Toronto forum discusses class battles in North America

By Katy LeRougetel
December 5, 2022
Militant/Katy LeRougetel

TORONTO — “A lot of anger has been building in the working class as bosses and capitalist governments deepen their attacks on our wages and working conditions across North America and worldwide. We will see more labor actions like the important battle by the CUPE education workers,” Vicky Mercier, a teacher at General Crerar Public School and member of the Elementary Teachers of Toronto union, above, told a special Militant Labor Forum here Nov. 19.

“As that happens more and more workers will begin to use the power of our unions to fight to change the kind of society we live in,” she said. “Growing numbers will see the need to build a labor party based on our unions that can fight to take the power out of the hands of the capitalist class and put it in the hands of workers and farmers who make up the overwhelming majority of people in Canada.”

Mercier, speaking above, shared the platform with Philippe Tessier, right, a Canadian National Railway conductor and member of the Teamsters union, who spoke for the Communist League executive committee; and meeting chairperson David Olson. Some 20 people participated in the event, including in a lively discussion period.

“The Canadian and U.S. working-class movements have had an intertwined history since their inception,” Tessier said. He noted that 115,000 rail workers in the U.S. are in a battle today against both the rail bosses and President Joseph Biden and the government in Washington. “They have been watching closely what has been happening here, learning what can be done in meeting government and boss attacks and understanding the real strength of the unions in our struggles. We need to follow and support their fight in the same way.”

“At work, we’ve been saying, ‘don’t grieve, take action,’” Mercier said. “The most important thing is to be on the picket lines to support the strikers.”

“The defeat of Bill 28 changes everything,” Communist League leader Steve Penner said. “No law breaks a strike. It’s only a piece of paper. Once workers realize that such laws can be defeated, others will decide to take the same class-struggle road. It’s only possible to build a labor party when workers are mobilized to fight.”

Others described the significance of the widespread support for the Canadian Union of Public Employees fight from unions in Ontario, Quebec and across Canada.