Articles

  • Justice for Immigrant Workers!

    “All other sources of labour having been exhausted, the migrants were the last resource.” So reads the text accompanying the 1940-41 Migration series of paintings by Jacob Lawrence on display at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. More than 60 years later, the demand for migrant labour remains Canada’s “last resource” in efforts to maintain economic growth, although the overall context has shifted somewhat.

  • A Tale of Two Economies

    While the overall unemployment rate in Canada is low and the media paint a reassuring picture of broad-based prosperity, the reality is that disturbing new divisions of sector and region are being overlaid upon already deepening class differences. The past 25 years saw remarkably little progress for most Canadian workers. While real (inflation-adjusted) GDP per person has risen by about 50 per cent since the early 1980s, driven mainly by increased productivity, workers’ hourly wages have been remarkably stagnant.

  • The Impact of Privatization on Women

    Privatization is not gender-neutral. It threatens advances toward women’s equality in the labour market and in the home. In the labour market, privatization usually means lower wages for women workers, fewer workplace rights, reduced health and welfare benefits, no pension coverage, less predictable work hours, more precarious employment, a heavier workload and generally more exploitative working conditions.

  • What You Need To Know About May Day

    For more than 100 years, May Day has symbolized the common struggles of workers around the globe.

    The seeds were sown in the campaign for the eight-hour workday. On May 1, 1886, hundreds of thousands of North American workers mobilized to strike. In Chicago, the demonstration spilled over into support for workers at a major farm-implements factory who’d been locked out for union activities. On May 3, during a pitched battle between picketers and scabs, police shot two workers. At a protest rally in Haymarket Square the next day, a bomb was tossed into the police ranks and police directed their fire indiscriminately at the crowd. Eight anarchist leaders were arrested, tried and sentenced to death (three were later pardoned).

  • Talkin’ Harper Cabinet Blues

    Council of Canadians Chair Maude Barlow has described Stephen Harper as “the staunchest right-wing ideologue ever to occupy the Office of Prime Minister.” Not surprisingly, Harper’s dark-blue Tory cabinet looks rather like George W. Bush’s Canadian dream team, with its stamp of social conservatism and punitive predilections, as well as its enthusiasm for deep integration with the U.S., for plumping the military and for all the mantras of neoliberal policy: free trade, privatization, castrating the public sector. Here’s an unrepentantly selective profile of several key players.

    From Harris to Harper

  • Figuring Out and Fighting Harper

    The January federal election results unexpectedly yielded a minority Conservative government. The Great Moving-To-The-Right Show is having yet another run. In Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada now has the most ideologically committed neoliberal in power since Margaret Thatcher. The five priorities Harper has announced – an accountability package, a cut in the GST, a market-based childcare system, a law-and-order agenda centred on sentencing and a reduction in health-care wait times through increased delivery flexibility – all reflect these commitments. These proposals are embedded in the overall strategic priority of aligning Canada even more tightly with the U.S. through increased overseas military commitments and further economic integration. Canada’s takeover of the NATO command in Afghanistan and increased troop deployment is already sketching in the new terrain. It could hardly be more pressing for the Left to take stock of what the Harper government is and might become.

  • “If you have come here to help me ...”

    I want to start by honouring those women who have lived the experience about which I presume to speak.

    Women are the fastest-growing prison population world-wide. This is not accidental. Canada has been one of the first countries to be impacted by the now-globalized capitalist laws and policies that facilitate the desire for cash and products. These policies are destroying our social-safety nets - from social and health services to economic and education standards and availability. As we have recognized very concretely by the change of our mission, these laws and policies are increasingly coming into conflict with peoples’ lives.

  • Radical Campus - or Haunted House on the Hill?

    This is an in-house account by a 37-year loyal history professor, tying up all the loose threads into one happy ending for the 40th anniversary of the founding of Simon Fraser University. It is a short story, really. The bright threads appear in the initial four-to-five-year period, but, by 1970, with the defeat of the series of radical challenges of those first years, SFU is already draped in the bleached, drab garment it wears today.

  • Election 2006

    Despite the high spirits at the NDP victory party in Toronto on election night, it’s hard to fathom what there was to celebrate. Their popular vote increased only marginally, their seat total fell shy of affecting the balance of power and they failed to make a breakthrough in Quebec. Before an adoring, T.V.-friendly crowd on election night, Jack Layton claimed his party had earned the trust of millions of “ordinary Canadians.” Yet a more sober assessment might give cause to wonder why the party accomplished so little.

  • Horowitz’s Red Tory

    eorge Grant’s conservativism derived from skepticism about the religion of progress. He took issue with the doctrine that technological progress requires more educated and civilized participants in a global economy. Politicians no longer talk of progress. The current cliché is “moving forward.” To examine Grant’s writings in the 1960s, brought together in Volume 3 (1960-1969) of his Collected Works (Arthur Davis and Henry Roper, eds., University of Toronto Press, 2005) and ably edited by Art Davis and Henry Roper, is to gauge how much we have moved forward in the last forty years.

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