Thursday, September 5, 2019

Canada-Ontario: Only workers' mass struggle can stop Ford's agenda

"As Ford agenda comes into focus, the need for mass action enters the picture" is the title of an article recently published in "People's Voice", the newspaper of the Communist Party of Canada

The article, written by Drew Garvie, provides a concise picture of Doug Ford government's agenda in vast range of social issues, including education, healthcare, unemployment, environment, workers' rights, etc. 

"People in Ontario are starting to understand what the Doug Ford agenda is all about" points out Garvie and gives some examples of the government's anti-people policy:

"High school students will be returning to school in a few weeks to find that 25% of their teachers and the classes they teach have been cut. University and college students are now receiving their student assistance, and thousands are finding out that the grants that they rely on have been converted into loans. Many are asking whether they can return to school at all."

The future for health care workers and anyone who is ill is "uncertain" writes the "People's Voice", stressing out that "thanks to a new law giving the government and their appointees in the new Super Agency extraordinary powers to restructure, cut, transfer, close and privatize health services."

As a pro-monopoly administration, the Ford government promotes a strictly anti-workers' agenda in an effort to strike a blow on labour rights. The "People's Voice" article writes: 

"Over a million public sector workers have an axe held over their heads. The Ford government is set to pass so-called “wage freeze legislation” which is in fact a public sector wage cut of 4%. This is an attack on free collective bargaining in health and education, where important negotiations are ongoing. Ford’s cuts aren’t austerity lite; they’re the difference between life and death for many. These cuts mean the very real expansion of misery and the harshest exploitation. The Ford agenda is about joblessness and the decimation of communities. This is seen in the actions of major corporations like Bombardier and GM, who cut jobs in search of higher profits."

But, is it the conservative Ford government exclusively responsible for the situation? Drew Garvie argues that "more than two decades of brutal austerity in the public sector in Ontario, pushed by both Tory and Liberal governments, has caused wages to fall far behind inflation. Workers today have significantly lower living standards than they did twenty-five years ago". He furthermore adds that "the Ford cuts are not a change in direction in Ontario, but rather an acceleration of aggressive neoliberal policy."

TTC electrical workers call for Free Public Transit and a campaign of mass strikes and Protests to bring down the Ford government.

In a statement, the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2 stresses out the need for free public transit in the city of Toronto, underlining that "no one should have to pay for transit". 

The Tories' government of Doug Ford is not a government of the people but, instead, "they 're a bosses' government and they' are attacking workers and poor people in every way - on the job, in education, in health care", writes the statement of CUPE Local 2. 

Click to enlarge and read the full statement.
CUPE Local 2 talks about a "transportation crisis" in Toronto and points out that the average commuting time is "the worst in North America and second worst of any major city worldwide". The Union supports that working class and oppressed people can rely only on their own strength and iniatiative. "After all - they write - we are the ones that do the work. We don't need the rich. They need us. Let's remember that and make it the starting point for our politics". 

Except from free public transit, the statement calls for mass strikes and protests across Ontario, reaching out a hand to the poor and working people of the province.