist goal of creating a “white man’s country.”
Seen in this historical context, the March 4 CCCC rallies pose a serious threat to racialized communities, as seen by the murder of six Muslim men by a white supremacist in Quebec, and by the growing numbers of arsons, bomb threats, physical assaults against women wearing the hijab, xenophobic graffiti and acts of vandalism, etc. Far-right violence also targets other immigrant groups, indigenous peoples and land defenders, the LGBTQ+ community (especially trans people at this time), the organized labour movement, advocates for women’s equality and reproductive rights, the Jewish community, and the political left – not least the Communist Party and the Young Communist League, which have been the most consistent anti-fascist and anti-racist political voices in this country since the 1920s.
Communists stand in solidarity with all those who are under attack at this critical moment. We extend our full support to the counter-protests against the March 4 Islamophobic actions, and we condemn all attempts by far-right elements to use provocations to divide and weaken the anti-racist forces. We will continue to work with others to make this resistance movement a broad-based powerful force, including trade unions and all other democratic and people’s organizations. We also call for greater efforts to expose and counter racist and neo-fascist ideologies, through letters to the editor, participation in social media debates, public meetings, etc.
The Communist Party demands that Parliament take
immediate steps to counter the growing menace of organized racist violence,
including measures to strengthen and enforce existing anti-hate legislation,
and swift passage of M-103 (the private member’s motion calling on the
government to recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate
and fear, and to condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and
religious discrimination). The refusal
of most Conservative leadership candidates to support M-103 is an ominous
signal that this party intends to be the vehicle for imposing a Trump-style
racist political agenda in
But such an outcome is not inevitable. It can, and must, be prevented by building broad anti-racist unity in the streets, in our workplaces and campuses, and in all our communities during the critical weeks and months ahead!
People’s Voice Editorial
And so it begins. Despite pledges that the
It appears that the Trump regime is projecting a more
overtly militarist line, as opposed to Obama’s less bombastic but equally
deadly “soft power” approach; in 2016 alone, the U.S. dropped 12,192 bombs on
Syria, further destroying infrastructure and killing thousands. The ongoing
U.S. sanctions deprive ordinary Syrians of basic necessities of life, and
billions of dollars have been spent by the U.S. and Gulf State monarchies to
train and arm so-called rebel forces. We’ve seen the results of this strategy
before. It was the
Well-intentioned progressives who defend western
imperialist interventions - such as those who cheered the Oscar win for the
“White Helmets” propaganda film - need to ponder these harsh realities. The
truth is that any foreign troops fighting in
People’s Voice Editorial
On March 4th, the so-called “Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens” - a collection of ultra-right racists, immigrant bashers and other fascists and hate-mongers - made a preliminary attempt to rally supporters across the country, calling for demonstrations in over 60 cities and towns against M-103, the private member’s motion calling on Parliament to take action against Islamophobia. The best news from this date was that wherever progressive and democratic people mobilized, the message of the hate movement was rejected by far larger counter-gatherings. By this measure, the attempt of the racists to give an impression of strength failed completely. In many locations, as few as two or three people responded to the CCCC call.
The largest counter-rally was organized by a broad-based
coalition including left-wing groups, members of faith groups, and other
community activists in
However, this political struggle is in its early stages. Several candidates in the Conservative leadership race are pandering to the voices of racism and fascism, encouraging far-right movements to expand their efforts and fan hatred against racialized and indigenous peoples, as well as against women’s equality groups, trade unions, the Jewish community, LGBTQ+ people, and as always, against the Communist Party, the YCL, and other left-wing groups.
This attempt to ride the far-right agenda of racist
movements which helped Trump become the
Rankin, Leader, Communist Party of
hikes are a brake on
The Pallister government must act to
The Pallister government must not
solve the problem of
Most importantly, Pallister must not privatize any portion of Hydro to reduce his government's deficit or the debt of Hydro itself. Instead, the Pallister government needs to impose new taxes such as on large inheritances, corporate profits, and high income earners to ensure the debt burden is not imposed on the poor, the working poor and small businesses.
Privatisation would spark worse
price hikes for consumers and remove the utility from public accountability. It
would be a disaster for
Such measures are unnecessary and intended to enrich the corporations.
Privatisation would only benefit a handful of profiteers at the expense of working people. Hydro's growing debt is an expected but too-common occurrence for large construction projects.
There has been no fundamental change
in Hydro's business model that justifies privatisation, lay-offs, chopping
Powersmart or rising Hydro rates.
Unions, anti-poverty groups, and other popular movements must speak out and strongly protest against Hydro's rising gas and electricity rates.
Hydro bills could double over the
next decade; they are already up nearly 50% since 2004. Most affected are the
poor, the working poor and remote communities, especially Indigenous
communities. Higher rates are also harming hydro-reliant industries
and companies, and smaller businesses in all industries, pushing
The risks associated with building
the new dams are, we are told by Hydro: declining cost of renewable energy
(solar, wind); continued slump in petroleum prices, hampering the hydro market;
Moving away from carbon-based energy
would help make Hydro's plan more viable, but All the major political parties
are beholden to the oil corporations, including the NDP which is the governing
The Communist Party is opposed to the sale or partial sale of Hydro assets to pay for the utility's growing debt.
If Pallister does chop Powersmart, then hydro and oil use could grow rather than decline.
From an environmental point of view, chopping Powersmart would be reactionary. Most importantly, the Pallister government must intervene to shift Hydro's debt burden from workers using a fair tax system. Such measures are necessary to avoid economic recession, slow economic growth, and hardship on energy-reliant industries.
Excerpts from a highly informative report by Alia Karim and David Bush, at the rankandfile.ca website.
On March 6, striking
The workers won major improvements to their contract in the nearly three week strike. They will see an immediate bump in their starting wage from $12.21 per hour to $13.21, which will apply retroactively back to last September. There will be a further wage increase this coming September and by the end of the first year of the contract the starting wage for all workers will be $15.
The workers won improvements in contract language which
will protect union work and breaks. They also achieved a significant victory by
getting Aramark to fully cover the dental plan, which the company has never
done for any of its workers in
The 160 Aramark food service workers at
On February 2, the food service workers walked off the
job on a one-day strike, shutting down all Aramark locations at
Workers then went on indefinite strike on February 16.
They held a picket line at the main gate and organized two marches on campus a
The workers’ picket line was at the main entrance of the University. Although most of the Aramark locations were shutdown on campus, as the strike proceeded management and a small amount of workers crossing the picket line allowed the company to open a couple of locations.
Food service workers were not engaged in this struggle alone. Other workers and students organized an extensive solidarity campaign to help the workers achieve a victory.
This work did not begin when the strike started or even
in the weeks leading up to the strike. In fact, organizing began many months
before. The Real Food Real Jobs campaign started in the winter semester of 2016
These groups spent months doing outreach, raising awareness about the food service workers’ struggle, and about the need to improve the minimum standards of work for all workers. They organized a solid routine of tabling, petitioning, class talks, MPP visits, postering, and fun creative actions to raise awareness. The orientation was not to debate or talk to the already converted, but to win over a majority of students and workers on campus to support a $15 minimum wage and fairness at work...
The Cross Campus
In the lead up to the strike, these groups helped organize a series of successful demonstrations on campus that travelled to the main cafeteria and other Aramark food service locations...
Engaging in solidarity
When the strike was called a wide range of solidarity actions were initiated to get more students and community members involved. As workers walked the picket line they were joined at points by various student and union groups. Some faculty even visited the picket line with their students.
One tactic that proved successful was the solidarity
coffee. On campus, management opened a select few locations to break the
strike. In an effort to blunt management’s efforts and reinforce the boycott,
the CCA, Real Food Real Jobs, $15 and Fairness, and the Osgoode Law Union
coordinated a series of coffee stations set up right next to a management-run
Tim Horton’s or Starbucks. Everyone entering the location was handed a leaflet,
got an explanation about the strike from a volunteer about why they should
support the workers, and then was offered free coffee. The solidarity coffee
actions were extremely effective and often resulted in little to no business
going to Aramark. These actions would not have been possible without the
But providing free coffee six days a week all day while workers walked the picket was expensive and unsustainable. On days and at locations where solidarity coffee wasn’t being provided, mass leafleting at open Aramark locations was organized. While many students knew about the strike, there was some confusion about which sites on campus were on strike and which weren’t. On such a large campus it was mistake to assume that everyone already knew about all the issues. The leafleting provided more opportunities to educate students about the issues.
The goal of the solidarity work was to build a large base
of support for the striking workers on campus and to get those supporters to
put the heat on the university administration to help settle the strike. The
Why this matters
The victory is a huge win for racialized workers in low-wage industries who are forced take the hardest and least desirable jobs without basic labour protections. The majority of Aramark food service workers are women of colour. Harassment and intimidation from managers was targeted at women, physically pushing them to work harder and if they didn’t comply they would be disciplined through suspension or a cut in hours. Some female workers were told they are not going to be promoted because they were Muslim and wore a hijab. There were pregnant workers who have bullied and harassed to continue working despite their need for proper breaks.
These women decided to fight back and were very vocal about their experiences at work. They asked for an end to harassment, racism and Islamophobia and for respect and dignity. Their struggle shows that $15 and Fairness is not just about economic justice for workers, but it is also about justice for racialized women who face intersecting exclusion on the basis of class, race, sex, gender, and status. Their demands for respect and dignity were inherently tied to demands for higher wages and fair working conditions. Their victory is a huge win for racialized women who bear the brunt of precarious work and shows how $15 and Fairness demands can effectively push back against systemic inequalities in the labour market.
The victory at
By Saleh Waziruddin
Even if women worked the same exact same jobs as men, 77% of the gender pay gap would persist, according “Women and Paid Work”, a Statistics Canada report by Melissa Moyser (PhD), published on International Women's Day as part of the series “Women in Canada: A Gender-Based Statistical Report”.
Women are paid 87 cents for every dollar men earn per hour, but this would be as much as 97 cents if women were paid the same as men within the same occupation (not just industry). In manual labour jobs, men are paid $7.24 more per hour, but even in predominantly female jobs women were paid $4.60/hour less than men for the same work.
The report recognizes that most of the gender pay gap is from patriarchy directly, much more than from the gendering of labour under capitalism into predominantly male and female jobs and industries. This is also confirmed by a 2015 study by Tammy Schirle which showed the gender pay gap within provinces was mostly due to the gap within the same occupation in each province, rather than the difference between provinces in industries and jobs.
A 1996 study by Michael Kidd and Michael Shannon showed the more detailed the job classification statistics come from, the greater the gender pay gap. They concluded the gap cannot be explained by the individual or personal characteristics of the workers themselves, suggesting it is due to patriarchy directly.
Women had twice as many absences from work as men because of family responsibilities. Over the working life this adds up to an average of one and a half years away from work for women, but only eight months for men.
Three-quarters of part-time workers are women, and one-quarter of them said caring for children was the reason, compared to only 3.3% for men. The proportion of workers working more than one job within each gender has flipped from 1976. Workers with multiple jobs went down by almost half from 2.8% to 1.7% for men, but for women this almost doubled from 2.8% to 4.5%. Almost 40% of women with multiple jobs have a part-time as their main job, but this is less than 20% for men.
The report also shows the importance of access to post-secondary education for women's equality. The gap in employment rate between having a high-school vs. a college degree was 13.8% for women but just 8% for men.
Women are more likely to work in jobs which pay the lowest 20% of wages than in jobs with the top 20% of wages, and the opposite is true for men. Even when they require the same skill level (education and training), predominantly male jobs have higher wages than predominantly female jobs, often by more than $4 an hour.
The report recognizes that men in predominantly female jobs are often in a “glass escalator” (“glass” because it is “invisible”, “escalator” because men are promoted even when they don't need to be). This phenomenon was first recognized in a 1992 paper by Christine Williams. Subsequent research shows this mainly applies to white men, heterosexual or not openly queer, with citizenship. At the other end of the spectrum, the statistics for women's wages don't reflect the lower wages of women of colour, openly queer women, transwomen, and non-citizen women. This means the inequality within predominantly female jobs is higher than appears from statistics which look at gender, without further breaking groups down by race, sexuality, citizenship, or transgender status.
A 1996, comparison of the gender pay gap between Canada and Australia in another paper by Michael Kidd and Michael Shannon, showed that the gap was much narrower in the latter country, both due to its stronger labour movement, but also because equity was driven pro-actively rather than cases-by-case as in Canada. At the time of the study 80% of Australian workers' wages were covered by decisions made by federal tribunals.
A 1994 study by Denise Doiron and Craig Riddell found that the decrease in the gender unionization gap in Canada between 1981 and 1988 prevented an increase in the gender pay gap for all workers (with or without a union) of 7 percent. This means without the increased unionization of women, all women would have a worse gender pay gap today than it was back in the early 1980s.
By Adrien Welsh, Montréal
Gerrymandering in Québec and
Gerrymandering was an important tool of the Duplessis régime between 1936-1939 and 1944-1959. The electoral map had not been revised between 1853 and 1960. This greatly advantaged the conservative Union Nationale party of Duplessis, since rural to urban migration resulted in the population of Montréal constituencies (generally closer to the Liberal Party) often totalled up to 55,000, whereas in rural areas, generally favourable to the Union Nationale, the average population per constituency would be around 5000.
Another example of gerrymandering in Montréal has to do with the federal riding of Cartier, in which Fred Rose was elected twice. In this riding, the Labour-Progressive (Communist) Party was a dominant force from the 1930s until the beginning of the 1950s, when the constituency was changed to include wealthier areas until its final dismantling in 1968.
These cases show how gerrymandering has been used in a partisan way, always favourable to the elites and to harm progressive people, the working class and the popular masses. All these examples occurred before a specific law regulated the modification of the electoral map, but the adoption of such a law in 1979 in Québec unfortunately didn’t prevent the use of this tactic to help ruling parties hold on to some regions.
This is what almost happened recently with the Québec
Liberals’ attempt to suppress the
(Québec Solidaire was launched in 2006 after the union of Françoise David’s “Option citoyenne” movement and the Union des forces progressistes coalition formed by the Parti communiste du Québec amongst others. This unique formation represents the most progressive elements of the social and labour movements of Québec, and stresses social issues over the national question. QS currently holds three seats in the National Assembly.)
It all started in 2015, when the Chief Electoral Officer was asked to present to the National Assembly a first preliminary report on a project to update the electoral map of Québec. The second version of this report proposed to merge Ste-Marie-St-Jacques with the riding of Westmount-St-Louis, a Liberal fortress.
Both constituencies have nothing in common. Ste-Marie-St-Jacques is historically a French-speaking working class neighbourhood, and is also the area with the highest concentration of LGBTQ+ people in Québec because it includes the “gay village”. On the other hand, Westmount-St-Louis includes the western part of downtown Montréal, part of the financial district, and is inhabited mostly by the Anglophone bourgeoisie.
Of course, this broad socio-economical portrait has to be
refined. For example, if Ste-Marie-St-Jacques (or the Faubourg à m’lasse, as
Manon Massé presented it in a Feb. 20 press conference) used to be the place
where “the first working men and women settled”, it is also true that in recent
decades, gentrification has been a dominant trend; in 1963, about 5000 people
were expropriated from their homes in this neighbourhood before the
construction of Radio-Canada headquarters. This battle has been a key issue
which the Québec Solidaire deputy has been fighting. Merging
In her crusade against this decision to dismantle the riding, Manon Massé has counted on many supporters. The citizens of Ste-Marie-St-Jacques mobilized 400 people for a public meeting, and collected over 14,000 signatures for a petition.
The broad range of supporters included the two opposition parties, some members of the Liberal Party, the Mayor of Montréal, Denis Coderre, along with community and labour groups operating in the area. Dominique Daignault, President of the Montreal Central Council of the CSN, sent a letter to the Chief Electoral Officer demanding that consultations be undertaken before proceeding with the reconfiguration of the electoral map, and stressing that a modification of the electoral system is essential, including a proportional dimension.
After an injunction to reverse the decision of the Chief
Electoral Officer was defeated in court on Feb. 21, Manon Massé clearly stated,
“now is time for action.” She praised QS members and sympathizers for bringing
the struggle to the political level. This was a factor in the final decision on
March 2 to merge two other ridings,
At the end of the day, whether or not the attempt to dismantle Ste-Marie-St-Jacques was deliberate, this manoeuvre would have suited the Liberals about a year before the 2018 Québec elections. In that context, safeguarding a riding, and throwing some sand into the wheels of Québec Solidaire, would have objectively favoured the Liberals. Even with a small number of deputies, Québec Solidaire has played a positive role in the opposition. as the only voice representing the most progressive forces within the labour and social movements. Since 2014, QS has been the only party opposed to the Liberals austerity agenda.
It is no exaggeration to say that the Liberals tried to infringe the principles of democracy through gerrymandering in a way that suits the interests of big corporations. Ignoring the reality of marginalized people is part of their strategy to put the burden of the economic crisis on the shoulders of the people.
The social and progressive movement won an important battle, to help reinforce the voice of those who fight against the interests of big corporations. Nevertheless, the core of the problem is still to be solved. That is why, during her press conference, Manon Massé made it clear that on a long term basis, adopting a proportional voting system would ensure that “all votes count.”
Resolution adopted by the
Central Committee, Communist Party of
Since its onset in 2011, the devastating conflict in
From its very beginning, the Syrian conflict has never
been a ‘civil war’ in any real sense, much less a ‘popular uprising’ or
‘revolution’; rather, it was – and remains today – a proxy war of aggression
launched by the U.S. and its NATO imperialist allies, with the active support
of Saudi Arabia, the reactionary Gulf States and Israel. Using the 2011 ‘Arab
spring’ protests against the elected government in Damascus as an opportunity
and convenient cover, imperialism covertly organized, financed and armed
extremist groups composed primarily of foreign mercenaries to launch a military
insurgency aimed at toppling the Bashir Al-Assad government. The ultimate
objective of this ‘regime change’ operation was not only to topple the current
(elected) government in Damascus, but also to weaken and eventually split up
the country into a number of pliant mini-states divided along religious,
sectarian lines. Such a balkanization of
This ‘proxy war’ strategy however has now become
completely unhinged. Ever since the Al-Assad government requested and received
military support from the
Some of the ‘rebel’ forces have now been forced to accept
a limited ceasefire agreement with the Syrian government, monitored by
There are disturbing signs however that
Already, Turkish ground forces, and US and other NATO
special forces, are operating inside
Canada remains directly implicated in the Syrian
conflict, despite media reports to the contrary. While the Trudeau government
reluctantly agreed in 2016 to halt direct Canadian CF-18 air attacks inside
Syrian territory, Canadian jets are continuing to provide strategic and
intelligence support to the US military campaign, refueling
and finding targets for other US "Coalition" aircraft. This is a
direct violation of Syrian sovereignty and independence. The Communist
As a sign of Canada’s desire to help bring about a genuine peace in Syria, the Canadian government must immediately revoke all economic and other sanctions against that country, re-open the Syrian embassy in Ottawa, and renew Canada’s diplomatic relations with Syria on the basis of full equality and mutual respect for the principles of international law.
The massive misinformation and vilification campaign
This commentary by Yves
Engler originally appeared on March 7 in the Huffington Post
Yesterday [March 6] it was confirmed that 200 Canadian
troops would remain in the
While we hear a great deal about
Since the mid-2000s
As part of
"[Canadian ambassador to the
Ukraine, Andrew Robinson] began to organize secret monthly meetings of western
ambassadors, presiding over what he called 'donor coordination' sessions among
20 countries interested in seeing Mr. [presidential candidate Viktor]
Yushchenko succeed. Eventually, he acted as the group's spokesman and became a
prominent critic of the Kuchma government's heavy-handed media control. Canada
also invested in a controversial exit poll, carried out on election day by
For Washington and
Where will this lead? A new Cold War against a capitalist