Dozens Arrested Opposing Kinder Morgan Construction on Burnaby Mountain
Renewal of the Political Process Is Necessary
And that involves a definite direction of the government to hand over policing powers in regards to elections and election campaigns to spy agencies, such as the Communications Security Establishment, and to private foreign multinational corporations like Facebook and Google.
Specifically, the federal government is expanding the operational role of the Communications Security Establishment and other spy agencies to conduct both defensive and offensive operations against perceived threats to Canada's democratic process.
This is coupled with the federal government's new security Bill C-59, which can go after anyone who is viewed to oppose the 'constitutionally established system of government in Canada' or who constitutes what is deemed to be a threat to 'the government's broader strategic objectives.'
Why are spy agencies and secret police being brought into key positions in regards to elections and the electoral processes in Canada? And why is the public authority of Elections Canada, the independent body responsible for the conduct of elections, being bypassed?
Furthermore, why is Elections Canada oversight also being replaced by private, foreign multinational corporations like Facebook, which is said to have 23 million Canadian users.
For example, in Facebook's plan, which is called the "Canadian Election Integrity Initiative," thousands of Facebook employees are being hired to monitor and censor material posted on Facebook during elections and other times.
The federal Minister of Democratic Institutions claims that social media platforms like Facebook are "the new arbiters of information ... who have a public responsibility to contribute to a healthy democracy" and are "shaping the democratic discourse and protecting our democracy from those who would seek to harm it."
Really now. The Canadian government allowing Facebook to "shape our democratic discourse"? You wonder sometimes whether these political leaders simply have rocks in their heads or, more likely, have bad motives.
Haven't they read the news over the last several years, which has mushroomed over the last several days, about how Facebook is caught up in a massive election scandal regarding huge leaks, and possibly the handing over, of personal data to consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which played a big role in targeting tens of millions of electors during the U.S. presidential election for the Trump campaign?
As some analysts point out, Facebook can no longer be called a social media company but rather a surveillance company and it's up to its eyeballs in questionable activity.
And furthermore, have these federal politicians read the news, going back to 2013, that Facebook, Google and other U.S. internet companies operate a "back door" through which they work with and supply information to U.S. intelligence agencies like the CIA, National Security Agency (NSA), and so on?
Thus, we not only have to worry about Canadian spy agencies being involved in Canadian elections, but also U.S. spy agencies.
Yet still, our federal government has the brilliant idea of partnering with Facebook, Google and other foreign internet companies to oversee and shape election discourse in Canada?
In effect, what we are witnessing is the merging of private corporate interests with those of the Canadian state. A monster is being created that could boomerang on the federal Liberals themselves.
Will secret police and private interests determine what is legitimate political discourse in the country? Is what we are seeing the development of a public-private surveillance state?
We are already seeing many ominous signs of this in North America. For example, the internet giant Google has changed the algorithms on a number of alternative news websites, dramatically reducing the number of visitors.
These alternative websites are known for being critical of U.S. and Canadian government foreign and domestic policies, and include Counterpunch, the World Socialist Website, Global Research, Consortium News, Mediamatters, Commondreams, Democracy Now, Wikileaks, Truthout, The Intercept and others.
Similar repressive processes are taking place on YouTube where various political videos are being restricted by YouTube censors.
One recent notable instance was a video made by former U.S. Senator Ron Paul criticizing the U.S. war in Afghanistan, which had its viewing severely restricted.
And where is this atmosphere and hysteria about foreign influence going? In the U.S., and even to some extent in Canada, there is more and more talk about so-called foreign-influenced "cut-outs," third party intermediaries, and so-called political actors who are wittingly or unwittingly acting on behalf of foreign powers and against the national interest.
For example, in a recent CIA, FBI and NSA report, here are some of the issues that Russia Today is blamed for raising during the last U.S. presidential election:
- That the U.S. two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a "sham;"
- That the U.S. political system is corrupt and dominated by corporations;
- That the U.S. is a "surveillance state" with widespread infringements of civil liberties, police brutality, and drone use;
- Criticism of the U.S. economic system, U.S. currency policy, and what the report says is "alleged Wall Street greed;"
- Criticism of fracking; and
- Criticism of U.S. and Western military intervention.
The implication of all this has been that, if any American citizens or American websites raise these same issues, they are acting as conduits or agents of some kind for Russia.
To what extent Russia did actually influence the U.S. election, whether significantly or insignificantly, is another question. But to label people in the U.S. as Russian agents for raising the same issues is reckless and anti-democratic.
Indeed, various U.S. politicians and pundits have said exactly that. They forget to mention that the worst examples of election dirty tricks and manipulation come from the homegrown political parties such as the robocall scandal in Canada a couple of elections back, the Watergate scandal in the U.S., or the unfolding Cambridge Analytica/Facebook one happening right now.
Are we in Canada heading down the same road with our government buying into the hysteria about foreign interference and handing over key electoral oversight positions to spy agencies and multinational technology corporations?
At times like this it is useful to remember previous times when hysteria has been used to deprive people of their rights, including the McCarthyite period which affected both the U.S. and Canada back in the 1950s.
Or the hysteria over Saddam Hussein's so-called weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a claim that is now known to be completely false, fabricated by the U.S. deep state, yet millions of people have been killed or injured and the nation of Iraq destroyed by the U.S. invasion.
And the same can be said about the hysteria regarding the bombing of Libya and other examples of military aggression.
There are four thoughts I would like to leave you with:
First of all, we need to have freedom of speech and conscience established as an inalienable right in Canada.
Second, we need political and constitutional mechanisms that recognize that sovereign power flows from the people of Canada, not spy agencies, not political parties, and not private corporations.
Third, with the development of social media and other changes, we are in a dramatically new situation. Is social media reaching the status of a utility, like water or electricity, which should be in public hands, rather than private hands or at least should be regulated significantly more?
Fourth, to deal with this situation, we need an independent public authority, possibly an elected one, possibly an expanded Elections Canada, that can effectively oversee elections and the electoral system in our country.
Not secret police. Not spy agencies. And not Facebook or Google.
1. Facebook allowed third-party developers to access user data. Mark Zuckerberg in an interview on CNN on March 21 apologized for his company's handling of the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal. "This was a major breach of trust, and I'm really sorry this happened," he said. "Our responsibility now is to make sure this doesn't happen again." The company made known a multipart plan allegedly "designed to reduce the amount of data shared by users with outside developers and said it would audit some developers who had access to large troves of data before earlier restrictions were implemented in 2014."
Facebook would double its security force this year, Zuckerberg told the New York Times adding: "We'll have more than 20,000 people working on security and community operations by the end of the year, I think we have about 15,000 now."
Cambridge Analytica's deception had first come to light in 2015. The London-based analytics firm misused the data of as many as 50 million users in the 2016 U.S. election. According to The Verge, the data "was obtained by Cambridge psychology professor Aleksandr Kogan and given to the affiliated behavior research firm Strategic Communication Laboratories in a violation of Facebook's terms of service. The actions of the firm, which denies any wrongdoing, have kicked up a massive debate over Facebook's failures to police its platform and its responsibility to both user privacy and the institution of democracy itself."
Kogan used a personality quiz app to collect the data and later passed this information on to voter-profiling firm Cambridge Analytica, which claimed (but now denies) that it used the data to craft political ads for President Trump's 2016 election.
Kogan said that he was assured by Cambridge Analytica that "thousands and maybe tens of thousands of apps were doing the exact same thing" and that "this was a pretty normal use case of Facebook data."
"We thought we were acting perfectly appropriately. We thought we were doing something that was really normal," Kogan said. "My view is that I'm being basically used as a scapegoat by both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica."
Facebook says Kogan violated the company's data policies by using the information he collected for commercial purposes. Between 2007 and 2014, the company gave developers access to its social graph -- the map of users' networks of friends, interests, and likes. But multiple reports say the social network did very little to police this sort of activity, only asking third-parties to sign minimal agreements, and only investigating misuses after they were reported to the company.
Cambridge Analytica has been the subject of parallel investigations, with an undercover reporter filming CEO Alexander Nix boasting about using bribes and sex workers to entrap politicians.
There is presently an active #deletefacebook campaign.
(Speech edited slightly for publication.)
100th Anniversary of Anti-Conscription Protests in Quebec
This year marks the centenary of the end of the First World War, which will be marked on November 11, 1918. At the time, this war was referred as the "war to end all wars." It was a slaughterhouse of unprecedented proportions. It also marked a turning point in history. In the aftermath of the war, drastic political, cultural, economic, and social change occurred in Europe, Asia and Africa, and even in areas outside those that were directly involved. As four empires collapsed due to the war -- the Russian Tsarist Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the German Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire -- old countries were abolished, new ones were formed and boundaries were redrawn. International organizations such as the League of Nations were established. A profound anti-communist outlook began to take hold in Europe and North America in light of the New being built by the working class in Soviet Russia which defeated Tsarism and embarked on an entirely new nation-building project where power was placed in the hands of the soviets of workers, peasants and soldiers.
Bourgeois historiography refers to Canada's "coming of
age" as a result of its role in the First World War where it allegedly
proved itself worthy of big power status. The sacrifice of Canadian
youth as cannon fodder in the trenches of Europe is said to have
provided proof that Canada could be entrusted with the conduct of its
own foreign policy and break ties with the Imperial British Parliament
in this regard. This disinformation seeks to imbue Canadians with a
chauvinist outlook which portrays Canada as a major Entente Power fit
to sit at the table which divides the spoils of war. It in fact made
Canada a yes-man at the service of the understandings between Britain
and France to keep Germany out, while they sympathized with all the new
organizations hostile to Russia.
Today the bourgeois outlook presents Canada's warmongering as a foundational Canadian value. Far from it. The sacrifice of Canadians was made on behalf of empire. Canada's independence was not secured by sending Canada's youth to participate in the charnel house of imperialist slaughter which was World War I, a war of division between the empires of the day to secure sources of raw materials, cheap labour, zones for the export of capital and strategic influence. On the contrary, the ruling elites secured a place for themselves as yes-men of first the British and then the U.S. imperialists while the movement of the people persists for a genuine nation-building project in which the natural and human resources and decision-making power serve the people, not the rich.
In this regard, the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I come at a time when Canada is being integrated into the U.S. imperialist war machine at an increasing pace, while the U.S. and NATO and their allies expand their interference and aggression and threaten war against countries that will not submit to their dictate. At the same time, the Canadian government, in the service of this agenda, is setting the stage to use its police powers to deem opposition to war and aggressive alliances such as NATO as threats to national security.
This month marks the 100th anniversary of the opposition to conscription in Quebec in 1918. It is important to study the opposition of Quebeckers and Canadians to conscription during World War I as a serious movement against empire and empire-building. Now, more than ever, Canadians and Quebeckers must argue out their convictions against imperialist aggression and take up the work to make Canada a Zone for Peace.
The end of March and beginning of April this year mark the 100th anniversary of the militant protests by Quebeckers against attempts by the Canadian government to use its police powers to impose conscription on the working people and youth of Canada and Quebec in the First World War.
Within the conditions of the day, the ruling elite in Canada found a wall of resistance among the working people of Quebec to being forcibly sent to war. The aspirations of the Québécois for nationhood had been put down prior to Confederation through force of British arms. Along with the subjugation of the Indigenous peoples and by subjugating the settlers in Upper Canada, the basis was laid for the establishment of an Anglo-Canadian state and Confederation. It is not hard to imagine that the Quebec working class would not look favourably on being mowed down on the battlefields of Europe in the service of the British Empire.
In August 1914, Britain declared war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Canada, as a dominion of the British Empire, was automatically bound to take part.
Robert Laird Borden, then Conservative Prime Minister of Canada, was eager to participate in the war. By Sunday, August 9, 1914, the basic orders-in-council had been proclaimed, and a war session of parliament opened just two weeks after the conflict began. Legislation was quickly passed to secure the country's financial institutions and raise tariff duties on some high-demand consumer items. The War Measures Bill, giving the government extraordinary powers of coercion over Canadians, was rushed through three readings.
Businessman William Price (of the Price Brothers and
Company -- predecessor of Resolute Forest Products) was mandated
to create a training camp at Valcartier, near Quebec City. Some
126 farms were expropriated to expand the camp's area to 12,428
acres (50 square km). "From the start of the conflict, a range of
1,500 targets was built, including shelters, firing positions and
signs, making it the largest and most successful shooting range
in the world on August 22, 1914. The camp housed 33,644 men in
1914." At the
Valcartier was the largest military base in Canada.
The number of volunteers continuously declined with the growing refusal to serve as cannon fodder for imperialist powers and as a result of the profound impact of the war efforts on the country's economy. The threat of compulsory military service hung over the country. The people of Quebec, expressing their anti-war sentiment, were at the forefront of the opposition to conscription. The Canadian establishment at the time blamed Quebeckers for the "the lack of French-Canadian participation in the war."
By 1917, the lack of enthusiasm for the war was such
government resorted to conscription of soldiers. On August 29,
1917, the Act Respecting Military Service was passed. It
stipulated that "All the male inhabitants of Canada, of the age
of eighteen years and upwards, and under sixty, not exempt or
disqualified by law, and being British subjects, shall be liable
to service in the Militia: Provided that the Governor General
may require all the male inhabitants of Canada, capable of
bearing arms, to serve in the case of a levée en masse."
In Quebec, demonstrations in opposition to conscription intensified. Dominion agents, known as "spotters," tracked down men who refused to sign up. Professor Béatrice Richard at Royal Military College Saint-Jean writes of these press gangs: "These agents had the reputation of being thugs in the employ of the federal government and were more interested in filling their pockets -- at a premium of $10 per refractory captured -- than enforcing the law." Every arrest further inflamed the people's anger. Quebec historian Jean Provencher writes that some young Quebeckers, whose applications for exemption were pending in court were "kidnapped in the street, and it took parents a week to learn that they were sent to the European battlefields."
On the evening of March 28, 1918, federal police raided a bowling alley and arrested the youth there. Faced with the arbitrariness and violence of the police, 3,000 people besieged the police station and continued their demonstration in the streets during the night.
The next day, a crowd of nearly 10,000 gathered in front of the Place Montcalm auditorium (currently called Capitole de Quebec), where the conscripts' files were administered. The military, with bayonets and cannons, were called in and shortly thereafter the riot act was read, giving them permission to fire.
The next day, "General Landry received from Ottawa the directives he expected: the army will now have full powers to enforce law and order in Quebec City. [...] In concrete terms, this meant that public security would no longer come under the municipal authorities, as the police were now subject to military authority." The demonstrations continued anyway and on March 31, demonstrators suffered gunshot wounds.
Borden, obsessed with sending Canadians to the trenches, gave special powers "with special instructions to quell unrest." Trains jammed with soldiers were hustled to Quebec City. For two days, between March 31 and April 1, no less than 10,000 men from Ontario and Manitoba converged on the capital. The people confronted the army, not hesitating to surround the soldiers and chase them. Each time a demonstration was dispersed, it reassembled a few streets away.
On Monday, April 1, the military received the following instructions:
1. Any gathering is forbidden
2. Anyone who does not obey can be arrested on the spot
3. Soldiers can use any force necessary to make arrests.
That same day, four civilians were killed. More than 50
wounded and about 60 arrests were made.
On April 4, martial law was imposed on Quebec City under the War Measures Act. It legalized all intervention of the federal army "on or after the 28th day of March."
Borden maintained the pressure on Quebec to crush the resistance to conscription. He also sought to prevent any risk of "revolutionary contagion." To that end, Ottawa made any association deemed subversive, be it trade union or political, illegal.
The "conscription crisis" ended when the war itself was brought to an end on November 18, 1918. But before it was over, the unscrupulous sums being reaped by the rich from the war became so prevalent that Borden "had to fire his Minister of Militia and Defence, and deal with scandals involving graft and wartime profiteering." The opposition of the people to the war was such that the Conservative Party "was wiped out for decades to come in the province of Quebec."
Quebeckers' have expressed their opposition to imperialist aggression and war for the past more than 100 years. Today, every attempt is made to undermine their anti-war sentiment and movement with neo-liberal sophistry which claims humanitarian aims and the highest ideals such as defence of women's rights. The slogan guiding our people continues to be: Not a Single Youth for Imperialist War!
département des Humanités et des sciences
5. Jean Provencher, Québec sous la loi des mesures de guerre -- 1918, Editions Lux, 2014.
6. "Le 1er avril 1918 -- Émeute à Québec contre la conscription: résistance politique ou culturelle ?," Conférence de Béatrice Richard, professeur agrégé, directrice du département des Humanités et des sciences sociales au Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean, January 31, 2013.
8. Jean Provencher, Québec sous la loi des mesures de guerre -- 1918, Editions Lux, 2014.
12. Biographical Dictionary of Canada.
(Reproduced from Chantier politique. Translated from original French.)
On March 24, more than 500,000 American youth and their friends are gathering to March For Our Lives in Washington DC, against gun violence. More than 300 cities worldwide are joining them in solidarity. This follows the actions March 14, when tens of thousands of youth across the United States walked out of class, opposing gun violence and demanding that their right to schools that are safe learning environments, not prisons, be dealt with. They demanded an end to the violence of police in their communities and rejected the promotion of violence and use of force as solutions to problems. As signs put it, "Why Do We Need Weapons if We Want a Peaceful World?"; "Automatic Weapons -- An Assault on Our Future"; "You Cannot Build Peace with a Piece"; "Guns Do Not Promote Peace or Prevent Violence."
Students from Parkland, Florida, initiated the walkouts and many actions named and remembered those who were killed there. High School, Middle School and University students rallied and marched, many in the face of threats of suspension, to show that significant change is needed and they are determined to achieve it. As students put it, "We're going to make ourselves heard whether you want to hear it or not," "We're going to be loud, and we're not going to apologize for that." "We're not stopping." "The youthfulness of our movement is empowering because look at how much time we have left in our generation's lifetime to advocate for change and to make that change happen."
Washington, DC saw one of the largest actions, with students from Virginia, Maryland and DC converging on the White House and Congress. They blocked streets and targeted government as being responsible to guarantee rights. Maryland had imposed a ban on walkouts but thousands of students rejected this threat. Many from suburban areas surrounding DC marched en masse down major roads to show their defiance.
Across the country there was broad unity as the youth
themselves organized and decided the actions to take despite
efforts to block them. In Alameda, California, students broke
through a locked gate to conduct their walkout. In Madison
undocumented immigrant youth joined students to demand that their
claims on society for rights be respected. From Yarmouth, Maine
to Parkland, Florida; from New York City to Decatur, Georgia and
Birmingham, Alabama; from Nashville, Tennessee to Livingston,
Montana; from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Los Angeles, California, to
Seattle, Washington and Juneau, Alaska -- and more than 3,000
places in between, students stood as one in demanding that
solutions to the social violence they are contending with be
Rallies in Chicago and elsewhere saw students put their hands in the air in the "Don't Shoot" call to police, growing out of the police killing of an unarmed youth in Ferguson. Chicago students also listed demands such as equal funding, keep all schools open, reopen mental health clinics and End the Criminalization of Youth. There was broad recognition that the problem is not primarily one of an individual shooter with a gun, but rather a society that does not protect and defend the youth and the necessity to change that. The spirit everywhere was that change in favour of the youth is needed and they will persist in organizing to bring it about.
While youth are directing attention to violence as a
social problem requiring social solutions, government officials at all
levels are calling to increase the use of force. The sheriff in Broward
County, Florida, which includes Parkland and Miami, has said he will be
arming his deputies in the schools with automatic weapons. The law
passed in Florida has a plan to arm teachers. Students have countered:
Arms Are for Hugging; Police and Teachers with Guns are Two Guns Too
Many. In Long Island state troopers are in the schools, supposedly to
stop gang violence. Instead, undocumented youth, especially organizers,
are being branded as gang members and threatened with deportation. In
many places, students were told to stay inside or be suspended, and
police were prevalent.
Every effort is being made to promote more armed police
the schools, more measures to treat youth as criminals -- to have
teachers as police and schools as prisons. In the name of safety,
such measures serve to further control and suppress the youth and
condition all to accept what is unacceptable. A passive youth and
workforce is needed not only to sustain rule by the rich at home
but also to wage their wars abroad to protect their interests.
Youth are making clear that they reject this direction and are
fighting for a bright future. It is through the fight for the
rights of all, abroad and at home, that their interests can be
Voice of Revolution is a publication of the U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization.
(March 16, 2018. Photos: VOR, O. DeMeulder, K. Mondon, Tumerest, Indivisible Toledo, Ayah, L. White, M. Patel, S. Getachew, Sanger High, R. Wyden, K. Martin)
Phan Van Khai, the Prime Minister of Vietnam from 1997 to 2006, died at his home in Tan Thong Hoi commune, Cu Chi district, Ho Chi Minh City on March 17 at the age of 84. His legacy was honoured with a state funeral on March 21 and 22.
On behalf of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), National Leader Anna Di Carlo expressed deepest condolences to the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), and the Vietnamese state and people for this great loss.
Khai was born on December 25, 1933 in Ho Chi Minh City. He joined the revolutionary movement in 1947 to oppose French colonialism, and joined the CPV on July 15, 1959. He studied economics and foreign languages at Plekhanov University in Moscow and, amongst other posts, from 1965 to 1971 worked for Vietnam's State Planning Committee. Toward the end of the war to liberate Vietnam from U.S. control, he was deployed to battlefields in the south.
The CPV, in its special announcement on the death of Phan Van Khai also highlighted his several tenures in the Central Committee, Politburo and the National Assembly.
"Throughout 70 years of revolutionary activities, he made great contributions to the revolutionary cause of the CPV and the nation.
"He was conferred with the Golden Star Order and the
Party membership badge, and many other noble distinctions of
Vietnam and foreign countries."
As Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister, Phan Van
"always prioritized the 'gathering of intellects and
wisdom' from the best people of all walks of life, especially
amongst dedicated and knowledgeable experts" in decision-making,
the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reports. His predecessor, Prime Minister
Vo Van Kiet (1991-1997), proposed the formation of an expert council
panel in 1993, which Khai as Deputy Prime Minister, took up with great
The panel, in place from 1993 to 2006, was composed of experts from outside the government. The VNA highlights Khai's "willingness to listen to people with opposing views, giving them a chance to make their case. This outlook -- 'be close to the people, trust in the people, learn from the people' -- is considered by many a trait of leadership Khai inherited from his predecessor Vo Van Kiet."
Khai's leadership, advised by the panel, was instrumental in the transformation and strengthening of Vietnam's economy with the aim of improving the people's well-being. The VNA reports:
"The introduction of the first-ever Law on Enterprises, the recognition of private businesses as a legitimate sector and a slate of policies distancing the Vietnamese economy from the centralized model of the previous few decades set the country on track for firm economic growth. The policy changes were critical following two years of setbacks thanks to the infamous financial crisis that gripped Asian countries in 1997."
Khai was also involved in the 15 rounds of talks with the World Trade Organisation over 11 years that resulted in Vietnam's full membership in 2007.
The VNA also highlights Prime Minister Khai's quality of openness, internationally and domestically, to make links with the rest of the world and to keep the Vietnamese people informed about all the developments.
Khai presented the bill on the U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral
Agreement (BTA), which was signed in 2001. In 2005, Khai made
history as the first Prime Minister of Vietnam to visit the
United States after the heroic resistance of the Vietnamese
people that vanquished the U.S. imperialists in 1975, overcoming
the decades of U.S. Cold War hostility that followed. The New
York Times reports that Vietnam's trade with the U.S.
increased from U.S.$45 million in 1995 to $45 billion in
Khai's tenure also coincided with Vietnam's expanding
role in Southeast Asia, with Vietnam having joined the Association of
South East Asian Nations in 1995. During his time as Prime Minister the
ASEAN made new strides towards establishing itself as a trading bloc of
South East Asian nations while expanding its relations with China,
Japan, Australia, New Zealand, south Korea and India.
Domestically, Khai provided leadership to keep the people informed and mobilized in the matters that affected them. Nguyen Thi Thuy, former deputy head of social and cultural news of the VNA's domestic news department, recounts Khai's instrumental support during the 2003 international epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
"The disease was spreading like wildfire, with new patients and casualties rising by the hour, half of which were medical staff [...] Public rumours said that the health ministry still couldn't determine the cause, the strains of the virus or the methods of transmission, let alone drugs or diagnostics, enhancing confusion and anxiety," said Thuy, adding that the VNA had a lot of information but had not been authorized to release it. "Of course, we reporters on shift were livid as community efforts were certainly needed to contain the epidemic. So we decided to contact the head of the government for direction. Luckily, just minutes after, Prime Minister Khai agreed to make public all information about the progress of the SARS epidemic in Vietnam," she said.
The Prime Minister's decision marked the start of enhanced efforts from all of society and scientists, and Vietnam contained the epidemic in just 45 days, the first country in the world to successfully do so. The World Health Organization, in its congratulations to Vietnam, attributed the success to the "political commitment at the highest level."
Khai lay in state for two days at the Independence Palace in Ho Chi Minh City for mourners to pay their respects, including generations of Vietnamese leaders and foreign guests.
On March 22, a funeral cortege transported his remains
home to Cu Chi District, where he was buried next to his wife. People
lined the streets outside the palace to salute him and bid him farewell.
(With files from CPV, VNA, VN Express International. Photos:VNA, VN Express International.)
Korean People's Right to Peace
Meetings were held in Hamilton and Toronto, March 20 and 22 respectively, providing Canadians with an opportunity to engage in discussion on a matter of great concern -- the fight for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
The meeting in Hamilton, on the topic "Economic Warfare and Threats of Annihilation Against North Korea," was organized by the Hamilton Coalition To Stop the War. The speakers were Christopher Black, a lawyer with a practice in international law and Atif Kubursi, who teaches economics at McMaster University.
Black, who spoke first, has been to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) twice. He pointed out that all the sanctions imposed against the DPRK by the UN Security Council are illegal because the DPRK has never violated any of the international laws that the UN Security Council claims that it has. He noted that in his own dealings with officials in the DPRK, he has found them courteous and straightforward but firmly resolved to defend the sovereignty and independence of their country. He underlined that the DPRK has been forced to build a nuclear arsenal in self-defence in the face of these U.S.-led sanctions and threats of nuclear annihilation. The government of the DPRK has indicated its commitment to suspend its nuclear arms program if the U.S. will sign a peace treaty and stop threatening war and aggression, he said. He noted this was affirmed once again during the March 5 meeting in Pyongyang between the south Korean government delegation and Kim Jong Un, the leader of the DPRK. Black pointed out that the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council and those imposed by the U.S., Canada and other countries, are acts of aggression and called on Canadians to take a firm stand against these illegal and immoral acts.
Professor Kubursi, pointed out that not only are sanctions against countries like the DPRK, Cuba, Iran, Iraq and others illegal, the greatest impact of the damage caused by sanctions is felt by the most vulnerable. He noted that sanctions against the DPRK have the effect of harming children, the elderly, and those living in rural areas because they directly impede the DPRK's ability to trade for food, medicines and other products that are needed by the civilian population. He noted that study after study have shown the failure of such sanctions as instruments to force nations to submit. First of all, he noted there is reluctance among countries to impose these sanctions as they are seen as highhanded and unjust, particularly among the countries that border those being sanctioned. Additionally, Professor Kubursi observed that most often sanctions stiffen the resolve of the peoples and countries living under them to affirm their independence and sovereignty, as seen in the cases of Cuba and the DPRK.
The topic of the meeting at the University of Toronto on March 22, organized by the International Partnership for Diplomacy, Science for Peace and others, was "North Korea: Facts vs Fictions and Seeking Peace." Christopher Black spoke there as well, providing a review of his presentation in Hamilton. He added that it is important to oppose the disinformation about the DPRK being carried in the media and to hold the Canadian government to account for its role in backing sanctions and threats to the DPRK.
The other speaker at this meeting was Patti Talbot,
global partnerships for the United Church of Canada. Talbot
shared her experience as a member of the delegation of women
peace-builders who converged in Vancouver at the time of the
Summit on Security and Stability on the Korean Peninsula, a
meeting of foreign ministers of the "Vancouver Group" --
comprised of the aggressor states in the Korean War -- hosted by
Canada and the U.S. on January 16. Talbot noted that the women
peace-builders from the U.S., Korea, Japan and other places
convened their own forum and organized a candle-light vigil and a
peaceful march and other actions to encourage the foreign
ministers' Summit -- which did not include the DPRK, China, or
Russia -- to include civil-society perspectives in their official
talks and to "set the table for peace." Talbot mentioned that the
end result of the Summit was disappointing as the foreign
ministers had in fact resolved to engage in more pressure and
sanctions against the DPRK, and not pursue the road of
non-aggression and dialogue.
Undaunted, the women who took part in the forum along with others have since continued their important work for peace, which includes a recent meeting of church groups in Seoul, south Korea. Talbot noted that since the PyeongChang Olympics there have been many civil society exchanges between north and south Korea and that the mood on the Korean Peninsula is charged with optimism that progress on peace, reconciliation and unification is possible in the coming days.
At both the Hamilton and Toronto meetings participants resolved to continue discussing this important issue and the work for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Participants enthusiastically received information on a Toronto public meeting March 31 on the topic "Peace on the Korean Peninsula: On the Prospect of the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit and the Historic DPRK-U.S. Summit," which will feature Professor Kiyul Chung as the main speaker. More than 100 people also signed the Petition Against War and Aggression on the Korean peninsula at the two meetings.
National Speaking Tour by Cuban Parliamentarian
It was a packed house in Toronto on March 21 for the launch of a cross-Canada speaking tour on the topic of Cuban democracy by Juan Carlos Rodriguez Díaz, Professor of History in Pinar del Rio and elected member of Cuba's National Assembly of People's Power. Mr. Rodriguez Díaz is accompanied by Yamil Martínez Marrero, an official of the Canada Desk of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP). The Cuban Cross Canada Tour is organized by the Canadian Network on Cuba and the Toronto meeting was hosted by the Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association Toronto.
Mr. Rodriguez Díaz delivered an impassioned and informative presentation on the Cuban democratic process of people's empowerment, which saw 85.65 per cent voter participation in the recent 2017 elections to the National Assembly. He spoke of the Cuban experience with the multi-party system of unrepresentative democracy prior to the victory of the Cuban revolution which deprived the working people of any say or involvement in the affairs of their country. He also touched on the history of U.S. interventions and coup d'états in Cuba, which the victory of the Cuban revolution put to an end.
Mr. Rodriquez Diaz also spoke at length on the establishment of instruments of people's power following the Cuban revolution, which are built upon and enrich the Cuban traditions and historical experience of the people's striving for sovereignty, independence, peace and prosperity as well as their solidarity and friendship with the peoples of the world. Many examples were given.
On behalf of ICAP, Mr. Martínez Marrero,
appreciation of the long-standing friendship and solidarity
between the Cuban and Canadian peoples. He spoke briefly of the
work of the Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade to Cuba which for
25 years now has provided Canadians with unique opportunities to
visit, experience and learn about the Cuban Revolution first
hand, and get an appreciation of the life and society being built
by the Cuban people under the leadership of the Communist Party
For information about the 2018 Brigade that takes place
from April 22 to May 6, including how to join it, click
The Cuban Parliamentarian Tour runs from March 21 through April 5, with meetings scheduled in Niagara Falls, Kingston, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Victoria. Visit our events page here or the Canadian Network on Cuba website for more details.
Website: www.cpcml.ca Email: email@example.com