OK, now even in the Maritimes spring has sprung and with it, a deluge of actions. This week the "Fight for $15" protests turned into what is being called the largest protests of low-wage workers in U.S. history, and thousands of Canadians joined their ranks. The best thing about these protests are the slogans, which turn fast-food platitudes on their heads with chants like "All those burgers, all those fries. We want wages supersized!" With more unions starting to mobilize for the election, if the pressure keeps up, we could be in for a hot summer of protests and change.
- Several Canadian cities have expressed their dissatisfaction with Canada Post. Hamilton says it plans to charge the corporation $200 for every community mailbox it installs in Hamilton while Canada Post claims that it has the right to install boxes wherever it likes.
- With a 90 per cent voter turnout and 100 per cent yes vote, Pro-ex transport workers in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have resoundingly agreed to support strike action if necessary to gain a fair collective agreement.
- An Ontario panel led by Former TD Bank CEO Ed Clark has released its final report to the Wynne government. Among its recommendations is the privatization of almost 60 per cent of Hydro One in order to drum up capital for transportation investment.
- On Wednesday of this week, thousands of Canadians rallied in cities across the country to demand a $15 minimum wage and decent working conditions. In a show of solidarity with the U.S.-led Fight for $15, which was spearheaded by fast food workers but has since expanded to all types of low-wage workers, rallies were held outside of McDonald's restaurants.
- Protests also took place across Nova Scotia to lament what is essentially being called the death of the N.S. film industry. Last week the Nova Scotia government delivered a hard-line austerity budget, which included cutting 320 full-time civil service positions. Among other casualties was Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia, a government agency which provided front-line assistance to filmmakers. The McNeil government also eliminated a tax incentive for film and television productions.
- While the number of convictions made for tax evasions has dropped slightly, critics say that the Canada Revenue Agency is less equipped to catch tax cheaters due to major funding cuts.
- In a $250-million deal announced on Wednesday, the Canadian Wheat Board has been privatized and sold to a Saudi-owned company. "With this, the Conservative government has accomplished the biggest transfer of wealth away from farmers in the history of Canada," said Jan Slomp, National Farmers Union (NFU) President.
- More slashes at the CBC as 241 unionized positions are eliminated, making for a grand total of just under 1,400 jobs cut at CBC/Radio-Canada in the last year.
Ella Bedard is rabble.ca's labour intern and an associate editor at GUTS Canadian Feminist Magazine. She has written about labour issues for Dominion.ca and the Halifax Media Co-op and is the co-producer of the radio documentary The Amelie: Canadian Refugee Policy and the Story of the 1987 Boat People.
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