March 3, 2018 - No. 8

International Women's Day 2018

All Out to Affirm Women's Rights!


For Your Information
Child Care in Canada
Facts About Women in the Workforce

Ruling Elite Continue Push for Integration and
Continental Corridors for Trade

Rounds Six and Seven of NAFTA Negotiations
Integration of Mexican, Canadian and U.S. Regulatory Bodies
Control Over Energy Resources and Their Transport
Push for Trade Corridors Under U.S. Control

Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
Cross-Canada Actions Demand Justice for Tina Fontaine
Walking with Our Sisters Mnidoo Kweok Exhibit
Visits Sudbury and Kenora

Robinson Huron Treaty Annuities Hearings in Sudbury
Anishinaabek People Oppose Liberal Hypocrisy
and Fight for Treaty Rights

- David Starbuck -

Shooting at School in Parkland, Florida
No Means No! Enough Is Enough! Students Organize for Change

Fifth Anniversary of the Death of Hugo Chávez
Long Live the Legacy of the Founder
of the Bolivarian Revolution!

- Margaret Villamizar -

Robinson Treaty with Ojibewa of Lake Huron Conveying
Certain Lands to the Crown

International Women's Day 2018

All Out to Affirm Women's Rights!

Edmonton, International Women's Day 2017.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) salutes the women of Canada, Quebec and the Indigenous peoples and women the world over on the occasion of International Women's Day 2018. The fight waged by women and girls to affirm their rights is courageous, heroic, inspiring and decisive in the fight for the rights of all. At a time counter-revolution has the initiative worldwide, with its vicious neo-liberal agenda, anti-social offensive, privatizations, aggressions and wars, women stand in the front ranks of the struggle to affirm their rights in all fields of human endeavour. This is the struggle that opens society's path to progress, especially since all these attacks are carried out, amongst other things, in the name of women and their rights! To the chagrin of the elites, women are not fighting for their rights to satisfy the agenda of elites but to make sure conditions are brought into being where even the notion of women as a legitimate target of attack is a thing of the past. On this occasion, CPC(M-L) calls on all members of the polity to stand as one to affirm a society which does not discriminate against women and girls and consider them fair game.

Women are also playing a leading role in the work to renew the democratic process. They are fighting for government of laws against the use of police powers which criminalize all members of the polity, turning them and their collectives into objects that allegedly threaten the national interest and national security. It must not pass!

Vigil on Parliament Hill, October 4, 2017, demands justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

On this occasion, we think the courageous stands taken by Indigenous women and their families deserve special commendation. Their voices rise ever louder against the conditions which permit their mothers, sisters, children, grandmothers and aunts to be murdered and disappeared. The fact that the state maintains colonial relations which permit this to be done with impunity shows above all else that the people require the political power to change this and create a modern Canada which realizes the dream of nation-to-nation relations with the Indigenous peoples.

Women's March, Toronto, January 21, 2017. Women across Canada joined those in the U.S. standing in the forefront of the fight for their rights and the rights of all, in opposition to the
Trump presidency.

It is the voices of the women which represent this political power at this time. No number of attempts to silence them or to hand over the fate of women and girls to an alien authority have silenced this voice which is getting stronger and stronger. It is our duty to help this voice be heard, to add our voices so that those who commit the crimes and those who cover up the crimes, no matter who they are, are brought to justice. Once again it is the women who are inspiring all members of the polity to lay the claims which they must and take up social responsibility to do whatever is required to open society's path to progress.

By laying the claims which we must, resistance to all forms of oppression and humiliation gives rise to the new quality required today to bring into being a world where every woman, every child, every human being and their collectives flourish.

Nearly 50 years ago, a Royal Commission was held on the Status of Women. Its report amongst other things exposed the extent of wage discrimination against women and called for a national child care program. Today, nearly 50 years later, women still earn on average 73 per cent of the wages of men. Not only are the rights of women as members of a class which produces the wealth society depends on for its living not recognized but their role as those who reproduce life and are the main caregivers of children is still not recognized. Governments do not even acknowledge that in a modern society and socialized economy the care of children and elders is the responsibility of society. Women and families cannot be left to fend for themselves. Declarations, promises, and pronouncements from the ruling circles are based on paternalism, a feudal trait. They not only aim to cover up the reality that the continuing oppression of women is integrally linked with capitalist exploitation, but to smash any attempt of the members of the polity to unite in action for political renewal. Today the working class is formulating a nation-building project which vests political power in the people. This will end the situation in which the "sovereign" represents private interests which act in the name of the people to keep the people disempowered.

Through their actions, women speak, organize and collectively take decisions which favour them and all matters which concern them. This is how they address problems of the present. This is how their actions in the present inform the kind of future which we leave all children. When women lay the claims which they must it contributes to the work for democratic renewal. It does not and will never provide legitimacy for institutions which work against them, be they governments, legislatures or social and political organizations no matter which or where.

One hundred and seven years ago, the first International Women's Day was celebrated to focus on the call for peace issued by communist women in Europe prior to the First World War. Since then, life experience has confirmed that women are the mightiest force for peace on the world scale. This is represented today by the work to Make Canada a Zone for Peace and to establish an anti-war government which gets Canada out of war alliances, coalitions and cartels of all kinds, including economic, military, cultural or any other. Today, Canada is embroiled in all U.S. wars of aggression, occupation and regime change. It is a member of alliances and coalitions which are threatening all peoples who refuse to submit to U.S. dictate. On the occasion of International Women's Day 2018, let us step up the fight to establish an anti-war government and make Canada a Zone for Peace.

Join events which celebrate International Women's Day across the country! They get going on Saturday, March 3. Join in laying the claims for more investments in social programs, adequate wages, childcare and senior's care, against criminalization of speech and social action, for justice for Indigenous women and girls and nation-to-nation relations with the Indigenous peoples within a modern Canada and against aggression and war. All out to uphold the rights of women and girls!

Montreal, International Women's Day 2017.

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For Your Information

Child Care in Canada

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) reported in November 2016 that Canada failed to uphold rights when it came to child care. It recommended that Canada take action to make child care more affordable and accessible, and called on Canada to adopt "a rights-based national child care framework in order to provide sufficient and adequate child care facilities."

The UN CEDAW Committee noted that Canada's federal government has an obligation to "take necessary legislative measures to give full effect to the Convention on discrimination against women," and to "provide leadership to the provincial and territorial governments in that context."

Canadian and Indigenous women's organizations and child care advocates agree that the government must recognize rights by providing affordable child care, upholding the rights of early childhood educators to wages and benefits commensurate with the value they create, and expanding public and not-for-profit private day care, with no expansion of private for-profit care. They further call for a National Child Care Program to uphold the rights of children, women and workers in early childhood education and child care. They point out that services are scarce, child care space availability is uneven, fees are unaffordable, quality is uneven, and workers are grossly underpaid for the important work they do and value they add to the economy.

A recent study by West Coast Leaf found that outside of Quebec and Manitoba, where parent fees are capped for regulated day care spaces, median child care fees range from 23 to 36 per cent of median pre-tax income for women aged 25 to 34. In other words, mothers in most Canadian provinces pay three to four months of their annual salary on child care costs.

Overall, Canadian families spend almost one-quarter of their income on child care, a ratio that is much higher than in other parts of the world, according to a report issued in 2016 by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

In 2014, regulated child care spaces were available for only 24 per cent of children from birth to age five. The Trudeau Liberals say they will invest $7.5 billion over 10 years on child care, with the amounts starting at $500 million in 2016-17 and rising to $870 million by 2026. This includes funding to provinces and territories as well as to provide Indigenous child care on and off reserve. It has been estimated that the federal funding could create about 13,000 subsidized spaces a year over the next three years, or about 2.4 per cent of the roughly 543,000 regulated child-care spaces in Canada for children five and under. The total amount is even less than contained in the 2005 national child care plan introduced by the Paul Martin government but cancelled by the Harper government before it got off the ground.

The Trudeau Liberals also introduced the Canada Child Benefit which the government says will help bring more women into the work force by making child care more affordable. The Canada Child Benefit is a Harper-era program that the Liberal government modified to provide larger payments to lower income families, with payments decreasing as family income rises. Families with income under $30,000 would benefit the most. The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) reported that families with incomes of $65,000 and over would see an average increase of about $1,000 a year to their child care benefits. The number of eligible families was reduced by 13 per cent. The PBO did not factor in the impact of the cancellation of other Harper era tax credits including the Children's Fitness and Arts Tax Credits, the Education Tax Credit and Textbook Tax Credit for youth in post-secondary education. The Public Transit Tax Credit was also cancelled. The Harper government's Income Splitting Tax Credit which would have reduced taxes for families with a significant difference in the wages earned by the two partners was also cancelled. The experience of many families shows  that the Trudeau government's claim to have implemented a feminist child policy is exaggerated. When these changes are factored in, many families have seen little improvement or actually receive a smaller child benefit under Trudeau's plan, which does not recognize that child care is a right.

The child benefit obviously will help some families with those costs, but it's not big enough to make a material difference in places such as Vancouver and Toronto, where the median cost of childcare each month is $1,360 and $1,758, respectively, the Centre for Policy Alternatives has pointed out. And while a subsidized space in Montreal cost $178 a month, Quebec's subsidized day care program only provides spaces for about one in three kids in day care.[1] Child care advocate and scholar Martha Friendly noted that the benefit may not actually encourage women to seek work outside the home. For a new job to make sense, a stay-at-home parent would have to earn enough to cover child care and whatever her or his family would lose from the child benefit.

Basic Information on the Canada Child Benefit

Budget 2016 introduced the Canada Child Benefit. Starting in July 2016, the new Canada Child Benefit provides a maximum annual benefit of $6,400 ($533 a month) per child under the age of six, and $5,400 ($450 a month) per child aged six through 17. The full benefit is payable only if family income is below $30,000 a year. For example, a family with a median household income of $70,000 in 2015 would receive $324 a month with one child or $3,890 a year and $8,586 a year with two kids under six. The benefit is not considered taxable income, however an income tax return must be filed in order to receive the benefit.

The Canada Child Benefit replaced the Universal Child Care Benefit introduced by the Harper government of $160 a month per child under six and $60 for kids between six and 17; the Canada Child Tax Benefit (an additional income-tested family benefit); the National Child Benefit (a supplement for low-income families); and the Conservative's "Family Tax Cut" which involved income splitting for families with children under 18, and lowered taxes payable by up to $2,000 when one parent or guardian made significantly more than the other. The Children's Fitness Tax Credit and Children's Arts Tax Credit were also phased out. The Universal Child Care Benefit was taxable income, while the Canada Child Benefit is not.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) estimated in a 2016 fiscal analysis that the average payment under the Canada Child Benefit would increase by $1,858 annually for all families, with the greatest benefit to families with adjusted net income below $30,000. Without the recently announced adjustments for inflation, the PBO estimated that the benefit would have fallen to the level of the Harper government's programs by 2018.

One out of 10 eligible families, or 477,000 people deemed eligible did not receive the benefit in its first year. Taxpayers' ombudsman Sherra Profit reported that women living in shelters and Indigenous women on reserve experience difficulties receiving their benefits.


1. The Globe and Mail, April 17, 2017, carried an article based on a report by the Quebec government titled, Situation des centres de la petite enfance,des garderies et de la garde en milieufamilial au Québec en 2013. The Report analyzed  reports of activities in 2012-2013 submitted in March 2015 by those involved in delivering the Quebec child care program. The Globe wrote: "Universal is also a misnomer when it comes to the Quebec system. Only 35 per cent of the 250,000 Quebec children attending some form of daycare in 2013 had a coveted spot in a public Centre de la petite enfance, with its highly structured activities and multicertified caregivers. Most Quebec children (38 per cent) in licensed child care are still cared for in a so-called family setting, often by a neighbour who runs a daycare out of her home. While some parents prefer this type of arrangement, many others fear their kids are being shortchanged by second-class care."

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Facts About Women in the Workforce

In December 2017 Statistics Canada reported there were 15,169,800 women in Canada over the age of 15. Of these 9,326,500 were in the workforce, with 8,780,900 employed and 545,600 unemployed (not working and actively looking for work) for an overall participation rate of 61.5 per cent. Women make up 47.5 per cent of the labour force in Canada.

In the core working age between 25 and 54 years, 82.9 per cent of women participated in the paid labour market (2017). This is only eight per cent less than men in the same age group.

Among youth under the age of 25, 57.2 per cent of young women were employed, compared to only 54.4 per cent of young men (2015).

Women's participation rate in the workforce is measurably lower in metropolitan areas with high day-care fees because regulated child care is available to only 20.5 per cent of children in Canada under the age of 12 and this affects mothers' participation in the work force.

As a result, the employment rate for mothers between 25 to 54 years of age with children under fifteen, was 75 per cent (2013). Canada is ninth among the 35 member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in the participation rate of mothers in the workforce.

Three-quarters of the people working part-time in 2015 were women; 18.9 per cent of employed women worked part-time, compared to 5.5 per cent of employed men. The number of part-time jobs in Canada increased by 153,700, a rate two-and-a-half times greater than the 60,400 increase in full-time jobs (2016).

In the period between 1993 and 2016, the percentage of young women working part-time has increased by 10 per cent. Of those who worked part-time, 67.2 per cent of women, compared to 53 per cent of men, reported they wanted to work less than 30 hours a week. The most common reason, cited by 25 per cent of women, for working part-time was caring for children.

The number of multiple job holders has also increased, with 959,000 people working more than one job. Between 1976 and 2015, the number of multiple jobholders rose from 2.2 per cent of the workforce to 5.3 per cent. Most are women.

More than 1.5 million people -- nine per cent of the workforce -- were classified as self-employed for tax purposes, with approximately a half million entering and leaving self-employment each year. This high turnover rate suggests that people turn to self-employment to avoid joblessness, not by choice. Of those self-employed, 38.8 per cent were women. Only 34.2 per cent of self-employed women owned an incorporated business, compared to 53.2 per cent of men, and they were also less likely to employ paid help.

Thirty one per cent of women workers fifteen years and older had precarious work, either self-employed, working in temporary jobs, or working part time involuntarily.

The percentage of people over 55 remaining in the work force has increased dramatically in Canada, from 24 per cent in 1996 to a record high of 38 per cent in 2016, with 32.4 per cent of women over 55 still in the work force.

A person is considered unemployed if they are not working but are actively looking for work. Since 1991 women have had a lower unemployment rate than men. In contrast, from the mid 1970s to the late 1980s, the unemployment rate for men was usually below that for women. The only exception to this trend was in the early 1980s, when the recession affected considerably more men than women. Again, during the economic recessions in the early 1990s and in 2008-9, the gap between male and female unemployment rates increased as the unemployment rate rose more steeply for men than women. This is because of the greatest loss of jobs during these recessions was in the male-dominated, goods-producing sector.

This gender difference in unemployment rates between women and men is more acute among the youth. While the gender gap in unemployment rates was less than one percentage point in favour of women in the core working ages in 2015 (6.2 per cent for men compared to 5.4 per cent for women), it was 3.7 percentage higher for men than women amongst the youth (15.0 per cent for men compared to 11.3 per cent for women).

Two factors contribute to this state of affairs. First, women are over-represented in industries with the greatest concentration of youth (retail trade and accommodation and food services). Second, more women than men pursue post-secondary education. This is reflected in gender differences in the type of work they seek and the difficulty associated with finding work. Nationally, Sixty-one per cent of unemployed young men were non-students in 2015, compared to 44.8 per cent of their female counterparts. It is likely therefore that more women were looking for part-time work while attending school, while more young men were not in school and were actively looking for full-time work.

Sectors of Economy Where Majority of Women Work

The growth of the services-producing sector accounted for virtually all of the increase in the number of women in the workforce. The goods-producing sector has been a stronghold of men's employment historically and it continues to be so today. As a result, according to Statistics Canada men's job opportunities have been reduced by economic restructuring including neo-liberal globalization which has eliminated manufacturing jobs in Canada, while employment in sectors where women dominate has expanded.

Since the late 1960s, the main employer in Canada has been the services-producing sector, employing 77.6 per cent of all workers while the goods-producing sector employed 22.4 per cent. In comparison, in 1976 63.9 per cent of workers were employed in the service sector.

The majority of women continue to work in the occupations where their employment has been concentrated historically -- in teaching, nursing and related health occupations, social work, clerical or other administrative positions, or sales and services.

Forty-one per cent of women in the labour force worked in just three sectors -- health care and social assistance, educational services, and accommodation and food services. Women comprised 82.4 per cent of the workforce in health care and social assistance, 69.3 per cent in educational services and 58.5 per cent in accommodation and food services.

Approximately 56 per cent of women were employed in occupations involving the "5 Cs" -- caring, clerical, catering, cashiering and cleaning. This has changed very little from 1987, when 59.2 per cent of women were employed in these occupations.

By comparison, 18.4 per cent of men worked in the three industries where men dominated with the greatest share of men (relative to women): construction (88.3 %); forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (80.5 %); and utilities (77.8 %). Thus, women were concentrated in sex-typed industries at more than double the rate of men.

Just as industries are sex-typed, so too are occupations within an industry. Women and men tend to work in distinct occupations, with those where women are the majority, typically at lower levels than men. For example, in the accommodation and food services industry, 59.7 per cent of chefs and cooks were men, while 71.6 per cent of food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support personnel were women, as were 71.3 per cent of food and beverage servers.

Women comprised only 24.4 per cent of people employed in professional and scientific occupations, an increase of only 7 per cent since 1987. During this period the proportion of women among mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries increased the most, followed by architects, urban planners and land surveyors. Only in computer science has the representation of women declined over time.

Wage Gap Between Women and Men

A 2015 UN Human Rights report raised concerns about "the persisting inequalities between women and men" in Canada, including the "high level of the pay gap" and its disproportionate effect on low-income women, visible minority women, and Indigenous women.[1] Out of 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OEDC), Canada had the seventh highest "gender wage gap" (2014).

Traditionally, Statistics Canada has used the annual earnings of full-time, full-year workers to measure the "wage gap" between women and men. According to that metric, women aged 25 to 54 earned an average of $52,500 in 2014, while their male counterparts earned an average of $70,700. Using this comparison, women earned $0.74 for every dollar earned by men.

Women working at full-time jobs work fewer hours annually than men working at full-time jobs. If the "wage gap" is calculated based on hourly earnings, women earned $.88 for every dollar earned by men. Women earned an average hourly wage of $25.38, while men earned an average hourly rate of 28.92.

Statistics Canada says that ratio has improved, in part, due to rising educational attainment by women. A higher percentage of women earn both post-secondary certificates or diplomas and university degrees than men, but the "wage gap" persists. In 2015, 35.1 per cent of Canadian women had university degrees compared to 13.7 per cent in 1990.

Women are also penalized for their role in the reproduction of life. As mothers, they typically earn less than both women without dependent children and fathers, and this "motherhood penalty" persists over their working lives. Mothers with at least one child under the age of 18 earned $0.85 for every dollar earned by fathers, while women without children earned $0.90 for every dollar earned by men without children.

Some provinces have entrenched specified minimum hourly wages for gendered work sectors, contributing to the "wage gap" between men and women. For example in British Columbia, employees who serve liquor, who are predominantly women, can be paid $1.25 less than minimum wage. In New Brunswick construction labourers -- who are predominately men -- have a required minimum wage that is $2.33 higher than the standard minimum wage.


1. United Nations Office of the High Commission for Human Rights. "Concluding observations on the sixth periodic report of Canada," 2015, p. 2.

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Ruling Elite Continue Push for Integration and Continental Corridors for Trade

Rounds Six and Seven of NAFTA Negotiations

The working peoples of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico continue to lay
their claims for pro-social change under their sovereign control

Round six of the NAFTA negotiations took place  January 28 and 29 in Montreal. An impression is being created by governments and the media in the service of the private interests in control that "hope" now exists that the three parties which claim to represent Canada, the United States and Mexico can "save NAFTA." This deliberately hides who is negotiating what and in whose interests. The working people of all three countries have consistently said No! to free trade under the control of the narrow private interests of supranational big business. The peoples do not want to save NAFTA; they have consistently opposed monopoly-controlled free trade right from the beginning. The peoples need nation-building projects based on self-reliant economies under the control of those who do the work with a modern aim to meet and guarantee the rights and well-being of all and the general interests of society.

All this chatter of NAFTA "progress" and "compromises" is meant to divert the working peoples of the three countries from developing their own outlook independent of the will and views of the ruling elite. The NAFTA negotiations are a farce. Right in the middle of these talks, President Trump pronounced that trade wars are good and winnable for the ruling elite he champions and says large steel and aluminum tariffs are coming soon. This comes on the heels of softwood lumber tariffs specifically targeting Canadian production.

Trudeau and his foreign minister continue to dance to a tune which caters to private interests seeking to dominate. The international financial oligarchy linked to U.S. imperialism is clearly striving to control the raw material and workers' capacity to work of Canada, the U.S.and Mexico and integrate the economies of all three countries into a war economy which will somehow rescue the moribund U.S. economy writhing in crisis.

NAFTA is and always has been about strengthening the power and control of the ruling elite who want continental integration and corridors for trade, energy, security and transportation which rescue U.S. imperialism in its striving to dominate the world. The U.S. wants to have free movement of their police and military forces and integrated regulations and decision-making so as to effectively pillage and engage in destructive wars.

Within this aim, the oligopolies which comprise these private interests are in open competition both in and outside NAFTA negotiations. Conflict is their middle name. The ruling elite constantly fight with each other and everyone over the right to exploit the continent and world's raw material, expropriate the value workers produce and lord it over all and sundry. They are in conflict with the entire world; how else to explain the U.S. military's one thousand bases outside the United States? They do not promote social love, international unity, harmony, mutual benefit and development. They destroy whatever they cannot control.

Secret Negotiations

These are secret negotiations. The peoples are told only what the ruling elite consider serves their plan for continental integration and the mass media are willing accomplices. Reports claim that the sixth round of negotiations "included a first significant back-and-forth dialogue on autos and other major sticking points" and that progress was made in this round as a result of "compromise proposals" by Canada and Mexico on key U.S. demands. What does it mean?

Regarding "compromise proposals," Canadian Press reports that in response to U.S. demands to increase U.S. content in produced autos, "Canada (our side) suggested new ways to calculate whether a car counts as American. The new formulas would inflate U.S. numbers somewhat by including areas where the U.S. dominates, such as intellectual property and research. It did not address U.S. demands for specific numeric targets for parts production." Well isn't that sweet! We can fudge the numbers and Trump will be happy. How does this move us forward towards self-reliant steel, vehicle and machinery building sectors that do not depend on what the financial oligarchs do or do not want or consider good enough to make America great again?

Meanwhile back in the world of autoworkers, they point out that this chatter hides the issue of intellectual property and research on new technologies in autos, especially in the field of artificial intelligence and self-driving vehicles. The U.S. private interests are attempting to dominate their rivals in these technologies for use not just in vehicle production but in war and they aim to maintain absolute control.

Also, the talk about not addressing "specific targets" for vehicle parts production hides how the Canadian and U.S. governments are already well advanced in preparing to place Canadian auto parts plants under the jurisdiction of U.S. Customs. The U.S. gets to inspect and clear what autoworkers produce at Canadian factories for transport to the U.S. along secured corridors, further expanding U.S. jurisdiction in Canada.

According to other reports, negotiators have now finalized sections of a new NAFTA dealing with "anti-corruption, competition and medium and small business." Canadians are not informed what is behind this and cannot agree to anything finalized behind their backs over which they have had no say. Governments have no mandate to discuss let alone implement secret deals which do not favour the peoples' interests.

The three parties have now reconvened in Mexico City to continue their secret NAFTA talks of betrayal and sell-out to the U.S. imperialist war machine.

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Integration of Mexican, Canadian and
U.S. Regulatory Bodies

As a matter of a modern principle of nation-building, regulations and standards should be a matter of sovereign public policy and not determined by privileged private interests, which today are globalized. That is not how the situation is viewed by the Trudeau government or was viewed by previous governments since the late 1980s.

The Trudeau government is preoccupied with how to integrate into a single institution the two Regulatory Cooperation Councils (RCCs) established between Canada and the U.S. and the U.S. and Mexico under the Harper government. Reports indicate that Canada wants the RCC to become part of the North American Free Trade Agreement but on a trilateral basis to include Mexico.

The existing U.S.-Canada RCC was established between the Harper and Obama governments in 2011. Its purported aim is to "align" regulations between the two countries by integrating regulatory bodies, eliminating existing regulatory differences and establishing common regulations in new areas. It established two Joint Action Plans that set out the direction for state regulatory bodies of each country in almost all areas of the economy.

In the U.S., the Canada-U.S. RCC is overseen by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a division of the White House's Office of Management and Budget. In Canada it is overseen by the Treasury Board.

Mexico and the U.S. have their own High-Level RCC, which was established in 2010. Mexico supports adding some form of an RCC into NAFTA so long as it is trilateral. The U.S., however, "is signaling a skepticism for a trilateral council and that accepting it may require a power shift -- if rolled into NAFTA, the council would move under the control of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer's office. A Lighthizer spokeswoman declined comment, while a business group that initially backed the idea is now sounding an alarm by saying USTR doesn't have the expertise to do this," Bloomberg News reports.

The controversy reveals that the fight over the NAFTA negotiations and what will be inside, outside or tweaked, and whether it becomes bilateral or trilateral is being fought out by contending private monopoly interests without any consideration for the well-being and rights of the people. Who has authority for the making of regulations and setting standards and with what aim are fundamental matters of principle. Successive Canadian governments have permitted Canadian regulatory powers to be delegated and sub-delegated to private interests and foreign powers to such an extent that regulations made in other countries can de facto become the standard in Canada beyond any control of Canadians.

Who sets standards for health and safety at work, the environment and anything else is a very important matter that concerns the entire polity and the people's sovereign right to decide and control those affairs that affect their lives. This must be established within a sovereign state with modern political forms that allow people to represent themselves. The power to set standards must not be handed over to those representing powerful private economic interests, domestic or foreign.

Clearly, oversight of regulations affects the biggest private interests, which is why various spokespeople for these interests do not want oversight in the U.S. moved to the U.S. Trade Representative. Maryscott Greenwood, chief executive officer at the Canadian American Business Council, made up of representatives of the biggest monopolies that operate in both countries and who have been given decision-making power through the RCC, said pointedly: "Putting it under USTR is not the right answer. This is not a place to resolve disputes.... Our preference is to have the status quo on steroids. If you can do that through NAFTA, terrific." Shifting the power to the U.S. Trade Representative would "put the brakes on it."[1]

Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, also a "close observer of talks," said: "The preference would certainly be to use NAFTA for what the private sector people hoped it would be used for -- a way to make permanent, and bolster, the [Mexico-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council], rather than the opposite.... You're essentially taking it from the right authority and expertise to make it happen, and handing it to the people who have no authority and no expertise.... If the U.S. business community really wants this, and the Canadian business community really wants this, they've got to step up and let the negotiators on all sides knows that this is a top priority and we have to fight for it."[2]


1. The Board of the Canadian American Business Council is chaired by Christina Erling of Barrick Gold U.S.A. and Gary Clement of TD Bank Group. Its members are:

Air Canada
Association of Canadian Ports
Association of Equipment Manufacturers
Association of Oil Pipelines
Bank of Montreal
Barrick Gold U.S.A.
Beauty Revolution
Bell Canada
Bennett Jones
Borden Ladner Gervais
Campbell Soup Company
Capitol Hill Group
Canadian Trucking Alliance
Clairvest Group Inc.
CNCoca Cola
Eli Lilly & Company
Energy and Equipment Infrastructure Alliance
Food & Consumer Products of Canada
Ford Motor Company
General Electric
General Mills
Harley-Davidson Motor Company
International Council of Shopping Centers
John Deere Canada
Johnson & Johnson
Lockheed Martin
Motion Picture Association - Canada
Pitney Bowes
Purdue Pharma
Red Bull
Rio Tinto
Shell Canada
Sun Life FinancialSNC-Lavalin Inc.
TD Bank Group

2. In June, Eric Miller received a contract from Industry Canada to "come with a strategy on how to engage with American politicians on trade." Miller previously worked as vice president of policy, North America, and cyber security at the Business Council of Canada. He has also been an Industry Canada employee at the Canadian embassy in Washington, where his bio says he advised senior staff "on U.S. economic, political, and technology issues." iPolitics indicates that Miller "helped design Ottawa's bailout package for the Canadian auto industry in 2009 and was part of the negotiating team that created the Beyond the Border Action Plan in 2011."

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Control Over Energy Resources and Their Transport

Integration of the Canadian, U.S. and Mexican energy infrastructure and resources under the control of the U.S.-dominated energy monopolies is a major agenda item for the NAFTA renegotiations. This issue is not generally discussed publicly, as it reveals the extent to which those doing the negotiating are moving quickly to place the energy resources of the three countries under the control of the biggest private interests to exploit, compete and wage war against global competitors and further bring countries and regions they wish to dominate, such as Venezuela, under their control. Regarding this agenda item, disputes are not reported despite claims of roadblocks and poison pills in NAFTA negotiations.[1]

The Foreign Ministers of the U.S., Mexico and Canada met in Mexico on February 2. Energy integration was one of the main topics discussed. In summarizing the discussions, Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray Caso said enthusiastically, "The North American region has the capabilities in human and the natural resources to be a very clean energy and cheap energy to be able to transform our societies and our economies. We have agreed to keep on working with the work of our secretaries. We also have the objective of getting regulations to generate and create the synergies where we can have a mutual construction of infrastructure, and of course, to enable the private sector, which is going to be able to create projects not only from hydrocarbons but also from the energy sector in clean energies."

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson echoed his remarks stating, "North America is also a major player, as Secretary Videgaray highlighted, in the energy markets. And we discussed what we believe are really unique opportunities to promote market-based energy development and to further energy integration throughout North America and the hemisphere."

Later on February 5, U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft said, "The United States wants NAFTA modernization to strengthen the North American energy revolution and promote North American energy security and self-sufficiency.... A separate energy chapter must add value not duplicate obligations found in other chapters."


1. An example of how the prevailing reporting on the NAFTA negotiations hides significant developments in the integration of energy transport under private control, it was reported on January 25 that Hydro-Quebec signed a 20-year energy export contract with Evercore, a large international "investment banking firm" specializing in mergers and acquisitions for the state of New Hampshire. The contract is reportedly the biggest export agreement in Hydro-Quebec's history. The contract requires the construction of "the Northern Pass," which involves a 192-mile transmission line to be built linking Quebec's electricity to that of New Hampshire. Control over export levels and pricing of this electricity will no doubt come under a newly-negotiated NAFTA or bilateral arrangement.

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Push for Trade Corridors Under U.S. Control

Demonstration by maritime workers against Bill C-23, Vancouver, December 16, 2017.

Bill C-23 An Act respecting the preclearance of persons and goods in Canada and the United States received Royal Assent on December 7. The legislation expands "preclearance" -- a process for clearing customs of the destination country before leaving the country of origin, from select airports in Canada to land and water crossings. It permits preclearance of cargo in Canadian facilities by U.S. agents, and authorizes them to carry weapons and detain, search and use force against Canadians within preclearance zones where U.S. agents are permitted to operate. How to implement the expanded powers and presence of U.S. agents in Canada and the possibility of placing Canadian agents in the U.S. is now being sorted out.

On February 5, Canada's Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale met with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Preclearance was a main item on the agenda. The Canadian Press wrote: "Imagine clearing Canadian customs in Florida, Arizona, or Chicago, or having a U.S. customs facility attached to a car plant in Ontario, with the goal of helping people and cargo travel faster between the countries. The Canadian and American governments are discussing it."

Goodale said during a press conference that he envisions a future where cars can have their components screened and sealed for shipment right inside the plant. He suggested that given a car under construction might cross the border a half-dozen times, preclearance would avoid snags and boost productivity. "The real prize of preclearance is when we could expand it from passenger to cargo," Goodale said. He is referring to a system whereby Canadian factories house U.S. preclearance zones within them to "clear" cargo for shipment by rail, air, truck or ship to and from the U.S.

The routes by which this cleared cargo is shipped will also become subject to U.S. national security laws and powers to "ensure" that goods are not tampered with. Thus preclearance in a factory is part and parcel of establishing corridors for the shipping of goods in Canada under U.S. control. Such corridors are already being established; however, now no doubt it will be helped along with new self-serving justifications.

Revealing that both U.S. and Canadian governments are on the same page for such an arrangement, Goodale said: "You've got an administration on the American side and certainly on our side, that really want to move these files."

The Liberal government gleefully boasts of seeking to place customs agents in Canada with broad powers to violate workers' rights. Such a proposal has been one of the main demands of the auto monopolies. In particular, in 2006 it was floated by auto parts magnate and Magna CEO Frank Stronach. While not new, the Trudeau government has now made the project its own with its legislation, while hiding what such a project and this legislation will really mean for Canadians.

Maritime workers at the port of Vancouver have taken up the fight to affirm their rights as Canadian workers in the face of any attempts to give U.S. security agencies the right to decide who can and cannot work in Canadian ports.  Clearly autoworkers, especially those working in the parts sector must prepare themselves and make it clear that they too will not accept their workplaces and their working lives being placed under the control of U.S. Homeland Security. Just as autoworkers do not accept their company owners or their own governments violating their rights, they are called upon now to stand firmly in opposition to any attempts to violate their rights in the name of securing the transport of goods across the Canada-U.S. border.

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Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Cross-Canada Actions Demand
Justice for Tina Fontaine

Tina Fontaine was a 15-year-old Indigenous youth who was murdered in Winnipeg in August 2014 and her body dumped in the Red River. Tina was from the Sagkeeng First Nation, located along the southern part of Lake Winnipeg, about 120 kilometres north of Winnipeg, where she was raised by her great aunt and uncle Thelma and Joseph Favel.

In June 2014, Tina's great aunt Thelma gave her permission to go to Winnipeg to reconnect with her biological mother. When Thelma did not hear from Tina, she contacted Child and Family Services (CFS) who took Tina into care. Tina was housed by CFS at the Best Western Hotel in Winnipeg, but was reported missing on August 9, 2014.

After being reported as "missing" from CFS care, Tina was seen by police, and was in contact with paramedics, security officers and staff at the Winnipeg Children's Hospital, yet she was not taken back into care. Her body was pulled from the Red River on August 17, 2014. A suspect, Raymond Cormier, then in his early fifties, was seen with Tina before she disappeared and was later arrested and charged with second-degree murder, based on circumstantial evidence and recordings made from bugs planted in his apartment. In the recordings, Cormier never admitted to killing Tina. He did admit to having sex with her, i.e., committing statutory rape (in 2008, the Harper government raised the age of consent from 14 to 16 years of age). Unbelievably, the prosecution's charge of second-degree murder against Cormier was based on its theory that Tina threatened to report him for statutory rape, yet it never brought any rape charges against him, despite having his confession on tape! Cormier was acquitted of second-degree murder on February 22.

The immediate aftermath of Tina's murder was yet another galvanizing moment in the people's demands for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Thousands of people marched in the streets of Winnipeg and an encampment took place for weeks at the Manitoba Legislature. Tina's family and Indigenous leaders decried the racism and neglect of authorities and social services toward Indigenous youth, a problem that exists across the country. While failing to convict someone of murder based on circumstantial evidence is not surprising, the authorities' silence on the statutory rape of Tina Fontaine by Raymond Cormier, is a matter of profound concern. It is nearly three years after Cormier was recorded admitting to the crime. This silence and failure to convict underscores the accusations of racism, neglect and genocide that surround Tina's disappearance and death. Cormier's acquittal thus aggravated the open wounds of the racist treatment of Indigenous peoples by Canada's judicial and social services systems, leading to an outpouring of anger, sadness and remembrance for Tina's life being cut short, along with the thousands of other missing and murdered women and girls across Canada.

Posted below are photos from the ongoing actions across Canada that began on February 23 to remember Tina Fontaine and to demand justice for her mistreatment and death.

Vancouver; Victoria

Prince George






Thunder Bay









(Photos: TML, A. Brandt, A. Crawshaw, E. Ruddy, SCO Inc., MMIW Inquiry, J.J. Sylvestor, D. Penner, K. McGowan)

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Walking with Our Sisters Mnidoo Kweok Exhibit
Visits Sudbury and Kenora

Walking with Our Sisters exhibit in Sudbury.

The Walking With Our Sisters Mnidoo Kweok Gathering 2018 is a commemorative art installation that is being exhibited in Sudbury and Kenora in Northern Ontario this winter. Eighteen hundred and eight pairs of moccasin vamps (tops) have been created and donated by hundreds of caring and concerned individuals to draw attention to the injustice of missing and murdered Indigenous women. Walking With Our Sisters began in 2012 when Métis artist and author Christi Belcourt organized a call-out, asking people to decorate the tops of moccasins. She was hoping to get 600 vamps. She received seventeen hundred and sixty-three pairs of moccasins. The response from people was an outpouring of love and care from all over the world and from all walks of life. Each pair of vamps represents one missing or murdered Indigenous woman. An additional one hundred and seventeen children's vamps were added in May of 2014 during a ceremony at the site of the old Shingwauk Residential School in Bawating (or Sault Ste. Marie) to honour and commemorate the lives of children who never returned home from the schools.

Sudbury exhibit.

This Walking With Our Sisters Sacred Bundle of over 2,000 pairs of vamps visited the McEwan School of Architecture in Sudbury from January 7-17 and continued its journey to the next installation in Kenora, Ontario where it was available for viewing by the public at the Day's Inn from February 4-14.

The exhibit follows traditional Indigenous ceremonial protocols. The work exists primarily as a floor installation made up of the beaded vamps arranged in a winding path formation on fabric. Viewers remove their shoes to walk on a path of cloth alongside the unsewn vamps. The unfinished moccasins represent the unfinished lives of the women and girls who have been murdered or who are still missing. The women have been cared for; they have been loved; they are missing; they are missed; they are not forgotten. More than 3,000 people visited the exhibition over the ten days that the commemoration was open to the public.

"Our committee is very honoured and proud to have the opportunity to invite our community to the School of Architecture to build this Lodge, and to look after it for these ten days. We hope that the community had an opportunity to feel the love in the Lodge and for reflection and healing, said Dana Hickey, co-lead of the Walking With Our Sisters Sudbury planning committee.

"I believe that Walking With Our Sisters Sudbury has been an opportunity for volunteers to gather strength working together in cooperation to affect change in their community. Rather than seeing this as being an ending, I see this as the beginning of many voices coming together to carry forward the essence of what Walking With Our Sisters has become. This has touched the community organizers in a way that has built spiritual strength and unified their beliefs about what can be achieved through common ground," said Maggie Cywink.

Volunteers at the Sudbury exhibition.

Walking With Our Sisters is a national project that has been supported by thousands of Indigenous and non-Indigenous women and men across the country. It is rooted in the four principles of love, humility, protocol and volunteerism, and guided by local Elders and community members. "Gchi-miigwetch to the community of Sudbury, the volunteers and the firekeepers who helped make this beautiful star lodge. Miigwetch to the National Collective for bringing this Sacred Bundle to us and for the many gifts this lodge has brought to our community while it was here," said Juanita McNichol, Ceremonial Lead Grandmother to the Walking With Our Sisters Sudbury installation.

"This has been very educational for our school groups and for our young people, as well as for non-Indigenous visitors who came to learn about the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people. I am very proud of our Grandmothers for bringing those good teachings to the young people about how to take care of themselves in that good way. These Spirits that are here thank you for walking with them, and for the compassion expressed by all walks of life as they come through the doors," said Walking With Our Sisters Grandmother Martina Osawamick.

Grandmothers preparing the exhibit.

"The Grandmothers are the torch bearers that keep that light going and keep our communities going. This memorial helps our visitors to gain a better understanding about these issues that face our people, and when we visit and talk with our visitors we get a better understanding about them. This helps our relationships with other people. We are one big family regardless of our differences," said Hilda Nadjiwan, a Walking With Our Sisters Grandmother.

"I am happy to see the way that everyone embraced their roles and came together as a family so that the last ten days ran smoothly. I acknowledge the youth who visited from the schools, and the rest of our visitors as well. I hope they leave with a good heart and a good mind and a new understanding about our Anishinaabe culture. I want to acknowledge the stories that have come with the visitors, and I hope that they take good stories away with them. It is the sharing of these stories that makes this experience educational. I want to acknowledge everyone who donated so that we could feed our volunteers and make this important work possible. I want to express my love for everyone and for creation, miigwetch," said Julie Ozawagosh, another Walking With Our Sisters Grandmother.

Setting up the exhibition in Kenora.

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Robinson Huron Treaty Annuities Hearings in Sudbury

Anishinaabek People Oppose Liberal Hypocrisy
and Fight For Treaty Rights

Legal team for Robinson Huron Trust First Nations, Red Rock and Whitesand First Nations, Canada, and Ontario, with Justice Patricia Hennessy and the Elder witnesses and some citizens at court in Garden River First Nation.

On March 5th, hearings in the Robinson-Huron Treaty Annuities Case resume at the Radisson Hotel in Sudbury to hear final arguments and for the rendering of a decision. The Anishinaabek communities of the Robinson-Huron Treaty have taken Ontario and Canada to court over the Crown's failure to implement the terms of the treaty. At issue is the fact that the beneficiaries have received no increase to the four-dollar per person annuity since 1874, despite the financial profits derived from the land that the Canadian and Ontario governments have been enjoying for over 140 years.

Ceremonial Teepee in Sudbury

Starting on September 25, 2017, hearings were held at the Court House in Thunder Bay, Ontario, at the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre in Little Current and at the Community Centre in Garden River First Nation near Sault Ste. Marie, the site of the Treaty signing in 1850. The court then moved to the Radisson Hotel in Sudbury in November where it has heard and will hear all the remaining witnesses. At each of the locations, pipe and sweat lodge ceremonies are held. Teepees have been erected and a sacred fire lit which will burn for the duration of the trial. Elder Leroy Bennett has been coordinating the cultural events at each of the locations. Mishomis Clifford Waboose and his firekeepers have been tending the sacred fire. Justice Patricia Hennessy and all of the lawyers from the Anishinaabek legal team, and Canada's and Ontario's teams have participated in the ceremonies.

The Anishinaabek territory contained within the Robinson-Huron Treaty area includes approximate 35,700 square miles of land on:

[...] the eastern and northern shores of Lake Huron from Penetanguishene to Sault Ste. Marie, and thence to Batchewanaung Bay on the northern shore of Lake Superior, together with the islands in the said lakes opposite to the shores thereof, and inland to the height of land which separates the territory covered by the charter of the Honorable Hudson's Bay Company from Canada, as well as all unconceded lands within the limits of Canada West to which they have any just claim."

The Robinson-Superior Treaty covers approximately 16,700 square miles on:

[...]the Northern Shore of Lake Superior, in the said Province of Canada, from Batchewana Bay to Pigeon River, at the western extremity of said Lake, and inland throughout that extent to the height of land which separates the territory covered by the charter of the Honorable the Hudson's Bay Company from the said tract, and also the Islands in the said Lake within the boundaries of the British possessions therein."

Historical map showing territories included in both Robinson-Huron and Robinson-Superior Treaties

The Robinson-Huron Treaty case, which is being heard in conjunction with another case involving the Robinson-Superior Treaty, concerns the interpretation of an annuity "augmentation" clause, common to both the Robinson Treaties, signed in 1850. The clause provides for the increase of annuities paid to the First Nations under the treaties, if resource revenues allow for such an increase without incurring a loss:

The said William Benjamin Robinson, on behalf of Her Majesty, Who desires to deal liberally and justly with all Her subjects, further promises and agrees that should the territory hereby ceded by the parties of the second part at any future period produce such an amount as will enable the Government of this Province, without incurring loss, to increase the annuity hereby secured to them, then and in that case the same shall be augmented from time to time, provided that the amount paid to each individual shall not exceed the sum of one pound Provincial currency in any one year, or such further sum as Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to order; and provided further that the number of Indians entitled to the benefit of this treaty shall amount to two-thirds of their present number, which is fourteen hundred and twenty-two, then the said annuity shall be diminished in proportion to their actual numbers.

The Robinson-Superior Treaty contains a virtually identical clause which differs only in population numbers applicable.

The wealth generated from the watersheds of Lake Huron and Lake Superior is extensive. Elders of Atikameksheng Anishnaabek First Nation, whose traditional territory includes the Sudbury Basin, estimates that the wealth extracted from its traditional territories is more than $550 billion. It is said that the silver of Cobalt, which accounted for one-eighth of the world supply and which lies within the territory of the Robinson-Huron Treaty, built Toronto's Bay Street, in the first years of the last century.

The court heard from all of the Anishinaabe Elders and experts on Anishinaabe law, oral history and ceremonies. Expert witnesses included Jim Morrison, Alan Corbiere, Heidi Bohaker, Heidi Stark, Fred Kelly and Carl Beal. These people presented the history and traditional Anishinaabe law and governance surrounding the making of the Treaty in the 1800s. Elder witnesses who presented evidence on the understanding of the Anishinaabe of the treaty in the language of the Ojibway in 1850, the Anishinaabe law, way of life and governance at the time of the Treaty-making were Ogimaa Duke Peltier, Rita Corbiere, Ogimaa Dean Sayers, Irene Stevens, Angus Toulouse and Irene Makadebin.

In January and February, the Canadian and Ontario governments presented their defence. Their argument centres around the provision in the Robinson Treaties for an increase "without incurring a loss." The governments are arguing that the fact that the governments are in deficit means that they cannot provide an increase in the annuity "without incurring a loss." As the Anishinaabek lawyer said "Well, as I understand it, my friend (Crown) is arguing that, based on this evidence, Ontario has the right to spend money on whatever it wants to in the territory and that is going be deducted from the amount available for the Anishinaabe."

By the time of the signing of the Robinson Treaties in 1850, the British colonialists had signed treaties covering most of Southern Ontario and settled them. They were looking for more land for colonization and, in particular, they eyed the timber and mineral resources of the Lake Huron and Lake Superior watersheds. With the discovery of copper in the Keewatin peninsula in upper Michigan, the pressure to open up these lands to capitalist exploitation was intense.

Drawing of the Bruce mines, 1870.

Chief Shingwaukonse of Bawaating.

Mining operations began in Bruce Mines, on the north shore of Lake Huron, and Mica Bay, on the north-east shore of Lake Superior. These mining operations were extremely deleterious to the traditional ways of the Indigenous people. Surrounding land was denuded of timber to support the mines and smelting operations, noise and fumes poisoned the atmosphere and game was driven away. The situation was such that Chief Shingwaukonse of Bawaating (Sault Ste. Marie) and a group of between 30 and 100 natives, Metis and whites sailed a sloop from Sault Ste. Marie to Mica Bay and forced the miners to cease operations and return to the Soo. Six of the party that suppressed the mining operation in Mica Bay, two natives, two metis and two whites, were arrested and taken to Toronto where they were held for several months before being released as the lands clearly belonged to the Indigenous people and the miners had no rights to engage in mining activities without a treaty.

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 recognized Indigenous title to the land and agreed to protect Indigenous lands from encroachment. The British crown agreed that no British subject or settler could make any agreement for land without a treaty between the Indigenous people and the British crown. The situation in 1850 was such that a treaty between the British crown and the Indigenous peoples of the Lake Huron and Lake Superior watersheds was necessary for the two peoples to share the land. Shingwaukonse recognized that it was necessary to sign a treaty under the best terms obtainable or white settlers were soon going to overrun Indigenous lands in the Lake Huron and Lake Superior watersheds without recognition of the rights to the land of the Indigenous people.

The Anishinaabek people have been fighting for appropriate increases in their annuity payments since the beginning. In 1877, only three years after the last increase, the seventeen Chiefs of the Lake Huron bands petitioned the Canadian government for an increase in the annuity payment. Such petitions were a regular occurrence during the last decades of the nineteenth century. In 1887, the Parry Island band petitioned the government providing an oral tradition of what had been said to their Chiefs at Penetanguishene in 1850. However, neglecting its responsibilities, the Ontario government has undertaken no accounting of the value of the resources extracted from Anishinaabek lands despite their treaty obligations since the 1890s.

The hypocrisy of the Canadian state continues with the Liberal Party of today. The Liberal Party of Justin Trudeau made fine campaign statements about resolving the long-standing issues affecting the Indigenous people of Canada. These fine words have not been accompanied by deeds in the cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, the provision of safe drinking water and modern-day housing, health and educational services on First Nation Territories, etc. In an open letter from Ogimaa Duke Peltier (of Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Territory) and Ogimaa Dean Sayers (of Batchewana First Nation) to The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, they say:

We are writing to express, in good faith but in no uncertain terms, our profound disappointment regarding the clear and complete disconnect between your government's enlightened words and hopeful statements and the actions of your government in dealing with our Claim. Your letter says: "The Government of Canada places a high priority on renewing a nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples. We are committed to developing a partnership based on recognition of rights, respect and cooperation." Yet, by its actions, your government is doing the exact opposite!

We wrote to the Prime Minister on Aug. 21 in the hopes that your government's stated commitment to reconciliation would provide us with an opportunity to resolve our claim through negotiation rather than litigation. Unfortunately, not only have your officials rejected our overtures at reconciliation, your lawyers are advancing arguments and evidence in the litigation that can only be described as outdated, obsolete, ethnocentric, adversarial and inflammatory. Needless to say, they reflect attitudes that are contrary to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The struggle of the Anishinaabek people for an annuity payment under the Robinson Treaties that is commensurate with the wealth extracted from the lands the Anishinaabek conceded to the British crown, is a just struggle and has the support of the Canadian working class and people. In general, there are two groups of people in the country of Canada: Indigenous people and immigrants and the descendants of immigrants. Two things are certain: Indigenous people are not going to be exterminated or assimilated; and those of immigrant stock are not going to return to their countries of origin. This necessitates that Indigenous people and immigrants and the descendants of immigrants live together in a principled manner. This means that the Treaties be honoured in the spirit to which the Anishinaabek intended. An important part of this is for the Canadian state to provide treaty annuity payments to the descendants of the signatories of the Robinson Treaties commensurate with the wealth that has been generated from these lands. The Canadian state must fulfill its obligations under the Robinson Treaties.

Oppose the Hypocrisy of the Liberal Party and the Canadian State!
Honour the Treaties!
Pay Annuities Commensurate with the Wealth Generated from
Anishinaabek Traditional Territories!

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Shooting at School in Parkland, Florida

No Means No! Enough Is Enough!
Students Organize for Change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, those across the state and many more across the country are demonstrating and organizing themselves in the aftermath of the shooting there that killed 17 students and teachers and injured 14 more people. The students have taken up the slogan No Means No, demanding no more violence at their schools or in their communities, no more refusal by government to be accountable. Enough is Enough, The Time for Change is Now, Never Again, are among their demands. To make clear that they are not satisfied with minimal measures to solve the serious problem of violence in the U.S., they are declaring, We Do Not Want Your Coins, We Want Change!

Stoneman Douglas students were supported by some 1,000 of their peers from West Boca High School. Those students walked out of class and travelled 12 miles en masse to Stoneman Douglas. Students at the school have also organized to ensure their story is told, raising funds for printing their newspaper with support from across the country.

Thousands of students and teachers also rallied in the Florida capital, Tallahassee, on February 21, a week after the shooting. Students came in from schools all over the state. Sister rallies also occurred in Washington, DC and across the country, in New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Iowa, California and many other places. Actions included walkouts at various schools, sometimes for 17 minutes in memory of those killed. Officials are branding them as actors, claiming they are "screaming kids" who are too young to know what they are talking about and threatening them with suspensions. The students are continuing to organize. A National School Walkout is planned for March 14, with students across the country planning walkouts and actions of various kinds. Parents and teachers are also participating. There is a March for Our Lives on March 24 in DC, serving as a convergence point for all those taking their stand.

The actions are all imbued with the spirit No Means No, Enough is Enough! Students have also made clear their concern is not only school shootings, but those at concerts, nightclubs, movie theaters, workplaces and police shootings in their communities. None have forgotten the 2016 Orlando, Florida shooting at a nightclub where more than 100 young people were shot and 49 died, or the Charleston church shooting, or the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, or at the Las Vegas concert. Nor have students forgotten police killings and violence in Ferguson and Baltimore and Chicago and elsewhere.

Government officials are making efforts to separate the violence by police and military, from violence like the school shootings. A main purpose is to make individuals the problem, or create categories of individuals such as the mentally ill, or those on the "terrorist" watch list. Then the measures which are provided further arm police with more powers to target and criminalize whole categories of people, while encouraging divisions among those resisting. But the students refuse to be cowed by efforts to make their demands illegitimate in this way.

The "terrorist" no-fly list is notoriously wrong and is itself a means to allow the government to brand people as terrorists without any crime committed or any charge laid or any trial. Mentally ill people are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of it. It is known that police are prone to gun down unarmed mentally ill people, claiming they were threatened.

The issue is not individuals and thus the problem is not solved by arming police or military or various people with yet more means to inflict collective punishment and violence. The violence and anarchy of U.S. society is a social problem. Most significantly, the violence of the racist U.S. state and their military and policing agencies are a main source of violence in society, yet they are not to be targeted. Instead yet more police powers, yet more means to act with impunity and violence against the people, are given as answers.

For example, Sheriff Scott Israel of Broward County, where Stoneman Douglas is located, has said that his armed deputies, already in the schools, will now be armed with automatic weapons.

Automatic weapons, as many school shootings like Parkland's and Newtown, Connecticut's show, are effectively weapons of war, designed for destruction. Their bullets shred organs and can leave exit holes as big as an orange. Yet the Pentagon is providing these military weapons to police forces all around the country. And now in Florida and elsewhere, in the name of security, they are threatening to have police armed with the automatic weapons in the public schools.

The Parkland school already had an armed sheriff present. The school is entirely fenced in, with surveillance cameras and one entry point, like a prison. Many other schools are similar and also have metal detectors. The various laws being debated have similar measures. A current one in Florida is supposed to raise the age for purchasing guns to 21, while at the same time creating a program to arm teachers and turn them officially into police. The bill aims to put 10 armed teachers in every school. It is a plan also being promoted by Trump.

None of these measures stop shootings of this kind. They do impose collective punishment on students, treating them like criminals every time they come to school. They further institutionalize schools that are more like prisons and promote the notion that security lies in more and more arming of police and enabling them to act with impunity. Police killings already account for far more deaths than school shootings. In 2016 alone, police killed more than 1,100 people. Yet there is to be no discussion of disarming the police, which is what is needed. Another step toward limiting violence would be to outlaw the manufacture and use of automatic weapons, beginning with disarming the police and military.

It is the people, organized and fighting for their rights that provide security. This is evident in the efforts of the students, in the many actions against police killings, those of the Sioux water protectors and their supporters at Standing Rock, the current strike by West Virginia teachers and many, many more. The people are perfectly capable of organizing and armed police, in the schools or communities do not protect them. As the students are saying, Enough is Enough when it comes to the violence of the state against the people. The change needed is a new direction for political affairs that affirms the rights of the people, including their right to govern and decide. That is the way forward for eliminating the kind of social violence which prevails today.

(Voice of Revolution)

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Fifth Anniversary of the Death of Hugo Chávez

Long Live the Legacy of the
Founder of the Bolivarian Revolution!

Commander Hugo Chávez Frías
July 28, 1954-March 5, 2013

March 5 marks the fifth anniversary of the passing of Comandante Hugo Chávez Frías, historic leader of the Bolivarian Revolution and President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela from 1999 until his untimely death on March 5, 2013.

The name and legacy of Hugo Chávez are indelibly marked by his work for the well-being of the Venezuelan people and defence of their national sovereignty, the struggle for the independence of Venezuela and all of Latin America and the Caribbean from imperialist tutelage and plunder, and for peace on the world scale as well as in his own region.

In his 14 years as President and before, Hugo Chávez took up the defence of the people's interests at home and abroad. His life and work were an outstanding contribution to the aspirations of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean and all those around the world fighting to build the new. Under his leadership Venezuela began its world renowned Bolivarian Missions to address the basic needs of the population through programs that provide free access to services in areas such as health, nutrition, education, housing and job training as well as fostering their ability to participate in cultural and political affairs.

Portrait of Chavez carried in mass action in support of the Bolivarian republic,
April 19, 2017.

Hugo Chávez played a leading role in the launch of important regional integration initiatives aimed at assisting the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to engage in mutually beneficial relations while curtailing the ability of the U.S. to pit them against one another to facilitate its dominance over the region. These included the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) - People's Trade Agreement, intiated with Cuba in 2004; Petrocaribe, a development project through which a host of Caribbean and Central American countries are able to purchase oil from Venezuela on preferential payment terms while investing in programs aimed at bettering the lives of their people; the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) as expressions of the peoples' desire for regional solidarity and national sovereignty free from outside interference by U.S. imperialism and its junior partner Canada, who use their membership in the Organization of American States (OAS) for this purpose.

The stands of President Chávez and the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in defence of sovereignty and independence and against imperialist war were also great contributions to the movement for peace and against war internationally.

At a time when NATO states and others under U.S. domination, including Canada, were using the platform of the United Nations to violate its Charter and founding principles by passing resolutions condoning the bombing and invasion of sovereign countries and calling for the removal of their governments by force, all in the name of high ideals like "human rights", "democracy" and "the responsibility to protect civilians", Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela never joined this treachery. They could be counted on to denounce it for what it was. For this, President Chávez was respected by peace-loving people the world over.

These are all achievements which only a historic personality could possibly accomplish.

Chávez knew the Venezuelan people would face a difficult battle after he was gone and called on them to remain vigilant and to "fight, fight, fight imperialism." Today this is what they are doing with might and mane as the forces of the old, desperate to reverse the course of history, are going all out under the baton of U.S. imperialism to destroy their nation-building project.

On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the tragic loss of Comandante Hugo Chávez, CPC(M-L) reiterates its pledge to honour his memory by making every effort to ensure the achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution are defended in Canada, and that the dirty work Canada is carrying out as part of the U.S. imperialist project for regime change in Venezuela to disempower the people and rob them of their achievements meets with active opposition in Canada and Quebec.

Long Live the Legacy of Hugo Chávez!
Support the Right of the Venezuelan People to Defend Their Nation-Building Project!
U.S. and Canada, Hands off Venezuela!

  Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) - People's Trade Agreement summit
in Caracas, Venezuela, March 5, 2017, honours Hugo Chávez on fourth anniversary of his death.

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