August 6, 2016 - No. 30
Canada Needs an Anti-War Government!
All Out to Make
Canada a Zone for Peace
• No Harbour
for War Statement
For Your Information
• Facts About U.S. Aims at Hiroshima and
• Canada's Involvement in the Bombings
• U.S. Authorizes Production of New
to Be Based in Europe
World Social Forum in
• Social Forum Opens August 9
• Canada's Unacceptable Denial of Visas to
• "All Options Are Open" Approach to
- Pierre Chénier -
Decisions on Northern
Gateway and Trans Mountain Pipelines
• Where Sovereignty Must Be Vested
in a Modern Nation
- Peggy Morton -
• Denial of the People's Right
- Barbara Biley -
• Court Upholds Monopoly Right and
Negates the Public Interest
- Peggy Askin -
For Your Information
• Federal Court Overturns Approval
of Northern Gateway Pipeline
• Federal Government's "Deep
Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion
• Celebration of Fidel Castro's 90th Birthday
No More Hiroshimas! No More Nagasakis!
Needs an Anti-War Government!
All Out to Make Canada a Zone for Peace
On the occasion of the 71st anniversary of the first use
of a nuclear weapon against human beings, the Communist Party of
Canada (Marxist-Leninist) calls on Canadians to go all out to
make Canada a zone for peace that stands against all U.S.
imperialist war preparations and gets Canada out of NATO and
CPC(M-L) calls on Canadians to be
on alert to the manoeuvres
of the U.S. ruling elite to unite its warring factions behind a
Hillary Clinton war president with their own program to "make
America great again." The biggest efforts of the U.S.
establishment and its allies at this time are to block the
resistance movements of the people, especially their political
mobilization for democratic rights and against war and aggression, in
particular against U.S. preparations for a third world
war. On the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, CPC(M-L)
emphasizes the internationalist duty of Canadians to ensure
Canada is not a factor for war as well as to directly oppose the
election of a war president and the acceleration of war
preparations in the U.S.
To this day the U.S. claims that its actions on the
of August 6, 1945, when it dropped an atom bomb on Hiroshima and
on August 9 when it dropped a bomb on Nagasaki, were righteous,
moral and proper. The bomb the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima was made
of uranium and killed about 140,000 people in the initial blast
and, in total more than 237,000. The bomb it dropped on Nagasaki
was made of plutonium and killed 8,500 people in the initial
blast and eventually resulted in the deaths of more than 70,000
people due to exposure to radiation and injuries. These
unprecedented war crimes had nothing to do with the fight against
Japanese militarism, which was suffering defeats everywhere and
whose surrender was imminent. This mass murder of civilian
populations at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was instead meant as a
threat to the peoples of the world, especially the Soviet Union,
showing the depths of depravity and criminality to which the U.S.
was willing to sink to establish its domination.
Since that time, U.S. imperialism has never accepted
less than a nuclear advantage over all other countries, fueling a
nuclear arms race and subjecting the world's peoples to nuclear
blackmail. The failure to render account for its actions and the
reckless U.S. drive for domination means that this threat still
looms large. The U.S. imperialists' feigned concern for nuclear
disarmament and non-proliferation has always been tempered by the
determination to retain strategic advantage and first-strike
capacity in nuclear weapons over all other countries. The same is
the case today, with declarations about reducing nuclear
stockpiles based on its cynical calculations designed to maintain
an advantage in conventional and nuclear weapons, and the U.S.
government undertaking a $1 trillion program to modernize its
nuclear arsenal over the next 30 years.
Repudiation of the crimes at
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
contributed to the profound sentiment of Canadians against the
use and proliferation of nuclear weapons. This stand is so
widespread that the U.S. had to remove all nuclear weapons from
Canadian soil as of 1984 even though Canada played a key role in
the U.S. nuclear weapons program from its beginning, including
in the weapons used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Today roughly 60
per cent of Canadians live in cities officially declared Nuclear
Weapons Free Zones. Despite this the Canadian government betrays
the call of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Never Again! by continuing to
collaborate with the U.S., including by allowing testing of nuclear
weapons delivery systems and permitting vessels and aircraft carrying
nuclear weapons inside Canadian territory.
As this year's anniversary of the Hiroshima and
bombings approached, news agencies reported that U.S. President
Barack Obama is considering changes to U.S. nuclear policy in his
remaining months in office. Reports say that Obama could soon
announce U.S. disavowal of its "first-use" policy -- meaning U.S.
nuclear weapons would only be launched in retaliation against
another nuclear strike -- and abolish the "launch-on-warning"
policy in which a nuclear counterstrike would be launched as soon
as a suspected nuclear strike is detected. This is presented as
one way that Obama could advance the "commitment to seek the
peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons" cynically
announced at his April 5, 2009 speech in Prague, Czech Republic.
Since the Prague speech, the U.S. has instead moved to seize the
gendarme role in the monopoly over nuclear weapons, materials and
technology worldwide and consolidate its status as a nuclear
Protest in Seoul, Korea, July 13, 2016 against deployment of THAAD.
During this same period,
the Obama regime has overseen an
unprecedented expansion of anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defence
systems inside the U.S., in the Pacific, aboard naval craft in
the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean and in eastern Europe and now
hopes to install the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)
system in south Korea. The U.S. expansion of its ABM systems marks a
escalation of the nuclear arms race as the aim of such systems is
to neutralize nuclear and conventional missiles launched by other
countries and maintain an advantage in any possible scenario,
including where the U.S. exercises NATO's first-strike policy.
This is a serious concern for Canadians with the Trudeau Liberal
government laying the groundwork for Canada to join the U.S. ABM
under the hoax of dealing with "changing technologies and threats."
On the occasion of this solemn anniversary, CPC(M-L)
sends its deepest regards to the survivors of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki and congratulates all those who are resisting on a world
scale. CPC(M-L) calls on Canadians to stand against U.S.
imperialist war preparations and to militantly oppose Canada's
participation in U.S. ballistic missile defence. CPC(M-L) points
out that Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Never Again! will not be a
reality until the world's peoples unite in action to stay the
hand of U.S. imperialism. Now is the time for peace- and
justice-loving Canadians to build the organizations required to
establish an anti-war government that makes Canada a zone
Weekly, June 16, 2016 - No. 24.
to Canadian Participation in
U.S. Missile Defence," TML
Weekly, June 16, 2016 - No.
No Harbour for War* Statement
Join Halifax Weekly Anti-War Pickets!
Fridays, 4:00 - 5:00
pm (weather permitting)
Corner of Spring Garden Rd. &
Together Organize and Prepare Conditions
for an Anti-War Government!
Seventy-one years ago on August 6 and 9, 1945, the
States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima
and Nagasaki causing the instant slaughter of 200,000 people and
damage from nuclear fallout which has lasted generations. The
action, authorized by U.S. President Harry S. Truman, was
ostensibly to end the Pacific War and save American lives.
In January 1995, the New York Times reported: "Indeed,
historians contend that the bombing was not aimed so much at the
wartime enemy Japan as at the wartime ally Soviet Union,
delivered as a warning against postwar rivalry."
Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William D. Leahy was one
people explicitly opposed to using the atomic bomb on Japan.
Leahy noted: "The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and
Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan.
The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender."
The Potsdam conference which was held from July
1945 between the wartime allies had already secured the pledge of
the Soviet Union to join the Pacific War. No sooner was the Third
Reich vanquished in May 1945 than Stalin undertook to redeploy
the Red Army against Japan. The Soviet Union was scheduled to
officially enter the Pacific War on August 15. As it turned out,
Stalin ordered the Red Army into Manchuria on August 8, a week
ahead of the scheduled offensive.
All of it shows that the U.S. aim was not to end the
to establish hegemony. Today, the U.S. nuclear arsenal is more
powerful than ever. The U.S. has announced plans to spend $355
billion over the next decade to upgrade its stockpile of some
5,000 nuclear warheads -- each one many times more powerful than
the bombs that were originally dropped on Japan.
No Harbour for War calls on Canadians to make the
world a nuclear-free zone, oppose Canada's participation in U.S.
wars of aggression and establish an anti-war government in
Canada. On this occasion we join the worldwide commemorations for
the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Our thoughts are with the
people of Japan who are commemorating this event and fighting to
get the U.S. military out of their country and make sure Japan
does not become a warring country again.
* No Harbour for War
is a Halifax-based organization that
for the rights of all and for an anti-war government in Canada.
For further information, contact email@example.com
Facts About U.S. Aims at Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Protest against Japanese Prime Minister Abe's new security laws at the
Peace monument in Hiroshima August 6, 2015.
One of the controversies about how the atrocities at
Hiroshima and Nagasaki are remembered concerns the U.S. aims in
dropping the bombs. History as written by the victors declared
that this act was necessary to force the surrender of militarist
Japan and bring an end to the war. The death
and destruction was a tragedy but the Japanese people themselves
bore responsibility for their own suffering, so the story goes. To this
day the U.S.
refuses to apologize for these war crimes and on a visit to
Hiroshima on May 27 U.S. President Obama did not even acknowledge
that the U.S. perpetrated the crimes or why, merely stating that
"death came from the sky."
What many knew at the time is that there was no
purpose behind the use of the atomic bomb. Gar Alperovitz, U.S.
author of several books on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki notes in an August 6, 2015 article:
"The top American military
leaders who fought World War II...
were quite clear that the atomic bomb was unnecessary, that Japan
was on the verge of surrender, and -- for many -- that the
destruction of large numbers of civilians was immoral.
"Adm. William Leahy, President Truman's Chief of Staff,
in his 1950 memoir I Was There that 'the use of this
barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material
assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already
defeated and ready to surrender. In being the first to use it, we
adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark
Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars
cannot be won by destroying women and children.'
"The commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Forces,
'Hap' Arnold, gave a strong indication of his views in a public
statement only eleven days after Hiroshima was attacked. Asked on
August 17 by a New York Times reporter whether the atomic
bomb caused Japan to surrender, Arnold said that 'the Japanese
position was hopeless even before the first atomic bomb fell,
because the Japanese had lost control of their own air.'
"Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the
Fleet, stated in a public address at the Washington Monument two
months after the bombings that 'the atomic bomb played no
decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat
of Japan ' [...]
"Even the famous 'hawk' Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of
Twenty-First Bomber Command, went public the month after the
bombing, telling the press that 'the atomic bomb had nothing to
do with the end of the war at all.'
"We do know that some of President Truman's closest
viewed the bomb as a diplomatic and not simply a military weapon.
Secretary of State James Byrnes, for instance, believed that the
use of atomic weapons would help the United States more strongly
dominate the postwar era. According to Manhattan Project
scientist Leo Szilard, who met with him on May 28, 1945,
'[Byrnes] was concerned about Russia's postwar behavior ... [and
thought] that Russia might be more manageable if impressed by
American military might, and that a demonstration of the bomb
might impress Russia.'"
Canada's Involvement in the Bombings
Canada played a little-known but key role in the U.S.
nuclear weapons program since its inception. Canada provided
uranium for the bomb used against Hiroshima, and Canadian
scientists working in a secret lab in Montreal contributed to the
research for the plutonium bomb used against Nagasaki.
The Canadian Council for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR)
informs that U.S. President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister
Churchill signed a secret agreement in Quebec City on August 19,
1943 that stipulated that the atomic bomb would not be used
"against each other," or "against third parties without each
other's consent." It also established a Combined Policy Committee
of six to deal with the bomb made up of three Americans, two
British and Liberal cabinet minister in the Mackenzie King
government C.D. Howe.
Howe was therefore not
surprised at the bombing of Hiroshima
and had prepared a statement for the press in advance. Howe said
of the unprecedented war crime, "It is a distinct pleasure for me
to announce that Canadian scientists have played an intimate
part, and have been associated in an effective way with this
great scientific development."
The CCNR points out:
"In 1940, the British figured out how to make an atomic
by enriching natural uranium -- a slow, difficult, expensive
process. In utmost secrecy, they asked the Americans for
cooperation, and the Canadians for uranium.
"Following Pearl Harbour, the Americans took over.
for the world's first A-Bombs was refined at Port Hope for the
U.S. Army. At first, it came from Great Bear Lake; later, from
the Congo. Some of the uranium was enriched for the Hiroshima
bomb; the rest was irradiated in the world's first nuclear
reactors to produce plutonium for the Nagasaki bomb.
"In 1942, the British moved their own
research team to Montreal -- away from the Luftwaffe, closer to
the Americans. Canada paid all expenses, and Canadian scientists
joined the team.
"The Montreal Lab focussed on the best ways to produce
plutonium for Bombs. [...]
"The decision to build Canada's first heavy water
Chalk River was taken in April 1944 by the Combined Policy
Committee, meeting in the office of the American Secretary of
War. It was a top-secret military decision.
"According to the inscription on a large bronze plaque
"'A nuclear chain reaction was first initiated in
September 5, 1945, when the ZEEP reactor went into operation here
at Chalk River. Originally part of an effort to produce plutonium
for nuclear weapons, the reactor was designed by a team of
Canadian, British, and French scientists and engineers assembled
in Montreal and in Ottawa in 1942-43.'"
The CCNR also notes that "For twenty years after
Canada sold plutonium produced in Chalk River reactors to the
American military to help defray the cost of nuclear research.
And when Canada gave India a clone of the NRX reactor, India used
it to produce plutonium for its first A-Bomb test in 1974."
U.S. Authorizes Production of New Nuclear Bombs to Be
On August 1, the U.S. National
Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced that it has authorized
the production engineering phase of the warhead life extension program
(LEP) for its airborne nuclear bomb, the B61-12. The first production
of the upgraded B61-12 is planned for Fiscal Year 2020, with all
remaining bombs to be adapted by 2024. Earlier reports suggest that 20
of these modernized bombs are destined for Europe as a possible
"deterrent" against Russia.
According to reports, unlike the free-fall gravity
will replace, the B61-12 is a guided nuclear bomb. A new tail kit
assembly, made by Boeing, enables the bomb to hit targets far
more precisely than its predecessors.
Using "Dial-a-yield" technology, the bomb's explosive
can be adjusted before launch from a high of 50,000 tons of TNT
equivalent to a low of 300 tons.
The B61-12 will have both air- and ground-burst
The capability to penetrate below the surface has significant
implications for the types of targets within the bomb's
The B61-12 will initially be integrated with B-2,
F-16, and Tornado aircraft. From the 2020s, the weapon will also
be integrated with, first, the F-35A bomber-fighter and
later the LRS-B next-generation long-range bomber.
The B61-12 will replace the existing B61-3, -4, -7, and
bomb designs. It is thought that approximately 480 B61-12s will
about 90 protective aircraft shelters at six bases in five NATO
countries (Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey). Two of
these bases utilize U.S. aircraft (one airbase in Incirlik, Turkey and
one in Aviano, Italy). Non-U.S. aircraft are assigned to other bases
(Kleine Brogel, Belgium; Büchel, Germany; Ghedi Torre, Italy; and
Volkel, the Netherlands).
In September 2015, German
television station ZDF, citing a Pentagon budget document, said that
the U.S. Air Force will deploy modernized B61 nuclear bombs to
Germany's Buchel air force base, replacing the 20 weapons already at
"In other words, the American modernized thermonuclear
aircraft bomb has been primarily, and for the nearest quarter of
a century, destined to Europe. Washington however does not
specify how and from whom the modernized nuclear bombs are going
to defend the continent," said a Russian-language commentary from
the RIA Novosti website.
"However it is easy to guess that the thermonuclear
will be first of all used for the 'deterrence' of Russia and the
rest of Europe will fall hostage to the circumstances
orchestrated from across the ocean," the website noted.
At that time, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov
characterized the move as a potential "violation of the strategic
balance in Europe," that would demand a Russian response.
"This could alter the balance of power in Europe,"
"And without a doubt it would demand that Russia take
necessary countermeasures to restore the strategic balance and
World Social Forum in Montreal
Social Forum Opens August 9
Join the World
Social Forum Opening March!
Tuesday, August 9
Fontaine Park, corner of Rue Cherrier and Ave. du Parc la
Open to the public
2:00 pm: Creative activities in
The 2016 World Social
Forum is the 12th Forum of its kind
since 2001. This year it is being held in Montreal from August 9
to 14 at locations across the city including McGill
University, UQAM, Concordia University and Cégep Du Vieux
Montréal. The theme for 2016 is, "Another world is needed.
Together, it is possible."
The organizing committee, the 2016
World Social Forum
Collective, expects more than 10,000 to participate in the event,
with more than 2,000 coming from outside of Canada. More than
1,000 activities are scheduled to take place from August 10 to 12
including Grand Conferences and self-directed activities organized
by Forum participants.
The Social Forum opening rally will be held Tuesday,
August 9 at La Fontaine Park and thousands are expected to take part in
the march. The opening march is an important occasion for participants
to express their aspirations for Canada to be a zone for peace in the
context of dangerous developments worldwide and to contribute to the
friendship of peoples and nations. Participants will raise their
slogans reflecting the necessity for a better world; to defend the
rights of all in Canada; to defend the sovereignty and
self-determination of peoples; and oppose the war preparations of the
U.S. imperialists and big powers. The Communist Party of Canada
(Marxist-Leninist) calls on everyone to participate vigorously in the
opening march to oppose imperialism and Canada's warmongering course.
The Forum will conclude with public events in Jarry
Jarry and Boulevard St-Laurent) from 9:00 am to
11:00 pm on August 13 and from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm on August 14
(beginning one hour after the Montreal Pride Parade).
The 2016 World Social Forum is part of a series of
Social Forums which began in 2001 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in
which 12,000 people from all over the world participated. The aim
of the Forums is to seek out alternatives to neo-liberal policies
which are being imposed worldwide by encouraging the
participation of a maximum number of people and organizations, as
well as to share experiences and opinions which contribute to
carrying forward the struggle for another world.
Since the first Forum in Porte Alegre, Brazil, ten
have been held in various parts of the world, including four additional
ones in Brazil -- in Porto Alegre and Belem. The fourth edition of
the Forum was held in Bombay, India in 2004. Other Forums have taken
place in Caracas, Venezuela; Nairobi, Kenya; and Dakar, Senegal; and
two have been held
in Tunis, Tunisia.
Registration is $40 per person with a $10 solidarity
based on need. For information about registration and the World
Social Forum program, see the official Participants'
Canada's Unacceptable Denial of
Visas to Participants
On August 5 organizers of the World Social Forum (WSF)
announced that the government of Canada has denied visas to
hundreds of people registered to participate in the Montreal event.
They estimate that out of the approximately 2,000
delegates sent invitation letters 75 per cent had their visa
applications denied or received no response.
Organizers say that the mass denial of entry to a host country is
unprecedented at any of the 12 preceding Forums held since
Those denied include former Minister of Culture and
of Mali and candidate for Secretary-General of the United Nations
Aminata Traore and President of the Palestinian Postal Service Workers'
Union Imad Temiza. WSF spokespersons said those targeted were
largely from Africa and West Asia, including from the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco, Iran and Nigeria. They
noted that delegates from Haiti and Nepal were also turned away
in large numbers.
Iranian media reported in July that all the activists
representatives from that country were denied visas by Canada,
including many who had taken part in the previous Forum in
Tunisia in 2015.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada issued statements to
claiming that those denied did not meet the requirements for
visiting Canada. Spokesperson Nancy Caron told media,
"Immigration Canada works closely with event organizers to ensure
that delegates apply for their visa as soon as possible and they
understand the requirements for visitors to Canada. Decisions are
made by highly qualified staff in accordance with Canadian
The most common reasons for rejection were
"uncertainty" and "concerns" about the participants' departure from
Canada, about their financial situation or previous trips. In other
words, the decisions were based on prejudices and impressions about the
individuals as well as the official prejudices of the Canadian
government and not any objective criteria.
Carminda Mac Lorin, a coordinator of the Forum told
"We live in a country that is totally discriminatory in terms of
access and we're seeing this pretty concretely right now." A news
release from Forum organizers notes, "If the massive number of
refusals raises indignation, the reasons invoked by Canadian
officials arouse anger."
Stories of dubious and discriminatory rejections
Organizers from the Indymedia Africa Working Group (IAWG)
"Four Nigerian journalists from Sahara Reporters were
rejected on the spurious grounds that their application failed to
provide bank details from their organization, even though the
embassy never asked for such bank documents. Two well-known
Malian human rights activists, including the President of Malian
Association of Domestic Workers (known by its French acronym,
ADDAD) were denied visas because they allegedly 'lack a clear
purpose for the trip'. The same was the case with the refusal of
visas for grassroots organizers with the 'No Vox Afrique'
network, particularly those from Benin, Burkina Faso and Togo. To
date there has been no responses for the applications of a
women's rights activist from Nigeria, a student organizer from
Ghana and a radio journalist from Ghana, despite the fact that
their applications were submitted well in advance of the timeline
the Canadian government indicates for normal processing."
Moussa Coulibaly, an IAWG delegate from Mali whose visa
was also denied, stated, "It is unacceptable for embassies to be able
on such a flimsy excuse as 'lack a clear purpose for the trip.'"
The IAWG further remarked, "Canadian authorities should
have simply banned the
organizing of the World Social Forum (WSF) in their country
instead of trying to destabilize it by way of mass refusal of
visas to participants."
Omoyele Sowore, founder and publisher of Sahara
noted, "We expected that if the Canadian consulate was in doubt
of our capability to support our delegates, that they would ask
us for further documentation. This was not done; all delegates
sponsored by us had their visa applications denied. The Canadian
government ought to know that in accepting the WSF to be hosted
on Canadian soil, it had agreed to accept all persons regardless
of race, class or social geography."
In an open letter Iranian activists noted: "The
Canada refused to issue visas due to flimsy excuses such as an
uncertain purpose for visiting, despite the reason being
transparent in the invitations, or those who are married with
children being accused of having a lack of family ties in their
country of residence... It seems that such an attitude is
evidence of selective and politically discriminatory behaviour on
the part of the Government of Canada toward social activists and
human rights defenders. Inhumane behaviour will never be
forgotten in today's tumultuous world."
Trudeau Government's Duplicity
"All Options Are Open" Approach to Mail Delivery
Postal Workers Rally to Defend Pensions,
Pay Equity and Public Services
Saturday, August 6 -- 1:00 pm
(Émile-Journault Ave and Chateaubriand Ave)
March to constituency office of Prime Minister Trudeau,
529 Jarry Street East, Suite 302
Duplicity is a key component of the Trudeau
program to serve the global monopolies, dismantle public services
and attack workers' rights. It is an integral part of the
neo-liberal ideological and institutional basis for the negation of
rights. This is clear in the present situation facing
postal workers and their allies in defence of their rights and
the public postal service.
As postal workers demonstrate August 6 in Montreal to
the government and Canada Post engage in genuine negotiation, the
Trudeau government is paving the way for still-greater attacks
against the workers and the postal service itself. Besides
recognizing Canada Post's "right" to unilaterally modify postal
workers' working conditions should they reject Canada Post's
demands for concessions, the Trudeau government established a task
force to conduct a review of Canada Post in May. Its mandate is to
examine what is at
stake and to submit a progress report in September. Following this,
will be held with Canadians from September to November which will
lead to a report that is to be tabled in Parliament in December.
According to the government, some kind of decision would then be
announced in spring 2017.
A central theme of the
Trudeau government's ideological
attack on the rights of workers and public services, and in
support of the aims of the global monopolies is the promotion of
"maximum flexibility" and opposition to "rigid" rules and practices.
These notions are dear to private monopolies and Crown corporations
which seek leeway for anti-social restructuring and the negation of the
rights of those who produce goods and services. They claim that
workers' "rigidity" is a major obstacle to the "flexibility" needed by
In this case, maximum flexibility takes the form of a
where "all viable options" are open to allow Canada Post to
deliver what the government calls quality service at reasonable costs
while maintaining its "self-sufficiency" and "sustainability."
The government has already decided that the development of a
universal postal service as an essential component of
nation-building in the service of Canadians and controlled by
them is too rigid and will put the sustainability of Canada Post
In presenting the review, the government does not
any of the aforementioned "options," supposedly because it does
not want to draw foregone conclusions before the results of
consultations are in. The government hopes it will appear that
the results were decided by Canadians, all the while interpreting the
results to its own advantage to justify its
decisions. The government is using the fraud of "consultation
Canadians" to impose a purely pragmatic point of view
according to which workers' rights do not exist because they
are deemed to be "costs," and their adherence to principles and
hard-won gains are a hindrance to the
flexibility Canada Post needs to be sustainable. The same applies
to the responsibility of a public authority necessary to ensure a
universal public postal system in the service of Canadians, which
is presented as being inflexible and non-realistic.
This tactic became clear as soon as the Trudeau
introduced the Canada Post Review while its electoral commitment
to restore door-to-door home delivery eliminated by the Harper
government was openly violated.
Such was the electoral commitment of Justin Trudeau's
"We will save home mail delivery. By ending
delivery, Stephen Harper is asking Canadians to pay more for less
service. That is unacceptable. We will stop Stephen Harper's plan
to end door-to-door mail delivery in Canada and undertake a new
review of Canada Post to make sure that it provides high-quality
service at a reasonable price to Canadians, no matter where they
In a meeting with the Mayor of Montreal Denis Coderre
September 3, 2015 in the midst of the 2015 federal election
campaign, Justin Trudeau declared: "As far as Canada Post is
concerned, we will re-establish door-to-door home delivery.
People are expecting a level of service and we will deliver that
That commitment has become yet again another option
government cannot "impose" on Canada Post before consultations,
according to the Trudeau government.
In a television interview at
the time the Canada Post Review
was launched, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Judy
Foote clearly explained the Liberals' pragmatic approach:
"We want to hear from Canadians. We want to hear what
would like to see happening with Canada Post. That is not to say
we will not save home delivery but reality is that we need to
hear from Canadians, what is it Canadians want saved, when they
recognize the cost. For instance on the Five-Point Action Plan,
according to Canada Post they were saving anywhere from
$400-million to $500-million a year by putting in place the
roadside mailboxes. People will have to be realistic about it.
What Canadians need to tell us is, do they want mail delivery
five days a week, do they want it two days a week, three days a
week, given the cost of the service but realizing that Canada
Post has to remain self-sustaining... I do not know what we are
going to be able to keep [of home delivery], it will depend on
what Canadians want, on what they say they need... once they know
the costs of providing a particular service."
The use of this concept of "options" is a tactic aimed
imposing decisions that are anti-worker and anti-public services, and
government's responsibility to defend and build a public
postal service as part of nation-building.
Postal workers have given the call to participate in
Canada Post Review hearings as well as in other aspects of the
process to ensure that their stands in defence of the
public postal service are heard. Postal workers are using the review to
reiterate their demands that door-to-door delivery be
restored and that public postal services be expanded. It is
important to block the Trudeau government's plan to claim that
"Canadians have spoken" and that they are actually demanding
further attacks against the workers and the postal service.
Decisions on Northern Gateway and Trans
Where Sovereignty Must Be Vested
in a Modern Nation
On June 23, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned
approval of the Northern Gateway Pipeline in a ruling on Indigenous
nations' legal challenge of the federal approval granted in June 2014.
However, the majority
decision of the
Court dealing with how the government should approach its duty of
consultation with the Indigenous peoples leaves no doubt that existing
Constitutional arrangements violate the principle of nation-to-nation
relations. The decision asserts that sovereignty lies with the Crown,
and the Crown, in asserting its sovereignty over the Indigenous nations
negates their sovereignty and deprives them of their rights.
The Court concluded that
the standard of review appropriate was one of reasonableness. The Crown
must engage in a meaningful process of consultation with the Indigenous
peoples. Both parties must act in good faith and be reasonable, the
"Good faith is required on both sides in the consultative process," the
ruling reads. Further it asserts, "Aboriginal claimants must not
frustrate the Crown's reasonable good faith attempts, nor should they
take unreasonable positions to thwart the government from making
decisions or acting in cases where, despite meaningful consultation,
agreement is not reached: Haida
Nation, at paragraph 42."
The Crown through the Governor in Council (the Cabinet)
has broad discretionary powers to decide what is in the national
interest and assert its sovereign right to do so. This can literally be
whatever the Cabinet declares it to be. Consent of the Indigenous
nations is not required, as they are not considered sovereign, and when
agreement is not reached, they must submit to the decision made by the
Crown, the sovereign Cabinet. The governed -- Indigenous nations and
Canadians -- are deprived of their sovereignty and right to decide.
Those who do not submit to the sovereignty of the Crown through the
Governor in Council and instead affirm their sovereign right to decide,
are then defamed as "unreasonable" and as not sharing the Canadian
values they define.
Absolute Power in the Name of "Unifying Diverse
BC Day of Action against
pipelines outside provincial legislature, October
7, 2013. (J.
The Federal Court of Appeal cites references to argue
that Cabinet rule is a way to unify the diverse interests within
Canada and to accommodate these interests.
nature of the Governor in Council as follows (at paragraph 77):
The Governor in Council is the 'Governor General of Canada acting
by and with the advice of, or by and with the advice and consent
of, or in conjunction with the Queen's Privy Council for Canada: Interpretation
Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-23, subsection
see also the Constitution Act, 1867, sections 11 and 13.
Ministers of the Crown, not just the Minister, are active members
of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada.' They meet in a body
known as Cabinet. Cabinet is 'to a unique degree the grand
co-ordinating body for the divergent provincial, sectional,
religious, racial and other interests throughout the nation' and,
by convention, it attempts to represent different geographic,
linguistic, religious, and ethnic groups [...]"
"In the case before us, by
vesting decision-making in the
Governor in Council, Parliament implicated the decision-making of
Cabinet, a body of diverse policy perspectives representing all
constituencies within government. And by defining broadly what
can go into the report upon which it is to make its decision --
literally anything relevant to the public interest -- Parliament
must be taken to have intended that the decision in issue here be
made on the broadest possible basis, a basis that can include the
broadest considerations of public policy."
To describe Cabinet as a "body of diverse policy
perspectives," which represents the broad public interest is a
conclusion befitting those who do not share the problems or aspirations
of the Indigenous people who struggle for survival every day, or those
of the working class resisting the neo-liberal, anti-social offensive
and of all those who organize and fight in defence of the rights of all.
In the "diverse interests" cited, no mention is made of
class; neither are the concerns of the working class recognized nor is
the constant contradiction the working class faces within the social
relation it shares with those who own and control the socialized
Today, the Liberal and Conservative Parties and others
within the cartel party system of governance define the public interest
as whatever makes the monopolies competitive internationally. The
public authority in all its institutions, in particular government and
Cabinet, has been directly taken over by private monopolies.
described as democratic unless it sorts out the problem of how to make
sure the people are able to participate directly in setting the
direction of the economy and all matters of concern to them. The people
must be enabled to participate directly, not though
representatives of political parties whom they have no role in
selecting or electing or holding to account. None of
what is contained in the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal is
worthy of the name of a modern democracy befitting a modern Canada. It
does not provide the citizens of Canada and Quebec and the Indigenous
nations with the means to exercise control and their right to decide
but instead resorts to citations from a constitution and rule of law
that vests sovereignty in the Crown and its Governor in Council.
The Appeal Court
upholds a form of arbitrary and absolute rule of a sovereign Crown and
its Governor in Council (Cabinet). Those who do not submit to the
sovereignty of the Cabinet can be defamed, criminalized and declared
un-Canadian, on the basis of lacking the values the Liberals and others
in the cartel party system define.
the face of this outmoded and undemocratic rule, new constitutional
arrangements are needed that deprive the Crown and its Governor in
Council of sovereignty, and instead:
- vest sovereignty in the people;
- end colonial injustice;
establish nation-to-nation relations with the Indigenous peoples;
- recognize the right of the people of Quebec to
- enact arrangements of equilibrium in
the social relation, the relations of production between the
working class and those who own and control the socialized
productive forces that recognize and guarantee the rights of the
working class, including the fundamental right to end class
privilege through resolving the contradiction of the
anachronistic social relation and bring into being modern
socialized relations of production in conformity with the modern
socialized forces of production.
Forests), 2004 SCC 7, 3 SCR 511.
Odynsky, 2010 FCA 307,
409 N.R. 298.
3. Norman Ward, Dawson's The Government of Canada, 6th ed.,
(Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987) at pages 203-204; Richard
French, 'The Privy Council Office: Support for Cabinet Decision Making'
in Richard Schultz, Orest M. Kruhlak and John C. Terry, eds., The Canadian Political Process, 3rd
ed. (Toronto: Holt Rinehart and Winston of Canada, 1979) at pages
Denial of the People's Right to Decide
A campaign promise of the Trudeau Liberals was to
restore trust in the environmental assessment process for energy and
other resource development projects. Aside from presenting the Liberals
as different from the Harper Conservatives, this acknowledged the
determination of First Nations, environmental groups, municipalities,
workers and youth to have their say on major projects, such as
pipelines, increased oil exports, liquefied natural gas, hydro projects
and the sellout and destruction of manufacturing in Canada -- from food
to wood products to steel.
In the case of the 2013 proposal by Kinder Morgan to
expand the Trans Mountain pipeline and increase the export of raw
bitumen through the port of Vancouver, there has been and continues to
be massive opposition. In 2014, before the project was recommended by
the National Energy Board (NEB), over 100 people were arrested on
Burnaby Mountain and accused of interfering in Kinder Morgan's
exploration drilling in a protected area. Opposition continues in the
face of the NEB decision to recommend the project and reject without
mention the massive amount of scientific evidence that an expanded
pipeline poses significant environmental and other risks with little
benefit for the people and a self-reliant economy. Applications for
judicial review of the NEB decision were filed in June by the Cities of
Burnaby and Vancouver, several First Nations -- including the Squamish,
Cheam and Tsleil-Waututh, and several environmental groups.
The Oxford English
Dictionary defines "to consult" as to "seek information or
advice from (someone, especially an expert or professional)," "have
discussions with (someone), typically before undertaking a course of
action," and "refer for information to (a book, diary, or watch)."
Consultation implies expertise and authority, and opinions based on
knowledge pertinent to the matter at hand on the part of those being
Canadians take the issue of their participation in
consultation very seriously. In spite of all the obstacles placed to
prohibit people from participating in previous NEB hearings, hundreds
of individuals and organizations brought forward their expertise to
raise concerns about the economic, social and environmental impacts of
In the case of a major
economic undertaking by government or one requiring government
approval, there is a serious problem of the public institutions in that
no mechanisms exist for consultation or any form of participation by
the polity in decision-making. The "interim measures" of the Trudeau
government and the whirlwind meetings in the summer with little notice
of venue and restricted participation come from the same mold as those
of the Harper government. The consultations that have been organized
have no connection with decision-making. Even if 98 per cent of those
in the meetings express serious opposition, the decision-making is done
Even more problematic is that there is no
mechanism for Canadians to participate in determining what is and
is not in the "public interest," and no clear definition of what
constitutes the public interest. The outcome of the consultation
is pre-determined. The rhetoric goes like this: the Harper
Conservatives were previously elected and formed the government
therefore what they said was in the public interest was
pre-determined as the public interest. Now, the Trudeau Liberals
have been elected and form the government therefore what they say
is in the public interest and is pre-determined as the public
interest. The "consultations" merely confirm what has already been
The Public Interest According to Trudeau
Prime Minister Trudeau's mandate letter to the Minister
Resources states, "Throughout Canada's history, our prosperity
has been built on our natural resources. It is a core
responsibility of the federal government to help get our natural
resources to market, but that is only possible if we achieve the
required public trust by addressing environmental, Indigneous peoples'
and local concerns. As Minister of Natural Resources,
your overarching goal will be to ensure that our resource sector
remains a source of jobs, prosperity, and opportunity within the
context of a world that increasingly values sustainable practices
and low carbon processes. This requires continued investment and
support for innovation in our natural resource sectors."
The mandate letter
predetermines the public interest as ripping out our natural resources,
shipping them to the world market and doing everything possible to
assist the global monopolies which own and control this sector of the
economy in accomplishing this great national task. For the Trudeau
Liberals and the Harper Conservatives before them, to rip and ship is
in the public interest and nothing and no one will be allowed to
interfere with what is in the public interest. The task of the Minister
is to ensure this happens and if that requires phony consultations then
so be it.
Not everyone would agree that the government's core
responsibility is to help rip out our natural resources and ship them
abroad to market. This is the demand of the monopolies in control of
the resource sector, not Canadians. How can an independent and
self-reliant economy not regard our natural resources as foundational
to developing Canadian manufacturing, public services and flourishing
local economies across the country to meet the needs of Canadians? The
mandate letter does not consider important issues such as stabilizing
the economy by ensuring that prices and the use of the
resources and other issues are under the control of Canadians along
with the safety of workers, communities and the environment with regard
to resource extraction and transportation. The mandate letter is silent
on the tragedy of Lac-Mégantic, promoting only its dogma of
ripping and shipping. Was the destruction at Lac-Mégantic in the
public interest? Has the explosive and sudden crisis in the Alberta
energy resource sector with thousands of workers laid off, communities
devastated and the entire economy tumbling into negative growth been in
the public interest?
The demands in the Trudeau mandate letter are those of
global monopolies -- including Kinder Morgan, Enbridge and others
-- that the human and natural resources of Canada be used not for
nation-building in the broad public interest but for the
monopolies' empire-building in their narrow private interest.
Trudeau's mandate letter is a declaration that monopoly right
trumps public right.
The hypocrisy of the Liberals knows no bounds. Their
self-serving concept of consultation is exposed for all to see. On the
Trans Mountain and Energy East pipeline projects, they attempt to fool
people with phony hearings but on other fronts, where consultation may
not serve their purpose, there is just dictate.
On July 29, the Union
of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) issued a press release to inform people
that the "Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Transport Canada have
issued federal permits to allow construction of BC Hydro's Site C dam
hydroelectric project to immediately ramp up construction." On this
issue, the commitment to consultation and
nation-to-nation relations with Indigenous nations have been crushed
open dictate. Construction has begun on Site C.
For the Trudeau
Liberals and their flunkies in the BC government the deed is done
before consultation takes place, before the courts have ruled,
before the people who are directly affected by the decision
are even permitted to argue their case.
The UBCIC statement points
"Treaty 8 has just been granted a hearing in the Federal Court of
Canada this September. Rather than respecting the treaty rights
of Prophet River and West Moberly [First Nations] and the legal
process by pausing or even slowing down site preparation and
construction, the Trudeau Government, like cowardly, thuggish
thieves in the dark, quietly issued federal permits before a long
weekend to allow for the acceleration of construction."
To pretend that Canadians
are being consulted on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion when the
NEB has already made its recommendation and the hearings of the
Ministerial Panel are being held under the same old format -- "are you
for or against this proposal" that the people have had no say in
determining in the first place -- is for purposes of disarming people
who are fighting for their rights.
It is not acceptable to have the monopolies and their
representatives in government make all the decisions about the
direction of the economy and then bestow upon Canadians the favour of a
few minutes to object or agree, yet ultimately leave them powerless to
affect the outcome.
The issue facing the Canadian working class and its
not whether to support or oppose this or that plan of the
monopolies, but to discuss and work out our own
nation-building project. Oil only for export -- who decided that?
Close the sawmills and pulp mills and export raw logs -- who
decided that? Let the monopolies dictate whether or not there
will be manufacturing in Canada, whether the economy should be
self-reliant or dependent on global issues beyond our control -- who
Canadian workers, youth, women, First Nations,
farmers and small business people have the right to participate
in the decisions about the direction of the economy, about issues
that affect the people, about how and when resources are
developed, about how to develop a vigorous and self-reliant
economy with secure jobs in both resource extraction and
manufacturing, and about trade based on mutual benefit and
development with other nations. Those issues pose the problem of
nation-building, and nation-building is essentially about the people
and their well-being, future and right to decide.
Court Upholds Monopoly Right and
Negates the Public Interest
The 100-page ruling of the Federal Court of Appeal
overturning the approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline goes to
great lengths to spell out the far-reaching nature of the
arbitrary or discretionary powers of the "Governor in Council" --
that is, the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
The decision references the authority given to the
in Council" by Parliament through the National Energy Board
Act. The Act states that "The public interest is inclusive
of all Canadians and refers to a balance of economic,
environmental and social considerations that changes as society's
values and preferences evolve over time." The Court comments:
"But in this case [the
approval of the Northern Gateway
Pipeline], the Governor in Council's discretionary decision was
based on the widest considerations of policy and public interest assessed
interest " (TML emphasis).
"Does the economic benefit associated with the
and operation of a transportation system that will help to unlock
Alberta's oil resources and make those resources more readily
available worldwide outweigh the detrimental effects, actual or
potential, including those effects on the environment and, in
particular, the matters under the Canadian
2012? To what extent will the conditions that
Northern Gateway must satisfy -- many concerning technical
matters that can be evaluated and weighed only with expertise --
alleviate those concerns? And in light of all of these
considerations, was there enough high-quality information for the
Governor in Council to balance all the considerations and
properly assess the matter? These are the sorts of questions this
legislative scheme remits to the Governor in Council. Under the
authorities set out above that are binding upon us, we must give
the Governor in Council the widest margin of appreciation over
What does this legalese boil down to? The public
whatever the government declares it to be. Under neo-liberal
globalization, the public interest is declared to be making North
American monopolies competitive internationally, specifically the
energy and pipeline monopolies operating in Canada.
The problems facing the
actual producers, the working class
and the socialized economy are not considered relevant in
determining what is in the public interest. It is suggested that
the interests of the monopolies and the problems of the economy
are the same thing, but this is not the case. For example, high
unemployment is a nightmare for the working people, while it is
the monopolies who are throwing workers onto the street and
finding an"opportunity" in high unemployment to drive down wages
and lower the living and working conditions of the remaining
workers. The "approval" process based on what is in the public
interest is confined to yes or no to decisions made by these same
In fact everything which lies within the realm of
providing real alternatives to the current direction of the
economy is excluded from the issues which are to be considered in
deciding what is in the public interest. The idea that the
problem is the price of oil and pipelines to export unprocessed
bitumen are the solution as they will allow the owners to seek a
higher price is repeated over and over. But how is the problem
the price of oil?
The problem is the direction of the economy
which is subordinate to the aims of the international financial
oligarchy and decision-making on a supranational basis. The
alternative lies in nation-building, not empire-building. Public
control can be established over the energy sector. Canada could
set the price of its oil, stop importing oil, and serve its own
internal market. The oil and other energy resources must be
recognized as strategic resources and the basis for the
development of a thriving manufacturing sector. The self-serving
nonsense that the choice is between economic benefit and
detrimental effects on the environment should be treated with the
contempt it deserves. Canadians and Indigenous nations must exercise
decision-making authority and not permit the monopolies to usurp
this authority for their own ends.
The Federal Court of Appeal decision is a defence of
right within the U.S.-dominated imperialist system of states. The
idea that by extending "consultation" within this definition as
Trudeau is now doing with the Trans Mountain pipeline, Canadians
are being given a say and the rights of Indigenous nations
recognized just does not wash.
A modern definition of rights includes the right to
including the right to decide the direction of the economy, and
the rights of the Indigenous nations and Métis to live and be on
their traditional territories. Such rights must be enshrined
within a modern constitution and provided with guarantees.
Democratic renewal means that it is the people who must be
sovereign, not the "Governor in Council" through which the
monopolies exercise their dictate.
Federal Court Overturns Approval of
The Federal Appeal Court of Canada released its
on the legal challenges from Indigenous nations and Canadian
organizations to the Northern Gateway pipeline project on June
23. In a two to
decision, the court overturned the Harper government's approval of
the pipeline. The decision states the government failed to uphold
the "honour of the Crown" and discharge its constitutional
responsibilities to consult with and accommodate the Indigenous
nations, which the Court often refers to as "Aboriginal groups."
The proposed Northern Gateway pipeline would ship bitumen from
Alberta to Kitimat, BC and then to overseas markets by
The mass media widely described
the ruling as "quashing the pipeline," but this is far from the case.
The court declares that the Joint Review Process, a combined hearing of
the National Energy Board (NEB) and the Canadian Environmental
Assessment Agency (CEAA), met the standard of "reasonableness" and that
Canada acted in good faith in its consultations with the Indigenous
nations. However, the "Governor in Council" (Cabinet) did not carry out
its duties in Phase IV, the consultations which take place with the
Indigenous nations after the NEB has approved a project but before the
government issues certificates of approval.
The decision reads, "The inadequacies -- more than just
handful and more than mere imperfections -- left entire subjects
of central interest to the affected First Nations, sometimes
subjects affecting their subsistence and well-being, entirely
ignored. Many impacts of the project [...] were left undisclosed,
undiscussed and unconsidered."
Further it says, "It would have taken Canada little
little organizational effort to engage in meaningful dialogue on
these and other subjects of prime importance to Aboriginal
Peoples. But this did not happen."
The inference is clear: "meaningful" consultation would
have altered the final decision and approval, although it may
have resulted in some additional conditions to be met by Enbridge
and Northern Gateway. The Court explicitly rejects the stand of
the Haisla and other nations that meaningful consultation
requires a two-way dialogue, whereas the Joint Review Panel
process was a quasi-judicial process in which the Crown and Indigenous
nations had no direct engagement. The Court ruling
suggests direct engagement is required only after the NEB and CEAA have
issued their decision.
In the wake of the decision, the Trudeau government put
Enbridge's request for an extension to the 2016 construction
deadline to start building the pipeline on hold. The ruling does
not require the government to start the Northern Gateway approval
process afresh, and it could decide simply to redo Phase IV at a
later date. Phase IV consultations on the Trans Mountain
pipeline, which received NEB approval on May
19 are now underway. The Appeal Court decision is a
blueprint for the Trudeau government as to how to carry out these
consultations in a manner that will withstand a court
In it decision, the Court
rejects all but one of the
arguments presented by the Indigenous nations. All objections to
the Joint Review Process, including its failure to meet Canada's
duty of consultation and accommodation addressing Indigenous
rights and title, the fact that interveners were deprived of
crucial information, and the right to participate in establishing
the terms and scope of review are dismissed. "As a matter of
law, the Crown has discretion as to how it structures the
consultation process and how the duty to consult is met," the
The Court also sanctions the failure of the NEB and the
enabling legislation to establish criteria on which
a rigorous review could be based to determine what is in the
public interest, again because such decisions are within the
discretionary or arbitrary powers of the Cabinet. It dismisses
the argument that the hearings were a sham because the Harper
government announced its decision even before the hearings
The justices agree with the government's assertion
did not have to share its strength of claim and depth of
consultation assessment because the courts have already
established this information as "protected by solicitor-client
privilege." The government only has to provide a description of
The Court states that Canada is obligated to "consult
with the affected First Nations, which is considered the highest
level of consultation possible, but does not require consent.
However, this "deep consultation" can be carried out after the
decision-making process is complete, except for the final
approval by Cabinet.
The Court says, "As explained above, the duty to
consult is a
procedural duty grounded in the honour of the Crown. The common
thread on the Crown's part must be 'the intention of
substantially addressing [Aboriginal] concerns as they are raised
through a meaningful process of consultation' [...] The
'controlling question in all situations is what
is required to maintain the honour of the Crown and to effect
reconciliation between the Crown and the Aboriginal peoples with
respect to the interests at stake' [...]
"In our view, it was not consistent with the duty to
and the obligation of fair dealing for Canada to simply assert
the Project's impact would be mitigated without first discussing
the nature and extent of the rights that were to be impacted. In
order for the applicant/appellant First Nations to assess and
consult upon the impacts of the Project on their rights there
must first be a respectful dialogue about the asserted rights.
Once the duty to consult is acknowledged, a failure to consult
cannot be justified by moving directly to accommodation. To do so
is inconsistent with the principle of fair dealing and
A "respectful dialogue" about asserted rights is a far
from recognizing rights and providing them with a guarantee much
less a modern constitutional necessity for Canada to establish
nation-to-nation relations with Indigenous nations. The
Indigenous peoples are not conquered peoples and they never gave
up their rights as independent peoples who have the right to
decide those issues that affect their territory. The Canadian
government should not and cannot deprive them of their
If the duty of consultation is only about accommodation
decisions have been made, where is the right to decide, where is
the assertion of independence? To bring an end to colonial
injustice, nation-to-nation relations must be established in
practice, so that the Indigenous nations can flourish.
1. The Gitxaala Nation, Gitga'at
Nation, Haisla Nation, Kitasoo Xai'Xais Nation, Heiltsuk Nation,
the Nadleh Whut'en Band, as well as UNIFOR, ForestEthics, Living
Oceans Society, Raincoast Conservation Foundation and the
Federation of British Columbia Naturalists brought suit vs. Her
Majesty the Queen, the Attorney-General of Canada, the Minister
of the Environment, and Northern Gateway Pipelines Inc.
2. The Court took note of very
issues put forward by the Haisla, Kitaso and Heiltsuk First
Nations including spill response time, spill recovery and the
study of how bitumen behaves in the water. There was in fact no
consultation, only information gathering which was summarized --
often inaccurately -- and sent to Cabinet. Errors in the summary
were never corrected. The government representative acknowledged
that an oil spill could have a catastrophic effect on the
interests of the Gitxaala and on the herring industry on which the
Heiltsuk depend. Yet no responses were ever received to specific
questions regarding Canada's Tanker Safety Expert Panel Report
and a report on navigation issues. Specific questions about the
impact of a bitumen spill, spill response time and spill recovery
received no reply. With no authority to do anything but gather
information, the government representatives at the table could
only reply, "If we can get more answers, we'll try."
Haida Nation v. British Columbia (Minister of Forests), 2004 SCC 7,
3 SCR 511, at paragraph 42.
4. Haida Nation, at
Federal Government's "Deep Consultations" on
Mountain Pipeline Expansion
Rally on Burnaby Mountain, September 13, 2014. (S. Collis)
Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline has been for 60
years the only pipeline transporting oil products to its terminal
on the West Coast in Burnaby, BC. In December 2013, Kinder Morgan filed
an application with the National Energy Board (NEB) to
significantly expand the pipeline, basically tripling its
capacity. The project was met with intense opposition by First
Nations, municipal governments and people along the route, but
particularly in the Lower Mainland, which is the terminus of the
pipeline and the port from where the oil would be shipped
overseas. None of the increased capacity would be refined in BC.
Oil tanker traffic in the Vancouver harbour would increase by 600
The NEB issued its report on the application on May 19
stating, "The [NEB (or Board)] finds that the Trans Mountain Expansion
Project (Project) is in Canada's public interest and recommends that
Governor in Council (GIC) approve the Project, subject to 157
The NEB decision defined the "benefits of the Project"
In considering whether the Project is in the public
the Board concluded there would be a number of important benefits
for Canada. These benefits would be considerable and include:
- increased access to diverse markets for Canadian oil;
- thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of long-term
jobs directly related to the Project across Canada;
- the development of capacity of local and Indigenous
individuals, communities and businesses;
- considerable benefit from direct spending on pipeline
materials in Canada; and
- considerable government revenues from the Project.
The Trudeau Liberals argued in 2015 that the review
started under the Harper government was flawed. They said they
were committed to "restore trust in environmental assessment." On
January 27 they established a Ministerial Panel to
"undertake deeper consultations." But they did not hold off on
the NEB Report recommending the project, which was issued just
two days after the announcement of the composition of the
In the January 27 press release for the Panel, which
hope in some quarters, Catherine McKenna, Minister of
Environment and Climate Change, and Jim Carr, Minister of
Natural Resources, announced an "interim approach that includes
principles and plans for major projects." It reiterated the
commitment that "the Government will introduce new environmental
assessment processes as part of our efforts to restore public
trust. Public opinion will be sought and considered. Decisions
will be informed by scientific evidence. Indigenous peoples will
be more fully engaged in reviewing and monitoring major resource
development projects. The process will have greater
The "principles and plans" of the "interim approach"
addressed two specific projects, the Trans Mountain Expansion and
the Energy East pipeline. With regard to the Trans Mountain
Expansion project the plan said:
The Government of Canada will:
- Undertake deeper consultations with Indigenous
provide funding to support participation in these
- Assess the upstream greenhouse gas emissions associated
with this project and make this information public; and
- Appoint a Ministerial Representative to engage communities,
including Indigenous communities potentially affected by the
project, to seek their views and report back to the Minister of
The extension of the deadline for the Governor in
decision on the Trans Mountain project to December was announced
at the same time. On May 17, Minister Carr announced the
composition of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project
Ministerial Panel: Ms. Kim Baird (chair), Mr. Tony Penikett and Dr.
The Panel was "tasked with engaging communities and
Indigenous groups and reviewing feedback that will be provided
online regarding the project and project-related issues. The
panel's work started in June and concludes in November with a
report to Minister Carr, which will be made public."
Public meetings have been organized for August in
Vancouver, Burnaby and Victoria (schedule available here). Meetings have
already taken place in several Alberta and BC cities. The process is
being conducted within the framework of "five interim principles"
outlined in January:
1. No project proponent will be asked to return to the
starting line -- project reviews will continue within the current
legislative framework and in accordance with treaty provisions,
under the auspices of relevant responsible authorities and
Northern regulatory boards;
2. Decisions will be based on science, traditional
of Indigenous peoples and other relevant evidence;
3. The views of the public and affected communities
sought and considered;
4. Indigenous peoples will be meaningfully consulted,
where appropriate, impacts on their rights and interests will be
5. Direct and upstream greenhouse gas emissions linked
projects under review will be assessed.
The veneer of legitimacy on
this process is very thin. Trudeau is on record as supporting the Trans
Mountain Expansion so from the outset the legitimacy of the process has
been questionable, especially since the NEB report recommending
approval was issued before the current consultations began. The manner
in which the meetings have been held so far is essentially the same as
under the Harper government, with restrictions on speakers, lack of
public information about content and locations of meetings, and
little effort to engage the public. As well, many people are raising
concerns about conflict of interest as the chair of the Committee has a
longstanding relationship with Kinder Morgan.
It is no surprise that the Liberals acknowledge a lack
public trust. Protesters on Burnaby Mountain were arrested when
they demanded Kinder Morgan stop cutting down trees and
drilling in a protected area on Burnaby Mountain in 2015. An
uproar occurred this January when the public was not permitted
even to observe the NEB hearings. Every obstacle was put in the
way of public participation in the NEB process, which ultimately had
little or no influence on the decision. The majority of the
the NEB raised serious environmental and other concerns but were
summarily dismissed with the conclusion that the project is "in
the public interest." All the evidence points to these "deeper
consultations" of the Ministerial Panel being no
different in substance from what has gone before.
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