Ontario is just weeks away from one of the most important provincial elections in recent memory.

The battle lines have been sharply drawn around questions of defending and extending working class gains. These include the remains of the post-war reforms, like universal health care and expanded public services, as well as recent wins like the minimum wage increase and related workplace improvements.

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The biggest and most obvious threat is from Doug Ford’s Conservatives. Ford has quickly injected an aggressive right-wing tone to the campaign, with threats to block the minimum wage increase to $15, scrap the province’s sex education curriculum, limit access to abortion, and oppose action on climate change. He has also pledged to implement $6 billion in cuts to government spending and billions more in tax cuts for corporations and the very rich. These policies will immediately target public sector workers, people in precarious and low-wage jobs, Indigenous peoples, women and girls, the LGBTQ community, poor people, youth and students, and immigrant and racialized communities. They will exacerbate the crises that already exist in areas of unemployment and precarious work, wages and benefits, and insufficient funding for health, education and social programs.

A Conservative government would be a disaster for the working class.

However, most of what is offered as an “alternative” to the Conservatives is weak, timid, and insufficient. The Liberals and the NDP are each trying to position themselves as the guardians of women’s rights, social programs, and a healthy economy for working people, but neither is offering a platform that puts people’s needs squarely ahead of corporate profit.

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The NDP are trying to position themselves just to the left of the Liberals, without proposing truly progressive changes. Their plan for pharmaceutical coverage is a small program that would only cover drugs deemed “most essential.” This leaves out a huge range of pharmaceuticals, and people who rely upon them, and is not at all the universal pharmacare that we need. Similarly, their proposed dental coverage is limited to people without any other coverage. This is a two-tier approach that opens the door to means testing and undermines universality.The Liberals are promising one-time boosts for a range of social programs: further subsidies for child care; increased funding for hospitals, long-term care, and mental health; expanded pharmaceutical and dental care coverage; and extended tuition grants for post-secondary education. But their government has starved healthcare and education for the last decade and privatized Hydro One to fund their infrastructure program. They have also indicated that they will return to austerity and belt-tightening in 2019, to balance the provincial budget. They have said nothing about introducing progressive tax reform to provide stable and adequate funding for expanded services over the long term.

After a decade of austerity, the working class is at a turning point.

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We need to mobilize around a strong alternative platform, insert these demands into the election debate, and force candidates to respond to them. This is the way to defeat Ford, elect the most progressive government possible, and build an ongoing movement that can win far-reaching change.

This is exactly what the Communist Party is campaigning for, during the election and in the days that follow. Our 12 candidates are working to unite and engage the entire working class, to demand policies that place people’s needs first. We will work with all who are willing to fight for this goal.

Our platform rests on three main pillars: (1) an economy that puts people first with a full employment strategy, increased wages and benefits, a reduced work week, and strong plant closure legislation; (2) expanded health and social programs including a massive social housing program, universal pharmacare and dental care, free public childcare, and needs-based funding for a single, secular public school system; and (3) progressive tax reform that would double the corporate tax rate, eliminate taxes for people earning less than $40,000, and abolish the provincial sales tax.

Change is in the air, but we need your help to win the most progressive change possible.

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We are campaigning to expose the Ford Conservatives and build a strong opposition to austerity and neoliberalism. We are campaigning to advance strong working class demands and shift the parameters of the debate to the left. We are campaigning to build a fighting movement that mobilizes all year long, and that can win far-reaching progressive reforms. The Communist Party is campaigning to ignite the movement for socialism.

Our task is huge. It is also necessary, urgent, and achievable. But it takes time, energy, and resources. You can help our election campaign in several ways: (1) take a lawn or window sign, (2) volunteer to canvass or distribute our leaflet, and (3) donate to the Communist Party of Canada (Ontario).

All contributions to our campaign are greatly appreciated, and financial donations will receive an income tax receipt.

We look forward to hearing from you, and to continuing our shared struggle for a people’s alternative and for socialism

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