Mar 012024

Report of the Central Committee, Communist Party of Canada, February 10-11, 2024

The International Situation

Since we last met, the international situation has become more acute, with US imperialism’s dangerous drive from Cold Wars to hot wars around the world, including the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa, India, and Latin America.  

As the general crisis of capitalism deepens, specific problems also deepen.  Everything is magnified.   

The political climate has become increasingly dangerous.  Far-right and fascist movements, and political parties, are growing in many parts of the world, attacking labour and democratic rights, the rights of women, migrants, the 2sLGBTiQ community, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour), and the rights of religious and national minorities, combined with the assault on secularism, science, education, free speech and assembly.  In fact, truth is the first victim of war and reaction. 

Criticism of Israel and Zionism is equated with anti-Semitism, resulting in political, legal, and economic attacks on those who speak out against the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.  This is more than a chill, it is a frontal attack on dissent, and on free speech in Canada and around the world. 

Anti-Communism is a dangerous weapon utilized to silence and divide the labour and people’s movements, and to isolate the Communist Parties and supporters of socialism from the working class, youth, and working people.

The role of the police and the military is growing, and the links between these enforcers of ruling class power and far-right and fascist parties and movements, are becoming more visible.   

Yet despite imperialist violence, voices for peace, environmental justice, democracy, sovereignty and fundamental change, are increasingly being heard.

The climate crisis continues to worsen, while capitalist governments intervene to protect the mega-profits of energy and resource companies, not the environment.  The President of COP 28, held in Dubai , UAE, was Sultan Al-Jaber, Chair of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company which aims to double its current production of 2.7 million barrels of oil per day, by 2027.  While COP 28 recognized for the first time that the era of fossil fuels and greenhouse gases must come to an end, urgent action was not taken.

Free Palestine and End the Genocide

More than 29,000 Palestinians – two-thirds of them children and women – have been killed and 64,000 injured since the beginning of this latest Israeli war aimed to obliterate all Palestinians and remnants of Palestinian sovereignty. Gaza has been levelled, and the remaining population is being systematically killed with the bombing of hospitals and refugee camps.

The charge of genocide brought by South Africa to the International Court of Justice has led to directives from the Court to the Israeli government to refrain from genocidal acts, which means a ceasefire is obligatory, together with opening the borders to transports of food, fuel and medical supplies.

The only immediate hope for peace is the creation of a Palestinian state, as set out in UN resolutions 242 and others, based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital, and including the right to return.

US imperialism, Israel’s main supporter, has opposed a ceasefire and a political solution, and has instead opted to expand the war into a regional war.  The US and UK, with logistical support from Canada, have bombed dozens of sites in Yemen, Syria and Iraq, in response to the Houthi attacks on vessels in the Red Sea taking shipments to Israel, and are threatening to attack Iran for its support of Hezbollah.  War with Iran is Israel’s main goal, supported by sections of US imperialism, and has been for some time.  

The US aims to redefine borders and re-establish its control and dominance in the region, in lock- step with Israel as its regional enforcer.  Both countries are equipped with nuclear weapons, so these acts of war could easily lead to a global catastrophe.

But shifts are taking place in the Middle East, among others from the Saudis who have stated that they will recognize Israel, if Israel will recognize a Palestinian state.   Not everyone wants war in their backyard.

Public opposition to Israel’s genocide, including Jewish voices of resistance, is widespread in Canada and around the world, with the most massive protests in decades continuing from October to the present.  

The Canadian government has cast a non-binding vote in the UN in support of a ceasefire, but continues to strongly support the US. Fully aware of shifting public opinion in Canada, the Liberals are trying to win public support while polls show they are continue to trail behind the Tories.

The mass protests against the Israeli genocide need to demand that Parliament support an immediate and permanent ceasefire and immediate restoration of funding to UNRWA, and to act accordingly, but it will take more public pressure to force this minority government to do it.  

This also applies to the NDP and the Greens, which count on donations and votes from pro-Zionist supporters, as do the Liberals. While there are sharp divisions within the Liberals, Greens and NDP membership, the Ontario NDP leadership and caucus expelled MPP Sarah Jama, who had spoken in support of the Palestinian cause. The Ontario NDP have been very quiet since, including over attacks by the Zionist lobby on organizations and public figures who face repercussions for speaking out against the Israeli genocide, ranging from black-listing of law students at Metropolitan University, to workplace discipline, job losses and threats of firings across the country. The President of CUPE Ontario was threatened by a well-organized Zionist group of CUPE members who attempted unsuccessfully to unseat him for his pro-Palestinian statements. 

It’s notable that the Communist Party is the only political party to be consistently and visibly present at these mass country-wide protests, and we are the only political party in the country with a clear position in support of the Palestinian struggle for national liberation, and against Israel’s genocide.  Our Party is gaining attention because of our principled stand in support of the Palestinian people and their just struggle, and in opposition to the attack on free speech and democratic rights in Canada.

Today there is an urgency and an opportunity to organize in the labour and people’s movements for an independent Canadian foreign policy of peace and disarmament, for withdrawal from NATO and NORAD, for political solutions  not military ‘solutions’, for converting military to civilian spending and spending benefiting people and the planet. Labour for Palestine (L4P) is an early sign of what’s possible here, though L4P is limited to the immediate struggle for Palestine.  While this is vital, the scope is limited.

The Canadian Peace Congress and the MQP (Mouvement Quebecois pour la Paix) in Quebec are working to expand their work and their connections with the labour and democratic movements in communities across English-speaking Canada and Quebec.  We need to do everything possible to actively assist in this, because it is central to the rebuilding of the mass peace movement that our times call for.  The mass protests against Zionism show that this is possible, and also urgent. 

War in Ukraine

As the war in Ukraine enters its third year, the only ‘winner’ is finance capital and the arms dealers. NATO has turned Ukraine into a battleground between the imperialist powers it represents, and Russia. While Ukraine is laid waste, NATO has completed the job of encircling Russia‘s western and southern borders from the Artic Ocean to the Black Sea. Finland and Sweden have joined, tightening the noose.  

We continue to call for a ceasefire, for Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine and for an end to all foreign military weapons and supplies exported from the west to Ukraine, including mercenaries on both sides.  We call for negotiations leading to a political solution. 

Efforts to secure a ceasefire and negotiations have been rejected by the US, and by Ukraine as a result, and now by Russia, which appears to believe it can win this war militarily. There is weakening support for Ukraine’s war among NATO member states, despite President Zelensky’s world travels to secure political and military support, and money for the war.

This included Zelensky’s visit to Canada in August, where he and every MP in the House of Commons gave a standing ovation to Yaroslav Hunka, a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator who is wanted for war crimes in Poland. 

NATO’s encirclement of Russia and military build-up on its borders, especially during the last 2 years, have created the conditions for a new war between NATO and Russia in the future.  An expanded war or the introduction of nuclear weapons would lead to disaster for Ukraine and the people of Russia and Europe and endangers the whole world.


On April 4th, NATO will mark its 75th anniversary, followed by a NATO Summit in the US in July, with pomp and ceremony aimed to convince civilians that it is not a global army whose purpose is to protect and expand US imperialism’s interests and profits.  

The mobilization of 90,000 troops for war games, including 20,000 from the UK, 15,000 from Poland, 10,000 from Germany, and 5,000 from Holland, and involving 50 ships, 80 aircraft, and 1,000 combat vehicles, says otherwise. The goal is to demonstrate to Russia that while it may win the war in Ukraine, NATO is ready to launch a new war against Russia afterwards. It’s also a signal to China that NATO is ready to launch a war on its eastern flank.  Further, NATO’s actions are directed to destabilize the United Nations.  

Meanwhile NATO continues to lean on member countries to contribute 2% of GDP to defence spending annually.  These massive expenditures for militarism and war are taken from national budgets and the funding for social programs, public services, job creation, and action on climate change.  Canada delivered $36.7 billion (1.29% of GDP) to military spending in 2023, up $8 billion over 2022, with bigger increases through 2026.   

Canada has spent $8 billion to support the war in war Ukraine since 2022, and is projecting another $1.5 billion in 2024-25.

In addition, Canada is spending $73.9 billion to buy, fly, and maintain a fleet of F-35  fighter jets,  and will pay $84.5 billion to build 15 warships (with a projected lifetime cost of $306 billion). Similarly Canada has been pressed by the Biden administration to pick up half the costs of ‘modernizing’ NORAD, almost certainly linked to US and NATO plans to militarize the Arctic.

As April approaches, there will be demonstrations and calls for NATO’s dissolution around the world. This needs to include big protests in Canada, supported and/or initiated by peace organizations and by our Party.  These will be important political and educational events to expose the real purpose of NATO, and to demand Canada withdraw from NATO, that NATO be dissolved, and that military spending be converted to civilian spending.  

Provocations Against China and DPRK

US imperialism, supported by Canada’s military, has continued its provocations in the South China Sea, and in the Taiwan Straits.  Canadian warships are part of these actions, which aim to create a crisis and a hot war with China.

These acts are accompanied by a political campaign of disinformation and lies, including about the recent elections in Taiwan.  Publicized in the West as a great victory for democracy, the election results showed how unpopular the Taiwanese government was and how precarious the new minority government is.  Lead by a President who received just over half the votes of his predecessor, the minority government was elected on a promise to focus on health and housing, not independence.  Further, the results suggest that support for Taiwan’s independence from China is falling among Taiwanese youth who are more concerned with domestic living conditions including inflation, rising prices, wages and living standards.  While the independence movement has suffered a setback, it is far from dead, supported by US dollars and interests, and now warships patrolling the Straights of Taiwan.

The AUKUS group, made up of Australia, the UK, and the US, is the driving force here, acting as imperialism’s eastern flank in its efforts to surround China, DPRK and Vietnam, while its western flank surrounds Russia.  

NATO has also indicated its intentions to become directly involved. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg was unambiguous about imperialism’s two-front offensive. Speaking in a panel discussion, he said that ‘we will remain a regional alliance.  But the transatlantic region faces global threats. Security is no longer regional; security is global … China’s heavy investments in modern military capabilities, including war and more advanced nuclear weapons, China’s way of behaviour especially in the South China Sea, and the way China is actually violating core principles for NATO democracy – all of that matters for NATO.”  (quote from CPA’s “The Guardian”, Feb 5/24).  It’s clear that NATO – imperialism’s global army – is anticipating and fomenting wars on two fronts:  against Russia and China.  

The US is also aiding the rearmament of Japan with the sale of long-range Tomahawk missiles – offensive weapons that run counter to Japan’s Constitution, which limits re-armament to defensive weapons only.

The DPRK has long been a target of US, Japanese and South Korean nuclear threats and military provocations.  While the government of DPRK has focused on the re-unification of north and south Korea since the signing of the armistice in July 1953, imperialism has focused on destroying DPRK economically and militarily.  Recent military operations involving the US, South Korea and Japan, including flights over DPRK airspace by nuclear equipped US fighter planes, and the ‘visit’ of a US nuclear equipped submarine to South Korea, have jacked up tensions once again. In response, the DPRK has abandoned it long-held policy objective of reunification of north and south Korea, identified South Korea and its rabidly right-wing President as an enemy. and expanded its own production of tactical and long-range nuclear weapons. This is clearly the result that imperialism has been working towards.

Last summer, Comrades Adrien Welsh and Drew Garvie visited China on behalf of our Central Committee, at the invitation of the Communist Party of China.  This is the third delegation from our Party to China in the last 5 years.  Adrien and Drew will report on their trip tomorrow, after which the CEC will table a proposal to undertake a deeper look at socialist development in China.

Foreign Interference

Part of the provocations against China are the unfounded attacks suggesting Chinese interference in Canadian elections. This follows on an earlier campaign claiming China was stealing technology made in Canada, the US, and other advanced capitalist countries.  The fact is that China has developed with very high-level technology and production, enabling it to become the second biggest economy in the world, just behind the US.  

This month, the Inquiry into Foreign Interference in the 2019 and 2023 Canadian Elections convened, a direct result of a campaign by CSIS and the CSE targeting China.  Despite clear statements to Parliament by the CEO of Elections Canada that there is no evidence of foreign interference in either of these federal elections, a CSIS report states that “Foreign interference networks are ‘deeply embedded’ in Canadian politics.”

CSIS and CSE spokesperson made similar unsubstantiated allegations in a presentation to registered political parties at the annual general meeting organized by Elections Canada on September 8, 2023.

The campaign has been built on ‘leaks’ from CSIS and CSE agents, which have widely shared with press and media on condition of anonymity. 

To date, several members of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures, and municipal politicians of Chinese descent, have been attacked as disloyal to Canada. Some have forced to sit as Independents or pushed out of office because of their contact with the Chinese Embassy on behalf of constituents. These attacks were accompanied by a rise in anti-Asian racism and violence, and by lies about so-called “Chinese police stations” in Canada..  

It appears this campaign was created by CSIS and the CSE, specifically to help the Conservative Party win the next election, and to continue the demonization of China to justify the military expenditures involved in the opening of imperialism’s second front in the South China Sea. Further, helping to undermine voter confidence in elections will open another avenue of attack by the Conservatives and the far right. Working people across the country are the main target of this campaign which aims to drive public opinion far to the right.  This is a serious threat to peace and democracy at home and abroad, and it must be challenged.

Further, we need to support efforts to strengthen Canada-China friendship and exchanges between Canada and China.


Socialism in Cuba has just celebrated the 65th anniversary of the revolution, which guaranteed its sovereignty and independence, along with the end of exploitation and oppression, racism and discrimination, poverty, illiteracy, and early death.  Cuba has faced relentless political, economic, military, and ideological attack by US imperialism, and has responded with acts of anti-imperialist solidarity and support for the peoples of the Americas and the world.  Absolutely steadfast and true,  Cuba is the light of freedom, independence, and socialism in the Americas.

The extreme hardship imposed by US imperialism on Cuba in the last year is equivalent to the Special Period in the early 1990s following the overthrow of socialism in Europe.  The US goal is “to make the economy scream”, creating hunger and desperation, to alienate the Cuban people from their government, from socialism, from the revolution.  

The addition of Cuba to the US list of countries it labels “state sponsors of terrorism” is intended to isolate Cuba, to destroy its international reputation as an opponent of terrorism and a defender of democracy and sovereignty, and the rights and well-being of the people. This designation is also intended to slash Canadian and international tourism to Cuba which is of vital importance to the Cuban economy, and to back-up the extra-territorial reach of US imperialism, which threatens countries and corporations that trade with Cuba.

Cuba is in great danger as the economic and political knot tightens, while the further dangers of the US elections and the drive to the far right loom large.

Building support, solidarity and friendship with Cuba requires us to urgently step up our work in the labour and progressive movements to strengthen the Canadian Network on Cuba and the annual Che Brigade. The Canadian government needs to feel public opposition to any efforts to distance from its long-standing relationship of tourism and trade with Cuba, or to adopt the US policy which is to overthrow the Cuban government and socialism in this hemisphere.  

The Party and YCL have been active in building and supporting the annual Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade to Cuba.  Many young people who have visited Cuba with the Work Brigades have learned about socialism and internationalism through first-hand experiences in Cuba.  This is important work for building friendship between Canadians and Cubans, and for building solidarity with Cuba.


The efforts of imperialism to smother and defeat the movement for democracy and socialism in Sudan have led to mass starvation, death, and weakening of the democratic and revolutionary movement, with imprisonment, torture and death of many Sudanese Communists and democrats.  Comrade Haitham Dafallah, the Managing Director of the Sudanese Communist Party’s newspaper “Al Midan”, was arrested two weeks ago by the RSF (Rapid Support Forces), one of the two competing military forces in the country backed by imperialist powers.  We have called on the Canadian government to condemn this terrorist act, and to demand the military immediately free Haitham Dafallah. 

At the heart of this struggle are Sudan’s rich resources, which the imperialist European Union and regional forces seek to control.

At our last plenum we heard from our Sudanese comrades, and undertook to help build a solidarity movement here in Canada.  We need to check up on progress, noting the urgency of developments in Sudan.


The struggle in Venezuela by the PSUV government of Nicolas Maduro against the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) has taken a serious turn since our last plenum, with the government action to dissolve the Communist Party, seize its offices, its assets, its name, and its seats in Parliament; and hand them to a rump group of its own PSUV members.  

The government’s actions are part of its many concessions to international monopoly capital, which include slashing the power and influence of trade union and peasant organizations, as well as left-wing political organizations, starting with the PCV.  Party activists in the labour and peasant movements have been arrested and some killed, and the government has made serious economic and political concessions to international capital, including on Venezuela’s large and lucrative publicly-owned oil supply. 

The PCV is fighting back, in the courts (supported by an international team of lawyers) and in the labour and people’s movements where it remains a strong force.

While we continue to oppose US sanctions on Venezuela, and all efforts by the US, Canada and the OAS to overthrow the Maduro government, we condemn the attacks on the PCV. We demand that the PSUV restore the PCV’s name, assets, offices, to the Communist Party of Venezuela, and restore its MPs to Parliament.

The BRICS and Multi-Polarity  

Membership in the BRICS is growing quickly as a result of the weakening of US imperialism, which increasingly wields its influence through sanctions and the barrel of a gun. The BRICS countries can avoid US control through their relations with one another; however the BRICS countries include a wide variety of partners, ranging from socialist Cuba (an applicant to join BRICS) to India, which is fast-tracking to fascism. While it provides some protection for small economies including possible de-dollarization in some trade, BRICS doesn’t eliminate imperialism’s influence or control of key economic sectors, global climate change, war, impoverishment,  or mass migrations caused by imperialism.

The US Elections

As the Republican primaries unfold, Donald Trump has a strong hold on his party’s nomination for President, and he may well win the November election. Trump has the support of significant sections of Wall Street, who want his promised corporate tax cuts, more deregulation, and a free hand to make limitless profits without regard to labour or environmental laws, Indigenous rights, equality rights, or minority rights.  

Trump and the Republicans represent a very dangerous shift towards fascism in the US. They are helped by the Democrats whose core policies are not that different, and who offer no substantive change to working people battered by inflation, high profits, and growing unemployment and debt.  He also has the support of the oil and gas companies and the resource sector more generally, as well as the hacking of police, and the far-right and fascist forces.  

The US labour movement, small as it is, has largely put its support behind Biden and the Democrats, without demands for policies important to working class voters, women, youth, the Black and Hispanic populations, Indigenous Peoples and others.

In an increasingly unstable world, and a volatile political and economic situation at home, Trump’s appeal to the unemployed, the less-educated, and the bankrupt, is to return to a fictional time when there was a chicken in every pot and a Ford in every driveway.  “Making America Great Again“ is the slogan used by Hitler during the 1920s and 30s when mass unemployment, insecurity, and hunger were faced by millions of German workers. Widespread and justified anger at these conditions was manipulated and turned against religious and other minorities, racialized people, women, Communists, and others critical of right-wing populism and fascism.  This is also happening in Canada, though not with the same success – at least to date.

Further, the Democrats have no answers, other than more of the same: more wars, more unemployment and austerity, more racism and discrimination, and more police and prisons.

The outcome will also weigh heavily on Canada’s next federal election, just a year after the US elections, or possibly earlier. Our foreign and domestic policies are likely to shift to the right, with the consequences that will entail for working people – whichever candidate wins.  US imperialism is in deep trouble as it declines, becoming more violent as it flails around, trying to recover.  

Climate Change

At a time in history when scientific progress offers the potential to tackle disease, hunger, mass poverty, homelessness, inequality and war, the dynamics of the capitalist mode of production make it increasingly difficult to use knowledge for the benefit of humanity. In fact, the global imperialist system actually intensifies the threats to survival, in particular severe climate change. 

2023 was a year of extremes – the hottest recorded average surface temperatures,  droughts, wild fires, flooding, but also bitter cold spells. Scientists warn the impending 1.5 degree rise in global temperatures will accelerate deforestation and the rapid loss of biodiversity in many regions, speed up the melting of ice caps, glaciers and permafrost (ominously for Canada), and wipe out important fish stocks. Other environmental crises include the deadly impacts of plastic pollution and air pollution; the expansion of waste from industries such as fast food and fashion; and the deadly consequences of destructive mining practices and soil degradation; and the loss of the green canopy resulting from corporate greed and expanding wars.

Environmental movements mounted major campaigns to demand decisive action on carbon emission reductions at the COP28 conference. But the fossil fuel transnationals had a bigger influence, and the minor reforms proposed by COP28 are too little and too late. Even so, the predictable slide towards catastrophe can be halted – if governments adopt  strategies to slash carbon emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change. That means taking on the power of corporate interests, including those advocating green capitalism, and using the most obvious pool of resources to achieve such goals – the mind-boggling $2 trillion annual total of military spending, and the $5 trillion in global corporate profits amassed by the top 200 corporations on Forbes Global 2000 List 2023 , which were not even discussed at COP28. The devastating impact of military spending and corporate profiteering on the environment must be part of the NATO protests in April, and part of the discussion and organizing in the environmental movements.  This is the challenge facing the international working class and its allies today if human civilization is to survive.

Blaming the Victims – the Causes and Impact of Mass Migrations

Mass migrations globally continue due to war and environmental crises, with large numbers of deaths due to dangerous migration routes, unscrupulous traffickers, racist governments, and unsafe conditions in over-crowded refugee camps.

The Safe Third Countries agreement has led to the deaths of scores of people trying to reach Canada from the US, both before and after Canada closed all access points.

Last year the federal government increased immigration to 500,000 for each of the following 3 years.  Canada’s population has grown by 3% to almost 41 million today, with another 1 million still to come.  As one of the largest countries in the world, with a small population, Canada could easily accept more, and should, since many of these refugees are coming from countries victimized by Canada’s foreign and trade policies.  However the federal government has not provided the funds or the housing, health or education services needed to accommodate this large number of immigrants and refugees.  In early February the federal government finally released a small amount of funds to feed and temporarily house refugees camped out on the streets of Toronto, after the Mayor threatened to substantially raise municipal property taxes if the federal government didn’t deliver.

Many of these new immigrants and refugees were brought to provide cheap labour at jobs and wages Canadian workers would not accept. This was seen by some as a way to drive down the general wage, and fed into the anti-immigrant sentiments that employers and the far-right exploit in Canada and globally.  Recent polls show that half of those polled blame immigrants and refugees for the housing shortage.  

International students were also brought to Canada, over many years, paying exorbitant fees to universities and colleges starved for funding.  These numbers have tripled since 2016, contiguous with cuts to federal funding for post-secondary education.  International students pay an average of 4 times as much and up to 8 times as much tuition as Canadians for the same undergraduate courses, some of them delivered by private, for profit companies delivering a second class education in strip malls euphemistically called “satellite campuses”.  International students are also forced to pay large sums for often inadequate food and lodging.  

Now Big Business is calling on the government to rescind student visas, despite students having been accepted into universities and colleges across Canada.  A coalition representing 234 public universities meanwhile oppose the government’s actions, stating the inflated fees are essential to keep universities afloat.  They aren’t wrong.  Statistics show that through their tuition and spending international students contribute $22 billion annually to the economy, and support 200,000 jobs in the process.

At the same time international students, along with new immigrants and refugees, are being blamed for the shortage of affordable housing caused by Tory and Liberal federal governments’ decisions 35 years ago to pull out of the housing business, leaving it almost entirely in the hands of private, for profit builders, developers, and landlords.  This is the real cause of the housing crisis, that threatens all working people and youth living in Canada today.  

We demand that the government adequately fund universities and colleges, eliminate tuition, and make post-secondary education free for all, including international students.  We demand the government build affordable social and public housing, and we further demand an immediate roll-back of prices and profits on food, fuel, rents, and housing. These are just some of the urgent demands that must be met in order to save lives today and in the future.

Canada: The Economic and Political Situation

The Bank of Canada’s Drive to Recession, Unemployment, and Austerity

As we enter 2024, the economy is contracting and headed into recession, with rising unemployment, rising prices and profits, inflation sitting at 3.7% with core inflation closer to 4%, Bank of Canada (BOC) interest rates at 5% affecting homeowners facing mortgage payments of up to $1,000 more per month, and an average $2,178 rent per month for an average unit – an increase of 8.6% over last year.  This is on top of sky-high grocery prices and rising energy and fuel costs.

This is partnered with massive profiteering in the oil and gas sector, Big Three grocery monopolies; and banks, developers, builders, and corporate landlords (among others). Three grocery chains control 2/3 of all food sales, and generated a profit of $6 billion in 2022 and over $6 billion in 2023, compared to an average of $1.8 billion in the 5 years before Covid, but the government and Parliament refuse to roll-back or cap prices and profits, or take any action at all.  

With an 18 month delay in seeing/feeling the impact of interest rate hikes, the full effect of the majority of the BOC’s interest rate hikes last year have not yet been felt. More misery is ahead for 2.2 million mortgage holders, whose renewals worth roughly $900 billion are up over the next three years.  According to RBC, mortgage holders will see their payments increase by 50% at renewal. 

Further, population growth combined with no new residential housing construction – or action by the federal government to build public housing – means housing will be in even shorter supply and prices may yet rise, in spite of the fact that house prices are currently 30% higher than in 2019.   While mortgage payments and rents will continue to skyrocket, evictions and bank foreclosures and repossessions will also continue to rise. 

Business bankruptcies rose 57.2% in December 2023 compared to a year earlier, and consumer bankruptcies by 18.2%.  This followed consumer bankruptcies of 23% in 2022.  Personal and small business bankruptcies will continue to rise, including those driven by CEBA loans that weren’t repaid by the January 18 deadline, or with interest by March 31.

Food banks and shelters are over-run by people desperate and in need, many of them the working poor, while cities and towns struggle to address the crisis.  The depth of the crisis and its deadliest consequences are visible in the opioid epidemic which is sweeping the country and claimed the lives of over 7,500 people last year alone.  This excludes the thousands more who survived a lethal dose.  

Meanwhile, the biggest corporations continue to rack up enormous profits, and their owners and shareholders gain enormous personal wealth. Total annual corporate profits in Canada have risen from the former $300 billion range, up to a staggering $700 billion, while global corporate profits of the top 200 companies have reach $5 trillion.   Statistics Canada figures show that the wealthiest 20% of Canadians own 67.39% of the country’s wealth. The concentration and centralization of wealth is accelerating thanks to corporate power and government policies.  Public anger fed by this reality, and by inaction on grocery prices and profits, is a main reason why the Liberals have lost public support.

According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the CEO to average worker pay gap exploded from 39 times to over 1,000 times from 1970 until 2000. The average worker received an average pay increase of 3% in 2022, despite price hikes of more than twice that much.  Further, according to the National Institute on Aging, only one-third of seniors can afford to retire, and many are carrying debt; 50% of people aged 80 or over who are working today can’t afford to stop due to rising rent and food prices.   Only one third of workers currently have workplace pensions, compared to 50% in the 1970s.  This exposes the poverty that many people are forced into at retirement, and in 2031, one in four Canadians will be aged 65 or older.

The Bank of Canada continues its drive to a 2% inflation level, despite the consequences to the lives of working people. More accurately, the BOC continues to hold its interest rate at 5% precisely to drive down wage gains achieved by the militant strike struggles of workers across the country in 2023, and to convince workers that unions and strikes bring more pain than gain.  The BOC continues to blame workers’ wages as the main cause of inflation.

Tiff Macklem, BOC Governor, said in December 2023:  “With the cost of living still increasing too quickly, and with growth subdued, the next two quarters will be difficult for many.”  Rate hikes are still possible, he added.

Higher unemployment is ahead as the BOC continues to slow the economy.  More layoffs, fewer new jobs (only 100 created in December across Canada) with a rising population leads to growing competition for scarce jobs. Full-time job losses of 23,500 were “offset” by 23,600 part-time jobs created in December.  Average Job creation of 48,000 jobs/month in first half of the year fell to about half that number in the second half; unemployment grew by 0.8% from April to November.

This is a deliberate, planned and organized attack on the working class by the BOC, the government and Opposition, and by finance capital.

Privatization of Healthcare and Education

Combined with this impact on wages and living standards, is a lethal attack on Medicare, public and post-secondary education, and universal social programs. Right-wing provincial governments are privatizing healthcare services and hospitals, while the federal government, with the support of the Opposition parties, cuts program funding and refuses to defend these “sacred trusts”.   Hospitals and universities are operating in crisis mode, while the federal government colludes with provinces that aid and abet the private for-profit vultures feasting on the universal social programs fought for and won by working people. 

In Quebec, the right-wing CAQ government has passed Bill 15, privatizing big sections of healthcare and education, and forcing unions to compete with one another in representation battles over the reconstituted bargaining units. 

The federal government must be pushed to invoke the Canada Health Act to stop privatization, and to expand Medicare to include long-term care, pharmacare, dental and vision care, and mental health care; and increase the funding needed to support Medicare.

The $10/day national child care program, operating in 9 provinces, doesn’t come close to meeting the needs of families.  Private for-profit childcare operators, contracted to provide the $10/day spaces, are pulling out because they can make more money charging higher rates to parents desperate for spots at any price.  

Governments must be pushed to build a universal, quality, public and free childcare system to meet the needs of all families and children. The immediate need is for action to substantially increase the number of $10/day spaces, build publicly owned and staffed childcare centres, and pay living wages to ECE trained childcare workers who can provide qualified care.  

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is utilizing the Alberta Sovereignty Act to break apart the Canada Pension Plan, falsely claiming that Albertans pay more than their share into the CPP and that a provincial plan would raise pensions for Alberta seniors. Smith’s policies threaten Albertans and working people across Canada who depend on the CPP, and other universal social programs.  What’s needed is to substantially raise pensions while reducing the age for a full pension to age 60.

Cutting “Waste”

Pierre Poilievre and the Business Council of Canada are calling for major spending cuts, “to cut government waste”. But the problem is not over-spending, it’s under-funding of essential public services and social programs, cities, healthcare and education, cities, housing, transportation, and job creation, the environment and climate change, and so much more.  The only over-spending is on the military and war, which must be converted to social spending.  

Poilievre and the Tories are exploiting these brutal cuts to services by both Liberal and Tory federal and provincial governments, to press for privatization of healthcare and social programs, and a “back-to-basics” curriculum in education that will eliminate the  broad liberal education that encourages and develops critical thinking, and values education and life-long learning.   The back-to-basics movement is based in right-wing religious and anti-communist groups that support Poilievre and the Tories.  It manifests in the parents’ rights campaign that opposes sex education in the schools, advocates for anti-trans legislation that targets trans and 2s/LGBTiQ youth in the school systems, and that is pressing for anti-communist revisionist curricula in history classes.   

This reactionary movement is also targeting school and public libraries, aiming to remove books, or access to them, on subjects including sex, equality rights, social change and anything favourable to socialism – past, present and future.

These movements take their lead from similar organizations in the US, currently attacking women’s reproductive rights, 2sLGBTiQ rights, and the rights of children and youth. 

Poilievre and the Drive to the Right

The public response to inflation, price gouging and profiteering, real wage cuts and looming layoffs is fear and anger.  A Polara poll in December found 52% of those polled expect things to worsen in 2024; 46% “expect to fall behind in 2024”;  53% are “worried”, including 53% of mortgage holders and 65% of tenants.  74% said grocery prices were a major source of stress; 63% said housing expenses; and 57% said gas prices.

These are the well-founded fears that Poilievre and the Tories are exploiting, to convince voters that they represent workers’ needs and interests, while the Liberals and ‘the left’ represent Bay Street elites, supported by the bureaucrats – including labour ‘bosses’ and intellectuals who maintain the status quo.

This is the right-wing populism utilized by Trump to win the Presidency in 2016, and to swing politics to the far right.  The rise of the far-right in the US, Europe and elsewhere reflects the bankruptcy of capitalism in its descent into barbarism.

In the absence of a strong, class-oriented and class-struggle leadership in the labour movement in Canada, and lacking an organized and united left in Canadian politics, this populist pitch has gained ground among workers. A recent poll showed that 25% of trade unionists polled would vote for the Conservatives if a federal election were held today.  This is why the Tories are pushing hard for an early federal election.  At the end of January, the Tories are 15 points ahead of the Liberals, with the NDP and Bloc holding their own.


It’s likely that the NDP will turn its main fire on the Liberals – not the Tories – in the next election.  This opportunist position is consistent with the strategy advocated by NDP leader Ed Broadbent during the 1988 federal election when he said, “It would be healthy for Canada to evolve…with one party that’s left of centre… like us… and a conservative party.”  “I would like to see it that way.”  (Toronto Star, Jan 15/24, Martin Regg Cohn column)

But replacing the Liberals with the NDP – a right-wing social democratic party that’s abandoned socialism and the class struggle to secure the left-of-centre liberal spot in a two party system – is no win for workers, as the US two-party system has demonstrated long since.

A Class-Oriented Trade Union Movement and a People’s Coalition

What’s urgent now is the building of a strong, militant and mobilized class struggle-oriented trade union movement committed to mass independent labour political action, and with a leadership that’s democratically elected and accountable to the membership.  This will include many NDP members, as well as Communists, and many who are not members of any party, but who are class conscious workers, steeped in the class struggle.

Directly related to this, is the building of a People’s Coalition comprised of labour and progressive political parties and movements, especially the Communist Party, and all those committed to a People’s Agenda.

While opposition to the privatization of universal programs is strong, right-wing governments hide their real intent, telling the public that they can skip long waits at public hospitals and access private for-profit healthcare at no cost, using their provincial health cards. These Premiers are diverting patients to private for-profit clinics. Sooner or later the public funding runs out, and patients find themselves having to pay for care in a fully privatized system.  

Similarly, post-secondary education is being rapidly privatized. As public funding dries up, these institutions become reliant on corporate donors, and on exorbitant tuition fees from Canadian and international students for undergraduate degrees.

Canada is at a turning point where the gains won in the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s will be erased if urgent action is not taken to protect them.  That’s the reality of capitalism in 21st century Canada.

Federal Election in 2025

The next federal election is scheduled for October 25, 2025, but it could come earlier.  What’s needed in this campaign is a working class program to address the immediate demand for jobs, rising wages and higher living standards; to slash profiteering and military spending; tackle climate change; expand healthcare, childcare, education, and social programs; to tax the wealthy and curb corporate power; and to defend labour, social, national, and democratic rights (including voting reform). This is the People’s Agenda we fight to popularize, as we campaign for the election of a people’s majority to Parliament, including Communists.

The CEC should start some preliminary work on an election platform with the expectation of a later election, but prepared for an earlier one.

Anti-Communism and Democratic Rights

Anti-Communism is growing stronger as a direct result of the economic crisis, and the drive to war and reaction.  It’s the capitalist antidote to working class unity and political action.  

Efforts by right-wing politicians and media to denigrate the real history of socialism and the Communist Parties, including our leading role in the struggle for progressive change in Canada, are in high gear.  

False claims of a Soviet-made “Holodomor” in Ukraine in the early 1930s, and of a Chinese genocide against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang today, are presented as “facts” at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, and are being incorporated in public school curricula in Ontario and other provinces with little if any push-back from historians. Last fall, a Waffen SS veteran was given two standing ovations in Parliament, while at about the same time evidence of the PE Trudeau government declining to prosecute a known Nazi war criminal who had participated in the killing of more than 5,000 Jews, was unearthed but not widely publicized. No wonder that some young people now think the USSR was the enemy that Canadians fought in WW II.

This year the “Memorial to the Victims of Communism” (formerly known as “The Monument to the Victims of Communism”) is to be unveiled in Ottawa by the “Tribute to Liberty” and the National Capital Commission. It was delayed  following a public uproar around its links to fascist figures, but the government is proceeding “after ensuring all aspects of the Memorial remain compatible with Canadian values on democracy and human rights.” 

More pressure is needed to expose these and other examples of historical revisionism, reaction and fascism. The anti-communism we are seeing today is both old and new, but it is dangerous either way.  The Big Lie gains credence when it is advocated and promoted by governments, schools and universities, media, and cultural institutions.  This must also be challenged and combatted.

Civil and Democratic Rights

When anti-communism gains ground, so do attacks on civil, democratic and labour rights, including free speech and independent political action, such as protests against Israeli genocide. The attacks on students protesting on university campuses; workers facing discipline or firing for speaking out; protesters facing police harassment and arrest – all these are serious threats to democratic rights protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Mobilizing public opinion and mass action against these attacks is critical now.  

The Fightback

2023 will be remembered as the year the working class moved into militant action against employers and right-wing governments. After almost 30 years on the defensive, when leadership was often more interested in cooperation with the employers than in militant struggle, 2023 was the year that workers demanded more and better from the bosses – and from their unions too. 

2023 saw the highest number of workdays lost to work stoppages since 2005, with  2.2 million work days lost in the first 9 months of the year. Including the historic Common Front strikes in Quebec last fall involving 560,000 strikers, the total number exceeds 2.5 million workdays lost.

Many of the strikes were big: the half-million-plus public sector workers on unlimited strikes in Quebec’s Common Front; the PSAC strike of 155,000 workers (their first strike since 2004); the UFCW strike of 26,000 workers at Loblaws in Ontario; the Vancouver port strike of 7,400 ILWU members; and the 7 hour strike of 8,200 workers at Stellantis (formerly Chrysler).  

Some of them were very long, including the 5 month strike at Windsor Salt , and the St. Lawrence Seaway strike (their first since 1968). The average strike length was 74.5 days in 2023, the 4th highest in 75 years.  

The number of strikes last year where tentative agreements were rejected, or where ratification votes were very close, indicates widespread dissatisfaction with business unionism and less than satisfactory leadership. Among the tentative agreements where workers sent their bargaining committees back to the table: the west coast longshore workers; the workers at Windsor Salt; the St. Lawrence Seaway workers; the 3700 Unifor members at Metro stores. Agreements at the Big 3 auto plants barely passed their ratification votes, despite being touted as the best agreements ever achieved in auto bargaining.  The vote reflected  widespread fears of coming job losses resulting from the transition to EV engines.

Wage settlements jumped from an average of 1.6% in 2020 to 3.7% in 2023 – still less than inflation, meaning real wages today are lower than in 2020. The last time wage settlements averaged 3.6% was in 1991, over 30 years ago!  COLA was a demand on many negotiating tables, as workers fought to protect themselves from rising prices and interest rates. It was a demand not seen since the 1980s.

At the same time, there were also longer term settlements, including 5 year deals for Metro and Loblaws workers, among others.   

On the west coast, the BC Labour Relations Board’s reversal of its own previous ruling in a successful labour struggle by tugboat operators could open the door to allow injunctions against cross-picketing in disputes involving workplaces under overlapping federal and provincial jurisdictions. This could give waterfront employers a stronger hand in future strikes, and the labour movement needs to take action to defend cross-picketing rights.

The Common Front strike in Quebec was unique, because of its size and the fact that it united public sector unions in what was objectively an unlimited political strike directed against the Legault government. The workers had broad public support because they were fighting not only for wages, but for the healthcare, education, and public services they are paid to deliver.

The tentative deals were reached over the Xmas holidays, but the results of the ratification votes were not known for several weeks. When they finally came out in February, the votes showed a high level of membership dissatisfaction with the contracts.  The membership of the Fédération autonome de l’enseignement (FAE) – one of the Teachers’ unions – voted to accept the tentative agreement by a slim 14 votes.  Other unions also registered very close votes to ratify.  These too, are 5 year deals which are negative at any time, and a significant drawback in the current inflationary economy.  

The Quebec nurses have not yet settled, and are saddled with essential services legislation that prevents most from striking.  Further, it’s notable that many of the unions on strike in Quebec had no strike fund, and that workers who were on unlimited general strike had no strike pay.  

This, combined with the anger and dissatisfaction with the tentative agreements,  shows just how angry and how militant these workers were in their just strike struggle with the CAQ government, and why the CAQ would be trounced if an election were held in Quebec today.

Workers are looking for unions that will engage in struggle with the employers and fight on their behalf. This is why the Trade Union Commission is working to update our party’s Labour Program.  We want to distribute it widely in union locals and Labour Councils, and among those engaged in strikes and other struggles.  Our Program will attract workers looking for a way to strengthen their unions, re-orient them towards class struggle and independent labour political action; and to make their unions more democratic and their leaderships more militant.  This is the real answer to the ultra-left and their empty slogans for “a general strike now!”   A general strike is certainly needed, but it won’t be built on empty slogans and it won’t result in “revolution now!” either.  Building and organizing a strong left in the trade union movement, combined with mass, independent labour political action, is the way to awaken this sleeping giant and move it into action and onto the offensive after decades of slumber.

Big struggles are ahead in 2024 on the economic and political front. The situation is fluid and volatile, filled with both dangers and opportunities: unemployment, high prices and rents, dwindling real wages, austerity, along with widespread dissatisfaction and a search for more ways to struggle – and make gains – beyond collective bargaining.

Building the Struggle Among the Youth, Women, and in the Mass Movements

There is no shortage of struggles for our Party and our members to engage in.   Working with the YCL in the fight for universal quality public education and free post-secondary education will strengthen those movements, as well as the YCL and the Party.

Young people are often the first fired and the last hired, as unemployment grows along with gig work. Organizing the unorganized is increasingly being taken up by young workers, fed up with poor wages and conditions, erratic hours and rotten bosses. We have a Zoom meeting set up for March 24 with one of the organizers of Starbucks in the US. Party and YCL members, friends, and progressive trade unionists are all invited to attend.  

The YCL is very active on campuses in some of the biggest universities in the country, actively engaged in the immediate struggles for free post-secondary education for all and needs-based funding for universities and colleges, for Palestinian solidarity, sovereignty, and peace; and not least in discussions with students about socialism and the future of the country and the planet.  

BIPOC people are also struggling with economic and social issues as well as fighting systemic racism, discrimination, and police violence.  These are our struggles too, and we need to be more involved. This includes the fight to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), and calls to action of the report of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) and the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). 

Women are struggling at the local level without the benefit of a strong all-Canada organization where unity and solidarity can be built to lead the fight for equity-seeking demands and reproductive rights.  This includes the fight for universal, quality, affordable childcare, for access to abortion and women’s healthcare needs, for pay and employment equity, an end to gendered violence and racism, access to affordable housing and post-secondary education, and more.  We need to be more directly involved in these important democratic struggles affecting half of the country’s working class and youth. 

The 2sLGBTiQ community is struggling under a pushback from the far-right, which includes escalating attacks on trans youth by the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick.  Under cover of so-called “parental rights”, these attacks threaten educators and equity programs, and endanger the lives of 2s/LGBTiQ students.

Immigrants and refugees – some of whom are familiar with the Communist Parties in their home countries – are engaging in struggles in a more organized way, and our more active participation in these struggles can help us to find each other., and to build pressure on the federal government to reform the Immigration Act  and to provide housing , healthcare, jobs and labour rights to all those living and working in Canada. 

Finally, we need to restart work in the municipal field, where the capitalist crisis has hit very hard.  It’s here that we can build strong municipal reform movements founded on our strong policies and long experience, with like-minded people, and elect our members and other progressives to municipal and school board office.  With local elections coming up across the country in 2025-26, and with the far-right attempting to elect their supporters to school boards and city and town councils, this needs to be recognized as an important arena of struggle for the Party and for the labour and progressive movements.