Canada: The unions’ suppression of the 1995–97 anti-Harris movement: Political lessons for today
Part 1: The significance of Harris’ “Common Sense Revolution”
Carl Bronski and Roger Jordan
6 October 2018
This is the first part of a four-part series. The second part will be published Monday, October 8.
Since taking office as Ontario’s new Premier in late June and declaring the province “open for business,” Doug Ford and his Conservative government have declared war on the working class and shifted politics in the province and across Canada sharply to the right.
The Ford government has made a series of policy announcements aimed at demonstrating the new government’s resolve to slash social spending, while further reducing taxes for big business and the rich. It has also underlined its support for a reactionary “tough on crime” agenda and is employing Trump-style rhetoric to scapegoat refugee claimants for Ontario’s chronic lack of social housing and dilapidated public services. As a down payment on the coming austerity drive, Ford has imposed a provincial government hiring ban, an across-the-board freeze on incidental expenditures, and an indefinite wage freeze for civil service managers and administrators.
Over the past two weeks, the Tory government has released a projection of a $15 billion budget deficit this year, and a report on government spending that claimed outlays rose by 55 percent during the previous 15 years of Liberal rule. The transparent aim of these announcements is to lay the groundwork for wide-ranging privatizations, user-fee hikes, and social spending cuts, or, as the spending report puts it, “decisive action.”
Within hours of the government taking office, Health Minister Christine Elliott made sweeping regressive…