Over 80 people registered to participate in the annual Marxist Winter School on the weekend of February 15-16 in icy Montreal. This year’s school, held at Concordia University, broke the record for the highest attendance in the event’s history, and saw revolutionary activists visiting from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Boston, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and California.

Prison populations are rapidly increasing, far outstripping the capacity of the provincial and federal prison systems in Canada. The Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Corrections revealed that Ontario prisons had reached 98.5% capacity, representing a six-year high. This meant that on any typical day during 2012 about half of Ontario’s 25 prisons were overcrowded (at over 100% capacity).

The Conservative government has been touting their new income splitting plan, billed as the “Family Tax Cut”, across Canadian airwaves. The advertisement, brought to you by the Government of Canada, informs us that Canadian families have been working hard and deserve a break. The Family Tax Cut allegedly gives families this break by allowing one parent to transfer up to $50,000 to the other parent’s income in order to fit into a lower tax bracket and therefore pay less taxes. But, do all families really get a break with the Tories’ plan?

The bankruptcy of the capitalist system was recently laid bare by Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz’s advice to unemployed youth who continue to struggle to find jobs in the stagnant economy. Rather than be discouraged, Poloz suggested that young workers “might as well go out and do something for free” until the economy improves. Youth and working people were rightfully insulted by his crass remark, which suggested they should not only bear the brunt of the bosses’ economic crisis, but be prepared to give up their labour for nothing! 

With each passing day, the stage is being set for a big showdown between workers and Quebec’s Liberal government. Since the government announced that they would attack municipal workers’ pensions (which effectively means a wage cut), tens of thousands of workers have been taking to the streets, participating in various actions and mobilizations across Quebec. The attack on pensions is also just a part of a much wider austerity package which is targeting childcare services, health care, and a myriad of other social services, all of which are part of the general social wage in Quebec won by the labour movement over decades of struggle. 

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