On Saturday 23rd January, up to 20,000 people demonstrated against Stephen Harper’s prorogation of Parliament. Protests spanned the country, from Halifax to Victoria, with crowds numbering 3,500 on Parliament Hill, between 3,000 and 5,000 in Toronto, and over 1,000 in Vancouver. Who would have thought that an issue of arcane parliamentary procedure could bring so many out on the streets? These protests are merely symptomatic of a growing dissatisfaction in society. The question is, who will be able to give voice to this discontent?

In a move that would put Dr. Seuss’ Grinch to shame, the Ontario government gave Ontario workers a nasty surprise for the Christmas holidays—the renewed threat of mass privatization of public services across the province. When Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals were first elected in 2003, McGuinty promised that the bad old days of attacks and privatization that characterized Mike Harris’ “Common Sense Revolution” were finally over.

December 1, 2009 at Langara college in Vancouver Fightback, the Canadian supporters of the International Marxist Tendency organized a discussion on the workers struggle in Iraq. Akram Nadir, international representative of the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq spoke for about half an hour about the situation facing workers in Iraq and internationally.

Fightback has long warned that the right-ward drift of the NDP leadership in BC [British Columbia] would hurt the party in the polls. The argument is often made that in order to win over “middle of the road voters,” you have to moderate your demands and program. In fact, history has proven that this moderation only leads to disaster. What is needed is a strong socialist program to inspire the mass of the population.

For 30 years the NDP (the Canadian Labour Party) has been swinging to the right. If this process were to continue it would put at risk the very position of the party as the expression of the Canadian working class. Now, as the effects of the world crisis are weighing heavily on Canadian society, within the NDP there is an attempt to take the party back to the values it was originally built on.

We are entering a new period where an economic recovery will actually bring more attacks on workers, and this will have a transformative effect on the working class movement and their organizations, specifically the trade unions and their labour parties. The old leaderships with their old ideas who tried to reach conciliation with the bosses will need to be replaced. Workers will need to push for a new leadership that is willing to fight and get them real tangible gains in their struggles. In Ontario, we are already seeing the beginnings of this in the labour movement.

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