By Mathew Nelson
Socialist Project Bullet
June 17, 2011
The recent Conservative majority in Parliament presents organized labour with the challenge of finding new ways to build and mobilize working people against the neoliberal austerity agenda.
The neoliberal offensive in Canada has intensified since the election of the Conservative Party under Stephen Harper in 2006. During their tenure in government, the Tories have defunded numerous progressive organizations and programs, and have failed to adequately reform Canada's employment insurance program in such a way that would have provided much needed support to workers at the height of the economic crisis.
However, the federal government did chose to effectively bailout Canada's financial industry through the Insured Mortgage Purchase Program (IMPP) and the Extraordinary Financing Framework (EFF), where Canadian banks were given the option of auctioning their risky mortgage packages to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) in exchange for public money.
Rather than allocating this bailout money toward public spending and the creation of new jobs for unemployed workers, it has been used to restore the balance sheets of the financial sector and fund the future expansion of Canadian finance capital.
Since its time in office, the Harper government has also increased military spending, escalated the war in Afghanistan, spent $858-million on the G20 summit last June, and is projected to cut corporate taxes, expand prisons and spend nearly $29.3-billion to purchase 65 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.
By prioritizing the needs of capital accumulation and militarism over public services and social programs, the Conservative government has shown itself to be a stark enemy of working people in Canada.
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