December 15, 2018 - No. 44
Arrest of Huawei
Executive and the Rule of Law
Beware of Liberal
Illusions that Canada
Abides by the Rule of Law
Tactic by U.S. with Canadian Appeasement
- Anne Jamieson -
• Legal Issues Involved in the
Canada-U.S. Extradition Treaty
in Defence of Hereditary Rights
• Indigenous Youth Action in Ottawa Demands
Respect for Hereditary Rights
• Chiefs Decry
Flawed Consultation Process
• Apology Demanded from PM Trudeau
for Comments to
Secretary-Treasurer Kukpi7 Judy Wilson
- Open Letter, Union of BC Indian Chiefs -
• Minister Bennett's False
Statements Regarding the "Joint Development" of a New Specific
Claims Process Condemned
- Union of BC Indian Chiefs -
• Grassy Narrows Youth Demand Action
and Compensation For Canada's Crimes Against Them and Their
- Philip Fernandez -
• Canada Must Respect the Rights of
Unist'ot'en Land Defenders
UN Compact for Safe,
Orderly and Regular Migration
• There Is Nothing Safe, Orderly or
Regular About Migration Today
- Margaret Villamizar and Hilary LeBlanc -
• For Your Information
Against Criminalization of Migrants in U.S.
• Trump Authorizes Lethal Force by
Troops at the Border
- Voice of Revolution -
• United Actions Affirm Migrant
• The Landscape of Immigration
Detention in the U.S.
- Emily Ryo, J.D., Ph.D. and Ian Peacock, M.A.,
Immigration Council -
"Yellow Vest" Movement
• Working People Protest Neo-Liberal Austerity
Uphold the Rights of All
- Michael Chant -
Departure of Cuban
Doctors from Brazil
• Cuba Shows How Things Can Be Done Differently
• Note to Readers
Arrest of Huawei Executive and the Rule
Beware of Liberal Illusions that Canada
Abides by the Rule of
Using the Extradition Treaty between Canada and the
United States, the U.S. got Canada to arrest Meng Wanzhou, the chief
financial officer of Huawei, the world's largest telecommunications
equipment manufacturer and the second largest smartphone manufacturer
after Samsung. She was arrested when she changed planes in Vancouver en
route to Mexico. The U.S. is seeking her extradition on
allegations that she tried to bypass American trade sanctions on Iran.
At the same time, the U.S. Congress and U.S. Homeland Security and the
"Five Eyes" intelligence services are striving to dictate the outcome
of Canada's 5G wireless infrastructure claiming that Huawei cannot be
let in. This, in turn, is claimed to be a matter of national security
because Huawei's communications technology "contains spyware and could
be weaponized by the Chinese state," Global
Meng was granted bail for
$10 million on December 11. She will live in Vancouver under electronic
surveillance. In the meantime, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that
he was ready to step into the case if it meant getting a good trade
deal with China. In an interview with Reuters, Trump claimed he could
dispense with the extradition hearings, saying, "If I think it's good
for the country, if I think it's good for what will be certainly the
largest trade deal ever made -- which is a very important thing --
what's good for national security -- I would certainly intervene if I
thought it was necessary." In response to this, Canada's Foreign
Minister Chrystia Freeland made remarks on December 13 that countries
seeking extraditions from Canada must make sure their requests are
solely about seeing that justice is done. Her claim was that Canada
upholds the rule of law which does not brook political interference. Global News reported Freeland
saying that Canada needs to take seriously requests for extradition
from close allies like the United States, and that those countries also
have a responsibility to be astute in their handling of those requests.
She remained silent about the dangers posed to world order when the
U.S. applies its dictate against others.
If the U.S. is serious about wanting her extradited,
officials there need to file a formal extradition request by the end of
January 2019, Amanda Connolly, National Online Journalist for Global News, writes. After that,
the Canadian Department of Justice will have 30 days to decide whether
to approve the beginning of formal extradition proceedings. If the
request is allowed to proceed, Meng will be back in court for an
extradition hearing before the BC Supreme Court.
In terms of how the U.S. uses legislative powers on
behalf of its competing oligarchs, in an August 20 filing to the U.S.
Federal Trade Commission hearing on "Competition and Consumer
Protection in the 21st Century" Huawei says this about the "national
THE U.S. GOVERNMENT HAS
INTERVENED SUBSTANTIALLY IN HUAWEI’S U.S. BUSINESSES
Although Huawei has developed an international
reputation for affordable, quality products, the fact that Huawei is
one of "the first Chinese companies to emerge as a global powerhouse"
has precipitated exclusionary practices by the U.S. government on the
purported basis of unsubstantiated national security concerns.
Huawei has no state ownership and operates independently
of the Chinese government -- as evidenced by the widespread use of
Huawei’s products in over 170 countries across the world, including by
close U.S. allies, without undermining any nation’s security. Yet, in
the U.S., Huawei still faces ungrounded allegations of state
interference. As a result, continual agitation and interference by U.S.
government agencies and officials, as described above, have stymied,
and continue to stymie, Huawei’s U.S. businesses and operations.
The U.S. government is currently proposing to further
restrict Huawei’s U.S. businesses through increasingly broad measures.
Again as noted above, in April 2018, the FCC [Federal Communications
Commission] issued its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in response to a
letter by 18 members of Congress raising questions about Huawei and
ZTE, to consider a rule that would prohibit the use of funds from the
Universal Service Fund to purchase equipment or services from "any
communications equipment or service providers identified as posing a
national security risk to communications networks or the communications
The preamble to the FCC’s proposed rule calls out just a
few companies -- including Huawei -- by name.
Moreover, the National
Act for Fiscal Year 2019, which was
enacted on August 13, 2018, will, among other things, bar all federal
agencies from contracting with any entity that uses equipment or
services produced or provided by Huawei or ZTE as a "substantial or
essential component ... or as critical technology as part of any
During a panel on CTV's Question Period, John Manley,
Minister in the government of Jean Chrétien, President and CEO
Business Council of Canada and a member of Telus' Board of Directors,
addressed Trump's tweet about trade negotiations being leveraged by the
arrest as the opening to Huawei's legal arguments. He said, "I think
actually the president has given Ms. Meng's lawyers quite a good reason
to go to the court and say, 'This is not an extradition matter. This is
actually leverage in a trade dispute and it's got nothing to do with
Canada. It's got nothing to do with trade with Iran. Let's call this
what it is -- it's an attempt to get China to buy more soy beans from
the mid-western United States.' And call it a day." He also
suggested that when Canada got the instruction to arrest her for an
extradition hearing, it should have conducted some "creative
incompetence" by pretending that they missed the CFO (when she was
changing planes) rather than getting ensnared.
U.S. Imperialist Powers Exercised in the Name of
Rule of Law
The global oligarchs and big powers manipulate global
including prices and demand and supply, to serve their narrow
private interests and even impose blockades and extraterritorial
sanctions and laws against particular nations, such as the U.S.
imperialists have imposed against Iran. They have unilaterally
torn up an agreement which several other countries besides Iran
were party to and demand that all obey their dictate or face
attack. And all of this is done in the name of the rule of law!
Governments, politicians and monopoly-owned media chime in to
repeat that it is a matter of national security. They declare
that the dangers are posed by the likes of Iran, China or any
other country or individual that it suits their interests to
eliminate if they refuse to submit to their dictate. Threats of using
U.S. imperialist economic and military might to serve narrow private
interests in the name of defending rule of law, democracy, peace and
good government shows who poses the problem to everyone's national
security. This case brings that to the fore in a big way.
The current U.S. dictators tore up
an arrangement the previous U.S. dictators made with Iran and are
attacking all countries and their business people that want to have and
are pursuing independent relations with Iran, as is their right. The
humiliating spectacle of a Huawei executive imprisoned in Canada at the
behest of the U.S. imperialists, who claim to be implementing an
extradition treaty with Canada, merely shows that they find whatever
means serve them to exercise extraterritorial powers. It makes a
mockery of talk about legality and speaks to the necessity of having an
independent political system and arrangements that extricate Canadians
from U.S. Homeland Security and the U.S. war economy. An independent
political system would necessarily revoke treaties and arrangements
which are self-serving. It would take into account the right to control
Canada's economy, including investments, the production and
distribution of Canada's natural resources and trade with all other
countries for mutual development and benefit under the internationalist
banner of one world, one humanity.
Besides using the arrest as leverage in its own
unprincipled negotiations on the trade deal with China, it is clear
that at the centre of the arrest of the Huawei executive lies U.S.
imperialist opposition to allowing Huawei Technologies to take part in
developing Canada's 5G telecommunications network, which is expected to
enable much faster connections and greater data capacity.
Infrastructure Minister François-Philippe Champagne says it is a
matter of "national security."
"Canada must be prudent and rely on the input of its
intelligence services before ruling on whether the Chinese firm
should be involved in the next-generation wireless communication
system," Champagne said December 10, during a roundtable interview
the Canadian Press (CP), the news agency reports.
"We understand that there are concerns and we need to
properly assess whatever risk, or benefits, that there might be,"
CP reports, "Former security officials
in Canada and two
members of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence have
warned that Huawei's participation could compromise the security
of Canada and its closest allies. The thinking is that the
Chinese company could build spying capabilities into equipment it
For its part, "Huawei stresses it is not a
company and denies engaging in intelligence work on behalf of any
Three of Canada's partners in the "Five Eyes"
intelligence-sharing group -- the United States, Australia and
New Zealand -- have forbidden the use of Huawei products in 5G
network development in their countries, CP says.
"I think prudence is the right approach when it comes
complex national security issues like that, when it comes to
networks," Champagne told CP. "Canada is a welcoming place for
investors, but clearly our national security always comes
Meanwhile Scott Jones, the head of Canada's new cyber
security centre, told CP:
"We're doing a
comprehensive review of how do we
the 5G technology shift, but the broader cyber security
environment as well, and making sure that we're prepared as a
nation for what we have to face."
There is, however, nothing prudent about arresting
Huawei's chief financial officer on behalf of the U.S. imperialists. To
say it has "only heightened tensions around the issue," as CP does, is
a serious understatement. It is a U.S. declaration of war,
not just against any country that refuses to submit to its
demands to dominate the world, but any individual as well, and
China is responding in like kind. The U.S. justifies such
egregious abuse of power by claiming Meng Wanzhou is wanted on
proper grounds for having violated U.S. law and Canada stands
behind its claim that this is all being legally conducted under a
bilateral extradition treaty and it will make sure everything is
This is the argument the Prime Minister of Canada is
"We are a country of the rule of law," he said. "We
to our international obligations and we trust our courts to do
the right thing."
"Doing the right thing" is Canada's specialty. We
American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier, arrested in
Canada on February 6, 1976 and extradited from Canada in December
of the same year on the basis of a false affidavit signed by
Myrtle Poor Bear, a Native American woman known to have serious
mental health problems. In that case Canada justified its refusal
to take a just stand by seeking assurances Peltier would not face
the death penalty in the United States since that would not fit
the terms of its Extradition Treaty with the United States. The
assurances were given and Peltier was sent back to the U.S.,
where he was convicted on trumped up evidence of the murders of
two FBI agents and sentenced to life in prison. His extradition,
convictions and imprisonment remain one of the crimes of the 20th
and 21st centuries for which both Canada and the United States have yet
to be held to account.
Even Warren Allmand, Liberal
Attorney General under
watch this travesty of justice was carried out, rued the day he
signed that extradition order. Who will hold Canada to account
for condemning an innocent man to life in prison on fabricated
Attempts to give credence to a rule of law which is
depraved from A to Z has become a matter of very serious concern.
All kinds of attempts are being made to defend liberal democratic
notions of peace, order and good government, enshrined in the
rule of law, as if this is the antidote to the egregious abuses
of power we see in spades today. These ring increasingly
hollow the more evident it becomes that the system called liberal
democracy is precisely the one which has broken down and is
carrying out and condoning all these abuses. It goes to show that
warmongers and appeasers have become one and the same.
Despicable Tactic by U.S. with
The arrest and incarceration in Vancouver of Meng
Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the prominent Chinese
telecommunications company Huawei, is
a stark illustration of the lengths to which the U.S. administration
will go -- with the willing (but not wanting to appear so) appeasement
of the Canadian government -- to "make America
great again." The desperate campaign for economic supremacy at the
global level by the U.S.-based oligarchy is at the
heart of this act and others like it -- contrary to hastily
constructed claims by some of its supporters in Canada that the
arrest is merely a judicial matter having nothing to do with
politics and trade. Actually it has everything to do with the U.S. and
its intensifying trade war with China; and with the striving by
the U.S. administration to be the dominant player over the other
"Five Eyes" in an Anglo-American arrangement to exert economic,
political, and military control on a world scale.
In the TML Weekly article "Peoples of
the World Oppose Those Who
Make a Mockery of Human Rights Based on Ulterior Motives," the author points out
more egregious ways are used by the old forces -- those who usurp
power by force -- to maintain hegemony, all in the name of
defending democracy and human rights, or in the name of opposing
corruption and fraud, or defining national interest. The
arrest of the CFO of Huawei is a glaring example of what the
author has identified, on the part of these old forces, as a
nefarious "turning their attention to rival business
representatives whom they humiliate and criminalize because they
[the business representatives] have their own interests and
refuse to submit to their hegemony."
The arrest and detention of Ms. Meng was in itself an
humiliate her as a representative of Huawei, a large Chinese
telecommunications company that is potentially outstripping the
U.S. in the development of "fifth generation" (5G)
telecommunications hardware. The arrest and humiliation of this
representative was calculated to shake confidence among investors
in this company and persuade universities and corporations like
Telus in Canada not to do business with it.
Ms. Meng was
manhandled by security personnel in a manner that would be
subject to court action for assault in other circumstances; she
was also manacled like a criminal; she is required to wear an
ankle bracelet and is under house arrest while proceedings for
extradition by the U.S. may go ahead; she and supporters had to
pay a huge bail. In addition, the house in which she is required
to stay for certain hours of the day as a condition of bail was
pictured in the Vancouver Sun;
street and location were printed
for all to see. Early in the morning on December 9, while bail
proceedings were still in progress, the house was broken into.
This could suggest a Watergate-type of break-in -- the "suspects"
ran away when someone in the house discovered them. At the very least
this was an invitation to burglary or harassment.
Bogeyman of "Cyber Security"
Politicians and commentators are citing "national
and, specifically, "cyber security." It is not coincidental that
in late November parliamentarians in Canada raised the potential
"danger" of corporations and entities
doing business with Huawei. Conservative MP Peter Kent, in his
address, referred to an article in the Wall Street Journal,
stating "the U.S. government is reaching out to its foreign
allies urging them to avoid using telecommunications equipment
Conservative MP Pierre Paul-Hus said "most of our allies have
made it very clear that they see Huawei as a threat, whether it's
financial or otherwise." Weighing in also was Bob Zimmerman,
Conservative MP, who said "the former is a close colleague and I
would agree with him." Matthew Dubé, NDP MP, said "Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale
should take comments coming from Canada's allies seriously." While
said that he is not convinced by Scott Jones, head of Canada's
Communications Security Establishment (CSE),
"who provided information on the government having testing
facilities for Huawei technology," he was
equivocal, adding "we have other allies ... that have seemed
to find a way to work with them [Huawei] in a constructive way
that ensures security. That's why my response has been on the
fence about this."
The above-mentioned parliamentarians are members of the
House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National
Security (SECU) and the Canada-United States Inter-parliamentary
Group. They claim that Huawei representatives have "lobbied"
or approached them in the past to oppose the attempted U.S.
blockade against this company. They also claim that they
"were not approached by U.S. officials," although Kent admitted, "I
know that colleagues have been [approached] on the appropriate
The issue of "cyber security" is being raised as a
bogeyman to frighten and fool Canadians into supporting the
agenda of the U.S. oligarchy to attain economic, political, and
military supremacy on a world scale. This oligarchy sees the
development and monopoly of 5G telecommunication hardware as key
to carrying out this agenda, along with the suppression or
weakening of a rival power in this domain.
Canadians cannot be so easily fooled. In 2013, a mere
ago or so, Edward Snowden, former CIA employee and
contractor for the U.S. government, copied and leaked thousands
of classified documents from the National Security Agency (NSA),
revealing that the U.S. government was conducting extensive
surveillance over its own citizens through phone and internet
records. This is the same U.S. that some parliamentarians would
have Canadians trust with surveillance capabilities (and actual
activities) over their internet use here. As for the accusations
that Huawei is too close to the Chinese government (and thus the
Chinese government could potentially bring the North American
economy to a standstill through hardware bought from Huawei),
what about the fact that monopolies like Facebook and others are
being used by the state in both the U.S. and Canada to spy on their own
citizens with the objective of exerting control?
The Canadian people will see through the fraud being
perpetrated by the U.S. oligarchy and its accomplices in Canada,
in the name of defending "national security," and will not get drawn
into supporting this or any other agenda that is against their own
interests. The real issue is that with actual sovereignty and
independence, the Canadian people would be capable of exercising
control over their own lives and not be subject to control from
Weekly article by Pauline Easton, December 8, 2018.
2. mobilesyrup, November, 2018.
Legal Issues Involved in the Canada-U.S.
To inform readers of the legal issues involved in the
Canada-U.S. Extradition Treaty as they relate to the case of Meng
Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer, TML Weekly is
reproducing below an article by Robert J. Currie, published in the Globe
Mail on December 9. Professor Currie
Dalhousie University's Schulich School of Law, where he
specializes in transnational criminal law and inter-state
criminal co-operation. His article clearly pinpoints the wiggle room
Canada has in this case were it to show any backbone.
However, based on all the evidence of who rules Canada, pinning
hopes on the inter-imperialist contradictions, raging
on every front, being sorted out based on a rule of law that does
not see justice done, seems neither wise nor sane.
Canada upholds a rule of law worthy of the name is not only a
false ideological belief but a dangerous false ideological
belief. These developments reveal something about the ever
greater dangers which lie ahead for not only Canada but the
entire world. They require a sober assessment of what's what and
to identify the practical measures the working people can and
must take to avert these dangers.
"Canada's Legal System Better Stand up to Scrutiny,"
Robert J. Currie, Globe and Mail,
When reports emerged that Canadian authorities arrested
Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in
Vancouver on December 1, it immediately became an international
incident. Ms. Meng, the daughter of the founder of the Chinese
telecom giant, is apparently wanted in the U.S. on charges
arising from a New York-based federal investigation into Huawei,
relating to the alleged shipment of U.S.-sourced goods to Iran in
violation of American sanctions. The Chinese embassy in Canada
has already reacted furiously, and the international community,
especially in the United States, is watching closely.
This case presents an interesting entanglement of
political and diplomatic issues. The legal issues are perhaps the
least familiar to most but also the most ordinary; under the
Canada-U.S. extradition treaty, Canadian authorities are bound to
arrest individuals known to be in Canada at the request of their
American counterparts. The timing of the arrest -- while Ms. Meng
was changing planes -- suggests Vancouver police were "tipped
off" in advance about her presence there, but this is not
unusual. Nor is the fact that the arrest was of a foreign
national, since extradition is very often sought for people who
have fled the scene of their alleged crimes, and such people are
just as likely to be foreign citizens as they are to be
Canadians. Ms. Meng is likely to receive bail when the hearing
continues on Monday [December 10], unless the court can be convinced
is a flight risk, and at the very least she will have to
surrender her passport and live under restrictions.
So what comes next? With all eyes firmly on Canada
arrest -- possibly the most international scrutiny that our legal
system has ever faced -- our extradition laws, and the people in
charge of them, will be under the microscope. And Canadian
officials will no doubt be uncomfortable until they know that
they have crossed every single T and dotted every last i.
While a number of preliminary legal steps might be
there will, at some point, be a court hearing at which the U.S.
will be required to produce to a Canadian court a certified
summary of the evidence that supports the laying of the
Another requirement to be met is "double criminality,"
means the court must find that the crime for which Ms. Meng is
sought also amounts to a crime in Canada in order for extradition
to be completed.
At the moment it appears that the basis of the U.S.
fraud and conspiracy to defraud, with some relation to breach of
sanctions. Fraud offences are known to Canadian law, and under
our Special Economic Measures Act, it is an offence to
have economic dealings with foreign states against which the
government has issued sanctions, and Iran is one of the listed
states. While this may be a parallel to the relevant U.S. laws,
one important difference is that Canada's law is not applied
against foreign nationals who act outside Canada, whereas it
appears the U.S. is pursuing Ms. Meng for conduct that did not
touch American territory. Moreover, sanctions are as much a tool
of foreign policy as they are a form of regulation, and an
extradition case on this basis will be breaking new ground, and
Under Canada's Extradition Act, the decision
whether extradition is available in cases with these kinds of
differences in territorial jurisdiction is made not by the
courts, but by the federal Minister of Justice, Jody
Wilson-Raybould. In fact, the Minister's role involves a heavily
intertwined set of political and legal functions. She will
already have approved the arrest of Ms. Meng on the extradition
request; lawyers in her department will represent the U.S.
government before the Canadian courts; and she will make the
ultimate "surrender decision" about extradition after the fairly
perfunctory court process is completed. In making the surrender
decision, the Minister must balance a complex set of factors,
including Canada's obligation to extradite under the treaty and
whether there are any human rights concerns that might make
extradition unlawful. If the U.S. prosecutors seek harsh
penalties, Ms. Meng's lawyers might very well argue that
surrendering her would be oppressive and breach the Canadian Charter
of Rights and Freedoms.
Much rests then on the Justice Minister's decision.
high-stakes choices Ms. Wilson-Raybould now faces are complicated
by the necessity to weigh Canada's political and diplomatic
relationships. Court reviews of these decisions tend to be very
deferential because of the presence of these factors; Canada has
a long history of co-operation with the U.S., and in virtually
all cases the minister is highly disposed to order extradition,
because such neighbourliness makes for smooth relations. In fact,
as critics have asserted, Canada's entire extradition regime is
heavily tilted toward surrenders going through, and it takes the
presence of quite extraordinary factors to scotch a request.
But this is, indeed, an extraordinary situation. China
expected to continue exerting significant pressure on Canada to
release Ms. Meng, at a time when the Trudeau government is not
only pursuing more trade links with China but preparing to
negotiate an extradition treaty between the two countries. China
has already taken diplomatic steps to indicate its displeasure,
and the prospect of other forms of retaliation is highly likely.
On the other side is the U.S. government and its increasingly hot
trade war with China, as well as the increasing pressure by
Canada's Five Eyes partners to shun Huawei due to security
concerns. Anything less than an enthusiastic and quick
extradition will doubtless raise the ire of the Trump
administration, which will expect Canada to fall in line in what
it will doubtless frame as a straightforward criminal case (even
though it is likely anything but).
Bold Stands in Defence of Hereditary
Indigenous Youth Action in Ottawa Demands
An estimated 300 people, mainly youth, gathered on
Parliament Hill on December 4, among them drummers and representatives
of Indigenous organizations from many parts of the country who
came to express their opposition to the Trudeau government's
framework on Indigenous rights.
The event was organized by the
youth, who wanted to send a strong message to the Trudeau
government and delegates at the Special Chiefs Assembly of the Assembly
of First Nations taking place in Ottawa, that the framework is
Many of the speakers at the event as well as poets,
singers and drummers, were young people who expressed their
anger at the Trudeau government for attacking the hereditary rights
of Indigenous nations. Some elders who spoke
praised the youth for taking this courageous stand. Some
Regional Chiefs attending the Special Chiefs
Assembly participated in the rally to stand with the youth.
First Nation said the
government "took four months to consult with 633 First Nations, which
Sewell said the Liberals' approach to developing the
framework, which involved unilaterally developing 10 principles
to follow during its engagement with Indigenous groups, is
"In order for us to move forward and create our own
governance and get back to where we were, we need to lead that
process. It cannot be Canada telling us what to do once
again," she said.
Delaware Nation youth Kamryn White-Eye in her speech at
the rally presented her analysis of Canada's "decolonization"
She said youth have been left out of a dialogue that
ultimately could change their future.
"The principles stress the superiority of Canada's
constitutional framework while limiting self-determination for
our people. Principle four suggests that Indigenous peoples are
foundational to Canada's constitutional framework and motions
toward pushing First Nation rights under the Canadian
constitution," she said.
White-Eye's comment touches on a larger issue that has
repeatedly come to the fore at recent Assembly of First Nations
"As Indigenous people we are born embedded into the
land is sacred to our people and is the location of our spiritual
reality," White-Eye told the gathering, held on unceded Algonquin
"We need the government to know and understand that we
not give up our lands at any cost."
The youth then marched down Wellington St. past the
Minister's Office where they stopped to shout slogans such as "Stop
the Framework" and "We do not Consent," and then continued down
Wellington St. to the Westin Hotel where the Assembly of First
Nations was holding the Assembly of Chiefs. As the march arrived
some of the delegates to the conference came out to greet them
and to thank them for taking this action.
Rallies were held in other cities to coincide with
one and to express the same demands.
Chiefs Decry Flawed Consultation Process
Some 500 Chiefs were present at the Chiefs Assembly
organized by the Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa, December
4-6. On December 4, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a
speech there, that was followed by questions in which he accompanied
known "I'm Sorry" refrain with another rendering of how well the
Liberals are doing in meeting their promises given the challenges
they face. The unmitigated arrogance of those who think others
are inferior then manifested itself when confronted with the
essence of the matter by the Chiefs present.
Youth addresses Assembly of First Nations' Chiefs
Assembly, December 4, 2018,
calling on them to Stop
During his speech, on the issue of the government's
properly consult on the Trans Mountain project, Trudeau said, "I
could explain and try to justify it by saying we are starting
from a standing start [taking over] from a government that hadn't
done any consultations adequately over 10 years. But that's not
good enough as a reason. I apologize for that. We didn't do a
good enough job."
He said that was why his government appointed retired
Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci to lead the new round of
consultations to get it right. He once again pledged to continue
mending Canada's relationship with Indigenous peoples, which had
been damaged by actions that began before the birth of the
"The legacies of colonialism took more than 400 years
create, so change won't come overnight," said Trudeau. "But with
every positive step forward, we advance a little further along
the right path. Each step forward, each water advisory lifted,
each school built, is a sign that we're on the right track."
Trudeau cited recent announcements to co-develop child
welfare legislation with Indigenous groups and to overhaul
Canada's historical land claims process. He also touted
the government's progress on lifting some of the drinking water
advisories in First Nations communities and its work toward
legislation permitting the use of Indigenous languages in
Parliament as markers of the Liberals' progress after three years
in power, APTN reported.
Following his presentation,
Neskonlith Nation Chief Kukpi7 Judy Wilson addressed the Prime Minister
saying that mutual
benefit agreements signed by some First Nations on the Trans
Mountain project did not amount to the consent of the people.
Dealing with elected Indian
Act chiefs and councils
didn't amount to the consent of the proper title-holders in her
territory of Secwepemcul'ecw, the Neskonlith Chief said.
"You can't count a few [impact and benefit agreements]
you've done with some of the communities as consent, because it's
the proper title-holders of those nations that hold the
title," Chief Wilson said. She suggested some bands who signed
agreements with Kinder Morgan might have been "under duress" when
agreeing to a pipeline that many believe poses significant
environmental and health risks.
"We have to get to a proper process of consent, prime
minister," she said.
The pipeline crosses about 513 km of the Secwepemc
which Neskonlith is a member, APTN pointed out.
Trudeau then arrogantly addressed Wilson by her first
and told her that she should be "careful" about "minimizing" positions
taken by other First Nations that "disagree" with her. "We put
forward a ... renewed process to actually have strong and engaged
conversations," said Trudeau. He told her she was "minimizing or
reasons for people who take positions that disagree with
"I think there are lots of reasons and I think we
respect people's choices to support or not support people's
choices just because they disagree with you," he said.
Coldwater Indian Band Chief
Lee Spahan of the
Nation also told Trudeau his community still hasn't been
consulted on Trans Mountain, which would run through their
aquifer if built. Spahan said the situation amounted to "Canada's
unremedied breach of fiduciary duty and the ongoing trespass of
the pipeline on my reserve," adding "the consultation process is
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs subsequently wrote the
Minister an Open Letter (published below) denouncing his
condescending and sexist attitude towards Chief Wilson as well as
another statement (also published below) denouncing the inaccurate
and misleading statements made by Minister Carolyn Bennett to the
CBC and to the chiefs gathered at a meeting of the Assembly of
First Nations. Minister Bennett falsely stated that the specific
claims process is being "overhauled" in favour of a new regime
that has been jointly developed by First Nations.
Apology Demanded from PM Trudeau for Comments to
Secretary-Treasurer Kukpi7 Judy Wilson
Protest on Burnaby, April 7, 2018, affirms "No Consent, No Pipeline."
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau:
We are writing to convey our absolute condemnation of
condescending and sexist response to UBCIC [Union of BC Indian Chiefs]
Kukpi7 Judy Wilson yesterday afternoon [December 4] during the Assembly
First Nations meeting in Ottawa, Ontario.
Following your speech to the Assembly, Kukpi7 Wilson
questioned you on Canada's decision to proceed with the Trans
Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX) despite a lack of consent from
all impacted communities. Her question was clear, simple and
In stark contrast, your comments were patronizing and
offensive, as well as threatening. You responded by using her
first name, which was completely disrespectful and ignored
protocol. You stated, "I would be careful about minimizing or
ascribing reasons for people who take positions that disagree
with you ... I don't think we should be criticizing them, just
because they disagree with you, Judy." You completely minimized
the legitimate concerns that she was addressing around the lack
of Indigenous consent and instead indicated that her concerns
were personal in nature, an overtly sexist approach that
attempted to normalize your dismissiveness.
In contrast, when you responded to Chief Lee Spahan's
comments on the flawed Trans Mountain consultation process, you
apologized and said, "We didn't do a good enough job." You also
chose to follow protocol with him, and concluded your response
with "Thank you, Chief," a title, you refused to recognize in
your response to Kukpi7 Wilson.
Before colonization, Indigenous women in Canada were
thought of or treated as worth less than men. Sexual violence and
harassment of Indigenous women was addressed through traditional
laws and systems, and not accepted or expected at a societal
level. Indigenous nations were forced to go through a cultural
and family breakdown as a result of colonization, including a
brutally repressive and genocidal system which created historical
and ongoing trauma, with direct impacts to Indigenous women's
safety and value in society as communities struggled to survive.
Today, Indigenous women still face barriers to having their
voices heard, still must ask to be included in political
discussions that they should be part of, and still must ask for
Prime Minister Trudeau, we understand you call yourself
feminist and that you claim to be committed to reconciliation,
and we question how you could treat Kukpi7 Wilson in such a
dismissive, disdainful and arrogant manner. Your response to her
yesterday, from the highest elected office in the country, runs
the risk of sending a message to Canadians that it's ok to
belittle, berate and lecture female Indigenous leaders. It sends
a message that it's ok to continue these attacks towards our
Indigenous women whether it is in the boardroom, meetings or
dealing with issues on the land, and it runs the grave risk of
discouraging Indigenous women to stand up to defend
In the wake of your comments, many people have
Kukpi7 Wilson to offer their support including Senators, Chiefs,
Advisors and Policy Staff, who witnessed in person or on-line,
and who took offence to her treatment. We are grateful and
inspired by this support.
If your standard for moving forward is the "least,
as you stated yesterday, then we do not think that you have
achieved even that in your treatment of Kukpi7 Wilson.
We demand a full and immediate apology.
On behalf of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President
Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer
Minister Bennett's False Statements Regarding
Development" of a New Specific
Claims Process Condemned
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) unequivocally
inaccurate and misleading statements made by Minister Carolyn
Bennett to the national media and to the chiefs gathered at a
meeting of the Assembly of First Nations [AFN]. Minister Bennett has
falsely stated that the specific claims process is being
"overhauled" in favour of a new regime that has been jointly
developed by First Nations.
Minister Bennett spoke to the CBC [on September 3] and
[on September 4] to over 500 Chiefs attending the AFN Special Assembly
in Ottawa, announcing that a new specific claims process has
effectively been developed with the full cooperation of First Nations,
and that this new process will emphasize collaboration and abandon the
focus on Canada having breached its lawful obligations to First Nations.
These statements are absolutely false. The UBCIC and
Specific Claims Working Group are deeply concerned that Canada is
continuing its longstanding pattern of unilateral action and
willful misrepresentation regarding specific claims reform.
For the past two years, First Nations and their
representative organizations have been in discussions regarding
specific claims reform, following a damning report in 2016 by the
Office of the Auditor General which concluded that the Specific
Claims Branch was grossly mismanaging the specific claims process
and creating significant new barriers to the resolution of
hundreds of historic land-related grievances.
First Nations have identified Canada's conflict of
as the largest barrier to claims resolution, as Canada
adjudicates claims against itself. First Nations and their
representatives have been in discussions with Canada stressing
the need to develop a new, independent process which adheres to
the principles in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples. First Nations were promised that Canada had
forwarded a proposal for an independent process to Cabinet for
consideration, but there has been no movement forward for
Never have First Nations agreed to rid the process of
legal framework; the basis of specific claims is that Canada
broke its own laws to protect Indigenous lands and assets and
that Canada has outstanding lawful obligations to First Nations
that must be addressed.
As such, First Nations now have to ask: What is this
process the Minister describes?
Meanwhile, the problems that have plagued the specific
process for years continue to go unaddressed. For example:
Specific claims research funding, cut by 30 to 40 per
nationwide by the Harper government in 2014, has not been
restored, and the lack of funds means that many First Nations
continue to be denied access to justice. As well, Canada is
missing its own legislated three-year timelines to inform First
Nations if their claims will be accepted for negotiations. While
Canada downplays its missed deadlines by providing First Nations
the option of taking their claims to the Specific Claims
Tribunal, the appeal process for claims resolution created
through legislation in 2008, Canada is refusing to provide First
Nations with necessary funding to participate at the Tribunal,
giving the majority of First Nations no recourse.
In the Auditor's 2016 report, it was noted that Canada
repeatedly overstated its progress and achievements on specific
claims. Following the report and the demands for accountability,
First Nations hoped, cautiously, for an era of transparency and
genuine cooperation. Minister Bennett's comments demonstrate that
no such era has arrived. In fact, the inequities of specific
claims reform may be continuing to worsen.
The UBCIC and the BC Specific Claims Working Group echo
sentiments of a late resolution that is on the floor today at the
Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly: we condemn any
unilateral action by Canada. Further, we repeat the longstanding
call for an independent specific claims process and demand that
Canada move forward on its promise to support engagement to
create one. Only an independent process will be able to resolve
the conflict of interest that has resulted in the bias, inequity,
delay, and unilateralism that have undermined specific claims
processes for over 50 years.
Grassy Narrows Youth Demand Action and Compensation For
Canada's Crimes Against
Them and Their Community
Grassy Narrows youth take their demands to Parliament Hill, December 6,
A ground-breaking new report commissioned by
Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows First
Nation), released on December 5, presents irrefutable evidence that
children and mothers of Grassy Narrows are suffering myriad and
serious ongoing health problems as a result of consuming fish
from the mercury-contaminated English-Wabigoon river system that
runs through their territory. The report, prepared by well-known
mercury expert Dr. Donna Mergler underlines that the people of Grassy
Narrows are up to six times more likely to have debilitating
health issues, such as allergies, asthma, neurological disorders, ear
infection, vision difficulties and other health issues which lead
to depression and mental health issues that are among the
main reasons for suicide among the youth of the community.
Grassy Narrows is located about 100 kilometres
Kenora. In the 1960s and '70s, the former owners of a mill,
located upstream from the community, in Dryden, dumped industrial
effluent containing mercury into the English-Wabigoon river
system, causing long-term health problems for the community and
wrecking the livelihoods of the people who earned their living
as fishing guides.
A report earlier this year focussing on the adults of
First Nation showed that only 21 per cent of people in Grassy
Narrows reported their health as being "good or excellent,"
compared to 40 per cent in other Ontario First Nation
communities, and 60 per cent of non-Indigenous people in
The report also underscores the levels of poverty
the community, noting that among mothers of children 4-11 years
old, half have incomes of less than $20,000, and two-thirds live
with daily food insecurity.
Grassy Narrows Chief Rudy Turtle once again demanded
and compensation from the federal government after the release of
I am calling on Trudeau to
commit today to fairly
all our people for the ongoing mercury crisis which has impacted
yet another generation of our children decades after it should
have been stopped ... Support us in ensuring that our bright
children can expect the same successful futures that other
children in Canada take for granted by urgently implementing all
of Dr. Mergler's recommendations, including programs for food
security and extra resources for the school.
Rodney Bruce Jr., a 24-year-old youth in the community,
recently stated: "I've always been taught that if you do
something wrong, you have to fix it. And I believe Trudeau and
government have to step up and do what's right by compensating
everyone on the English and Wabigoon Rivers."
Government after government, both in Ontario and at the
federal level, have carried out one study after another but have
done nothing to declare a state of emergency and take the
warranted action to ensure the health and well-being and right to
be of the Ojibway people of Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum
According to Prime Minister
January 17, 2017 statement the crisis in Grassy Narrows is a
priority for his government and his government would "deal
with this issue once and for all." It is scandalous that an internal
issued by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada right after
Trudeau's "pledge" stated that in Grassy Narrows "no children
were at risk" and that "[a]ccording to Health Canada, and their
review of the health and mercury related data accumulated over
the past 45 years, there is no data to confirm whether there is a
greater rate of disability or significant health problems, in
comparison to other First Nations, in Grassy Narrows at this
time." The briefing note goes on to state that "Health Canada is
responsible for, and is actively, monitoring water quality, the
safety of the food supply and health risks to the community"
The previous Harper government even suspended
the English-Wabigoon River by Health Canada altogether.
It is criminal that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
stated, "Canada will continue to call out the unfair treatment of
racial and ethnic minorities, of women and girls, of Indigenous
peoples," at the United Nations Nelson Mandela Forum on September 24,
when people's actual experience shows that these are empty words and
that the opposite is true.
To date some five per cent of the members of the
community have received compensation for the suffering
they have endured and continue to endure, and paltry compensation at
The Grassy Narrows youth have been at the forefront of
defending their rights as an Indigenous people. They
led Canada's longest-standing Indigenous logging blockade, walked
thousands of kilometres for water protection, and led marches of
thousands in Toronto for mercury justice and too have become
accomplished nurses, teachers, powwow dancers, artists and
In the wake of the newest report, they are calling for
national phone and petition campaign to demand that everyone
"Call PM Trudeau at 613-992-4211 and ask him to take action on
the demands of the community for their rights and to compensate
them for the crimes that have been committed by the Canadian
state to deny them their basic right to be and to have a bright
future for themselves and their community.
Grassy Narrows youth on Parliament Hill, December 6, 2018.
Canada Must Respect the Rights of
March in Vancouver, December 10, 2018.
While some First Nation leaders raised the issue of
at the Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly on
December 4, hereditary chiefs and clan members of the Unist'ot'en
are already exercising it, APTN reports.
With the support of their hereditary chiefs and clan
of the Wet'suwet'en Nation in BC, for the past eight years,
Unist'ot'en chiefs have re-occupied part of their territory in
part to say No! to multiple
proposed pipeline projects that would
run through their lands. On November 26, Coastal GasLink
Pipeline Ltd. -- the TransCanada subsidiary building an LNG
pipeline through Wet'suwet'en territory with the approval of
local Indian Act chiefs and councils -- applied for an
injunction that prohibits the Unist'ot'en from continuing that
occupation of their lands and served the Unist'ot'en camp with
notice for a civil lawsuit. There are now fears that the RCMP
could decide to physically remove the Unist'ot'en from their
lands to make way for the pipeline.
Demonstration at Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd. offices in Vancouver,
December 10, 2018.
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs issued a statement
this move and upholding the hereditary rights of the Unist'ot'en
to protect their territories. "The Unist'ot'en camp is a
non-violent gathering of Indigenous land defenders and members of
the Unist'ot'en house group in Wet'suwet'en territory in northern
BC. Under the authority of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, these
land defenders are actively practicing their inherent Indigenous
Title and Rights to protect the land and pursue their right to
self-determination. Coastal GasLink is seeking an interim,
interlocutory or permanent injunction, as well as financial
damages against the Unist'ot'en land defenders for 'occupying,
obstructing, blocking, physically impeding or delaying access' to
their proposed project site," the statement explains. It
"A central tenant to the standards and rights affirmed
the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which
both Canada and BC have endorsed and committed to implement, is
the right of Indigenous peoples to protect their lands and
territories, to maintain and strengthen their distinctive
spiritual relationship with the lands and to own, use, develop
and control those lands. Article 8 of the UN Declaration calls on
States to provide effective mechanisms for prevention of any
action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing Indigenous
peoples of their lands, territories or resources."
Checkpoint at entrance to Unist'ot'en territory.
TML Weekly joins the Union of BC Indian Chiefs
calling on the Canadian justice system "to uphold the human
rights and dignity of Indigenous peoples. Indigenous land
defenders must be treated with respect and must have their right
to defend their lands and territories from the impacts of
industry and climate change recognized and protected. The federal
and provincial governments, industry and the various policing
agencies have the responsibility to uphold the principles and
standards of the UN Declaration and to respect the inherent Title
and Rights of Indigenous Land Defenders."
Solidarity action in Toronto with Unist'ot'en, December 10, 2018.
UN Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular
There Is Nothing Safe, Orderly or Regular
The biggest ever meeting of UN member states on
international migration was held in Marrakech, Morocco on
December 10-11. The UN's Special Representative for International
Migration, Canadian Louise Arbour, chaired the conference. She
said the initiative "emerged from the intolerable sight of large
numbers of migrants losing their lives, and of a growing
perception that governments had lost control of their
The conference was attended
by over 2,500 participants, including government officials,
representatives of business, labour unions, "civil society," mayors and
others, plus around 800 journalists. The outcome was the approval of a
Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration by 164 of the
193 UN member states. Also referred to as the Marrakech Compact, it
will be presented to the UN General Assembly for its endorsement in the
The Marrakech Conference was convened under the
the United Nations General Assembly and held pursuant to
Resolution 71/1 of September 19, 2016, entitled "New York
Declaration for Refugees and Migrants," which called for
launching a process of intergovernmental negotiations leading to
the adoption of the Global Compact for Migration. Following 18
months of "discussions and consultations" the Global Compact was
in July with the buy-in of UN member states, with the notable
exception of the U.S. which removed itself from the process in
December 2017 saying such a Compact was incompatible with U.S.
Several countries would later follow suit, despite
agreed to the pact that emerged from the negotiations, with a
number of these pulling out of the conference at the very last
minute. Those who refused to sign the Global Compact include:
Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Chile, the Dominican
Republic, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia and
Switzerland. Brazil's incoming Foreign Minister has said that
when president-elect Jair Bolsonaro is installed in January 2019 his
government will withdraw from the pact.
Contents of the Global Compact
The Global Compact sets out 23 objectives in statements
- Minimize the adverse drivers and structural factors
compel people to leave their country of origin.
- Facilitate fair
and ethical recruitment and safeguard conditions that ensure
- Prevent, combat and eradicate trafficking in
persons in the context of international migration.
- Use migration
detention only as a measure of last resort and work towards
- Provide access to basic services for migrants.
Eliminate all forms of discrimination and promote evidence-based
public discourse to shape perceptions of migration.
Each objective contains a commitment, followed by "a
actions considered to be relevant policy instruments and best
practices" for implementing it.
The UN says the Global Compact represents the
framework aimed at fostering greater international cooperation to
better address the complex situation facing the world's 258
million migrants -- 3.4 per cent of its population." Louise
Arbour called the adoption of the Compact "the expression of
multilateralism at its best" and a re-affirmation of the values
and principles embodied in the UN Charter and in international
law. At the same time it was clear she knew there were those who
were not impressed by this assessment. Referring to some of these she
decried what she called "the toxic, ill-informed narrative that too
often persists when it comes to migrants." She repeatedly pointed out
that the document is purely aspirational and contains nothing they
cannot sign. In this regard she reiterated, as did other UN officials,
what the Compact was not:
- It creates no right to
- It places no
imposition on States;
- It does not constitute so-called 'soft' law;
is not legally binding;
- It expressly permits
States to distinguish -- as they see fit -- between regular and
irregular migrants, in accordance with existing international
Fictional Narratives and a Diversionary Debate
Fights taking place within the ruling circles of Europe
the Global Compact are frequently described in terms of "populist,"
"anti-immigrant" and "far right" forces doing battle with those that
have more liberal views on immigration like Germany's Christian
Democratic Union led by Angela Merkel. A November 30 article in Politico titled,
"Under far-right pressure, Europe retreats from
UN migration pact," states:
A previously obscure 34-page, jargon-filled
document is causing political convulsions across Europe -- even
though it's not even legally binding.... From the Netherlands
through Belgium and Germany to Slovakia, the pact has triggered
infighting in ruling parties and governments, with at least one
administration close to [the] breaking point.
fight over the pact is an indication of the crisis in which the
UN and all institutions based on old arrangements are mired. It is
a fact that migration remains a combustible issue across Europe,
three years after the 2015 refugee crisis and with the May 2019
European Parliament election on the horizon. However, to declare that
the problem could be dealt with if only "far-right parties" and some
"mainstream parties" were not so keen to make migration their key
campaign issue is diversionary. According to the current narrative,
"far right parties" are "populist," spawn xenophobia, narrow
nationalism and allegedly appeal to the uneducated strata of working
people who are backward and self-serving. The working people who bear
the brunt of the anti-social offensive which makes the rich richer and
the poor poorer, are blamed as being anti-immigrant or anti-natural
environment. All of it is done to divert attention from the need for
modern definitions of rights and new arrangements which end the clash
between the conditions and the authorities in place. The disinformation
is made complete
when some calling themselves mainstream parties have sought to
steal the so-called thunder of those described as "far right"
parties by also turning against the agreement. Those who claim to be
liberals and centrists have reduced themselves to arguing that the
agreement poses no harm and migration is best handled through
international cooperation which does not in fact exist.
All of it reveals a marked refusal to analyze the
the developments taking place worldwide which have exacerbated a
migration crisis. The unfettered neo-liberal agenda and
inter-imperialist strivings for hegemony as oligopolies and finance
capital maraud and cause peoples to be expropriated, wars, famines, and
every kind of crisis imaginable, are also responsible for the
exacerbation of the migration crisis. New arrangements are
required based on facts of life, not fictional narratives.
Concrete measures which uphold human rights are a matter of life
and death. It is not a matter of passing aspirational documents
in the hopes that they set standards even if they are not legally
The crisis of human rights is in part due to the
nature of the documents, including the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights itself, which permits the greatest violators of human rights to
portray themselves as their greatest defenders. But it is also because
there are no repercussions for human trafficking, new forms of enslaved
labour and attempts to divide the peoples of the world on every
conceivable basis so that their resistance remains ineffective. The
blame-game between a so-called far right and those who are said to be
centrists, left of centre, right of centre or advocates of rules-based
systems is also a serious problem. It has the singular effect of making
sure the peoples of the world can take no initiatives except those
their governments permit. What are called liberal democratic standards
of peace, order and good government are pushed even though in the 21st
century neo-liberal world the interests of the oligopolies have been
politicized and have taken over decision-making at the level of not
only governments but international agencies as well including the UN.
The liberal democratic standards spoken about are not only fictional
but in complete denial that it is precisely these arrangements which
have given rise to the migration crisis in the first place as well as
to what are called far right zealots. The latter also seek to protect a
fictional way of life. Both are incapable of coping with the
conditions that exist and the clash between conditions and authority.
In Canada the cartel
parties in the Parliament
lined up on one side or the other of the diversionary debate. The
Trudeau Liberals speak of the Global Compact in glowing terms. In a
speech to the conference in Morocco, Canada's Minister of Citizenship,
Immigration Ahmed Hussen praised the Compact's support for
"a rules-based international order" and an approach that is
"evidence-based, human rights-based, gender-responsive and
child-sensitive." After listing a number of things Canada is
doing in line with what the Compact advocates, he fired a shot at
the opposition Conservatives saying the Compact was "above
partisan politics" and should not be used as a political weapon,
pointing out that Canada relies on immigration to "help grow our
economy, which helps grow our middle class and our common
prosperity." All of it covers up that Canada's treatment of
immigrants, migrants and those seeking refugee status and asylum
is deplorable. Canada is favouring so-called guest workers -- a new
form of enslaved labour with no right to security,
health care, protection from individuals, agencies and legal
predators who have been given free rein to profit from the new
trafficking in human beings.
Meanwhile Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said that
Global Compact presents a threat to Canada's sovereignty by giving
influence over Canada's immigration system to "foreign entities."
He said it "could open the door to foreign bureaucrats telling
Canada how to manage our borders" -- apparently without irony, as
Canada's integration into U.S. Homeland Security gives foreigners
the right to do just that. Both the Liberals and the NDP accuse
Scheer of fearmongering and misleading Canadians about the
For his part, Maxime Bernier who split from the
to found the rival People's Party of Canada, which is being
promoted to the hilt by the establishment forces as a viable
political choice, sponsored an e-petition to the House of Commons
calling on the government to withdraw from the Global Compact.
Andrew Scheer said if he becomes prime minister he will do just
The UN is attempting to bring order to a situation that
of its control. The interests of powerful economic, social and
military forces associated with neo-liberal globalization are
behind this crisis. The consequences of their striving for
domination include nation-wrecking, wars of aggression and wholescale
destruction of what they cannot control. Recognition of
human rights or rights in any form do not enter into it.
Nonetheless, the UN is appealing to their conscience and calling
on governments in their service to be "good actors" and not "bad
actors" in their approach to dealing with international
migration. Those who are refusing to
sign on to the aspirational Global Compact are denounced for their
"racist," "xenophobic" and "anti-immigrant" attitudes and
policies while those who approve it are praised for upholding
a more humane, "rights-based" approach, representing
multilateralism at its very best.
In other words, the UN is
attempting to make liberal
democracy function and deliver results like a "rules-based
international order" and "human rights" when the conditions for
this do not exist. Those who claim to be the biggest champions of
liberal democracy resort to ruling by police powers with the
likes of NATO and private security agencies taking over on every
front to keep the peoples' forces in check -- both at home and
abroad -- to maintain their own positions of power and privilege.
A Fight Between the Old and the New
Meanwhile, the people's
forces are themselves rising to
their own name, undeterred by the names they are called or the
motives ascribed to them. The peoples' opposition to the
conditions which have been imposed on them will not be contained
by appeals to models of democracy under whose auspices all of the
crimes being committed worldwide are taking place. A modern
democratic personality will emerge from the fight to bring into
being an authority that is consistent with the conditions in
which the modern conception of rights brings in arrangements that
recognize the people as the decision-makers and the makers
of their own history.
The contradictions that have arisen surrounding global
migration and all other problems in today's world cannot be
resolved without the working peoples of the entire world being at
the centre of the solutions. Today, as a result of the
neo-liberal global "labour market," the working people have
become one mighty human force operating to bring about change that
favours them. This is not a fight between the far right and
moderate centre, between barbarism and civilization. It is a
fight between the Old and the New. It is not being fought on old
premises and old lines of march, but on its own terms.
It is not the working peoples of the world who are the
Blaming their resistance and their choices for all the problems
taking place is the same old racist and colonial outlook which
demands that the so-called backward races and "the mobs" submit
to what the rulers tell them. It is not going to happen.
For Your Information
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular
Migration approved in Marrakech refers to migrants
all types with the stated aim of "reduc[ing] the incidence and
negative impact of irregular migration through global
cooperation." The United Nations Department of Economic and Social
Affairs states with respect to migrants:
is no formal legal definition of an international migrant, most
experts agree that an international migrant is someone who
changes his or her country of usual residence, irrespective of
the reason for migration or legal status. Generally, a
distinction is made between short-term or temporary migration,
covering movements with a duration between three and 12 months,
and long-term or permanent migration, referring to a change of
country of residence for a duration of one year or more.
The preamble to the Global Compact states that it rests
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the UN's other core
international human rights treaties as well as other conventions.
It indicates that refugees and migrants, while entitled to the
same universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, which must
be respected, protected and fulfilled at all times, are distinct
groups governed by separate legal frameworks. Only refugees are
entitled to the specific international protection as defined by
international refugee law. A separate compact pertaining to
refugees is expected to be endorsed by the General Assembly later
International Labour Organization's (ILO)
Global Estimates on International Migrant Workers launched last week,
in 2017 there were an estimated 258 million international migrants of
all types worldwide (with refugees included in this case). Of these,
164 million were categorized as migrant workers, which the ILO said
represented an increase of nine per cent over its 2013 estimates.
60 per cent of all migrant workers are
found in three subregions of the world: Northern America (23.0 per
cent), Northern, Southern and Western Europe (23.9 per cent) and the
Arab States (13.9 per cent). The subregion with the largest share of
migrant workers as a proportion of all workers is the Arab States (40.8
per cent), followed by Northern America (20.6 per cent) and Northern,
Southern and Western Europe (17.8 per cent).
The Global Compact can be seen in full here.
People's Movement Against Criminalization
Migrants in U.S.
Trump Authorizes Lethal Force by
Troops at the Border
Military at border between San Diego and Tijuana, December 10, 2018.
The White House issued a memo November 20 allowing
stationed at the border to use lethal force, if necessary. The
"Cabinet order," allows "Department of Defense military
personnel" to "perform those military protective activities that
the Secretary of Defense determines are reasonably necessary" to
protect border agents, including "a show or use of force
(including lethal force, where necessary), crowd-control,
temporary detention and cursory search," according to the newspaper Military
There are currently about
5,900 active-duty troops and
National Guard forces deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border. While
the Pentagon has said the active-duty troops are mainly unarmed,
this order indicates they could now be armed. U.S. Secretary of
Defense James Mattis made this clear, saying, "We don't have guns in
their hands right now," but "If I change the mission then
something like that could happen." The order was also quickly
followed by use of tear gas, a chemical weapon banned in warfare,
against unarmed migrants, mainly women and children, on the
Mexican side of the border.
"Some of those activities, including crowd control and
detention, may run into potential conflict with the 1878 Posse
Comitatus Act. If crossed, the erosion of the act's limitations
could represent a fundamental shift in the way the U.S. military is
used," the Military Times reports. The article emphasizes that Posse Comitatus "has evolved into a
singly defining, almost church versus state-type wall forbidding
active-duty forces under the control of the president from conducting
any types of crowd control or law enforcement domestically, essentially
ensuring that the U.S. military is not used to control or defeat U.S.
citizens on U.S. soil."
It is significant that the Military
voice of the military, is emphasizing this "church versus state"
wall and that Trump might be destroying it. It is reflective of
the growing conflicts within the military and between the
military and the president, the Commander-in-Chief. Even before
the White House memo, Retired Admiral James Stavridis, former commander
the U.S. military's Southern Command, openly rejected Trump's
"fictitious caravan invasion," the justification given for the
troop deployment. Stavridis was also former Supreme Allied
Commander for Europe and NATO and was vetted as a running mate
for Hillary Clinton. While now retired, he remains a significant
force openly against the president.
Trump has deployed the troops and issued the use of
force and detention order in part to force the compliance of the
military. The deployment, where the military decides issues of
searches, detention and lethal force, is a means to bring all the
various federal policing agencies under military control. As
Mattis brings out, he is the one deciding the mission. In many
ways it can be considered a live military exercise to test the
waters for potential martial law. When accompanied with expanding
military detention camps and Trump's repeated claims of
"invasion" and "violent criminals," the ground is clearly being
laid for such a possibility. The problem is that martial law
requires that the military and all the various policing agencies,
which are always in great contention with each other, submit to
the dictate of the president. Indications are that such an action
could well trigger a more open civil war situation. This is
especially true given the continuing battle with the various
states, like California and New York, and the dysfunction of
elections and Congress, which no longer serve to ease the
conflicts among the rulers.
It is also the case the U.S. civil war is related to
international wars, including in this case a potential invasion
of Mexico. Trump's repeated claims about anarchy and violence in
Mexico and the need to control the border are connected with this
potential use of troops in Mexico. According to the Associated
Press, in a conversation with former Mexican President Enrique
Peña Nieto about "criminal gangs and drug lords," Trump
threatened, "You aren't doing enough to stop them. I think your
military is scared. Our military isn't, so I just might send them
down to take care of it." While he afterward said he was joking,
given Mexico now has a new President, Andrés Manuel López
(AMLO), who is expected to oppose U.S. dictate, it could occur.
In analyzing the situation, it is important to recognize the
inter-relationship between U.S. civil war and U.S. wars abroad,
as both influence each other.
The troop deployment is also aimed
at the broad and
persistent resistance defending the rights of migrants and more
generally of all. When Mattis uses the example of an unarmed
migrant "beating up" a highly armed border agent -- something that
does not occur -- he is also preparing the ground to justify use
of the military against protesters and migrants alike. It is
well-known that police provocateurs are sent into demonstrations
to break windows, or in this case throw stones, or get into
fights with agents. Indeed, there is the recent case of the
undercover cop posing as a demonstrator being beaten by other
cops attacking the demonstrators. Given the growing unity of the
resistance and their work together both sides of the border, such
provocations are likely. No such justifications can be accepted,
whether for attacking the peoples here or in Mexico.
Following one section or another of the ruling class
their civil war and more wars abroad is no solution. The
internationalism currently being expressed at the border, where
people both sides are joining to defend rights and across the
country, where people are organizing supplies, housing refugee
children and more, is the means to contend with U.S. attacks.
Further advancing the fight for an Anti-War
Peace Economy and A Democracy Where We Decide is a means
forward. An anti-war government is an aim that recognizes the
relationship between imperialist war and civil war and provides a
way to block both, as does a peace economy. A democracy where we
decide provides the means for rights to be guaranteed and for
relations of mutual benefit. Now is the time to advance the work
for an Anti-War Government, Peace Economy and A Democracy Where
United Actions Affirm Migrant Rights
San Diego-Tijuana border, December 10, 2018.
United actions at the southern border with Mexico and
across the country marked Human Rights Day, December 10. Many
cities in New York, Florida, Minnesota, Texas, California and
elsewhere saw demonstrations defending the rights of migrants and
of all human beings and denouncing the refusal of the U.S.
government to uphold these rights. The way in which children are
treated is an important standard for assessing the state of human
rights in a country. The united actions made clear people
across the country, from all walks of life, reject the brutal
attacks on migrant children, including use of tear gas,
separation of families, detention even of babies, and more. Signs
brought out that these are crimes, and the stand of the people
is No Crimes Against Humanity in Our Community!
The united mass actions across the country affirming
rights and affirming that organized resistance will continue
contributes to the struggle worldwide for the human rights of
all. It is an essential part of advancing society toward one that
is fit for human beings.
San Diego, California
The Landscape of Immigration Detention in the U.S.
On any given day, U.S. Immigration and Customs
(ICE) detains tens of thousands of individuals who are accused of
violating U.S. immigration laws. ICE currently relies on a
complex network of jails and jail-like facilities to confine
The average daily population of
immigrant detainees has
increased more than fivefold in the past two decades. At the same
time, immigration detention facilities have faced numerous civil
and human rights violation complaints, including allegations of
substandard medical care, sexual and physical abuse, and
exploitative labour practices. Yet, the current administration has
sought to further expand immigration detention. To assess the
full implications of these expansion efforts, it is critical for
policymakers and the public to understand fundamental aspects of
the current U.S. detention system.
This report presents findings from an empirical
immigration detention across the United States. We analyze
government and other data on all individuals who were detained by
ICE during fiscal year 2015, the latest fiscal year for which the
federal government has released comprehensive data of this kind
on immigration detention. Our analysis offers a detailed look at
whom ICE detained, where they were confined, and the outcomes of
We find that ICE relied on over 630 sites scattered
throughout the United States to detain individuals, often moving
them from one facility to another. Our analysis reveals that
individuals detained by ICE were commonly held in privately
operated and remotely located facilities, far away from basic
community support structures and legal advocacy networks.
The main findings presented in this report include:
A majority of
detainees were men, from Mexico or
America, and many detainees were juveniles.
- About 79 per cent of the detainees were men. The
as a whole was relatively young, with the average age of 28 (mean
and median). Over 59,000 detainees -- about 17 per cent -- were
under the age of 18.
- Mexican nationals by themselves made up about 43 per
the detainee population, and individuals from the Northern
Triangle region of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras made up
about 46 per cent of the detainee population.
ICE used one or more
facilities in every state, with
and California having the highest number of facilities and
- Every state in the United States had at least one
that ICE used to detain individuals in fiscal year 2015.
- The top five states in terms of the number of
by ICE in fiscal year 2015 were Texas, California, Florida, New
York, and Arizona. The top five states in terms of the detainee
population were Texas, California, Arizona, Louisiana, and New
privately operated facilities and in
located facilities was common.
- Many detainees were confined in more than one
during their detention stay. About 67 per cent of all detainees
were confined at least once in privately operated facilities.
About 64 per cent of detainees were confined at least once in a
facility located outside of a major urban area.
- About 48 per cent, 26 per cent, and 22 per cent of
were confined at least once in a facility that was located more
than 60 miles, 90 miles, and 120 miles away, respectively, from
the nearest nonprofit immigration attorney who practiced removal
A majority of adult
transfers involving movements across different cities, states, or
federal judicial circuits.
- Many adults were transferred between facilities
their detention, leading to confinement in multiple locations.
About 60 per cent of adults who were detained in fiscal year 2015
experienced at least one inter-facility transfer during their
- Of those adults who were transferred, about 86 per
experienced at least one intercity transfer, 37 per cent
experienced at least one interstate transfer, and 29 per cent
experienced at least one transfer across different federal
Detention length was
significantly longer in privately
operated facilities and in remotely located facilities.
- Among 261,020 adults who were released from detention
during fiscal year 2015, the average detention length (mean) was
about 38 days. More than 87,000 of these adults were detained
longer than 30 days.
- Confinement in privately operated facilities and
located outside of major urban areas, respectively, was
associated with significantly longer detention.
The number of
grievances was significantly higher in
privately operated facilities and in remotely located
- In fiscal year 2015, the ICE Enforcement and Removal
Operations' Detention Reporting and Information Line (DRIL)
received over 48,800 detention-facility related grievances from
detainees and community members. The most common type of
grievances involved access to legal counsel and basic immigration
- Privately operated facilities and facilities located
outside of major urban areas were associated with higher numbers
"Yellow Vest" Movement in France
Working People Protest Neo-Liberal Austerity
Uphold the Rights of All
Brive, France, December 9, 2018.
Opposition to the broad anti-social offensive carried
out against the French workers and people by the Hollande government
and now the Macron government has come to a head in recent weeks.
Despite French Prime Minister Eduard Philippe's declaration of a
moratorium on the increase in energy taxes, "Act IV" of the mass
demonstrations of the Gilets Jaunes,
went ahead on the December 8-9 weekend. In fact, even
more demonstrators took to the streets in the face of the simultaneous
unleashing of a militarized police force whose role was to quell and
intimidate the people's forces with brutality and terror. It is clear
that the Yellow Vests were having none of it and the protests spread
throughout France and into other countries as well.
With thousands of mobilizations
across France, with the
on Paris, the monopoly-owned media have found it difficult to
calculate the numbers, and even to report on the mobilizations in
a coherent fashion. Nevertheless, it is estimated that over
half-a-million people took part in wearing the yellow vests, the
hi-vis jackets that all French drivers are obliged to keep in
their cars for safety reasons. The wave of country-wide protests
began on November 17, hence "Act IV" for the fourth weekend of
protests in a row. "Act V" is still on for December 15.
At the heart of this movement are rank-and-file workers
in large part unorganized and low-skilled workers. Many strands
of discontent have coalesced into the protests. Students and
workers have swelled the ranks of the rural poor and the
unemployed, who have continued to block roads around France.
While Prime Minister Philippe was forced to scrap the planned fuel tax
rise, saying, "No tax deserves to put civil peace in danger,"
this has by no means reined in the actions which highlight the
demand for social and economic justice and an end to austerity.
Particular emphasis has been put on demands for tax justice, with
lower taxes for the poor and against tax cuts for the rich, and
for wide social benefits to relieve the burden on the vulnerable
Attempts by monopoly-owned media to say the workers are
against a healthy environment or against immigrants have failed
to sideline the protests and marginalize their thrust against the
neo-liberal anti-social offensive. Students' demands also put
forward the need to end rising administrative fees and new
university admissions procedures.
It was reported that in Paris, hospital workers
jobs also joined the Yellow Vests, while ongoing strikes in steel
and in oil depots have added to the rising tide of discontent and
The actions of the government and the stands of
Macron have given the lie to the claim that Macron represents the
"moderate centre." This has become exposed as a bankrupt
reference point favoured by neo-liberalism to justify dividing
the polity into "left" and "right," both of which are portrayed
as extremes, while claiming to occupy the "centre ground," which
is supposedly where all good moderates should position themselves
and succumb to the strictures of austerity.
"The range of slogans in the
petrol price increases -- Stop the
taxes!, Macron's a
pickpocket!, Working is
becoming a luxury, Right and
taxes, Stop the racket, the
revolt of a powerful people may end
in revolution -- suggests both the possible emergence of a
political movement and the anger directed at taxation, the very
foundation of the social state," Le Monde diplomatique
The actions of the Yellow Vests to say that Enough
Enough! have shown that this outlook will not wash. President
Macron is a proponent of making France competitive in the global
market and he defines a centrist as being pro-business. Although
he is the focus and main target of the Gilet Jaunes, he has been
keeping in the background hoping that he can get away with not
accounting for the bankruptcy of this self-serving outlook.
As in Britain for the working people the sentiment for
Britain to leave the European Union represented their opposition
to the anti-social offensive which sought to make them shoulder
the burden of the chaos and crisis while the oligarchs and the
financial elites enriched themselves at their expense, so in
France the discontent is finding an outlet in the demonstrations
and demands of all the different currents that are converging in
the Yellow Vests. President Macron and his En Marche coalition
and government are incapable of finding a way out of the chaos
and crisis. They have been ruling by exception to give the police
powers in France free rein to keep the people in check but this
has not been able to stem the tide of protest against the
anti-social offensive. The use of unfettered police powers along
with agents provocateurs and the media to justify the
criminalization of the protestors has thus far only fuelled the
revolt. The French working people are definitely on the move. The
numbers of people who are vulnerable and living in poverty,
particularly children, single parents and the national minority
communities, as well as the ordinary workers who dwell outside
the big cities and in rural areas, have continued to rise.
One of the exacerbating factors has been the so-called
anti-poverty plan Macron launched in September. Social programs
have also been under attack, and unemployment and job insecurity
have become a scourge. Macron's claim that "I don't want a plan
that leaves the poor living in poverty, only more comfortably,"
has been exposed as a fraud, and he himself is seen for what he
is, a president of the rich, while the political system is seen
as clearly representing the police powers of the state to put the
people down. According to news reports citing police sources, the
number of people arrested since the mass protests began in
November has surpassed 4,500, of whom some 4,100 still remain in
police custody. In Act IV, on December 8 alone, close to 2,000
people were arrested, and all but around 300 taken into custody,
many before the protests actually began. According to the
government, these were part of "preventive control" measures.
The Gilets Jaunes
are also rejecting the claim that the
tax hikes were to benefit the environment or for "green" projects as
they are part of the project to pay the rich.
The crisis is also an indication of the deepening
which the European Union itself is mired. What is happening in
France puts the lie to the claim that the EU is the defender of
rights and prosperity. People see the actions of the police
forces in France as part of the militarization of life, which
goes hand in hand with the militarization of the economy and the
push to form a European Army, whether under the control of NATO
or the EU. The French state expenditure on the military is
reported to stand at nearly CAD$70 billion per year, funds which
people see could be spent on social programs.
The mobilization of the working people of France is
objectively against the old order and demands something different
which does not make the working people the targets of attack. The
working people and their allies are demanding that the rights of
the working people be recognized and that the government must
change course or be jettisoned. They reject the call to be
"moderate" and take the centre ground as a big diversion to
justify their criminalization. As 2018 comes to an end, the
French people have joined the world-wide movement for
empowerment. Despite attempts to say it is extremist,
nationalist, anti-immigrant, anti-environment, violent and many
other things, by persisting in their struggle, the people put the
lie to all these claims. They are taking a firm stand in defence
of the rights of all!
Protest closes Port in Rouen, December 12, 2018.
Departure of Cuban Doctors from Brazil
Cuba Shows How Things Can Be Done Differently
Since November 23, Cuban doctors have been receiving
welcomes as they return from Brazil. Cuba's government was
forced to withdraw from the program Mais
Médicos (More Doctors) in that country
because of changes Brazil's president-elect Jair Bolsonaro said he
to make to the contracts governing Cuba's participation. Cuba's
Minister of Public Health José
Ángel Portal greeted the first 200 of the more than 8,000
doctors who returned saying, "We know you are mourning all that
you left behind, the patient you needed to follow up on, the
community where health indicators were beginning to change, and
you are also concerned about what will happen to the Brazilians
left without health care. This is how the historic leader of the
Revolution, Fidel Castro, taught you to think and act."
President Miguel Díaz-Canel who also was at the
airport to greet the doctors said, "You return today as more than
doctors, because in Brazil you not only saved lives, you also
brought relief to the souls of a needy people, by giving your
love, affection, and medical assistance." He said it was
impossible to stand idly by in the face of an arrogant
government, unable to understand that Cuba's doctors went to
their country to serve the people, to take care of their health
and their souls, not to earn money, even assuming positions that
Brazilian doctors did not want in places where people had never
before received medical attention.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel greets doctors returning from
Brazil, November 23, 2018.
Speaking for a group of 203 doctors who arrived in Cuba
November 25, Dr. Félix Padilla Martínez spoke about the
a doctor must have -- exquisite sensitivity, humanity and a high
moral level, saying these were the values imparted to them by the
training they received. He said patients often expressed surprise
at being treated like human beings for the first time by a
Another doctor told of working with Brazilian medical
professionals who said they had voted for Bolsonaro, but after
seeing how "in the blink of an eye" he dismantled the cooperation
program with Cuba, realized how mistaken they had been.
Many others interviewed upon their return have
bonds of affection and trust developed with the humble families
they lived among and served in Brazil, and their sadness at
having to leave them, knowing some of them will likely never see
a doctor again. The Cubans typically provided services in areas where
Brazilian and other foreign doctors would not go -- the most
impoverished, remote, and often dangerous places, as well as to special
Indigenous districts and 700 municipalities where no doctor had ever
set foot before in Brazil's history.
Since 2016, when he was a deputy, Jair Bolsonaro, who
assume the presidency on January 1, 2019 has homed in on the More
trained, saying they are
"slaves" and defaming them as "snakes," "mercenaries" and
In his eagerness to curry favour with the Trump
administration he not only questioned the
credentials and training of Cuba's doctors but said they would
be required to revalidate their credentials by passing an exam in
Brazil as a condition of continuing in the More Doctors program.
Furthermore, they would have to enter into individual contracts,
violating terms of the three-way agreement between the Pan American
Health Organization (PAHO), the
Brazilian Ministry of Health and Cuba's Ministry of Public
In response to these provocations Cuba's Ministry of
Health announced on November 14 that the unacceptable conditions
Brazil's president-elect intends to impose made it impossible for
Cuba to continue in the More Doctors program.
Since Cuba announced it was pulling its more than 8,000
out of the program, Bolsonaro and others of his ilk in Brazil and
the U.S. have ramped up their insidious accusations about Cuba in
an effort to shift to Cuba the blame for the death blow they
themselves have delivered to the life-saving program for a
significant portion of Brazil's population who will surely return
to having no access to proper medical attention.
Much like the U.S. did under its Parole program in
from 2006 until January last year, aimed at inducing Cuban
doctors and other professionals to abandon their missions abroad
and emigrate to the U.S., Bolsonaro has said he will "offer
political asylum to thousands of Cuban doctors who do not want to
return to their country," claiming he is acting in the doctors'
best interests and defending their civil rights against the Cuban
out that attempts like this to undermine
weaken one of Cuba's most valuable assets -- its professionals --
are not fortuitous or an isolated event but a clear signal that
the attack has been cooked up with the U.S. This was confirmed
when U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere
Affairs Kimberly Breier applauded what Bolsonaro was doing.
In an attempt to set the record straight the
publication Cubadebate has
addressed some of the Brazilian president-elect's
accusations, summarized below:
Does the Cuban
Government appropriate the salaries of its doctors in Brazil?
The Brazilian government does not pay the doctors
but pays the PAHO for the services it
has contracted Cuba's Ministry of Public Health to provide. The
Ministry pays the doctors 100 per cent of their regular salaries in
and ensures that the needs of their families are provided for
during their absence. It also guarantees that they can return to
their positions in Cuba upon their return from the mission and
provides all the labour and social guarantees that are their due
as workers in the Cuban health system.
While in Brazil participants receive a stipend to cover
personal expenses while the program covers their food, housing,
transportation and health insurance.
Participants who chose to take part in the More Doctors
program signed a contract with the Cuban Ministry of Public
Health, as part of which they voluntarily agreed that part of the
remuneration paid to the Cuban government for their services would not
be claimed by themselves, but be used to strengthen Cuba's
public health system in various ways. Their contributions have
helped to finance the repair and rehabilitation of polyclinics
and hospitals and to acquire inputs of various types, medicines
and equipment for maternal and child care programs as well as
programs such as those aimed at fighting serious diseases and
Participants' contributions help sustain the universal,
and quality services that Cuba's health system provides to all
the people of Cuba, even as it is subject to a cruel economic,
commercial and financial blockade that prevents the Cuban people
from having access to these resources in another way. The
doctors' contributions also help cover the cost of the material
needs associated with training medical professionals not only for
Cuba but for other countries, most of them poorer than Cuba,
which it does at no cost.
Bolsonaro's attempt to turn the doctors into private
contractors so they receive "their full salaries" with none of
the remuneration going to the Cuban government for the purposes
mentioned, far from being "for the good of the doctors" is
nothing other than a deliberate attempt to enforce the criminal
U.S. blockade by depriving Cubans of the resources needed to
maintain their highly regarded public health care system --
something Brazilians can only wish they had available to
Does Cuba prevent the
doctors from bringing their families to
The response to this ill-intentioned charge is that
not prohibit participants from interacting with their families.
Cuba points out that most of the doctors received
visits from their families at different times during their stay
in Brazil, with "thousands of family members" travelling
there since the program began, while some 300 doctors had family
members staying with them. Others, for one reason or
another, have chosen not to visit or lacked the means to travel to
Brazil. Cubadebate points out
that it is in fact the rules of the
program established by the Brazilian government that regulate the
access that those who are not participants in the More Doctors
program can have to the doctors, including living with them.
Bolsonaro has said one of the conditions he will impose
that Cuban doctors, especially mothers, must be able to bring
their children with them while they work in Brazil. In 2016 it
was none other than Bolsonaro, as a federal deputy, who attempted
unsuccessfully to introduce legislation to prohibit family
members from accompanying Cuban doctors participating in the More
program from obtaining employment in Brazil and, in fact,
tried to restrict their presence altogether "to limit
opportunities for them to establish permanent ties in the
What about the Cuban
doctors' qualifications, exams they must take and the need to
The Brazilian Law that governs the More Doctors program
clear as to how the licences of physicians are accredited, and the
roles played by PAHO, Cuba's Ministry of Public Health and its
medical schools in their accreditation.
The doctors must take examinations prior to travelling
Brazil and periodically during their stay -- all of them
conducted by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. Cuban doctors,
along with all other foreign doctors and Brazilians trained
abroad, who work in the More Doctors program are exempted for
three years from having to revalidate their credentials to be able
to practice in Brazil.
calls Bolsonaro's call for the revalidation of the
doctors' credentials a deceptive move, given that it is opposed
by the Medical College of Brazil, and that out of every 100
doctors who take the exam, only eight pass. This, it points out,
serves to keep the private health care market lucrative by restricting
the number of physicians able to practice, with the result that many
leave the country to find
The newspaper Folha
de São Paulo recently quoted a
representative of the PAHO who
rejects criticisms of the training received by Cuban doctors,
many of whom, he said, already have experience working on other
missions. Contrary to the insinuations of Bolsonaro, he said Cuba
sent only experienced doctors to Brazil, never recent graduates.
He pointed out that the mission was an emergency response to a
dire shortage of medical professionals, especially in the
interior of the country, where there were thousands of vacancies
and a lack of Brazilian doctors interested in filling them.
makes a point of responding to Bolsonaro's
ridiculous assertion about acting for "the good" of the Cuban
doctors by saying if he wants to do some good he should start
instead by standing up to the Medical College to resolve the
problem of thousands of Brazilian medical graduates who are
unable to practice and leave the country to search for
employment because so few of them pass the revalidation exam.
And what "good" is done by
inviting Cuban doctors to apply for asylum in Brazil, separating them
their families and their country under the pretext of wanting to
keep them united? That invitation has a name Cubadebate says:
Despite this attempt by reactionary forces, such as
incoming president and the anti-Cuban mafia in the U.S. with which he
aligned himself, to isolate and create more hardships for
Cuba, all they have succeeded in doing is to further discredit
themselves and expose their wretched hypocrisy which, among
other things, have grave repercussions for the Brazilian people,
millions of whom will be deprived of desperately needed
health care services.
Meanwhile Cuba's prestige is raised even higher as the
selfless, internationalist service its doctors and others perform
around the world out of the profound sense of solidarity their
revolution has inculcated in them becomes more widely known.
Note to Readers
With this issue, TML Weekly completes its
publication for 2018. It will resume on January 19, 2019. We wish
you a safe holiday and time to reflect on the serious
developments taking place in Canada and around the world, and how
to effectively intervene in the new year.
Please continue to send us your reports, photos and
and keep up to date with the CPC(M-L) website and calendars of
events for important announcements.
As of December 17, the TML Daily 2018
month-by-month Photo Reviews will begin being posted on the website,
part of taking stock of what took place and was achieved this
We thank you for your support in 2018 and call on you
double it in the new year.
The Technical and Editorial Staff of TML Weekly
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