June 25, 2016 - No. 26

Essence of Liberals'
"Collaborative Approach" to Indigenous Issues

Preparing the Grounds to Exclude and Criminalize All Who Persist in Affirming Hereditary Rights

Need for an Anti-War Government
The Question Is Not Which Fighter Jet
But Who Controls Canada's Air Defence

- George Allen -

Canada -- Near Blissful Refuge for Nazis
Trial of Former Prison Guard Obscures Real Story of
Nazi War Criminals

- Dougal MacDonald -

June 24
Quebec's National Day

Anniversary of Defeat of Meech Lake Accord
Democratic Renewal Continues to Be Order of the Day

Essence of Liberals' "Collaborative Approach" to Indigenous Issues

Preparing the Grounds to Exclude and Criminalize All Who Persist in Affirming Hereditary Rights

The Trudeau Liberals have made the renewal of relations with the Indigenous peoples a cornerstone of their mandate since their election in October 2015. Besides other things, they  announced their aim to abolish the Indian Act based on their claim that it is an impediment to establishing what they refer to as "nation-to-nation relations" with Indigenous peoples. Their actions, however, reveal that in the name of respecting nation-to-nation relations, they will in fact carry on the policy of extinguishing the hereditary, treaty and constitutional rights of Indigenous peoples. This is the policy carried out by all previous Canadian governments in one form or another but  the Liberals say their approach will be "collaborative" and that this will make the difference.

The last attempt to get rid of the Indian Act was made in 1969 when the Liberal government of Pierre Elliot Trudeau and his Minister of Indian Affairs Jean Chrétien released a White Paper to "modernize" relations with Indigenous peoples. This was firmly rejected by the Indigenous peoples because, far from recognizing hereditary and treaty rights, it was all about extinguishing the Crown's fiduciary responsibilities. The concern is that the Liberals will seek to achieve the same today and hope to succeed where others failed.

At the time of Confederation, the Constitution assigned legislative jurisdiction over "Indians and lands reserved for Indians" to Parliament. One distinct department dealt with civil rights and status Indians and another with reserve lands. The first federal Act was passed in 1868, based largely on earlier legislation of the Province of Canada. In 1869, further legislation was passed which entrenched the policy of assimilation and laid the basis for the genocidal treatment of Indigenous peoples for the next century.

This Act considered Indian status as merely a transitional one, until such time as Indians were assimilated into the "European way of life." To this end, measures were taken to force Indigenous nations to adopt European agricultural methods and have them educated in missionary schools away from their families and nations to wipe out their language, culture and traditions. The Act provided for enfranchisement whereby any Indigenous person who applied for Canadian citizenship lost their Indian status. The policy of enfranchisement led to over 20,000 people of Indian origin "losing" their Indian identity, in legal terms, between 1876 and 1974.

The first so-called Indian Act was adopted in 1876, the civilian Indian Department having replaced the military authority and the legal concept of Indian status having replaced the policy of dealing with Indian nations. Today the Indian Department, which became a federal office in 1868, is called the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. Up to the time the Indian Act of 1876 was revised in 1951, all "Indian policy" was made by the federal government without consulting "Indians." By the mid-twentieth century, due to the complete failure of its policy of assimilation to eliminate the "Indians," and due to the state of misery to which the Indigenous peoples had been reduced, the Pierre Trudeau Liberal government was forced to hold a series of consultation meetings between 1968-69.

In June 1969, when the Trudeau  government issued its White Paper, it ignored all the priorities established and put forward by the First Nations. Instead, it merely proposed "getting rid of the problem" by putting an end to Indian status and repealing the Indian Act. The opposition of Indigenous peoples and general public opinion to this attempt of the government to wash its hands of all fiduciary and treaty responsibilities was so fierce that the government was forced to retreat. Nonetheless, it did not amend the Act. Subsequent governments have continued to attempt to repeal the Indian Act and eliminate the legal obligations that come with it through various devious means. The current "collaborative approach" is in essence the same.

Attorney General and MP for Vancouver-Granville Jody Wilson-Raybould noted among other things in the Emergency Debate in the House of Commons on the crisis in the Attawapiskat First Nation held April 12:

"It is not easy to remove the shackles of 140 years of life under the Indian Act. Our government, and I hope all members of this honourable House, is committed to ensuring that we work in partnership with Indigenous peoples to do just that. Relationships with Indigenous peoples in Canada are of paramount importance, and we are committed to renewed relationships that recognize that solutions to one of the biggest outstanding public policy issues in our country need to be addressed in a substantive way [...]."

Wilson-Raybould explained the Liberals approach as one of "breathing new life" into Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution and that this will settle the issue. Section 35 is the one which recognizes and affirms Indigenous rights but stops short of defining them and thus providing them with any kind of guarantee. The danger lies in what measures the government negotiates with whom to achieve what. If the aim is to establish nation-to-nation relations on a modern basis, well and fine. But if the aim to to dispossess the Indigenous peoples as has always been the case in the past, then all Canadians should beware and not support this process.

Wilson-Raybould said: "We need to ensure that we breathe life into Section 35 [of the Canadian Constitution] and that we complete the unfinished business of Confederation. In doing so, we will have strong and appropriate governance in First Nations communities wherein they have moved beyond the Indian Act [...] This is our national project of reconciliation."

In evaluating how the Liberals plan to "breathe life" into Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution that pertains to Indigenous peoples' rights, it is important to keep in mind that Section 35 was only included in the 1982 Constitution Act as a result of a determined fight waged by Indigenous peoples and their allies to have these rights included as part of the fundamental law of the land and not disappeared with the stroke of a pen. At the time, Indigenous peoples recognized that even with the inclusion of these rights in the Constitution, given their historic experience of denial of rights and genocidal policies by the Anglo-Canadian state, they had to remain vigilant and continue to affirm their right to be. The hundreds of legal battles fought by Indigenous peoples in Canadian courts including at the Supreme Court to affirm their Section 35 rights, particularly in the time of the Harper dictatorship, is testimony to this fact. (See background on Section 35 below.)

Since coming to power, the Trudeau Liberals have continued to violate Section 35 with impunity. For example, in the 2016 federal budget, the Liberal government continued the illegal underfunding of much needed programs for Indigenous families and children -- a policy that began under the Chrétien Liberals two decades ago. The $71 million that was allocated in 2016-17 for these programs is one-third of the amount that is needed by Indigenous children and families as estimated in a decision by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in January this year.

When the Liberals finally endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) on behalf of Canada on May 10, Indigenous and Northern Affairs (INAC) Minister Carolyn Bennett stated, "We intend nothing less than to adopt and implement the declaration in accordance with the Canadian Constitution.... Through Section 35 of its Constitution, Canada has a robust framework for the protection of Indigenous rights... By adopting and implementing the declaration, we are excited that we are breathing life into Section 35 and recognizing it as a full box of rights for Indigenous Peoples in Canada."

As part of "breathing life" into Section 35, INAC has initiated some 20 "exploratory tables" with Indigenous leaders on "potential self-government and land agreements." This was revealed by senior Assistant Deputy Minister for Treaties and Aboriginal Government Joe Wild on June 4. Wild is tasked with organizing these discussions but did not say which Indigenous leaders are involved. He pointed out that these exploratory tables are a series of non-binding discussions that "are meant to find consensus ahead of tougher negotiations over powers." Wild said he hoped the discussions would generate "innovative ideas" that "create the material for a broad, national policy on Indigenous self-government and sovereignty rights." He noted as well that these innovative ideas would be "a way of looking at the journey of self-determination as a partnership..."

On the issue of Indigenous sovereignty, Wild contends, "There is a notion of sovereignty that can still exist in a way that doesn't threaten the fabric of the nation. There may be a few areas where you've got to be a little bit careful, like raising an army, the border of the country versus other countries, but the rest of it? You could probably figure out ways in which it kind of works out and it doesn't actually do anything that would threaten the standing of Canada as Canada."

In this way, the Liberals are presenting their "collaborative approach" as dealing with the longstanding opposition of Indigenous peoples to the Indian Act and their demand for its repeal in the hopes that it will resonate with all of the 614 First Nations communities in Canada. This includes the 364 communities which are signatories to the numbered Treaties signed before 1975 and others who signed "modern-day" treaties since 1975.

According to Assistant Deputy Minister Wild, INAC will not be taking a "cookie cutter approach" and will deal with each Indigenous community or nation as their own unique entity. He suggests that in this way the latter can negotiate new arrangements with the Liberal government that would suit their unique needs. He cites the case of the Attawapiskat First Nation, which signed Treaty 9 in 1905-06, and has been brutally abused by Canada for decades including having its children sent to residential schools resulting in the social crises afflicting the Cree community on James Bay today. Wild suggests that INAC would be "open" to the Attawapiskat First Nation wanting to change their Treaty 9 relationship and establishing a new agreement or "treaty" with the Liberals.

This is almost identical to the way the Harper Conservatives attempted to negotiate new agreements with more than 90 Indigenous communities at "self-government" tables and pressure them to give up their historic and treaty rights, while clearing the way for the resource monopolies and other privateers to operate with a free hand on their territories.

Unlike the Harperites, according to Wild, the Liberals are not taking "a strong-arm approach." But the end results are the same. The new "nation-to-nation" relationship of the Justin Trudeau Liberals is not new. It follows the same racist, colonial, paternalistic policy of the Indian Act of 1876 in the decade following Confederation that sought to assimilate Indigenous peoples in Canada based on the Eurocentric Doctrine of Discovery. Now the Indian Act is seen as an impediment to establishing "new nation-to-nation" relations with Indigenous peoples that would facilitate the theft of their lands and resources in the service of foreign and domestic oil and resource monopolies, cynically justified in the name of enabling Indigenous peoples to partake in the economic future of Canada.

All of it reveals the trap being laid by the Liberals to isolate and criminalize all those Indigenous nations and peoples who do not accept their status today as wards of the Anglo-Canadian state and are waging the battle for their national rights and self-determination. The notion of repealing the Indian Act for purposes of completing the "unfinished business of Confederation" and the suggestion that Section 35 is a "robust framework for Indigenous rights" means to confine the historic struggle of the Indigenous peoples in Canada for their hereditary, constitutional and treaty rights within the status quo of the Canadian Constitution. Those who do not agree will become stranded by leaving them out of the process. They will be isolated and ignored while those who  are vocal will be treated as extremists and even enemies of the state.

The Liberals' pitiful calls for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples for past crimes committed by the Canadian state cannot be achieved within the framework of the Constitution and state institutions imposed on Canada by the British Empire in 1867. Genuine reconciliation can only come from a modern constitution that guarantees nation-to-nation relations based on political equality, mutual respect, non-interference of Canada in the sovereign affairs of Indigenous nations and the rights of Indigenous peoples to a say over all the affairs in their territories. Establishing these conditions for reconciliation is the work of the people of Canada, the Indigenous peoples and the people of Quebec, not that of the Liberals or the other political parties in the Parliament who persist in colonialist and paternalist conceptions.

For Your Information
Section 35 of Constitution Act 1982

The following information on Section 35 of the Constitution Act is sourced from Indigenous Foundations, an information resource developed by the First Nations and Indigenous Studies Department at the University of British Columbia.


Section 35 is the part of the Constitution Act that recognizes and affirms Aboriginal rights. The Canadian government did not initially plan to include Aboriginal rights so extensively within the Constitution when the Act was being redrafted in the early 1980s. Early drafts and discussions during the patriation of the Canadian Constitution did not include any recognition of those existing rights and relationships, but through campaigns and demonstrations, Aboriginal groups in Canada successfully fought to have their rights enshrined and protected.

It is important to understand that Section 35 recognizes Aboriginal rights, but did not create them -- Aboriginal rights have existed before Section 35.

Section 35 of the Constitution Act states:

35.(1) The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.

(2) In this Act, "aboriginal peoples of Canada" includes the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.

(3) For greater certainty, in subsection (1) "treaty rights" includes rights that now exist by way of land claims agreements or may be so acquired.

(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the aboriginal and treaty rights referred to in subsection (1) are guaranteed equally to male and female persons.

Section 35 of The Constitution Act, 1982 recognizes and affirms existing Aboriginal rights, but does not define them. What Aboriginal rights include has been the topic of much debate and discussion, and they have been defined over time through Supreme Court cases such as R. v. Calder and R. v. Sparrow. Aboriginal rights have been interpreted to include a range of cultural, social, political, and economic rights including the right to land, as well as to fish, to hunt, to practice one's own culture, and to establish treaties.[1]

Section 35 also recognizes that Aboriginal rights are "existing." The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that this means that any Aboriginal rights that had been extinguished by treaty or other legal processes prior to 1982 no longer existed and therefore are not protected under the Constitution.[2] The significance of the term "existing" was further clarified in the case of R. v Sparrow:

Section 35(1) applies to rights in existence when the Constitution Act, 1982 came into effect; it does not revive extinguished rights. An existing aboriginal right cannot be read so as to incorporate the specific manner in which it was regulated before 1982. The phrase "existing aboriginal rights" must be interpreted flexibly so as to permit their evolution over time.[3]

The Constitution Act recognizes Indian, Inuit and Métis as all Aboriginal with existing rights, and that recognition has been further defined for each group (as, for instance, for Métis in the R. v. Powley decision[4]). Aboriginal rights in general are based on the continued occupation of lands by Aboriginal peoples since before European settlement.

Section 35 falls outside of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and it begins Part II of the Constitution. This allows Section 35 to be exempt from the "notwithstanding clause" that applies to the Charter. In other words, the federal government cannot override Aboriginal rights.

The Fight for Section 35

Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 was not included in Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's initial proposal for patriation in 1980. Aboriginal Canadians had not been consulted about the new Constitution, and there was initially very little reference to Aboriginal rights. Aboriginal groups across Canada became concerned that, with the transfer of constitutional powers from Britain to Canada, established agreements affirming Aboriginal rights and title would no longer hold legal weight. Aboriginal groups were also concerned that they would no longer be viewed as autonomous decision-makers on a federal level, and they saw the potential for the patriation to be yet another assimilationist policy, much like the 1969 White Paper, also proposed by the Pierre Trudeau government.


1. Asch, Michael. Home and Native Land: Aboriginal Rights and the Canadian Constitution. Agincourt: Methuen, 1984. 30. (R. v. Calder, [1996] 1 S.C.R. 660 and R. v. Sparrow, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 1075).

2. Hirschl, Ran. Towards Juristocracy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004. 196.

3. R. v. Sparrow, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 1075. Accessed online: http://scc.lexum.org/en/1990/1990scr1-1075/1990scr1-1075.htmll

4. R. v. Powley, [2003] 2 S.C.R. 207.

(With files from ipolitics.ca, Macleans.ca, CBC and Canadian Human Rights Commission)

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Need for an Anti-War Government

The Question Is Not Which Fighter Jet But Who Controls Canada's Air Defence

The monopoly media announced on June 5 that the Justin Trudeau Liberal government plans to buy an unknown number of Super Hornet fighter jets from war contractor Boeing as a temporary measure to replace Canada's aging CF-18 fighter fleet. In May, Defence Minister Hajjit Sajjan claimed that there was a pending gap in Canada's military capabilities and that this called for swift action. Sajjan, who recently visited Australia, a country which bought 24 Hornets five years ago, warned that Canada's CF-18s "need to be replaced now." He indicated the government planned to move quickly on the deal, and that the purchase of the Hornets would take place without competitive bidding.

Since entering the jet age, the Canadian airforce has never flown a jet-powered fighter aircraft designed outside of the United States. The CF-86 Sabre, the CT-133 Silver Star, the CF-101 Voodoo, the CF-104, the CF-116 Freedom Fighter and the CF-188 (CF-18 Hornet) all came from the U.S. While many of these were licence-built in Canada, the designs came from giant U.S. war contractors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing and McDonnell Douglas. The intention to keep Canada's own fighter design business alive with the amazingly innovative CF-105 Avro Arrow met a sad end in 1959 with the Diefenbaker government's secretive cancellation of the project, likely due to U.S. pressure. Canada has been tightly tied to the U.S. for fighter aircraft ever since.

Of course, the Canadian people are very aware that Liberal hypocrisy on the fighter issue is alive and well. When the previous federal government was in power the Liberal opposition railed against a Conservative plan to buy a large number of Lockheed Martin-made F-35 fighter jets without competitive bidding. Now, Liberal government officials have indicated that Canada all but has to buy another U.S.-built plane without competitive bidding, given the importance of "joint continental defence with the U.S.," and the Hornet is the only real U.S.-designed option other than the F-35. Such comments make it quite clear that the principles guiding Canada's next fighter jet purchase have to do with the needs of the U.S. imperialists, NATO and NORAD, not the needs of the people of Canada.

At the same time, while the Liberals also promised that if elected they would not buy the F-35s, now even that promise seems to be in question. There are suggestions both within and outside the federal government that if the Liberals do not go through with the deal made by the previous federal government, Lockheed Martin might hit the government with a massive lawsuit. Whether this is actually the case or just an empty threat is unknown. All that notwithstanding, the critical point is that the whole issue of Canada's air defence is being reduced to a question of "Which jet?" Much more critical questions, such as, "Who controls Canada's fighter supply and air defence?" are deliberately not being discussed.

Canada needs to be able to exercise real control over its own fighter supply and air defence. Important decisions on those fronts should be made by the Canadian people, not U.S. monopolies and imperialist institutions. When it comes to Canada's integration into the U.S. military apparatus, it is well known who calls the shots. The Liberals and their U.S. masters are using fearmongering about the need for joint defence against a non-existent threat from Russia or "rogue states" to claim that not buying a U.S. fighter plane will somehow be a threat to Canadian sovereignty, when it is exactly the opposite that is the case. It has been shown in practice time and time again that the U.S.-NATO-NORAD conception of air defence is not defence at all but attack -- aggressive attack against any country which exerts its own independence and refuses to knuckle under to imperialist dictate. Asserting the "right" to conduct preemptive strikes and the actual bombardment of cities are features of both the Bush and Obama doctrines.

Reducing questions of Canada's defence to a phoney argument over "which jet" is another indication that the Liberals have no intention of defending the security of the Canadian people but rather of placing Canadians in serious danger. The crude scenarios of some impending Russian air attack, dredged out of Cold War comic books, are designed to sow confusion among the Canadian people and smash their opposition to warmongering and have no basis in fact. The Liberal war government is pushing for further integration into the U.S. war machine precisely at a time when the U.S. ruling elite is organizing for a Clinton presidency that will launch further aggression against the world's people. The path is clear. Our real security lies not in buying the "right" U.S. jet fighter to further enrich the U.S. war monopolies but in standing as one with the world's peoples in defence of their right to be against U.S. imperialist preparations for another world war.

Canada Needs an Anti-War Government!
Say No to Foreign Control of Canada's Air Defence!
Our Security Lies in Our Fight for the Rights of All!

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Canada -- Near Blissful Refuge for Nazis

Trial of Former Prison Guard Obscures Real Story of Nazi War Criminals

A great hullabaloo is being made by the ruling circles and their monopoly media about the trial and conviction of a single former concentration camp guard who worked at Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in Nazi-occupied Poland during the Second World War. The former guard, a member of the Nazi SS, was convicted on June 16 in a German court and sentenced to five years in prison as an accessory to the murder of 170,000 Jewish prisoners during 1943-44. No one expects he will spend a single day in prison due to the long appeal process and the fact that he is 94 years old.

This whole charade helps conceal the truth about the fate of Nazi and fascist war criminals. In reality, due to the active intervention of the U.S., U.K., Canada and various European states, including the Vatican, tens of thousands of war criminals were protected, hidden, given new identities, brought both openly and secretly to countries like Canada as legitimate immigrants, and hired by governments and private industry, even though their backgrounds were well-known in official circles. A huge number were brought into countries like Canada directly following the Second World War, while others who took up Nazi and fascist causes following the war (and who were even trained by Second World War war criminals through organizations such as the World Anti-Communist League) were brought in after, later perpetrating hideous crimes in countries such as Guatemala in the interests of U.S. imperialism.

A special system of escape routes called "ratlines" was set up for Nazis and fascists fleeing Europe after the defeat of the Hitlerites. A prominent role in facilitating those escapes was played by the Vatican. The escape routes mainly led toward havens in South America, particularly Argentina and Paraguay, but destinations also included the U.S. and Canada. Not only individuals but whole groups of Nazis were openly brought in, often for specific purposes. Here are a few examples. The entire Nazi spy agency, still led by General Reinhard Gehlen, was hired to work for U.S. intelligence. Gehlen derived much of his intelligence from torturing Soviet prisoners of war. The U.S. government's Operation Paperclip brought about 1,500 Nazi scientists and engineers to work on the U.S. missile program.[1] Similarly, Canada's post-war Operation Matchbox brought Nazi scientists and engineers to Canada. In 1950, Canada admitted 2,000 members of the 14th Volunteer Waffen-SS Grenadier Division, aka the Galicia Division, largely comprised of Ukrainians who served with Nazi police battalions and death squads. In November 1997, the Jerusalem Post published a series of articles calling Canada "a near blissful refuge" for Nazis.

Overall, Canada provided a safe haven for thousands of Nazi war criminals, even after thousands of Canadians sacrificed their lives fighting Nazism. Beginning with the Mackenzie King Liberals, successive Canadian governments have protected war criminals, hidden them in Canada as "deported persons," and claimed that they were actually legitimate patriots of their countries of origin who just "opposed communism." This kind of statement reveals the underlying reason that so many Nazi war criminals were protected, which was that as soon as the Second World War ended, the so-called wartime allies of the Soviet Union began rebuilding Germany as a bulwark against the Soviet Union, the country which had done the most and suffered the most to defeat the Hitlerites. Today, reconstructed Germany is the strongest country in Europe, with its economy once again led by the very same monopolies that backed the Hitlerites and were given a mere slap on the wrist at the Nuremburg trials. One typical example of a Nazi war criminal who escaped to Canada was Latvian collaborator Alfred Valdmanis. Valdmanis served as special assistant to Reichsbank President Hjalmar Schact and became Latvian Minister of Finance under the pro-Nazi Ulmanis government where he helped deport Jews to concentration camps and form the Nazi-commanded Latvian Waffen SS to fight the Soviet Union. Valdmanis moved to Canada in 1949 and became an advisor to the Canadian Department of Immigration, where he called for 20,000 Waffen SS members to be admitted to Canada. In 1950 he became Newfoundland's Director-General for Economic Development where, true to his Nazi roots, he negotiated a number of economic projects with German monopolies that had backed the Nazis such as Krupp and Hoechst. In 1951 he was accused of being a war criminal but denied the charges and was never arrested or tried for war crimes.

Another example of a Nazi war criminal who found a safe haven in Canada was SS Rottenführer Helmut Rauca who came to Canada in 1950. He acquired Canadian citizenship just six years later. On October 29, 1941, Rauca selected over 11,000 men, women, and children at the Ninth Fort in Kaunas, Lithuania, and ordered their execution, the largest mass murder of Lithuanian Jews during the Second World War. Evidence against Rauca was overwhelming, yet he lived peacefully in Toronto until 1982 when the public outcry forced the Canadian government to deport him to Frankfurt, Germany. He died the following year before he could be brought to trial.[2] The cases of Valdanis and Rauca represent the reality of the complete lack of consequences for the many war criminals of their ilk who have found a cosy niche under government protection in Canada.

It should be noted that the current posturing about "bringing war criminals to justice" is not unique, including in Canada. At times through the years, in order to try to pacify the people's outrage at the ruling circles' blatant collaboration with Nazis and fascists, Canadian governments have also pretended to take a strong stand against Nazi war criminals. One major example is the Mulroney government's Deschenes Commission which carried out an investigation in 1985-86, after the public outcry that followed a claim that Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele might be somewhere in Canada. The result was a complete whitewash. Although thousands of names were submitted to the Deschenes Commission by citizens and citizen groups and millions of dollars were spent on the investigation, in the end the Commission reported it had found prima facie evidence against only 20 individuals, of which exactly zero were ever successfully prosecuted. Most of the documentation compiled by the Commission is still secret and inaccessible to independent researchers.

Since the publicity about the trial and conviction of the former Nazi war criminal in Germany has nothing to do with rooting out war criminals, what is it really about? In essence, the whole charade is supposed to convince people that those who perpetrate war crimes will someday be brought to justice, as well as imply that the era of the Nazis is gone and that only a few creaky old men remain who pose no threat to anyone and should be allowed to die in peace. Meanwhile, under this facade, the modern-day Nazis are reorganizing, especially in Ukraine and the Baltic Republics. In Ukraine, they hold positions in government and seats in the Parliament, and command their own private armies. This is no surprise since during the Second World War the Nazi-funded criminal groups Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) posed as "patriots" in order to massacre Jews, Russians and Poles. In the Baltic states, Nazis and neo-Nazis hold annual parades to commemorate the crimes their predecessors committed during the Second World War. In other European countries, such criminals organize "nationalist" parties that spread violence, racism and anti-immigrant propaganda.

The trial and conviction on June 16 of the former Nazi war criminal is also a ploy to divert attention from the fact that the world's biggest war criminals are now the U.S. imperialists and their allies such as Israel. The U.S., which took up the mantle of the Hitlerites following the Second World War, routinely commits war crimes around the world, including invasions of other countries, use of weapons of mass destruction, killing of civilians, targeted assassinations, organization of coups d'état, financing of fascist and racist groups, and the list goes on. The U.S. also protects its war criminal allies such as Israel, ensuring that they too are never held to account for their crimes against the world's people. At the same time, across the globe people are both openly denouncing U.S. crimes and actively fighting back against U.S. domination. In the end, the U.S. war criminals will suffer the same fate as their role models, the Hitlerite Nazis, a resounding and final defeat at the hands of the world's people.


1. For more information, see Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America, by Annie Jacobsen (New York: Little Brown and Company, 2014).

2. For more information, see War Criminal on Trial: The Rauca Case, by Sol Littman (Toronto: Lester and Orpen Dennys, 1983).

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June 24

Quebec's National Day

June 24, 1834. Ludger Duvernay and the members of the Aide-toi, le ciel t'aidera Society
institute June 24 as Quebec's National Day. (www.fetenationale.qc.ca)

On June 24, the people of Quebec officially mark their National Day established in 1834 by the Quebec patriot Ludger Duvernay and the members of the Aide-toi, le ciel t'aidera Society ("God helps those who help themselves"). The Society was founded on March 8 of the same year with the aim to "provide a designated place for thought to discuss the country's state of affairs" and "to rekindle the burning desire of love of country, either by shedding light on the deeds of those governing us, or by paying fair tribute to the eloquent and brave defenders of our rights." Led by patriot and elected representative Ludger Duvernay who was the publisher and editor of the patriot newspaper La Minerve, the Society organized a banquet on June 24, 1834 in the garden of the lawyer MacDonnell to institute a national celebration for Canadiens of all origins (today, the term Quebeckers is used). It was the first celebration of the people of the nascent Quebec nation, in which Duvernay, the patriots, their elected representatives and their party recognized the people as "the primary source of all legitimate authority," and in doing so also recognized their sovereignty.

This national celebration established by Duvernay and the elected members of the Patriot Party fell on the same date as Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day but was not the same. In fact Saint Jean Baptiste Day had been introduced long before by the King of France and the Catholic high clergy in the colonies of the French empire in opposition to the June 21 summer solstice celebrated by the Indigenous peoples.

The Church, through the Council of Trent (1545-1563), attempted to Christianize the solstice celebration -- a celebration of light around a joyous bonfire -- by replacing it with a portrayal of submission in the person of Saint John the Baptist, "the lamb of God." In the same vein, in 1702, Monseigneur de Saint-Vallier in his Catechism for the Diocese of Quebec, intended for the Canadiens, noted that the Catholic Church in the New World (i.e. the colonies of the French empire) considered that ceremony acceptable so long as the "dances and superstitions" of the Natives were banished. It was not until 1908 that Pope Pius X -- advocating the division of the Canadian people into so-called French Canadians and English Canadians, which the British empire was so determined to impose -- named Saint John the Baptist as the patron saint of "French Canadians." Sixty years later, on June 24, 1968 and 1969, at a time the resurgence of Quebec's movement for independence and people's sovereignty was in full swing, this symbol of division and submission was swept aside and, once again, the National Celebration saw the people joyfully dancing around a bonfire.

It is noteworthy that today on June 21, National Aboriginal Day, a "Solstice of the Nations," also takes place. It is "an expression of exchange and friendship amongst nations living in Quebec." The Fire Ceremony is held by the Indigenous nations "to encourage closer ties amongst the peoples living on Quebec territory," so that "the coals of that fire light up the bonfire of the Great Show of Quebec's National Celebration, on the Plains of Abraham."

The celebration of the National Day of the people of Quebec includes the celebration of the patriots, who fought for independence from Britain in the mid-19th century: Nelson, De Lorimier, Côté, Chénier, Duvernay and O'Callaghan, amongst others, who fought to establish an independent homeland and republic which vests sovereignty in the people. It includes celebrating all those who have espoused and continue to espouse the cause of the Quebec Patriots, in particular all those committed to elaborating a nation-building project commensurate with the needs of the times.

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Anniversary of Defeat of Meech Lake Accord

Democratic Renewal Continues to Be
Order of the Day

On June 23, 1990, the Meech Lake Accord was defeated. It was a set of amendments to the Constitution of Canada negotiated in 1987 by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and the provincial premiers behind closed doors. The failure of the Meech Lake Accord marked a deepening of the constitutional crisis which has now become an existential crisis whereby Canada's very existence as a sovereign state and independent country are uncertain.

The Meech Lake Accord took place within the context of the 1980 Quebec Referendum on the place of Quebec within Canada and the refusal of Quebec to sign onto the Pierre Trudeau government's patriated Constitution of 1982. Trudeau had promised that he would draft a new constitutional agreement after the Quebec referendum was defeated. His promise was realized in the form of the addition of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and an amending formula to the British North America Act (1867) (BNA Act 1867). The British Parliament passed the Canada Act on March 29, 1982 ending Canada's formal dependence on Britain. In this way, the Constitution was "patriated." Trudeau's new Constitution Act (1982) was the "Canadian equivalent" of Britain's Canada Act and its text was included in the Canada Act along with an amending formula and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, Quebec refused to sign the Constitution Act (1982) which created a crisis. In an attempt to resolve it, the Mulroney government commenced constitutional negotiations in 1985, culminating with the Meech Lake Accord two years later on June 23, 1987.

Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa said the Constitution needed five modifications for Quebec to sign. On this basis, the following constitutional changes were laid out in the Accord:

- constitutional recognition of Quebec as a distinct society;
- a constitutional veto for Quebec over constitutional change;
- a role for Quebec in the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court of Canada;
- a constitutional guarantee of increased powers in the field of immigration; and
- a limitation of the federal spending power.

The causes for the constitutional crisis clearly require attention. This includes the need to guarantee nation-to-nation relations with the Indigenous peoples so as to end colonial injustice; the need to end all notions of rights based on privilege and so-called reasonable limits; the need to vest sovereignty in the people and not a foreign monarch, and the need to enshrine equal rights for all citizens and residents. Finally, it requires recognizing the right of the people of Quebec to self-determination including secession if they so decide -- something the Meech Lake Accord refused to do. It sought to maintain the status quo by declaring Quebec a "distinct society" within Canada; it gave Quebec a constitutional veto; increased provincial powers with respect to immigration; extended and regulated the right to reasonable financial compensation for any province that opted out of any future federal programs in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction; and provided for provincial input in appointing senators and Supreme Court judges.

Because the Meech Lake Accord would have changed the Constitution's amending formula and modified the Supreme Court, all provincial and federal legislatures had to consent to it within three years. The ten provincial premiers soon agreed but, as the three-year deadline for consent of all legislatures drew near, the consensus began to unravel. To try to save Meech, a First Ministers' Conference was held 20 days before the signing deadline, resulting in an agreement for further rounds of constitutional negotiations to follow Meech. During that conference, Newfoundland Premier Clyde Wells attacked the secrecy of the whole process of decision-making. On June 23, 1990, the deadline date, Elijah Harper, a First Nations Member of the Manitoba Legislature, signaled his refusal to give approval by holding up an eagle feather. This blocked the motion required for the Manitoba Legislature to vote on the Accord. Wells then cancelled a proposed vote in the Newfoundland Legislature and the Meech Lake Accord was officially dead.

A main feature of the Meech Lake Accord was its obfuscation of the status of Quebec. When it stated that Quebec was a "distinct society" it also declared that the role of the Legislature and Government of Quebec was to "preserve and promote the distinct identity of Quebec." The term "distinct society" remained undefined in the documents and the "distinct" features of Quebec were not enumerated, nor were any guidelines given by which these features could be preserved and promoted. "Distinct society" was subject to many interpretations, but the predominant one that emerged was the old fiction that Quebec was distinct simply because the people spoke French. By making language the only issue, the Meech formulation of a "distinct society" denied that Quebec is a sovereign nation that has historically evolved with a common economy and territory, and a culture and psychology that have the imprint of this development. Further, it denied the Quebec people the right of self-determination. Telling the Quebec Legislature what it was to do did also not go over well.

Another significant feature of Meech Lake was its overall promotion of national disunity and inequality. Defining a nation by language alone leads to the theory that Canada is populated by a large number of different "language-nations," all of which should or could supposedly have independent status, but only two of them -- the "English" and "French" -- are given pride of place.

Meech Lake also created disunity by devolving federal powers to the provinces, suggesting the existence of ten small nations (the provinces) and one big one, the federal government. The two territories (Nunavut did not yet exist) were not invited to Meech because Mulroney considered they had insufficient power to affect any decisions (they participated by video conference), implying that different regions of Canada had different statuses. Meech also gave each province a veto to block legislation and it was clear that each province would use its veto to promote the narrow interests of its own regional economic and political power brokers rather than to advance the overall national interest.

A third main feature of Meech Lake was its failure to affirm or even address the hereditary rights of the First Nations, which amounted to a suppression of those rights. The rights of the Indigenous peoples are not a peripheral issue but should be enshrined in the Constitution of Canada. They have a rightful claim to the land of their ancestors and to the determination of what must be done with it. As sovereign peoples they have the right to determine not only their affairs but to participate in determining the affairs of Canada as a whole. In the proposed modifications to the Constitution, the Meech Lake Accord did not deal with any of this. Indigenous leaders also raised two other issues. One was their exclusion from the entire Meech proceedings. The other was the potential transfer of federal services to the provinces implied by the clause calling for compensation to provinces for opting out of federal programs. This could lead to the dismantling of programs very important to the well-being of the Indigenous peoples.

A fourth main feature of Meech Lake was the anti-democratic nature of the proceedings. All consultations were held behind the backs of the people. In fact, people referred to the process as 11 white men in suits dealing with the future of the country behind closed doors. Once the Meech agreement was reached in secret, the 11 First Ministers then tried to impose it on the people without any discussion or deliberation. There was no broad consultation of the people at any time, the agenda was not set according to what the people wanted, and the items discussed and included in the Accord were only those that the First Ministers wanted.

The people's extreme displeasure with the Meech proceedings was captured by the 1990 Citizens' Forum on Canada's Future, commonly referred to as the Spicer Commission. Mulroney, who was forced to convene it just after Meech was defeated, claimed that his government wanted to hear the opinions of Canadians. The Spicer Commission published its findings in 1991 with many Canadians expressing their acute awareness that something was lacking in the Canadian political process, that politicians were not to be trusted, and that mechanisms were required to empower the people. Many called for the formation of a constituent assembly which would enable the people to deliberate and decide on their own constitution.

What is the significance of Meech Lake today? The significance is that in this era the people want to be the arbiters and decision-makers. It is the work for democratic renewal which will open society's path to progress, not reordering the status quo in the name of change, modernization or making every vote count.

Meech Lake confirmed that a form of political power has emerged in Canada with absolute power resting in the hands of the financial oligarchs and their political representatives. The suggestion that the Prime Minister and the 10 provincial premiers should be the only ones to propose the Constitution, and that the people should be excluded from the process was resoundingly rejected because the times demand that power be transferred to the people acting in their own interests. People want to take politics out of the hands of the vested interests and place them in the hands of those who would deal with the real problems that the people face, such as the economic insecurity that is the number one worry and the deepest concern of the people.

The failure of the Meech Lake Accord also led to the eventual demise of the parliamentary configuration of the Liberal and Conservative "party-in-power" and "party-in-opposition," with the virtual decimation of the Conservatives in 1993 and the sorry state of the Liberals as a result of the "sponsorship scandal" in 1995 from which they claim to have recovered only to concentrate more and more power in fewer and fewer hands. All of it confirms that democratic renewal is the order of the day.

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