Doug Ford ploughs ahead with attacks on education
According to Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office, the government’s current spending projections will likely lead to a $12.3 billion shortfall over the next decade. If those projections are followed it will mean “significant cuts” to staffing and education programming. Whatever Stephen Lecce may put forward “philosophically,” the situation is clear and it is grim.
Correcting the record on Bill Graham and the Iraq War
With the recent death of former Liberal Defence and Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham, has come a gush of praise for how he “resisted American arguments” and “stayed out” of the invasion of Iraq. This is a significant revision of history. The reality is that Canada was very much “involved” in the invasion of Iraq and the “War on Terror”—and Graham staunchly defended this role.
School wars in Ontario: McKinsey consultants, eLearning, and wage cuts
Many of Doug Ford’s policies today are recycled versions of the attacks of the past and designed to achieve the same ends—albeit magnified by his usual crassness. The education cuts demanded today are, to that end, a part of the program of broader attacks on workers elsewhere. They are, in some ways, about preparing youth for the “jobs of the future.”
For Ontario’s political establishment, cutting ‘welfare dependence’ means making the poor desperate
Recurring proposals by Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government to stop social assistance “dependence” reflect a long history of Liberal and Tory governments alike, working to make income support programs less dependable. In all cases, the aim of these cuts is to make the poor destitute and to make workers afraid. Mitchell Thompson explores this long and ignominious history.
Loblaw sees ‘profit improvements’ in wage and benefit cuts
Twice since the pandemic began, the billionaire CEO of Loblaw Companies Ltd. has risked job action by the company’s low wage workers in a bid to cut their $2 pandemic premium pay. More than just cutting costs, this is about keeping workers desperate or—in the company’s words, “flexible.” Desperate workers tend to tolerate wage cuts to make them more desperate still. Every cut won will be used to aid the next one.
Federal pandemic assistance on the chopping block—another way to ‘discipline’ workers
The Trudeau government’s willingness to curtail Employment Insurance eligibility and throw unemployed workers off its key pandemic benefit programs, prior to employment even fully recovering, is a reminder that leaving people behind remains a feature of Canada’s social assistance regime—not a bug. Effective October 23, barring any unexpected intervention, Canada’s main support programs for workers thrown into unemployment by COVID-19 will end.
Bill Davis’s anti-worker legacy
According to many pundits, former Ontario Premier Bill Davis deserves credit for having “ushered in Ontario’s modern era”—one marked by underfunded hospitals, schools in disrepair, and enormous restrictions on the rights of workers to organize. In the end, Davis did what he had to to remain in power and maintain the status quo as best he could. But that status quo always required keeping the working class down.
Is the Canada Recovery Benefit a ‘workfare’ program in disguise?
Leaving those in financial difficulty behind for a lower-wage future isn’t a bug in the Canada Recovery Benefit system—it’s a feature of a program designed and redesigned to crack down on recipients and maximize “incentive to work.” The CRB was, to this end, designed within the ‘workfare’ tradition that’s marked every social program in Canada since at least the mid-1990s.
The Regina Manifesto at 85: More relevant than ever?
Despite the NDP leadership race’s left candidate, Niki Ashton, talking about how the party needs to return to the “bold socialist vision” offered in the 1933 Regina Manifesto—the founding programme of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation—few have discussed what that actually would mean. This is an oversight of some significance, because the Manifesto is remarkable for its painstaking description of what a socialist Canada would look like.
Canada’s five giant banks ought to be nationalized, not bailed out
Canada’s banking system is on the edge of a crisis, once again, with a collective debt of $1.8 trillion—and the public will be on the hook for most of it, sooner than most think. Last week, the Bank for International Settlements said Canada, Hong Kong and China’s banking systems are the world’s most at-risk of a severe crisis.
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