March 7, 2020 - No. 7

Women as Leaders in the Fight for the Rights of All

Celebrate International Women's Day 2020

• On the Question of Women, the Hypocrisy of
Liberal Government Knows No Bounds

- Christine Dandenault -

Facts and Figures on Conditions of Women in Canada

• Women, Children and Seniors Hardest Hit by Poverty

• Women and Children Increasingly Turned Away from Shelters

• Labour Statistics and the Gender Gap

 Uphold Indigenous Hereditary Rights -- Stand with Wet'suwet'en

• Federal Government Cannot Escape Its
Responsibility to Indigenous Peoples

- Barbara Biley -
• March 4 National Student Walkout in
Solidarity with Wet'suwet'en

Celebrate 57th Anniversary of 
Founding of The Internationalists

• The Vibrant Legacy Inherited by CPC(M-L)

    International Women's Day 2020

• Women in the Front Ranks of the Fight
for Peace, Freedom and Democracy

Women as Leaders in the Fight for the Rights of All

Celebrate International Women's Day

Women throughout the world are organizing rallies, marches and gatherings of all kinds for March 8, International Women's Day, to hail and celebrate their fight to affirm their rights and for peace, freedom and democracy. On International Women's Day, women assert their claim to a say and control over the affairs of society and salute both those fighting in the present and those who have blazed a path forward for women and society throughout history. The struggle to affirm the collective and individual rights of women is part and parcel of the fight to uphold the rights of all and win emancipation for all. It is part and parcel of the struggle of the working class to constitute the nation and vest sovereignty in the people.

One hundred and ten years ago, International Women's Day was established to highlight the fight of women for their rights as workers, and for their right to vote and to take their place in the vanguard of all fields of human endeavour. International Women's Day also became a day for women to highlight their opposition to war and aggression. During those early years many brave women stood in opposition to the first imperialist world war and this tradition is alive today in the determined battle to establish anti-war governments and make sure peace prevails.

In celebrating International Women's Day, women speak in their own names and affirm their particular rights as the reproducers of life and their demand to bring into being a society where all human beings can flourish. Such a society can only exist when the well-being and needs of women, and the children they bear, are put in first place.

The Fight to Affirm Rights

Women are in the thick of the battle to affirm the right to speak, organize and decide; and the right to participate consciously and actively in taking and implementing the decisions that affect their lives. Women have said No means No! to every form of discrimination and affront to their dignity as human persons. The stand "Not without consent!" is to affirm the right to decide.

In opposition to the rights of women, governments and state institutions are escalating the anti-social offensive with the wrecking of education, health and seniors' care, and care for the most vulnerable. These anti-social assaults target the mostly women workers who provide the care and services the people and society need. The burgeoning movements throughout the country against the anti-social offensive are led by the mostly women workers in the public service who have raised the battle cry to Increase Investments in Social Programs and Stop Paying the Rich! to make Canada fit for human beings.

Women throughout history have fought patriarchy in all its forms, including father right and husband right. They have even had to struggle to be legally recognized as persons. A woman's testimony in a court of law hearing a charge of assault on herself was not considered valid until the 1980s.

In workplaces, women fight to establish collectives to defend their rights and beat back the attacks of the ruling circles and employers on the right of workers to organize collectives in defence of their claim on the value they produce and other terms of employment. As part of fighting the anti-social offensive in the education, health care and other public service sectors, women are affirming their right as workers to decide what wages and working conditions are acceptable to them and allow them to do their jobs properly and with dignity, and not to be dictated to by the ruling imperialist elite.

Women are in the front ranks in fighting  against wrecking of education and healthcare and
the attack on the rights of those providing the services. Photos from Quebec(top),
Ontario and Alberta.

In politics, as the old forms of governing and institutions prove incapable of solving any problems, women have taken up the question of "who decides" and "who controls" and the need for democratic renewal and people's empowerment. Women demand the right to lead society, along with all others, and solve the problems as they present themselves in ways that favour the majority. Women refuse to submit to a dysfunctional outdated system dominated by cartel parties which serve the private interests of a minority and executive police powers that can act with impunity to decide economic, political and social affairs of the people and society.

Refuse to Allow the Ruling Elite to Seize Control
of International Women's Day

Women's Memorial March, Vancouver, 2018, holds government accountable for ending violence against women.

The representatives of the financial oligarchy push their own version of the significance of International Women's Day with the aim to deprive women of an outlook that serves their interests and rights. The ruling elite reduce what is relevant and significant for women to a grocery list of "what we have accomplished" and "work left to be done." The suggestion is made that the state and government institutions are in the forefront of the battle for women's rights and the executor in charge of what is left to be done on this front. In this way, they attempt to force women to the sidelines in the demeaning role of "holding the feet of the ruling elite to the fire," where success is measured by the number of women who occupy the seats of power and are seen on television serving the financial oligarchy in positions of power, until of course they hesitate and do not. Women saw clearly last year what happens to women in the cabinets of the cartel parties who hesitate in their duty to serve the ruling imperialist elite and "slip up" by taking a stand against corruption and the dictate of the oligarchs.

Governments of the cartel parties and state institutions claim to uphold the rights of women and other high ideals but of course this is contingent on "what is possible." Handing over billions of dollars to pay the rich and increase military spending is always within the realm of "possible" as that serves the narrow interests of the financial oligarchy. On the other hand, a national child care program, as part of education as a right of all and to affirm the rights of women, falls outside of the realm of "possible" and remains stuck for decades as a policy objective. The ruling elite and their governments refuse to recognize that in the socialized existence and economy of the modern world, the care of children and elders is the social responsibility of society.

The socially irresponsible governments and state institutions of the financial oligarchy even refuse to right historical wrongs and build new nation-to-nation relations with Indigenous peoples and pay reparations for what the colonialists have stolen and the crimes they have committed. The ruling elite still want to drive the Indigenous peoples from their territories to "open up the land" for exploitation of its natural resources. The disgrace of a modern Canada refusing to resolve the crisis of Indigenous housing, the lack of safe drinking water, the suppression of a viable economy creating mass unemployment, poverty, despair and youth suicides, and the infamy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls cannot be forgiven.

The violent assault and arrest of Unist'ot'en Matriarchs on their unceded territory, during a ceremony to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls on February 10, further reveals the reality of the racist Canadian state that lurks behind the honeyed words and hypocrisy of its phony reconciliation. The affirmation of the right to be of the Matriarchs and Indigenous women, youth and others is an inspiration to all. Their resolute and courageous stand and refusal to be intimidated by police and colonial court orders has been met with support from coast to coast and internationally.

In the spirit of building the New together and to advance the movement to affirm the rights of women, let us celebrate International Women's Day and pledge to build the organizations necessary to win the battle for peace, freedom and democracy.

On International Women's Day 1981 the Democratic Women's Union of Canada was founded to lead in the work of organizing women in the fight for their emancipation. CPC(M-L)'s founder and leader Hardial Bains participates in a demonstration on that occasion.

  International Women's Day 2020

• Women in the Front Ranks of the Fight
for Peace, Freedom and Democracy

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On the Question of Women, the Hypocrisy of
Liberal Government Knows No Bounds

International Women's Day 2019, Montreal

Status of Women Canada announced on February 24 that the theme it has chosen for International Women's Day 2020 is #BecauseOfYou. Given that women in every walk of life across the country are shown disrespect every day because of the pay-the-rich agenda of governments at all levels, no matter what the government says on this occasion, it is hypocritical and offensive.

Status of Women Canada explains the theme in these words: "Empowering women and girls to equally participate in economic, social and political life benefits people of all genders. It increases economic prosperity, promotes peace and security, upholds fairness and justice in our society, and ultimately creates happier and healthier communities." Who is Status of Women talking to? The teachers and education workers who are fighting, coast to coast? Civil servants who face cutbacks to services, which affect women the most? Nurses and health professionals whose conditions of work make it impossible to deliver the health services they are pledged to provide? Is Status of Women Canada speaking to the Indigenous mothers, sisters, aunts and grandmothers who face colonial injustice and abuse every day of their lives? Is it addressing migrant and national minority women whose rights are trampled underfoot as a matter of course?

Women are invited to listen to the personal experiences of the women promoted by Status of Women Canada as examples they should emulate, as if it is the fault of women if they are not "successful." One claim, amongst others, is that employing more women increases Canada's gross domestic product! It is not just condescending and seeking to justify the wretched conditions under which women are employed, but it tries to divert attention from the main problem facing the entire Canadian working class, which is that the working people exercise no control over the direction of the economy or their conditions of employment.

Through sleight of hand, Status of Women Canada denies the Canadian government's responsibility to recognize and guarantee the rights of women, including that they be paid the same wages as their male counterparts for the same jobs. It denies that the conditions of women are worsening in all aspects of life as a result of the ruling elite's anti-social offensive, in particular with the increasing precariousness of working conditions and poverty, as well as the violence committed against women, including abuse of the elderly.

In addition to denying the conditions of women and the reality of the anti-social offensive, Status of Women Canada speaks of the "benefit" of "equal participation in economic, social and political life." It provides as a reference point and goal the same current political system and process which deprives the people of power and increasingly relies on the police powers of the state to impose the dictate of the financial oligarchy and criminalize the people's struggle for their rights. It is precisely against this very system and process that women teachers, education workers, health care workers, public servants and Indigenous women are courageously fighting this March 8. They are at the forefront of the struggle to empower themselves and empower the people to provide a new direction to the economy and political affairs.

In the absence of a guarantee of women's rights and with the political status quo as an objective, the prosperity, peace and security invoked by Status of Women Canada cannot be anything other than the prosperity of the tiny ruling elite that controls the economy, with their warmongering and criminalization of the peoples' struggles.

The prosperity of the financial oligarchy requires that women be employed at low wages, in precarious conditions, on call, without security; it requires trafficking in human beings and the exploitation of migrant women, both as women and as migrants. In terms of peace and security, the government is intent on rallying women behind the warmongering of the U.S., with Canada playing the role of appeaser, carrying out its own activities of interference, dirty manoeuvring and aggression in Venezuela, Haiti, and elsewhere to maintain U.S. imperialist domination and suppress any nation-building project that is for the well-being of the people and controlled by them.

There is no doubt that in its "#BecauseOfYou" theme, Status of Women Canada has in mind women such as Chrystia Freeland, who participates very well as an equal in the political life because she is a champion in her own right of U.S. imperialist domination and regime change through the organization of coups against the peoples of Venezuela, Bolivia and other countries. As far as fairness and justice are concerned, it is clear that those who use such language amongst the ruling elite have never had to live on $700 a month, have never experienced hunger or poverty or had to use food banks.

"#BecauseOfYou" has nothing to do with women. The struggle of women for their emancipation is a collective struggle to humanize the natural and social environment by laying the claims which belong to everyone by virtue of being human. Through their actions, women are making themselves heard, and taking collective decisions that advance their cause on all matters of concern to them. This is how they are dealing with the problems of the present. Their actions in the here and now inform the future that we want to bequeath to our children.

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Facts and Figures on Conditions of Women in Canada

Women, Children and Seniors
Hardest Hit by Poverty

Statistics Canada reported on February 24, that based on the market basket measure, around 3.2 million Canadians, or 8.7 per cent of the population, were living below Canada's Official Poverty Line in 2018.[1] For those under 18 years of age, the poverty rate was 8.2 per cent, or around 566,000 children.

For those living in couple families, the child poverty rate was 5.8 per cent, compared with 26.2 per cent for those in female lone-parent families. In other words, children living in single parent families headed by women are almost three times more likely to be living in poverty than those living in couple families.

Around 216,000 persons aged 65 years and older, or 3.5 per cent of the senior population, lived in poverty in 2018, with 1.7 per cent of seniors who lived with families living in poverty compared to 7.9 per cent of unattached seniors, which is over six times higher.

The overall low-income rate based on the low-income measure was 12.3 per cent in 2018 for children and 14.3 per cent for seniors.[2] 

A 2018 Angus Reid study indicated that women are more likely than men to experience poverty. The study looked at Canadians' self-reported experiences of financial hardships. It suggests that 16 per cent of Canadians could be categorized as "struggling" economically. This means that they face ongoing difficulty covering expenses for basics, including food, utilities, winter clothing, housing, and dental care, and may have to use services such as "pay day loans" and food banks to get by. Sixty per cent of those in the "struggling" category are women, while 40 per cent are men.

Some groups of women have higher rates of poverty and are more likely than others to be poor. The prevalence of low incomes among the following groups of women and girls is particularly high:

- Aboriginal women and girls with registered or Indian treaty status -- 32.3 per cent
- First Nations women and girls -- 34.3 per cent
- Mιtis women and girls -- 21.8 per cent
- Inuit women and girls -- 28 per cent
- Women with disabilities -- 23 per cent (based on 2014 data)
- Immigrant women (those who immigrated to Canada between 2011 and May 10, 2016) -- 31.4 per cent
- Single mothers and their children -- 30.4 per cent
- Children (age 0 to 17) living with single mothers -- 42 per cent (compared to 25.5 per cent of children in male lone-parent families and 11 per cent in two-parent families)
- Senior women aged 65 and up -- 16.3 per cent (based on 2015 data)

In some parts of the country, there are appallingly high rates of poverty. For instance, 50 per cent of status First Nations children in Canada live in poverty; that figure increases to 64 per cent in Saskatchewan and 62 per cent in Manitoba.

More than 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness annually. On a given night, more than 35,000 Canadians are homeless. Women parenting on their own enter shelters at twice the rate of two-parent families. Domestic violence against women and children is a contributing factor to homelessness. When women become homeless, they are also at an increased risk of violence, sexual assault and exploitation.

Over 25 years, child and family poverty has increased by 25 per cent, rising from 15.8 per cent of children in 1989 to 19.1 per cent of children in 2012.

How Does Canada Compare?

In March 2019, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported that Canada's relative poverty rate of 12.4 per cent was "slightly above" the average for OECD member countries, at 11.7 per cent. While poverty rates for the elderly population were lower than average compared to other OECD countries, the poverty rates for children and youth in Canada were higher than the OECD average.

The OECD also reported that Canada ranks in the top five of OECD countries that have the highest shares of households owning their property with a mortgage (41 per cent of all households). It noted that the housing cost burden is particularly onerous for low-income people -- 48 per cent of low-income owners with a mortgage spent over 40 per cent of their disposable income on a mortgage in 2016, the fifth highest share among OECD countries, and that the same indicator decreases to 43 per cent for low-income renters.

As for safety concerns, the OECD noted that only 7 per cent of Canadian men did not feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where they lived in 2016/17. The share of Canadian women who feel unsafe is considerably higher, at 27 per cent, but still lower than for many OECD countries, where 32 per cent of women do not feel safe on average.


1. According to the market basket measure, a family lives in poverty if it does not have enough income to purchase a specific basket of goods and services in its community.

2. According to the low-income measure, individuals live in low income if their household after-tax income falls below half of the median after-tax income, adjusting for household size. The median after-tax income of Canadian families and unattached individuals was $61,400 in 2018.

(Sources: Canadian Women's Foundation's Factsheet: Women and Poverty in Canada, Statistics Canada, OECD)

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Women and Children Increasingly
Turned Away from Shelters 

A March 5 CBC news item informs that in November 2019, an average of 620 women and children a day were turned away from domestic violence shelters across Canada. In more than 80 per cent of cases, people were turned away because the shelter was full.  The report notes that the data is incomplete as it is based on just over half of the 527 shelters CBC contacted.

Not only is the number of people turned away each day in the hundreds, it is growing. Statistics Canada figures show the number increased 69 per cent from 539 in 2014 to 911 in 2018, based on data from all of the shelters in the country.

The same news source also notes that domestic violence shelters are forced to turn women and children away in significant numbers in all of Canada's major cities.

A lack of affordable housing puts rents out of reach for many of the women who use the shelters and keeps some living with their abusers.

Even when women are able to get into emergency shelters, their stay is often limited to between one and three months.

(Source: "Women, children turned away from shelters in Canada almost 19,000 times a month," by Tara Carman, CBC News, March 5, 2020.)

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Labour Statistics and the Gender Gap

- In 2018, female employees aged 25 to 54 earned $4.13 (or 13.3 per cent) less per hour, on average, than their male counterparts. In other words, these women earned $0.87 for every dollar earned by men.

The Gender Wage Gap Decreased Between 1998 and 2018

- The gender gap in hourly wages has narrowed by $1.04 (or 5.5 percentage points) since 1998, when it was $5.17 (or 18.8 per cent).

The reduction in the gender wage gap between 1998 and 2018 was largely explained by changes in the distribution of men and women across occupations; women's increased educational attainment; and the decline in the share of men in unionized employment.

- The two largest factors explaining the remaining gender wage gap in 2018 were the distribution of women and men across industries, and women's overrepresentation in part-time work, the same largest explanatory factors behind the gap in 1998.

Real wages (adjusted for inflation) grew faster for women aged 25 to 54 than for men in this age group between 1998 and 2018 (Table 1). Specifically, women's average real hourly wages increased by 20.5 per cent over the period, while men's increased by 12.9 per cent. As a result, the gender wage gap decreased by 5.5 percentage points, from 18.8 per cent in 1998 to 13.3 in 2018.

Change in Occupational Distribution a Key Contributor

Between 1998 and 2018, the occupational distribution of men and women explained just over a quarter (26.3 per cent) of the reduction in the gender wage gap. Notable narrowing effects came from professional occupations in law and social, community and government services (8.5 per cent), professional occupations in education services (7.7 per cent) and professional occupations in business and finance (7.2 per cent). These three higher-paying occupational groups employed a larger share of core-aged women in 2018 than in 1998. Also, earnings grew faster for women than men in two of the three groups (professional occupations in law and social, community and government services and professional occupations in business and finance).

Despite the net positive effect of occupation on the narrowing of the gender wage gap, some individual occupations served to widen the gap, notably professional occupations in natural and applied sciences (-9.2 per cent) and administrative and financial supervisors and administrative occupations (-7.4 per cent). These two groups employed a larger share of core-aged men in 2018 than in 1998, while earnings also increased faster for men than women in professional occupations in natural and applied sciences.

Changes in Industrial Distribution Decrease Gender Wage Gap

Although changes in occupational distribution contributed to the decrease in the gender wage gap from 1998 to 2018, the distribution of men and women across industries served to widen the gap (-8.0 per cent). This was driven by the high-paying and male-dominated construction sector (-14.0 per cent), where employment increased over the period. The manufacturing sector helped to counteract the effect of construction, contributing 7.3 per cent to the narrowing of the gap over the 20 years. This was largely due to the decline in employment in manufacturing that occurred over the period, with 25.2 per cent of core-aged men employed in this sector in 1998, compared with 15.5 per cent in 2018.

Women's Increased Educational Attainment Helped to Narrow Gap

The increase in women's educational attainment, relative to men's, was the second most important determinant of the decrease in the gender wage gap between 1998 and 2018. While equivalent proportions of women and men had a university degree at the bachelor level or above in 1998 (21.6  and 21.5 per cent, respectively), the proportion of women with at least a bachelor's degree increased to a greater extent in the following 20 years than did the equivalent proportion of men (+19.6 percentage points vs. +10.8 percentage points). As workers with higher education earned more on average, the relative increase in women's educational attainment accounted for 12.7 per cent of the decrease in the gender wage gap that occurred over the period.

The other human capital variable, job tenure, explained 5.5 per cent of the reduction in the gap, largely due to a decline in men's job tenure relative to women's between 1998 and 2018. By 2018, women's average job tenure (89.4 months) surpassed that of men (86.8 months).

Men's Decreased Union Coverage Also Had Narrowing Effect

Changes in job attributes also contributed to the decrease in the gender wage gap that occurred over the 20 years. Particularly important in this regard was union coverage. While the proportion of men covered by a union or collective agreement decreased by 8.6 percentage points between 1998 and 2018 (from 38.2 to 29.5 per cent), the equivalent proportion for women held steady at a little less than 36 per cent. These differing trends largely reflected the fact that men with union coverage were concentrated in manufacturing -- a declining sector through the first half of the period -- whereas women in unionized jobs have been concentrated in health care and social assistance, and educational services. Since union coverage is associated with higher average wages, the decrease in the proportion of men with union coverage led this variable to account for 9.3 per cent of the decrease in the gender wage gap that occurred between 1998 and 2018.

The other job attribute variables each accounted for a smaller part of the narrowing over the period, with part-time and public sector employment at 4.8 per cent each, and firm size at 3.1 per cent. Beginning with part-time employment, the narrowing effect was tied to a decline in the proportion of women working part time, from 21.0 per cent in 1998 to 16.0 per cent in 2018. Meanwhile, the narrowing explained by public sector employment was due to an increase in the proportion of women working in the public sector (34.1 per cent in 2018, compared with 31.1 per cent in 1998), while earnings returns for these workers also increased. Lastly, the portion of the narrowing explained by firm size was driven by an increase in the proportion of women working for large firms (defined as having more than 500 workers), which tend to have higher wage premiums than smaller firms.

Key Part of Remaining Gap Explained by Industrial Distribution

The industrial distribution of men and women explained the largest portion of the gender wage gap in both 1998 (16.5 per cent) and 2018 (39.7 per cent). Additionally, the same three sectors drove the gender wage gap in both years: construction (6.3 per cent in 1998 and 17.7 per cent in 2018), manufacturing (8.5 per cent in 1998 and 9.1 per cent in 2018), and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (3.5 per cent in 1998 and 6.7 per cent in 2018). These three sectors drove the gender wage gap in both 1998 and 2018 due to employing substantially larger shares of men than women, and due to their relative wage premiums.

Along with industry, occupational distribution also explained a small part of the gap in 1998 (1.8 per cent) and 2018 (5.1 per cent). Among all occupations, the male-dominated professional occupations in natural and applied sciences contributed the most to the existence of the wage gap in both 1998 and 2018. This is consistent with the results discussed above, showing that increased employment and earnings for men in this occupational group had a widening effect on the gap over time.

Part-time Employment Contributes to the Gap

Beyond gender differences in industry and occupation, only women's overrepresentation in part-time employment explained a notable portion of the gap in 1998 (8.9 per cent) and 2018 (9.2 per cent). While the previous section showed that some reduction in part-time work among women contributed to the narrowing of the gap over the period, and even though women received a smaller wage penalty for part-time work than men, women's higher likelihood of working part time still contributed to the existence of a gender wage gap in both 1998 and 2018.

Despite having virtually no effect in 1998, public sector employment and union status each counteracted the gap in 2018, at -5.3 and -3.4 per cent respectively. This is consistent with the previously-discussed increase in public sector employment for women and decrease in union coverage among men between 1998 and 2018.

While job tenure had little impact on the gap in 2018, men's longer job tenure than women in 1998 explained a small portion of the gap (2.3 per cent) at that time. Education had virtually no impact on the gap in 1998, but it counteracted it in 2018 (-4.8 per cent). This finding largely reflects the fact that more women than men had a university degree at the bachelor level or above in 2018.

(Source: "The gender wage gap in Canada: 1998 to 2018,"  Rachelle Pelletier, Martha Patterson and Melissa Moyser, Statistics Canada, October 7, 2019.)

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Uphold Indigenous Hereditary Rights -- Stand with Wet'suwet'en

Federal Government Cannot Escape Its Responsibility to Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Youth for Wet'suwet'en set up ceremonial space on the BC legislature lawn,
March 4, 2020 and call on the premier and BC government to be accountable and come out
and meet with them. (T. Coste)

There is much speculation about the contents of an agreement reached between representatives of the federal and provincial governments and Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and others when they met in Smithers in northern BC, from February 27 to March 1. Former NDP MP Nathan Cullen was hired by the BC government to facilitate the talks. Reports indicate that the meetings resulted in an arrangement between the Wet'suwet'en and the federal and provincial governments with regard to the recognition of hereditary rights and title. The Wet'suwet'en will not release details of the agreement pending discussion within the Wet'suwet'en nation, which is to take place soon.

Reports indicate that the agreement did not deal with the outstanding issue of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline, which does not have the consent of the hereditary chiefs for construction and operation on the territory for which they are responsible.

Since early January, the hereditary chiefs had been asking Prime Minister Trudeau and BC Premier Horgan to meet with them, as equals, on the basis of nation-to-nation relations, a request which has been repeatedly denied by the prime minister and the premier. One of the youth who spoke at a press conference at the BC Legislature on February 26 nailed the explanation. She said "There's a reason why John Horgan and Trudeau won't meet with these chiefs, because as soon as they meet with these chiefs they affirm that they are the leaders and the rightful owners of their own territories. We all know that economically it doesn't make sense for Trudeau and Horgan to not meet with these chiefs and so we have to ask ourselves 'Why is that?' And the root of this issue is that they don't want to give our people the recognition that we own our own territories, because every other project that they are going to try to push through our lands, we'll be able to say no to."

Trudeau, with solidarity actions and disruption across the country continuing, keeps insisting that his government wants a "peaceful and lasting solution," but fails to recognize the root cause of the problem which he claims to want to solve. When asked in the House of Commons on February 26 by NDP leader Jagmeet Singh whether he would commit to meet with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, Trudeau put the blame for the current situation on the Wet'suwet'en. He said, "I explained that there were many voices within the Wet'suwet'en community: some hereditary chiefs, some elected chiefs and some leaders within the community as well. The work they need to do, without outside interference, to determine their path forward would be interfered with by a prime minister sitting down with one group too quickly. I am of course open to engaging constructively, but in the right way."

Trudeau's suggestion that the problems exist because the Wet'suwet'en are divided and they need to get their own act together, ignores the crucial issue that the federal government created a so-called third level of elected government to keep the decision-making power out of the hands of the people. Those it calls elected representatives represent the Crown, not the people. Their role is to make sure the people put up and shut up and it is all done in the name of democracy. As for business leaders and leaders of other special interests, nobody ever chose them to be spokespersons for the people. The two systems of governance -- the hereditary law on the unceded territory and the elected band councils imposed by the Indian Act on reserves -- are not compatible because the former is not recognized and the latter is an integral part of the dispossession of the Indigenous peoples, which needs to be scrapped altogether because it is part of the colonial legacy.

As for differences of opinion, they exist throughout Canadian society on issues related to resource development and how to maintain and humanize the natural and social environment. So long as governments at different levels will not permit discussion to take place in such a manner that the people can explore their options from their perspective and by establishing their reference points, these differences cannot be sorted out and the people are set at loggerheads even though they all want the same thing -- livelihoods, sustainable development, a healthy natural and social environment. Instead of actually permitting discussion and permitting the people to formulate warranted conclusions, the government of British Columbia is pushing through the Coastal GasLink pipeline in spite of the fact that the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs have not consented to the pipeline route through the territory for which they are responsible. The provincial government has issued the permits for Coastal GasLink in spite of the company not having that consent. It has enforced that decision by means of a militarized RCMP occupying force which unlawfully harasses and interferes with the people who live and work on the territory and have twice violently assaulted and removed Wet'suwet'en people from their own land. It is the height of arrogance to suggest that "the problem" is "divisions within the Wet'suwet'en" and that Trudeau, as the leader of the Canadian government, is helping the situation by "not sitting down with one group too quickly."

When Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Horgan speak of reconciliation they mean that Indigenous peoples should reconcile themselves to the unfettered access to their land by the resource companies with the federal and provincial governments as their agents and the RCMP as the enforcer. As long as this is the outlook that they bring to the table, the fundamental issues will not be addressed and the fight of Indigenous peoples to affirm their rights will persist.

The agreement reached in Smithers has kindled hope that the federal government and the province have recognized the hereditary rights of the Wet'suwet'en, 23 years after the Supreme Court decision in Delgamuukw, which called on the provinces and the federal government to reach a political settlement on the historical denial of the hereditary rights of Indigenous peoples. Whether or not the agreement reached in Smithers will be endorsed by the Wet'suwet'en, the problem remains of the immediate issue of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline. Work had been suspended by Coastal GasLink while the talks were taking place but restarted on March 2 although the hereditary chiefs and the land defenders at the Unist'ot'en Camp continue to declare their opposition. The RCMP, which stood down during the talks, has also recommenced patrols on Wet'suwet'en territory.

The rail blockades in Ontario and Quebec came down in the last week but actions in support of Wet'suwet'en claims, including student walkouts across the country on March 4, continue. In one action hundreds of students joined the Indigenous youth who have occupied the steps of the BC Legislature to show their support for the just stand of the Wet'suwet'en land defenders.

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March 4 National Student Walkout
in Solidarity with Wet'suwet'en

University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby


University of Windsor

University of Western Ontario, London




(Photos: TML, A. Crawshaw, T. Smith, K. Rae, GeekbyGek, UBC 350, aahaasuwiimiikwan, I. Nova.)

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Celebrate 57th Anniversary of Founding of The Internationalists

The Vibrant Legacy Inherited by CPC(M-L)

Under the leadership of Hardial Bains, The Internationalists was founded at the University of British Columbia on March 13, 1963. The uninterrupted advance of The Internationalists led to the founding of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) in Montreal on March 31, 1970. The achievements of The Internationalists in preparing the subjective conditions for CPC(M-L) became the legacy inherited by the Party and remains so to this day.

The Internationalists has significance in the life of the Party today because its positions and program were based on the actual conditions of the country. The organization worked out theory in the course of the struggle to change those conditions. The Internationalists relied on the working class to set the aim to resolve the crisis in its favour in every period so as to open society's path to progress. Any deviation or opposition to the fundamental positions would have led to the destruction of The Internationalists and to CPC(M-L) as well.

Fundamental Positions of The Internationalists

• the program of The Internationalists was based on the
actual conditions of the country

• The Internationalists worked out theory in the course of the struggle
to change those conditions

• The Internationalists relied on the working class to set the aim
to resolve the crisis in its favour in every period so as to
open society's path to progress

Militant defence of its independence and to think for itself are important legacies CPC(M-L) inherited from The Internationalists. The insistence of the Party to think for itself in opening the path for its work and not to depend on or bow down to this or that analysis from any other quarter ensured that both The Internationalists and CPC(M-L) could pass through extremely complicated periods successfully without compromising their principles and fundamental positions or merging with the fad of the day.

Newspaper started in 1969 by The Internationalists

During the sixties, one fad was to pick up this or that idea and turn it into a document and seek unity on that basis. Another one was to blindly follow the Soviet Union and other countries without carrying out an independent analysis of the conditions of the country in which the Party was operating and thinking for itself. The necessity was and continues to be to this day for Parties to examine other countries from an angle that can advance the movement of the working class and allies in the country where they are operating and the workers of all lands. No struggle could be successful if based on the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, Yugoslavia or any other country and not on a concrete analysis of Canada. Such an independent stand and thinking for itself stood the Party in good stead.

This can be seen at the present time. The legacy of militant defence of its independence and thinking for itself means the Party stands firmly on its own two feet and is capable of finding its bearings in the complicated circumstances that characterize this historical turning point in which old forms have passed away and new forms have yet to be brought into being.

Those who live off the thinking of others and succumb to the official state disinformation can provide nothing vibrant nor inspire the working people to march on and build the New. Sooner or later those who mouth what they hear from the old forces collapse. Such is the case of those who eke out a living repeating phrases, refuse to analyze the unfolding events and fail to implement the Party's positions, line and guides to action in a living way.

50th Anniversary of CPC(M-L)

CPC(M-L) is celebrating the 57th anniversary of the founding of The Internationalists within the context of the coming celebration of the 50th anniversary of its own founding. The Party has its program for renewal at this time to ensure it remains consistent with the concrete conditions of today. The Party inherited this quality from The Internationalists, to always base its political action on its own analysis of the national and international situation without succumbing to the lure of an idea. This quality can be found in the fullness of the analysis of the present period found in the pages of TML Weekly and Workers' Forum and its political action program to Stop Paying the Rich; Increase Investments in Social Programs!

As the conditions have changed, so have the analyses and political programs, while the theory known as Contemporary Marxist-Leninist Thought that The Internationalists began to work out in its day has become all the more powerful. The role played by theory can be seen in the work in different spheres. The Internationalists and the Party have been able to use the organizing and mobilizing power of Contemporary Marxist-Leninist Thought, which has developed as work on the theoretical front has gained experience and expertise over the past 57 years. Theory develops as it illuminates a path forward for the ongoing work based on the conclusions drawn from the unfolding new experience gained here in Canada and by the international working class in all spheres of work.

The working class is the class of the here and now and the future. Its work is to lead the struggle to emancipate the working class and to create a new society without exploitation of persons by persons. The dogmatism and phrase-mongering of the obsolete classes and parties that call themselves democratic but form a reactionary cartel to keep the people out of power, can be seen in their double-talk during elections and their promises to provide problems with solutions, which they never keep. They base themselves on the dogmatic false ideological belief that theirs is the ultimate system humans are capable of developing and the final form of democracy.

In hailing the work of The Internationalists, CPC(M-L) draws attention to some of its salient features. These were not worked out in a dogmatic fashion from ideas but according to the conditions and analysis of the times as they developed, and by taking into consideration conclusions that have been added to theory. By doing so, the practical politics and summing up of the work enriches the theory making it applicable to the contemporary conditions.

More than ever before, the practical politics, and not adherence to this or that "ism," are crucial to achieve a definite aim the people define. The concretization of a line of march takes place only in the course of political work -- the practical politics -- which refers to the work to vest the sovereign decision-making power in the people whose representatives are not elected officials who toe a party line. Today, real political power is wielded through executive offices and police power, through a fictional person of state that rules over the majority of the people on behalf of the alien class interests of a minority.

CPC(M-L) greets the 57th anniversary of the founding of The Internationalists and all those members who participated in its work with the conviction that the striving of the working class and its allies to exercise control over the decisions affecting their lives will indeed affirm their desire for peace, freedom and democracy in the form of an anti-war government that brings forth and concretizes a totally new democratic personality. The working class will constitute the nation and vest sovereignty in the people with the aim of creating a society without the exploitation of persons by persons.

Long Live Our Party!
Long Live the Work of Its Founder Comrade Hardial Bains!

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