The Socialist Equality Party (Canada) will hold a public meeting in Toronto on the afternoon of Sunday, January 22, to discuss the real issues in the 2006 Canadian elections.
The meeting will examine the drive by leading sections of Canada’s ruling elite to bring to power, after 12 years of right-wing Liberal rule, a Conservative government led by neo-conservative ideologue Stephen Harper.
Whatever the outcome of the January 23 election, the campaign must serve as a warning to the working class. Corporate Canada is intent on pursuing its drive for markets, profits and global geopolitical influence by relying on the most reactionary social and political forces to attack the jobs, living standards and democratic rights of working people at home, while joining the US-led imperialist carve-up of the world’s resources by means of militarism and war.
The turn to social reaction is not a Canadian, but a global tendency, driven by the intractable crisis of world capitalism. Its real implications—which the official media and political establishment have sought to cover up in the election campaign by endless talk about Liberal “corruption” and the need for “change”—cannot be indefinitely concealed. As Canada’s ruling class pushes for lower wages and the dismantling of public and social services at home, coupled with greater involvement in the military adventures of US imperialism abroad, it will face mass opposition. This is prefigured in the widespread rejection by ordinary Canadians of the illegal US invasion of Iraq and the entire neo-conservative, anti-social agenda of the Bush administration.
Working people’s instinctive opposition to the agenda of the ruling elite needs, however, to find a progressive political expression. The trade unions and the social-democratic New Democratic Party have been complicit in the big business offensive against the working class, suppressing the class struggle and arguing for workers to accept wage- and job-cuts so as to support their employers in the fight for markets and profits.
What is required is a conscious break with all forms of nationalism—whether the Canadian nationalism espoused by the social-democratic NDP or the Quebec nationalism promoted by the Quebec trade union bureaucracy—and the adoption of a socialist internationalist program. The working class must constitute itself as an independent political force with a program based on the unity of English-speaking, French-speaking and immigrant workers in Canada, with their class brothers and sisters around the world, in a common struggle to reorganize economic life around human needs, not the profit needs of the capitalist class.
The SEP (Canada) extends a warm invitation to all Canadian readers of the World Socialist Web Site and in particular those in the Toronto area: come discuss with us these vital issues of perspective in preparation for the next stage in the class struggle. The Toronto meeting will be addressed by Keith Jones, the national secretary of the SEP (Canada) and member of the WSWS International Editorial Board, and by Jerry Isaacs, a leading member of the SEP in the United States.
Sunday, 22 January 2006, 2 p.m.
Woodsworth College, Room 119
119 St. George St.
(south of Bloor & St. George, near the St. George subway)