2015's best in rabble columns

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In 2015, our columnists delivered progressive commentary on issues in Canada and around the world, covering the federal election, climate justice, Indigenous rights, labour struggles, civil liberties, and much, much more. From voter suppression to new climate movements to the fight against Bill C-51, rabble.ca columnists examined the issues that mattered to you. Here, we review the year in columns and highlight some of our favourites, in eight key areas. For a complete selection of our columns year-round, check out our columns section.

 

1. Federal election

 

Stephen Harper's re-election strategy depended on a lot of you not voting. And if you messed with his plan by showing up at the polling station on Election Day, he was prepared for that, too.

Pollsters and pundits tried to isolate the issues in election 2015. Was the economy top of mind? Health care? But there was really only one ballot-box question: Do you want four more years of Stephen Harper or not?

This year, two courts ruled on separate Charter challenges to legislation affecting the rights of certain groups of Canadians to vote in the October 2015 election. Their decisions were surprising.

Promises always sound good, especially in election season. But after the election is over and politicians start implementing those promises, do they really work out the way we had hoped?

Tom Mulcair and the NDP caucus did a great job in undermining the credibility of the Harper government; then Justin Trudeau reaped the rewards by sowing doubts about "Tom Mulcair's NDP."

 

2. Canadian politics


Canadians who identify as right or left on the political spectrum are more likely to be interested in politics, according to a recent survey. Here's how those political divisions stack up.

A sinister culture of fear and control has been created that runs through the vital organs of Canadian public life. To overcome it, we need a cleansing of the scourge of a corrosive ideology.

It may appear that harm reduction and safe-injection sites are peripherally related to the campaign for a national pharmacare plan, but the Harper government's drug policies inextricably link them.

These numbers are going to shock you: there is no other time in Canada's post-war economic history in which Canada's economy has performed worse than it did under the Harper government.

 

3. Indigenous rights


In advance of this year's 25th Women's Memorial March, Harsha Walia hosted a roundtable with four Indigenous women leaders who have been taking action against colonial gendered violence for decades.

The precedents for declaring what's culturally barbaric are pretty scary, as the exhaustive and heart-rending work of the TRC on residential schools sadly shows.

 

4. Labour struggles


Gender inequality doesn't just extend to wages and workplace discrimination: it also impacts on a woman's pension and benefits at work and as she transitions from the workplace to retirement.

A coalition of groups came together in Toronto on July 5 for a march for jobs, justice, and climate action. What you're seeing are the first steps towards a new kind of climate movement.

 

5. Civil liberties


Bill C-51 grants new powers to already hyperactive state security agencies, and baits as "soft on terror" anyone who questions the bill's necessity. Here is a primer on key provisions in the bill.

What can popular culture tell us about Bill C-51 and the world another Harper government would usher in? The number 1 lesson is that we can't give in to fear.

A perfect storm of spy agency surveillance, privacy-undermining legislation, and lax privacy safeguards at government departments sparked concern from citizens right across the political spectrum.

 

6. Global affairs


After the deadly attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo, many reduced the event to a confrontation between an armed jihadist and a pen. A simple representation, yet it is powerful and misleading.

"We are at war," declared French President François Hollande after the bloody terrorist attacks in Paris. In reality, the war hit home, big time.

 

7. Movements for change


One hundred years ago, more than 1,000 women gathered in The Hague during the First World War, demanding peace. A century later, in these very violent times, nearly 1,000 women gathered again.

How is it possible that in the year 2015, some Canadians still can't access abortion in their own province and are being forced to risk their health and safety? It's anti-choice politics all the way.

The World Social Forum represents the development of a new left and a new global civilization, grounded by a desire for participatory, radical democracy.

 

8. Climate justice


The Canadian documentary Defenders of the Dawn examines the fight in the Maritimes for environmental rights, situated within the perspective of the world stage.

While the recent G7 commitment to "decarbonization" by 2100 is a positive step, accelerated melting of the Arctic suggests a need to step up the transition to a sustainable energy future.

A new salmon farm in Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island was dismantled and hauled away after being occupied by members of Ahousaht First Nation and local supporters from Tofino.

 

Photo: Fabrice Florin/flickr

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