September 15, 2018 - No. 31

Parliament to Reconvene on September 17

The Fraud that Elections in Canada
Are "Free and Fair"

A Need to Fund the Process, Not the Parties
Political Party Fundraising and the "Level Playing Field"

Nominations Close for Quebec General Election
The Parti Marxiste-Léniniste du Québec Presents
25 Candidates in Quebec General Election

- Pauline Easton -

Opposition to Anti-Social Restructuring in Ontario

Government Invokes "Notwithstanding Clause"
Agenda to Destroy Municipal Councils
- Janice Murray -
Torontonians Say No! to
Anti-Democratic Government Restructuring

For Your Information
Ontario's Economy

People's Movement for Empowerment in British Columbia

Making Headway in BC Referendum Campaign
- Peter Ewart -
Vancouver Demonstration Against Construction of Trans Mountain Pipeline and Federal Government Buyout of Kinder Morgan
- Brian Sproule -
Giving Voice to Missing and Murdered Indigenous
Women and Girls on Highway of Tears

Anniversary of September 11
No to Canada's Integration into U.S. Homeland Security!
Make Quebec and Canada a Zone for Peace!

- Geneviève Royer -

Brazilian Election
Workers' Party Nominates Candidate to Replace Lula
for Presidency of Brazil

"Fernando Haddad Will Be Lula to Millions of Brazilians!"
- Letter from Lula to Brazilian People -

Parliament to Reconvene on September 17

The Fraud that Elections in Canada
Are "Free and Fair"

Parliament will resume sitting on September 17, at a time the need for democratic renewal is glaring. Among other things, the summer adjournment of the House of Commons has highlighted the fraud called "free and fair" elections in this country. This concept has nothing to do with investing sovereign decision-making power in the electorate. Finding new sources of funding to disinform the electorate and the amount of money political parties and candidates can spend to get themselves elected is centre stage. The media regularly reports which one is leading in the party fundraising horse-race.

The claim that all citizens stand as equals in exercising their right to elect and to be elected is an empty one. A set of rules is said to limit election spending and how much individuals can contribute to political parties and candidates but there are so many self-serving exemptions that these rules have made any definition of a fair playing field or free and fair elections irrelevant.

The Canada Elections Act is in complete denial of the reality that the polity is divided between a ruling caste and an underclass. The ruling caste is comprised of members of the ruling class and their retinue of courtiers and water carriers. It runs the government, controls the so-called major political parties, and enjoys myriad privileges as a result of its private ownership of the main means of production and trade and all major print media, and television and radio stations, as well as the internet providers which enable social media. This ruling caste uses its positions of influence over all decision-making. It owns and controls enterprises which play a decisive role in perpetuating the cartel party system of government, such as polling companies, public relations conglomerates and the new multinational electoral marketing industry which spews out campaigns on demand.

According to Canada's electoral law, outside of the official election campaign period, individuals and political parties face no restrictions on activities they engage in. This is supposed to prove that in Canada we all enjoy equality to exercise freedom of association and freedom of expression. These rights are there for the taking by any party or organization, it is said. But these freedoms are exercised very differently by the cartel parties whose every word and deed is given front page or prime time coverage, than by registered political parties or organizations of the people and trade unions engaged in activities the ruling elite deems "fringe" or harmful to the economy, which are not given the time of day, and usually not even considered deserving of mention.

The public relations machines of the so-called major parties even admit that whether the coverage of their clients is negative or positive, it all serves to ensure that the three "major political parties" are the subject of promotion every day and enter the consciousness of Canadians. Nothing else matters.

The fraud of a 30- to 40-day "official election campaign" period during which expenses are subjected to limits so as to control the influence of big money is a fraud indeed. Outside of this period, the only legal control meant to provide electoral fairness consists of limits that bar contributions from corporations, trade unions, or individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents and cap annual donations. The creativity of the cartel parties to find loop-holes to circumvent even these limitations imposed by the electoral law or to interpret them in a self-serving way is astounding. It shows how cynical and corrupt their spirit is. It also shows that unless the citizenry holds them to account by embarking on an entirely new path of political renewal, these so-called major political parties and the electoral laws they themselves enact and interpret will continue to be the gate-keepers of the political power of this rotten and corrupt ruling caste.

The division of the society is between a ruling class and the working class. The sole purpose of the ruling caste is to defend the interests of the ruling class and to perpetuate the system, which uses all the resources at the disposal of the societies over which they exercise control to pay the rich and to benefit themselves from this rotten aim. It is unconscionable. It is high time elections were held on the basis of modern rules agreed to by the citizens directly, which eliminate the role of privilege and power and bring citizens to power, not cartel parties which form anti-people, anti-national governments to rule on behalf of supranational private interests.

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A Need to Fund the Process, Not the Parties

Since the House of Commons adjourned on June 22, the Liberal Party in Power, the Conservative Loyal Opposition and the NDP have been holding caucus meetings, fundraisers and conventions. These activities were geared towards preparing for the next federal election, which is just over a year away -- by October 21, 2019, according to the fixed-date election law. An election frenzy has long since overtaken these parties to the chagrin of the electorate which is held hostage to their antics. Most egregious of these parties' activities during the summer recess were those related to fundraising and disinformation.

The Trudeau government and Prime Minister Trudeau himself were seen running hither and thither holding $1,000- and $1,500-a-plate fundraising dinners. What does a dinner with the Prime Minister include that a donor does not receive by simply giving this amount of money directly to the party? The changes to the electoral law requiring that certain fundraisers attended by the Prime Minister and Cabinet members be publicized and thus "transparent" has not answered this question.

The Conservatives held a workshop at their August Policy Convention, where the highlight was the creative measures proposed by retired Senator Irving Gerstein, commonly referred to as the chief "bagman" of the party, on how to play fast and loose with Elections Canada's election expense reimbursement regime and spending limits for parties and candidates. Gerstein explained the party plans to be financially solid coming out of the 2019 Federal Election by using a scheme to qualify for HST/GST rebates. Non-profit organizations that receive more than 40 per cent of their funding from government sources are entitled to claim a 50 per cent reimbursement on HST/GST. When political parties received the per-vote subsidy, this was an easy target for the cartel parties to meet, as public funding averaged about 45 per cent of their revenues. Since the Harper Conservative government eliminated the per-vote subsidy, this is no longer the case.

To compensate for this loss a controversial policy was introduced at the Conservative Convention, requiring Conservative candidates to hand over to the party 50 per cent of the election expense reimbursements they will receive in the 2019 election. Typically, these reimbursements are given to the local electoral district association and kept for use in the next election. According to Gerstein, the party's electoral district associations are sitting on approximately $23 million. By way of justifying this new policy to the convention delegates, Gerstein offered "the six-million-dollar reason."

Gerstein explained that the party must deal with the loss of $20 million -- the per-vote-subsidy that it had available to it in the last electoral cycle. He said that for the Conservative Fund to stay ahead of the political financing game and come out of the 2019 election debt free and with cash in the bank, it "must increase the proportion [of revenues] that comes from government funding." The irony is that the same party that eliminated the per-vote subsidy, professing its belief that "political parties shouldn't be funded by the public purse," is now manoeuvring to get more funding from the public purse. Gerstein unabashedly explained that in order to receive an estimated $6 million GST/HST refund, it must increase the percentage of its revenues from public funding to 40 per cent. From the looks of it, the plan is to treat candidate election expense reimbursements that are transferred to the party not as a "transfer" from a candidate, but as a government reimbursement to the party. The Conservatives think this is an arguable proposition. To realize it they must ensure that Conservative candidates maximize their spending, and consequently their potential public reimbursements. This in turn means that fundraising for Conservative candidates takes on more than the usual significance.

For its part, the NDP finally submitted its 2016 annual financial report which revealed that its fundraising activities are way behind that of its counterparts with seats in the Parliament. It has announced it will solve this problem by investing more in state-of-the-art fundraising techniques.

None of it is seen as a political problem due to the degeneration of the party system of government, and to the fact that the system called a representative democracy does not represent the citizens who are members of the polity and the polity itself. It serves private interests which today are hell-bent on eliminating even a pretense that government has any obligation to use the natural and human resources to serve the needs of the people and their society and contribute to the same internationally.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), registered for electoral purposes as the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada, argues that the electoral law should be changed so that, through Elections Canada, it is the electoral process that is funded, not the parties. State-funding of political parties takes the form of tax credits for political contributions and reimbursement of election expenses.

Following the 2015 federal election, political parties that met the vote-threshold requirement received more than $60 million in election expense reimbursements, while their candidates received $42 million. Political parties that receive two per cent of the valid votes cast nationally, or five per cent of the valid votes in the ridings where they fielded candidates receive a reimbursement of 50 per cent. Candidates receive a 60 per cent reimbursement if they obtain 10 per cent of the valid votes cast. This public subsidization clearly provides an unfair and unjustifiable advantage that makes a fair playing field impossible.

The political tax credit, which provides up to a $650 tax refund, benefits only those who owe taxes after all other deductions and thus advantages the more well-to-do. In the years from 2011 to 2014, the cost of the political tax credit averaged $25.2 million annually. In 2015, the last election year, the cost was $55 million and there is a projection that it will cost $45 million in 2019. In its report on the cost of the tax credit to the public purse, Revenue Canada explains that "this measure encourages broad citizen participation in the electoral process."

This clearly is not working. In 2017, all registered political parties combined raised political contributions totalling $41.6 million from 222,357 individuals, less than 0.82 per cent of the estimated eligible Canadian voters.

Tax credits for contributions can be ended but more significantly, no party or candidate should be reimbursed for election expenses based on past performance. Public funds should be used to create conditions where all members of the polity can participate in the electoral and political process without regard to their financial situation or their connection to a political party.

The scheme of election expense reimbursements and election expense limits requires the cartel parties to perform a balancing act. On the one hand, they want to maximize their reimbursements by having as much of their expenditures during the "official election campaign" count as "election expenses" eligible for reimbursement. On the other, they want to spend as much as possible to beat their competitors, so they need to exclude expenses that will put them over the limit. Self-serving amendments to the Canada Elections Act and even more self-serving interpretations of the law abound. This was seen in the Conservative in-and-out scandal where they shifted party expenses, subject to the spending limits, to their candidates, making them eligible for a 60 per cent rather than 50 per cent reimbursement. Providing such interpretations has become an art form which separates the chaff from the wheat as far as the fundraisers and budget planners for the so-called major parties go.

With its 2014 Fair Elections Act, the Harper government exempted fundraising expenses from election expenses that count towards spending limits. The Liberal Party, which promised to reverse the unfair provisions of the Fair Elections Act did not consider this unfair, while the NDP has not seen fit to object to it either. Earlier, the cartel parties, which spend oodles of money on polling -- some of which is kept close to their chest while some is made public, depending on whether the results are advantageous to them or not -- decided to exempt polling from the definition of election expenses.

The exemption of fundraising expenses is a good illustration of the corrupt self-serving changes. When the Fair Elections Act was before the House of Commons, former Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand and others successfully opposed a provision that would have exempted even the cost of telephone calls from election expenses during an election if it was made for fundraising purposes to anybody who had contributed more than $20 to a political party in the past. The Conservatives were forced to remove the provision. Mr. Mayrand noted at the time that the provision would "compromise the level playing field" between the political parties. "It takes little imagination to understand that other partisan communications can be dressed up as fundraisers," he said. It would also be "difficult if not impossible" to enforce, he said.

The current law stipulates that while fundraising is exempt, fundraising promotional materials do count towards election expense limits. For instance, the cost to produce a flyer promoting a fundraising event is considered an election expense. But mailing flyers is largely a thing of the past. Databases are state-of-the-art, but the millions of dollars involved in database construction are exempt on the grounds that they are categorized as "intellectual property"! These databases contain extensive information on electors and have become central to all forms of election campaigning, including communications related to fundraising. Day-in and day-out political parties and election campaigning experts alike talk about how indispensable micro-targeting elector databases are.

Expenditures on fundraising are significant. In 2017, the Conservative Party reported contributions of $18.8 million and fundraising expenses of $7.1 million. The Liberal Party of Canada raised $14 million and spent $2.7 million on fundraising. At the August 2018 Conservative Party Policy Convention in Halifax, Conservative Fund Chair Irving Gerstein boasted that the use of the party's national elector database was "key" to its ability to raise funds. The NDP recently filed its annual return for 2017, reporting that it collected $4.8 million in contributions and spent $422,809 in fundraising expenses, an increase of $100,000 over the previous year. NDP spokesperson Melissa Bruno told the Hill Times that the party is expanding and improving "engagement and fundraising strategies, utilizing our digital and human resources."

All told, these millions spent by the cartel parties to solicit contributions for 2017 got a total of 198,283 people to contribute to these three parties. This is less than 0.73 per cent of Canada's eligible electors, which stood at 27,182,615 at the end of 2017. Clearly, the current election process is not mobilizing Canadians to support these cartel political parties.

These cartel parties make a mockery of the official rules which claim to guarantee an even playing field during an election. All of it fails miserably to guarantee the right of all citizens to elect and be elected. The parties which form the cartel party system are no longer able to attract volunteers because they no longer have a social aim which resonates with the citizenry. Volunteerism has been replaced by hired calling companies, data analytics firms, third-party personal information compilers, and the like. The costs of the election machines are soaring and their "solution" is to resort to ever more creative fraudulent means to raise money through micro-targeting and circumventing spending limits. They rake in money by micro-targeting individuals in a manner which depoliticizes the polity completely.

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Political Party Fundraising and
the "Level Playing Field"

The Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada recently presented its opinion to Elections Canada on the issue of how interpretations of the provisions related to fundraising in the Canada Elections Act should not be used to circumvent the professed aim of the election financing regime to create a "level playing field." Fundraising itself exercises an element of power and privilege over the electoral and political process, the MLPC pointed out. It quoted a research paper presented to the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association which addressed the issue of "Election Finance Law and Party Centralization in Canada." Of significance to the matter at hand, the authors state that "the national wing of each party enjoys ... a natural advantage over its local entities in fundraising." It explains:

To solicit a large number of relatively small contributions from individuals in contemporary Canada requires the use of practices and technologies such as direct mail, telephone solicitation and internet fundraising. These techniques succeed when the content of appeals is carefully crafted and personalized; the fixed costs of establishing the infrastructure and appeal are high, so they are feasible only as large-scale undertakings. Local associations run by volunteers trying to reach supporters in a geographically circumscribed area face significant barriers to using these kinds of techniques.[1]

One of the ways that the national parties are advantaged in regards to fundraising relates to the National Electors Lists and elector databases. The MLPC pointed out:

A party that fields candidates across the country has access to the entire National Electors List. Independent candidates, and party candidates, for that matter, do not have access to the National List. We understand that it is completely legal to use the list of electors for fundraising purposes but the unfairness of the situation needs to be taken into consideration. [...]

The MLPC pointed out that such advantages undermine the ability of all citizens to solicit political and financial support for their candidacy on an equal footing:

It makes a mockery of a law that professes to have one set of rules for candidates to compete and another set of rules for party competition. The fact that this distinction has long been mocked does not make this new development any more acceptable. It adds to the way that independent candidates are disadvantaged and discriminated against on the grounds that the purpose of an election is to give rise to a party government and therefore parties and party candidates should be favoured by law. While it is frequently said that independent candidates are not "viable," the features of the election law which favour the viability of party candidates over independent candidates, and the parties with representation in the House of Commons over those without, is not given equal airing.

There are other grossly unfair aspects to fundraising. Independent candidates who have campaign funds remaining at the end of an election are forced to hand those over to the Receiver General. Candidates of political parties, on the other hand, are allowed to keep those funds for use in the next election.

Other fundraising inequalities emerging out of this system that favour power and privilege is seen in the way that members of the government and the parties in the House of Commons use their time, when they are supposed to be working for the public, to carry out fundraising, as amply illustrated during the adjournment of the House of Commons from June 22 to September 17. Such activities by political parties and Members of Parliament, who enjoy public funding through salaries and the public financing of constituency and research offices and personnel, are supposed to be regulated. There are Parliamentary regulations and Election Canada guidelines on the use of parliamentary resources for election campaigning purposes. These apply both within and outside of the official election campaign period. But the degeneration of the parliamentary institutions and the cartel party system and the seamlessness between election campaigning and any other political activity is rendering such guidelines increasingly incoherent, irrelevant and meaningless and virtually impossible to apply.


1. Election Finance Law and Party Centralization in Canada, by David Colleto, Harold Jansen, and Lisa Young.

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Nominations Close for Quebec General Election

The Parti Marxiste-Léniniste du Québec Presents
25 Candidates in Quebec General Election

The evening of September 15, after the close of nominations for the Quebec general election, the Parti marxiste-léniniste du Quebec (PMLQ) held a well attended and lively Open House at its Montreal office. To cheers and applause, Party Leader Pierre Chénier announced that the PMLQ has nominated 25 candidates in the Quebec General election to be held October 1, 2018.

The PMLQ's candidates are at the forefront of the people's struggle for their rights and for a nation-building project elaborated by the people themselves, Pierre said. They are running in Montreal, the South Shore, the National Capital and in the Outaouais.

The Director General of Quebec Elections (DGEQ) has announced the results of the nomination process. A total of 940 candidates are presenting themselves for election in Quebec's 125 ridings. This is 126 (26.5 per cent) more than in the 2014 election, in which 814 candidates ran for election. Elections Quebec pointed out that there is an average of 7.5 candidates in each riding. While the Gaspé and Îles-de-la-Madeleine have just four candidates each, the riding of Laurier-Dorion has 12.

Besides the 500 candidates which are running for the four parties that already have seats in the National Assembly, the other 440 candidates are representing the 14 other registered parties and 21 independent candidates (up from 11 in 2014). Together they comprise 46.8 per cent of the candidates in this election.

This shows the striving of the people to speak about their concerns for the society directly. It also shows the need to organize the people politically to bring about the renewal of the political process so that they can end the electoral system which divides them, blocks any political discourse whatsoever and reduces the level of politics to the brawling of the cartel parties; racist attacks against minorities, immigrants and refugees; and using the most vulnerable as trophies to claim their concern for the well-being of the people.

Only those candidates who have already been selected by the ruling class as worthy of forming a government are heard from. This makes a mockery of the conception that whatever government comes to power has the consent of the governed for its mandate. It shows that the division of the polity between those who govern and those who are governed is anachronistic and that, as the PMLQ says, it is high time modern arrangements are brought into being which vest sovereign decision-making power in the citizens, instead of this ruling caste which has been taken over by supranational interests.

The DGEQ said the average age of candidates is 45 and that 168 candidates are aged 18-29 and another 189 are aged 30-39. This result appears to disprove the mantra that the youth have no interest in politics. In Quebec, they are in the forefront of the striving of the people to humanize the natural and social environment and they are always active in all struggles for economic and social justice.

The DGEQ also announced that 375 of the candidates are female, which is 40 per cent, up from 29.4 per cent in the 2014 election. For two of the parties -- Quebec solidaire with 66 women, and the Coalition avenir Québec with 65 women -- more than 50 per cent of their candidates are women. The PMLQ also considers this a significant development. Women in Quebec have always taken their place in the front ranks of the struggle for the equality of all and for rights to be provided with a guarantee. In the opinion of the PMLQ, their striving for empowerment is reflected in these results.

This is also a time when in the name of women's rights and the equality of men and women, the ruling caste and their media are pushing identity politics to divide the polity over issues of values, nationality, religious belief and conscience. All of it is a heinous attempt to disinform the polity which means that the people are deprived of an outlook that favours them. The most important work today to combat this disinformation is for the people to work out amongst their peers at places of work, in educational institutions, in the communities and places where seniors gather, how issues pose themselves so that people can decide how to intervene to turn things around in their favour. The PMLQ is of the opinion that the more workers, women and youth come forward to fight for what they think is needed, the better the prospects of sorting things out in the people's favour.

In this regard, Pierre told those gathered at the Open House that the PMLQ candidates are at the forefront of the people's struggle for their rights and for a nation-building project elaborated by the people themselves.

The PMLQ is running in the election on the platform "For a Modern Quebec that Defends the Rights of All!" and "Humanize the Natural and Social Environment: All Out for Democratic Renewal!"

Pierre said, "The struggle to humanize the natural and social environment is at the centre of the struggles of the workers and people of Quebec and this raises the issue of vesting decision-making power in them so that it is they who decide all matters of concern to them and to the society, not big supranational private interests that lead nation-wrecking."

He congratulated the workers and social justice organizations concerned about the social fabric and those concerned about the natural environment for their actions to make their voices heard. Despite being completely shut out of the election, they are speaking out and holding actions to present their views and concerns. He addressed the problem the people of Quebec face in this election, which is blocking them from having any say whatsoever about their real concerns. The cartel party system, which has usurped the positions of power has eliminated all political discourse and discussion during the election, he said. Exchanges such as the so-called leaders' debate on September 13, have been reduced to brawls. He pointed out that in the final stretch to election day, October 1, those the ruling elite has declared the major contenders to form the next government and their election machines and media have resorted to racist provocations against minorities, immigrants and refugees in a desperate attempt to get themselves into the news cycle. But this can be turned around, he said.

Pierre called on all the workers, women and youth to make a difference by not permitting the formation of a majority government. In Quebec, 63 seats are needed to form a majority government, and the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) is predicted to win 68 seats. Pierre's proposal that Quebeckers identify six or seven seats where the CAQ can be defeated and make sure they do not permit them or any other party to form a majority government was met with great interest amongst the candidates and friends at the Open House. Taking concerted action to achieve this result will express the people's rejection of the anti-social agenda. Being an organized political force will definitely improve their chances of keeping the government that comes to power after the election in check, he said.

This proposal puts the initiative to intervene in the election in a manner which favours the people in their own hands. It sparks their imagination as it proposes what they can do for themselves in the election that will favour them. It shows that even though the elections are organized to totally marginalize the people, the people can still work out how to intervene in a manner which produces a more favourable outcome within the situation.

In all the ridings where workers could make a difference as to who wins, so as to bring in a minority government, the PMLQ will intervene to organize the workers to bring this about.

With this program for the last two weeks of the election campaign, the candidates and supporters of the PMLQ are set to make a difference. They will organize the people by providing them with an argument to go all out for a minority government so as to make a statement against the anti-social agenda. The people have it within their means to defeat the divisive, brawling, anti-people outlook imposed by the ruling caste in this election.

(Photos: pmlq)

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Opposition to Anti-Social Restructuring in Ontario

Government Invokes "Notwithstanding Clause"

Rally at City Hall against Bill 5, July 27, 2018.

As expected, since the Progressive Conservative Party has taken over the government of Ontario following the June 7 provincial election, its leader Doug Ford claims that the election has conferred on him a "mandate" to step up the anti-social offensive. Ford is using his majority position in the legislature to push through a wrecking agenda in the name of this "mandate." No sooner did he take office, than immediately he used his prerogative powers to scrap the basic income pilot project, diverted $1.9 billion earmarked for mental health support to police training; announced money for City of Toronto Police Services for "fighting guns and gangs;" cancelled new funding for community programs aimed at reducing violence; cancelled 758 renewable energy projects and the GreenOn rebate program for homeowners; introduced a vague interim curriculum on sex education, with Mr. Ford threatening consequences for those who continue to use the 2015 curriculum, and publicizing a hotline to report teachers who do; withdrew provincial support for settling asylum-seekers; and announced a freeze across the public service which will be in place until the Progressive Conservatives have done a line-by-line review of Ontario's finances; and shut down all discretionary spending, (e.g., no non-essential travel or food at meetings).

The first session of the 42nd legislature was convened for a rare summer sitting, with the Throne Speech on July 12. Among the Premier's first orders of business was the introduction July 16 of Bill 2, which included three pieces of legislation, one of which legislated an end to the five-month long strike of York University academic workers.

Bill 5, the Better Local Government Act, 2018, was introduced July 30 to amend the City of Toronto Act, 2006 -- a provincial statute that specifically delegates broad powers to Toronto, recognizing it "is a government that is capable of exercising its powers in a responsible and accountable fashion" along with the Municipal Act, 2001 and the Municipal Elections Act, 1996. Announced July 27, the day nominations closed for the October 22 elections, Bill 5 would immediately change the ward boundaries to match current federal and provincial electoral boundaries, cutting the number of councillors from 47 to 25.

When met with a wall of resistance from Torontonians, Ford told the legislature, "People want smaller government ... They want a city of Toronto that is functional, a city of Toronto that can build transit." Bill 5 was fast-tracked through the legislature and passed into law August 14.

A notice of application with Ontario's Superior Court of Justice asking the court to review the bill and rule on its legality was launched by Rocco Achampong, a lawyer and candidate in Ward 13, within hours of Bill 5 being tabled in the legislature. The City of Toronto launched its own legal challenge after the Council voted August 20 to fight the law and to exhaust all legal avenues, including appealing any unfavourable rulings. A third challenge was mounted on behalf of council candidates and voters. Legal arguments hinged on rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, constitutional principles, and the issue of effective representation, among others. All legal challenges went before Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba at a day-long hearing on August 31 attended by about 100 people.

On September 10, Justice Belobaba rendered his decision. Stating that the matter before him was unprecedented and the provincial government had "clearly crossed the line" with this legislation, he struck down the sections of Bill 5 that change the number of wards and councillors.

Premier Ford declared that fulfilling his government's "mandate" required over-riding the court ruling using the "notwithstanding clause," section 33, of the Charter. At a September 10 press conference, he said that his government would immediately appeal the ruling to the Ontario Court of Appeal (which the government did on September 12) and declared, "Our first order of business will be to re-introduce the Better Local Government Act and with it, invoke Section 33 of the Constitution."

"I want to make it clear that we are prepared to use Section 33 again in the future. We are taking a stand that if you want to make new laws in Ontario or in Canada, you first must seek a mandate from the people and you have to be elected because it is the people who will decide what is in their best interest," Ford declared.

Ford railed against unelected judges having any say on matters which presumably fall within his jurisdiction to do whatever he wants in the name of being elected. "Democracy," he said, "is going every four years to elect a government without worrying about your mandate being overturned."

On September 12, Ford reconvened the Legislative Assembly from its recess, two weeks earlier than scheduled, to re-introduce the anti-social municipal government restructuring legislation invoking the "notwithstanding clause," this time as Bill 31, the Efficient Local Government Act, 2018. The legislation passed first reading in the Legislature on September 12 on a vote of 63 to 17, with a significant number of the 124-member Assembly, including 12 PCs, absent. Many NDP MPPs had earlier been escorted out of the Legislature after refusing to come to order for the reading of the bill. Toronto citizens concerned about Bill 31 had been ejected from the gallery earlier in the day when they objected to the legislation and the use of the "notwithstanding clause."

It is clear that the Ford government will continue where the Liberal government left off, escalating the destruction of all arrangements pertaining to a public authority, leaving only its police functions which he will exercise using his alleged mandate to rule by decree. This is the path upon which the ruling class has embarked Ontario since Mike Harris took power in 1995. Whether the government was called right-wing, centre or left-wing, all have followed the neo-liberal agenda dictated by the international financial oligarchy. Political renewal to vest decision-making power in the citizens is the order of the day.

(Photos: TML)

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Agenda to Destroy Municipal Councils

The Ford government is spearheading an agenda to destroy municipal councils which is sure to find its followers across the country. This is because free trade deals such as the one Canada signed with Europe, and no doubt the arrangements involved in NAFTA's renegotiation, require the destruction of competing authorities that interfere with the usurpation of power by oligopolies engaged in providing goods and services.

The impugned sections of the Ford government's Bill 5, the Better Local Government Act, 2018 reduce the number of wards in the City of Toronto from 47 to 25.[1] Ontario Superior Court Justice Belobaba argued that reducing the number of wards in the middle of an election violated the right to freedom of expression for both candidates and voters. Other provisions of the legislation were not struck down. These include eliminating the City's jurisdiction over the number and size of its electoral districts and counsellors; revoking electors' rights to petition City Council to make changes on these matters; and removing the ability of the City to override provincial legislation affecting the composition of City Council and/or the electoral districts. Instead, the boundaries have been set to match the provincial election boundaries.

In his ruling, Justice Belobaba stated that the ward reductions violated candidates' right to free expression, interfering with the ability of candidates to communicate their political message to the electorate. He said that candidates had to spend much of their time with electors explaining issues related to Bill 5, rather than presenting their platforms.

What has been obscured by media coverage throughout this debacle is that this has nothing to do with a mandate received from the citizens of Ontario and everything to do with the agenda the international financial oligarchy has set for governments in all countries at all levels at this time. The directive is to destroy authorities at the municipal level which interfere with the ability of marauding oligopolies to privatize all services, destroy unions and disempower citizens.

The aim of the agenda to destroy municipal councils and current governing arrangements is to seize control of all property-related matters, including taxes, real-estate matters and contracts to build infrastructure and all matters pertaining to goods and services at the city and township levels. When Ford threatened to use the "notwithstanding clause" he made this very clear: "We have a mandate and we are going to move forward with the mandate and keep our promises. And the people ... will be the judge and jury. But I can assure you one thing, we are going to fix the problem, we are going to build transit, we are going to build infrastructure, and we are going to fix the housing problem."

One problem is the perpetuation of the myth that elections provide neo-liberal governments with mandates to rule in the name of citizens. On the question of the violation of voters' freedom of expression, Justice Belobaba drew a connection with "effective representation," stating that "the voter's freedom of expression must include her right to cast a vote that can result in meaningful and effective representation." He said that "because Bill 5 almost doubled the population size of City wards from an average of 61,000 to an average of 111,000, it breached the municipal voter's right to cast a vote that can result in effective representation."

Key to his ruling, however, was not the legislation itself but its timing. Bill 5 was passed on August 14 despite significant and vocal opposition that was dismissed with disdain by the ruling PCs. Many people from all walks of life and sides of the political spectrum have protested the government's contempt of the municipal election itself, its impartial administration and all the citizens wanting to stand as candidates, both those who supported Bill 5 and those who opposed it. The plan to reduce the size of the Toronto City Council was announced on July 27, the last day for prospective candidates to be registered in an official election period that began on May 1. It was subjected to a rapid-passage regime, including limited debate through time allocation, bypassing the committee stage, with no committee hearings, no opportunity to amend the bill and no public hearings.

In response to criticism of these arbitrary actions, House Leader Todd Smith justified the decision to skip committee review on the basis that his party had just won a majority government: "What's democratic is on June 7 the people of Ontario spoke loud and clear, and they made a clear choice.... They picked Premier Doug Ford and a PC government."

With the rules changed in the middle of the election, after 509 candidates had filed their nomination papers in one of the 47 wards and after many had begun campaigning, both candidates and election administrators have been thrown into a state of chaos and confusion. Toronto City Clerk Ulli Watkiss told reporters that it typically takes eight to 10 months to prepare for a municipal election and with the passage of Bill 5, the period to administer the changed election regime has been reduced to less than three months.

On September 13, she told Toronto City Council that the situation was such that whether there are 47 seats or 25, she does not think she can guarantee the proper conduct of the election, adding that she has retained a lawyer to advise her on whether her administrative powers would enable her to postpone the election.

Opposition to this anti-democratic behaviour is very broad. Toronto Mayor John Tory is himself a former contestant for the leadership of the Ontario PCs. Not surprisingly, since the City of Toronto is now his turf, he has been one of the most outspoken and instrumental in challenging Bill 5. Ford has merely repeated that "the people who are most vocal and fighting against [the legislation] are a small group of left-wing councillors looking to continue their free ride on the taxpayers' dollar and a network of activist groups who have entrenched their power under the status quo." This is the mantra of the anti-social offensive which says "the people" want "right-wing measures" and anyone who speaks against this is to blame for all the ills which befall society.

What this entire debacle reveals is that it is up to the citizens to sort out the issue of who provides a mandate for what. The slogan Not in My Name is very apt to remind people to take up the task of speaking in their own name to make sure the problems of society are provided with solutions. This will settle scores with the central problem of removing from positions of influence all those who fraudulently claim a mandate to act in the people's name.


1. A study conducted by the City of Toronto from 2014 to 2017 on ward boundaries considered and then rejected the 25-ward option. More than 900 people participated in the first phase of the consultations and they led to the City of Toronto increasing the number of wards from 44 to 47 for the 2018 election.

The Draw the Lines Ward Boundary Review website, set up for this consultation, explains the reasons behind the review: "Due to factors like population growth and new construction, some of the city's wards are more than 30 per cent to 45 per cent above the population of an average city ward. Therefore, each Torontonian is not being represented equally at City Council. In other words, one person's vote does not have the same value or weight as that of the next person.[...]

The new 47-ward structure was challenged at the Ontario Municipal Board and in the Ontario Divisional Court by applicants favouring a 25-ward system. In both instances the City's decision was upheld. The OMB decision states "Effective representation is the primary goal and the board finds that the 47-ward structure, reflected in the by-laws, does achieve that goal."

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Torontonians Say No!
to Anti-Democratic Government Restructuring

Toronto City Hall rally, September 12, 2018.

More than 500 Torontonians participated in a lively rally at Toronto City Hall on September 12 to oppose the Ontario Government's arbitrary, dictatorial and anti-democratic restructuring of the city's municipal government. The lengths to which the government is prepared to go -- invoking the "notwithstanding clause" through a replacement bill, Bill 31, the Efficient Local Government Act, 2018 -- to enforce its neo-liberal agenda, has significantly broadened the opposition. This opposition has been in play since July 27, when Bill 5 the Better Local Government Act, 2018 was announced in the middle of the October 22 municipal election campaign.

Rally at Toronto City Hall, September 12, 2018.

Earlier in the day, as the Legislative Assembly was reconvened so that the PC Government could assert its will over the Ontario Superior Court ruling which found Bill 5 in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, people lined up outside Queen's Park to pack the public gallery for question period. Inside they refused to remain silent in the face of the government's arrogance. "We are the people! Democracy!" they called out. "This is our place. This is our province. This is our city," one woman shouted, in response to the Ford Government's decision to empty the public galleries. Several people were removed in handcuffs when they refused to leave.

Queen's Park, September 12, 2018.

From the day the original Bill 5 was announced, people have been in action. They rallied at Queen's Park and packed the gallery; hundreds more lined up outside unable to get in, during debate on the legislation. They filled the City Hall gallery and overflow rooms demanding that City Council and Mayor John Tory challenge the bill, both politically and through legal means. Councillors voted to join in legal actions at a meeting August 20. The weekend before Council took the decision to fight the legislation in the courts, thousands of people called, e-mailed and signed petitions to insist the Council take action. The day of the Council meeting the chamber was packed.

Protest at Queen's Park during debate on Bill 5, August 2, 2018.

Among those who, from the first day, used their voices to oppose the province's arbitrary interference in the City's governance, and specifically the "shock and awe" of throwing the municipal election into chaos, were a number of the City councillors and the candidates running for office.

A feature of this year's municipal election is that there were to be three new wards and a number of veteran city councillors are not running. In part encouraged by this situation, as it is very hard to win against an incumbent, there are quite a number of young and first time candidates, among them quite a few women. Many are speaking out on social media, in meetings and in interviews and are calling on those in their wards to stand with them to defeat the legislation.

A number of City councillors organized town halls to inform their constituents on what the legislation means and to mobilize against it. At one such town hall in her ward, Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam spoke of the importance of electing councillors in this election who will defend public services and assets in a situation where private interests are having increasing influence at City Hall and there is pressure for large-scale infrastructure projects, currently in the works, to be privately built. The restructuring of City government will only increase these trends, she pointed out.

Town hall meeting, 519 Church community centre, August 15, 2018.

A well-attended town hall on August 16 was organized by a number of community organizations in conjunction with the Toronto and District Labour Council. Community groups that deal with such questions as defending the rights of precarious workers, the environment and affordable housing spoke of the work they do with local councillors and their concerns that, with larger wards to represent, councillors will not be able to continue doing this.

Town hall meeting, Metropolitan United Church, August 16, 2018.

People involved themselves in discussing what legal challenges could be mounted to block the legislation which violated their right to a say in governance. The first to file a legal challenge to Bill 5 was a candidate running for city council who asked for a legal review of the bill hours after it was introduced. A third legal challenge was later filed on behalf of candidates, and voters. Some 100 people attended the court hearing on August 31.

That the provincial government can simply overrule how a local government organizes itself and do so in the middle of a municipal election with the only recourse available being for a citizen or a collective to bring a costly appeal to the courts to rule in the people's favour and strike down the bill, demonstrates the problem the polity faces. People have no say in the decisions that affect their lives, among which a very important one is to have a say in how they are governed. This is the urgent problem that requires solution.

(Photos: TML, Progress Toronto, D. Curran, EFTO)

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For Your Information

Ontario's Economy

Ontario's new government administers the largest sub-country economy in Canada. The Ontario Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2017 was $830.446 billion.[1]

The Ontario GDP was 38.7 per cent of Canada's total GDP of $2,145.855 billion.

Goods production accounted for 22.1 per cent of Ontario's GDP while services totalled 77.7 per cent.

Manufacturing sales (not actual production) equalled $304.855 billion or 36.7 per cent of the Ontario GDP.

Consumer retail sales were $216.318 billion, equivalent to 26.05 per cent of the Ontario GDP.

The number of units of new motor vehicle sales was 857,155.

Wholesale trade was $377.719 billion or 45.48 per cent of the GDP.

Ontario's net debt to private moneylenders was $301.6 billion, which is 36.3 per cent of the GDP.

Ontario paid $11.97 billion to service the debt to private moneylenders in 2017, representing eight per cent of total revenue and the fourth largest expenditure. Total government revenue was $133.228 billion.

Ontario Manufacturing

Key Ontario manufacturing industries include auto, steel, information and communications technologies, food, biotech, and pharmaceuticals and medical devices with combined shipping of $300.8 billion of social product in 2016.

The transportation equipment industry alone sold $105.6 billion of social product while food manufacturing sold $40.6 billion. According to, the province is the largest sub-national automotive assembly jurisdiction in North America.

The transportation equipment industry accounted for 35.1 per cent of manufacturing sales in Ontario, while the province accounted for 49 per cent of total manufacturing sales in Canada in 2016, which were $614.4 billion.

Eighty-eight per cent of Ontario manufactured social product was exported (2011 figures), with almost all of those exports destined for the United States.

After California and Texas, Ontario has the most manufacturing employees of any jurisdiction in Canada and the United States, totalling 751,400 Ontario workers or approximately 44.2 per cent of all manufacturing workers in Canada.

Employment nationally in manufacturing was 1.7 million workers in 2016 with nearly 1 in 10 of all workers in that sector in 2016, a level relatively unchanged since 2009.

(For detailed Ontario work force characteristics by industry click here.)

Ontario's Natural Resources Economy

Ontario's resource sectors include energy, forests, minerals and mining, and hunting, fishing and water.[2]

Ontario's natural resource GDP of $38.947 billion accounted for 4.9 per cent of the total Ontario GDP in 2016 of $794.835 billion. Of this natural resource GDP, energy was 47.5 per cent; minerals and mining, 36.9 per cent; hunting, fishing and water, 9.8 per cent; and forest, 5.9 per cent.

Ontario imports more natural resources than it exports. Note that provincial exports and imports include other areas of Canada. Minerals and mining (50.9 per cent) and energy (42.4 per cent) products accounted for the vast majority of natural resource imports.

Natural resource exports were led by minerals and mining at 68.3 per cent, followed by energy (25.0 per cent) and forestry (9.2 per cent.)

Ontario's Finance Ministry writes, "Downstream forest and minerals industries, which include secondary and tertiary processing, are also significant sectors and magnify the overall impact of the resources sector. These industries had real output of $14.0 billion in 2016 and employed 149,302 workers. Products of downstream industries contributed $30.3 billion to Ontario's 2016 international and interprovincial exports."

Throughout the year, on average, 7,128,000 employed workers produced and distributed the Ontario GDP or in other ways participated in the socialized economy.

The 2017 total official Ontario work force, both employed and unemployed, was 7,579,800 while the current population is 14,374,084. The 2017 labour force participation rate in the socialized economy of the adult population was 64.9 per cent of which approximately six per cent or 451,800 workers were officially unemployed.

Ontario and North America

North America includes more than 460 million people. Workers generate a combined gross domestic product of more than $18 trillion. In 2011, more than $1.4 billion crossed the Canada-U.S. border each day and Ontario-U.S. trade accounted for approximately $716 million of that amount, according to

Imports into Ontario

International merchandise imports into Ontario, not from Quebec and other provinces, were valued at $346.962 billion equivalent to 41.78 per cent of the Ontario GDP.

The major international import supplier was the United States at 55.4 per cent of the total imports into Ontario or approximately $191.176 billion.

The U.S. was followed by China at 12.4 per cent, Mexico (8.2 per cent), Japan (3.8 per cent) and Germany (2.5 per cent).

The top five international imports as a percentage of the total were motor vehicles and parts at 22.6 per cent, mechanical equipment (14.4 per cent), electrical machinery (11.4 per cent), plastic products (3.9 per cent), and pharmaceutical products (3.4 per cent).

Exports from Ontario

International merchandise exports from Ontario, not to Quebec and other provinces, equalled $199.392 billion or 24.01 per cent of the Ontario GDP.

The major international export market by far was the United States at an 80.3 per cent share of the total exports from Ontario or approximately $160.112 billion.

The U.S. was followed by the United Kingdom with a 7.3 per cent share of the export market, Mexico (1.5 per cent), China (1.4 per cent) and Japan (0.8 per cent).

The top five international exports from Ontario as a percentage share of the total were motor vehicles and parts (35.3 per cent), mechanical equipment (10.1 per cent), precious metals and stones (9.8 per cent), electrical machinery (3.9 per cent), and plastic products (3.6 per cent). Note that raw material exports did not play a significant role.

The combined Ontario and Quebec GDP is larger than all but four U.S. states: California, Texas, New York, and Florida.

Tables and Graphs

Structure of the Ontario Economy from the Finance Ministry

TABLE 2.4 Employment Share of Major Ontario Sectors (Per Cent)





Goods-Producing Sector (includes items 1 to 2 below)




1. Manufacturing




2. Other Goods-Producing Industries




Private Services-Producing Sector (includes items 1 to 10 below)




1. Wholesale and Retail Trade




2. Transportation and Warehousing




3. Information and Cultural




4. Financial Services




5. Real Estate and Rental and Leasing




6. Professional, Scientific and Technical Services




7. Management, Administrative and Support




8. Arts, Entertainment and Recreation




9. Accommodation and Food Services




10. Other Services




Public-Sector Services (includes items 1 to 3 below)




1. Education




2. Health Care and Social Assistance




3. Public Administration




Note: Other goods-producing industries include agriculture, fishing, forestry, mining, utilities and construction.

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey.

Tables from Ontario's Long-Term Report on the Economy 2017,
Ministry of Finance


1. All totals in the article are for the year 2017 and in current Canadian dollars, unless noted otherwise.

2. Statistics Canada defines natural resources activities "as those which result in goods and services originating from naturally-occurring assets used in economic activity, as well as their initial processing (primary manufacturing)." This definition excludes activities such as agriculture that involve intensive cultivation.

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People's Movement for Empowerment in British Columbia

Making Headway in BC Referendum Campaign

Fair Vote table at Okanagan College in Kelowna

People across British Columbia are gearing up for the referendum on Proportional Representation (PR) to be held using a mail-in ballot from October 22 to November 30. Over the summer, activists in favour of voting for PR have organized events, discussions and actions of various kinds. As the referendum date approaches, this activity is being accelerated, a clear reflection of the striving of British Columbians for empowerment and democratic renewal.

For example, Fair Vote Canada BC, which is registered with Elections BC as an "advertising sponsor," has established 27 local teams across the province from Vancouver and Vancouver Island in the south to Prince George, Mackenzie and Terrace in the north. The focus is on grass roots organizing and discussion in the communities. On its website, it has listed to date 66 upcoming events, including public information sessions, literature tables, meet-and-greets, presentations, canvasses and team meetings. Other pro-PR organizations and advertising sponsors are also organizing and distributing information, as well as planning for actions this fall.

To block this movement for empowerment, the No side, backed by big corporate interests, is spreading disinformation, and fearmongering that the sky will fall if voters approve PR. A millionaire former forestry CEO has been running robocalls, as well as Facebook, print and radio ads, against PR and the referendum process. A business association has been using attack ads that declare PR is too complicated and may result in Nazis coming to power. Another industry group is claiming that a vote for PR will "completely derail the province's economy."

The Vote No to Pro Rep (the official Vote No group) had just three upcoming public events on its calendar for September, October and November, as of September 10 -- markedly fewer than the Vote PR campaign. This suggests that, rather than grass roots organizing, it will rely on advertising through social media, television, radio and newspapers, as well as favourable news coverage from monopoly media outlets.

In the face of the disinformation and fearmongering, the focus of Vote PR activists on fostering serious discussion and grass roots organizing is the way for people to empower themselves and fulfill their longstanding desire to get rid of the antiquated first-past-the-post system.

All Out in the Coming Weeks to Vote for Proportional Representation!
Empower Yourself Now!

Information table at Labour Day celebration in Gibsons, BC, September 4, 2018.

(Photos: D. Brose, Fair Vote BC)

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Vancouver Demonstration Against Construction
of Trans Mountain Pipeline and Federal Government Buyout of Kinder Morgan

Some 2,000 people participated on September 8 in a very loud and vigorous march and two rallies against construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and the federal government buyout of the Canadian assets of the U.S. monopoly Kinder Morgan. Build Our Future Not a Pipeline was the theme of the three-hour demonstration, one of hundreds of events held on the international day of action "Rise For Climate."

Participants began arriving for the event long before the scheduled start time, setting up equipment, information booths and banners and engaging in discussion. People of all ages and backgrounds came out -- workers, professionals, small business owners, youth, students, Indigenous people, national minorities, environmentalists, community and political activists, people of numerous faiths, and others. Among them were some who have been arrested and convicted of "criminal contempt" as a result of defying a court injunction against blocking access to Kinder Morgan's Burnaby Mountain Terminal or its Westridge Marine Terminal on Burrard Inlet. Notably, there was almost a complete absence of elected officials.

A brief rally featured Indigenous drummers and singers, who led the demonstrators into the street. The march was noisy and spirited with the continuous shouting of slogans. The music of two pipers in its midst could be heard a long way off. Passing motorists honked, and they gestured their support as did many pedestrians, some of whom took pictures or videos. A number of people left the sidewalks to join the march.

Amongst the banners, placards and slogans shouted were Build Our Future Not a Pipeline!; No Trudeau Pipeline Bailout!; No Trudeau Pipeline -- Not Now, Not Ever!; There Is No Fossil Future!; Time for Smarter Choices!; The Crudeau Pipeline Will Notbey Built!; For a Modern Canada that Defends the Rights of All!; All Out to Build the New!; Who Decides? We Decide!; Money for Jobs (Education, Health Care etc.), Not for Pipelines!; Hey Trudeau, Your Pipeline Has Got to Go!; People Power!; Trudeau Traitor!; Climate Justice Now!; and System Change Not Climate Change! 

Some of the "sinister" seniors arrested for protesting Kinder Morgan pipeline.

The marchers stopped for several minutes in front of the courthouse where trials and sentencing of the more than 200 people arrested on Burnaby Mountain is taking place. Nearby are the holding cells where those sentenced to jail time are locked up before being transported to prison. Several of those jailed are women seniors whom the judge slandered as "sinister seniors" who must be "deterred." The elderly women report that they were handcuffed, shackled and placed in small cages for the two-hour trip to prison in the Fraser Valley. They were made to suffer other indignities as well, such as being forced to wear dirty prison clothes and denied privacy.

The march returned to its original gathering place, where participants heard a long list of speakers, including Vice President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs Bob Chamberlain. He said that the Appeals Court decision to halt construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline was unexpected but welcomed, although this is only a delay as the federal government has announced that the pipeline will be built. Chief Chamberlain told the rally that the people have the power to stop the project and should do so.

An article entitled "Fueling the U.S. War Machine," reprinted from TML Weekly, was distributed. The article points out that NAFTA "obligates Canada to maintain energy exports to the U.S. ... so long as NAFTA remains in force. Essentially, this obligation under NAFTA reserves oil sands bitumen as a secure source of supply for the United States and its ever-expanding war machine. How the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain bitumen pipeline fits into this NAFTA commitment is being hidden under talk of new markets in Asia and lessening Canada's dependence on the U.S. market. How the oil sands should be developed to serve Fortress North America, wage war against global competitors and destroy those who will not submit to U.S. dictate has already been decided through secret agreements dictated by the powerful imperialist private interests." The article concludes, "Canadian working people are not powerless in the face of the situation. They can build their own independent institutions and voice. They can unite with one another in discussion and actions with analysis to oppose what they see as wrong and find out what needs to be done for the country to step out in a new direction of self-reliance and nation-building in defiance of U.S. imperialism, where through democratic renewal the people have the power to decide and Canada is made a zone for peace with an anti-war government."

(Photos: D. Sprenger)

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Giving Voice to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls on Highway of Tears

On September 9, as part of the Red Dress Campaign, family, friends, and Prince George residents from all walks of life came together to remember and give voice to the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls along the Highway of Tears. With empty red dresses held high, each representing a loved one lost, and passersby honking their support, a powerful "stand in" action was held at the corner of Highway 16 and 97. From there, participants moved to Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park, where red dresses were hung from trees and decorated the new park pavilion, a poignant and inspiring back drop for the program of speakers, music and dance that highlighted both the heartbreak of losing loved ones and the determination to work together to change the situation.

(Photos: TML)

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Anniversary of September 11

No to Canada's Integration into
U.S. Homeland Security!
Make Quebec and Canada a Zone for Peace!

From September 10 to 21, various parts of the city of Montreal are serving as venues for the 2018 Contested Urban Environment Experiment (CUE). These war exercises are being conducted under the auspices of the Five Eyes, a U.S.-led global spying network that also includes Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K.

Established in 1947 by the U.S. and the U.K. as Echelon to spy on the USSR, the Five Eyes Alliance specializes, among other things, in espionage and surveillance against foreign companies and governments as well as against their respective citizens. In 2013, former CIA agent and National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden described the Five Eyes as "a supra-national intelligence organization that does not answer to the laws of its own member countries." Canada, now integrated into U.S. Homeland Security, is actively involved in war, espionage and imperialist destabilization. For example, on October 6, 2013, it was revealed that the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) -- a Five Eyes member agency -- had spied on the Minister and the Ministry of Energy and Mines in Brazil, as well as internal and diplomatic communications between the Brazilian government and other governmental and international organizations.

The newspaper La Presse reports that no less than 150 scientists and about 100 soldiers are testing different technologies, including a network-connected tactical vest to facilitate the exchange of information between soldiers on the ground and their superiors. A prototype "portable observation post," combining three types of cameras, is also being tested, along with motorized exo-skeleton technology to assist soldiers in lifting heavy objects to conserve their strength over long distances. Communications and command and control technologies, such as ground-based and airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems are also being tested. The website also cites such technology as a "surveillance and reconnaissance" system (used during the recent G7 summit in Charlevoix), an innovative protective wall intended to replace sandbags, and a mobile vehicle or truck barrier system that uses a laser to detect biological material.

The war exercises are taking place at the Kondiaronk Belvedere atop Mount Royal, near Silo No. 5 in Montreal's Old Port, and on Mountain Street. The operations' command centre is located at the Côte-des-Neiges Armoury, where scientists are to analyze all the data collected through the sensors with which soldiers are equipped.

In a terse press release, Canada's Department of National Defence presents these war drills as being conducted "in support of advancing research around how to best conduct military operations" in what it refers to in a backgrounder as "complex urban environments.'" Besides this irresponsible statement that masks the aggressive warmongering aim of these drills, the Canadian and Quebec establishment have been hush-hush about the CUE exercises.

The fact that there is no objection from the governments of Quebec and Canada about military exercises being conducted here to fine-tune the espionage and military capabilities of these big, aggressive powers demonstrates how important it is that sovereignty be vested in the people. Far from being a secondary issue, control over decision-making on political affairs contributes to the cause of peace internationally, curbing the increased integration of Canadian and Quebec security with the internal security of the United States and their wars of aggression.

This is also part and parcel of the suffocating silence being imposed on the real concerns of the Quebec people in the lead-up to the October 1 election. The issue of a modern Quebec and a nation-building project free from the warmongering interests of the U.S. imperialists is a central aspect of people's concerns. It cannot be abandoned because the ruling elite presents as a fait accompli that Quebec and Canada have been placed under the jurisdiction of U.S. Homeland Security and that the youth have no choice but to participate in U.S. wars of aggression and occupation.

Quebec has a long tradition of opposing imperialist wars. No matter what the form, Quebeckers and their youth oppose aggression against other peoples. The use of their territory to prepare aggression against other peoples or the inhabitants of Quebec and Canada simply will not pass. Quebec and Canada must become a zone for peace by withdrawing from all aggressive alliances such as Five Eyes, NATO and NORAD. The people of Quebec have an active role to play in preventing their human, natural and financial resources from being placed in the service of war.

(TML, Wikipedia, Department of National Defence, La Presse, 45e Nord. Photos: TML, Australian Defence Force.)

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Brazilian Election

Workers' Party Nominates Candidate to
Replace Lula for Presidency of Brazil

Workers' Party of Brazil announces that Fernando Haddad will run for president, September 11, 2018, following the court decision barring Luis Inácio Lula da Silva from running.

Lula and Haddad during Lula's presidency.

General elections will be held in Brazil on October 7 to elect the President and Vice President, the National Congress, state and Federal District Governors and Vice Governors, state Legislative Assemblies and the Federal District Legislative Chamber. A second round for the presidency, in the form of a runoff between the two highest vote-getters, will be held if no candidate receives more than 50 per cent of the valid votes. It will take place October 28.

On September 11, the deadline for submission of candidate names, the Workers' Party of Brazil announced that -- as a result of the "arbitrary and illegal" decision of the Brazilian courts to prevent former President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva from standing as a candidate -- Lula, together with the party's National Executive Committee, had decided to submit the name of Fernando Haddad, Lula's running mate, as the new Workers' Party presidential candidate. Manuela D'Ávila of the Communist Party of Brazil was named as the new vice-presidential candidate. The next day Lula sent a letter to Fernando Haddad from the jail cell in Curitiba where he continues to be confined as a political prisoner.

In his letter Lula wrote:

You know how much I admire you as a human being, for your courage, intelligence, and dedication to the Brazilian people. Together, we had the opportunity of doing many things for our country, especially for the education of our children and youth. We offered opportunities to millions, thanks to the ProUni,[1] the quota system, the new universities and federal technical schools, and by valuing teachers, when you were my Minister of Education.

I take great pride in our friendship and partnership.

Today I am transmitting to you the enormous responsibility of taking up again the process of transforming Brazil, for the benefit of the people, that we initiated in our administration. You know that it will not be easy to correct all the wrongs they have done to our country over the last two years. It will be necessary to work day and night, to dialogue with society, to know how to listen and to know how to act.

You have enough experience to stand up to these challenges. You have the support of the Workers' Party and our allies. You have a Government Plan we drafted together to get our country out of the crisis. And you can always count on me.

You will travel across Brazil as I have done. You will look the people in the eyes and see what I saw: the will to change, to dream again and to make these dreams come true, as we did once. You will represent me along this path back to the Presidency of the Republic, to once again realize the government of the people and of hope.

First and foremost, our thoughts must be with the people, especially with the people who most need support to achieve a better life.

All I ask of you, my dear friend, is that you look after the Brazilian people with the greatest care, as I wish I could be doing.


1. ProUni, the University for All Program, was initiated in 2004 during Lula's presidency to provide economically disadvantaged students with grants covering all or part of their tuition fees at private post-secondary institutions, as the country's public universities and colleges, which do not charge tuition, were unable to accommodate all those requiring higher education.

(Photos: PT, Brasil de Fato)

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 "Fernando Haddad Will Be Lula to
Millions of Brazilians!"

Fernando Haddad in Fortaleza, September 12, 2018.

Lula also wrote an open letter to the Brazilian people, dated September 12, in which he called on them to elect "my brother Fernando Haddad" as Brazil's new president. The text of the letter follows.


My friends,

You surely know by now that the courts have banned me from running for the Presidency of the Republic. Actually, they have banned the Brazilian people from voting freely to change the grim reality of our country.

I have never accepted injustice, and never will. For more than 40 years I have walked alongside the Brazilian people, advocating equality and the transformation of Brazil into a better and more just country. And it was by walking all over our country that I saw close up the suffering burning in the soul and the hope shining again in the eyes of our people. I saw indignation with the many wrong things that are happening and the wish to improve one's life once again.

It was to correct so many mistakes and to renew hope in the future that I decided to be a presidential candidate. And in spite of the lies and the persecution, the people embraced us on the streets and led us to the top of all opinion polls.

I have been in jail unjustly for over five months. I have committed no crime and I was convicted by the press long before I was tried. I continue challenging the Operation Car Wash prosecutors, Judge Sérgio Moro, and appellate court TRF-4 to present a single piece of evidence against me, for one cannot be found guilty for crimes not committed, for money not diverted, for acts unascertained.

My conviction is a judicial charade, a political vengeance, always resorting to exceptional measures against me. They don't want to arrest and ban just the citizen Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. They want to arrest and ban the Brazilian project that the majority approved in four consecutive elections, and which was only interrupted by a coup against a legitimately elected president -- who did not commit any "crime of responsibility" -- that ultimately plunged the country into chaos.

You know me and you know that I will never stop fighting. I lost my companion Marisa, grieved with all she had seen happen to our family, but I did not give up, also in honour of her memory. I faced the legal charges. I decried the lies and abuses of authority in every court, including the UN Human Rights Committee, which acknowledged my right to be a candidate.

The legal community, at home and abroad, became indignant with the aberrations committed by Sérgio Moro and the Porto Alegre Court. Leaders across the globe denounced the attempt against democracy into which my trial was transformed. The international press has shown the world what [media conglomerate] Globo sought to conceal.

Still, the Brazilian courts denied me a right guaranteed by the Constitution to any citizen, provided he or she does not go by the name Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. They rejected the UN decision, disrespecting the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which a sovereign Brazil had subscribed to.

By act, omission, and delay, the Brazilian Judiciary deprived the country of an electoral process with all political forces present. They nullified the right of the people to freely vote. Now they want to prohibit me from speaking to the people and even from appearing on television. They censor me, just like they did during the dictatorship.

Possibly nothing would have happened were I not leading in all the polls. Maybe I would not be in jail if I had agreed to give up my candidacy. But I would never trade my dignity for my freedom, for the commitment I have to the Brazilian people.

I was artificially included in the Clean Slate Law so as to be arbitrarily pulled out of the electoral race, but I will not allow them this pretext to imprison the future of Brazil.

It is in the face of these circumstances that I have to make a decision, within an arbitrarily imposed deadline. I am recommending to the PT and to the "O Povo Feliz de Novo" [The People Happy Again] Coalition that my candidacy be replaced with that of my brother Fernando Haddad, who has thus far so loyally carried out the position of vice-presidential candidate.

Fernando Haddad, the Minister of Education in my government, was responsible for a major transformation in our country. Together, we opened the doors of University to nearly 4 million students coming from public schools, blacks, Indigenous peoples, the children of workers who had never before had such opportunity. Together, we created the ProUni, the new Fies [federal student loan program], the quotas, Fundeb [Fund for the Maintenance and Development of Basic Education and Appreciation of Education Professionals], Enem [National High School Examination], the National Education Plan, Pronatec [National Program for Access to Technical Education and Employment], and we started four times more technical schools than had been started in the preceding one hundred years. We created the future.

Haddad is the coordinator of our Plan of Government designed to get the country out of the crisis, and receives contributions from thousands of people and discusses each point with me. He will be my representative in this battle to reset the course toward development and social justice.

If they wish to silence our voices and defeat our project for the country, they are fooling themselves. We are still alive in the hearts and memories of the people. And our name now is Haddad.

By his side, running as vice-presidential candidate, we will have our sister Manuela D'Ávila, confirming our historical alliance with the PCdoB [Communist Party of Brazil], and other forces such as the PROS [Republican Party of Social Order], PSB [Brazilian Socialist Party], leaders from other parties and, above all, with the social movements, with the workers in the cities and in the countryside, champions of the democratic and people's forces.

Our loyalty, mine, Haddad's and Manuela's, is with the people in first place. It is with the dreams of those who want to live again in a country in which all have food on the table, in which there is employment, decent wages, legal protection for those who work; in which the children have schools and the youth, a future; in which the families can afford to buy a car, a home, and keep on dreaming and achieving. A country in which all shall have opportunities and no one shall have any privilege.

I know that one day true Justice will be achieved and my innocence will be recognized. And that day I will be with Haddad to carry out the government of the people and of hope. We shall all be there, together, to make Brazil happy again.

I wish to thank the solidarity of those who have sent me messages and letters, who have prayed and organized rallies for my freedom, who protest around the world against persecution and for democracy, and particularly those who have been keeping me daily company outside the place where I am.

A man can be unfairly incarcerated, but his ideas cannot. No oppressor can be bigger than the people. That is why our ideas will reach everyone through the voice of the people, louder and stronger than the lies spread by Globo.

So, it is from my heart that I wish to ask all those who would vote for me to vote in my brother Fernando Haddad as President of the Republic. And to ask you to vote in our gubernatorial candidates, and our candidates running for representatives and senators, so that we can build a more democratic country, with sovereignty, without privatization of public companies, with more social justice, more education, culture, science and technology, more safety, housing and health care, with more employment, decent wages, and with land reform.

Today, we have become millions of Lulas and, from now on, Fernando Haddad will be Lula for millions of Brazilians.

So long, my friends. Till victory!

A hug from your companion of always,

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

(PT. Slightly edited for style and clarity by TML. Photos: Brasil de Fato, R. Stuckert)

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