No. 7

July 4, 2021


In the Parliament

Incoherent Legislation and Crisis-Ridden Proceedings

- Anna Di Carlo -

Government Tables Controversial "Anti-Hate" Legislation

For Us, Accountability Begins at Home

Where Responsibility Lies for the Brutal Legacy of
Canada's Residential School System

- Pauline Easton -

When the Past of the Racist Canadian State Is Also Its Present

- Philip Fernandez -

More Unmarked Graves Discovered in BC

Urgent Need to Humanize the Natural and Social Environment!

Pfizer-BioNTech Demands Canada Pay Premium for Vaccine

- K.C. Adams -

Record High Heat Waves, Forest Fires and Floods
Raise Alarm As Never Before

- Nick Lin -

BC Premier Declares Fatalities from Heat Wave "Part of Life"

Glyphosate and Freedom of Speech

Guts and Glyphosate

- Peter Ewart -

U.S. Imperialist-Led Brinkmanship Increases Danger of War

Staged Provocation Against Russia in Black Sea

- Steve Rutchinski -

U.S. President Launches Illegal Airstrikes on Syria and Iraq

U.S. Tech Monopolies Gather Allies to Attack China

Investing in Israeli Cybersecurity, Intelligence and
Physical Security Technologies

In the Parliament

Incoherent Legislation and
Crisis-Ridden Proceedings

Parliament adjourned on Wednesday, June 23 following a session replete with incoherent legislation and crisis-ridden self-serving proceedings. It is scheduled to reconvene on September 20 but nothing is certain because speculation abounds that the Trudeau government will call a federal election before that. Even so, an hour before adjournment, the Liberals presented new so-called anti-hate legislation, with the additional threat of more social-media regulation to come. It is intended to permit the government to use its police powers to curb freedom of speech when it comes to the right of the people to speak and communicate their views, thoughts and opinions about matters of concern to the polity, while giving a green light to authorities at various levels to defame and criminalize people who refuse to toe the line the authorities have summarily declared comprises Canadian values.

Throughout this session of Parliament, the government has engaged in many self-serving shenanigans in order to skew the playing field in its favour should an election be called. This brings the serious concern before the electorate of how it should respond to its own advantage, not that of the system of cartel party government whose main aim is to keep the people disempowered.

The Liberals standing in the Parliament with the recent organized defection of a Green Party MP to the Liberals, is 155 of the 338 total MPs. This is 15 short of a majority meaning a lot of manoeuvering is going on to get what they call star candidates and to make sure candidates for the opposition parties are knocked out of the running in various ways. The minority Liberal government has been able to get its legislation adopted primarily with the support of the 32 Bloc Québécois and 24 NDP members.

Meanwhile, to make sure the Liberals control the Senate, on June 22 Trudeau announced his latest appointments to the "red chamber" which are plum positions given for services rendered. The new appointees are Hassan Yussuff, Bernadette Clement and James Quinn. Yussuf, until three days prior to his appointment was president of the Canadian Labour Congress and much praised for supporting the Liberals in free trade negotiations that cripple the working class in the U.S., Canada and Mexico in myriad ways. Clement is the former Mayor of Cornwall, Ontario, a crucial border crossing with the U.S. that lies on Indigenous land. Quinn is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Saint John Port Authority which, according to its website, is "eastern Canada's largest port by volume," and "has a diverse cargo base, handling an average of 28 million metric tonnes of cargo annually, including dry and liquid bulks, break bulk, and containers." It boasts that "with global connections to 500 ports worldwide, Port Saint John is easily connected to central Canadian inland markets by rail and road" and that it is "a facilitator of trade, providing a marine gateway to global markets."

The appointment of these three people as Senators brings the total number appointed by the Liberals in two terms of office to 55. This means the Liberal Party appointments now command a majority in the Chamber even though Liberal Senators are said to be independent. Twelve of the 105 Senate seats remain vacant.

The bills pushed to the Senate before the House ended its session included Bill C-6, an act amending the Criminal Code concerning conversion therapy; Bill C-10, An Act to Amend the Broadcasting Act; Bill C-12, An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050; and Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures.

The pressure on the Senate to push these laws through, raised a drama of opposition because of the last minute delivery to the Senators. This is particularly so with Bill C-10 where there is a controversy about whether or not social-media posts by individuals will now be regulated and controlled through algorithms that the government wants to see on social media platforms in the name of promoting the discoverability of Canadian content. The opposition in the Senate alleges that it constitutes a threat to freedom of speech and also objects to the manner in which the legislation was rushed through the lower house.

The depths to which Parliamentary proceedings have sunk is shown by the fact Bill C-10 reached the Senate without anyone in either the House or the Senate being able to provide a definitive statement on its content or impact. Julie Dabrusin, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage says that Bill C-10 "specifically excludes contents uploaded by users" while others, including broadcasting law expert Michael Geist, maintain it does not. In this vein, Senator Pamela Wallin insisted in the Senate that the "Facebook posts, YouTube posts and all of that is subject to discoverability by big tech," to which Senator Dennis Dawson said this was not the case. "Trust me: It does not apply to people. It applies to organizations. People's freedom of speech and expression will not be altered by this bill," he said. This is contradicted by the experience of many whose posts have been blocked or who have themselves received lifetime bans from using the medium at issue, even without Bill C-10 and the further threatened regulatory powers to monitor and control speech on the internet.

What is clear from the complex bill is that it is legislation that significantly expands the regulatory powers of the Canadian Radio-Telecommunications Commission and the Cabinet, with many provisions in it simply deferring to directives to be issued by the Cabinet as to how the Commission will conduct its regulatory powers. It is a concentration of unfettered policy-making powers in fewer and fewer hands. Another name for unfettered policy-making powers is police powers.

In the end, notwithstanding the Liberal predominance in the Senate, it refused to fast-track the new Broadcasting Act and the conversion therapy legislation, choosing to refer it to committee instead.

Irrationality Prevails

Another matter which shows the extent of the irrationality that prevails concerns how an election is to be conducted should one be called during a pandemic.

In October 2020, Chief Electoral Officer Stéphane Perrault requested amendments to the Canada Elections Act that would address health and safety concerns should an election be called during the pandemic. Bill C-19, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (COVID-19 response) was tabled in December. The Committee on Procedures and House Affairs (PROC) tabled its report and final amendments to Bill C-19 two days before the scheduled summer recess, but it was not selected as priority legislation by the Liberals.

The House of Commons' handling of the legislation not only reveals utter disregard for the health and safety of electors and election workers, but the ease with which one hand contradicts what the other is doing. In May 2021, members of the House of Commons unanimously adopted a motion declaring that an election should not be called until the pandemic is over. Unanimous means it included the Liberals. Some MPs went so far as to argue that the motion was excellent because it would provide more time for PROC to study Bill C-19 -- the very bill enacting the conditions for an election during a pandemic.

Bill C-19 also reveals a contempt for Elections Canada, as it supplants the agency's expert advice with largely unexplained party preferences. If it had been passed, Bill C-19 would have extended polling from a single 12-hour day of voting on Monday to three 12-hour days on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. This would have been done even though Elections Canada requested eight-hour days on Saturday and Sunday to address the difficulties of hiring 250,000 election workers for 12-hour days during a pandemic, most of whom are seniors. Elections Canada also argued that the two-day weekend voting would assist in securing polling locations that would facilitate physical distancing. Even after the head of Elections Canada, Stéphane Perrault, appeared before PROC a second time to reiterate his reasons, PROC members stuck to their own preferences.

Elections Canada was left with no option but to announce that it expects to be prepared to conduct elections safely, using the existing adaptive powers of the Chief Electoral Officer to address problems that arise related to the health and safety of electors and election workers.

Coincidentally, right after Parliament adjourned, the restrictions on public gatherings started being lifted with complicated guidelines issued of what is safe and what is not. This has further fuelled speculation that an election can be called because pandemic conditions allegedly no longer exist.

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Government Tables Controversial
"Anti-Hate" Legislation

Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti tabled Bill C-36, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act and to make related amendments to another Act (hate propaganda, hate crimes and hate speech) in the House of Commons on June 23, hours before it adjourned for the summer. It was accompanied by a press release and backgrounders promising that the legislation will "better combat hate speech and hate crimes, provide improved remedies for victims, and hold individuals accountable for the harms of the hatred they spread." All on-line postings by individuals on social-media platforms, blogs and websites will be subject to the amended laws and regulations.

The Criminal Code, which already contains prohibitions against "public incitement of hatred" and "wilful promotion of hatred" is amended to add a definition of "hatred." It is defined as "the emotion that involves detestation or vilification and that is stronger than dislike or disdain; (haine)."  A clause cited as being "for greater clarity" adds that "communication of a statement does not incite or promote hatred solely because it discredits, humiliates, hurts or offends." A new offence is added to the Criminal Code entitled "Fear of hate propaganda offence or hate crime," whereby an individual who is suspected of being likely to commit a hate crime or engage in hate propaganda can be charged. The Criminal Code will set out a list of recognizance conditions which can be ordered for a convicted individual, such as wearing an electronic monitoring device, and/or being placed under home curfew. The Youth Criminal Justice Act is amended to include "fear of hate propaganda offence or hate crime" as one dealt with by the youth court system.

The legislation also amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to add "Communication of hate speech," as an act subject to complaint. An individual will be able to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission which will be adjudicated by its Tribunal and in the event of being found culpable, the accused may be ordered to take down the offending post and possibly pay compensation to the accuser, along with a fine to the state.

Who decides what constitutes a hate crime and on the basis of what criteria has become a very controversial matter for Canadians. Why the government slipped it in hours before the House of Commons adjourned is yet to reveal itself. But what is certain is that it is not to encourage discussion amongst Canadians about what the criteria to determine a hate crime should be so that it is not used to criminalize the right to speak. The fact that the legislation was introduced at the same time as five foreign social media platforms were taken down by the U.S. intelligence agencies and government is also a cause for alarm. It raises the question of what Canada's "intelligence" agencies will see fit to do to deprive Canadians of their freedom to speak in the coming elections. This not only affects Canadians' civil rights -- which governments claim the right to subject to what they call "reasonable limits" -- but their human rights as well because without the conditions that permit people to speak freely, communication is impeded which means people cannot work out a way forward for themselves and the society they are part of in all their relations.

The new provision in the Canadian Human Rights Act states: "It is a discriminatory practice to communicate or cause to be communicated hate speech by means of the Internet or other means of telecommunication in a context in which the hate speech is likely to foment detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination." The prohibited grounds of discrimination set out in the Canadian Human Rights Act are "race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, genetic characteristics, disability and conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered."

As for further regulation of social media platforms, the backgrounder to Bill C-36 states that in the next few weeks, the Liberals will reveal "a regulatory framework to tackle harmful content online." It says "the Government of Canada will engage Canadians on a detailed technical discussion paper that will outline the proposal for making social media platform operators more transparent and accountable while combating harmful content online."

This indicates that in the period leading up to the projected early election call, the Liberals will attempt to divert discussion away from the continued racist colonial legacy of the Canadian state as it is practised today and turn attention towards the tweets and posts of Canadians as the source of racism in Canada.

Canadians as a people despise attacks on any section of the people. This includes the medieval practice of defaming people by launching personal attacks against them, sowing doubt publicly about their character and using the power of their office or position to fire people on the basis of their views or for putting things into action the authorities do not like. Meanwhile, most attacks carried out against various collectives of the people are state-organized or inspired by the state in ways which are verifiable. Governments at all levels are themselves either using or condoning defamation to the point of terrifying people of all ages, including even young people that if they speak freely to discuss matters of concern, or wear certain clothes, or dance certain dances, or sing certain songs, they are endangering national security, spreading false information, acting as dupes to a foreign power, spreading hatred, engaging in acts of racism, or white supremacy or cultural appropriation, or that they are anti-trans, or anti-women and many other things. It enforces a taboo on any discussion while the people who commit crimes against the people are not actually tried for the crimes they commit but for their speech. All of it is to split the polity in the name of upholding rights, while protecting those who are truly against the rights of human beings.

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For Us, Accountability Begins at Home

Where Responsibility Lies for the Brutal Legacy
of Canada's Residential School System

Canada Day action in Ottawa, one of many across the country, as Canadians from all walks of life joined the Indigenous peoples in demanding accountability from the federal government.

A truth of the Residential School System and its brutal legacy is being revealed in gruesome detail. First there was the May 27 announcement by Kúkpi7 Rosanne Casimir, Chief of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Nation of the discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children in unmarked graves at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Less than a month later, on June 24, Chief Cadmus Delorme of the Cowessess First Nation announced that 751 unmarked graves have been found in a cemetery in Cowessess near the former Marieval Indian Residential School. This was followed June 30  by the announcement by the Ktunaxa Nation located near Cranbrook, BC of the discovery of 182 unmarked grave sites adjacent to the former St. Eugene's Mission residential school.

And this is only the beginning. According to former Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Murray Sinclair, there may be upwards of 25,000 children who died while attending the 138 residential schools that the Canadian colonial state operated between 1870 and 1996; and there may be still more Indigenous children who died after being forcibly removed from their homes and communities and sent far away to attend regular schools. The enormity of the crime of what Canada's residential school policy and practice meant for Indigenous peoples demands reparations as determined by the Indigenous peoples themselves. It must start by providing whatever resources are needed by Indigenous peoples to heal from the trauma of the Residential School System as already stipulated by them.

It is to be expected that the Liberal government, whose job it is to perpetuate the present constitutional order in the name of high ideals, would refuse to accept the responsibility for crimes committed in the name of Canada in the past. Apologies are words of sympathy, carefully worded to make sure nothing is justiciable -- that the government cannot be held legally responsible in any way. The Government of Canada's defence of the constitutional order means that the crimes established on a racist and anti-people basis to defend private property in the past more than 150 years continue in the present. It is up to the people to end the present day colonial and racist approach to decision-making.

Even in the face of what truly became a national day of mourning on July 1, in which Canadians from all walks of life joined the Indigenous peoples to condole their losses and share their grief, the Prime Minister was calling on Canadians "to reflect on our country's historical failures," and "be resolute in confronting these truths in order to chart a new and better path forward." "[I]f we all pledge to do the work -- and if we lead with those core values of hard work, kindness, resilience, and respect -- we can achieve reconciliation and build a better Canada for everyone," he added.

The Prime Minister continuously speaks ambiguously in the name of Canadians in a personalist manner. It is a device by which he seeks to insinuate himself into the feelings of the country without the Canadian state having to take any responsibility for the consequences of the crimes committed in the past and which continue to be committed in the present.

He calls on the Pope to apologize for the crimes committed in the residential schools and come to do so on Canadian soil, as if that is what will repair the damages of past and present or that a visit from the Pope is what Canadians need. It is a pathetic diversion when what the Indigenous peoples are asking for is that the churches release and stop destroying whatever names and information they have. Is the Government of Canada going to enact some sort of measures which force them to do so? That is not even posed as a way to go. Meanwhile government officials, the cartel parties which form the government including the opposition, and the media focus all their attention on actions which they feel no compunction about labelling criminal, like the burning of churches or toppling of statues. 

All the while, media give a rendering of history which never includes the decisive role played by the peoples in humanizing the natural and social environment and opening the path to progress. They claim "there are good things and bad things which have happened," or which an individual like Sir John A. Macdonald did, and "we must take the bad with the good and acknowledge that overall it is good." This way of dismissing the concrete reality in the present to evade taking any responsibility is insidious, and designed to perpetuate the status quo in which the peoples are deprived of the decision-making power.

The Prime Minister concluded his Canada Day message by repeating the campaign slogan of U.S. President Biden and the international financial oligarchy to "Build Back Better." "This Canada Day, let's recommit to learning from and listening to each other so we can break down the barriers that divide us, rectify the injustices of our past, and build a more fair and equitable society for everyone. Together, we will roll up our sleeves and do the hard work that is necessary to build a better Canada," the Prime Minister said. It merely underscores the cynicism of the ruling class based on their false ideological belief that they are beyond being held to account.

It is not surprising that the Prime Minister ended his message saying, "From my family to yours, happy Canada Day." No matter what the likes of such people say, it was not a "happy Canada Day." It was a day of national grief and mourning, a day where the people of all origins joined with the Indigenous peoples to pledge that they will see justice done.

Duncan Campbell Scott, the Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs in 1920, is to this day celebrated as the "Poet of Confederation." His poetry presented Indigenous peoples as "a vanishing race," and he explained the policy of the Anglo-Canadian state as follows: "I want to get rid of the Indian problem. That is my whole point. Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question."

The truth is that this aim has not changed. The aim of the state is the same today as it was in yesteryear: to rule over the multitude, impose the aim of the holders of private property on the society, and keep the demands of the people in line with those aims. Nothing else is to be tolerated and persistence in fighting for a just cause is to be made a criminal offence.

It Will Not Pass!

(With files from CBC, CTV, Government of Canada, Canadian Encyclopedia)

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When the Past of the Racist Canadian State
Is Also Its Present

Today, in Canada more than 52 per cent of all children in foster care are Indigenous. Indigenous youth commit suicide at rates more than three times the national average. Suicide rates for Inuit children and youth are 33 times that of non-Indigenous children. Close to 50 per cent of Indigenous children are living in poverty. While these are the facts, the Trudeau Liberals continue to deny the treaty rights of Indigenous children and their families to basic services such as education, health care, and housing, and more than 30 communities even lack safe drinking water.

Cindy Blackstock (right) in Ottawa demanding same level of funding for social programs for Indigenous children.

Cindy Blackstock, a member of the Gitxsan First Nation, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and a professor at McGill University, has called out the Trudeau government's disinformation when it says that the crimes of the Canadian state against Indigenous peoples are a thing of the past. She points out that the Trudeau Liberal government continues to litigate against Indigenous children; continues to deny Indigenous children the same level of funding for social programs as other children, and refuses to comply with the 2016 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling that the government pay $40,000 each in compensation to 50,000 Indigenous children for its neglect and denial of services to them and their families. She pointed out that the denial of proper funding for services for Indigenous children has directly resulted in higher levels of family separation now than during the period of the residential schools.

Blackstock wrote a poignant article titled "Screaming into silence," published on June 30 by Maclean's Magazine. The article eloquently makes the case that the crimes committed against Indigenous children and the Indigenous peoples are not in the past but in the present. She writes:

"Residential school survivors knew where the children were buried because some of them had dug their graves. They told their truths to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and gave the country a national plan in their 94 calls to action for ending the injustices facing this generation of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children, and to ensure nothing like this happens again. Some of us heard them, but what they said was too confrontational for most -- so people called them 'stories' and looked away. The survivors must have felt they were screaming into silence.

"The buried children died afraid and alone -- away from their families -- in 'schools' that were more akin to re-education camps, run by the Canadian government and the Christian churches from the 1830s to 1996. Many could have survived if public will had forced Ottawa to implement the life-saving reforms posited by Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce, the chief medical health officer of the Department of Indian Affairs in 1907. Bryce found that tuberculosis was ravaging the malnourished children at 20 times the rate of others, fuelled by dramatically unequal 'Indian' health funding and poor health practices. As the 1907 headline of the Evening Citizen reported, there was 'absolute inattention to the bare necessities of health' and the schools were 'veritable hotbeds of disease.' Other newspapers wrote that the children were 'dying like flies,' compelling lawyer Samuel Hume Blake to say in 1908, 'In that Canada fails to obviate the preventable causes of deaths, it brings itself into unpleasant nearness to manslaughter.'

"Canada refused to implement Bryce's reforms and pushed him out of the public service in 1922 for refusing to stay quiet. That same year, Bryce walked onto the premises of Ottawa bookseller James Hope & Sons with his pamphlet, 'The Story of a National Crime.' More headlines followed, but then the story died -- and so did the children. Bryce died in 1932 and he was erased from Canada's history. His family says his greatest lament was that 'the work did not get done.' He must have felt like he, too, was screaming into silence.

"First Nations, Métis and Inuit parents often spoke up but were ignored, and many were arrested for refusing to send their kids to these death traps. While the parents were in jail, the government took the kids. Over the decades, people of all walks of life regularly peppered the federal government with reports of child abuse, neglect and death in residential schools. Canada just waited out the media storm and continued business as usual."

Which is precisely what Canada is hoping will happen today as well. Speaking out and smashing the silence is key to making sure a spoke is put in the wheel of the refusal of governments to carry out their duty and get away with it. Blackstock continues:

"I was born in 1964 in northern BC. I could have been in one of those schools, but I was spared. I remember being the only 'Indian' kid in my classrooms and wondering where the other Indian kids were. The townspeople had an answer for that -- Indians were too dumb to learn, were drunks and would just grow up to be on welfare.

"I began to hear the truths about residential schools decades later. At first only faintly, and then with growing strength as survivors told their truths, with great pain, so they could make sure this never happened to their grandchildren. It all made sense: why so many numb the pain with alcohol and drugs, why others disappeared and died amid deafening public silence. The government's colonial project was made possible by purposefully feeding the populace a steady diet of distractions, misinformation and stereotypes.

"The Prime Minister talks about the horrors and injustices in the past tense -- probably to avoid any accountability for the serious harms the government continues to foist on this generation of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children.

"Canada used the Indian Act to drive kids into residential schools, and it is still in force. The country says I am a 'status Indian.' I have a card saying so, but it expired decades ago and I don't plan on renewing it. I want no part of Canada's racist game.

"Yet I am a player in this wicked colonial game, and so are you. The Indian Act is still around despite a royal commission laying out a 20-year plan to get rid of it in 1996 and the public service inequities that Bryce pointed out more than a century ago.

"One hundred years after Bryce's report, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations filed a human rights case against the federal government. Canada fought the case tooth and nail, relying on legal technicalities bereft of any serious consideration of how the inequities were affecting Indigenous children being separated from their families and placed in foster care at higher rates than in residential schools, experiencing irremediable harm and, in some cases, death. In 2016, the Human Rights Tribunal ordered Canada to immediately cease its discriminatory conduct. The government welcomed the decision and then did not comply. The tribunal has been forced to issue 19 further orders and has linked Canada's ongoing non-compliance to the unnecessary foster placements of many kids and to the deaths of three.

"I used to know how much children's caskets cost because I had to raise funds for them so often.

Shannen Koostachin was a leader among Indigenous youth fighting for safe schools. Above, youth take their demands to Parliament Hill.

"Canada did not kill the kids directly -- it put them in situations where their deaths were far more likely. Children like Jordan River Anderson, who died in a hospital in 2005 at age five never having spent a day in a family home because Canada and Manitoba were fighting over payment for his at-home care due to him being First Nations. Or like 15-year-old Shannen Koostachin, an inspiring Cree education leader who fought her whole life for 'safe and comfy schools' for First Nations students before dying in a 2010 car accident, hundreds of miles away from her family because there was no high school in her community. Then there were the seven First Nations youths found in a river in Thunder Bay, Ont., after they'd gone there for high school because Ottawa was too cheap to build one near their home communities. Not every child died, of course, but others have never seen clean water come from a tap or grew up in foster care at 14 times the rate of other children due to the multi-generational residential school trauma and inequitable federal public services.

"In mid-June, federal ministers who have worn orange shirts and orange ribbons held news conferences about 'allowing' First Nations names on Canadian passports and, more substantively, passing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into Canadian law. I could not view those conferences because I was in Federal Court watching Canada's lawyers try to overturn two tribunal orders requiring it to compensate First Nations children it had discriminated against (and they are still children) and to avoid paying for public services for Indigenous kids off-reserve and without Indian Act status. I also attended a news conference with survivors from St. Anne's residential school in northeastern Ontario who wanted the federal government to drop its legal battle against them. That school actually had a homemade electric chair for punishing students."

Blackstock concludes saying: "I believe those 215 and 751 little spirits buried on the grounds of the Kamloops and Marieval residential schools came to ensure the work gets done. We need to keep talking to the elected officials about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, even if we think they are not listening, because ultimately they will all hear us in the voting booth."

The call for the Trudeau government to stop its own crimes against Indigenous peoples today is a just demand. It should be raised by Canadians loud and clear, and the government held accountable for its crimes in the present.

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More Unmarked Graves Discovered in BC

The ʔaq̓am  band of the Ktunaxa Nation located near the city of Cranbrook, BC has issued a press release announcing the discovery of 182 unmarked grave sites adjacent to the former colonial St. Eugene's Mission residential school. Operated by the Catholic Church under the authority of the colonial state, the institution held an estimated 5,000 Indigenous children during its sordid history from 1912 until closed in 1969. The colonial state and its police powers forced children to attend from the ʔaq̓am band, the broader Ktunaxa Nation and many neighbouring First Nations.

The ʔaq̓am  press release reads in part, "Last year while conducting some remedial work around the ʔaq̓am Cemetery (near the former St. Eugene institution), an unfortunate incident occurred whereby an unknown and unmarked grave was found. In order to ensure no other graves were disturbed, ʔaq̓am Leadership, in consultation with Elders and Knowledge Keepers, made the decision to employ a ground penetrating radar system to identify additional unmarked graves. This was a deeply disturbing and painful experience for our Elders and community as a whole. Ktunaxa cultural protocols were strictly followed by ʔaq̓am community members who participated in the process as well as the contractor who operated the ground penetrating radar system. Preliminary results from the investigation found 182 unmarked graves within the cemetery grounds, with some being only three to four feet deep."

The press release continues, "The community of ʔaq̓am  remains steadfast in its responsibility as caretakers of the ʔaq̓am  Cemetery and to those who eternally rest within. Further ground penetrating radar work will be done on the site and ʔaq̓am  is committed to working with external parties to identify as many graves as possible and to memorialize all unknown graves with stone markers to ensure that no soul is truly forgotten. The issue of the remains of children victimized in residential schools and buried in unmarked graves is of great concern."

"You can never fully prepare for something like this," said Chief Jason Louie of the Yaqan Nukiy -- Lower Kootenay Band, a member community of the Ktunaxa Nation. Chief Louie said the nation's leadership met with residential school survivors in the community before announcing the discovery and referred them to support. "It's very difficult," he said. "It was very impactful when we got the news of the 215 souls that were located in Kamloops. And now it's very, very personal."

"We were robbed of future elders," Chief Louie said. "Those children, if they had not passed away, could have been elders and teachers in our communities, the keepers of knowledge. It's devastating."

Details of the St. Eugene (or Kootenay) residential school are located on the website of the Indian Residential School History & Dialogue Centre. The website recounts recurring outbreaks of influenza, mumps, measles, chicken pox, and tuberculosis.

According to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, an estimated 5,000 children passed through the St. Eugene institution. The colonial authorities forced children to leave their nations and communities located throughout the Kootenay region and beyond.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) expresses its deepest sympathies to the ʔaq̓am  band of the Ktunaxa Nation, the entire nation and all others in the affected communities.

The Party expresses deepest condolences to all those whose children were stolen never to return home as a result of the genocidal assimilationist policy of the government of Canada which considered the Indigenous peoples non-persons, outside the law, and thus deprived them of their names, families, traditional thought material and right to be. To this day under the colonial Indian Act, Indigenous affairs are decided by the Crown and Indigenous peoples are under constant assault, at the mercy of police powers exercised from the Prime Minister on down to the lowliest police agent, prison guard and social worker bound by the mandates they are given from above based on racist criteria while the conditions governments permit on the reserves and as concerns health care, education, child welfare and housing are the indictment of the excuses, apologies and justifications governments present.

Canadians will not rest until each child or adult found in an unmarked grave is named and returned to their families without which there can be no closure. The government must take responsibility to see that justice is done for these crimes committed against the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, justice as determined by the peoples themselves.

Support is available for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools, and those who are triggered by these reports.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for residential school survivors and others affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.

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Urgent Need to Humanize the Natural and Social Environment!

Pfizer-BioNTech Demands Canada Pay
Premium for Vaccine

The Canadian Press (CP) reports that Pfizer-BioNTech demanded extra money from the Canadian government to deliver vaccines several weeks earlier than originally planned. The details are contained in heavily redacted contracts with the private global pharmaceutical cartels released to the House of Commons health committee in June. The government contracted with the U.S. Pfizer and German-based BioNTech cartels last year to buy 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The versions released to MPs on the committee are redacted with price and delivery schedules deleted.

As the pandemic swept across the country last fall, Health Canada's chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma signalled that her department was about to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for broad public use, which it did on December 9. Subsequently, the government approached the cartel to deliver the vaccine before the contracted date.

CP writes the Canadian government "[raced] back to Pfizer to see if its contract could be amended to get some doses delivered early. On December 4, Canada and Pfizer signed an amendment allowing for that, but at a cost. 'Whereas [the] purchaser has requested, and Pfizer has agreed .... to amend the delivery schedule so that a certain number of contracted doses are delivered prior to January 1, 2021 and in consideration thereof the parties have agreed to increase the price contracted for doses which are delivered prior to January 1, 2021,' the [new] contract says. Every detail in the contract related to the price paid was deleted before the documents were made public.

"The specifics of what Canada paid for the 250 million doses of vaccine it pre-purchased have been hard to come by. The 2021 budget released in April said the total was somewhere around $9 billion."

The redacted versions angered members of Parliament's health committee as it had specifically issued an order for unredacted documents. Writing on Twitter, NDP health critic Don Davies expressed frustration that the government ignored the committee's order: "After months of dogged work the opposition finally got Canada's vaccine contracts. Predictably, Liberals released them late on a Friday with barely a week left in the session. Predictably, they redacted them in violation of the House Order."

Liberal government Procurement Minister Anita Anand says the eight contracts with Big Pharma contain confidentiality clauses that prevent her from releasing them, adding she is not going to violate those clauses and risk jeopardizing Canada's vaccine supply.

Quite a comment that telling the truth about a government business arrangement with private interests could "jeopardize" the health and life of Canadians. The truth in fact goes beyond deals with the devil and to the heart of the matter. Canadians do not control their health care system and the research and production of the supplies and modern equipment it requires. The global oligarchs who control the sector view Canadians as they view all earth's peoples -- as consumers that must pay for the commodities the oligarchs own and control. Pay up and make us rich or suffer the consequences is their mafia mantra.

Among other issues, the pandemic has exposed the absence of a Canadian controlled pharmaceutical sector. The exposure entails both the absence of any viable pharmaceutical sector but also importantly one that is under the control of Canadians as a human-centred enterprise dedicated to serving the well-being and health care of Canadians and not aimed at private profit for the oligarchs.

A human-centred pharmaceutical sector would also be assigned the social responsibility to arm Canadians with scientific literacy, to give them confidence in the drugs that are being offered, including vaccines. At present, many Canadians are rightly sceptical of the drug industry as the aim is maximum private profit. Big Pharma spends enormous amounts to push their drugs on people, such as opiates, causing criminal damage to the health and well-being of the people. Governments collude with the oligarchs and facilitate their practices and sales. This has to stop. Big Pharma must be restricted not just from harming Canadians but from blocking the development of an independent pharmaceutical sector under the control of the people.

In addition to human-centred pharmaceutical enterprises, the government also needs to establish a pharmacare system to distribute all drugs in Canada under strict regulations and make them available to all in need through a genuinely universal and free system. The cornerstone or foundation of such a modern pharmacare system has to be human-centred pharmaceutical enterprises that engage in public research and develop pharmaceuticals in which Canadians are confident and over which they exercise control. Pharmacare's receipt of payment for drugs would allow the human-centred enterprises to do research, develop and produce necessary pharmaceuticals and educate Canadians in pharmacology and draw attention to the social conditions that cause many diseases and injuries and the actions necessary to change those conditions.

If Big Pharma would want to continue to sell its drugs in Canada, the government should force the global cartels to sell only through pharmacare, reveal all scientific knowledge connected with the drugs in question and make it available publicly. It should also demand the details of the price of production of the drugs to establish a legitimate market price for pharmacare to pay. Pharmacare would also restrict Big Pharma from pushing its drugs on Canadians through any form of advertising or promotions through the medical system where it has influence. The pandemic has made clear the necessity to build a human-centred pharmaceutical sector complete with a modern pharmacare system.

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Record High Heat Waves, Forest Fires and Floods Raise Alarm as Never Before

Worsening heat waves are currently causing many to die in Canada. Not only are the highest ever recorded temperatures very alarming, but so too is the inaction of governments to protect the population despite all the means at their disposal to do so. Meanwhile, both the Canadian and U.S. government refuse to take responsibility for the absence of potable water in many communities. In Canada more than 30 communities on reserves have no safe potable water. This is also the case of several U.S. towns where drought has become permanent. The consequences of disasters linked to nature are affecting the peoples of the entire world, especially Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. It is as if the domination of nature by human beings had never occurred and is beyond reach, which is absolute nonsense.

The serious problem is how to satisfy the obvious need to hold to account the governments of the big powers that harbour and protect the giant corporations and oligopolies which are carrying out crimes against humans and nature with impunity. These giant corporations and oligopolies act as coalitions and cartels to further their narrow private interests no matter what the cost. They are so cynical as to clothe themselves in Green New Deals, also based on forcing governments to do their bidding, while the reputations of scientists and people who speak out are destroyed, through persecution and being deprived of their livelihoods. It is medieval and shows the toll that retrogression has taken on societies as a result of the neo-liberal global anti-social offensive. It reveals the urgency of finding ways to hold governments and those who facilitate the commission of crimes to account.

As of the end of June, a meteorological phenomenon known as a "heat dome" has settled over the western U.S. and Canada causing record high temperatures. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce describes a heat dome as a weather phenomenon that occurs when the atmosphere traps hot ocean air like a lid or cap. This is said to happen when there is a strong change in the temperature of the ocean. Due to convection, the warm air rises over the surface of the ocean in the shape of a mountain or dome. Hot air is trapped by high-pressure fronts, and as it is pushed back to the ground, it heats up even more. The condition also prevents clouds from forming, allowing for more radiation from the sun to hit the ground.

Hundreds of people are thought to have died due to the heat in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. The "heat dome" is moving eastward and Environment Canada has issued heat alerts from BC to northern Ontario. A heat wave just prior to this affected the southwest U.S.

In BC alone, 719 "sudden and unexpected" deaths were reported from June 25 to July 1, more than three times the number that would normally occur, BC's Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe informed. Lytton, BC, which reached a record temperature of 49.6 degrees Celsius on June 29 burned down in a wildfire on July 1 under the extremely hot and dry conditions. According to the BC Wildfire Service, on July 1 there were 82 wildfires burning across the province, 52 of which had started in the previous 48 hours. In addition to the hot and dry conditions, 29,000 lightning strikes were reported on July 1. BC is also the province with the highest number of boil water advisories, which on July 2 numbered 212, and lack of access to clean water so that people can stay hydrated is now likely to become worse.

In the U.S., air conditioning in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon is said to be uncommon due to mild summers. NPR reports that Seattle "ranks as the least air-conditioned city in a comparison of the top 15 metro areas contained in the U.S. Census Bureau's most recent American Housing Survey from 2019. Nationwide, about 91 per cent of U.S. homes have primary air conditioning installed, according to data from the American Housing Survey. By comparison, that figure is 78 per cent for Portland and just 44 per cent for Seattle." Lack of guaranteed access to water as a human right is also an issue in the U.S., where at least two million people lack access to running water, either due to lack of infrastructure for water purification or transport, or simply not being able to afford to pay for the service. This leads to more deaths during a heat wave.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in a June 30 news item notes that in addition to the effect on people, there will also be: heat stress on "animals and vegetation; air quality (pollutants due to hot stable air); forest fire risk; possibility of landslides caused by glacier melting in mountains; damages and malfunctioning of infrastructure and transport systems not prepared for such high temperatures; and many other social and economic risks."

The WMO adds: "Other parts of the northern hemisphere are already experiencing exceptional early hot summer conditions extending from the north Africa, Arabian Peninsula, eastern Europe, Iran and the north-western Indian continent. Maximum daily temperatures exceeded 45°C in several locations and reaching 50s in the Sahara. Western Libya saw temperatures more than 10°C above average for June."

Western Russia and areas around the Caspian Sea have also seen unusually high temperatures due to the continued presence of a large area of high pressure, the WMO reports. "In parts of the region including Moscow temperatures are expected to reach the mid-30s°C by day, remaining above 20°C by night. Areas nearer the Caspian Sea are expected to experience temperatures reaching the mid 40s°C and remaining above 25°C at night. It is likely that some all-time temperature records will be set during this heat wave."

"These early summer hot weather conditions are taking place in human-induced climate change background, (where) global temperatures are already 1.2°C higher than the pre-industrial levels," the WMO reports.

"Heat waves are becoming more frequent and intense as greenhouse gas concentrations lead to a rise in global temperatures. We are also noticing that they are starting earlier and ending later and are taking an increasing toll on human health," said Omar Baddour, Head of WMO's Climate Monitoring and Policy Division.

Apart from the worldwide heat waves, severe weather in the form of storms is also a major concern at this time. Hurricane Elsa, the first of the 2021 Atlantic season, hit the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica and eastern Cuba with full force winds and threats of flash flooding and mudslides in parts of those islands. With sustained winds of more than 112 kph, Elsa is still almost a category 1 hurricane. The consequences of these storms for the peoples of Haiti and the Dominican Republican are devastating given their impoverishment at the hands of ruling oligarchs in the service of the U.S. and other imperialists while the U.S. blockade of Cuba is a crime which hits the people very hard and makes recovery harder and harder. There is no doubt in anyone's mind who is damaging the natural environment and causing the conditions which are threatening entire populations at this time.

Meanwhile, the UN Panel on Climate Change reported species extinction, more widespread disease, unlivable heat, ecosystem collapse and cities menaced by rising seas. It said these and other devastating climate impacts are accelerating and bound to become painfully obvious before a child born today turns 30.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the choices societies make now will determine whether our species thrives or simply survives as the 21st century unfolds. In a draft report they say dangerous thresholds are closer than once thought, and dire consequences "are unavoidable in the short term" and that "the worst is yet to come, affecting our children's and grandchildren's lives much more than our own."

The need to reverse this alarming trend is urgent. Humanity has given rise to huge productive forces. They are supposed to be for our benefit but human beings are stopped from bringing them under control so that they can be put in the service of humanity. So long as those who wield political power privilege narrow private interests of global oligarchs, not the well-being of humanity, this will continue to be the case. Unless this is addressed, the colossal development of the productive forces will continue to threaten our very existence.

The financial oligarchy and fossil fuel industry that have captured the state in the U.S. and other countries raise alarms so as to have governments fund pay-the-rich "green economy" schemes. It is cynical and must be stopped. At the same time as they cry in alarm at the real dangers, they carry on committing crimes against nature and humanity. Even as U.S. President Biden was convening his climate agenda leaders' summit this past April, his administration simultaneously gave its support to Japan dumping radioactive waste from the collapse of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, directly into the Pacific Ocean! Biden declared the U.S. was putting climate at the centre of its foreign policy, while the U.S., NATO and other western imperialist allies are conducting the largest military war exercises seen since the Second World War in both Europe and the Asia Pacific.

Our environment is called the silent victim of war. War and war preparations are fossil fuel intensive. The single largest consumer of energy in the U.S. is the Department of Defense. It is the world's single largest institutional consumer of petroleum. Seventy per cent of all energy gets consumed in moving and utilizing troops and equipment around the world, which involves the burning of vast quantities of jet fuel and diesel.

The peoples of the world are striving to take matters into their own hands to restrict and successfully deprive the monopolies and oligopolies and governments in their service of their ability to pollute, destroy, super-exploit, trample on the sovereign rights of nations and of Indigenous peoples, and to wage war for domination. They are taking all kinds of measures in attempts to gain control over the decisions which affect our lives and the human and natural environment. The productive forces must be brought into the service of the well-being of humanity. It is the working peoples' striving for empowerment that unites people from all walks of life to become an organized force which provides society with the aim to humanize the social and natural environment.

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BC Premier Declares Fatalities from
Heat Wave "Part of Life"

The more irresponsible governments at all levels are, no matter what cartel party is in power, the more irrational and absurd their attempts to dismiss the reality of what is taking place. We more and more often hear authorities tell us that we should put up and shut up because (avoidable) deaths "are part of life."

During the current heat wave in BC, the Chief Coroner for the province reports scores more deaths than usual. Wait times for 911 calls to be answered and ambulances to arrive in some cases have stretched to hours. Paramedics report they have long pleaded with the government to increase investments in ambulance and other emergency services as the growth in population and demand for health services have far outstretched the available resources.

Compounding the problems from the heat, many people in BC do not have air conditioning. Also, many public facilities are closed or have restricted seating during the pandemic, such as libraries, which have removed most of their chairs.

Premier Horgan appeared to dismiss any social responsibility or duty of the government to assist the people especially the elderly in the face of the heat wave. He seemed to accuse people of causing their own suffering and death by ignoring government warnings and not taking "personal responsibility" to take care of themselves.

In response to stories of the elderly dying from the heat without assistance from professionals, Horgan is quoted in the media as saying, "The public was acutely aware that we had a heat problem.... We were doing our best to break through all of the other noise to encourage people to take steps to protect themselves. But it was apparent to anyone who walked out doors that we were in an unprecedented heat wave and again, there's a level of personal responsibility.... But I believe we did what we could to get information out and we rely also on the public press and media outlets who've done a really good job, in my mind, of making the case. Weather forecasters on all of the networks on radio were making the case, telling people to be wary and we have our internet presence and social media doing that as well."

Stories have emerged of the elderly going house to house in search of someone to perform CPR or take their loved one to hospital because emergency services were not responding. People interviewed report that when they went to help their neighbours, the senior needing assistance was already dead.

On June 29, Vancouver police said officers had responded to more than 65 sudden deaths since the heat wave began on June 25, "with more casualties being reported by the hour" and the vast majority of the deaths related to heat. Burnaby officers had responded to more than 30 deaths since June 28, many of them also seniors, with heat believed to be a contributing factor in most of those deaths. Surrey police responded to 22 deaths June 28 and at least 13 on June 29.

Many denounce Premier Horgan's response to the heat wave as callous. Some began to call on the rest of Canada to come to the aid of people in BC because the government here dismisses any social responsibility, with the Premier saying in the most detached manner, "Fatalities are a part of life" and "there's a level of personal responsibility."

The BC social-democratic government is guided by the fundamental premise of the neo-liberal anti-social offensive, originally stated by Margaret Thatcher who declared there is no such thing as society, only families, and that everyone must fend for themselves and stop being a burden on the society she said does not exist. On the basis of this neo-liberal mantra, social services and programs have been privatized. They are considered "personal" or "family" responsibilities and they bear the responsibility for consequences. Canadians are determined to settle scores with authorities who cannot cope with the needs of societies today and the claims the people are entitled to make by virtue of being human.

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Glyphosate and Freedom of Speech

The natural sciences are a key part of the modern productive forces of society and play a huge role in its operations. As such, it is vital for the public interest that scientists are able to speak out in their own names about issues regarding the natural and social worlds.

Too often, however, they are punished for doing so by large corporations and governments in their service. For example, the herbicide glyphosate, originally developed by the Monsanto Corporation as Roundup, is widely used in agriculture, forestry and other sectors. Yet there is a longstanding and growing concern among scientists, along with foresters, environmentalists, Indigenous peoples and local communities that this weedkiller is not safe for human and animal health nor for the environment as a whole. Literally tens of thousands of lawsuits have been launched in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere, several of which have resulted in multi-million and even billion dollar settlements awarded to people who have contracted cancer believed to be from exposure to glyphosate.

In response, the Monsanto Corporation (now incorporated into Bayer), along with other corporate interests in agriculture and forestry and certain regulatory authorities have engaged in a campaign of disinformation and denial about glyphosate and its toxic effects. Recent court cases have revealed that Monsanto even went so far as to ghostwrite supposed scientific reports that gave glyphosate a clean bill of health, as well as to finance behind the scenes "independent" academic front groups to promote glyphosate and discredit scientists who speak out about the dangers of the weedkiller.

One glaring example of scientists being punished for speaking out occurred in New Brunswick. In 2015, Dr. Eilish Cleary, chief medical officer for the province, was fired from her post by the Liberal government after agreeing with the International Agency for Research on Cancer that glyphosate was probably carcinogenic and pledging, in the interests of public health, to work on a study of the effects of the weedkiller which is sprayed on forests and crop land in the province.

According to Dr. Cleary, the provincial government informed her that she was fired because her "particular skill set" did not meet the needs of the employer. This was despite the fact that she had already held the chief medical officer position for eight years and had never been informed about "any personnel issue involving her conduct."

Earlier, in 2012, Dr. Cleary wrote a report about the social and community health risks of shale gas development in the province. At that time, the Liberal government was in opposition, and it accused the previous Conservative government of trying to "muzzle" Dr. Cleary on this topic. In the subsequent election campaign, the Liberals expressed their "high regard for the chief medical officer" and pledged to make their decisions in consultation with her. However, as a former Tory health minister pointed out later, the Liberals, once in power, threw out Dr. Cleary "like yesterday's newspaper" over the issue of glyphosate spraying.

A more recent example took place in June 2020 when Rod Cumberland, a well-known wildlife biologist, was fired from his teaching position at the government and industry supported Maritime College of Forest Technology in Fredericton. He had been working for the provincial Department of Natural Resources and the college for 29 years. According to Gerald Redmond, a former executive director of the college, Cumberland was probably fired because of his outspokenness about the dangers of glyphosate. Redmond noted that previously, when he was executive director, he felt pressure from the board of governors to sanction Cumberland because government and forest industry officials didn't like what he said on the issue.

In its dismissal letter, the college claimed that Cumberland's firing had nothing to do with his views on glyphosate, but rather that the instructor had "undermined the content of a vegetation management seminar approved by the college," had "prevented students from attending class because they were late" and had "insisted that they remove their hats in class."

According to a news report, contrary to the college's assessment of Cumberland, other posts said that he was "a teacher who promoted a good work ethic, discipline and punctuality and that he was an ethical, thoughtful and caring instructor."

Cumberland stated that he always asked students to look at all of the science on issues, and even encouraged them to critique him. "Look at what I'm saying, see if its true or not. I think that's a wise thing to do [for] anything in life. Get all the facts before you make a decision."

In what appears to be a pattern, just the day after former executive director Gerald Redmond spoke out in defence of Rod Cumberland, he, too, was fired by the college on the grounds that "he released confidential information that breached his on-going commitment to the school."

Despite these attacks on freedom of speech, New Brunswickers continue to speak out against glyphosate spraying, as well as to organize protests, rallies and petitions. The same holds true in British Columbia and other parts of the country. Already some jurisdictions have banned glyphosate, such as Quebec which has prohibited its use on Crown lands. Internationally, a number of countries have eliminated or restricted glyphosate use. 

But powerful mega-corporations are continuing to push for complete monopolization of the agricultural and food industries of the world using the Monsanto model of pairing glyphosate with crops that have been genetically modified to be resistant to the weedkiller. The genomes of these crops, and even microbes associated with them, are being patented thus reducing farmers to the status of locked-in clients in a privatized natural world.

In that respect, freedom of speech for scientists and for all people becomes ever more important in defending the public interest.

(With files from CBC News and CTV News)

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Guts and Glyphosate

Every year, much of North America and the world is drenched in the weedkiller glyphosate (the key ingredient in Roundup). Is this safe? Or are we living in a giant test tube?

Since 1974, in the U.S., 1.8 million tons have been sprayed on crops, forests, road sides, waterways, golf courses, lawns and school grounds. Worldwide, 9.4 million tons have been applied.[1] In British Columbia, hundreds of thousands of hectares of forests have been sprayed, with research showing that the residue can linger in some forest plants for up to 12 years.[2]

Since the 1990s, when glyphosate was paired with crops that have been genetically modified to be resistant to it, such as GMO corn and soybeans, its use has increased 15-fold. As a result, glyphosate residue has been detected in 85 per cent of the 10,000 foods tested in the U.S., including corn, honey, breakfast cereal, baby food, crackers, cookies, mushrooms, grapes and green beans.[3]

The chemical was first developed as a mineral chelator to clean boilers and pipes, but in 1974 the Monsanto corporation began to promote it as a broad-spectrum herbicide that effectively killed vegetation designated as weeds, yet was supposedly harmless to other forms of life including humans and animals.[4]

Glyphosate works by blocking the action of an important enzyme at the cellular level in what is called the "shikimate" pathway which is only present in plants.[5][6] This enzyme is responsible for synthesizing three amino acids which are essential to building proteins. Without this enzyme, the plant starves to death. However, vertebrates like humans do not have the shikimate pathway and, as a result, the argument is made by Monsanto that, according to "independent" research, glyphosate does not have a negative impact on human or animal health (note: some of this supposed research has recently proven to have been "ghost written" by Monsanto itself).[7]

In any case, Monsanto's conclusion is disputed by a number of other researchers in the scientific, medical and environmental communities. One of the important reasons they give is that Monsanto is leaving out a crucial component. And that is the estimated 100 trillion microbes in the human and animal microbiome, which includes the gut and other parts of the body. Unlike humans and animals, most of these microbes do have a shikimate pathway and thus, as recent research has shown, may be vulnerable to glyphosate.[8]

These microbes -- bacteria, fungi, viruses and archaea -- play a key role in the digestion of food in human and animal guts, as well as regulation of the immune system, and other vital functions. Without these trillions of microbes inside us, many of which have a symbiotic relationship with our bodies, we would sicken and die. Our knowledge is still limited about the complex interaction between microbes and our bodies. But we do know that dysfunction of the gut microbiome is associated with a wide range of diseases, including some cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Crohn's disease, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease and other disorders.[9]

At the present time, over 96,000 legal cases are pending in the U.S. launched by people who were exposed to glyphosate and have contracted cancers like non-Hodgkins lymphoma and multiple myeloma, as well as other illnesses.[10]

Recent research has also shown that glyphosate can have a "perturbing effect" on microbes that live inside insect guts, including bees,[11] mosquitoes[12] and beetles,[13] as well as on the microbes and fungi that are crucial to the health of the soil itself. The impact on honey bees is particularly troubling in that glyphosate can significantly reduce "the abundance of beneficial bacterial species that contribute to immune regulation and pathogen resistance.[14] For their part, bees provide an economically critical role in pollinating crops, as well as supplying honey and other products.

Herb Martin of Stop the Spray BC,[15] which is based in the Central Interior of British Columbia, believes that glyphosate spraying could also be affecting the digestive systems of moose with anecdotal reports of moose starving to death yet their bellies remaining full of undigested twigs. So far, there have not been scientific studies on this topic. For Martin that is a big part of the problem in that glyphosate is being extensively sprayed on our lands and waters, yet, despite valiant efforts by a few scientists, much has not been researched on its human, animal and environmental effects. He points out that Monsanto claimed for decades that glyphosate would not persist in the environment beyond 30 days after application. That claim has since been proven to be absolutely wrong, yet glyphosate continues to be widely used with humans, animals and insects reduced to virtual test subjects.

The glyphosate problem underlines the problem of out-of-control productive forces in North America and the world. Developments in science and technology can be and are a great boon and benefit to humanity. But if they are skewed by narrow interests and private profit at the expense of the public interest, difficulties and even disasters arise. For example, a chemical like glyphosate is not necessarily a bad thing in itself. In that regard, it is like any powerful or toxic chemical that is discovered. Such chemicals have to be assessed as to whether they can play a positive or negative role in terms of human health and the environment, rather than as a calculation on the balance sheet of multinational corporations like Monsanto that utilize suspect research to promote their products.

Currently, the herbicide is out of control in many parts of the world. It needs to be brought under control and that includes banning it completely (such as immediately eliminating all spraying on forest lands) or phasing out its applications on crops and other venues, and adopting safer methods of eliminating weeds. It also means that more thorough, independent and authoritative research is needed before such chemicals are unleashed on nature and the public.


1. "Glyphosate fact sheet: Cancer and other health concerns." USRTK. October 1, 2020.
2. N. Botten, L.J. Wood, and J.R. Werner. "Glyphosate remains in forest plant tissues for a decade or more." Forest Ecology and Management, April 26, 2021.
3, "Glyphosate fact sheet." USRTK.
4. Don Huber. "Disrupting the integrity of Nature -- Pesticides and genetic engineering." Pesticides and you. Volume 37, Number 2, Summer 2017.
5. University of Turku. "Glyphosate may affect human gut microbiota." Science Daily. November 20, 2020.
6. Pesticide Action Network Europe. "Alternative methods in weed management to the use of glyphosate and other herbicides." 2017.
7. Carey Gillam. Whitewash: The story of a weed killer, cancer, and the corruption of science. Island Press. Washington. 2017.
8. University of Turku. "Glyphosate may affect human gut microbiota."
9. "Daily News Blog." Beyond Pesticides. April 30, 2021.
10. "Glyphosate fact sheet." USRTK.
11. Motta and Morana. "Impact of glyphosate on the honey bee gut microbiota." NIH. National Library of Medicine. 2020.
12. "Ingredient in common weed killer impairs insect immune systems, study suggest." John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. May 13, 2021.
13. Philip Kieffer. "The main ingredient in RoundUp doesn't just kill plants. It harms beetles, too," Popular Science, May 13, 2021.
14. Erick V.S. Motta and Nancy Morana. "Impact of glyphosate "
15. Stop the Spray BC

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U.S. Imperialist-Led Brinkmanship Increases Danger of War

Staged Provocation Against Russia in Black Sea

The U.S. and its aggressive NATO alliance with the British war government a major player are engaging in dangerous brinkmanship, raising the possibility of a devastating new war as the outcome of their constant attempts to provoke Russia and China.

A case in point is the reckless provocation by NATO forces on June 23, in which a British guided missile destroyer, HMS Defender made a deliberate incursion three miles into Russian territorial waters off the coast of Crimea in the Black Sea. The incident took place a little over a week after NATO's summit in Brussels. There, NATO not only ramped up its warmongering rhetoric against Russia and China, but declared that a cyber or space-based attack on any NATO member could, just like an armed attack, trigger the alliance's Article 5. If invoked, Article 5 obliges other NATO members to come to the defence of a member country that has been attacked -- or going by past precedents, to jointly launch aggression against a country that refuses to submit to U.S. dictate and is falsely accused of attacking a NATO member, as Afghanistan was.

On June 23, after the British destroyer ignored both verbal warnings and warning shots fired by Russia's Coast Guard to get it to change course, Russian fighter jets dropped several bombs in the warship's path, resulting in it beating a retreat out of Russian territorial waters. The provocation took place near the port of Sevastapol, where Russia's Black Sea fleet is based. This kind of brinkmanship orchestrated by the U.S., Britain and NATO represents a serious threat to peace and escalation of international tensions. Such incidents can and do lead to armed confrontations and war.

This provocation was how the U.S. chose to kick off its Operation Sea Breeze 2021 taking place in and around the Black Sea from June 28 to July 10. The U.S. with its aggressive NATO alliance and NATO's so-called "partnership for peace program," with Ukraine as the co-host, has mobilized 5,000 troops, 32 ships and 40 aircraft for this year's provocative, menacing war games directed against Russia.

The first day of the military exercise saw another provocation, with a Dutch frigate, the Evertsen, changing course and heading toward the Kerch Strait, an area of the Black Sea close to Crimea that Russia had expressly closed off to foreign warships for a period of six months beginning in April. Russian military planes again were scrambled to make the warship change direction away from its territorial waters.

What Russia Said

Speaking at an international security conference in Moscow on the same day that the incident with Defender took place, but before it occurred, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu described the situation in Europe as "explosive." He made particular mention of the provocative activity of the warships of the U.S. and its allies, saying it was raising tensions and creating conditions for incidents to occur. He said the current situation was much more dangerous than in Cold War times.  Later, referring to the incident, the Russian defence ministry described the British destroyer's actions as a blatant violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and called on Britain to investigate the actions of the crew. It said the Defender should be renamed HMS Aggressor or HMS Provocateur.

Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed this position on June 30. "This is, of course, a provocation staged not only by the British but also by the Americans because the British warship ventured into our territorial waters in the afternoon while early in the morning, at 07:30, a U.S. strategic reconnaissance plane took off from a NATO airfield in Greece." He said the British destroyer's intrusion was aimed at trying to find out, aided by the U.S. reconnaissance plane, what Russia's military countermeasures would be -- what facilities it would activate, where they are located and how they work. In view of that, Putin said, Russia made sure its response revealed only what it considered appropriate to reveal.

What Britain Said

Incredibly, Britain dismisses the incident as completely innocent and outright denies the statements made by the Russian Military and President of the Russian Federation as untrue. Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed the destroyer was acting lawfully, pursuing freedom of navigation in waters within 12 nautical miles from the coast of Crimea, which he said was sovereign Ukrainian territory, since "we don't recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea."

British Secretary of Defence Ben Wallace also tried to cover up the dangerously provocative nature of the Defender's action.  He lied about the intrusion, claiming the warship was conducting "innocent passage" through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law, and he lied about Russia's response to it, denying there had been warning shots fired or bombs dropped in Defender's path that made it change course. This was in spite of Russia having produced videos showing the defensive actions it took and crew members' testimonies.

The U.S., Canada and NATO itself, despite daily rhetoric condemning what they call Russian aggression, have said nothing either. Their silence speaks louder than their pro-war PR machine in this case.

The British anti-war group Stop the War issued a statement on June 24 in which it denounced Britain's use of its destroyer to back up U.S. brinkmanship, calling it "completely irresponsible" and "a dangerous act of aggression that has nothing to do with defence or security." Stop the War said it was clear Defender's crew knew the actions they took were likely to cause a dangerous incident. They cited a report by BBC journalist Jonathan Beale who was embedded with the crew on the British warship. Beale said the ship was indeed harassed by the Russian military and that the crew were already at action stations, with all the ship's weapons systems loaded, as they approached the southern tip of Crimea.

There are 32 countries from six continents participating in Operation Sea Breeze.[1] The Canadian Armed Forces have 24 personnel deployed to Odessa, Ukraine taking part in the exercise. Most of the countries involved, Canada included, have no legitimacy to claim that military manoeuvres in the Black Sea have anything to do with their national defence. Like the June 23 provocation, Operation Sea Breeze itself puts the lie to the claims that the NATO war exercises are "defensive" and for preserving international peace. The same applies to NATO's recently announced plans to expand into the Asia Pacific, a provocation aimed at China and a threat to the peoples of the region. In fact HMS Defender is part of a U.K. Carrier Strike Group heading to the South China Sea for military drills with the U.S. Navy and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces. Before gaining notoriety for staging a provocation against Russia the Royal Navy announced that it had temporarily broken away from the group to carry out its "own set of missions" in the Black Sea.

The frequency, scale and brinkmanship of these war exercises, with nuclear powers on the contending sides, pose a real and present danger to global peace and security. Canadians cannot abide such recklessness nor the mendacity that surrounds what U.S./NATO is up to. It must stop. No to NATO. Canada Out of NATO.


1. The U.S. Navy has hosted Operation Sea Breeze, with the Ukrainian Navy as co-host, since 1997. Countries involved in 2021: Albania, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Morocco, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States. NATO's Standing Maritime Group 2 is also a participant.

(With files from Workers' Weekly, CTV, BBC, VOA)

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U.S. President Launches Illegal Airstrikes
on Syria and Iraq

President Biden ordered illegal airstrikes on Syria and Iraq during the night of June 27. This marks the second major U.S. air assault on these sovereign countries since Biden came to office.

The Iraqi government in a statement from the office of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said, "We condemn the U.S. air attack that targeted a site last night on the Iraqi-Syrian border, which represents a blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and Iraqi national security."

Iraq's military in a similar statement condemned the U.S. actions describing the strikes as a "breach of sovereignty."

Saeed Khatibzadeh a spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry said that the United States through these constant attacks and occupation of Iraq are "disrupting the security of the region."

The U.S. has been attacking Iraq continually since the first Gulf War in 1990. The U.S. aggressors subsequently launched a full-scale military invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 under the fabricated pretext to find Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, which did not exist. Since the invasion, the U.S. military has illegally stationed troops and warplanes in Iraq constantly attacking the people with airstrikes and Special Forces and interfering in their economic, political and social affairs.

Attack on Syria

In 2014, the U.S. military openly admitted that it was engaged in illegal military operations in Syria aimed to overthrow the legitimate government of that sovereign country. A U.S. military occupation of several regions in Syria including oilfields and attacks against the Syrian military and people have continued since then with the June 27 airstrikes yet another escalation.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry condemned the latest U.S. air strikes as a "flagrant violation of the sanctity of Syrian and Iraqi lands." It said, "Syria renews its call on the U.S. administration to respect the unity of the land and people of Syria and Iraq and to stop these attacks on the independence of the two countries immediately."

The U.S. trotted out its usual rationale for its continuing wars and other attacks as "self-defence" of its occupying military forces and its national security. A statement from the U.S. Department of Defense attributed to John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, reads in part, "At President Biden's direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region . As demonstrated by this evening's strikes, President Biden has been clear that he will act to protect U.S. personnel.... As a matter of international law, the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense. The strikes were both necessary to address the threat and appropriately limited in scope. As a matter of domestic law, the President took this action pursuant to his Article II authority to protect U.S. personnel in Iraq."

An occupying power cannot claim self-defence as an excuse for launching strikes against the occupied people. No such international or domestic legal justification exists for military operations against a sovereign country. The Biden and previous Obama administrations' justification for launching military attacks overseas under Article II of the U.S. Constitution has been broadly denounced by a wide range of political opinion even in the United States.

Occupying invaders cannot act in violent defence in the nations they have invaded and are occupying. U.S. troops are only in Iraq by way of an illegal 2003 invasion that has been widely denounced as conducted under a false pretence with the aim to overthrow the legitimate government led by President Saddam Hussein. Their presence in Syria is equally illegal.

The U.S. military entered Syria in 2014 without the permission of the Syrian government. Their presence in both Iraq and Syria is one of aggressors, similar to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and elsewhere throughout the world. In these circumstances the U.S. cannot claim to act in self-defence. The sole defensive action President Biden could take would be to order the immediate removal of U.S. troops and bring them home not only from Syria and Iraq but worldwide.

Canadians condemn the Trudeau Liberal government for its silence on U.S. military attacks and Canada's participation in the illegal occupation of Iraq. The Canadian government should bring its troops home now and disengage from all U.S. military operations and organizations including NATO and NORAD.

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U.S. Tech Monopolies Gather Allies to Attack China

U.S. tech monopolies are forming alliances to restrict China in the development, manufacturing and circulation of computer chips, artificial intelligence (AI), the cloud and other software platforms. Intel CEO, Pat Gelsinger gathered together leaders from Microsoft, IBM, Qualcomm and Cisco in the U.S. and Samsung in south Korea and the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in hopes of forming a global alliance to isolate and wage commercial war against China. Intel and IBM in particular appear desperate to regain their former commercial glory and world dominance, while the U.S. ruling elite generally appear fearful of China overcoming U.S. imperialism's technological superiority.

Intel seeks to establish what it calls international computer chip-making facilities to serve the needs of all manufacturers within the U.S.-led imperialist system of states as part of a commercial war against Chinese companies. Intel's global cartel will spend $20 billion, along with billions more donated from allied governments, to build new chip foundries and research institutions in the U.S. and the EU.

Gelsinger said the cartel will develop "multi-year research partnerships with former competitors" and reverse the "current 80/20 division of high-end chip production in Asia versus the rest for the world." For Gelsinger, Taiwan and south Korea are not considered "Asian" but rather part of the U.S. empire. With new facilities in Arizona and elsewhere and large research budgets, the global cartel seeks to regain and solidify U.S. technology dominance in the key sectors of "chip design and manufacture; systems and processing architectures; telecom and AI."

To reach this goal of domination, an alliance with Taiwan manufacturer TSMC appears to be central, along with worldwide efforts to block and criminalize Chinese companies such as Huawei. To pursue this scheme for U.S. hegemony, the political entity of Taiwan must remain within the U.S.-led imperialist system of states and not rejoin China. Also, south Korea and Japan must not be allowed to break free from their current military alliances with the United States.

For all this to happen, Gelsinger emphasized that "the necessary security needs of each of our partner governments" must be strengthened. This means the U.S. military must continue to provoke China, occupy the Taiwan Strait with warships, and block public opinion within Taiwan from making the island a zone for peace and peacefully reunite with China. Likewise, the U.S. must keep south Korea from peacefully reuniting with the DPRK and expelling U.S. troops from the peninsula, and the U.S. military must not only remain in Japan but expand its operations and bases.

Regarding official support of Intel's scheme for a global tech cartel, Reuters reports that "President Biden's expansive infrastructure proposal includes $50 billion for the American semiconductor industry. The $50 billion will go toward production incentives and research and design, say administration officials."

Biden's pay-the-rich schemes for "domestic manufacturing and chip research" are part of the administration's $2 trillion infrastructure plan. Reuters said the White House invited Intel CEO Gelsinger to attend a virtual meeting on April 12, "to discuss the semiconductor supply chain issues disrupting U.S. automotive factories, according to a person familiar with the matter." The meeting was to have included Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and a top economic aide, Brian Deese, as well as chipmakers and automakers.

Concerning Gelsinger's comment on "the necessary security needs of each of our partner governments" to restrict Chinese companies and influence, Bloomberg News says, "On the back of security concerns, the U.S. government will use (Intel's) offering for military and defence contracts. Analysts expect that Intel will also benefit from future subsidies and tax incentives from the Biden administration for building domestic chip factories."

Predictions are circulating in the imperialist media and official circles that cartels are also being planned to challenge and isolate China on the front of battery technology and manufacturing and the procuring of necessary raw materials, and in the rare-earth supply chain sector. The U.S. imperialists expect Canadian resources to become a major captured supplier for the planned battery and rare-earth U.S. cartels.

Canadians cannot allow themselves to become pawns in the fight of the U.S. oligarchy to control the world. The Intel plan for a global cartel in technology to combat China is a poisonous direction leading to bad relations and possible war. The Canadian economy and its relations with the world need a new direction of cooperation for mutual benefit and development of all humanity within peaceful relations not bitter competition and war.

A step in this positive direction is to withdraw Canada from all war alliances with the U.S. such as NATO and NORAD and make Canada a zone for peace through an anti-war government. Another step would be to extricate the Canadian economy from the U.S. war machine and build a self-reliant economy under the control of Canadians that trades and cooperates with everyone for mutual benefit without interfering in the sovereign affairs of others.

On the issue of self-reliance, the pandemic has exposed the lack of a human-centred public pharmaceutical sector. Canadians lack adequate hospital supplies and anti-Covid vaccines at prices that do not bankrupt the country. Hospital supplies and vaccines currently available require vast amounts of money flowing into the pockets of Big Pharma and other monopolies. This must stop with a new direction.

(With files from Automotive News, Financial Post and Bloomberg)

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Investing in Israeli Cybersecurity, Intelligence and Physical Security Technologies

AWZ Ventures describes itself as "a Canadian private investment company that invests in Israeli cybersecurity, intelligence and physical security technologies." Its head office is located in Toronto. According to its website, its management team and advisors "include successful venture capital professionals, former directors and senior executives from Israeli and global security and intelligence agencies (Mossad, Israeli Security Agency (ISA), U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), British Military Intelligence Section 5 (MI5), Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)), and industry experts from our portfolio companies' targeted sectors."

Former Canadian Conservative Party prime minister Stephen Harper joined the company in 2019 and is one of its partners and President of its Advisory Committee.

AWZ's founder and managing partner, Yaron Ashkenazi, was employed for a decade with the VIP Protection Division of the ISA, leading teams that protected several Israeli prime ministers. Edward Sonshine, founding partner of AWZ and chairman of the board, is the founder of RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust, which owns the high rise office building it is housed in.

Other notables who make up AWZ's Security & Intelligence Advisory Committee include: Stockwell Day, former Conservative Public Safety minister; Richard Fadden, former director of CSIS; R. James Woolsey, former CIA director; Oliver "Buck" Revell, former FBI Associate Deputy Director; Stella Rimington, former MI5 Director General; Haim Tomer, former head of Mossad Intelligence Division, Mossad Counter-Terrorism Division and Mossad International Division; Gary Barnea, former Deputy Director of Mossad Special Operations Division; Lt. Gen. (Ret) Michael Day, former CAF Special Operations Forces Commander.

According to its website, the company manages $130 million and has invested in 17 companies, all of which, according to Richard Fadden, have been Israeli so far. Interviewed by CBC, Fadden also commented: "A lot of this technology is useful in fighting terrorism and that was my main interest". He also added: "Some of the technology that has been developed helps develop a sense of what's going on, on the one level on social media, so you can accumulate information. But mostly it's defensive."

The same CBC article also notes: "The Israeli cyber-tech sector continues to grow at a record pace despite the pandemic, according to the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD). The Israeli government agency said the sector raised $2.9 billion in 2020 — an increase of more than 70 per cent over the same period in the previous year.

"The sum of investments in such technology in Israel has reached 31 per cent of the value of such investments worldwide, according to INCD."

(Sources: CBC, AWZ Ventures)

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