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Taxing Times and T-Birds in Alberta

By Paul Kellogg

Alberta’s conservative finance minister Robin Campbell announced in February that his government was looking to slash nine percent from its annual budget in response to declining oil prices. The news caught few by surprise. Oil prices were collapsing in late 2014, and New Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, just before the holidays, cautioned about the economic and fiscal instability looming in that oil-dependent province. “We don’t know what’s around the corner”, he said. “We don’t know how long prices are going to be low”. He gave this advice to the province’s citizens: “it is a time to be careful on personal expenditures”. The next month, the premier went to Arizona and carefully bought himself a present – a vintage 1956 Ford Thunderbird, costing US$59,400 or about $71,000 Canadian.

Can Ontario Get Child Care?
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Can Ontario Get Child Care?

By Donald Hughes

At the recent Conservative convention in Calgary, Stephen Harper referred back to one of his first acts as Prime Minister, which was to demolish the national child care framework. Harper referred to the child care program as “lobbyists, academics and bureaucrats” and suggested that now the money (in the form of a small tax credit) was in the hands of “Mom and Dad.”

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What is the ANC and Where is the Left in South Africa?

By Chris Webb

About a month ago I stood with some 200 striking farm workers in South Africa’s Hex River Valley, a rich agricultural region that produces table grapes for export. The workers were on strike against severe pay cuts and outsourcing, which came about when a major fruit export company took over the farm from its previous owner. The workers were a mixed group. Some were Zimbabwean migrants, but the majority were Xhosa speakers from the more impoverished Eastern Cape, where 72 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Most of them currently lived in the valley’s informal settlements, expanses of matchbox houses and zinc shacks on the dusty ground between the grape farms. As we marched toward the farm, the workers began to sing struggle songs praising the African National Congress (ANC) and the role of struggle leaders like Oliver Tambo and Chris Hani.

Quebec’s “Red Square” Movement: The Story So Far
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Quebec’s “Red Square” Movement: The Story So Far

By David Camfield 

This is a slightly revised and expanded version of an article written for the magazine of the New Anti-Capitalist Party in France. Although it’s mainly intended to give readers outside Canada an account of the movement, readers in Canada may find it a useful overview.

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Share Our Future: The CLASSE Manifesto

By Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale (CLASSE)

For months now, all over Quebec, the streets have vibrated to the rhythm of hundreds of thousands of marching feet. What started out as a movement underground, still stiff with the winter consensus, gathered new strength in the spring and flowed freely, energizing students, parents, grandparents, children, and people with and without jobs. The initial student strike grew into a people’s struggle, while the problem of tuition fees opened the door to a much deeper malaise – we now face a political problem that truly affects us all. To find its remedy and give substance to our vision, let us cast our minds back to the root of the problem.

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Red Square, Everywhere: With Quebec Student Strikers, Against Repression

By Xavier Lafrance and Alan Sears

The Charest government has turned to repression to try to break the largest and longest student strike in Quebec history. Students had already endured heavy-handed policing, including hundreds of arrests and brutal attacks by riot cops on campuses and in the streets. The new strikebreaking legislation, Bill 78, is a brutal clampdown on the right to organize collectively and on freedom of expression. The protest plans for any demonstrations of more than 50 people must be cleared with the police in advance of any gathering, or the action will be considered illegal.  Individual students, staff or faculty members who advocate the ongoing strike action risk harsh penalties, and student unions or university employees unions who organize or support ongoing strike activity will face heavy fines.

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Massive Student Upsurge Fuels Major Debates in Quebec Society

By Richard Fidler

A crowd estimated at 250,000 people or more wound its way through Montréal April 22 in Quebec’s largest ever Earth Day march. They raised many demands: an end to tar sands and shale gas development, opposition to the Quebec government’s Plan Nord mining expansion, support for radical measures to protect ecosystems, and other causes. And many wore the red felt square symbolizing support to the province’s students fighting the Liberal government’s 75 per cent increase in post-secondary education fees over the next five years. The Earth Day march was the largest mobilization to date in a mounting wave of citizen protest throughout the province.

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The Canadian State Helps Usher in a New Phase of Capital Accumulation

By Zac Saltis

The contents of the federal budget unveiled by the Conservatives on March 29, 2012 are hardly shocking.  In fact, this voluminous document sheds light on what strategies the Canadian state will be adopting to promote and facilitate capital accumulation in this era of economic stagnation and austerity for the working class.

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The Real Ron Paul

Ron Paul is a Texas member of Congress currently running in the Republican presidential primaries.
Paul certainly won’t win the Republican nomination, but he has the potential to galvanize a movement around his agenda. Why does this matter to people in Canada who support radical social change?

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“Getting the Poor to Manage Their Poverty Better”: Poverty Alleviation Strategies from the Top

By Augusta Dwyer

An all-party report calling on the Harper government to pursue a vigorous poverty reduction strategy in Canada was recently introduced in the House of Commons. According to the Ottawa Citizen, “the report calls for pumping more money into affordable housing across the country, as well as increased supports to parents, seniors, people with disabilities and jobless and older workers.” The product of three years of cross-country consultations by a Commons committee, its recommendations were endorsed by all the opposition parties, but also—with some qualifications—by Conservatives.

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