November 17, 2018 - No. 40

Two War Conferences in Halifax

Vigorous Opposition in Halifax to
Imperialist War Preparations

Demonstration outside the two war conferences in Halifax, November 17, 2018.

Sponsors of Halifax War Conference
- Interview, Tony Seed -

For Your Information
Halifax International Security Forum
NATO Parliamentary Assembly

Bill C-87 -- Pre-Election Smoke and Mirrors to Divert the Electorate
Liberal Government's Anti-Poverty Law --
Important Lessons from 1989
- Philip Fernandez -
The "Us Versus Them" of Bill C-87
- K.C. Adams -

For Your Information
Poverty Reduction from Inside the Ranks of the Ruling Elite
Campaign 2000

Liberal Government's Legalization of Marijuana
New Federal Cannabis Legislation
- Interview, John Akpata, Peace Officer, Marijuana Party -
Related Information

BC Referendum on Proportional Representation
Vote Yes! in BC Referendum
No Side Uses Logical Fallacies to Argue
Against Proportional Representation

- Peter Ewart -
Successful Meeting on Proportional Representation
in Prince George

Commemorations on Centenary of End of World War I
Across Canada Discussions and Gatherings Oppose Imperialist War
Involvement of Canadian Women in Bringing an End to World War I
- Diane Johnston -

101st Anniversary of Balfour Declaration
Join Palestinians in Demanding Implementation of the Right of Return! End the Zionist Occupation of Palestinian Lands!
"No to Settlement, We Will Not Give Up the Right of Return"
- Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad -

Two War Conferences in Halifax

Vigorous Opposition in Halifax to
Imperialist War Preparations

TML Weekly congratulates all those who are contributing to expressing the opposition of Canadians to the imperialist war preparations at the war conferences organized in Halifax this week, the International Security Forum which is conducting its proceedings in Halifax for the tenth year in a row from November 16 to 18 and NATO's Parliamentary Assembly which is conducting its proceedings in tandem from November 16 to 19. Special thanks to the organization No Harbour for War which takes the initiative to make sure the city of Halifax and its harbour are not used for purposes of promoting imperialist war or engaging Canadians in the imperialist war preparations. Special appreciation also for all activists from all walks of life who see the necessity to speak out on the important questions of war and peace at a time grave dangers face humanity which only the peoples united on the basis of their own nation-building aims and the affirmation of their own conscience can avert.

A militant rally was held at the popularly renamed Peace and Freedom Park on November 17 to condemn the Halifax International Security Forum (HISF), being held in the Westin Hotel for the 10th successive year. Demanding that the HISF be banned, the rally also called on Canada to get out of NATO and NORAD, demanded that all foreign warships be banned from Halifax Harbour and that Halifax be declared a Zone of Peace. These demands are considered central to realizing an anti-war government that can ensure Canada is a genuine factor for peace and justice in the world.

Activists rally at Peace and Freedom Park against the war conferences in Halifax, November 17, 2018. The war conferences have been militantly opposed each year since they began in 2009.

Other than the use of the name Halifax, the HISF has no organic connection with Halifax. Everything is organized from Washington, DC, where the HISF has established its headquarters since 2011 as a separate entity. The Canadian Department of Defence has given some 30 million tax dollars in funding to the U.S. organizers since 2009. It claims the aim of the "discussion" is to "learn from each other, share opinions, generate new ideas, and put them into action."

The agenda items discussed serve as weapons for the U.S. government in its confrontation with the world it strives to dominate. They are a specialized mechanism responsible for mobilizing high-ranking U.S., Canadian and international officials, especially military, and selected ideologues, journalists and organizations for hegemony and war. In this regard, the agenda at this year's forum reveals attempts by the imperialist forces to cloak NATO's war aims. The overall tone can be seen in a topic at this year's gathering on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, "100 Years On: Are We Tired of Winning?" It is a telling indication of the outlook the organizers promote.[1]

In tandem with the HISF, the second war conference, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, serves the same aims. It brings together 600 politicians from the 29 NATO bloc member countries, as well as delegates from partner countries "to discuss international security issues." The Parliament of Canada is hosting this warmongering conference but other than that, its agenda has nothing to do with what the Canadian polity needs at this time and is also set in secret abroad within the corridors of power of the aggressive U.S.-led NATO alliance.

"It's not by chance that they're here on the same weekend," boasted Peter Van Praagh, President of the HISF. "This NATO Parliamentary Assembly chose Halifax this weekend precisely because of the people who would be at the Halifax International Security Forum. Some of our experts and speakers are going over to educate and discuss things with the legislators while they're in Halifax."

"A major event will be a parliamentary debate and adoption of the resolutions presented in the committees on the High North, hybrid warfare, burden sharing, deterrence, space, energy, the South, defence innovation and Russian election meddling," the Canadian Press reports.

The Plenary session on November 19 will be addressed by Assembly President Rasa Jukneviciene, NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller and other senior officials, its media department informs.

NATO is, amongst other things, currently engaged in a high-powered campaign to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its founding on April 4, 2019. The agenda of the HISF and of NATO's Parliamentary Assembly are examples of more to come as NATO uses every occasion to promote the war aims of this aggressive U.S.-led alliance in the name of peace, freedom and democracy.

NATO also works in conjunction with governments and has always had a hand in formulating the political structures which are to be permitted in not only Europe, the United States and Canada but, since the collapse of the former Soviet Union and former peoples' democracies, in all countries which are deemed to be democratic and not subject to regime change by the NATO bloc. In 2017, a meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence held in Brussels, on November 8 and 9 approved the outline design for an adapted NATO Command Structure and officially launched the expansion of NATO's cyber warfare program and the inclusion of cyber attacks in the collective defence provisions of Article 5 of the Alliance's Charter. This is germane to the agenda items being discussed at this time by the representatives of the biggest private interests, the think tanks, military commanders and parliamentarians whose main mission is to provide arguments for wars which favour the U.S. imperialists and their allies.

The stated aim of the new command structure is to "improve the movement of troops across the Atlantic, and within Europe." Emphasis was placed on member nations' submission of their infrastructure planning and procurement to move troops and military equipment rapidly, including across the national boundaries of its members and partners. Although presented as being for purposes of defence it clearly shows that NATO is preparing to move its troops and equipment against those it declares enemies. That meeting presented as vital the need to update military requirements for civilian infrastructure, such as roads, railways and airports. TML Weekly pointed out at that time: "This means there will be more demands that the national governments of NATO member and candidate member states submit civilian infrastructure, both existing and planned, to NATO Command." NATO added at the time that not only governments but the private sector and the European Union "have key roles to play."[2]

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, during a press conference following the 2017 meeting of NATO Defence Ministers, stated that since 2014, NATO has "made good progress in improving national legislation, removing many bureaucratic hurdles to allow us to move forces across Allied territory. But much more needs to be done. We need to ensure that national legislation facilitating border crossing is fully implemented. We need enough transport capacity at our disposal, which largely comes from the private sector. And we need to improve infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, railways, runways and ports. So NATO is now updating the military requirements for civilian infrastructure."

Stoltenberg later explained that NATO was going to be dictating changes to the laws of member states to serve rapid deployment for war: "It's about legislation, and of course it's about making sure that NATO allies implement those standards and those requirements. We formulate the requirements and the standards, but of course it's nations that have to implement them when they invest in infrastructure, when they make arrangements with, for instance, private providers of transportation."

TML Weekly also pointed out at that time: "This raises the possibility that NATO will demand private transport monopolies, for example in rail, come under its military control for purposes of moving NATO equipment and troops. If and when workers act to oppose the deployment of foreign troops in their countries they will be labelled as foreign agents or worse. It raises concerns for Canada specifically as the U.S. considers Canada a transit point for deployment of its forces to Europe. It may be that in building new transport corridors standards will be imposed to ensure that roads, bridges and the like are capable of carrying U.S. military equipment for deployment for war in Europe."

Since 2017, the arrangements NATO is making and which governments are adopting are moving very fast. The reforms the Trudeau government has made to the Canada Elections Act as concerns third-party financing and who decides what conscience Canadians are allowed to express without being criminalized and considered enemy agents is all being set in law before our very eyes. The political parties which form the system of cartel party government are without exception part of this militarization of life itself and they must not be let go scot-free. It raises the serious issue of how and why governments and political parties which have no connection with the people's will, including their opposition to war and aggression, should be permitted to take their marching orders from the aggressive military alliance NATO.

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is part of the pervasive militarization of life facing the peoples of NATO member countries. The peoples of these countries are already disempowered through the use of electoral laws and elections and political systems that deprive them of having any say in the matters that affect them. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly claims that it serves "as an essential link between NATO and the parliaments of its member nations" and "works to build parliamentary and public consensus in support of Alliance policies. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly deals with social, cultural, political and economic issues, as well as military matters of paramount importance to NATO member nations. Parliamentarians meet and share information during regular Assembly sessions in North America and Europe."

This is true. This is what the NATO Parliamentary Assembly does. Let the people be warned! Let the people beware!

Toronto picket against the Halifax war conferences, outside Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland's constituency office, November 17, 2018.


1. Topical Agenda of the 10th Halifax International Security Forum:

Plenary Sessions (On-the-Record)
100 Years On: Are We Tired of Winning?
Present Tense: Treachery in Tech, Trouble in Trade
Asia Values: A Free and Open Indo-Pacific
Inclusive Security: Playing the Winning Team
Beijing's Cravings, Kremlin's Gremlins: Freedom's Foes
Migration Aggravation: Failing States Flooding Borders
UN-specific: Aging Institutions, Modern Solutions
Future Tense: Our World in Ten

Informal Sessions (Off-the-Record)
Afghanistan: Pivot of Asia
Africa: Global Security's Next Big Story
After Brexit: EUphoria or EUlogy?
Climate Consequences: It's the End of the World as We've Known It
Curbing Corruption: Global Magnitsky
Demography: Destiny's Child
Energy: What's New Under the Sun?
Germany and its Alternatives
Globalizing Dignity: Democracy Works
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Korea?
Indo-Pacific Security: Battle of the Billions
Iran: Protection by Pulling Out?
Mayhem, Massacre, Misery: MidEast Makeover
Monroe's Doctrine Disinterred
Nafta My Own Heart: Friends With What Benefits
NATO Plus Two Per Cent
Oceans 1: Our Collective Resource
Populism: Popular?
The Quad Squad: Asia's Democracy Defenders
Syria: Sorry
Targeting Tomorrow's Terrorists
Tech: America's Great Inventions, Its Enemies' True Intentions
Testing Turing: AI Update
Vancouver Peacekeeping Initiatives: Mali and More
Venom in Venezuela
Water Everywhere: Where's a Drop to Drink?
Wavering on Uighurs, Firmer on Burma: Where Muslims Are Minorities

2. "Dangerous Expansion of NATO Powers and Authority," TML Weekly, December 2, 2017.

(With files from HISF,, Canadian Press. Photos: TML, S. Devet/NS Advocate)

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Sponsors of Halifax War Conference

TML Weekly: Tony, as an independent journalist and researcher who amongst other things specializes in NATO and war exercises and preparations around the world, you have done investigation into the sponsors and partners of the Halifax International Security Forum (HISF). Can you tell us about that?

Tony Seed: It is not for nothing that when it was launched in 2009 from Washington, DC the HISF immediately began to tout itself as the so-called "Davos of the defence industry." The HISF is an instrument of giant arms and energy oligopolies and international finance capital involved in the business of war, the most profitable business of all. It is also an instrument of integrationism and nation-wrecking of Canada and other countries. The techniques of the U.S.-led Halifax war conference being used to sell war are familiar PR strategies, known to the peoples of the world from before and during the Anglo-U.S. invasion of Iraq. This is when the phrase "weapons of mass deception" -- referring to the state-organized disinformation about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction -- came into vogue. The HISF and the monopoly media go out of their way to camouflage this intimate connection through gushing descriptions of how these philanthropic monopolies support "collaborative efforts" "towards global prosperity" and a "firm commitment every day to building a more secure world." The aim is to make sure the Canadian people and especially the working class do not look into, analyze and discuss the actual forces involved, their connection to the economy and its reality and what is the way forward to secure their own interests and rights.

Information can be traced about the sponsors and partners but no explanation is available on what sponsorship entails while details of the "partnerships" are kept secret. Furthermore, two-thirds of the discussion is held behind closed doors. But facts speak for themselves.

The HISF website lists 14 private monopolies as partners and sponsors; eight are U.S., three Canadian, two Turkish and one French. In fact, they all have a supranational character; it is impossible to ascribe to them a country of origin.[1]

This does not constitute the actual total involved in the HISF, as many corporations and powerful lobbying corporations such as Hill+Knowlton have sent individual representatives. Other powerful actors are kept in the shade, for example, the U.S. state, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the McCain Institute, military think tanks, etc.

The main speaker on November 17 is Joseph Dunford, Jr., Chairman, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff -- the highest-ranking military officer in the U.S. and an adviser to President Donald Trump. This high-profile involvement is consistent with previous conferences.[2] Senator John McCain, who delivered inaugural warmongering speeches from 2009 until his death, is revered as the patron saint of the HISF. Several high-ranking members of the McCain Institute and the International Republican Institute occupy leading positions in the HISF, several of whom are also CFR members. The foundation created and supported by the CFR has long been a link between Wall Street, large corporations, academia, the media, and U.S. foreign and military policymakers. A close examination of the profiles of individual participants will show that every U.S. participant -- participants are misleadingly listed as individuals and not by institutions -- is directly or indirectly connected to the U.S. state, the Pentagon, the National Endowment for Democracy or intelligence agencies in one way or another.

Furthermore, this list does not include previous sponsors, for example, Lockheed Martin (which has an office right on Canadian Forces Base Stadacona), Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Irving Shipbuilding. Interestingly, none of these monopolies are represented at the 2018 HISF. However, in a new arrangement made by the Washington, DC organizers, the giant aerospace monopoly Boeing is a first-time sponsor; its president Marc Allen and six top executives are present at the HISF and carrying a full-court press as honoured guests this year. Lockheed Martin (a direct competitor to Boeing) and Irving have just made a big score in the Canadian warship program, but their collective overall absence in itself suggests 1) how influence-peddling works; 2) the deepening of the dogfight between these giants for markets and financing; and 3) a possible boomerang effect on the Trudeau Liberals and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan from Boeing's sponsorship of a DND-funded conference. Sajjan publicly declared Boeing, DND's fellow sponsor of the HISF, "could not be trusted." On December 12, 2017 the government eliminated Boeing from consideration for a multi-billion dollar fighter jet contract after the combined attack of the Trump regime and Boeing against Bombardier, which has led to the layoff of 12,000 aerospace workers and counting in less than two years as part of nation-wrecking. Interestingly, the HISF and Boeing share the same PR company, Summa Strategies. Who brought whom to the table? What is taking place in the backrooms, where the organizers boast the real "discussions" take place? None of it bodes well for the peoples of Canada, the U.S. or the world.

The revolving door between major arms monopolies, the White House and the Pentagon is spinning ever more rapidly. Boeing vice-president Patrick Shanahan, who formerly led the company's missile defense subsidiary, is Deputy Defense Secretary -- the second highest position in the Pentagon. Benjamin Cassidy, installed by Trump as Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, previously worked as a senior executive at Boeing's international business sector, marketing Boeing military products abroad. John C. Rood, Senior Vice President for Lockheed Martin International is the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, the third highest position in the U.S. Defense Department.

These individual supranational monopolies are also organized into supranational cartels. This feature of international finance capital is camouflaged. In this way working people in Canada become embroiled in the fights between contending supranational arms manufacturers and imperialist aggression around the world. For example, take United Technologies which owns Pratt & Whitney and was brought to the table at the last minute as a new sponsor of the HISF. This giant arms conglomerate participates in a cartel with Boeing rival Airbus, supplying it with aircraft engines. It is also involved with the Lockheed Martin F-15 for the forthcoming Canadian purchase of a fleet of fighter aircraft valued at $15 billion and rising. Pratt & Whitney Canada is one of the arms monopolies supplying Saudi Arabia but it is doing so surreptitiously via the Canada-Ukraine Defence Cooperation Agreement, as Ukrainian state enterprise Ukroboronprom is in a cartel arrangement with the Saudi Arabian Air Force.

The lethal operations against the peoples of Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen depend on an array of powerful arms contractors and suppliers, many of them involved in the Halifax war conference. TML Weekly itself has made the point that "Civil society at one time considered such unbridled private power of the rich over sovereign countries and their economies as illegal trusts and merchants of death with too much social wealth and power concentrated in the hands of a few." Along with bringing about a new economy that serves the interests of the people, getting out of NATO and NORAD and blocking all foreign troops and warships from our country, Canada should ban the HISF along with all foreign think tanks, front groups and non-governmental organizations.

TML Weekly: Thank you, Tony. With the 70th anniversary of the founding of NATO coming up next year, there is a lot of work required to establish these relations and who they serve. We are sure to call on you again.


1. HISF Partners

- Department of National Defence (Represented at the HISF by 25 participants from the DND, Army, Navy and Air Force, military colleges and CSIS (the "Five Eyes" intelligence network). Other government participants represent Global Affairs, Veterans Affairs, CSIS, and MPs from the parliament. This weekend Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence is promoting how "Canada is punching above its weight" in its participation in NATO army and naval deployments and other adventures, such as Mali in the name of peacekeeping and "Canadian values."
- Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
- NATO (represented by 9 top officials at the 2018 HISF representing its military, public diplomacy [propaganda] and diplomatic branches.)

Halifax Canada Club (a "Public-Private Partnership")

- MEG Energy (Canada)
- ATCO (energy monopoly, Canada)
- Boeing (U.S.)
- OYAK (pension fund of the Turkish Armed Forces)
- Çalık Holding AŞ(Turkey)
- Ipsos Group S.A. (France)

2018 HISF Sponsors

- Air Canada (Canada)
- CAE Inc. (aerospace company, Canada)
- DLA Piper (law firm, U.S.)
- Gartner (research and advisory company, U.S.)
- Pratt & Whitney (aerospace division of United Technologies, U.S.)

Media Partners (None Canadian)

- Foreign Affairs, journal of the Council on Foreign Relations (U.S.)
- Foreign Policy (U.S.)
- Politico (U.S.)

2. In previous conferences, the U.S. military along with high-ranking Pentagon officers was represented by the commanders of U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Northern Command (NORAD/Homeland Security) and Supreme Allied Command, Europe. This year's delegation emphasizes the concern of the U.S. and NATO with the naval front, the Pacific and Asia and Africa. Along with Gen Dunford, the U.S. military was also represented by:

- Richard Spencer, Secretary of the Navy, U.S. Navy
- James Baker, Director of the Office of Net Assessment, U.S. Department of Defense
- Philip Davidson, Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command
- Richard Berry, Special Assistant, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command
- Katherine Graef, Logistics Director, Special Operations Command Africa, U.S. Special Operations Command (Africom)
- Karl Schultz, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard
- Nirmal Verma, Chief of Naval Operations Distinguished International Fellow, U.S. Naval War College
- Janet Wolfenbarger, General, U.S. Air Force

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For Your Information

Halifax International Security Forum

The Halifax International Security Forum (HISF) is one of an international series of annual "security forums" organized, amongst other places, in Munich, Berlin (Bundestag Forum), Kiev, Bucharest, Brussels and Tbilisi and, most importantly, on the sidelines of NATO Summits (Riga, Istanbul, Bucharest, etc.). The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMFUS) was the organizer with NATO as a partner. Funding of the individual forums is individually sourced. It was the GMFUS that organized the first Halifax Forum in 2009 and again in 2010 as one of its programs, funded by the Department of National Defence and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, providing 90 and 10 per cent respectively, with NATO as a partner.

The GMFUS's budget is substantially funded by the U.S. state, U.S. and German foundations, and NATO bloc governments and reflects their interests. According to the under-stated figures posted on its website, the top two financial sponsors, at more than $1 million each per year, are the U.S. government's soft-power arm the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the German Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt). In reality, it receives multi-million dollar grants for its programs from USAID and U.S. (and to a lesser extent German) private foundations, which themselves have multi-million dollar budgets.[1] The U.S. State Department also provides more than half-a-million dollars per year, as do the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and the foreign affairs ministries of Sweden and Norway. It likewise receives at least a quarter-of-a-million dollars per year from NATO.

In June 2011, the GMF disappeared from the picture, replaced by a newly-established Halifax International Security Forum with headquarters in Washington, DC. Of the four members listed on its board of directors, only one is from Canada; the others are from the United States. Similarly, of the 10-member staff of the HISF, only President Peter Van Praagh is a Canadian. It appears the bulk of his career has been spent at the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute and GMFUS. Van Praagh worked for GMFUS when he organized the 2009 and 2010 forums at a salary of $228,134 as of 2012. He was previously a senior advisor in 2006-07 to then foreign affairs minister Peter MacKay. The Secretary of the HISF was David Kramer, former deputy assistant of the U.S. Secretary of State in 2008-10, then a "fellow" of the GMFUS before being appointed president of Freedom House in 2010, as a "human rights" director of the McCain Institute in 2014, and a board member of the International Republican Institute by Sen John McCain in 2018.

By whom and how the people who run the HISF are appointed is not publicly known nor are the funding arrangements. This is all secret. What is known is that Canada's role is defined by the U.S. Even the Government of Canada has no independent voice, let alone the Canadian people. For instance, in 2009, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced at the HISF that U.S. Marines would henceforth exercise in the Arctic to "defend Canadian sovereignty." In 2013, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced there that Canada had signed a still secret protocol to join Obama's Asia Pivot strategy aimed at China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

At the HISF in 2017, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attempted to give the Trudeau Liberals credit for NATO's nefarious activities to convince women -- who are in the front ranks of the opposition to the Halifax War Conference and to aggression and war -- that the "equal opportunity" offered for recruitment as soldiers, police or spies on behalf of NATO and its members, and to bolster its attempts to make war and aggression are "progressive."

The HISF further announced a "Halifax Peace with Women Fellowship" in 2017: "This 3-week program will initially be offered to between 6 and 10 women from allied militaries. It will give them the opportunity to visit Ottawa, Waterloo, Silicon Valley, and Washington, DC with the aim of studying how Canada and the United States approach strategic challenges."

The 2018 conference inaugurates the "John McCain Prize for Courage in Public Service, " referring to him as a "moral beacon." The late U.S. Senator, a nine-time participant in the HISF, was second to none in using the conference to champion wars of aggression against Libya, Syria and Iran. His credentials as a champion of U.S. imperialist aggression go back to his participation as a pilot in the Vietnam War.[2]


1. GMFUS was launched in 1972 with 41 million marks provided by the West German government. According to Bloomberg, the GMFUS has over $233 million in assets under management, providing funds and cadre along with other agencies for the series of "colour revolutions" in Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Georgia and Belarus, amongst others. It is sometimes falsely described as a "philanthropic organization" by the media when referring to the central role it has played in building international institutions and networks in Europe as an instrument of U.S. intervention and the expansion of NATO. In addition to its headquarters in Washington, GMFUS has seven offices in Europe: Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Belgrade, Warsaw, Bucharest and Ankara. GMFUS has smaller representations in Bratislava, Turin, Stockholm and Morocco.

The GMFUS has close links to U.S. intelligence. Board member Suzanne Woolsey is the wife of former CIA director James Woolsey, who attended the HISF in 2009 and 2010 and was an adviser to Donald Trump. GMFUS President Karen Donfried, member of the Council on Foreign Relations known as the imperial brain trust, worked for the U.S. State Department's Policy Planning Staff from 2003 to 2005, then as the national intelligence officer for Europe on the National Intelligence Council and then at the National Security Council as a Special Assistant to the President in the Obama White House, and as the director of European affairs.

2. According to his own testimony, given while held in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp, McCain participated in the operation called "Rolling Thunder" -- bombing Hanoi 27 times, dropping some 500 bombs on the city. During the U.S. bombing of Hanoi in 1967 some 70,000 of its residents were killed. The U.S. believed that saturation bombing, pacification black ops like the Phoenix Program and chemical warfare would make the leaders of Vietnam raise the white flag of surrender. Five hundred billion dollars and the lives of more than 60,000 U.S. personnel were allocated to this aim, which ended in ignominious defeat for the U.S. imperialists. Despite this, McCain is championed as a hero, including by Canada which was allegedly neutral during the Vietnam War. Nothing can justify the great crime against humanity that was the Vietnam War, which, amongst the many losses, cost 3 million deaths and injuries, which continue to this day as third generation children continue to suffer the effects of Agent Orange.

(With files from Tony Seed, NATO, GMFUS, news agencies.)

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NATO Parliamentary Assembly

The Parliament of Canada is hosting the 64th Annual Session of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Parliamentary Assembly from November 16 to 19, in Halifax, concurrent with the Halifax International Security Forum. The Session brings together parliamentarians from the 29 NATO member countries as well as delegates from partner countries and observers to discuss "international security issues" said to affect NATO.

November 17 and 18 will be devoted to meetings of NATO Parliamentary Assembly's five Committees: Political, Defence and Security, Science and Technology, Civil Dimension of Security, and Economics and Security.

The Plenary session on November 19 will be addressed by NATO Parliamentary Assembly President Rasa Jukneviciene, NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller and other senior officials.

A NATO Parliamentary Assembly press release states, "A major event will be a parliamentary debate and adoption of the resolutions presented in the committees on the High North, hybrid warfare, burden sharing, deterrence, space, energy, the South, defence innovation and Russian election meddling."


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Bill C-87 -- Pre-Election Smoke and Mirrors to Divert the Electorate

Liberal Government's Anti-Poverty Law --
Important Lessons from 1989

Given that the Trudeau Liberals have lost all credibility on every front -- democratic renewal, Indigenous rights, and pay-the-rich schemes, amongst others -- it is hard not to conclude that anti-poverty Bill C-87 is being introduced now, less than a year before the next federal election in October 2019, as a crude attempt to bolster the government's chances at re-election. It not only brings to mind the smoke and mirrors budgeting of the Wynne Liberals in Ontario, including their introduction of pharma care and a promised $15 minimum wage, in a vain effort for re-election but, more importantly, the cynical anti-poverty campaign launched federally in 1989.

Jean-Yves Duclos, the federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development chose to announce Bill C-87, An Act respecting the reduction of poverty, at a staged event at the Parkdale food bank in Ottawa on November 6. It is clear from video of the event that the people using the food bank were not buying the policy objective the Minister was putting forward that "Our vision for Canada is to become a world leader in the eradication of poverty, a vision for a Canada without poverty."

Don Flynn, a board member of the Parkdale Food Centre, present at the announcement, was highly sceptical about how the law was going to help the poor and homeless, given no new funding for social programs and no tangible steps are included, only "a new measurement tool."

"The amount of income that these people [the users of the food bank] get from Ontario Works and ODSP [the Ontario Disability Support Program] hasn't changed significantly for some years and I don't see anything here today that will make that much difference," Flynn said.

Déjà-Vu Policy Objective from Way Back in 1989

The announcement of Bill C-87 brings to mind the resolution passed unanimously by the Canadian Parliament in 1989 that pledged to end child poverty in Canada by 2000. The resolution was put forward by Ed Broadbent, then leader of the NDP, who stated in Parliament, "For too long we have ignored the appalling poverty in the midst of affluence. This is a national horror. This is a national shame. It's a horror and a shame that we should put an end to."

In the year 2000, it was found that child poverty in Canada had become worse in real terms. With the Mulroney Conservatives signing on to NAFTA; and the Chrétien Liberals who followed, continuing to cut social programs for housing, health and Indigenous peoples, the ruling elite effectively abandoned the poor children and their families in this country and heaped ridicule on the 1989 unanimous parliamentary vote of the cartel parties.

Broadbent, speaking in 2014, 25 years after his "historic" resolution, blamed Mulroney and Chrétien for the lack of a positive outcome. He noted: "In retrospect, I think we should have said the federal government should set targets every two years from 1989 to bring child poverty down by so much ... and had a minister made accountable for achieving this goal -- and he or she could have done an annual report to the House of Commons."

In terms of setting policy targets, it appears the Trudeau Liberals are doing just that. On the issue of accountability and consequences, however, they continue to promote versions of their "deliverology" nonsense to cover up that on the substantive issue of meeting targets which effectively improve the lives of the impoverished, nothing has been proposed.[1]

Duclos announced the creation of a National Advisory Council on Poverty made up of paid appointees to "advise the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development on poverty reduction and to publicly report, each year, on the progress that has been made toward poverty reduction." The Liberal policy objective has been given targets to lower poverty rates 20 per cent from 2015 levels by 2020 and 50 per cent by 2030. No concrete measures to achieve these goals are contained in the bill nor are any consequences spelled out for not achieving them.

Liberal cynicism is beyond contempt because it can be predicted with certainty that Bill C-87 will fail, in a way similar to the cruel failure of the all-party resolution against child poverty in 1989. These measures do not address the simple fact that the the same Liberals promote an economy where the rich get richer, which means the poor get poorer. The Canadian people do not control the economy of their country nor do they control the governments in service of the rich that are brought into power through a corrupt, unrepresentative cartel party electoral system, and which then act with impunity against the people without any accountability for their actions.

The bill does not mitigate the reality that the financial oligarchy expropriates the social wealth workers create through their work, nor the fact that governments pay the rich in debt-servicing to the moneylenders, and hand out billions in state funds to supranational corporations such as the banks, auto monopolies and others, for example, Bombardier and Kinder Morgan. Without addressing these issues and taking concrete action to mitigate the destruction caused by the stranglehold of the rich oligarchs on the country's wealth and power, Bill C-87 will end up in the trash heap alongside the inglorious 1989 all-party resolution.

The working people must take concrete measures to control the economy and arm themselves with an electoral process through which they can exercise control over those who sit in the Parliament in their name. Governments hand over so much money to the rich oligarchs, witnessed in the deal to bail out Kinder Morgan besides other wretched pay-the-rich schemes, there is no doubt that the plight of the impoverished in Canada would be sorted out in a heartbeat if genuine concern existed to do so.

Meanwhile, it is the working people who bear the brunt of economic uncertainty and powerlessness over the economy and the resultant poverty when crises erupt. They are the ones with a vested interest in solving the problem as they themselves suffer from the actions of the financial oligarchy in refusing to solve it once and for all.

The 1989 all-party resolution against child poverty proves that the cartel parties are clever at making poverty reduction a policy objective, but they are hopeless at solving the problem. Why? Because they are the political representatives of the rich minority that has usurped power in Canada and unleashed a vicious anti-social offensive against the people. To go against this rich minority and take concrete measures that deprive it of social wealth and power requires a principled commitment to the working people in direct opposition to the oligarchs. It takes deeds not words and phony methods based on a scam called "deliverology" -- so-called benchmarks to record results. The cynical ploy to reduce hospital wait lists by putting people on a list to get on the list comes to mind.

To solve the social, economic and political problems confronting the country requires the workers to lead the people in organized actions based on analysis of the reality, not pleas to the rich to be more benevolent. With laws such as Bill C-87, the Liberals are showing they are approaching the 2019 election with shell games whose sole effect will be to increase the credibility crisis in which the cartel party system of government is mired. The working people will only be served if they engage in building an alternative which brings out their own initiative based on their own independent politics and empowers them to resolve the crisis in their favour. Forestalling this is fraught with the dangers the Liberals and other cartel parties are plunging the country into.

Working people have the issue of poverty elimination on their national agenda and are determined to not let anyone fend for themselves in this country or worldwide. This problem requires an urgent solution which can only be found when the working people themselves take up a political program which creates a society that affirms the rights of all as its first principle.


1. "Deliverology" was founded by Michael Barber, a former Tony Blair adviser. The idea, as described by the Globe and Mail in October 2015, is to establish "high-level 'delivery units' to push key goals across the entire public service, sometimes bypassing the hierarchy of cabinets, departments and administrations, putting multiple government departments under the watchful eye (and sometimes forceful hand) of new organizations that report straight to the prime minister and impose their own goals and measures on the workings of government."

Michael Barber described how his model under Tony Blair established "a set of specific targets in the categories of health, education, crime, and transportation." These included "reducing wait times... improving the punctuality of trains," etc. They ipso facto define what is meant by success and then the relevant government departments are told to plan to meet the target.

In November 2015, the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada, writing in Renewal Update on what to expect from the newly-elected Trudeau Liberal government, pointed out: "In Ontario 'deliverology' has been practiced under the Liberal government. Targets for reducing wait times in this case are based on giving bonuses to hospital CEOs for doing so and bonus payments to hospitals for kicking out patients quickly. Even hospital cleaning has been based on such 'targets' resulting in scandal in 2012 after the CBC revealed the sordid state of a number of hospitals which had become breeding grounds for epidemics such as C. difficile, amongst others." ("The New Government: What to Expect," Renewal Update, November 3, 2015)

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The "Us Versus Them" of Bill C-87

Jean-Yves Duclos, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development introduced the Trudeau Liberal government's anti-poverty bill on November 6, which is presently at first reading in Parliament.

According to the government, the purpose of Bill C-87 "is to support continuous efforts in, and continuous monitoring of, poverty reduction in Canada."

The bill sets as targets, a level of 20 per cent below the degree of poverty in 2015 to be met by 2020, and 50 per cent below by 2030. The new law will monitor the "Official Poverty Line" in Canada on a regular basis as determined by Statistics Canada. A new benchmark for measuring poverty will be "the up-to-date cost of a basket of goods and services representing a modest, basic standard of living in Canada."

The bill says, "[A] National Advisory Council on Poverty will be appointed, consisting of eight to ten paid members, including a Chairperson and a member with particular responsibilities for children's issues," each serving a three-year term and reporting to the Minister.

The Advisory Council will:

"(a) provide advice to the Minister on poverty reduction in Canada, including with respect to programs, funding and activities that support poverty reduction;

"(b) undertake consultations with the public, including the academic community and other experts, Indigenous persons and persons with lived experience in poverty;

"(c) within six months after the end of each fiscal year, submit a report to the Minister:

(i) on the progress being made in meeting the targets referred to in section 6 and the progress being made in poverty reduction measured by, among other things, the metrics set out in the schedule, and
(ii) on the advice that the Council provided to the Minister under paragraph (a) during the fiscal year; and

"(d) undertake any activity specified by the Minister."

Background information provided as context for Bill C-87 says that since receiving his "mandate letter" from the Prime Minister and tasked with creating a national anti-poverty initiative, Minister Duclos has spoken with thousands of Canadians through town hall meetings, expert panel consultations, and met with Indigenous peoples and many other groups and people.

Duclos notes: "These Canadians spoke of the importance of providing opportunity for all; they spoke about dignity, inclusion, security, resilience and empowerment; and they spoke about the damages of 'us versus them' attitudes, language and policies."

Worth noting is the inclusion of "damages of 'us versus them' attitudes, language and policies." Duclos casts aspersions on the political struggles that Canadians have been waging for decades for the collective right of all Canadians and Indigenous peoples to live poverty-free and with dignity. Instead of dealing with the root cause of poverty, which is found in the aim of the imperialist economy, the Minister throws stones at the people's "attitudes, language and policies" in resisting the effects of the aim of the economy. This aim is enforced through institutions of the state allowing and encouraging those in control of the economy to expropriate as much value as possible for their private interests from what the working class produces. This aim has as its most basic trend the concentration of wealth in fewer hands, a trend of the rich becoming richer and the poor poorer at the expense of the rights of all and the general interests of society.

The "us versus them" is the inevitable contradiction in human relations in a divided class society. The contradiction pertains to the ever-increasing concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a small number of rich in Canada and abroad known generally as the financial oligarchy. The Minister and his government protect the oligarchs whose insatiable demands on the economy cause inevitable crises and destruction of the productive forces. Lay-offs, theft of pension funds, downward pressure on wages and working conditions, privatization of public assets, handouts from the state treasury to pay the rich, endless interest payments on state debts and refusal to use the produced wealth for extended reproduction of the economy, nation-building and the general interests of society are the cause of poverty in Canada.

What else but "us versus them" could exist when such an objective contradiction in human relations emerges spontaneously from the aim of the economic system and is enforced and sustained by the power of the state and the social wealth and means of production in the hands of the oligarchs to meet their narrow private interests? "Us versus them" is an objective reality of life, not a figment of anyone's imagination. However, what it does distract attention from is the duty of government to make sure the natural conflicts which exist between individuals and between individual interests and collective interests are harmonized with the general interests of society. So long as the "us" keeps complaining about the "them" and demanding that the "them" take care of the "us," nothing will be gained. The only interest of the "them" in the "us" is to fleece the "us" and keep the "us" at bay. This is what cynicism is all about. It suits the rich and their representatives to harbour a rooted distrust and dislike of human beings and their society because these infringe on their own usurped entitlements and domains. The fact that attempts are made to use "sunny ways" to keep the people at bay does not change the essence of the matter. It is time for the people to move on and develop their own politics of social responsibility themselves.

Duclos and his Bill C-87 are spinning a fairy tale that the government is "for the people" and above class interests and above the constant struggle of the "us versus them" for the rights of the people and a new pro-social direction for the economy that would eliminate poverty and even classify it as a crime against humanity, as an especially vile form of child abuse.

When concrete measures are taken in the here and now to reduce poverty, a howl will arise from the ranks of the financial oligarchs as we see in various countries of Latin America which have adopted concrete social policies to deal with the nefarious consequences of the neo-liberal agenda to pay the rich. The financial oligarchs or their henchmen will never let up on their control of the social wealth and the socialized economy. They spout policy objectives and platitudes about poverty reduction being a "work in progress" for an elite "Advisory Council" tasked with reducing poverty by 2050. This should be treated with the contempt it deserves while people must organize themselves to see that nobody is left to fend for themselves and that people cannot be criminalized on the basis of accusations that they are promoting an approach based on "us against them" when they stand up in defence of the rights of all. It is a set-up which must not be permitted to gain ground. This can be done by discussing it amongst our peers and rejecting it with the contempt it deserves. It is the first step required in order to move on.

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For Your Information

Poverty Reduction from Inside the Ranks
of the Ruling Elite

Trudeau government information on Bill C-87 to reduce poverty by half by 2050 contains a statement by Miles Corak, Economist in Residence at the federal department Employment and Social Development Canada. Dr. Corak is described as an academic and internationally known consultant who has worked with, among others, the World Bank and the C.D. Howe Institute. Corak is listed as a consultant to the Prime Minister's Office and one of the main participants in drafting Bill C-87.

Dr. Corak writes, "I am an outsider who was invited inside: a professor at the University of Ottawa given the opportunity to work in the Deputy Minister's office during 2017 as the Economist in Residence, and as a member of the team of public servants supporting Minister Duclos's efforts in building Canada's first official Poverty Reduction Strategy.

"In my life as an academic, I have developed a great respect for the ideas of the Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen. One of Professor Sen's more influential books is called Development as Freedom, and I believe he used the word 'development' in two ways: to refer to economic growth and prosperity, but also to refer to personal growth and well-being. We 'develop' as individuals and citizens when we have the freedom to choose the life we value."

Who Is Amartya Sen?

In 1998, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded Amartya Sen the Nobel Prize for Economics, "for having restored an ethical dimension to the discussion of vital economic problems."

Sen was born in Bengal and worked in Bangladesh, and has been an economics professor at Harvard and Cambridge universities, as well as a consultant to many supranational organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. He has long been promoted in official imperialist circles for propagating theories that do not point the finger at the Anglo-U.S. system of states and its imperialist globalization policies of exploitation, theft, and war, which are the very cause for the rise in poverty and displacement of people the world over.

Sen mentions five distinct freedoms in his 1999 book Development as Freedom as quoted by Dr. Corak: political freedoms, economic facilities, social opportunities, transparency guarantees, and protective security.

Denis O'Hearn, Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University in New York writes in a critical analysis of Sen, "Freedom, [Sen] says, is a principle determinant of individual initiative and social effectiveness; it is good primarily because it enhances the ability of individuals to help themselves, a property that Sen describes as the 'agency aspect' of the individual (Sen, 1999:19). Thus, his definition of poverty is individual: it is the deprivation of basic capabilities, always defined as individual capabilities. Having stated the prerequisites of freedom and capability in individual terms, Sen never attempts to derive the social origins of ethics, or their historical or cultural specificity, or the ways in which some kinds of capability may be socially organized rather than just a sum of individual capacities."[1]

The notion of the ability of "individuals to help themselves" is above all about forcing people to fend for themselves in contradiction with an economy that is completely socialized in nature and the reality that people in the modern age are born to society. Sen attempts to give theoretical backing to the neo-liberal anti-social offensive of hooligan politicians such as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who said, "There is no such thing as society: there are individual men and women, and there are families."

Sen introduces abstract concepts of freedom that have no objectivity of consideration; concepts that have no objective basis in the here and now, that are devoid of any material or historical content that recognizes what is necessary for humans to do to survive as a people and species in a very definite historical time and place, which can open a door to progress.

It is not surprising, therefore, to note that amongst other influences, Sen is a follower of the anti-communist economist Friedrich Hayek who patently opposed any form of state responsibility for the well-being of its citizens as an intrusion of "personal freedom." Hayek spent many years of his life in the post-WWII period in the U.S. propagating his ideas in service to the Anglo-U.S. imperialists to "contain communism." Hayek, among other things, posited that any state that adopted centralized planning of the economy and social programs as a duty to its citizens was "totalitarian."

For one of the leading consultants and authors in the framing of the Liberals' anti-poverty law to be championing the ideas of Amartya Sen can only mean that the Liberals have no intention of bringing forth concrete measures to deprive the rich oligarchs of their power over social wealth and the socialized economy, which is the only way headway can be achieved in combating poverty.


1. Quotation from O'Hearn found in Focus here.

(With files from, CBC, Toronto Star)

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Campaign 2000

Campaign 2000 is a national coalition of anti-poverty organizations that came together when the cartel parties in the Parliament unanimously supported a resolution tabled by Ed Broadbent of the NDP in 1989 to end child poverty by the year 2000. In June 2018, eighteen years after the 2000 deadline, Campaign 2000 reported: "For nearly 30 years, Campaign 2000 has documented the failure of good intentions to end poverty. In the lead-up to Canada's first federal Poverty Reduction Strategy, Campaign 2000 reveals a disturbing picture of the magnitude of child poverty in every federal riding. The latest data paint a stark portrait of inequality in Canada with high and low income families living in close proximity while divided by wide social and economic gaps that leave too many children hungry, sick and stressed beyond their years."

The report also noted that Indigenous peoples, national minorities, and lone parent families are hardest hit by poverty because they face the highest levels of unemployment and underemployment, poor housing, poor health and other problems caused by the economic and political system driving the country.

Clearly, to address the problem of poverty requires much more than defining poverty differently, changing the framework to measure poverty, or brandishing dates as policy objectives, which are the main pillars of Bill C-87.

To address poverty concretely as a manifestation of the economic base and the existing human relations means for the people to recognize the necessity to renew the democracy and their empowerment. Their freedom is found in the recognition of that necessity.

The people must have the power to deprive those in power of enforcing the status quo and their refusal to solve society's economic and social problems because this would harm their narrow private interests. The people must take up the collective fight for their rights and wage this fight to its material conclusion by laying claim to the economy where they produce the social wealth. They must put in place pro-social measures required to ensure that all Canadians and Indigenous peoples live with dignity, security and enjoy a prosperous future and the general interests of society are assured.

(With files from Campaign 2000.)

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Liberal Government's Legalization of Marijuana

New Federal Cannabis Legislation

TML Weekly recently spoke with John Akpata, Peace Officer of the Marijuana Party, regarding the federal government’s legislation legalizing marijuana. An Ottawa-based spoken word artist and long-time member of the Marijuana Party, Akpata has run on behalf of the Party federally in Ottawa in each election since 2004.


The Marxist-Leninist Weekly: The federal government's new marijuana legislation is made up of Bill C-45 and Bill C-46, which received royal assent in June of this year. Can you briefly describe what these bills are?

John Akpata: Bill C-45 and Bill C-46 together make up the Cannabis Act. Bill C-45 is the regulatory part. It sets out the regulations that apply to Licensed Producers, such as what chemicals, what pesticides they can use, how they can grow, etc. Under the old rules they could not grow cannabis outdoors in the sun, but under the new law they can. The bill also spells out that they are not allowed to advertise, to have logos, they are not allowed to be within 500 feet of a school, etc. Bill C-45 also outlines the framework for distribution and sale of marijuana to the public.

Bill C-46 is the enforcement part of the Cannabis Act. Bill C-46 sets out the rules and the fines, fees and penalties that will be imposed on the public. It includes all the new driving fines and expectations, including new guidelines for how much jail time one could get for cultivating or trafficking.

TMLW: The impression is being given by the government and the media that legalization of marijuana and decriminalization are the same. The Marijuana Party makes a clear distinction between the two. Can you explain?

JA: Legalization means regulating and controlling a market. Decriminalization means removing activity from the Criminal Code. There are 45 offences in the Cannabis Act that fall under the Criminal Code. Cannabis is legalized and there are certain laws and regulations that you must follow to be legal, and if you violate those there are criminal penalties.

The Marijuana Party has always said that cannabis should not be criminalized. The opponents of the marijuana movement have confused people as to what these two words actually mean in law. Cannabis is still criminalized. Under legalization, they can give you tickets, fines, fees and penalties that they could never do before because prior to this legislation, offences were only those in the Criminal Code. Now that cannabis is legalized, you can be charged with possession even though what you have is legal. You can be charged with trafficking even though you purchased something legally and gave it to somebody else. If I buy a car, I can sell it. It is not illegal for me to sell my property. But they have made it illegal for you to sell your cannabis. I would like people to know that it is still criminalized. And in the Marijuana Party we are unified by one idea: cannabis should not be criminalized.

For example, look at dispensaries. They are illegal, all of them. Every single dispensary in Canada is illegal. But most people support the dispensaries. They want to buy cannabis without violence associated with it. Every dispensary is illegal and every person that has gone there to purchase has broken the law. It costs up to $300,000 to shut down each dispensary. Municipalities will have to pay for that, not the federal government, and not the provincial governments. Many people that have the money, the infrastructure, and the skill and the business acumen are saying that "if you would let me open a dispensary, I would open a dispensary. I would sell to the public. I would pay for a licence." There are too many barriers to entry. In order to get a licence to set up a dispensary, you need to get two licences, and those licences have not been distributed and will not be approved until April 1, 2019. The needs and wants of the public are not being met. People that want to enter into the business can't because the set up for licences is so strict that the majority of the people cannot meet the requirements.

Until dispensaries actually get their licence, everything they do is illegal. They can be fined up to $100,000 per infraction. If you want to set up as a Licensed Producer, you need at least $5 million. You have to have $5 million in the bank the entire time your application is going through. You have to have a retail facility, you have to pay rent, you have to have insurance.

Right now, in order to purchase cannabis legally, depending on what province you are in, you have to purchase from a government store or online. The government stores have already sold 100 per cent of their stock. They are completely sold out. In many provinces, government stores are open only a few days a week. If the government stores are out, and the dispensaries are open, everyone is going to break the law. The government is trying to get rid of organized crime and they have given 100 per cent of their clientele no other option than to go to organized crime.

TMLW: To go further on this matter, you have raised the issue that the new legislation will give rise to further use of discretionary powers of police forces against the people. Can you tell us more about it?

JA: Under the old regime, all offences were under the Criminal Code. For a police officer to charge somebody under the Criminal Code is a big undertaking. It is a big undertaking for the officer, for those involved in the investigative process and for the courts. For many Canadians, when they have encountered the police while they were driving and they had weed in the car, or they were in the park and they had weed with them, the police, instead of going through the paperwork of charging someone with a criminal offence, would just confiscate their weed, and let them go.

Now because it is legalized, they can issue a fine or ticket for any offence.

In Canada, there are about 800 police trained as drug recognition experts. Under Bill C-46, the government is going to spend $274,000,000 on enforcement. They are going to train and equip police officers to enforce the Cannabis Act, which includes changes to the driving laws. This means that police no longer need reasonable grounds to pull a driver over. They can say cannabis is legal and I am doing an impairment check. They can pull over anyone to see if they are impaired. Impairment has been defined as 5 milligrams of THC per litre of blood. THC is tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in cannabis that makes you high. The cops can now pull you over and administer a saliva test, a mandatory saliva test, to see if you are impaired. If you refuse the saliva test, they can arrest you on the spot. They can arrest you, they can seize your car, they can search your car, and when they arrest you, they can force you to give blood. They can take your blood without your consent, without your permission. These are discretionary powers that are permitted by the legislation. To determine that five milligrams of THC in the blood is impairment is ridiculous.

You are not impaired with that amount in your blood. It is not comparable to alcohol.

Besides, we know that police lay criminal charges against black Canadians at a rate three times greater than their representation in the population, and for First Nations the rate is five times greater. Under the old regime the police would selectively let certain people go and charge other people. I suspect that the police are going to target black people, that they are going to continue to operate with bias and prejudice as they have in the past. With legalization, they are now going to use the driving laws to target people and discriminate against people. I also fear that they could target First Nations dispensaries to be raided as many First Nations are considering growing cannabis and selling it on their territories which are sovereign territories. Police could do this under the hoax of investigating organized crime.

TMLW: You are also raising that the cannabis legislation has created a monopoly situation in the cannabis sector. Can you elaborate?

JA: We are seeing the emergence of an institutional commercial sector that is going to last as long as Canada exists. The cannabis industry, the retail sellers and the police were all lobby groups that helped create the framework of the Cannabis Act. The police for example got what they wanted. The law was created so that certain people can definitely do what they want while other people cannot participate at all. The law favours the police and the big players in the industry.

I am not opposed to that per se. They have to set up the big shops first, a regulated industry. The government wrote the law to make that happen. At the same time, the average Canadian citizen is restricted by the law. For example, people are allowed to grow four plants at home. What if I want to grow 100 plants, not a million plants, but certainly more than four plants? The law establishes a monopoly for wealthy people, wealthy political insiders and police officers that are active throughout the industry.

At the same time I think that we should not be fighting a war against them. We should be developing our own businesses, our own infrastructure, our own system at the local or municipal level. We cannot do that at this time because everything is still illegal. It is wealthy people that are the actual beneficiaries of this legislation.

TMLW: What is the stand of the Marijuana Party on cannabis?

JA: Cannabis should not be criminalized. If you are not hurting anyone, if you are not damaging property, if you are not committing fraud, it should not be criminalized at all. If there is no harm or injury, there should be no criminal penalty at all. You have to let people conduct themselves in a free market, and yes people need to act safely, people need to be honest in their transactions. Throwing people in jail, imposing $100,000 fines is not the way to go. Threatening people with incarceration or taking away their means of transportation because they have something in their blood, is offensive. Preventing people from participating in the economic activity creates a monopoly, a monopoly that is backed by the government.

TMLW: Would you like to say anything in conclusion?

JA: Despite all the problems and limitations, we see this development as positive. For everyone that ever cultivated or used cannabis, we should be proud because we are winning the war on drugs. The war is not over until all the criminal records have been expunged and everyone is released from prison or from house arrest. All the criminal records for cannabis-related offences must be expunged. People should be able to cross the U.S. border and not be detained. People should be able to work and have jobs. People should not have this horrible stigma attached to them.

As much criticism as anyone has about this system, the fact remains that Canada has legalized weed, it has opened up a bunch of stores, and it is selling it online and people can buy it through the mail. Researchers can do research for all the medicinal stuff. The most important thing is that because it is legalized, researchers can now do the medical and scientific research that they should have been doing for the past 20 years regarding the treatment of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, arthritis etc. They can do the research and use cannabis as medicine. More and more people can use it and will use it and will get the benefits from it. That is a positive development.

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Related Information

The following information has been excerpted from a January 1, 2016 article by John Akpata titled "There Are Just and Unjust Ways to Legalize Marijuana."


[...] In 2001, Portugal decriminalized heroin, cocaine and cannabis. It remains a crime to profit from the sale or distribution of illegal drugs, but the user was not criminalized for possession. If a person is found with less than a 10-day supply, they must meet a three-person Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction, usually made up of a lawyer, a doctor and a social worker. The commission will recommend treatment, a minor fine or, as in most cases, no penalty at all.

In 1990, one per cent of the Portuguese population was addicted to heroin. Portugal now has the lowest addiction rate of illegal drugs in all of Europe. After 14 decriminalized years, overall rates of drug use, drug addiction, drug overdose, HIV and accidental death have all gone down. Following Portugal's lead, the governments of Spain and Italy have also decriminalized. Copenhagen's city government announced in 2014 the beginning of a three-year pilot project to test whether municipalities could take over the growing and distribution of cannabis. In 2015, Ireland also announced it would decriminalize based on the Portugal model.

In December of 2013, Uruguay became the first country to legalize marijuana. Citizens there are allowed to grow six plants at home, and can participate in private grow clubs if they want to grow more. All sales must go through government-run dispensaries, while consumers, who are restricted to purchasing 40 grams per month, must register with a health ministry database. In order to undercut organized crime, the price of marijuana is kept at the equivalent of $1 per gram.

On February 6, 2015, the 70th anniversary of the birth of Nesta Robert Marley, Jamaica decriminalized ganja. Possession of 56 grams (two ounces) can result in a fine of $5, but no arrest or criminal record. Citizens may grow five plants at home, and adult Rastafarians may use ganja for sacramental purposes for the first time in history. Foreigners that have a prescription or licence for medicinal marijuana will be able to get a permit that allows them to purchase two ounces of local medicinal marijuana to be used during their stay. Although the infrastructure and policies in Jamaica are unclear, there is a Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Task Force hammering out the details.

And of course there is the United States of America. Already 17 states have medicinal marijuana. Oregon, Alaska, Washington, DC and Colorado have all embraced recreational marijuana at the state level. Let's thank Washington first.

In 2013, DC police arrested 1,215 people for marijuana possession, more than 90 per cent of them black even though Blacks use marijuana at the same rate as anybody else. It became a civil rights issue, with activists pushing for decriminalization in July of 2014 before switching their demands to legalization. In 2014, DC Police arrested seven people for drug possession.

Colorado followed this example and fully embraced recreational marijuana. In 2014, Colorado, a state with a population of just under 5.5 million, collected U.S.$44 million in tax revenue from marijuana. As of 2015, Colorado brings in roughly U.S.$10 million per month from a marijuana tax -- more than comes in from alcohol sales.

Canada's illegal marijuana industry has been valued at over $7 billion annually, with some estimating $21 billion. Twenty per cent of Canadians admit they have used marijuana in the past year; more than 30 per cent say they would use it if legalized. Police in Canada reported a marijuana possession incident every nine minutes in 2014 -- a 30 per cent increase [from when] Stephen Harper came to power in 2006. [...]

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BC Referendum on Proportional Representation

Vote Yes! in BC Referendum

We are entering the final stretch of the Proportional Representation (PR) referendum campaign in British Columbia which began on July 1. The mail-in ballot must be received by Elections BC no later than November 30.

On November 7, NDP leader John Horgan and BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson participated in a half-hour, televised "Leaders' debate." Horgan spoke for the Yes side, while Wilkinson argued for the No side. This so-called debate not only failed to inform the public discussion on the pros and cons of changing the way votes are cast in BC but also deepened British Columbians' crisis of confidence in the political class which dominates the political and economic affairs of the province.

In the debate, Wilkinson was aggressive, partisan and fearmongering, while Horgan appeared lukewarm, mustering little energy and faint argument as to why a Yes vote favoured the polity at this time. That a televised debate should be held between these two individuals who added nothing worthwhile to the provincial discussion is an indication of the credibility crisis in which the system of representative democracy is mired.

According to various polls, the Yes side and No side are neck and neck. However, many people have not yet voted. Leading up to as well as throughout the voting period, the No side has relied heavily on the monopoly media to uncritically propagate disinformation and outright lies about PR and the three options being offered (Dual Member, Mixed Member, Rural-Urban). In addition, big business organizations have financed highly misleading and sensational advertising.

On the other hand, the Yes side, made up mainly of volunteers from all walks of life, has actively engaged the population in discussion across the province through leaflet distribution, literature tables, community meetings, door-to-door and phone canvassing, social media, small group discussions, and other means.

TML Weekly calls on the people of British Columbia to defeat the establishment forces in this referendum by breaking with the status quo, voting Yes to PR and then staying active in order to have a say in what comes next. This can be accomplished by going all out to make it happen. As many people have yet to cast their ballots, there is still time to call on workmates, neighbours, family and friends to vote Yes and get their ballots in.

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No Side Uses Logical Fallacies to Argue Against Proportional Representation

The No side in the BC referendum on Proportional Representation (PR) is using the most manipulative, deceptive and fearmongering arguments to defeat a Yes vote. This is being done to cause confusion and deprive the people of an outlook from which they can judge the matter at hand -- whether or not to change the way votes are counted in the province.

One of the wildest claims made by the No side during the course of the referendum has been that the adoption of a PR voting system will give rise to neo-Nazis and racists marching in the streets and winning seats in the BC Legislature. The No side has even produced a sensational video that makes that claim. As their evidence, they point to Germany in the 1930s which had a proportional representation system when the Nazis came to power, the logic being that the one caused the other.

In so doing, the No side falls into the post hoc logical fallacy of mixing up correlational phenomena with causative, i.e. because "B" follows "A," "A" must cause "B." An example of this faulty logic is the claim that as "ice cream sales increase, the rate of drowning deaths increases sharply. Therefore, ice cream consumption causes drowning." This conclusion, of course, does not take into account the reality that ice cream is sold more often during the summer months and people also swim more then, i.e. the one is "correlated" to the other because of hot weather, but is not the cause of the other.

That being said, the rise of Nazism and fascism during the 1920s and '30s had a number of complex causes, the most important of which was the domination of the most reactionary sections of the financial oligarchy in a number of countries. It was this financial oligarchy that nurtured fascism and played the decisive role in catapulting Hitler and the Nazis into power to crush the progressive and democratic forces within Germany and other countries, as well as to wage predatory war abroad.

To suggest that the coming to power of Nazism and fascism could have been avoided by Germany adopting another type of voting system is simplistic and absurd.

Yet the No side continues to cherry pick history to make its arguments -- not hard to do considering that over 100 countries in the world have some form of proportional representation. One of their claims is that only countries with proportional representation elected fascist governments in Europe during the 1930s, but not Britain and others which had first-past-the-post governments. In so doing, they ignore the fact that Nazi Germany was the epicenter of fascism and literally held a gun to the heads of adjacent countries, as well as actively supporting treasonous fifth columns in countries across Europe.

Indeed, the No side neglects to mention what the Nazis themselves had to say about the two voting systems. While it is true that proportional representation could make it easier for small parties to obtain seats in a legislature, first-past-the-post allows parties with minority support of 35 or 40 per cent of the vote to seize 100 per cent of the power. For example, Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering testified during the Nuremberg Trial Proceedings of 1946: "Had the democratic election system [i.e., first-past-the-post] of England or the United States of America existed in Germany, then the [Nazi Party] would, at the end of 1931 already, have legally possessed all seats in the Reichstag, without exception," a result which would have been accomplished faster than under proportional representation.[1]

Furthermore, in regards to racist and fascist governments, the No side also fails to mention how the racist system of apartheid in South Africa came into being in 1948. Apartheid supporters did so by using a "false majority" under the first-past-the-post voting system in which a party with a minority of votes gained 100 per cent of the power. As Wikipedia explains, in the South African House of Assembly, "by a quirk of the first-past-the-post system the NP [Nationalist Party] had won more seats, even though the UP [United Party] had received over eleven per cent more votes. The Nationalist coalition subsequently formed a new government and ushered in the era of formal, legally binding apartheid." What followed was 40 years of racism, oppression and servitude for the African majority.[2]

The above examples demonstrate that the financial and corporate oligarchy will use whichever voting system is in place in a particular country to impose its policies, whether that is unleashing fascism, imposing apartheid, or implementing austerity, privatizations or other reactionary measures. It will also maintain or change voting systems according to whatever advantage one or another may offer at a particular time.

This is why, after the Second World War, the victorious British and U.S. powers did not impose the first-past-the-post system that was used in their own countries, but rather kept proportional representation systems in place in Italy and the zone they controlled in defeated Germany so as to curb what they called "extremism." A danger remained that reconstituted fascist or Nazi parties might rise up, especially in West Germany, but the biggest concern for the British and U.S. authorities were communist parties which had substantial popular support. The logic was that proportional representation would make it easier to isolate these parties using pro-U.S., anti-communist coalitions. On the other hand, the problem with first-past-the-post was that it could, theoretically, allow these parties to achieve a majority in a legislature with as little as 35 or 40 per cent of the vote.

To an oligarchy, it is crucial that it have final say on which voting system is in place. As such, it wants to keep people as much as possible out of the decision-making. First-past-the-post works best for the corporate elite in British Columbia at this particular time and so it wants to maintain that system. That is why this elite, along with big media outlets, is so vociferously supporting the No side and first-past-the-post.

But many British Columbians have long wanted a more proportional and more accurate voting system, as well as the power to make that decision and bring it about. Proportional representation is not a remedy for all the problems with the electoral process. However, voting Yes to proportional representation in the referendum is a means to address some of them, seize the initiative and move politics forward in the province.


1. Goering, Hermann, Morning Sessions of the Eightieth day, Wednesday, March 13, 1946, Nuremberg Trial Proceedings (Vol. 9), Yale Law School, The Avalon Project.

2. South African General Election -- 1948. Wikipedia, (accessed November 7, 2018).

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Successful Meeting on Proportional
Representation in Prince George

On November 7, Fair Vote Prince George sponsored another in a series of information sessions in Prince George on the Proportional Representation (PR) referendum currently underway in British Columbia. This followed on the heels of recent successful community meetings in Williams Lake and Quesnel.

Speakers included Jay Sanders from Fair Vote Prince George, who delivered a slide show on PR, and Peter Ewart from the Stand Up for the North Committee, who addressed some of the misconceptions being propagated by the No side. The meeting was chaired by local activist Dawn Hemingway, with about 45 people in attendance.

Participants shared their views and posed many thoughtful questions. The discussion was both lively and informative and reflected the seriousness with which everyone is taking this opportunity to weigh in on changing the voting system to one that is more proportional and more representative of the wishes of voters. The mail-in referendum requires that ballots from across the province be submitted no later than November 30.

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Commemorations on the Centenary of the End of World War I

Across Canada Discussions and Gatherings
Oppose Imperialist War

On the centenary of the End of World War I, activists of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ) and the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) and other anti-war and peace activists held meetings and other activities in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Windsor, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. These events commemorated the lives lost in the First World War in which working people were sent to kill one another in a conflict between the imperial powers over colonial territories and their human and natural resources. The events brought out the conditions that led to the war and the many forces who opposed the war on the basis of their conscience which includes those who rejected killing other human beings as a matter of principle and those who rejected the inter-imperialist aims of the war, also as a matter of principle. These meetings contributed to giving people, especially the youth, an all-sided perspective on World War I. The disinformation by the ruling circles that Canada's role in the war was a coming of age and integral to its national identity was opposed, highlighting the danger of war today, and the attempts to use the centenary as propaganda for unjust imperialist wars in the present. For events still to come, click here.


The PMLQ held the first of three commemorative meetings at its Montreal office on November 9. A packed house of participants learned with pride about the Quebec people's courageous and united resistance to its youth being sent as cannon fodder for the British Empire.

The meeting began with introductory remarks by PMLQ representative Fernand Deschamps, who pointed out how conditions today, like 100 years ago, are fraught with the danger of war due to the contradictions and rivalries between supranational interests. Participants then observed a minute of silence in memory of all the victims of World War I and all those who heroically opposed the war.

The gathering was then addressed by Martine Éloy of the Collectif Échec à la Guerre. Her remarks highlighted the important anti-war stands taken en masse by Quebeckers in the recent period, such as the 250,000-person demonstration in Montreal in 2003 to oppose the U.S.-led war on Iraq, the largest protest in Quebec history. She explained the organization's work to oppose war propaganda, for example the organization's white poppy campaign that reaffirms that Remembrance Day must not be used for the glorification of war.

Local youth made their contribution with heartfelt renderings of anti-conscription and anti-war poems: "À bas la conscription," by Pat King; "Le petit conscrit," by Loïc Le Gouriadec; and "Un Foyer, une Patrie," an excerpt from the longer poem entitled "L'Emballement," by Apollinaire Gingras.

The poems were followed by a video, featuring Quebec historian Jean Provencher, who gave a detailed and animated recounting of the mass opposition to conscription in the spring of 1918 in Quebec City.

Next was a screening of the 1987 film La Guerre oubliée by Richard Boutet.[1] Through words, songs and eyewitness testimonies, it recounts the experience of those who fought in World War I, those who escaped conscription and those who gave shelter and aid to those who refused conscription and the brutal state repression they faced.

The PMLQ held a second event on November 16 to bring out the contribution and sacrifice of colonial peoples during the war. It too was very successful, with many youth saying they are learning many things. The PMLQ is holding a third  event on November 23.

PMLQ members take part in the Collectif Échec à la Guerre's Remembrance Day vigil to oppose war and in memory of all victims of war, Montreal, November 11, 2018.


The Toronto meeting to commemorate the end of the First World War on November 11, featured presentations, a cultural program of poems and song and a lively discussion which highlighted the need to give meaning to the words Never Again! by fighting for peace and an anti-war government in Canada.


The Windsor Peace Coalition, along with local artists, teachers, members of Women in Black and others organized several events to mark the centenary of the end of World War I. 

On November 9, the 1933 film Outskirts was screened. Set in a small town in Russia from 1914 to 1917, it depicts the effects of the war between the Russian and German empires on workers and their families. With the organization and leadership required by the times, workers conscripted to fight in the tsar's army come to see that their enemies are their own rulers, not the workers of other countries. This leads to the workers rebelling against their oppressors, ultimately bringing themselves to power and taking Russia out of the war and contributing to ending it altogether.

On November 10, the Windsor Peace Coalition's weekly Saturday anti-war picket highlighted opposition to war as integral to giving meaning to remembrance and Never Again today.

The Canadian Legion's Remembrance Day Service on November 11 was a militarized event. A cannon and rifles were fired, masked snipers were stationed on a nearby rooftop and representatives of three levels of government extolled all wars past and present that Canada has been part of, claiming they were fought for noble aims like "defending our freedoms." A different atmosphere was created by two initiatives that expressed the people's notion of remembrance as a demand for peace and an end to all wars of aggression and preparations for new wars.

First, a Grade One children's choir sang "Ecoutez le chant des enfants," a song for peace and a world without war, which was met with enthusiastic applause. Later, a delegation representing the generation that lived through the Cold War and the generations of the future laid a wreath with a sash saying "Never Again" at the cenotaph in the name of the Windsor Peace Coalition.

Following the service at the cenotaph, a reception and buffet lunch was hosted by the downtown artists' studio, one ten park. The studio had a window installation and display of World War I posters for the occasion. School children again sang songs for peace and people read poems with an anti-war message. One of these, "Today is Not a Good Day for War" by U.S. poet David Krieger, was the contribution of a Legion member and veteran, who is a longtime peace activist.


The Edmonton Coalition Against War and Racism organized a commemoration of the centenary of the end of World War I on November 10. It brought together people to remember all who have died or whose lives were changed forever, whose memory was honoured with 100 seconds of silence. Many people spoke and shared poetry and song to express their anti-war conscience and convictions. Local singer-songwriter Bill Bourne read some anti-war poetry by his great-grandfather, Stephan G. Stephansson, the Icelandic-Canadian farmer and poet who lived in Alberta for much of his life.

On November 11, "Taking Up the Demand Never Again!" was the topic of a lively discussion, with opening remarks by Peggy Morton and featured speaker Dougal Macdonald on the need for an anti-war government today. A film night will take place in two-week's time to continue the discussion.


A successful meeting and discussion on November 10 commemorated the Centenary of the End of World War I. Kevan Hunter welcomed everyone to the meeting and highlighted the significance of the centenary. He presented "Battle-Pause," a poem by Stephan G. Stephannson, and introduced the main speaker Dougal Macdonald. Following this presentation, many people intervened, addressing the disastrous consequences World War I had for humanity, providing examples of the anti-war resistance at that time, and discussing the work activists have to accomplish today.


At the November 9 meeting in Vancouver, the main speaker stressed that today instead of people being able to realize their desire for peace and an end to war, inter-imperialist rivalries continue to create grave dangers for a new cataclysmic world war. She repudiated the historiography of the ruling circles that the war was Canada's "coming of age," and pointed out how this covers up that inter-imperialist rivalry gave rise to this slaughter of unprecedented proportions and that the war did not put an end to the causes of the war. Thus, immediately after the war, the imperialist powers turned their attention to crushing the newly established workers' state, the Soviet Union. The historiography of the ruling circles covers up the people's resistance, especially in Quebec, to war and conscription. She called on people to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War I by taking up in the present conditions the work for an anti-war government that will bring an end to Canada's integration into the U.S. war machine through NATO, NORAD, U.S. Homeland Security and Border Services.


1. The late Quebec filmmaker Richard Boutet is well-known for his documentaries, such as L'amiante ça tue and La turlute des années dures, on the economic crisis of the 1930s. The PMLQ's screening of La Guerre oubliée was made possible by Lucille Veilleux, the film's producer and the widow of Richard Boutet. A remastered version of the film will be released in the coming year.

(Photos: TML,

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Involvement of Canadian Women in
Bringing an End to World War I

Thousands of women played a vital role in the fight for peace in World War I. Women, who were not conscripted to military service at that time, played a crucial role in the anti-war movement.

Women of conscience from many countries, including Canada, organized the Women's International Congress for Peace in The Hague in 1915, leading to the formation of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.  Here is the story of two Canadian women and the role they played second to none.

Julia Grace Wales

Julia Grace Wales, 1916

Born in Quebec's Eastern Townships in 1881, Julia Grace Wales was an academic who pursued her studies first at McGill University in Montreal, and later at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she taught English literature.

In December 1914, Wales produced a draft of the now famous document "Continuous Mediation Without Armistice,"[1] which later came to be known as the Wisconsin Plan. This plan proposed that the United States organize a conference composed of intellectuals from all neutral nations to act as mediators. These individuals would propose solutions that incorporated not only their own ideas, but those of warring nations.

The work of Wales was endorsed by the newly formed Wisconsin Peace Party, several anti-war and peace movements and the Wisconsin Legislature. State officials around the United States also supported it. The National Peace Party was so impressed that it sent a delegation to Washington to present the idea to President Woodrow Wilson and Congress.

As a delegate to the Women's International Congress for Peace in the Hague, Wales represented the Wisconsin Peace Society. She presented her proposal to the Congress, whose members unanimously selected it as the solution to the war and adopted it as a resolution. They had it printed in four languages and distributed throughout Europe and North America.

Wales became a founding member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). As a member of the Congress's embassy, Wales took her proposal to European governments. Her plan never gained official support from the United States government, which entered the war in April 1917.

Wales continued her academic career after returning from Europe in 1917, but always maintained an interest in the peace movement. She published articles on the subject, as well as a book. She returned to Quebec in 1947 to retire, and died there in 1957 at the age of 76.

Laura Hughes

Laura Hughes, International Congress of Women, The Hague, 1915 

In the spring of 1915, after the National Committee for Patriotic Service -- the war-time Canadian umbrella women's organization -- had refused the official invitation to participate in the International Women's Congress at The Hague, Laura Hughes, a socialist, born in Toronto, attended as an unofficial delegate.

Upon her return, she worked with other concerned women, mostly from the Toronto Suffrage Association and the Women's Social Democratic League, to promote the program of the International Committee for Permanent Peace (later known as WILPF). The Canadian Branch of the Women's International Congress for a Permanent Peace (sometimes referred to as the Canadian Women's Peace Party) was founded at a meeting at the Toronto YMCA, in June 1915.

The Toronto WILPF group met monthly, holding study sessions and inviting a variety of speakers. The group sent Prime Minister Borden a letter, enclosing the Hague resolutions, asking him to consider them in his peace settlement proposal. Borden's advisors were not impressed, claiming "There is certainly nothing practical about suggestions of this kind under present conditions."

Hughes' peace activities so embarrassed her uncle, Minister of Militia Sir Sam Hughes, that he offered her a half-section of prairie land if she would give up her interest in peace work.

In 1915, the Toronto District Labour Council employed Hughes to investigate conditions in war plants. Hired as a factory girl, her reports from the Joseph Simpson Knitting company were used as evidence by the Toronto Labour Congress (TLC) in complaints to the Minister of Labour. In 1916, she became second Vice-President of the Toronto District Labour Party of Ontario.

Hughes was the central organizer for the Canadian branch of the WILPF, the liaison between Canadian and overseas branches. She and her associates wanted to involve women from all areas of Canada, hoping that branches would be established in every province. She wrote to women, inviting them to become involved in WILPF activities and participated in circulating material calling upon women to read the Hague Resolutions, order peace material and inform themselves and others about the issues, in an attempt to stop the war.

Hughes saw the war as motivated and prolonged by profiteering and sure to be repeated. Moreover, she understood that the war gave those in power an opportunity to tighten their control not only over the economy but all aspects of society. She saw the loss of civil liberties in the name of fighting for freedom as a longterm threat, rather than a temporary wartime phenomenon.

Hughes argued that the drive for profits was keeping the war alive and spoke publicly against conscription when this became an issue in 1917.

In December 1917 Laura married Erling Lunde of Chicago, a conscientious objector, and moved to that city. When her husband was imprisoned for his stance (he spent a year in jail), she worked to support all conscientious objectors from 1918-20. She campaigned for laws to regulate child labour, job security for teachers, state assistance for education and electoral reforms. In later life, she spent much time teaching women about their rights and responsibilities as citizens. She died in 1966.


1. "Continuous Mediation Without Armistice," The Library of Congress, Sloan Foundation.
2. See "Women's Historic Contribution Against the War," TML Weekly, October 27, 2018, for report on the Women's International Congress for peace in The Hague.

(With files from TML Weekly, Library and Archives Canada, The Library of Congress, Sloan Foundation, Canada's Early Women Writers -- Simon Fraser University Digitalized Collections, Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Photos: The British Library of Political and Economic Science, Library and Archives Canada.)

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101st Anniversary of Balfour Declaration

Join Palestinians in Demanding
the Implementation of the Right of Return!
End the Zionist Occupation of Palestinian Lands!

Mississauga picket on 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, November 2017.

November 2 marked the 101st anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, a 1917 letter sent by the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to a prominent British Zionist leader promising land in Palestine for foreign settlement.

This criminal act of the British Empire to "give" the land of another people usurped during the First World War for colonial settlement created the conditions for countless atrocities against the Palestinians, as well as the subsequent proclamation of a Zionist state and the ongoing genocide and seizure of Palestinian land.

In considering the crime the British committed, it is important to keep in mind the aims of the British Empire at the time and its geopolitical strategy. British Prime Minister Lloyd George and his Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill informed the head of the Zionist Federation, Chaim Weizmann, in 1921 "that by the Declaration they had always meant an eventual state." To ensure the Zionist minority had the upper hand on behalf of British interests, Lloyd George told Churchill: "You mustn't give representative government to Palestine." Researcher Nu'man Abd al-Wahid noted: "The newly European Jewish settlers were to be the Praetorian Guard of Egypt and specifically of the Suez Canal. As such, in the words of Winston Churchill, European Jews would then 'be especially in harmony with the truest interests of the British Empire' rather than 'unassimilated sojourners in every land.'"[1]

It is important to keep in mind the role played by successive Canadian governments in empire-building, the Zionist Project and its wanton aggression and pre-emptive wars. In World War I, the Borden government at the request of Lloyd George facilitated the recruitment in Ontario by David Ben-Gurion for the "Jewish Legion," which marched into Jerusalem with General Lord Edmund Allenby's British Egyptian Expeditionary Force just five weeks later on December 9, 1917. Allenby is said to have taken a stroll in the old walled city and declared, "Today the Crusades have come to an end."

In 1947-48 the participation of Lester Pearson in the legalization of the occupation of Historic Palestine at the United Nations earned him the ignominious title of "the Canadian Balfour." His role during the 1956 Tripartite invasion of Egypt and the occupation of the Suez Canal earned him a prize for "peacekeeping." Further, on May 18, 1948, the Canadian cabinet decided that the question of applying the Foreign Enlistment Act to Palestine should be deferred so as to facilitate the military recruitment of Canadian nationals in the Haganah to suppress the Palestinians.[2] The Trudeau government is now criminalizing opposition at home and abroad to Zionism and Israeli state terrorism as "anti-semitism," all the while hypocritically speaking against Islamophobia and for tolerance. Canadians reject and despise such "friendship" with Zionist Israel with the contempt it deserves. We join with the peoples of the world in demanding an end to the occupation, recognition of the right of return and redress including reparations.

On the 101th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration which the state of Israel claims as "independence day," the Canadian Foreign Minister was in Israel making speeches which shield Israel and its settler colonial apparatus, apartheid and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, while granting it legitimacy. This helps those who allow Israel to act with impunity and encourages it to continue to deny the Palestinian people their fundamental rights of self-determination and return to their Indigenous homes from which they, or their ancestors, were uprooted in 1948.

The catastrophe of the Arab Palestinian people in 1948 continues at the hands of Israel, aided by the United States, using the same old policies and laws established by the British such as land confiscation laws, home demolitions, 'administrative' detention, deportations, violent repression, and the continuation of the expulsion of about 7.9 million Palestinians who are denied their basic national and human rights, especially their right to return and live normally in their homeland. This catastrophe of the Palestinian people could not continue without the support of Israel by the United States, Britain and countries like Canada.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) condemns the infamous act known as the Balfour Declaration and the ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people. November 29 is International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. On this occasion, TML Weekly is publishing information about the Campaign "No to Settlement, We Will Not Give up the Right of Return" by the Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad.


1. Nu'man Abd al-Wahi, "The Empire's Balfour Declaration and the Suez Canal," Churchill's Karma, December 20, 2012.

2. The Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization that existed from 1920 to 1948 in the British Mandate of Palestine. It would go on to become the core of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). It was said to be founded on the basis of self-defence, because the British could not be relied on to ensure the security of the Jewish population. In practice, it was part of the Zionist apparatus in Palestine, cooperating with the British when it served Zionist aims. While it began as an underground organization, it expanded to encompass nearly all the youth and adults in the settlements, as well as several thousand members from each of the cities.

During 1936-1939, while Palestinians rose up to reject the British Mandate, the Haganah developed from a militia into a military body. The British administration did not officially recognize the organization, but in practice the British Security Forces cooperated with it by establishing civilian militia as part of putting down the Arab Revolt.

The Haganah functioned not only in Palestine, it had branches in other parts of the world, including the United States, Poland, Germany, Italy, France, and Morocco. It carried out arms deals to bring in weapons from the United States, Western Europe, and Czechoslovakia, and carried out its own arms production.

In the spring of 1947, future Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion began to direct the general policy of the Haganah. Following the Nakbah, in which Zionist Israel was founded by the dispossession of the Palestinian people, on May 26, 1948, the Provisional Government of Israel decided to transform the Haganah into the regular army of the State, to be called "Zeva Haganah Le-Yisrael" -- the Israel Defense Forces.

(Photos: TML, Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad)

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"No to Settlement, We Will Not Give
Up the Right of Return"

Palestinians head towards eastern border of Gaza strip to participate in weekly Great Return March protests under the slogan "Normalization with Israel is a crime and betrayal."

Before the cemeteries of the martyrs of our Palestinian people in Sabra and Shatila, and in memory of the painful massacre in the camps of steadfastness in Beirut, the brotherly capital of Lebanon, the members of the Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad salute the souls of our martyrs, and appreciate the steadfastness of our people in the camps at home and abroad who have contributed to the survival of the cause for seven decades, with their sacrifice and patience for the hardships of life, and their model of heroism and redemption.

The Palestinian people stand again before a renewed U.S. attack and support for the Zionist project, which has been issued by the new U.S. administration in the person of President Donald Trump through several decisions and actions, beginning with the decision of December 6 of last year to recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Zionist entity. This was followed by the actual transfer of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and then the targeting of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which has contributed to the survival of the issue of refugees, keeping it alive through the preservation of refugee status, and the legacy of new generations and delivery of humanitarian services. The occupation followed these procedures by passing the law of the nation-state through the Knesset, and the policy of settlement and land appropriation. In view of all this, the Popular Conference of Palestinians Abroad, as part of the general Palestinian movement and of what it expresses of the will and aspirations of the Palestinian people abroad, announces the adoption of a series of steps and actions that reflect the rejection of these projects as having no meaning to the Palestinian people, as they are not based on any legal principle, and therefore are based on the one who issued them.

- Call upon the Palestinian people in all places to carry out peaceful and legal activities to express their rejection of U.S. actions on the right of return and the transfer of the Embassy of Washington to Jerusalem and that it be considered the capital of the Zionist entity only.

- Support the large-scale return marches in the Gaza Strip by holding sit-ins and weekly activities to ensure that our right to return is upheld.

- Call upon Palestinian people abroad to launch mass popular rallies to express adherence to the right of return and reject the U.S. steps to undermine it.

- Call upon Palestinian families to carry out activities in parallel that reflect their belonging to Palestine and their inheritance of the right of return and rejection of resettlement, and convey this through media and social media.

- The commemoration of several important national and international events on the Palestinian calendar -- the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 29, and three consecutive events over four days in December, the 69th anniversary of UNRWA's founding December 8, followed by the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the adoption of UN General Assembly Resolution 194 on December 10 and 11, which provides for the return of refugees to their homes and cities from which they were displaced in 1948. The Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad will hold a public popular conference followed by an international political conference in support of Palestinian rights.

- The Popular Conference calls upon all Palestinian forces and factions to consolidate and accelerate the building of a comprehensive national unity to confront the occupation and settlement and stand up to the U.S. project.

- The Popular Conference calls upon the Arab countries, especially the host of the Palestinians, to take note of the seriousness of the project.

- The Conference calls for the formation of a global coalition to defend the right of return and all the international instruments and institutions that preserve it.

- The 2019 People's Congress announces the preservation of the UN Relief and Works Agency and the strengthening of its presence.

- The Popular Conference calls upon our people in the camps to make the camp a symbol of adherence to the right of return and to reject the U.S. project and conduct symbolic marches towards the border and express adherence to the right of return.

- The Conference supports all projects emanating from the inside, foremost of which is the major march of return in the Gaza Strip to uphold the rights and to carry out supporting activities.

These steps are based on the principle that the right of return is a collective and individual right not subject to statute of limitations. This right is inherited and irrevocable, and is consistent with the Palestinian people abroad, which since their expulsion in 1948 have declared their absolute adherence to all their established rights in historic Palestine and not to abandon those rights. Striving in all places where it is within the available means to restore those rights and stand firm in the face of all conspiracies that try to undermine them and trample them, and emphasize the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine.

(Edited slightly for style and clarity by TML)

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