September 23, 2017 - No. 29
Matters of War and Peace
Threatens Fire and
Brimstone at UN and Trudeau
Postures as World's Great
Replies to U.S. President's Threats
For an Anti-War
• Canada's Iraq War Mission Extended
• Meddling in the Name of "Empowering Women"
Get Canada Out of
• Build the Independent Politics of
the Working Class!
Manufacturing Yes! Nation-Wrecking No!
• Dispute Resolution
• Conflict Over Authority to
• Dispute Resolution in NAFTA
• Actions Against Anti-Pension Bill
Support the Peace Process in Colombia!
• New Political Party Formed to
Uphold the Peace
• Message of Greetings
- Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) -
• Ten Thousand Attend Concert for
Peace and Reconciliation
Cuba Hurricane Relief
• The Hurricane Did Not Break Cubans' Spirit
- Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodríguez
Important Matters of War and Peace
U.S. President Threatens Fire and Brimstone at UN and
Trudeau Postures as World's Great White Hope
This week on September 19 General Debate began at the
72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York and
will continue until September 25. At the General Assembly, Heads of
State or government, or
their representatives, address the United Nations stating their
priorities for themselves, the world and the UN itself.
A low point, exhibiting for all to see the
crisis in which the U.S. is mired, was the performance of its
President Donald Trump. His vehement rhetoric promising fire and
brimstone to all non-believers in the U.S. democracy shows how
desperate the United States has become because it cannot command
that the world fix its economic and all-sided crisis. The more it
declares that it is the indispensable nation, the more all others
become aware of the need to make sure they are not dispensed with.
Despite the fact that the
U.S. and the failure of its
democracy are culpable for the anarchy and violence which prevail
worldwide, Trump blamed the "[a]uthority and authoritarian powers [who]
seek to collapse the
values, the systems, and alliances, that prevented conflict and
tilted the world toward freedom since World War II."
Notwithstanding the failure of U.S. institutions to
contradictions within the ruling circles or any problem in which
the U.S. is mired, Trump cited the U.S.
Constitution as a timeless and universal document which extends
to the entire world. "We are celebrating the 230th anniversary of
our beloved Constitution, the oldest constitution still in use in
the world today. This timeless document has been the foundation
of peace, prosperity, and freedom for the Americans and for
countless millions around the globe whose own countries have
found inspiration in its respect for human nature, human dignity,
and the rule of law," he said.
"In America, the people govern, the people rule, and
people are sovereign. I was elected not to take power, but to
give power to the American people where it belongs," Trump
He put forward an irrational notion of sovereignty in
the U.S. has the sovereign right to decide what is best for it
and everyone else:
"We must fulfill our sovereign duties to the people we
faithfully represent. We must protect our nations, their
interests and their futures. We must reject threats to
sovereignty from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must
uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for
culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow."
He issued a direct
threat against the Korean
"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is
forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but
to totally destroy North Korea ... the United States is ready,
willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.
That's what the United Nations is all about. That's what the
United Nations is for. Let's see how they do."
He attacked Iran threatening to scrap the deal
negotiated in 2015 between Iran, all Security Council members
plus Germany, as well as the European Union, to limit its peaceful
nuclear energy program in return for the dropping of sanctions.
"We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing
activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide
by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual
construction of a nuclear program. The Iran deal was one of the
worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever
entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the
United States, and I don't think you've heard the last of it.
Believe me," Trump said.
Trump then threatened the entire world with the U.S.
terror. "From now on, our security interests will dictate the
length and scope of military operation, not arbitrary benchmarks
and timetables set up by politicians. I have also totally changed
the rules of engagement in our fight against the Taliban and
other terrorist groups," Trump declared.
"America stands with every person living under a brutal
regime. Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action.
All people deserve a government that cares for their safety,
their interests, and their well-being, including their
For its part, the
Government of Canada used its
during the UN General Assembly to contribute to the image that its
Prime Minister is the Great White Hope who will
achieve success where those who threaten fire and brimstone do
The fear and even terror inspired by the fire and
performance of the U.S. President should not divert
attention from the fact that the allegedly kinder and gentler
Great White Hope serves the same private interests both governments
In response to Trump's threats to "totally destroy" the
Prime Minister Trudeau was silent and instead joined Trump in blaming
the DPRK for the dangerous situation. He told
a news conference, "I share everyone's concern over the
reckless behaviour by the North Korean regime, and continue to
believe that working with partners and allies in the region and
around the world ... is the best way to de-escalate this
situation." His answer to de-escalating this situation: allies
partners should also threaten the DPRK rather than the U.S. going it
To show what this means, he opened the door to
joining the U.S. missile defence program, which is part of U.S.
pre-emptive strike capabilities against other nations. "We're
continuing to look at the situation," he said. "We have not
changed our position at this point, but we continue to engage in
thoughtful ways to ensure we're doing everything we can and we
must do to keep Canadians safe," he added.
At a gala reception, September 19, held by NATO's
Atlantic Council on a decommissioned U.S. aircraft carrier, Trudeau
received the Council's Global Citizen Award and delivered a speech --
described by the Council as a "Rallying Cry to Save the Global Order"
-- that was almost identical to Trump's remarks earlier that day.
"Alliances that have underpinned global security and
prosperity since 1945 are being put to the test, and the urgency
of the challenges we share in common -- climate change and drought,
income inequality, violent extremism, civil war and the mass
migrations that result -- continues to grow," Trudeau said.
"Worldwide, the long-established international order is
tested. With Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and
encroachment in Ukraine, we have seen the first major territorial
seizure in Europe since the Second World War" he said.
"This is not the time for
retrenchment. It is a time
Atlantic democracies to renew our commitment to universal
standards of rights and liberty, enforced through a multilateral,
rules-based order that has promoted peace and stability, and
stood the test of time."
This multilateral, rules-based order enforced by the
NATO, NORAD, and the World Trade Organization, spans both "soft
and hard power," which is why, he said, Canada is also
significantly boosting its defence spending.
While echoing Trump's threats against the Korean
Trudeau hypocritically called for "opposing the scourges of
racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ethnic and religious
bigotry, neo-fascism, neo-Nazism, and the violent extremism of
Daesh that confront us in 2017."
"We cannot waver. It would be unconscionable to take
step back in upholding the standards of decency of the sisterhood
and brotherhood of the human family that won the day in the most
painful struggles of the last century," Trudeau said.
The UN has become an antiquated body which is no longer
capable of upholding the international rule of law adopted in the
post-WWII period. The takeover of the world by police powers in
the hands of oligopolies and private interests, which will stop at
nothing to make money, means that a new balance of power is
required which can hold the destructive forces in check. There
can be no expectation that such a power can be created within the
imperialist system of states. It has to be created by humanity
uniting in action in defence of its own interests.
The Time to Act Is Now!
Make Canada a Zone for Peace!
Uphold Rights by
One Humanity, One Struggle!
Fitting Replies to U.S. President's Threats
Jorge Arreaza, Foreign Minister of the Bolivarian
of Venezuela, replied to Trump's speech at a September 19 press
conference: "The United States Government is in
complete violation of all the principles of the UN Charter."
Venezuela is a country of peace and no country can or has the right to
violate Venezuela's sovereignty, he said. "We do not accept threats
from President Trump, we are a
people of peace and what we want are relations of mutual respect,
not only with the United States, but with all the countries of
the world," he added.
He accused the U.S.
government and its allies in
America, Europe and elsewhere of trying to stifle and drown
the Venezuelan people with the economic measures imposed by the
White House to force a change of regime. "They want the people to
suffer, they want to create and impose a humanitarian crisis in
Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez
responded to Trump's speech: "It was an unprecedented speech,
aggressive, dominating, openly imperialist. I was surprised by Trump's
manipulation of the issue of sovereignty for the United States,
vassalage for the rest; totally ignoring the concept of sovereign
equality that inspires the United Nations."
Rodríguez called Trump's attack on Venezuela "brutal,
unjustified, arbitrary," and wondered what Trump was referring to when
he called for additional actions against Venezuela -- "the armed option
[or] something worse?"
He said Trump's threat to destroy Korea was extremely serious: "He
threatens to set the Korean Peninsula on fire with a necessarily
nuclear conflagration, which could endanger all of humanity -- conflict
which cannot, in any way, be solved militarily."
Pointing out that Trump was the head of an empire responsible for the
majority of wars taking place on the planet, and that this was a factor
in the severe instability and very serious threats to peace and
security internationally, Rodríguez said Trump did not have the
slightest moral authority to criticize Cuba, "a small country, an
island of solidarity that has broad international cooperation, a
government of recognized honesty and transparency, a dignified,
hard-working people, the site of Colombia's peace process, a country
known for its stability."
In delivering Cuba's address to the General Assembly, Rodriguez said
the "patriotism" invoked in the statement delivered by Trump embodied
“an exceptionalist and supremacist vision of ignorant intolerance in
the face of diverse political, economic, social and cultural models."
The leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
(DPRK), Kim Jong Un, responded to Trump's speech in a
September 21 statement released by the Korean Central News Agency. The
statement noted the unhelpful nature of Trump's remarks only
increases the tension on the Korean Peninsula and rejected Trump's
insults against the DPRK and his threats to "totally destroy" a
sovereign state, which go far beyond threats of regime change
or to overturn a social system. Kim stated that Trump's remarks had
only galvanized the DPRK in its present course of action, which is to
bolster its self-defence capabilities until such time as the U.S. shows
a willingness to enter into direct and genuine negotiations for peace.
Referring to "the dangerous situation on the Korean
Peninsula," President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of the Republic of Uganda
asked, "Who would lose if North Korea and South Korea, those kith and
kin, were left alone to discuss their re-unification?" He said the
Korean nation has been in existence since 1234 AD and was temporarily
divided towards the end of the Second World War. He asked why this
division should be allowed to be permanent and a source of dangerous
tensions: "A unified Korea would be a very strong nation. Why do some
actors fear strong nations in the world? Why should the Koreans
themselves (North and South) allow external forces to continue to
Bolivian President Evo Morales condemned unilateral
and threats of invasion made by the United States government
against Venezuela. "Our region is nobody's backyard," he
said and called on the U.S. to end its blockade of Cuba and provide
economic reparations, and return the territory occupied by its naval
base in Guantánamo to Cuba. He added that any military solution
Korean Peninsula must be avoided and negotiations resumed. "We
must fight capitalism, colonialism and imperialism," he said,
adding that success in that regard would lead to equality, social
justice, peace and development.
Iranian President Hassan
Rouhani said Trump's remarks
"ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric."
"The exiting of the United States from [the nuclear
agreement with Iran] would carry a high cost, meaning that subsequent
to such an action by the United States of America, no one will trust
America again," President Rouhani said in an interview with NBC before
Trump's address to the United Nations General Assembly.
Rouhani said that should the United States pull out of
nuclear agreement, Iran would consider going "back to previous
activities," developing peaceful nuclear technology for energy
"So we will never go towards production of nuclear
just as in the past we never intended to go towards that path, nor
did we ever. It has always been peaceful," Rouhani affirmed.
For an Anti-War Government!
Canada's Iraq War Mission Extended
Since September 11, 2001,
Canada has consistently been expanding its foreign military and police
presence in Central and West Asia under U.S. and NATO command. While
openly participating in the invasion of Afghanistan, the
Chrétien Liberal government would not openly participate in the
so-called Coalition of the Willing in 2003, despite having done so
previous U.S. invasions of Iraq. The Trudeau government has now taken
up the challenge to provide an air of legitimacy for Canada's ongoing
military actions in Iraq and their expansion. On June 29, the Trudeau
government announced that its mission in Iraq would be extended for two
more years and that the mission would be "adjusted." This is a far cry
from its election claim that it would end Canada's combat mission in
Iraq, giving the impression that it was against foreign military
escalation. Shortly after being elected, the Trudeau government
launched a new mission in the Middle East, focusing on Iraq and
neighbouring countries such as Jordan and Lebanon.
The Canadian Press reports that Canada's Chief of the
Defence Staff Jonathan Vance is being given greater "flexibility" to
decide what types of forces to deploy into the region, to a maximum of
850 military personnel. The presence of 200 special forces in Iraq has
publicly announced, as well as Canadian planes that provide
refueling and reconnaissance for U.S. bombing raids. Vance's
"flexibility" is actually aimed at meeting U.S. demands rather than
being decided by the Canadian government. Flexibility may also
mean giving Vance more powers to decide what these forces will do and
under whose command. In March he told a House of Commons Committee that
Canadian soldiers can shoot to kill if they determine "hostile intent"
and then used weasel words to try to make this synonymous with
self-defence. Aggressive actions by Canadian soldiers indicate they
have already been given approval to shoot whomever they decide and
then claim "hostile intent." Canada is also said to be adding a
military transport aircraft to the mission, and estimates the overall
cost of the new two-year mission at about $378 million. It is not
specified who will use this transport aircraft or what will be
however this is no doubt being put at the disposal of the U.S.
The CBC reports that Canada's
Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland has also authorized the expansion of
the Canadian policing mission in Iraq. The RCMP-led police force is
currently made up of four officers in Iraq and will be ramped up to 20
within the year according to reports. It will be made up of provincial
and municipal police officers under RCMP command. To put a progressive
veneer over Canada's escalating involvement in U.S.-led aggression in
Iraq, the government claims the emphasis will be on recruiting female
officers. Left unsaid once again is that the ultimate authority and
control over Canada's mission is with the U.S.
"We know that Canada can, has and will continue to do
important work in our efforts in northern Iraq," Trudeau said.
"Canada has a strong role to play as part of the international
coalition against terrorism." What Trudeau fails to mention is
Canadians' longstanding opposition to participating in a military
mission in Iraq at the behest of the U.S. which destroyed the
country in the first place.
Despite the changes, Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan
said the military would continue to operate within the confines of its
previous "advise-and-assist" mandate. This mandate has been a fraud as
Canadian troops have from the beginning been involved in direct combat
as evidenced by the gloating of Canada's Prime Minister over the
accuracy of Canadian snipers, one of whom is said to have killed
someone deemed an ISIS fighter from 3.5 km away.
Meddling in the Name of "Empowering
Since the forces led by the Syrian government have
gained the upper hand in Syria, Canada has been unable to justify
openly going into Syria which it had sought to do in the past.
Recently, Canada announced $45 million to fund programs in Jordan, Iraq
and Lebanon, countries that neighbour Syria.
The funding is allegedly to
"assist grass roots women's organizations and assist Jordanian and
Lebanese communities in hosting over 1,660,000 registered Syrian
refugees." Canada has a history of financing various projects to
recruit and use women as a means to meddle in countries' internal
affairs in the name of "empowerment." For example, Canada has been
playing this card for some time by "training" women to participate in
UN-facilitated peace negotiations as part of the anti-Syrian government
This posturing and ulterior motive are
further exposed when one considers the Trudeau government's refusal to
provide proper infrastructure and facilities to First Nations youth in
their communities or ensure that the National Inquiry into Murdered
and Missing Indigenous Women fulfills the demands of Indigenous peoples
and the relatives of those murdered or disappeared.
The four programs Canada is funding are outlined below:
Improving municipal services and social resilience:
Ministry of Municipal Affairs, this funding will also help to
increase women's involvement in community level decision-making,
improve their access to employment and services, and help
municipal governments deliver gender-inclusive programs."
Improving solid waste management and income
host communities: "Delivered in partnership with the United
Nations Development Programme and Jordan's Ministry of Municipal
Affairs, this initiative will help improve the capacity and
working conditions at Al-Akeidar, Jordan's second-largest
landfill. This contribution will also be used to establish a
community-based recycling centre which will be operated by women
of the northern region of Jordan."
Support for the Global Concessional Financing
Facility: To "ensure that Jordan and Lebanon continue to have
access to concessional-rate financing through the World Bank
Group's Global Concessional Financing Facility. These low-cost
loans will be used to finance public infrastructure that responds
to the needs of Syrian refugees and the communities which host
The Middle East Women's Voice and Leadership Program:
of grassroots women's
organizations to empower and defend the rights of women and
1. See "Training
Empowering Women" TML Weekly,
May 28, 2016.
2. "Canada provides support for
initiatives in Jordan and the Middle East," PMO, August 29, 2017.
Get Canada Out of NAFTA!
Build the Independent Politics of the Working Class!
Manufacturing Yes! Nation Wrecking No!
The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and Unifor are
supporting the NAFTA renegotiations. They justify this position
by claiming they are pushing to ensure workers' rights are
incorporated into the main text of the new agreement, if there is
to be one. Who defines those workers' rights and what they entail
are not discussed nor the fact that nowadays the ruling
imperialist elite trample workers' rights into the mud with
impunity, and NAFTA is one of their weapons.
The interests of the ruling elite who control the
global trade, NAFTA and the new CETA agreement with the European
Union are diametrically opposed to the interests of the working
class. How workers define their rights in practice, in the daily
struggle with their employers and the state, as in the case of
terms of employment, "mobility rights," the right to health and
safety, security of employment, retirement, housing, etc is
different from those in power at the workplace and in the state.
How could it be otherwise within countries such as Canada, Mexico
and the U.S. where class privilege rules.
The role the CLC and some
national unions have given
themselves to lobby for workers' rights within NAFTA serves to
divert attention from the fact that what is being negotiated in
the NAFTA talks is the further integration of Canada and Mexico
into Fortress North America, as a bulwark against workers' rights
and to line up the peoples of all three countries behind U.S.
imperialism's striving for world hegemony. Trade, energy,
communications and security corridors are being put in place
under the control of a new United States of North American
Monopolies and Oligopolies, which act with impunity in North
America and all over the world trampling on the rights of working
people and nation-states.
The mass media also participate in diverting Canadians
the essence of the NAFTA negotiations by hyping so-called
roadblocks to reaching an agreement. In this way, the people are
led to feel anxious that an agreement will not be reached for
otherwise U.S. President Trump will make good on threats to
A media report on September 14, quotes Canada's Foreign
Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland characterizing the
negotiations in the following manner: "The tone has been
extremely cordial.... It's a very friendly environment."
Freeland is even quoted as saying that the lead
may form a "book club." This is a deliberate attempt to
trivialize the fact that the ruling imperialist elite are
negotiating the fate of over 450 million people without their say
and against their interests. To hide this trampling of people's
rights, Freeland constantly refers to having common interests
with the workers, which the participation of the CLC and Unifor
in the talks is meant to confirm. Following the conclusion of
negotiations in Mexico, Freeland told reporters, "All of us want
to come out of this negotiation being able to say to workers in
our countries, 'We have achieved a deal that will improve your
standard of living'" (Emphasis added).
The problem for Freeland is that the "we" she
referring to are the champions of attacking workers' rights in
their own countries and abroad. To serve their narrow private
interests, the monopolies and governments throughout Fortress
North America have unleashed unprecedented violations of the
rights of the working class and no amount of cheap talk about "we"
of public sector workers in Nova Scotia marched
Halifax to denounce the provincial Liberal government for
trampling on their rights. They declared through their actions
and words that they are not part of the Freeland "we"!
The trade union centrals are doing nothing to position
Canadian working class to be an independent political force to
make sure trade and all aspects of life favour the working people
and not the monopolies and oligopolies who are driving the train.
A powerful political movement is required at this time to end the
situation that makes the working class easy prey for
state-organized imposition of humiliating conditions throughout
Fortress North America.
Get Canada Out of NAFTA!
Manufacturing Yes! Nation-Wrecking
Stop Paying the Rich! Increase Funding for Social
No to the Integration of Canada, the U.S.
U.S. Homeland Security and Fortress North America!
1. The media present the
following matters as "roadblocks" to a deal, or what Mexican Economy
Minister Idefonso Guajardo calls "the elephants in the room":
- "U.S.'s insistence on increasing the rules of origin,
particularly in the automotive sector."
- "Canada and the U.S. demanding that Mexico raise
implement stricter enforcement of labour laws." The Globe and
Mail reports that Canada and the United States "want a
renegotiated NAFTA pact to include penalties if Mexico tries to
keep worker wages low by not living up to labour standards set by
the three countries."
- "U.S. trade deficit with Mexico."
- "Canada and Mexico's continued rejection of the
idea of eliminating dispute resolution mechanisms." This is a
reference to the U.S. calls to eliminate Chapter 19, one of the
measures that deals with disputes between
governments rather than between investors and states, which is
contained in Chapter 11.
Besides the matters above, the Mexican Economy Minister
indicates that as many as 13 other chapters of the
agreement would also be "tough to negotiate."
Guajardo says the specific areas being focused on in
round cover matters relating to "smaller businesses, transparency
and food safety."
Reports indicate that the Canadian government is
to use the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade
Agreement (CETA) version of the investor-state dispute resolution
chapter in a new NAFTA agreement. CETA's measures are being
presented by Canada as more fair, while the current Chapter 11 in
NAFTA is presented as favouring the U.S.
On September 14, the Globe
and Mail reported: "The
of Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her negotiating
team is to revamp Chapter 11 so it more closely mirrors the
investor-state dispute-resolution mechanism that forms part of
the 2016 Canada-European Union trade deal [CETA], including set
rosters of judges to hear these cases rather than ad hoc
appointments of independent arbitrators. Ottawa is seeking a
system where Canada, the United States and Mexico would establish
set lists of judges who would be available to hear investor
claims under Chapter 11."
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives calculates
the Canadian government has been required to pay out more than
$220 million under Chapter 11 damage claims by U.S. and Mexican
investors. Mexico has paid out more than U.S.$200 million but
has faced fewer claims. The United States, by comparison, has not
paid out any money to settle claims.
However, Belgium is currently challenging the CETA
investor-state dispute resolution mechanism at the level of the
European Court of Justice (ECJ). Belgium contends the CETA mechanism
violates the freedom of EU member states to legislate, in particular in
the fields of public health and the environment, areas of great concern
for the working people of Canada as well.
EURACTIV France reports that Belgium, on September 6,
referred the "dispute resolution mechanism between investors and states
in CETA" to the ECJ asking it to evaluate the
validity of CETA's arbitration procedure under European law:
"The mechanism envisaged by
CETA, which was supposed to
favour the settlement of disputes between a state and a foreign
investor, had to be re-examined for the first time upon request
from France, which feared a lack of balance in the system.
"At the time of the official signing of the CETA in
in October 2016, Wallonia -- Belgium's French-speaking region --
had threatened not to sign the treaty and denounced the
potentially adverse effects of arbitration on the freedom of
states to legislate, in particular in the fields of environment
and of public health. If the signature had to take place, the
legality of the arbitration procedure envisaged by the CETA had
to be verified by the European Court."
Canada's Foreign Minister Freeland has bragged about
forcing Wallonia to agree to submit to CETA's provisional
implementation, however this has not resolved the matter. The Canadian
government may be seeking to have this new dispute resolution mechanism
enshrined in NAFTA so as to then demand it be accepted as part of CETA
and other so-called progressive imperialist trade deals.
Either way, the dispute over "dispute resolution" has nothing to do
with affirming the rights of the working people of North America or
Europe. The people are blocked from having any say in the establishment
of these trade deals and their terms. The negotiations are controlled
by the ruling elite who serve the private interests of the monopolies
and oligopolies. This or that dispute resolution mechanism cannot
address the fundamental contradiction that these international trade
deals are meant to serve the narrow private interests of the most
powerful corporations against the interests of the working people of
Conflict Over Authority to Terminate
Demonstration against second round of NAFTA renegotiations in Mexico
City, September 1, 2017.
Much has been made about U.S. President Donald Trump's
threats to terminate NAFTA if a deal acceptable to him is not
reached by December. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has
also confirmed the U.S. is seeking some automatic termination
or "sunset" clause be included "to ensure the
agreement can be constantly re-evaluated and improved," Canadian
Manufacturing reports. "The five-year thing is a real thing that
would force a systematic re-examination," Ross told a forum in
Washington. "You'd have a forum for trying to fix things," he added.
Canada and Mexico both oppose the idea on the basis that it would
interfere with investments.
Following Ross' talk, Canada's Ambassador to the United
States David MacNaughton told reporters, "One of the reasons you do [a
trade agreement] is to create an environment within which business can
make investments. [In] many of those investments people will look to 20
years', 25 years' payback. ... If you have to do it every five years,
the pricing of political risk is very high. ... If every marriage had a
five-year sunset clause on it, I think our divorce rate would be a heck
of a lot higher than it is."
Mexico's Ambassador to the U.S. Gerónimo
Gutiérrez agreed with MacNaughton saying, "It would probably
detrimental consequences for the business community of the United
States, Mexico and Canada.... Certainty is the key word here."
Manufacturing quotes Russ Crawford,
KPMG Canada concerning the demand for a sunset clause. Crawford
explained that it is not
about being able to "re-evaluate and improve" NAFTA as Ross says,
but relates to the conflict between the office of the U.S.
President and Congress and trying to limit the
latter's ability to decide the fate of NAFTA.
Trump has continually been threatening to "tear up"
he does not explicitly have the power to do so. "The U.S.
Constitution conveys authority to both the President and Congress
in matters of foreign affairs," said Crawford. "NAFTA was enacted
into law by the NAFTA Implementation
Act (NIA), but the NIA is
silent on the question of who has the authority to abrogate the
agreement -- there is no explicit authorization within the NIA
for the President to unilaterally invoke the termination clause
without Congressional approval." Crawford continued, "And unless
a U.S. law has a 'sunset' date of self-termination, only Congress
has the authority to repeal an existing law. Should President
Trump move to unilaterally withdraw without Congressional
approval, the issue may be litigated before the federal
In addition, the ability of the U.S. President to
NAFTA and submit it to Congress without Congress having the
ability to amend the agreement -- also known as "fast-track
authority" -- granted through the "Trade Promotion Authority,"
expires July 1, 2018. As well, U.S. mid-term elections take
place November 6, 2018.
In all this, Canadians are supposed to rally behind
opposition to a sunset clause on the basis that it will create
"uncertainty" for business. Meanwhile, the dispute really has to do
with the serious conflicts in the U.S. amongst contending forces of the
ruling elite and their private interests. This contention was supposed
to have been resolved in favour of one section or another with the
elections for President and the U.S. Congress but this system to sort
out who holds power no longer works. The fight amongst the ruling
oligarchs and their representatives in government and throughout the
state machine is constant and becoming ever more intense. The working
people throughout North America have to stay out of these fights within
the ruling elite and build their own independent political movements
that can put all three countries on a new pro-social direction to solve
their problems and deprive the ruling imperialist elite of the power to
deprive the people of their rights.
Dispute Resolution in NAFTA
NAFTA contains three dispute resolution measures:
Chapter 11 addresses disputes between investors and states; Chapter 19
addresses disputes between states; and Chapter 20 addresses the
enforcement of NAFTA provisions in general.
According to the Government of Canada, "Chapter 11 is
the investment component of the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) which came into force in 1994. It establishes a framework of
rules and disciplines that provides investors from NAFTA countries with
a predictable, rules-based investment climate, as well as dispute
settlement procedures which are designed to provide timely recourse to
an impartial tribunal."
This obscures the
experience the Canadian working people have had with Chapter 11. The
investment component of NAFTA provides a "predictable" and
"rules-based" climate for the monopolies to do as they please at the
expense of the workers, their health and safety and the natural
environment. The decisions of these tribunals and the threat of going
to one are used to attack the right of governments to decide at all
levels and the right of working people to protest and win their
grievances. The tribunals protect the ability of the monopolies to do
as they please while limiting to the slightest degree any intervention
on the part of governments or people to defend their rights.
The NAFTA Secretariat states:
[Chapter 11] establishes a
mechanism for the settlement of investment disputes that assures
both equal treatment among investors of the Parties to the
Agreement in accordance with the principle of international
reciprocity and due process before an impartial tribunal. A NAFTA
investor who alleges that a host government has breached its
investment obligations under Chapter 11 may, at its option, have
recourse to one of the following arbitral mechanisms:
- the World Bank's
International Centre for the
of Investment Disputes (ICSID);
- ICSID's Additional Facility
- the rules of the United
Nations Commission for
International Trade Law (UNCITRAL Rules).
Alternatively, the investor
may choose the remedies
available in the host country's domestic courts. An important
feature of the Chapter 11 arbitral provisions is the
enforceability in domestic courts of final awards by arbitration
Global Affairs lists the following cases which are
resolved to which Canada is a Party under Chapter 11:
Notices of Intent
Received and Current Arbitrations
- Resolute Forest Products
Inc. v. Government of Canada
Biotech Inc. v. Government of Canada
- Lone Pine Resources Inc. v.
Government of Canada
- Clayton/Bilcon v. Government of Canada
- Mercer International Inc. v. Government of Canada
- Mesa Power
Group LLC v. Government of Canada
- Murphy Oil Corporation vs
Government of Canada
- Mobil Investments Canada Inc. vs Government
to which Canada was a Party
- Eli Lilly and Company v.
Government of Canada
Energy LLC v. Government of Canada
- Mobil Investments Inc. and
Murphy Oil Corporation v. Government of Canada
- St. Marys VCNA,
LLC v. Government of Canada
- V. G. Gallo v. Government of Canada
- AbitibiBowater Inc. v. Government of Canada
- Centurion Health
Corporation v. Government of Canada
- Chemtura Corp. v. Government
- Dow AgroSciences LLC v. Government of Canada
Corporation v. Government of Canada
- Merrill & Ring Forestry L.P.
v. Government of Canada
- Pope & Talbot Inc. v. Government of
- S.D. Myers Inc. v. Government of Canada
- United Parcel
Service of America, Inc. (UPS) v. Government of Canada
International Bridge Company v. Government of Canada
The NAFTA Secretariat states:
[Chapter 19] establishes a
mechanism to provide an alternative to judicial review by
domestic courts of final determinations in antidumping and
countervailing duty cases, with review by independent binational
panels. A Panel is established when a Request for Panel Review is
filed with the NAFTA Secretariat by an industry asking for a
review of an investigating authority's decision involving imports
from a NAFTA country.
Although Chapter 19 panel
decisions are binding, there
one level of review of binational panel decisions that a NAFTA
government may initiate in extraordinary circumstances. This is
known as the Extraordinary Challenge Committee (ECC) procedure.
The challenge is not an appeal of right but a safeguard to
preserve the integrity of the panel process. If either government
believes that a decision has been materially affected, by either
a panel member having a serious conflict of interest, or the
panel having departed from a fundamental rule of procedure or
having exceeded its authority under the Agreement, either
government may invoke review by a three-person, binational
Extraordinary Challenge Committee, comprised of judges and former
judges. ECC decisions, like Chapter 19 binational panel
decisions, are binding as to the particular matter
The NAFTA Secretariat states:
The dispute settlement
provisions of Chapter 20 are applicable to all disputes regarding
the interpretation or application of the NAFTA. The steps set out
in Chapter 20 are intended to resolve disputes by agreement, if
at all possible. The process begins with government-to-government
(the Parties) consultations. If the dispute is not resolved, a
Party may request a meeting of the NAFTA Free-Trade Commission
(comprised of the Trade Ministers of the Parties). If the
Commission is unable to resolve the dispute, a consulting Party
may call for the establishment of a five-member arbitral
Chapter 20 also provides for
scientific review boards
may be selected by a panel, in consultation with the disputing
Party, to provide a written report on any factual issue
concerning environmental, health, safety or other scientific
matters to assist panels in rendering their decisions. As well,
disputes relating to the following chapters may be referred to
dispute settlement procedures under Chapter 20:
- Chapter 7 (Agriculture and
Sanitary and Phytosanitary
- Chapter 10 (Government Procurement);
- Chapter 11
(Non-compliance of a Party with a final award); and
- Chapter 14
Actions Against Anti-Pension Bill C-27
On September 18, close to 100 people participated
demonstration in front of Finance Minister Bill Morneau's office
in Ottawa. The action was organized by the Ottawa Committee for
Pension Security to highlight Morneau's conflict of interest in
pushing anti-pension Bill C-27.
Many retirees and active
workers from components of the Public Service Alliance of Canada
(PSAC), the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
(PIPSC), the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE) the
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Unifor and a large
contingent of postal workers from the Ottawa Local of the Canadian
Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) took part in the protest. The
demonstrators shouted slogans denouncing Bill C-27, a Liberal law that
would allow employers to retroactively convert secure defined benefit
pension plans into high risk target benefit schemes. In particular, the
retirees and workers expressed their anger about the clear conflict of
interest the bill represents for Mr. Morneau, given that his family
business, Morneau Shepell specializes in transitioning defined benefit
pensions to target benefit plans.
The demonstrators delivered letters to Morneau's office
demanding the immediate withdrawal of Bill C-27. A letter laying
conflict of interest complaints against the Finance Minister was also
delivered to the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics
Commissioner Mary Dawson.
The Ottawa Committee for Pension Security vowed to
working to stop the anti-pension bill and will be announcing
further actions to demand that the Liberals do not introduce it
in the House of Commons for second reading.
Also on September 18, retired and active postal workers
allies, including activists from the Workers' Centre of the
Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), held a militant
action at Morneau's Toronto constituency office to oppose Bill C-27.
The action was organized by the Toronto chapter of the National
Organization of Retired Postal Workers.
speakers at the action pointed out that the changes introduced in Bill
C-27 are anti-worker and a
scheme to enable companies to abrogate their responsibilities to
uphold their obligations to their workers' pensions.
Megan Whitfield, President of the Toronto Local of CUPW
denounced Bill C-27 as an
attack on the rights of all workers to a secure and guaranteed
retirement. She pointed out that pensions do not come from the
largess of the companies or Crown Corporations such as Canada
Post, but are earned by and belong to the workers. Companies have no
right to lay claim to these monies
she noted. She stated that the postal workers will step up their
organized fight against this unjust bill.
Learie Charles, Grievance
Officer for the Scarborough
of CUPW, spoke out against the anti-social attacks of governments
at all levels on workers' pensions and benefits. He said that
pensions are a right and they must be defended and expanded to
include all workers, especially those who are not unionized, and
that the social benefits that workers need for a secure
retirement should be guaranteed. He also noted that the
politicians who make these anti-worker policies have fat
pensions and benefits that are guaranteed. He also emphasized
that workers cannot rely on any of the parties currently
holding seats in the government to defend their interests, but
only on their own political organizing in defence of their
Speaking on behalf of the rally organizers, Roger
retired postal worker from Penetanguishene, said that the
Liberals will have to be defeated in the next federal election
for their attacks against workers. He called on the postal
workers and other workers to join in defeating the anti-worker
Trudeau Liberal government. This was also the opinion of Susan
Scott-Mallett, another retired postal worker who travelled
from London, Ontario to take part in the action.
The organizers thanked everyone for their support and
on participants to come out to future actions to defeat Bill
Support the Peace Process in Colombia!
New Political Party Formed to Uphold the Peace
Founding Congress of new FARC political party, Bogotá, Colombia,
27-September 1, 2017. Banner reads: "National Congress of the FARC-EP
for a Transitional Government for
Reconciliation and Peace."
In fulfilment of commitments made as part of the Final
Peace Agreement it signed with the Government of Colombia, the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP) has now
handed over all its weapons to the United Nations and ceased to exist
as an armed organization. From August 27 to September 1, a historic
Founding Congress was held in Bogotá in which the FARC
officially transformed from a political-military organization to a
political party, Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común
(People's Alternative Revolutionary Force) -- FARC that will be
registered with the country's national electoral
A red rose with a
star in its centre is the symbol of the new party.
The retention of the familiar acronym FARC recognizes
the organization's accumulated history and revolutionary political
traditions and makes clear that its members are not defensive at all
about their past as they move into this new phase of political struggle.
The FARC plans to contest elections at all levels and
will seek to build a broad coalition of all those committed to ensuring
that the Peace Accords are fully implemented. It has given the call for
a transitional government of national reconciliation. As part of the
Final Peace Agreement, the FARC is guaranteed ten seats in the
Colombian Congress (five in the House of Representatives, five in the
Senate) for the next two electoral periods (2018-2026). Showing the
formidable force of the new party, the Congress was held at the Gonzalo
Jiménez de Quesada Convention Center in Bogotá and
attended by 1,200 delegates representing members of the FARC-EP as well
as 300 national and international guests and observers plus hundreds of
representatives of national and international media organizations.
Plenary sessions and some other proceedings of the Congress were open
to the press and live-streamed on the internet.
The Congress opened with messages of greetings sent by
political parties and other organizations from around the world.
A video message from the National Liberation Army (ELN) sent from
Ecuador where the ELN is currently engaged in its own peace
process with the Colombian government was the first to be
presented. Among the invited guests who delivered greetings at
the opening session was a representative of the Central Committee
of the Communist Party of Cuba who said his party would
immediately open official relations with the new party.
FARC‑EP leader Timoleón Jiménez (Rodrigo
Londoño) delivered the official opening address, emphasizing
that without losing sight of the many challenges and difficulties
ahead, celebrating the historic founding Congress publicly and in the
capital of the country represented a real victory, something he said
was "unthinkable" a few short years ago.
In his speech Jiménez said
that becoming an exclusively political organization and carrying out
its activities by legal means did not mean the FARC was in any way
renouncing its ideological foundations or project for society. "We will
continue being as revolutionary as the Marquetalians [peasants who took
up armed self‑defence against Colombian state violence in the
countryside around Marquetalia, Tolima and founded the FARC in 1964 ‑‑ TML],
and the freedom-loving
traditions of our people to fight for power and lead Colombia to the
full exercise of its national sovereignty, and for the creation of
people’s sovereignty," he said. "We will continue fighting for the
establishment of a democratic political regime that guarantees peace
with social justice, respect for human rights and economic development
with well‑being for all of us who live in Colombia."
"As we have always done," he said, "we will respond to
adversaries on one or the other extreme of the political spectrum
with deeds, without the need of getting into complicated debates.
Our best argument will be the masses organized and in motion in
the most diverse scenarios, facing the regime and the system with
Central Political Report
The Central Political Report to the Congress was
Iván Márquez, who led the FARC-EP Peace Delegation at the
negotiation table in Havana. He said the war had been imposed on
the FARC, but they never considered armed resistance as an end in
itself, making numerous attempts over the years to seek a
political solution which finally came to fruition with the Final
Peace Agreement negotiated in Havana.
"The peace we have attained is not a perfect peace,
as it is a negotiated peace; it is the peace of the continuation
of social conflict and of the continuity of our aspirations and
aims which we have never renounced, nor will we renounce by using
exclusively political means. It is a peace based on
agreements, in our opinion minimum and basic, to make progress in
overcoming the original causes and the persistence of the armed
uprising, and above all, to offer and leave to Colombian society
a legacy that opens up the possibility of initiating a process of
political, economic, social and cultural democratization that, if
it materializes, will forever transform the life of society as a
whole and open avenues for the well-being and good living (buen
vivir) of the large majority.
Marquez said starting to get the Peace Accords
implemented, achieving the reincorporation of the guerrillas into
civilian life and beginning legal political activity would all involve
lengthy processes and many interrelated challenges. All must be seen
and understood as contentious areas, affected as they are by the social
and class conflicts inherent in the capitalist social order, he said.
The report also addressed the importance of political
power for enforcing the Agreement reached in Havana which touches all
aspects of Colombian life, and ensuring the peace is maintained: "Our
political strategy has as its basis and reference our aspiration to
contribute to forming a new political and social power, to transforming
and overcoming the existing social order. In developing this aim, we
see our political action as the mechanism for contending for state
power, including on the one hand access to representation and
government positions at different levels, and on the other, the
creation of a new social power 'from below' by all the various social
"Not only because it is a commitment derived from the
Agreement, but because we cannot be indifferent to either the
presidential election or the formation of the new Congress, under the
circumstances our proposal for a transitional government assumes
Márquez said it was essential to ensure there
are favourable conditions for the implementation of all the accords:
will not tire of saying that the agreements are not for the FARC-EP or
the political party that will emerge from it in this founding Congress;
they were conceived to benefit the whole of Colombian society and in
particular the poor and dispossessed in the countryside."
Márquez emphasized that a key feature of the
not implemented involves the release of all FARC-EP political
prisoners. Over a thousand remain in jail despite the Amnesty Law
being passed and approved almost nine months ago.
Press Conference announcing the founding of the People's Alternative
Revolutionary Force, September 1, 2017.
During the Congress, delegates discussed new statutes
for the party, as well as its platform and program, and worked in
commissions, some portions of which were open to the press and
live-streamed. Delegates also elected the party's National Council
consisting of 111 members. In a communiqué issued following its
first plenary session held September 2-3, the National People's Council
announced the appointment of a 15-member National Political Council,
with Timoleón Jiménez named president of the new party.
The National People's Council said it reaffirmed "the
of unity of the new party ... and the need to move towards a
transitional government of national reconciliation." It also
reaffirmed the words of Timoleón Jiménez at the opening
of the Congress: "We have to be fully aware of the extent to
which we must address the nation, without dogmas or sectarianism,
unrelated to all ideological ostentation, with clear and simple
The communiqué ended by expressing appreciation
for the bilateral ceasefire agreement reached by the Colombian
government and the ELN on September 4, calling it "a step towards the
peace in Colombia we all dream of, and a manifestation of the parties'
commitment to the different sectors of civil society, which have made
the triumph of peace its banner."
Message of Greetings
The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) sends
revolutionary greetings to the historic Founding Congress of the
new political party of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
being held this week in Bogotá along with best wishes for the
success of its very important work.
CPC(M-L) is confident that after 53 years of fighting
great sacrifice as an organized contingent of the Colombian
people, the FARC will be able to continue the fight successfully
under the new conditions and with new forms to consolidate peace
with social justice and build together with others the new
Colombia in which the people are sovereign and everyone's rights
Congratulations for the victories achieved so far
all the attempts by forces of the old to obstruct the
implementation of the Final Peace Agreement. Congratulations to
all the Colombian people, especially the youth, who have put
heart and soul into working for a genuine and lasting peace,
thereby contributing to making Latin America and the Caribbean a
zone of peace.
We wish you every success in the work you have taken
unite all the forces that can be united to seek political and
social rather than military solutions to Colombia's political and
You can count on the Canadian working class and people
continue standing with the Colombian people in the cause of peace
with social justice and against imperialist intervention in Our
Ten Thousand Attend Concert for
Revealing the broad support for the work of the FARC,
10,000 people, including many youth, packed Plaza de Bolívar,
the main square in the Colombian capital Bogotá to attend the
Concert for Peace and Reconciliation and launch of the new political
party, People's Alternative Revolutionary Force -- FARC. The historic
square is framed by the National Congress building and National
Courthouse, the city's main cathedral and the office of the Mayor of
Bogotá. A host of well-known national and international artists
and musical groups as well as several of FARC's own balladeers and rap
singers performed for the enthusiastic crowd at the public celebration.
Among those who lent their
talents and good will to the
celebration was Totó la Momposina, a world-renowned singer and
musicologist from Colombia's Caribbean region whose
performances artfully combine African, Indigenous and Spanish
musical traditions, rhythms and themes.
Another high point was a traditional Indigenous
ceremony which took place after Timoleón Jiménez
delivered the evening's only speech. Elders of the Ancestral Peoples
from different regions of Colombia and the Lakota people from Dakota
delivered greetings and shared their hopes for peace across the
continent, after which they smoked a chanupa
(Lakota ceremonial pipe) in recognition of the significance of the
The broad participation at this mass event smashes to
smithereens the spectre created by the ruling circles in Colombia
and their backers in the United States and Canada who never cease
portraying the FARC as an isolated and criminal force,
even as victimizers of Indigenous and Afro-Colombians, when in
fact they represent the highest aspirations of the Colombian
people for a New Colombia of their own making.
In his speech,
Timoleón Jiménez said, "We want to build a different
country with all of you, a country in which violence disappears once
and for all from the political scene, where no one is persecuted,
assassinated or disappeared for thinking differently. A country in
which no one feels obliged to take up arms to defend their life, where
the response to protest and social non-conformity is not brutality at
the hands of the [riot squad]."
He said the FARC had demonstrated its sincerity in many
ways -- by engaging in a total ceasefire, by moving its forces into the
transitional zones, by completely abandoning its arms, providing an
inventory of its war economy and beginning the process of handing over
all of its assets, which are to be used as reparations for victims of
The search for the truth of the conflict and
reparations for its victims was at the heart of the Peace Accords
negotiated in Havana, said Jiménez, adding that the instruments
agreed upon would be responsible for revealing what actually happened.
"We do not fear justice. On the contrary, we cry out for it, for a
country where impunity disappears forever, irrespective of the social
status or political condition of those responsible," he said.
Cuba Hurricane Relief
The Hurricane Did Not Break Cubans'
Spirit of Resistance
Hurricane Irma Relief & Reconstruction
for Cuba Campaign
To assist Cuba in its immense efforts of
reconstruction, the Canadian Network On Cuba (CNC) is launching
the Hurricane Irma Relief & Reconstruction for Cuba Campaign.
Send donations to:
CNC Hurricane Relief
Bolton, ON L7E 1S4
Please make cheques out to the Canadian
Network On Cuba and write "CNC Hurricane Irma Relief Fund" on
your cheque's memo line.
All donations will be forwarded 100 per cent
Weekly is reproducing below a
statement by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign
Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, to a meeting held in solidarity with
the countries affected by Hurricane Irma at the United Nations in New York,
September 18. The meeting brought attention to the
hurricane's devastation of Caribbean Island states and aimed to secure
the commitments of member states to support those countries and peoples
was exempt from its effects. Despite the large number
of preventive measures undertaken, we suffered the loss of 10 human
work of our people were erased by hurricane
Irma in a few hours.
recovery stage: "our people are reborn with every adversity."
international organizations and the
the hurricane. In Antigua and Barbuda, there
were already 54 Cuban health workers, who were joined by specialists
and technicians in electricity networks after the passage of the
hurricane. All of them are contributing to the country's
recovery. I mention this merely to argue a call to prioritize, in
mobilizing international aid, those states and territories that, due to
their small size, small population and limited capacity to generate
their own resources, will face the greatest challenges in recovering
after hurricane Irma.
and in particular the
need for a special and differentiated treatment to small island states
such as Cuba's sister nations now severely affected.
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