Doug Ford flouts Charter, throws Toronto elections into chaos

Doug Ford declaring he will use the notwithstanding clause to pass Bill 5 (PHOTO CREDIT: Vice News)Premier Doug Ford has announced that he will go ahead with his plan to slash the Toronto City Council from 47 members to 25, defying the recent court ruling which declared his move unconstitutional by invoking the “notwithstanding” clause in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Ford’s move marks the first time in Ontario’s history that this clause has been used. While it should come as a surprise to no one that Doug Ford has little respect for democratic rights or procedural niceties, the degree to which he is willing to tear up the Charter for petty, personal vendettas against his former colleagues at city council is almost stunning. This gives us a clear glimpse into what we can expect from Ford’s attacks on the working class in the coming years: ruthless slash and burn, while running roughshod over democratic rights.

Defend the right to strike!

York University contract faculty go on strike. (Photo Credit: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)The right to strike is under attack in Ontario. On July 25, legislation was passed by a vote of 69-40 ending the strike of almost 2000 teaching assistants at York University. The Ford government, in power for only two months, has sent a message to Ontario workers that he is ready to violate their democratic right to strike in order to carry out his rotten agenda. By making an example of the teaching assistants, Ford hopes that other workers will be intimidated from going on strike themselves. If not, it won’t be long before they too face back-to-work legislation. It’s these sorts of thug tactics that workers can expect from the “People’s Premier” over the next four years.

Doug Ford’s cynical ‘buck-a-beer’ sham

doug ford buck a beerPremier Doug Ford has announced a plan to reduce the minimum price for the sale of beer in Ontario to $1.00 plus deposit per bottle. The Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty previously raised the minimum price per bottle from $1.00 to $1.25 in 2008.

Teachers resist as Ford turns back clock on sex ed

Teachers rally at Queen’s Park to protest the Ford's rollback of sex education curriculum.  (Photo Credit: EDUARDO LIMA / STAR METRO)Early in July, Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson announced that the province would be reverting back to a sex-ed curriculum last updated in 1998. The new PC government has called the updated 2015 curriculum “age-inappropriate,” a “failed ideological experiment,” and claim that not enough parents were consulted in its development. Thousands of teachers, parents, students, and health care professionals have spoken out and taken action against this decision, rightfully concerned about the impact this measure will have on students.  

The Conservative Party and the renegade Bernier

BernierOn Aug. 23, former Tory MP Maxime Bernier delivered a prepared statement in Ottawa announcing his resignation from the Conservative Party of Canada and his intention to form a new party that “represents Conservative values”. In his statement, Bernier said his former party was “too intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed,” and went on to denounce them for their support of corporate bailouts, retaliatory tariffs against the United States, “identity politics”, and supply management, among other things. Bernier also added that the election of Conservative leader Andrew Scheer as Prime Minister would be “a more disastrous form of the Liberal government”. As for the as-of-yet unnamed party, Bernier mentioned only that it will run in the 2019 federal election. The question on everyone’s lips is the same: what does this mean for Canadian politics?

Quebec elections 2018: Where is the voice of workers?

Candidates for Quebec general election 2018On Oct. 1, Quebec voters head to the polls. With the right-wing CAQ polling in first place, things are not looking good for the working class. Legault’s “change” will mark an acceleration of the program of gutting social services, attacking unions, and the dismantling of the “Quebec model” established during the Quiet Revolution. Meanwhile, there has been a resurgence of the class struggle this year with big strike votes and several key strikes. This begs the question: Where is the voice of the workers in this election?

Ford’s war on the poor: Tories slash welfare, cancel UBI program

Ontario’s Children, Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod who announced cuts to the province’s welfare program.  (Photo Credit: CHRIS YOUNG / THE CANADIAN PRESS)During the Ontario provincial election campaign, the 4,000 participants in Ontario’s Universal Basic Income (UBI) pilot program were eager to know whether the program would survive if Doug Ford’s Conservatives were elected to form the next government. These individuals had planned their lives with the expectation that they would receive three years of guaranteed income. Some made decisions to return to school or to move into better housing. The statement from Ford’s campaign was reassuring: that the Tories were “looking forward” to seeing the results of the program. Some individuals on UBI voted for Ford with that promise in mind.

Doug Ford cuts Toronto city council in half

Ford as Thanos, cutting city council in halfIn the latest in a series of attacks against workers and the poor in Toronto, Doug Ford has announced he will table legislation to slash the number of city councillors nearly in half, from a proposed 47 to 25. This announcement comes halfway through the ongoing municipal election campaign and mere months in advance of Toronto’s election day.

Ford, Tory use shooting tragedy to bolster policing

Ford, Tory city hall meeting  (BERNARD WEIL / TORONTO STAR)In the days since Faisal Hussain opened fire on the Danforth in Toronto, killing 2 and injuring 13 before taking his own life, both authorities and the public have been questioning what could lead to such horrific actions. Thus far, there seems to be little to indicate that Hussain posed a risk - while he had had contact with the police over ten years ago, he had no police record, and no information has been released regarding a possible motive. What has come to light seems to be the story of a man afflicted with mental illness and personal tragedy. While mental health problems are not in themselves an explanation for violence (the vast majority of individuals suffering from mental illness are not violent and are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators), this tragedy has stirred a public conversation on how to meet the mental health needs of Toronto.  

Justin Trudeau and the disorder of the Phoenix (payroll system)

Protest over Phoenix payroll system in Ottawa, Oct. 31, 2016. Credit: REUTERS/Chris WattieIt has been more than two years since the federal government rolled out Phoenix, the notorious payroll system that has failed to correctly pay more than half of the 300,000 workers in the federal public service. The Auditor General, in his spring reports to Parliament, described the system as “an incomprehensible failure”—words that will shock no one who works for the public service. Huge numbers of workers have complained of being overpaid or underpaid, and still more have gone completely unpaid for months at a time. Some are owed thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in back pay. The “solution” that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have offered could take up to a decade to come into effect, leaving many of these workers stranded and with no way out.

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