February 18, 2017 - No. 5

Our Security Lies in Our Fight to Defend the Rights of All

A Summit of Imperialist Outlooks

In Memoriam
David Stuart Mackay

October 2, 1947 - February 15, 2017

Reject the Annexation of Canada to the U.S.!
Reject Integration in the Name of Prosperity and Security!
No to Fortress North America!

Need for Unity in Action of Working People of
Canada, Mexico and U.S.

Trudeau's Meeting with Trump
Canada-U.S. Agreements to Deepen Integration
into Fortress North America

Letters to the Editor

Canada's Predatory Relations with Mexico
Minister of Natural Resources Leads Trade Delegation
- Margaret Villamizar -

Mass Protests Against Mexican Government's
Neo-Liberal Energy Reform

- Claude Brunelle -

Chronicle of a Privatization by Stealth
- Crismar Lujano -

Coming Events
Canadian Council for the Americas to Hold Conference in Toronto
- Louis Lang -

In Memoriam

David Stuart Mackay

With profound sorrow the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) informs you that our Comrade David Mackay, a militant life-long advocate and fighter for the rights of workers and the dispossessed as well as the people of his beloved Scotland, left us suddenly on February 15, 2017 as a result of an unexpected heart attack from which he did not recover. David's passing comes after a long struggle with AIDS, a challenge he faced with dignity and resilience. We express our deepest sympathies to David's family and his many, many friends.

David grew up in Vancouver where his parents were political activists. From his youth, David played an active role against U.S. imperialism and in support of the Vietnamese, Cuban, Palestinian and other peoples fighting for their liberation. He participated in the 1968 student occupation at Simon Fraser University demanding credential recognition for college students. Of the 114 arrested, David was the only one to spend time in jail. The judge sentenced him to six months for violating a peace bond from an earlier protest. The judge remarked with the typical contempt of the ruling elite for youth fighting for the new, "Some people learn the hard way."

David worked for many years at the post office, where he was active in his union and upheld the workers' interests. In his later years he worked as an English language teacher.

In the 1990s he actively participated in the discussion forums organized by CPC(M-L) and stood as a candidate for the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada in the federal elections of 2004, 2008, 2011 and 2015. He also travelled to Scotland where he contributed to the movement for Scottish sovereignty and independence, a cause he upheld throughout his adult life.

To his dying breath, he maintained his resistance to the agenda of the big developers in Vancouver, who through their greed are destroying the city making it uninhabitable for most of the working class. He joined with others to oppose the wanton destruction of historic sites throughout the city and especially in the working class neighbourhood where he was raised. He brought a legal challenge to one such development this year uniting with others to form the Residents for Community Control on City Development.

Working class history remained dear to David's heart throughout his life. He was a great archivist and kept meticulous records of the achievements of the working class movement over the past 350 years.

At the meeting organized by CPC(M-L) in Vancouver last May to celebrate the anniversary of the Victory over Nazi-Fascism in the Second World War, he spoke passionately about proletarian internationalism and his family's involvement in the anti-fascist struggle.

David leaves this world as an uncompromising militant of the working class. David did not suffer fools gladly and believed that the worst were those who forgot the theme of the immortal Internationale:

"We have been naught, we shall be all.
'Tis the final conflict, let each stand in their place.
The Internationale shall be the human race."

A memorial event to commemorate David's life and contributions to humanity will be held at a later date.

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Our Security Lies in Our Fight to Defend the Rights of All

A Summit of Imperialist Outlooks

Trump greets Trudeau with an indifferent shrug

What was the purpose of Prime Minister Trudeau going to Washington to meet President Trump? It would seem from all reports that nothing was accomplished on February 13, at least publicly. Trump is facing unprecedented problems in asserting what he sees as his god-given right to issue decrees and use his police powers without the fig-leaf of the U.S. Constitution as an impediment, while others want that fig-leaf to remain in place. He appeared detached and distracted by such affairs and barely engaged with Trudeau.

In this regard, the day in question saw intensification of the festering U.S. civil war between competing factions of the financial oligarchy. Certain members of the U.S. spy agencies and other government departments released classified information accusing Trump's national security advisor Michael Flynn of breaking the law. Flynn later in the day resigned his position prompting Trump to unleash his spite against the "intelligence community." "The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by 'intelligence' like candy," Trump tweeted.

At the joint news conference, Trudeau stood placidly irrelevant while Trump hurled racist epithets at Mexicans and accused them of foul deeds. As if to punctuate the insignificance of Trudeau to the U.S. political elite, the following day, Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer referred to the Prime Minister as Joe Trudeau.

What became of the incessant repetition of false ideological beliefs that preceded the summit? The mass media, at least in Canada, were full of calls for Trudeau to "stand up" to Trump, "fight for Canadian jobs" and insist Trump not make Canadians targets of his wild executive orders or trade policies. Others said no, no, the issue is for Trudeau to find common ground and appease Trump under the notion that this will be more effective at accomplishing the goal of jobs and trade. This is the counsel Trudeau seems to have followed.

Missing from the mass media was any political discussion that should be front and centre such as what Canada has to do to affirm its sovereignty in the face of U.S. imperialism's drive for world hegemony and the increasing danger of war. The oligarchs in control of the economy have made it clear that they want Canada to be a captive source of natural resources for U.S. imperialism. Is this the direction that will bring prosperity and security to Canadians? The imposition of false ideological beliefs diverts people from investigating and discussing what kind of economy does Canada need when faced with a trading partner in the U.S. that is so domineering and unreliable. What new direction for the economy is necessary to make it secure and able to stand on its own without having to rely on exports of natural resources as it does today, which makes it vulnerable to every crisis the U.S. imperialists create?

The promotion of false ideological beliefs deprives the people of a modern outlook capable of analyzing the world as it presents itself and not a concocted reality of the ruling imperialist elite. It suppresses broad discussion on the crucial issues of war and peace in the twenty-first century and the mobilization needed to engage Canadians in the struggle for an anti-war government and to make Canada a zone for peace. All the competing factions of the U.S. financial oligarchy including Trump and Clinton want even greater preparations and engagement in predatory and inter-imperialist wars.

The Canadian mass media coverage of the Trudeau/Trump summit mostly expressed relief that nothing happened and Trump did not go off on a tirade at least against Canadians. Trump pledged only to "tweak" NAFTA as if that should give solace to Canadians who have seen the global oligopolies intensify their hold of Canada's economy under these free trade agreements that serve the narrow private interests of the most powerful oligarchs. Canada's role in the U.S.-led NORAD and NATO military alliances would continue. Trump did not raise, at least publicly, his and Clinton's usual insistence that all members of NATO should contribute two per cent of their GDP to military spending and NATO. This increased militarization would require Canada to double its military expenditures to over $40 billion annually as part of NATO's war preparations and active missions such as the massive buildup of troops and military equipment right up to Russia's western land and sea borders.

No discussion took place in the media as to why NATO and NORAD should continue to exist and the dangers these military alliances pose to Canada's sovereignty. Nor did the media raise that the war preparations and active involvement in predatory wars are in direct contradiction with the necessity and desire of many Canadians to make Canada a zone for peace with an anti-war government doing everything possible to avoid a catastrophic world war and stop the constant U.S. campaigns of interference in the sovereign affairs of the peoples and nations of the world.

The outlook of the financial oligarchy dominates the brains of the two leaders, Trump and Trudeau. Such an outlook has within it the tendency for war and brutal competition for domination both within a country and abroad. The imperialist outlook stands opposed to democratic renewal and the empowerment of the people to control their economy, politics and lives. The imperialist outlook opposes it as an affront to class privilege and denial of the divine right to rule of those possessing great social wealth. The imperialist outlook denies the modern definition that rights belong to people by virtue of being human and that Canada has sovereign rights as a modern nation with a responsibility to oppose U.S. imperialism's drive for world hegemony.

False ideological beliefs obscure how problems pose themselves from the point of view of the working people and their modern outlook, deliberations and actions with analysis to find a way forward that defends their rights and the rights of all.

As TML Weekly wrote ahead of the summit, "The promotion of false ideological beliefs diverts attention from the fact that what Trudeau is negotiating is the place of the oligopolies in the New Order Trump says he is bringing into being."

After the summit in Washington, Trudeau flew off to Europe to promote the private interests of the oligopolies for a free trade deal with the European Union (CETA). Many Canadians oppose CETA as yet one more weapon of the oligopolies to trample on the rights of working people and the sovereignty of Canada.

Working people want control over their work, lives and future. They want modern definitions enshrined in a modern constitution and nation-building project to guarantee their rights and well-being free from the overbearing domination of the financial oligarchy and the class privilege of the rich.

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Reject the Annexation of Canada to the U.S.!
Reject Integration in the Name of
Prosperity and Security!
No to Fortress North America!

In the name of prosperity and security, reams of hype have accompanied the meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump, which took place at the White House in Washington, DC on February 13. Other meetings took place at the same time between Canada's Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Public Safety, and Finance and their U.S. counterparts to hash out deals, the details of which are for the most part unknown. Backroom meetings have also carried on between rich boys such as former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who negotiated the original NAFTA sell-out, and Wilbur Ross, who is infamous for overseeing schemes to flip factories and in the process liquidate workers' pensions and livelihoods.

On the whole, high praise is given to any effort to keep Canada's relations with the U.S. on an even keel.[1] This constant refrain is directed towards imbuing the polity with the false ideological belief that NAFTA has been a great boon to Canada's economy. It is as if the economy is not in crisis, as if the natural resources of Canada have not been reduced to "rip and ship" in the case of oil and the export of raw logs in the case of forestry. Meanwhile, one of the world's most successful supply management monopolies, the Canadian Wheat Board, controlled by the farmers themselves has been dismantled. Dairy and other supply management boards are also being dismantled to bring Canada's food supply under the control of the biggest private interests. Health care, education and public services are being privatized at a faster and faster pace. What is referred to as economic recovery is jobless and workers are losing their pensions, benefits and security across the board while the rich are becoming a lot richer and the poor a lot poorer. Legislatures and courts are dictating the terms on all fronts and resistance is criminalized.

Picket at then-Minister of International Trade Chrystia Freeland's office in Toronto,
November 26, 2016. (A. Yang)

There is no discussion of the actual results of NAFTA for the working people. When no facts are presented, it is not possible to dispute the false ideological belief that NAFTA is great, that the annexation of Canada into Fortress North America and the integration of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico into a new United States of North American Oligopolies are all great. Those who fight this direction are considered traitors deserving of expulsion if foreign born or incarceration if not.

The fundamental message the rulers are sending is that there should be no confusion as to who has the right to deliberate on all the matters of concern to the people, and it is not the people. This is what has to change.


1. In their coverage of the meetings between Canadian and U.S. officials in Washington on February 13, the monopoly media, its pundits and think-tank spokespersons try to disorient the peoples of Canada and the U.S. in such a way that their interests appear bound up with those of the financial oligarchy of those countries. They declare that "common ground" has been established between the two administrations and this is "win-win" for Canada and the U.S.

Examples of this diversion include:

- Carlo Dade, director of the Centre for Trade and Investment Policy at the Canada West Foundation as quoted by Reuters:

"I thought it was a huge, huge win. The worst case scenario is we wound up with an Australia moment, when a relationship that should be on solid ground takes a bad turn. Instead, we actually got an endorsement of North American jobs, of Canada-U.S. jobs, working together, no 'America First' -- just the opposite."

- David Wilkins, former U.S. ambassador to Canada, quoted by Reuters:

"The president's comment on the economy and creating jobs together was a very positive sign for Canadians, especially those that had been concerned about the trading relationship. [...] I think it was a win-win for both countries."

- Walid Hejazi, associate professor of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, speaking to CBC News:

"Donald Trump and his administration don't see Canada as the problem they seek to fix. ... Trade between the U.S. and Canada is not zero-sum -- it's actually win-win."

- Tasha Kheiriddin, iPolitics columnist:

"The meeting went better than expected. There was no friction -- not in public, at any rate. The two men even found common ground on unlikely terrain: advancing women in the workplace. Overall, the visit -- the most challenging meeting of his political career to date -- turned out to be a job well done by Trudeau. It might not lead to a beautiful friendship, but it's not love Trudeau's looking for: it's respect. And on that measure, he appears to be off to a good start."

Margaret Wente, Globe and Mail columnist:

"Mr. Trump did not hang up on us the way he did on the Australians. He didn't stomp all over us the way he did with Mexico. For the time being, we seem to have persuaded him that we're his harmless little buddy. Our guys can get back to Ottawa and pour themselves a nice stiff drink. The PMO's idea of creating a positive event featuring leading female business executives was, frankly, a stroke of genius. The event was a manufactured feel-good piece of non-news that everyone, even the media, could solemnly applaud as they tried to fill up air time. It gave Mr. Trudeau a chance to burnish his feminist credentials, while giving Mr. Trump a chance to mend his reputation as an unredeemed sexist pig. The businesswomen's summit also gave the two men an excuse to find common ground..."

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Need for Unity in Action of Working People of
Canada, Mexico and U.S.

The Trump administration's reactionary and jingoistic policy and rhetoric against the sovereign country of Mexico is an indicator of the harmful character of the trade agenda of the forces pushing for the new United States of the North American Oligopolies. The Trudeau government shamelessly supports the private interests that want to fleece Mexico even more than is the case now and remains silent about U.S. attacks on Mexico. Trudeau's silence on this matter is even being turned into a virtue. One of the merits ascribed to Prime Minister Trudeau's visit to Washington, DC on February 13 was to convince Trump that, unlike Mexico, trade with Canada benefits the U.S. Spokespersons of the ruling elite in Canada declared a victory when Trump, at the joint press conference with Trudeau, said that the U.S. trade relationship with Canada is "a much less severe situation than what's taking place on the southern border."

In the midst of Canada throwing Mexico under the bus in its relations with the U.S., it is also facilitating the entry of North American monopolies into Mexico's newly-privatized energy sector. In the days leading up to Trudeau's meeting with Trump, Canada sought to benefit from the destabilization of Mexico-U.S. relations by sending a high-level trade delegation of energy and mining monopolies to Mexico. At the same time, media report that Canada will revisit the terms of NAFTA on a bilateral basis with the U.S. and cravenly hopes to avoid being "caught at the negotiating table when the Americans go after Mexico."[1]

TML Weekly calls on Canadians to oppose attempts to split the unity of the working people of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. Canadian workers are falsely told that they have benefitted under NAFTA and should defend it, but should not worry about the Trump administration because the worst attacks will be levelled against Mexico. Canada feeds the U.S. imperialist disinformation which claims that workers in the U.S. will be favoured by Trump's destructive and aggressive measures against Mexico and that U.S. and Canadian workers will be favoured if NAFTA is reorganized to favour business interests even more. The proof of the pudding of what NAFTA stands for is well known and it is not good for the working class and people of any of the three countries.

The workers of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are together the targets of all the attacks of the Trump administration and of the oligopolies which consider all three countries as territory for building their empires. Through arrangements such as NAFTA they have given themselves free rein to force the workers into competition on a continent-wide scale to bring down wages and working conditions for all, and to close and reopen factories according to what will serve their empire-building.

Trump as a representative of U.S. imperialism now calls for changing the terms of NAFTA to strengthen U.S. hegemony within this arrangement and in particular the U.S. domination over various sectors of the economy and the ability to use them for war production. In Canada this means ensuring control over strategic natural resources, especially energy, removing remaining protections for domestic dairy production that prohibit the market being flooded by U.S. products, placing U.S. agents and equipment in factories and along transport corridors inside Canada to "pre-clear" shipments and other measures. For Mexico the U.S. demands that it continue to provide fresh produce of all kinds and basic goods while it puts the squeeze on U.S. oligopolies operating factories in Mexico to shift production to U.S. territory or pay a steep tariff, which can be written off if they invest in Trump's privatized infrastructure schemes.

Linked to this, the Trump administration is promoting fierce competition in the U.S. amongst the former slave states and so-called right-to-work states to offer the biggest incentives to the oligopolies which are free to close and reopen factories wherever they will find the biggest pay-the-rich schemes and most severe anti-worker laws. Meanwhile, meetings scheduled between Trump and the President of Mexico for early February had to be cancelled by the Mexican side after Trump issued an executive order on January 25 to "secure the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border."

There is an urgent need at this time for the working people of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. to express their unity in action against the attempts to bring in such retrogressive arrangements in North America to preserve the hegemony of the U.S. imperialist North American oligopolies and implement the program to Make America Great Again. The working class of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. has a proud history of fighting for their rights and the rights of all and refusing to be split by allowing others to be targeted.


1. "Canada, United States will focus on bilateral NAFTA negotiations," Robert Fife, Globe and Mail, February 15, 2017.

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Trudeau's Meeting with Trump

Canada-U.S. Agreements to Deepen Integration
into Fortress North America

On February 13, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the White House to hold official meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump, accompanied by an entourage including his main advisers Gerald Butts and Katie Telford as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale, Minister of Finance William Morneau, Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, and Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan. Trudeau and Trump held two bilateral meetings and a press conference and participated in a roundtable with women CEOs of big mostly U.S. monopolies. Trudeau also met with Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Trudeau and Trump issued a joint statement which outlined the character of bilateral relations between the two countries under the Trump administration. The joint statement sets the tone for the focus of the bilateral relations between the two executives in the coming period.[1]

Contents of Joint Statement and Related Matters


The joint statement issued by Trudeau and Trump reads:

"We affirm the importance of building on this existing strong foundation for trade and investment and further deepening our relationship, with the common goal of strengthening the middle class."

Media has focussed most attention on the statement of Trump during the joint press conference that "We have a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada. We'll be tweaking it. We'll be doing certain things that are going to benefit both of our countries. It's a much less severe situation than what's taking place on the southern border. On the southern border, for many, many years, the transaction was not fair to the United States. It was an extremely unfair transaction. We're going to work with Mexico, we're going to make it a fair deal for both parties. I think that we're going to get along very well with Mexico; they understand and we understand."

Of all the aspects of the visit, this is presented by media as the major victory for Trudeau. Speculation is now taking place over what the word "tweak" means. The fact that Mexico appears to be the main target for Trump is met with glee by some commentators and government officials quoted. Robert Fife, writing in the Globe and Mail quotes a "high-level Canadian official" as saying, "We think there are going to be things that they will come to us and get them straightened out and then the Americans can say to the Mexicans, 'We have this negotiated with the Canadians, are you okay with this?' [...] There are things that can only be solved by bilateral negotiations. [...] We don't want to be part of the triumvirate when the item is [Mexico] drugs coming into the United States, illegal immigration or building a wall," the official said.

On the other side, Fife quotes trade lawyer John Weekes, who is said to have helped negotiate NAFTA. Weekes said, "a lot of people think we would be better off if we can sit down and negotiate bilaterally with the Americans, but I am not of that view. The advantage of having someone else in the room, especially if you are going to be the target, is that we won't get as much attention as the Mexicans do and that's not a bad thing."

Pushing the idea that Canadians should debate how Canada's financial oligarchy can come out on top of Mexico's is beneath contempt and serves neither the people of Canada nor Mexico.

Regulations and Standards

The joint statement reaffirms the direction set under previous Canadian and U.S. governments to use executive powers to harmonize regulations and eliminate regulations that stand in the way of the oligopolies. This particularly relates to aligning the standards set by Canadian regulatory bodies with those of the U.S. standards as default, especially manufacturing standards, measures for environmental protection and emissions, labour standards and taxation.

It reads:

"We will continue our dialogue on regulatory issues and pursue shared regulatory outcomes that are business-friendly, reduce costs, and increase economic efficiency without compromising health, safety, and environmental standards. We will work together regarding labor mobility in various economic sectors."


Emphasis is placed on large infrastructure projects through which billions in public and private funding can be put towards facilitating the movement of greater quantities of resources, goods and people.

The statement reads:

"[W]e will encourage opportunities for companies in both countries to create jobs through those [infrastructure] investments. In particular, we look forward to the expeditious completion of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, which will serve as a vital economic link between our two countries."

The Gordie Howe International Bridge is a $5 billion project to be built between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan. The project was negotiated under the Harper/Obama administrations and will be privately built and managed with tolls on users. While much ado is made about who will pay for the Trump administration's proposed physical barrier along the border with Mexico, the Gordie Howe bridge project is entirely financed by the governments of Canada and Ontario, including the U.S. Customs Plaza on the Detroit side. While the Canadian government is paying, including in the name of "job creation," rules mandating a "buy American" policy for construction on the U.S. side may be enforced.


On the issue of energy, the joint statement says:

"We share the goals of energy security, a robust and secure energy grid, and a strong and resilient energy infrastructure that contributes to energy efficiency in both countries."

This relates to the ongoing integration of the electricity and other energy grids on a North American basis to meet the demands of the oligopolies. At present Canada does not have its own electricity distribution grid, nor its own "grid" for moving oil and gas for domestic processing and export. Instead, electricity and other energy distribution is organized on a north-south basis. On this basis, Canada's energy infrastructure is considered part of the "critical infrastructure" of the U.S. homeland and subject to its authority.

The statement goes on to say:

"Given the integrated nature of the infrastructure that supports our intertwined economies, cyberthreats to either country can affect the other. We therefore commit to further cooperation to enhance critical infrastructure security, cyber incident management, public awareness, private sector engagement, and capacity building initiatives."

Pre-Clearance and Operation of U.S. Agents on Canadian Soil

The Trudeau government has expressed concern over the fate of "pre-clearance" arrangements it and its predecessor negotiated with the Obama administration. The arrangements would have travellers to the U.S. from Canada via air, rail or water "pre-cleared" by U.S. officials based on Canadian territory.

Bill C-23, currently before the House of Commons, would permit U.S. border agents in Canada to arbitrarily question, search and even detain Canadians who request to cross the border, meaning U.S. law would be applied against Canadians extraterritorially and Canadian law and sovereignty rendered null and void.

The statement confirms that these arrangements will go forward and be expanded:

"[W]e are building a 21st century border through initiatives such as pre-clearance of people and integrated cross-border law enforcement operations. In addition, our two countries are committed to a coordinated entry-exit information system so that records of land and air entries into one country establish exit records for the other."

The statement also confirms that a demand of the oligopolies to implement pre-clearance of cargo bound for the U.S. will be implemented:

"Recognizing the success of pre-clearance operations for travellers, we commit to establishing pre-clearance operations for cargo [...] In the spirit of a more efficient and secure border, we will also examine ways to further integrate our border operations, including analysis of the feasibility of co-locating border officials in common processing facilities."

The impression is given that these arrangements are reciprocal, but to date no pre-clearance by Canadian officials in the U.S. has been put in place. Further, the definition of "common processing facility" is unclear. Will such facilities be made the subject of security clearances for workers? How will facilities be deemed common?

Elsewhere in the statement we are informed that Trudeau and Trump "have agreed to work together to fight against the traffic of opioids across our border."

Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other Acts contains provisions to permit Canadian Border Services Agency officers and some employees of Canada Post to open letter mail weighing less than 30 grams without a warrant.

Legislation adopted following September 11, 2001 previously expanded agents' powers to open mail but not for packages weighing less than 30 grams. These powers are now being expanded in the name of stopping the illegal import of opioids, specifically fentanyl, into Canada, allegedly from China.

U.S. Military Command of Canada

According to the statement, the two administrations will "work to modernize and broaden our NORAD Partnership in these key domains, as well as in cyber and space."

Despite the vagueness of the statement, the direction is for Canada to come further under U.S. military command. It likely includes the placement of new generations of U.S.-controlled NORAD sensors on Canadian territory through which the movement of people and goods can be monitored. It also relates to the plans of Canada's ruling circles to present the placement of U.S. missiles and sensors in Canada as part of the U.S. ballistic missile defence program as necessary, including creating hysteria around attacks against Canadian cities.

The question of "cyber" in the context of NORAD refers to, among other things, the Joint Cyber Center (JCC) established by U.S. Northern Command and NORAD in 2012. Cyberwarfare has become a greater priority for the U.S. military and cyberattacks are presented as a constant worry for the people and a new form of warfare they are facing.

An example of how the "cyberattacks" issue is being used to promote the use of police powers, the Trudeau government is now emphasizing the need for Canada's spy agencies to play a greater role in elections to ensure "cybersecurity" for political parties and their databases and computer systems. Since officially repudiating its election promise to replace the first-past-the-post system, increasing intelligence agency involvement in elections has become the main electoral reform the Trudeau government is advocating.

Speaking in the House of Commons on February 9, Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould stated: "Our government will also take steps to protect the integrity of Canada's democracy by defending the Canadian electoral process from hacking and cyberthreats. If the political parties' computer systems are hacked or compromised, it could jeopardize our democratic system. Political parties constitute vital democratic infrastructure. We will ensure that Canada's democracy is better protected by helping the parties protect their information. We will ask the Communications Security Establishment to analyze the risk that Canada's political parties' computer systems could be hacked and to make the results of that analysis public. This plan will help us better protect Canada's democracy by helping the political parties protect themselves.

"As well, CSE will reach out to political parties to share best practices on how to guard against hacking," Gould said.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister Mark Holland added, "We know the issue of cybersecurity, particularly as we watched it unfold in the U.S. election, was of incredible import. Therefore the minister, in the new mandate letter, has been given specific authority to tackle that issue and ensure that our cybersecurity is in place to protect Canadian democracy and, indeed, the affairs of all parties."

Canada's Role in U.S. Aggressive Military Alliances

The joint statement says:

"The United States values Canada's military contributions, including in the Global Coalition to Counter-ISIS and in Latvia."

The U.S. also says it "welcomes" Canada's decision to buy 18 new Super Hornet aircraft as an interim measure "until the permanent replacement [for the CF-18] is ready."

During the week before Trudeau's visit, Canada's Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan announced $404 million to upgrade Light Armoured Vehicles (LAV) for use in "domestic and international" operations.

According to a February 16 article in the Globe and Mail, "Canada's defence budget reached 1 per cent of GDP [on February 10], thanks to [the contract] for upgrades to LAV III" vehicles.

Following the NATO Defence Ministers' Meeting on February 16, Minister of Defence Sajjan announced that Canada will look at increasing military spending to meet the two per cent of GDP target set by the U.S. "We knew that spending by the previous government was low and the defence policy review allowed us to do a thorough analysis of what was required. Yes, this will require defence investments," Sajjan said.

"We in Canada need to be able to demonstrate a thorough plan and what type of defence investment is needed, because this is significant money that needs to be invested, but the Canadian taxpayer also requires us to make sure that we are efficient with the money," he said.

All of this shows that far from affirming the anti-war sentiments of Canadians, the Trudeau government has in the most servile manner, put Canada at the disposal of aggressive war in the Middle East and Africa and stepped up war preparations in Europe and Asia.


1. Since September 11, 2001, there has been a concerted push from the U.S. imperialists to put in place new arrangements at every level. In Canada, this annexation into a Fortress North America is considered by the ruling elite to be a "non-partisan issue." No matter which political party was in power, various security and border arrangements were implemented -- initially on a "temporary basis" under the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien when it was claimed that they were special arrangements with "sunset" clauses which would permit them to expire when the situation changed. These arrangements began to be made permanent under the government of Paul Martin in the name of guaranteeing "North American prosperity." Under the Conservative government of Stephen Harper and the administration of George W. Bush these arrangements were entrenched and expanded and now the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau is taking them further, first with the administration of Barack Obama and now that of Donald Trump.

Among the agreements worked out for these purposes are the "Smart Border Declaration" (2001), the "Security and Prosperity Partnership" (2005) and most recently the "Beyond the Border Agreement on Security and Competitiveness" (2011). These and other agreements were negotiated and implemented through the executive powers of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. They have placed Canadian territory, coastlines and airspace under U.S. military command and placed U.S. security agents -- with the go-ahead to exercise their powers -- on Canadian soil. These arrangements place the natural and human resources of the countries of North America under the direct control of the biggest oligopolies which are making new state arrangements on the basis of integrating the economies and armed forces of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. as well as their transportation, energy and security corridors.

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Letters to the Editor

The meeting between Trudeau and Trump is being used by the Trudeau government to declare in the most slavish manner that this government will continue on the path of serving up the interests of the working class and the nation on a silver platter to the interests of the oligopolies. Like father, like son, this Prime Minister is a real prince of lackeys of U.S. imperialism. His subservience is utterly shameless.



Trudeau's reference to Winston Churchill in his press conference with Donald Trump on February 13 well reveals his service to private interests and national sellout as well as adherence to brutal ways to defend Anglo-American values and "way of life."

Of all people to quote, Trudeau chose Winston Churchill. Why Churchill? It was his "iron curtain" speech which was used to unleash the Cold War in Fulton, Missouri on March 5, 1946. Churchill called for a war against the USSR. He unleashed a campaign of disinformation which attacked communism by claiming the superiority of American values and way of life. Churchill despised communism and, like both Trump and Trudeau are doing today, he denied the crisis of capitalism by claiming that everything had to be done to prove its superiority, that it would make everyone happy and prosperous. Despite the misery capitalism has engendered on the world scale, this is the best that Trudeau and Trump can come up with to justify government of police powers. It is pathetic.



Trudeau's quote from Winston Churchill is not a good sign. He quoted Winston Churchill saying, "That long Canadian frontier from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans, guarded only by neighborly respect and honorable obligations, is an example to every country, and a pattern for the future of the world." He concluded saying, "That, my friends, is the very essence of the Canada-U.S. relationship."

In the name of uniting the "English-speaking peoples" against all others, Churchill's advocacy of brutal military rule and concentration camps such as imposed in Greece and Ireland, amongst other countries, to "defend democracy" has led the peoples of the world to question that "democracy" which needs such methods to defend it. For Trudeau to harken back to the days of Churchill is not a good sign.



Trudeau meeting with Trump shows Canadians what they think it takes to be good neighbours and it is not in the interests of either Canadians, Americans or anyone else.

"With a level of economic and social integration that is unmatched on the world stage, Canada and the United States will forever be a model example of how to be good neighbors," Trudeau said. However, this level of economic and social integration Trudeau speaks about glowingly is a level of economic and social integration that violates the rights of Canadians and creates great insecurity and harm to the Canadian working people and to Canada's sovereignty.



The joint statement issued by Trudeau and Trump makes it clear that all aspects of "securing the borders are being expanded." These "commitments" will strengthen the police powers being exercised with the most recent attacks on peoples of the Muslim faith and countries targeted for regime change as well as expanding the tracking of both Canadian and U.S. citizens, allowing foreign officials to pre-clear cargo in Canada and so on. The statement says, "We demonstrate daily that security and efficiency go hand-in-hand, and we are building a 21st century border through initiatives such as pre-clearance of people and integrated cross-border law enforcement operations. In addition, our two countries are committed to a coordinated entry-exit information system so that records of land and air entries into one country establish exit records for the other."

I find it incredible that the servile media are promoting the good job Trudeau did in defending Canada's interests when all the facts point to the opposite.



Trudeau and Trump are promising to decrease regulations. Imagine that! Already the rich have become so much richer and, with regulations, the poor so much poorer. Imagine what will happen when even the few that remain are dismantled! The joint statement says, "The United States and Canada also recognize the importance of cooperation to promote economic growth, provide benefits to our consumers and businesses, and advance free and fair trade. We will continue our dialogue on regulatory issues and pursue shared regulatory outcomes that are business-friendly, reduce costs and increase economic efficiency without compromising health, safety, and environmental standards. We will work together regarding labor mobility in various economic sectors."

The Canadian and U.S. working class and people are considered mere consumers, lumped with businesses. It shows that providing the economy with a new direction is an urgent necessity. Workers and farmers have a wealth of experience on how common regulations with no restrictions on borders can destroy entire sectors of the economy, and threaten farmers and supply management. Workers know what economic efficiency means and it means utterly sacrificing their livelihoods and working conditions and resources to further enrich the oligopolies and create pressure on the entire class. What does labour mobility mean if not a workforce torn from their home communities and forced to live an unstable insecure life going from one huge infrastructure or resource extraction project to another, whether in Canada or the U.S., while "undesirables" are sacrificed on the altar of capital? No right to labour mobility for them!



We workers are not as Trudeau and Trump characterize us: "At the end of the day, the President and I share a common goal. We both want to make sure that hardworking folks can go to work at a good job, put food on the table for their families, and save up to take a vacation every once in a while." Trudeau's condescension is beyond belief! Canadian and U.S. workers are fighting to exercise control over the economy and all aspects of their lives. His reward of a "vacation every once in a while" shows just how frivolous he thinks he can be with the lives of others.



Trump and Trudeau characterized themselves as, "indispensable allies in the defence of North America and other parts of the world through NATO and other multilateral efforts." Under Trudeau Canada is further tying itself to U.S. strategic interests and aggressive aims for regime change. Trump raised north Korea as a big problem, while Trudeau made sure to mention Canada's participation with the U.S. in the U.S. imperialist aggression against Korea. The dangers posed to the Canadian and world's people by continuing the total integration and participation in the U.S. war machine means stepping up the struggle to get Canada out of NATO and NORAD and dismantle those aggressive military alliances. Our security lies in the defence of the rights of all, not in stepping up the U.S. war preparations.


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Canada's Predatory Relations with Mexico

Minister of Natural Resources
Leads Trade Delegation

In the midst of Canada throwing Mexico under the bus in its relations with the U.S., it is also advancing predatory relations towards Mexico and facilitating the entry of North American monopolies into Mexico's newly-privatized energy sector.

Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, Jim Carr led an official trade mission to Mexico from January 31 to February 3. He was accompanied by one of Canada's largest ever trade delegations comprised of representatives of private mining, oil and gas, and "clean technology" interests.[1] According to Natural Resources Canada, this was supposed to "advance business relationships" between Canada and Mexico." In a paternalistic note Natural Resources Canada said that the Canadian mining and energy interests -- notorious for corruption, private enrichment, destruction of the environment and attacks on the rights of the people -- will "assist Mexico in achieving its goals with respect to energy reform and socially responsible mineral development." Natural Resources Canada also stated, "For the first time, Indigenous representatives will be part of the NRCan delegation."

Natural Resources Canada reported that the visit created "new business partnerships that will match Canada's expertise, technology and resources with Mexico's needs." Carr and Mexico's Secretary of the Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on "Collaboration in Sustainable Mineral Resource Development that will benefit both countries over the coming years by laying the foundation for greater trade, stronger growth and job creation."

The Canadian Electricity Association and Asociación Mexicana de Energía, which both count as members many of the same big U.S. and European energy and accounting oligopolies, also signed an MoU "that will further enhance electricity cooperation between our two countries." Until 2013, Mexico's energy sector was constitutionally mandated to be publicly owned and operated. A constitutional amendment adopted by the government of Enrique Peña Nieto with support from the U.S. State Department of Hillary Clinton opened up the sector to private and foreign investment and takeover. The result has been severe fuel price hikes and, in 2016, Mexico for the first time became a net importer of oil from the United States. Another MoU was signed around mining.

Even more obscene was the alleged focus of the trip -- "engagement with local communities and Indigenous peoples." An example of the kind of engagement with Indigenous peoples promoted by Canada can be found in the warning of Minister of Natural Resources Carr in November 2016: "If [protestors against energy and mining developments] choose ... not to be peaceful, then the government of Canada, through its defence forces, through its police forces, will ensure that people will be kept safe."

According to Mexico's neo-liberal government, the Canadian delegation was informed of "new opportunities" for investment in energy and telecommunications as a result of the opening of the Mexican constitution and privatization of basic sectors. Mexico's government reported that Canada agreed "this is a good moment to strengthen the relationship between Mexico and Canada, particularly in the mining, energy and telecommunications sectors." It stated that Minister Carr was "pleasantly surprised, noting the great interest on the part of Canadian companies in investing in Mexico's mining and energy sectors."

In an interview published January 12 by PanamericanWorld, David Robillard, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Mexico, spoke about Canadian business involvement in Mexico. He said relations between Canada and Mexico had grown exponentially over the last 20 years and that at present it is expected these investments will multiply in strategic sectors, given the good climate that exists for this at this time. He pointed out that Canada is already the main source of foreign investment in Mexico's mining sector. Robillard said his organization is "very optimistic" about the energy sector, that Canadian investment in the sector is "about to increase significantly. ... I don't know of any other government that has achieved such structural reforms."

He gave as examples of success, the stories of energy companies that were part of the government's trade mission. TransCanada, he said, had investments worth $500 million in Mexico three years ago while today it has more than $3 billion. Another company, ATCO just entered the Mexican market and already had won two projects worth $1.3 billion in electrical generation and transporting gas, he said. A third company was engaged in exploring oil wells deemed to be marginal producers and abandoned by the state-owned oil company Pemex, using technology designed to continue extraction from such wells, he said. Robillard said around 3,000 Canadian firms operate in Mexico. Direct investment grew from $500 million in 1992 to $12.6 billion in 2012, the year before the most significant privatization took place. In 2015 Canadian direct investment in Mexico was more than $14.8 billion according to Global Affairs Canada. Mexico's Ministry of the Economy reports that Canada is the country's third largest source of foreign direct investment after the U.S. and Spain.

Canadians stand for relations of mutual respect and mutual benefit with Mexico. Predatory relations that covet the resources and basic sectors of Mexico built by the working class of that country since it won its independence and later established a constitution to defend the nation are not acceptable and do not favour the people of Mexico or Canada. Canada furthermore has nothing to teach the Mexican people about relations with the Indigenous peoples of their country. In this regard, delegations that claim to speak for Canadians or even the Indigenous peoples of Canada and instead seek the private enrichment of a few and the plunder of what belongs to the Mexican people by right must be condemned.


1. Delegates according to Natural Resources Canada:

Provincial Government

Government of Nova Scotia

Indigenous Leaders and Organizations

First Nations Summit; Métis National Council; and Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business


Alberta Energy Regulator; and National Energy Board

Mining Sector

Canadian Association of Mining Equipment and Services for Export; Endeavour Silver; First Majestic Silver Corp.; Goldcorp; Levon Resources; MAG Silver Corp.; Mining Association of Canada; Primero Mining Co.; Prospectors & Developers Association; Starcore International Mines Ltd.; and Torex Gold Resources Inc.

Oil and Gas Sector

ATCO Group; Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers; Clearstone Engineering; Enbridge; Questor Technology; and TransCanada

Clean Technology / Renewable Energy Sector

Canadian Electricity Association; Canadian Hydropower Association; EnerDynamic Systems Inc.; Hydro Québec; Manitoba Hydro International; and Northland Power Inc.

Other Participants

National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association; New Gold Inc.; Gran Tierra Energy Inc.; Canadian Solar Inc.; and oneGRID

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Mass Protests Against Mexican Government's
Neo-Liberal Energy Reform

"No to the gas price hike; down with corruption," Mexico City, February 5, 2017.

Since January 1, the Mexican people have been in action resisting the latest and most drastic increase in the price of gasoline (el gasolinazo) and other fuels in the Peña Nieto government's Energy Reform. This is part of a package of neo-liberal structural reforms called for under a "Pact for Mexico" signed by the three main parties of the ruling elite soon after Enrique Peña Nieto assumed the presidency on behalf of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in 2012. Energy Reform was introduced under the guise of bringing improvements for the people, including lower fuel prices. It required changing the country's constitution to open state oil company Pemex to private, including foreign, investment and removing fuel subsidies so that prices rise to "market levels." The latter has so far led to a 48 per cent increase in fuel prices under Peña Nieto, along with higher costs for many basic goods and services, which are affecting the most vulnerable particularly hard. Further price hikes are scheduled over the next year.

On February 9, the National Education Workers Coordinator (CNTE) held a National Day of Action to oppose the "gasolinazo" and other neoliberal structural reforms imposed by the Peña Nieto government with the support of other parties of the ruling elite. Teachers -- whose months-long strike struggle last year in defence of their rights and of public education was met with brutal repression -- marched to the National Senate in Mexico City to demand an end to both the Energy and Education Reforms and delivered boxes filled with thousands of petitions signed by citizens calling for public education for all.

"No to the Gas Price Hike -- Peña Nieto Out," Pachuca, February 5, 2017

Many other similar actions continue to take place across the country as the people demand a reversal of the anti-social measures instituted on behalf of the global monopolies competing to partake in the bonanza created as a result of the opening up of their basic public services and national assets to privatization and foreign takeover.

Representatives of the PRI party and others in opposition, representing sections of Mexico's ruling elite, have been angrily confronted by the people inside and outside state legislatures, in the streets and other public places. Roads, service stations and other Pemex facilities have been blocked and toll booths and customs checkpoints at northern border crossings occupied. Social media as well has become a forum for people to express their anger and raise their demands. In an effort to appease the people's anger, two weekly fuel price hikes scheduled for February 4 to 17 were postponed by the government. Pemex CEO José Antonio González Anaya said the decision to hold off was a result of the improved exchange rate of the peso against the U.S. dollar and a rise in the international price of oil, which made it possible to "soften the transition process." He warned, however, that this could not go on "forever" -- a challenge the people are sure to respond to and an indication of more battles ahead.

According to reports, many acts of vandalism, looting and violence widely reported in the monopoly media are part of a state-organized effort to discredit and criminalize the people's protest actions as well as create fear. Reports say gang members have been paid to carry out "smash-and-grabs" and generally create an atmosphere of anarchy and chaos to justify the killings and arrests that ensued soon after the protests began.

Tlalpan, February 13, 2017

Another feature of the protest actions in Mexico is that none of the parties of the ruling elite have been able to occupy the space opened up by the profound discontent of the people with the nation-wrecking taking place in the name of "progress." Despite the attempts of the likes of former president Vicente Fox, billionaire oligarch Carlos Slim and Peña Nieto to pose as defenders of the nation with self-serving calls for unity against Trump, Mexicans are not falling for it. They are continuing to fight for a reversal of the "gasolinazo," for the government to come clean about the 2014 disappearance of 43 normal school students, and to demand "Fuera Peña Nieto!" (Peña Nieto Out!) in the knowledge that their fight against the attacks of U.S. imperialism under Trump also requires settling scores with those who are selling out their country and violating their rights at home.

Chalco, February 13, 2017

(With files from local activists, La Jornada, Mexico News Daily. Photos: Sangre de Rebelde, S. Azpeita, SME.)

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Chronicle of a Privatization by Stealth

Tlalpan, February 13, 2017

Mexico is starting off a 2017 that many wish would end now. Along with the twelve strokes that rang in the new year -- or perhaps [rang out] the old one -- came the biggest fuel price hike in almost two decades.

The new gasolinazo [gasoline price hike] that was announced a couple days after Christmas has generated a wave of popular indignation that in the first week of protests, mobilizations, takeover of service stations, transportation strikes and looting left at least six dead, 15 wounded and more than 1,500 detained.

Many economists agree that this represents a big blow to the pockets of Mexicans. And the multiplier effect of the cost of gasoline will lead to a predicted three per cent rise in inflation that will inevitably increase everyone's cost of living, whether they use vehicles or not.

What are the new prices per litre of fuel?

Magna gasoline increased from 13.98 to 15.99 pesos (U.S.$0.77), representing an increase of 14.2 per cent.

Premium went from 14.81 to 17.79 pesos (U.S.$0.85). This is the type of gasoline that underwent the biggest increase, reaching 20.1 per cent.

Finally, diesel increased in price from 14.45 to 17.05 pesos (U.S.$0.82), which represents an increase of 16.5 per cent.

Looking back, we find this is not the first time the Mexican government has increased the price of gasoline.

During the third quarter of 2016 there were three consecutive increases that, together with others applied since Enrique Peña Nieto came to power in December 2012, represent a cumulative increase of 48 per cent.

Things Can Get Worse

"We will go from an environment where we had a single gasoline, a single price and a single supplier, to a system where we have greater freedom, more choice, and where prices reflect the fluctuations in cost, like any other price in the economy," insisted José Antonio Meade, Mexico's Secretary of Finance.

The new system for the sale of gasoline was not thought up overnight. In fact, it is part of a price liberalization plan the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto intends to use to have fuel sold at market prices throughout the country by January 2018. This means that the final price of fuel will reflect at least five variables: the international price of oil, transport and storage costs, as well as the cost of refining, each company's mark-up, taxes (IVA [Value-added tax] and IEPS [Special excise tax on production and services]) and the exchange rate between the peso and the U.S. dollar.

This gives rise to two immediate consequences. Since there will not be a single price set by the government, the numbers will change daily. Nor will there be gas stations belonging exclusively to the national industry, so new foreign private companies will also be able to supply the fuel. Do not forget that we are talking about a country where the sale of gasoline generates profits of more than U.S.$65 billion annually.

The False Illusion of Energy Reform

On January 4, 2015, President Enrique Peña Nieto gave his assurance that thanks to the Energy Reform there would be no more gasolinazos. Today we know that announcement to be nothing more than a broken promise, but one with an even darker background that can be pieced together.

Generally speaking, the energy policy promoted for decades by Mexico's different governments laid the foundations for the old privatization model which involves the transfer of wealth abroad and the dismantling of the national economy. The handling of the oil industry, which for years has been at the centre of the debate, is the clearest example and one of the main reasons for this reality.

The Energy Reform promulgated in 2014 changed the rules of the game and opened up a multi-million dollar business. The legislation brought forth changes to the constitution in articles 25, 27 and 28 in order to authorize the participation of private companies, both Mexican and foreign, in the exploration and exploitation of 17 per cent of the oil fields and the assignment of rights to 79 per cent of the blocks where there are reserves in Mexican territory. According to data from the Energy Regulatory Commission, the prospective hydrocarbon resources of the country, the world's ninth largest oil producer, are greater than 100 billion barrels. This figure includes proven and possible crude oil deposits in shallow waters, on land and in deep sea waters, and also includes natural gas and shale mantles that are extracted by hydraulic fracking.

The other piece of the pie corresponds to the electric power business. With the Energy Reform, private capital would also be licensed to supply large consumers like industries and businesses that represent more than 50 per cent of the total sales of the Federal Electricity Commission, and that in 2013 represented revenues of U.S.$13 billion for Mexico.

As can be seen, the country is emerging as a strategic supplier of crude oil and other forms of energy to other nations, but at the cost of national sovereignty.

Privatization by Stealth

The decline in productivity of Petróleos Mexicanos -- Pemex -- has been used in great part to drive the Energy Reform.

The main and only state-owned oil company in the country has solvency problems. As of 2015, it had losses of U.S.$40 billion and a debt of almost U.S.$100 billion. Meanwhile, the minimal reinvestment of earnings in the national industry wasted the opportunity to use oil as a lever for Mexico's economic development.

From this crisis it can be seen that under the guise of cleaning up the accounts, boosting Pemex's industrial productivity and increasing the sector's competitiveness, the government of Enrique Peña Nieto is hiding its plans, that are less and less hidden, to privatize the oil industry.

Beginning in mid-2015, the state-owned oil company opened up a bidding process through which U.S. and British companies in the oil business have been competing with one another to reap the benefits of joint production contracts for the exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons. In the Executive's estimation, the process of opening up to private capital would result in a flood of foreign investment that would ultimately underpin the country's economic development -- a strategy that to date has not reported any success as the flow of investment has been lower than the government anticipated.

It should be noted that Pemex provides the federal government with a third of its annual income, while the income from oil represents 6.8 per cent of the country's GDP. In other words, the privatization of the state-owned company will translate into fewer resources to meet public investment needs and, according to the logic of the current government, will force a stepping up of the attacks on social programs, something especially delicate in the climate of broad popular discontent with EPN's [Enrique Peña Nieto's] management.

It must not be forgotten that this whole context forms part of a scenario of deep social breakdown. According to reports by the National Council for the Evaluation of Mexican Social Development Policy (CONEVAL), in 2014, of Mexico's 127 million inhabitants, more than 55 million lived in poverty. In addition, according to a study done the same year by the World Bank, a third of the country's population survived on less than five dollars a day.

The cost of this operation, however, is not just socio-economic; the loss of sovereignty also has a political price. Undoubtedly, this is a victory for the foreign oil interests and their allies in Mexico, who have tried to dismantle what is left of the industry and the country.

(CELAG, January 10, 2017. Translated from the original Spanish by TML. Photos: SME, H. Gonzalez Bax.)

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Coming Events

Canadian Council for the Americas to Hold Conference in Toronto

The Canadian Council for the Americas (CCA) is holding a conference under the theme "New Strategies for a New North America" at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto on February 21.[1]

Sponsors include Barrick Gold, GoldCorp, Kinross, Lundin Mining, Scotiabank, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, National Bank, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, KPMG, Toronto Stock Exchange, ATCO, Ellis Don and SNC Lavalin. All have made superprofits for many years by exploiting the natural resources and labour of the people of the Americas and the goal of this conference is to ensure that these activities continue.

The topic of the conference suggests that the members of the CCA (investment, mining, construction, energy and other corporate interests) are concerned about the new situation they are facing in the hemisphere with the election of Donald Trump. What is new is that the Trump administration is taking measures to dismantle or reorganize the structures created through neo-liberal globalization for the past five decades. This upheaval endangers the economic prospects for the oligopolies which have dominated North, Central and South America and the Caribbean to the present day.

One of the main speakers at the conference is former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, whose government negotiated the Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. Government during the Reagan administration. This was later expanded to include Mexico in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

At this time, Brian Mulroney is being promoted as one whose counsel is so valuable to Justin Trudeau, not only because he favours free trade, but because he has very close ties to President Trump and some important members of his administration. In fact the political elite in Canada has been crediting Brian Mulroney for his "work behind the scenes," during the preparations for Trudeau's visit to Washington.

The Montreal daily La Presse carried an article titled "Preparing the Ground for Trudeau," which quoted the following from Jean Charest, past Premier of Quebec: "The Trudeau Government could not have picked a better person than Brian Mulroney to help establish good relations. He knows Mr. Trump very well and also many members of his administration."

Such hollow praise of Mulroney can have no other goal than to create confusion about the present situation and the problem faced by the vast majority of Canadians. The discussion organized by the CCA will not find solutions to any economic or political problems with its narrow outlook of trying to find new opportunities for the oligopolies, within this situation, to continue exploiting the people in the hemisphere. The CCA refuses to recognize that the neo-liberal policies of globalization and what they call free trade is in deep crisis and trying to revitalize it will fail.

The Canadian people will not be fooled into taking sides in this conflict because both sides are wrong. The dangers posed by the Trump policies of waging economic and political wars to impose the domination of U.S. imperialism are doomed to fail as well.

As for Mulroney, working people will never forget or forgive his actions. The arrangements put in place with the imposition of free trade have not brought prosperity for the vast majority of Canadians. Far from it, the rich are getting richer and the poor are being pushed into further poverty at an unprecedented rate. There has been no growth in the manufacturing sector either, without which there can be no balanced economy. Instead the trend towards ripping and shipping energy and other natural resources has increased, resulting in a jobless recovery.

It is not a coincidence that with the advent of free trade, governments at all levels imposed austerity measures that cut health care and all social programs, forcing the most vulnerable sections of society to fend for themselves. Workers' wages and security in both the private and public sector have been continually under attack and past agreements guaranteeing pensions and benefits to retired workers are being ripped up.

Free trade agreements, under the guise of eliminating red tape, have allowed corporations to dictate to governments what regulations to eliminate because they interfere with profits. Environmental regulations, labour laws, among many other types of regulations, have been under constant attack. Meanwhile privatization and deregulation of public services and assets have been imposed, because under NAFTA corporations are able to sue governments for any measures that limit their ability to make profits.

This is the legacy of Mulroney, Chrétien, Martin, Harper and now Trudeau, who want to fool the gullible into backing a system which has created such disasters for the people and society and is now facing a crisis from which there is no recovery.

Trudeau and Mulroney and their cohorts should be ashamed of themselves for suggesting to the Canadian people that we should rely on Wilbur Ross and Stephen Schwarzman or any other super-rich vulture to curry favour with Donald Trump. That such a plan is seriously being put forward indicates the severe and desperate crisis facing the ruling elite.

The real solution lies in providing a modern definition for democracy where people exercise control and establish an economy that serves them and society, and foreign relations on the basis of sovereignty and mutual respect instead of economic, political and military domination, which always leads to war.


1. Speakers at the conference announced so far include:
- Brian Mulroney, Former Prime Minister, Canada
- Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada
- Luis Videgaray, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mexico
- Ildefonso Guajardo, Minister of the Economy, Mexico
- Kimberley Breier, Deputy Director Americas Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Director, North America, National Security Council in the administration of George W. Bush.

The website of the CCA describes the organization as "the premier forum for discussion of political and economic issues in the hemisphere that are critical for Canadian trade and investment." The CCA promotes membership in the organization by providing "direct access to high level private and public sector representatives from Canada," and also offers "valuable contacts" to its members. The Board of Directors of CCA is made up of representatives from the corporations and financial institutions listed above.

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Website:  www.cpcml.ca   Email:  editor@cpcml.ca