Ontario Looks Right

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1630 ... June 25, 2018

Ontario Looks Right

Herman Rosenfeld

While U.S. socialists have always challenged the myth of American exceptionalism -- that the U.S. is immune to class struggle and a politics linked to it -- they tend to have the opposite view of Canadian politics: that the latter is somehow exceptional, rooted in a classic social-democratic and even socialist political culture that makes it immune to reactionary trends like Trumpism and the right-wing populist wave around the world.

But Canada, and its industrial heartland and largest province of Ontario, is far from immune from these forces. Case in point: the June 7 election of a right-wing populist government of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (PC), led by politician and businessman Doug Ford.

Canada has gone... through a number of less reactionary but austerity-driven Conservative governments, most recently that of Stephen Harper from 2006--2015, and Ontario was ruled by a more moderate PC for forty years before hard-line, Thatcher-like neoliberal PC governments ruled from 1995--2003. That draconian regime drove the Ontario economy into the low-wage, low-tax, "anything-goes" development model that dominates today. The Liberal government that succeeded it over the past fifteen years did little to challenge that model.

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