In Hillary Clinton's concession speech, besides the
presidency itself, she conceded nothing, not even her defeat. Far
from it, despite the fact that Clinton failed to unite America
behind her vision and values, she said that going forward it is
this shared vision and values which she will continue to push and
she calls on her supporters to do likewise. This vision uses
aggression and war as negotiation, blames the U.S. economic
decline on China and maintains Russia as the main enemy of the
United States. It was captured in her slogan that the U.S. is the
"indispensable nation," which, of course, makes all others
dispensable. It was expressed by Clinton in 2008 when she said the U.S.
could "totally obliterate" Iran, and in 2011 when she greeted the
assassination of the leader of Libya with the phrase "We came, we saw,
In his victory speech, Trump made sure to mention the large number of generals who support him, as well as the National Rifle Association and New York City Mayor during 9/11, Rudolph Giuliani and others who stand for the unfettered police powers Trump thinks are necessary to "Make America Great Again." The central points of his campaign were basically that the U.S. system is broken or rigged, that the U.S. has been weakened on the world stage and that only a man of Trump's force of personality is capable of putting things right. His strategy is to be "engaged" and says the art lies in how you make the deal. In his victory speech he said, "I've spent my entire life in business, looking at the untapped potential in projects and in people all over the world" and "That is now what I want to do for our country."
Blame the State, Not the People, for Racism, Sexism and
Everything is done to hide that it is the U.S. state which is anti-worker, sexist and racist and anti-immigrant as well as profoundly anti-communist, which is why in the rendering of the election results, the defeat of Clinton is blamed on the working class.
Meanwhile, every state-organized and spontaneous white supremacist formation and unhinged individual and psychopath is given a green light to attack the targets of their personal hatred and psychotic nightmares. This is due to the boorish and inflammatory reality TV rhetoric on the basis of which Trump ran his election campaign, but also its ceaseless promotion by U.S. media, and especially the Clinton campaign. The Clinton campaign spent twice as much money as Trump to make Trump the issue for the American people during the election. It is the Clinton media and entourage which now use every epithet in the book to portray the working people of the United States who voted for Trump as rabid, crazed zealots who are trampling the rights of the people in the mud.
It does not behoove those who devote all their energies to fighting for the rights of all to fall victim to this official propaganda which treats people as categories of "things" and divides them on that basis.
CPC(M-L) denounces the attacks against the people which
taken place since the election, both those which are spontaneous
and the ones organized by a crisis-ridden state which has now
given itself a green light to govern through unfettered police
powers. Police powers do not recognize members of a body politic
made up of a civil society with a government of laws. Police
powers do not recognize rights by virtue of one's membership in
that body politic, let alone rights by virtue of being human.
Police powers only recognize categories of "things" slated for
some form of punishment. In scenarios which have been unfolding in the
U.S. for some time, people are portrayed as "thugs," "protestors,"
"trouble-makers," "enemy aliens," "blacks," "Latinos," "Hispanics,"
"Muslims," "terrorists," "deviants" and other categories designed to
dehumanize them and target them for attack.
CPC(M-L) takes this occasion to profoundly sympathize with all those in the United States who are targets of the racist, anti-worker and anti-people attacks and are waging valiant protests and acts of resistance proclaiming loudly that this is not their democracy, Trump is not their President and that attacks against the people are "Not In My Name."
The Party has already received the views of many comrades and friends on this important matter of the significance of the U.S. presidential election and it is holding discussions on this topic across the country. It calls on Canadians to analyze the significance of the results and prepare for the battles which lie ahead.
(Photos: M. Hume, Berenabas G, iva_nm,
R.J. Sangosti, Fightback News,
B. Cseko, NYC Alerts)
One Year of Liberal Rule
The Trudeau government is preparing to mail postcards to every Canadian household at the end of November encouraging Canadians to visit a website and answer questions about the government's electoral reform agenda. The online questionnaire will seek information on Canadians' "democratic values." According to media reports, the website -- mydemocracy.ca or mademocratie.ca -- will go live on December 1 and close December 31.
The upcoming questionnaire
follows consultations carried out through a House of
Commons Special Committee
on Electoral Reform from June 21 to October 7, which included its own
The Special Committee is to deliver its official report and
recommendations on December 1,
the day this new consultation is said to be launching. What are called
townhall meetings were
also organized by some Members of Parliament and public and private
organized by Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef. Both
those sets of
"consultations" were narrow in their scope of what reforms the
legitimate. Their failure to involve more than a few Canadians in the
process raises the
pertinent questions of their aim and how the preconceived conclusions
will be turned into
recommendations and action.
While the government has yet to announce the new
postcard consultation, John O'Leary, communications director for
Monsef, told media, "We are interested in the values and principles
Canadians share when it comes to strengthening our democracy; this new
approach will give more Canadians a chance to explore and engage in
this topic like never before." The
Minister's office also clarified that the online survey will not
ask for Canadians' opinions on any of the specific reform options
introduced in the consultation process so far, such as forms of
proportional representation or ranked ballots. One report said the
government planned to hold such an online consultation "early on" but
never spoke of it either publicly or to others holding consultations,
according to members of the Special Committee.
Information posted on the government's website for publicizing procurement information, buyandsell.gc.ca indicates that the new consultation has been contracted out to a private firm called Vox Pop Labs. This outfit, which calls itself a "social enterprise," was awarded a contract on September 1 for a "consultation and engagement strategy and platform to gather the views of Canadians on the values that they want to see reflected in a complex area of public policy." The tender says that this includes "the provision of an educational experience and helping Canadians understand their own value preferences."
It adds that the platform will integrate social media "and be launched in cooperation with a major media partner or partners (if a suitable media partner is identified) in approximately November 2016" and "maximize the opportunities for participation for a broader cross-section of the Canadian public, including groups such as youth."
Every effort is made to hide that new ways of making decisions are being introduced in Canada which the people have not approved. Private interests carrying out what are called consultations and ordering what are claimed to be people's preferences is presented as a legitimate form of governance. For instance, Vox Pop Labs is named as the pre-identified supplier (the contract was not an open tender) in the notice because the company "is unique in their use of large sample data sets, having undertaken the largest surveys of Canadian, Australian and New Zealand public opinion ever conducted. This enhances the quality of the data that results from their engagement platforms, allowing analysis to drive down to study smaller groups. Given that one of the objectives of this initiative is to engage and understand the preference of under-represented and under-engaged groups, this is particularly valuable. Additionally, it allows mass participation (e.g., more than a million users) while still maintaining reliable data."
Vox Pop Labs possesses such data sets thanks to its "Vote Compass" software. The company's main product has been online surveys active during elections in Canada, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand that calculate what cartel party the people are supposed to vote for and where one falls on a "political spectrum" based on answering a series of dubious questions. Simultaneously Vox Pop Labs matched the survey answers and "results" with the demographic data and has built up a database of millions. The "Vote Compass" software was given state promotion to build up its database in Canadian, Australian and New Zealand general elections through partnership with public broadcasting corporations CBC, ABC and TVNZ. In the U.S., Vox Pop Labs partnered with the Wall Street Journal to target voters.
The "Vote Compass" software is part of depriving the
polity of an
outlook and aim by
rendering its members passive. Individuals are to pick between what is
them as representing the "left," "right" and "centre" of parliamentary
though this in no way explains what the different forces represent or
they profess to address or seek to solve. The modus
to present a
spurious survey based on premises which are not to be questioned, and
then tell the people
what party they should vote for and whether they are "left wing" "right
wing" or "moderate."
Is this the "real consultation" that the government has
been keeping under wraps? After Canadians rank their preferences for a
series of "democratic values," Vox Pop Labs is to help them "understand
their own value preferences." Are these the tea leaves the Liberals can
then read to claim they have support for a course of action they say
agrees with Canadians' "value preferences," even though such values are
defined not by Canadians but by Vox Pop Labs? A particular goal of the
initiative is to "understand the preference of under-represented and
under-engaged groups." To achieve this Vox Pop Labs has on hand for
cross-referencing all the demographic information in its databases.
The collection of data is indeed no small part of the
"Vote Compass" system. In the case of the 2015 Canadian federal
election "Vote Compass," while 30 questions were asked about the level
of agreement with certain propositions or policies, another 20
questions concerned details about the respondent, including their
postal code, age, sex, religion, level of education, first language,
occupation, country of birth, ethnic or cultural background, the number
of members in their household, household income, and whether a
respondent is on Twitter. Respondents had the option to provide an
e-mail address along with this information. Vox Pop Labs' privacy
policy indicates that it will continue to use this information for
"business requirements including [...] Research and analysis; Panel
studies; Audience segmentation; Technical processing [...]" The only
restriction on selling or renting data is when it "may personally
identify you to any third party," which does not rule out bulk
demographic information sale or rental. The company claims that 1.8
million individuals used the platform during the 2015 Canadian federal
The claim that Vox Pop Labs only rents or sells data
which does not "personally identify you" is not the end of the story.
For instance, "when combined with other datasets, anonymous data can be
re-identified." This is the
case, as one example, when political parties purchase bulk data from
private sellers such as commercial data companies which are then
matched up to the list of electors provided by Elections Canada.
Without identifying the individual, the data sold or rented by Vox Pop
Labs could be matched with individuals using various demographic
factors. Vox Pop Labs, and others may gain their biggest data sets to
date with this new consultation on "democratic values."
According to the tender, the development and execution
of the consultation by Vox Pop Labs is proceeding in several phases.
The first is to "Conduct a robust scientific survey to identify key
themes ... and develop classifications based on responses" prior to the
launch of the interactive online application. The results of the
"scientific survey" will be analyzed by the use of "multivariate data
analysis to determine segments and develop narratives for each cluster
based on the profiles that emerge from the survey." The company is to
"Develop a robust model (e.g. using multinomial logistic regression,
discriminant analysis, etc.) to instantaneously classify participants
to the interactive online digital consultation platform into segments
uncovered in the survey" and "Provide categories of customized user
feedback and data visualization for review by the Project Authority."
This analysis will then be used to create an online digital
consultation and engagement platform, presumably tied to the cards
being sent to households.
The platform will "Provide users [...] immediate access
their results i.e. their profile
and how it compares to other Canadians, using visual graphics such as
two-dimensional maps and a summary description of the cluster they more
closely align with."
Vox Pop Labs will provide the government with "weekly analytics reports
on use of the
online digital consultation and engagement platform and highlight any
irregularities with the data." It will then "Conduct data analysis with
the information collected
via the interactive online application and provide a report of findings
to the Government."
Summing up the goal of the platform, the tender stated, "The platform will allow Canadians to identify their priorities through an interactive online application that would return to the user information based on their responses and the profiles and narratives developed based on the survey." Vox Pop Labs Inc. describes its work as "mapping collective consciousness," which is precisely what it does not do. The collective of Canadian people is far more than the ordering of a number of individual preferences. A people and its consciousness is far greater than the sum of its parts. To gauge public opinion is not a matter of collecting random responses to random questions. It is necessary to put it in the context of social relations and use legitimate methods which convert the popular will into the legal will, which these kinds of polls definitely are not. All of this merits the attention of Canadians because the Trudeau Liberals are destroying the old way of conferring legitimacy on governments. They are trying to bring in methods which are not only spurious but adopted behind the backs of the people. Never will these new ways confer legitimacy, no matter how much money or PR or how many private consulting firms and think tanks the Liberals throw at trying to show that they do.
1. According to the 2011 census, there are 13 million households in Canada; 2016 census population figures will not be released until February 2017.
2. The founder and CEO of Vox Pop
Labs Inc., Clifton van der Linden, is a PhD candidate at the University
of Toronto, who has been the Chair of the G8 Research Group at the Munk
School of Global Affairs, a reporter for the National Post and held
fellowships with Massey College, the Trudeau Centre for Peace, Conflict
and Justice, as well as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research
Council of Canada. He was also a fellow with Action Canada, an
organization that provides fellowships to "emerging leaders" to connect
them with representatives of government, the oligopolies and legal
4. Vox Pop Labs Inc. says they "build applications to analyse large amounts of data for our users so that they can clearly evaluate their options before making important decisions." The tools are to "support citizens and consumers in evaluating the match between their options and their objectives."
(With files from National Post)
Precarious employment and working conditions are not acceptable
Prime Minister Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau created an uproar recently with attacks on the youth and their aspirations for a bright future of empowerment, secure employment and dignity and the rights of all provided with a guarantee. In response to concerns raised by youth, both said that the precarious employment and working conditions plaguing the youth are here to stay and they should just accept that.
Morneau told delegates at an October 22 meeting of the federal Liberal Party's Ontario wing that high employee turnover and short-term contract work will continue throughout young people's lives. The task of the government is not to change the situation for the better but to convince the youth to accept their lot in life without resisting. The issue for the Liberal government is to mould youth to accept that their role in life is to serve big business. The government says it is focused on training and retraining workers so they can better move from job to job and hold more than one job at a time, as this is the situation they face.
Morneau seemed to relish describing the painful reality by telling stories of youth in difficult situations repeatedly looking for jobs, finding a job, losing the job and looking again. This he called "job churn," a callous expression currently in vogue amongst executives of large corporations and business pundits.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who also named himself Minister of Youth, jumped into the attack on youth during an appearance at a Canadian Labour Congress Young Workers' Summit on October 25. Trudeau put his "sunny" spin on the issue, saying, "Well, I think first of all, recognizing that the workplace is changing, that technological disruptions, the sharing economy, the new reality of the fact that there are going to be, instead of having one job, one career, where you start in the mail room, work your way up to being Vice-President and getting a gold watch when you retire and some archaic version of it, we're going to have, actually, multiple careers over the course of our lives." Trudeau even claimed, "That's actually something that a lot of people are interested in -- challenging themselves and going forward."
Mental constructs and storytelling that distort the reality working people are facing and putting a sunny spin on callous indifference to the struggles and insecurity of workers, particularly young workers, have become normal government practice. Policy objectives have given way to public relations disinformation campaigns to disorient Canadians, especially the youth, from uniting in actions with analysis to oppose the liberal anti-social offensive of the oligopolies and their politicians.
Rather than dealing with the world as it presents itself, members of the ruling imperialist elite such as Morneau and Trudeau prefer storytelling. Sometimes they tell stories about themselves and how wonderful life has been for them. Morneau boasts about all the career changes he has faced, taking him from the powerful and privileged life of chair of the C.D. Howe Institute and executive at Morneau Shepell to the even more powerful and privileged life of a Liberal government Finance Minister. For his part, Justin Trudeau, who was raised in the Prime Minister's residence and then went off to dabble in this and that only to be brought back to his rightful home, loves to present a bubbly persona that all is right in the world because all is right with his world.
The reality of life for millions of youth facing precarious conditions is an entirely different matter. Morneau and Trudeau are not their peers and never will be. They have nothing in common with the life experience and the problems youth face.
Working youth face the "new reality" of precarious and part-time work. Even in industrial jobs, youth are told that their wages are going to be lower than others in the workforce because that is the new reality of a divided working class. This extends to their pensions as well, which, if they exist, have gone from defining the benefit a retiree receives to defining the "contribution" a worker puts into a pension plan through a payroll tax while leaving the benefit upon retirement uncertain. But in any case, jumping from job to job and career to career negates even the notion of a defined-benefit pension unless of course they are members of the privileged elite such as Morneau and Trudeau.
Entering the workforce even with qualifications is a nasty bit of business. Teachers, for example, are expected to be supplemental and part-time for years with positions even posted as 0.4 or 0.2 fraction of a full-time job while food, rent and other necessities of life are never priced as a 0.4 or 0.2 fraction for those whose jobs are a fraction of the whole. When hired, young workers are given the title of "new hires," which in reality is a target on their back. The liberal cynicism is such that the insecurity of young workers is used to attack workplace norms such as seniority, which developed as a means for workers to defend themselves against executive arbitrariness and favouritism, as well as the firing of workers considered troublesome working class leaders by those in control.
The official youth unemployment rate is double the national rate. Half of workers between the ages of 15 and 24 work part time. One-third of young Canadians find themselves working in temporary jobs. Hundreds of thousands of young people work in unpaid internships, including in the federal public service sector, without even speaking of internships considered necessary to gain academic credit, in which students pay to work as part of their tuition fees.
Precarious conditions are a feature of an economy that is wracked by the endless quest for the private profit, class privilege and empire-building of a tiny ruling elite that is bent on seizing an ever-larger quantity of the social wealth that workers produce. The economy and social wealth are not mobilized to fulfil the aim of preparing our youth to become producers and leaders and to ensure they receive the greatest social love and attention society can provide, and guarantee their rights, security and well-being. Far from it, youth are told to fend for themselves because the aim of the economy and those who control it is mired in a medieval past of petty production, autocracy, class privilege and extended families that no longer exist as functioning economic units.
Whatever workers have achieved as a modicum of job security, benefits or living wages is being destroyed. Nothing is positive about the destruction of social and working conditions and to give it some sunny spin is truly disgusting. To suggest in the liberal manner of Morneau and Trudeau that the dismantling of living and working conditions through "technological disruptions, the sharing economy and job churn" is something the working people should just accept without putting the human factor in first place will not wash no matter how much PR disinformation is spread. The youth refuse to be blocked in their struggle for a pro-social alternative and new direction to fulfill their dreams. The youth are on the frontlines of the organized struggle of the working class to change the situation in a way that is beneficial to the people.
Trudeau and Morneau's cavalier rendering of the precarious situation and uncertain future facing Canadian youth who are beset with "moving from job to job," "changing careers" and "job churn" is to cover up the fact that people have no control over this economy and the decisions that are being taken by the owners of the social wealth and the governments in their service. Whatever aspirations youth have for a career or more than one career, the fact remains that they are subject to an economy that is not organized to satisfy the needs of the people, and their desires and dreams are being shattered. The socialized economy is being wrecked at the bidding of a privileged elite who seem to delight in the wrecking as it opens possibilities to make a fortune and build an empire. Far from acceptance of wrecking and insecurity and the liberal call to adapt to the anti-social offensive, the problems facing the youth and society must be addressed and resolved in the people's favour.
The working class rejects the outlook of the Trudeau Liberal government that the youth must accept the reality of insecurity. The working class movement demands that measures must be adopted immediately that offer some measure of respite for the working people such as enshrining in law that the people will never be left to fend for themselves under any circumstance, whether unemployed, injured or sick; that education is a right; that health care is a right; that stability of employment is a right; that defined benefits in retirement at a Canadian living standard is a right, etc.
If the Liberal government considers this an unwelcome restriction on the flexibility required to train youth to be an unorganized, mobile, disposable workforce that is deprived of even the most elementary rights then so be it. People have rights by virtue of being human. In the twenty-first century people refuse to define rights based on property, the accident of birth or natural or hereditary right. Rights are defined by virtue of people's humanity, their existence as human beings.
The working class denounces the liberal drivel from the privileged mouth of Trudeau in opposition to raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, saying in an interview with Reuters, "It's not just about putting a little more money in peoples' pockets, it's about making sure that they have the conditions to be able to succeed." The ruling imperialist elite have no interest in improving the social conditions for the working people because that would restrict their flexibility in having a workforce at their beck and call from which they can seize the social wealth workers produce.
The social and working conditions that Canadian youth need to succeed and to have a secure future are precisely what the imperialist rich and their politicians deny the people. All out to join the working class front to deprive the ruling imperialist elite of their power to deprive the youth and all people of their rights!
Since coming to power, the Trudeau government has been
pursuing the further annexation of Canada into the United States of
North American Monopolies. One of the main features of the Harper
government was to establish "bi-national bodies" that placed U.S.
security agencies as well as government officials in a position to
impose their interests on matters in Canada.
Similar anti-national arrangements are taking place under the Trudeau government not only with the United States but between Canada and Mexico as well as among the executives of all three countries. For example, an announcement followed the North American Leaders' Summit held in Ottawa this past June, that "in 2016, Canada will embed personnel into a United States customs centre -- in which Mexican custom personnel are also currently embedded -- on a pilot basis to establish a foundation for joint contraband threat identification and examination activities."
In other cases the Trudeau government announces decisions made by the Prime Minister's Office or Ministers and the U.S. President and then declares that these will apply to Canada, albeit with a chance for "consultation" on how they will be carried out. This was the case with the announcement of U.S. and Canadian "joint leadership" over the Arctic which imposes U.S. strategic concern for free movement of their military in the Arctic as a Canadian concern.
IIn another example, on August 16, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna congratulated the U.S. on "stricter greenhouse gas regulations for heavy-duty vehicles [...] The Government of Canada intends to align with the Phase 2 emission standards, while considering specific implications for the Canadian heavy-duty vehicle, engine and trailer sectors." The Minister's statement added: "Canada intends to publish our proposed regulations for heavy-duty vehicles, Phase 2, by the end of 2016 and will provide a consultation period for Canadians." (TML emphasis.)
The Trudeau government is also pushing further in the arrangements for a North American Security Perimeter under U.S. command, something championed by the Harper government. The Trudeau Liberals are seeking to pass Bill C-23, An Act respecting the preclearance of persons and goods in Canada and the United States, which is linked with legislation that must also be passed in the U.S. for it to function in Canada.
The plan worked out by Prime Minister Trudeau and U.S.
President Obama is to extend the preclearance system that has
existed for a number of years at large Canadian airports to new
airports in downtown Toronto and Quebec City and for the first
time to land travel, starting with the Montreal train station and
the Rocky Mountaineer west-coast rail line. This essentially means
expanding the presence of U.S. security agents in these facilities and
Bill C-23 will, if enacted: authorize a federal Minister to designate preclearance areas and preclearance perimeters in Canada, in which preclearance may take place; permit Canadian officials to operate alongside U.S. agents in the exercise of the U.S. agents' duties, empower U.S. preclearance officers to "facilitate" preclearance; permit U.S. officers to bring their guns into Canada; set conditions under which those leaving Canada can be questioned and strip-searched by U.S. officers; allow people to be detained by U.S. officials in Canada under certain circumstances; block civil claims against the U.S. government but permit them against individual officers; and set rules for the extradition of officers in the case of criminal misconduct.
However, implementing legislation needs to be passed in both countries to begin the program. In the U.S. Congress the related bill is called the Promoting Travel, Commerce, and National Security Act of 2016. Its stated aim is to: "ensure United States jurisdiction over offenses committed by United States personnel stationed in Canada in furtherance of border security initiatives." It indicates that anyone employed by a department or agency of the United States other than the Department of Defense and stationed or deployed in Canada pursuant to a treaty or executive agreement "in furtherance of a border security initiative" who engages in conduct (or conspires or attempts to engage in conduct) in Canada that would constitute an offence for which a person may be prosecuted in a court of the United States had the conduct been engaged in within the United States or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States shall be punished as provided for that offence.
On behalf of the government, the Canadian embassy in the United States is pushing to ensure the passage of the U.S. legislation. "We will be working with the proponents in Congress and in the administration ... to get (preclearance) done," Canadian Ambassador to the United States David MacNaughton said in an interview, "because if you don't bring it up it could just inadvertently not get passed."
It is reported that in the spring, an attempt to stick the item into an unrelated omnibus bill collapsed when the parties began arguing over other add-ons and, in order to save the core bill, they stripped out all the additions including the part on the Canada-U.S. border.
"The problem is how do you introduce it; where does it
does it get attached to another bill," MacNaughton said. "We're
hoping and expecting that they will pass the legislation by the
end of the year." The Canadian government may step up its lobbying
efforts in the U.S. to get this legislation passed before Trump takes
office, or it may calculate that it will be easier to wait until Trump
is in power given the greater "congruity" between the executive and the
Congress. In either case, one can hardly imagine a more treasonous and
humiliating position than pushing the U.S. government to pass
legislation that permits U.S. agents to operate in Canada.
Another issue of concern is the participation of high-level U.S. officials in Canadian government business. This is kept hidden from Canadians and only reported by U.S. agencies. According to a "readout" from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security was "honored to be the first U.S. Cabinet Secretary to be invited to a Canadian Cabinet Committee meeting" during his trip in Ottawa on October 27. He did not say what Cabinet Committee he met with although it may have been the Cabinet Committee on Canada-U.S. Relations.
The only news release from the Canadian government on the matter was from Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale who said:
"Secretary Johnson and I discussed our progress on implementing the preclearance agreement, its expansion to new sites and the intention to identify sites for cargo pilots. It's estimated that 12 million people use preclearance every year at Canada's eight preclearance airports. Our continued work on preclearance will enhance our mutual security, prosperity and economic competitiveness.
"In addition to preclearance we talked about progress on other initiatives such as Entry/Exit and information sharing for the purposes of national security. These programs help to ensure the vital flow of legitimate travel and trade across the border, while protecting our national security and privacy."
It is concerning for Canadians that they have to find out about the participation of a high level U.S. official in the upper echelons of the Canadian government from the U.S. official in question. It begs the question as to why the Trudeau government did not see fit to even mention it.
Results of PEI Electoral Reform Plebiscite
From October 29 to November 7 residents of Prince Edward Island voted in a plebiscite asking them to rank their preferences among five systems of counting votes: Dual-Member Proportional; First-past-the-post; First-past-the-post Plus Leaders; Mixed Member Proportional; and Preferential Voting. First-past-the-post had the most first preferences among the 36 per cent of eligible voters who cast a ballot. This preferential system of counting votes is said to be the preference of the federal Liberals as well as the PEI Liberal government.
The preferential voting
algorithm determined that the
with "majority support" was Mixed-Member Proportional. This was
the result of four rounds of counting ballots and then
redistributing the ranked preferences. Until the final
redistribution, First-past-the-post had the greatest support.
Of the 102,464 eligible voters in the plebiscite, which included for the first time 16- and 17-year-olds, voter turnout was 37,040 or 36.46 per cent. This is despite the fact that for the first time, votes could be cast online or over the telephone as well as in person at polling places.
As in the case of the Trudeau Liberal government's consultations, the framework for PEI electoral reform was set by the government after which a Special Committee was tasked with consulting about the pre-defined choices. It put forward preferential voting as the method for consultation in a plebiscite, and defined that consultation should take place on choosing one of the three options, First-past-the-post, Proportional Representation or Preferential (or Ranked) Voting.
The votes were calculated by a company called Simply
Voting Inc. using machines from another company, Election Systems &
Software. Simply Voting also conducted the online and telephone vote,
and then combined this with the paper ballots after they were fed
through machines. It then ran an algorithm which counts and
redistributes ballots based on ranked preferences -- the choice with
the least support is excluded, and those votes are redistributed to
other choices based on the preference indicated by the voter. This
continues until one choice has more than 50 per cent of the first or
redistributed ranked preferences. In the final round, Mixed-Member
Proportional had 19,418 of these preferences and First-past-the-post
Of the ballots cast 1,753 or 4.74 per cent were "exhausted." This happens when an elector has not marked a preference for any of the options "still standing" in a round of counting. Voters could rank their preference for all five options or one or any combination.
Liberal Premier Wade MacLauchlan said on November 7 after results were made available, "It is debatable whether the plebiscite conducted between October 29 and November 7 produced a clear majority. ... It is doubtful whether these results can be said to constitute a clear expression of the will of Prince Edward Islanders, to adopt the language of the Special Committee on Democratic Renewal." MacLauchlan said before the vote that the government would examine the result before making any choice on implementing reforms.
MacLauchlan said "We're still trying to understand why people didn't vote. ... There was an extensive educational process. There were consultations over the fall and the winter of 2016 by a special committee. And I have to say that, even up until this past weekend, you would question the extent to which Prince Edward Islanders were engaged by the questions being raised." He acknowledged that the PEI result and what the PEI Liberal government does will have implications for electoral reform at the federal level. "This is an area where Prince Edward Island is stepping out and others are watching. We'll keep that [in] mind as we go into the legislature."
Elections PEI Chief Electoral Officer Gary McLeod said the election was probably the most accessible ever held in PEI "All we can do is give Islanders the opportunity. I know we gave a wide range of opportunities and avenues to vote without any restrictions," he said.
Canada's Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam
the spokesperson for the Trudeau government on electoral reform,
has not commented on the plebiscite results and her office has
not responded to media questions. During a meeting on federal electoral
reform in Charlottetown on September 23 Monsef said in reference to the
plebiscite, "You've helped bring us to this very important point in our
history ... We are watching you very closely, Islanders."
Members of the House of Commons Special Committee on Electoral Reform all took the result as a vindication of their party's own positions. Scott Reid of the Conservative Party stated that the plebiscite disproves the notion that a national vote would sink any reform proposal, referring to his party's support for a referendum on any proposed reforms. He stated that it is up to the province to decide whether turnout was sufficient to legitimize the outcome.
Nathan Cullen and Alexandre Boulerice of the NDP issued a joint statement saying, "Prince Edward Island took an important step in showing our country the way by selecting mixed-member proportional representation," the reform their party supports. They added, "Across Canada, there is a palpable desire for change in how we elect our representatives to increase fairness and accountability. Canadians expect the Prime Minister to make good on his promise to make every vote count. The result of PEI's electoral reform process is historic and paves the way for change at a federal level."
Meanwhile, Green Party leader Elizabeth May stated in a
release, "I urge PEI Premier Wade MacLauchlan to accept the
results of this plebiscite and take steps towards legislation for
a mixed-member proportional voting system."
||# of Votes|
|First-Past-The-Post (the current system)||11,567|
|Mixed Member Proportional Representation||10,757|
|Dual Member Proportional Representation||7,951|
|First-Past-The-Post Plus Leaders -excluded||2,821|
Second Round of Counting
|Electoral System||Original # Votes||+Redistributed||New Total Votes|
|First-Past-The-Post (the current system)||11,567||1,541||13,108|
|Mixed Member Proportional Representation||10,757||396||11,153|
|Dual Member Proportional Representation||7,951||273||8,224|
Third Round of Counting
|Electoral System||Second Round Totals||+Redistributed||New Total Votes|
|First-Past-The-Post (the current system)||13,108||1,358||14,466|
|Mixed Member Proportional Representation||11,153||1,627||12,780|
|Dual Member Proportional Representation-excluded||8,224||724||8,948|
Fourth Round of Counting
|Electoral System||Third Round Totals||+Redistributed||New Total Votes|
|Mixed Member Proportional Representation||12,780||6,638||19,418|
|First-Past-The-Post (the current system)||14,466||1,403||15,869|
|Electoral System||Fourth Round Totals||% of Votes|
|Mixed Member Proportional Representation||19,418||52.42|
|First-Past-The-Post (the current system)||15,869||42.84|
(PV) is an electoral system where voters rank all the options on a
single ballot according to preference. Voters may rank as few or as
many as they wish. To receive majority support an electoral system must
receive more than 50 per cent of valid votes.
Excluded: An option is "excluded" from consideration, if it has the lowest amount of votes and another round of counting is required, if no other option reached more than 50 per cent support to achieve the threshold.
Exhausted: A vote or ballot is "exhausted" following the voters choice being "excluded", if there were no further preferences ranked on the voters' ballot or if their next preferred option has already been excluded.
Threshold: The number of valid ballots divided by 2, rounded down to the lowest whole number plus 1.
(For full information on the referendum and background see TML Weekly October 29, 2016.)
NATO Ministerial Meeting and Related Developments
NATO Defence Ministers met October 26-27 at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels, to "mark progress" in implementing the plans set out at its Warsaw Summit in July. NATO claims these plans are all about "defence and deterrence." Its war preparations in Eastern Europe and its intervention in the humanitarian crisis resulting from U.S. imperialism's destruction of various countries in the Middle East and north Africa are presented as defensive measures as if NATO is the victim of foreign aggression, when in fact by its nature NATO is an aggressive military and political alliance headed by U.S. imperialism.
A NATO news release describes the meetings as marking progress in plans for a "strengthened NATO presence in the eastern part of the Alliance, and in the Black Sea region." This refers to the decision at the Warsaw Summit to create four NATO battalions in the Baltic states and Poland and new plans for the south.
The meetings also discussed "Russia's recent military activity along NATO's borders." (TML emphasis.) The "military activity" NATO refers to are claims that Russia is stationing troops and moving missiles to its western border where there is an ongoing build-up of NATO military forces, including Canadian forces. Similarly, it alluded to the movement of a Russian aircraft carrier battle group sailing past the coast of Norway and other European countries reportedly on its way to Syria. As of November 1 the battle group reached the Mediterranean Sea, a region where the U.S. Sixth Fleet operates. In this way, Russia's moves in response to foreign troops being placed in countries on its border is presented as aggression, while the aggressive movement of foreign troops from countries both inside and outside of NATO into Eastern Europe to surround Russia is presented as defence.
The NATO news release reports that in Brussels defence ministers focused on "NATO's efforts to project stability beyond its borders." Specifically this included reviewing "progress on NATO training and capacity building for Iraq," considering the future of the Alliance's deployment in the Aegean Sea and considering a possible maritime role for NATO in the Central Mediterranean to "support" Operation Sophia, the mission of the EU border agency's Frontex. Operation Sophia currently patrols the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece where thousands of people try to get to Greece by boat and from there to other European countries. Those who are caught are sent back to Turkey.
The meeting dealt with measures NATO is putting in place to encircle and threaten Russia, interfere in the affairs of countries in Eastern Europe and suppress opposition to wars of aggression, which it refers to as "strengthening deterrence and defence." These relate mainly to decisions announced at the Warsaw Summit, including the deployment of four multinational battalions along with an array of tanks, other armoured vehicles and drones to the Baltic States and Poland planned for early 2017. The battalions comprised of about 1,000 troops each will be led by Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States respectively. The make-up of the battalions was announced at the Brussels ministerial meeting. Albania, Italy, Poland, and Slovenia are to send troops to join the Canadian-led battle group in Latvia. Belgium, Croatia, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway will join the Germans in Lithuania. Denmark and France will send units to join British forces in Estonia, with Romania and Britain providing troops to the U.S.-led battalion in Poland.
The four new battalions are to be supported by a 40,000-member strong rapid reaction force capable of deploying wherever needed. capable of deploying quickly, wherever needed. In addition to the movement of NATO forces to encircle Russia, the U.S. continues in parallel with NATO, moving even greater numbers of its own troops and equipment to Russia's borders.
Norway's Ministry of Defence announced on October 24 that as of January 2017 the United States will station some 330 marines on a rotational basis at the Værnes military base near Trondheim. Marines are a first strike force and Norway has a 200-kilometre long border with Russia. The Marine Corps Times reports that the U.S. military "has already pre-positioned thousands of pieces of equipment including M1A1 Abrams tanks in Norwegian caves to support 15,000 Marines for up to one month of combat operations."
"The United States are our most important ally and we have a near bilateral relationship that we wish to develop," Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement. "The defence of Norway is dependent on allied reinforcement and it is crucial for Norwegian security that our allies get the knowledge required to operate in Norway, together with Norwegian forces." NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is a former Prime Minister of Norway.
Major General Niel E. Nelson, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa, said a Marine presence in Norway would "increase NATO's ability to rapidly aggregate and employ forces in northern Europe."
Russia's Permanent Representative to NATO Alexander Grushko denounced NATO's "confrontational schemes of military planning and military preparations in the territories along our borders," specifically the "forward storage of weapons and hardware and modernizing [of] infrastructure ahead of [the] deployment of big army units, conducting an endless chain of drills, both ground, sea and air, along the Russia borders." He said, "The NATO leaders prefer not to mention national efforts member countries are taking in addition to those measures," pointing to a U.S. tank brigade being deployed on a rotational basis in Eastern Europe and activities being undertaken by "countries which have declared themselves as 'frontline' [to enhance] their military potentials."
Also announced in Brussels
is a new maritime operation to be launched in the Central Mediterranean
called Sea Guardian that was previously announced at the Warsaw Summit.
NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg said at the time, "We have decided
to transform Operation Active Endeavour into a broader security mission
called Sea Guardian." He added, "We intend to work closely with the
European Union's Operation Sophia in the Central Mediterranean,
building on our swift and effective cooperation with the EU to cut
lines of international human trafficking in the Aegean." Operation
Active Endeavour began in October 2001 as part of NATO's response to
the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Since that time NATO ships have been
patrolling the Mediterranean and monitoring shipping to "help deter,
defend, disrupt and protect against terrorist activity."
According to Stoltenberg, under Operation Sea Guardian,
NATO ships and maritime patrol planes in the Central Mediterranean will
now include the provision of situational awareness and "logistical
support" to Greece and Turkey and the EU's border agency Frontex
operating in the Aegean Sea. Since February, NATO has had a group of
seven ships from various countries in the Aegean Sea as its
contribution to the EU operation there. At the Brussels meeting,
Turkey's Defence Minister told reporters there was no need for NATO's
Aegean mission to continue beyond December, saying it was a temporary
mission that has achieved its goal and there was no need to extend it.
In spite of Turkey's position, the next day the NATO Secretary General
announced that NATO had decided to continue its mission in the Aegean
along with its new plans for the Central Mediterranean.
"Thanks to our joint efforts, together with Greece and Turkey, the flow of migrants has decreased substantially," Stoltenberg said, calling this "yet another example of NATO and the EU working hand-in-hand to increase European security." What he did not say is that with the Aegean route effectively blocked, many refugees are now opting for the more perilous Central Mediterranean crossing from Libya to Italy, where NATO's new maritime mission is to operate. On October 26 UN refugee agency spokesman William Spindler said, "We can confirm that at least 3,800 people have been reported dead or missing in the Mediterranean Sea so far this year, making the death toll in 2016 the highest recorded."
Compounding the problem, the EU recently declared Afghanistan -- a country invaded and occupied by the U.S. and NATO -- a "safe country," opening the door for member states to deport Afghan refugees on the grounds that they are "economic migrants" rather than war refugees. As with the EU-Turkey arrangement, this will only force those affected to choose more dangerous routes and arrangements to try to make it to Europe.
Calling it an effort to "project stability in its wider neighbourhood," Stoltenberg announced in Brussels that in January 2017 NATO will begin the training and "capacity-building" of Iraqi armed forces in Iraq itself, "building on existing training of Iraqi officers in Jordan." He also announced that the previous week NATO began flying Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) surveillance aircraft in support of the [U.S.-led] coalition fighting ISIL.
The training is presented as something new and not aggressive when in fact it goes along with the ongoing U.S. intervention in Iraq and attempts to take control of the country and its public institutions. At the height of the open U.S. occupation of that country (2004 to 2011) NATO was engaged in training 15,000 Iraqi officers inside the country.
More recently NATO says that "in response to a request from the government of Iraq," it agreed to offer "a package of defence capacity building measures to provide assistance in a number of priority areas, including: countering improvised explosive devices, explosive ordnance disposal and demining, security sector reform, military medicine and civil military planning." The first phase of training was launched in April, with a 'train-the trainers' course provided to 350 Iraqi officers in Jordan.
Officials indicate that on top of training police, Canada is training Jordanian security forces under Operation Impact to support "Jordan's ability to prevent and respond to terrorist activity." Among other things this is reported to include helping Jordan conduct "enhanced monitoring and identification of terrorist and criminal activities across its border." Presumably that would be a role for Special Forces. Jordan borders Palestine, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
1. At the 2014 Wales Summit, it was agreed to "enhance the capabilities of the NATO Response Force (NRF) in order to adapt and respond to emerging security challenges posed by Russia, as well as the risks emanating from the Middle East and North Africa." NATO describes the NRF as "the spearhead of the Alliance. It is a rapid-reaction force on land, sea and in the air. It can defend any Ally, deploy anywhere and deal with any threat."
"It was decided to incorporate a Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) within the overall NRF structure, increasing the size of the NRF to 40,000 and providing NATO with a highly capable and flexible air, land, maritime and special forces package capable of deploying at short notice when tasked. The VJTF comprises a multinational brigade (approximately 5,000 troops), with up to five manoeuvre battalions, supported by air, maritime and special forces. Once fully operational, the VJTF will be supplemented by two additional brigades, as a rapid-reinforcement capability, in case of a major crisis. If activated, the force will be available to move immediately, following the first warnings and indicators of potential threats, before a crisis begins, to act as a potential deterrent to further escalation. The rapid arrival of this small but capable military unit would send a very clear message to any potential aggressor: 'any attempt to violate the sovereignty of one NATO nation will result in a decisive military engagement with all 28 allied nations.'"
(NATO, Globe and Mail, RT, Reuters, Xinhua, Tass, teleSUR, Press TV)
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan undertook a three-day visit to Belgium and Latvia in late October. A Department of Defence (DND) press release issued October 28 said that during the trip, Sajjan "advanced Canada's role as one of four NATO Framework Nations, each a key part of NATO's strengthened deterrence and defence posture in Eastern and Central Europe."
According to the DND release, "While at the NATO Defence Ministers Meeting in Brussels, Belgium, Minister Sajjan met with representatives from Latvia and countries that will be supplying troops to the battle group Canada will command there. He also attended a discussion led by the UK on cooperation in Ukraine along with the United States, Poland and Lithuania."
On July 8, during the NATO Warsaw Summit Prime Minister Trudeau announced a Land Task Force commitment beginning in early 2017 of up to 455 personnel "to support NATO's enhanced Forward Presence" in Latvia. The commitment includes a battle group headquarters element, a mechanized infantry company, combat service support, vehicles and equipment.
The DND release reports: "In Latvia, Minister Sajjan met with President Raimonds Vejonis, Defence Minister Raimonds Bergmanis and Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkevics. Following these meetings, Minister Sajjan was part of the opening panel of the Riga Conference, which focused on NATO's role in a challenging and changing security environment. On the margins of this conference, Minister Sajjan met with the Estonian Defence Minister Hannes Hanso and visited the Adai Military Base where Canadian Armed Forces members will be deployed in 2017."
At present Canada also has 220 troops deployed to Poland as part of what it calls Operation Reassurance -- Canada's contribution to NATO's buildup of troops and operations on Russia's borders in Central and Eastern Europe. In an interview with CBC News in May, Poland's president Andrzej Duda said he hopes Canada will increase its military presence in his country "to help deter Russian aggression." Canada's other commitments under Operation Reassurance, include:
- a Halifax-class frigate on a persistent rotational basis to conduct exercises and operational tasks such as surveillance and monitoring primarily with NATO's Maritime Command. The ships have been variously deployed to the Baltic, Mediterranean, Black and Aegean Seas; and
- an Air Task Force of up to six CF-18s together with a flight crew and support staff to be deployed to conduct periodic surveillance and air policing operations "in NATO areas of responsibility" and participate in joint training activities with other nations. The Air Task Force has been deployed to Romania for joint exercises and to Lithuania to take part in NATO's "air policing" of the Baltic region.
At the Brussels meeting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also announced that Canada would be among those contributing to a planned Romanian-led multinational brigade in the Black Sea region. According to DND, Canada will have F-18s stationed in Romania and a frigate in the Black Sea. It is not clear whether this is in addition to or part of Canada's prior commitment of six war planes under its Operation Reassurance.
Operation Unifier is the name of Canada's military training mission to Ukraine under which 200 Canadian Forces members are currently providing capacity building to the Ukrainian armed forces (comprised of regular forces and neo-Nazi militias in the National Guard) in coordination with the U.S., Britain and other countries. The mission began in the summer of 2015 and is scheduled to last until March 31, 2017. Military assistance is just one component of Canada's multi-faceted support to the Poroshenko government brought to power in the Ukraine by a U.S.-engineered coup d'état. On September 19, the Trudeau government tabled the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement in Parliament. It was signed in a ceremony on July 11 on the heels of NATO's Warsaw Summit.
On October 1 Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion announced "up to $8.1 million in new funding to support the National Police of Ukraine." The funding is to come through Canada's new Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOPs) which the government claims is to fund "Peace Operations."
No Harbour for War
The 8th annual Halifax International Security Forum will be convened on November 18-20 as a platform for warmongering and empire building of U.S. imperialism and the NATO bloc, in which the Trudeau Liberal Government is fully embroiled.
Warmongers from more than 50 countries will join Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and some 300 others at the Washington, DC based Forum "to learn from each other, share opinions, generate new ideas, and put them into action."
The first forum in 2009 was dedicated to popularizing NATO's then-new "security doctrine." Subsequent forums have provided a stage to justify NATO's "humanitarian intervention" in Libya and the whole African continent, Syria and Iran. This forum will no doubt further NATO's dark plans to attack and destroy the Assad government in Syria under the guise of destroying ISIL "Islamic terrorism," or for NATO schemes to use Ukraine as a battering ram and platform from which to foster major aggression against Russia.
It is unacceptable that Halifax, or any Canadian city,
used as a venue to plan further crimes against the peace and the
peoples of the world. Bring your banners, bring your music and
statements, and most of all bring your friends to oppose this war
(No Harbour for War)
National Student Day of Action
Students from 58 colleges and universities in 36 cities
demonstrated on November 2 calling for the elimination of tuition fees,
fully funded post-secondary education for Indigenous students and the
elimination of interest on all existing student loans. The demands were
made on the basis that education is a right and must be provided with a
guarantee so that members of society can flourish, make their
contribution and create a bright future for themselves.
The decision to call a day of action was taken at the June 4 National Annual Meeting of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) and it is the first such action since 2012. Participation was not limited to campuses affiliated with the CFS -- youth and student groups at other campuses also mobilized students to participate.
In the lead-up to the day of action, the CFS issued a
"Time to Think Big," laying out its proposal for eliminating
tuition fees and publicly funding post-secondary education. It
notes that colleges and universities are more and more privately
funded on the basis of user fees and deals with private
interests. From 2001 to 2014, revenue from tuition fees at
colleges more than doubled and nearly tripled at universities
between 2000 and 2015. It is now commonplace for well over 50 per
cent of university funding to come from user fees and a
decreasing proportion from public funds. The latest published
statistics put the total outstanding student loan debt at $28
billion, excluding private loans. The average undergraduate
student loan debt is $27,000 and graduate students typically owe
around $41,000. To read the study, click here.
Another recent study, "Hungry for Knowledge" by Drew
Silverthorn, looks into the serious problem of food insecurity
among post-secondary students in Canada. Among other things,
tuition and student debt are identified as major factors
contributing to students not being able to acquire sufficient
nutrition. To read that study, click here.
(Photos: TML, Canadian Federation of Students, Canadian Federation of Students Newfoundland, ANSUT, A..J. Leahy, M. Breton, T. Whitfield, University of Regina Student Union, O. Cadabeschi)
Continental Day of Action for Democracy and Against Neo-Liberalism
Across the Americas on November 4, activists and social movements marked the Continental Day of Action for Democracy and Against Neo-Liberalism. This date marks the 11th anniversary of the defeat of the U.S.-sponsored Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) in 2005. The decision to hold the continental day of protest was made by participants in the hemispheric conference held on the 10th anniversary of the defeat of the FTAA in 2015 in Havana. It calls on the progressive forces to step up their defence of their social achievements and opposition to the neo-liberal aims that the U.S. imperialists and the monopolies continue to push in different forms.
A November 3 editorial in Granma sums up
the recent struggles, achievements and impetus for the day,
particularly with respect to Latin America and the Caribbean:
"The slogan bringing people across the continent together is: Not one step back! The struggles for integration, self-determination, and sovereignty against free trade and transnationals continue.
"Current demands revolve around three fundamental principles: the struggle against free trade and transnationals; the deepening of democratic processes and the defense of sovereignty; and the integration of our peoples."
"These ideas have been present ever since the beginning of our independence struggles, but have been held back over more than two centuries. [...]
"Many steps have occurred in recent decades, ever since the first attempts in the mid-twentieth century that allowed for the creation of various integration mechanisms.
"In 2001, [Venezuelan President Hugo] Chávez and the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, laid the foundations of a new type of integration as part of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).
"Finally, on February 23, 2010, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was created, by 33 countries of the continent, excluding the U.S. and Canada. This body emerged from the cumulative 200 years of struggle and a common vision of Latin American and Caribbean integration, to form the 'Greater Homeland.'
"However, there is no doubt that the crisis of global capitalism that began in 2008, and its impact on the region, has weakened our countries and their integration processes.
"More than ten years after [the defeat of the FTAA at] Mar del Plata, the spirit of the FTAA is today implemented through Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and mega-regional trade or free investment agreements. Right-wing sectors are recovering strength and once again threatening the gains of recent years.
"The return to power of conservative elites in countries that led the way in these processes places us in a different scenario and represents a danger to the integration we are building, defending and want to deepen."
In Toronto, an action was held at the constituency office of Minister of International Trade Chrystia Freeland to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and its agenda of privatization. The action also expressed solidarity with those in Brazil and across Latin America and the Caribbean fighting for democracy and sovereignty, as well as the resistance of the Standing Rock Sioux in the U.S.
Mexican social movements mobilized around the country in defence of sovereignty and to oppose the TPP.
In the Dominican Republic, unions, peasants and local organizations held a ceremony at the Parque Independencia in the capital Santo Domingo, protesting currently-proposed free trade agreements and demanding democracy in the face of neo-liberal policies.
Cubans rallied at the University of Havana against continued U.S. interference across the region and in celebration of the ideas of historical figures of Latin American independence movements such as Che Guevara, Simón Bolívar, José de San Martín and José Martí. Another action took place in Guantanamo to demand the return of the land occupied by the U.S. Navy since 1903.
In Brazil, activists including members of the anti-debt group Jubilee South and women's groups rallied in the country's largest and most industrialized city, Sao Paulo. They denounced the neo-liberal attacks of the coup government and the criminalization of social movements including the use of state violence against the Landless Movement (MST) earlier that day.
In Montevideo, Uruguay, Dilma Rousseff was received as the legitimate President of Brazil at the events for the day of action. The events highlighted what is at risk with the coup in Brazil, giving full support to the fight for democracy in Brazil, and also the workers' concerns about their rights and the economy in Uruguay.
In Lima, Peru, various political and social organizations rejected the deepening of neo-liberal free trade and called on the Peruvian parliament not to ratify the TPP. The TPP was signed by the previous government of Ollanta Humala and awaits ratification by the Congress, where a majority favours neo-liberalism, making it vital to mobilize the people against it.
Bolivia's Indigenous President Evo Morales attended gatherings to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara arriving in the country and to protest against imperialism and give their support to the Venezuelan government as it faces right-wing coup attempts.
In Argentina, trade unions and political organizations held an action at the Mar Del Plata in Buenos Aires, to remember the 2005 rejection of the FTAA, where they firmly rejected the TPP and the subjugation of the country and the region to foreign interests. "It is essential for us to ensure democracy in our countries because whenever democratic institutions have been lost, the price is paid with the blood of the workers." Actions also took place in Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires.
Other demonstrations were held across the Americas.
(With files from Granma, Common Frontiers, TeleSUR, Juventud Rebelde. Photos; Common Frontiers, Parizotti, J.M. Drazo-Antunez, L. Baldomir, CSA, Diario Chaco)
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