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Halifax celebrates International Workers Day 2015

by Robert Devet

Two hundred Haligonians came out for Mayday celebrations and a march through the downtown business district. Photo Robert Devet
Government workers have been fighting austerity seemingly for ever. Photo Robert Devet
Photo Robert Devet
Photo Robert Devet
Photo Robert Devet
Photo Robert Devet
Photo Robert Devet
Solidari-glee lead the crowd in a rousing rendition of the Internationale. Photo Robert Devet
Rick Clarke, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour. Photo Robert Devet
Lenore Zann, sole MLA in the crowd. Photo Robert Devet
Michaela Sam, chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students. Photo Robert Devet
Photo Robert Devet
Maritime Anarchist Initiative. Photo Robert Devet
Jonethan Brigley, of the excellent ACORN Nova Scotia. Photo Robert Devet
Allan Bezanson of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada. Photo Robert Devet
Photo Robert Devet
Suzanne MacNeil for Solidarity Halifax. Photo Robert Devet
ACORN rules! Photo Robert Devet
Photo Robert Devet
Photo Robert Devet
Photo Robert Devet

KJIPUKTUK (HALIFAX) – Spirits were high at this year's International Workers' Day in Halifax.

As they should be.

After all, Mayday is a celebration. A celebration of solidarity among workers, and a celebration of the gains workers' struggles have accomplished over many years.

But the two hundred or so activists gathered at the Grand Parade in downtown Halifax also simply needed something to cheer about.

These have been awfully grim times lately, as speaker after speaker reminded the crowd.

Austerity, under the current Liberal government, is firmly entrenched in Nova Scotia.

Student can't pay their tuition, film workers are leaving the province, social assistance rates have been frozen, funding for community groups is cut, anti-worker legislation is once more made into law.

Under such conditions it just felt good to smile for a change, to sing the Internationale and to cheer the speakers on.

The demand for a $15.00 minimum wage, as a way to counter austerity, was one of the key themes for this year's Mayday.

We are solidly behind the $15 per hour campaign, said Rick Clarke, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, “and we will stand there with the minimum wage workers until the government starts treating these workers fairly.”

Michaela Sam, chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students, agreed. Faced with tuition increases that are out of control, she, like most of her fellow students needs to work more than one job just to make ends meet.

“High fees and low wages are forcing students to work more and study less, and that has to stop,” she said to loud cheers. “Why is it that young people are expected to invest so much more in their education, while employers are asked to invest so little in young people?,” she asked.

“Living wage and minimum wage should be the same,” Jonethan Brigley, of ACORN Nova Scotia, told the crowd.

Fifteen now!, roared the crowd.

After the gathering at the Grand Parade the group marched down to the Royal Bank Building, recipient of $22 million in payroll rebates while austerity reigns supreme for the 99 percent.

Then the group marched on to Province House, mostly empty on a late Friday afternoon.

But no matter.

A noisy crowd of roughly 300 protesters rallied at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre in Sydney, where Stephen MacNeil and the Provincial Liberal Party had gathered for their annual convention.

No justice, no peace.

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Topics: Labour
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