No. 10

October 2022

The Need to Make Way for Renewal

Human Beings Are Not Things to Be Dealt
with Using Police Powers

– Rolf Gerstenberger –

Snapshot of the Influence of Consulting Firms and Hedge Fund Managers in Governance

– Pierre Soublière –

Public Funding of Quebec Political Parties 

An Undemocratic Process from A to Z

Christine Dandenault –

• Undemocratic and Exclusionary Essence of the Electoral Process Said to Be Representative

Agenda of Legault Government in Quebec

Premier's Choice of Cabinet Ministers Confirms
Pay-the-Rich Agenda

– Fernand Deschamps –

Supply Chain Strengthened to Satisfy U.S. War Aims

Visit of U.S. Secretary of State to Montreal

Canada Told to Fall in Line with U.S. Attempts to Further
Isolate China and Russia

Montreal's Lithion Recycling Pilot Plant

Putting Canadian Defence Procurement on a War Footing

Ottawa Conference Calls for Increasing Production of War Materiel

Assange's Extradition to U.S.

Canada's Silence Speaks Volumes

– Hilary LeBlanc –

Crisis in Europe Continues to Deepen

"European Political Community" -- Another Failed Attempt
to Control Europe

European Council Fails to Address Peoples' Concerns

Class Struggle Intensifies in France

Mass Protests Continue Demanding Economic Stability and Opposition to Sanctions Against Russia

The Need to Make Way for Renewal

Human Beings Are Not Things to Be Dealt
with Using Police Powers

– Rolf Gerstenberger –

The following is based on the presentation delivered by Rolf Gerstenberger at a meeting held by the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) on July 27-28, 2022 in Gatineau, Quebec. Rolf is president of the party.

Workers around the world are contending with worsening living and working conditions. They are also conscious of the broad attacks on rights and on the human and natural environment. While narrow private interests have reaped billions of dollars, all of it wealth produced by the workers, the workers face impoverishment, insecurity and unending attacks on what belongs to them by right.

The use of force against the resistance struggles of the people is increasing. This includes many struggles by Indigenous peoples, migrants, health care workers, education workers and others in all sectors of the economy. Nonetheless, what stands out are the just claims on society in the form of demands and solutions the people are raising -- and the reality that they are not listened to because they lack the power to ensure problems are solved in their interest.

The absence of political power is immediate and increasingly seen by the workers as an issue which is urgent. On all major issues people somewhere on planet earth have come forward with solutions. What to do about most issues is known or knowable. This is the case on matters related to war and peace, or how to protect Mother Earth, or how to deal with growing impoverishment, shrinking wages due to inflation, issues of inequality, discrimination, state-attacks and human rights concerns. 

Today, in the 21st century, how to provide such problems with solutions is not the main problem facing humankind. Despite this, ruling elites spend oodles of money on conferences, meetings, reports and consultations of various kinds to promote pay-the-rich schemes and to silence the voice of those who have the solutions required. The people have no say. This is the problem which requires a solution.

Today, in Canada and many other countries, legislatures are dysfunctional. To the extent that they ever addressed matters the people are concerned about, this is no longer happening. Working people have their own experience of being silenced, ignored, even discarded, and can provide daily examples. Across the country the Party is encouraging workers to speak in their own name about the problems they face and what they are doing about them or what they think can be done about them.

Workers know what is needed but they lack mechanisms, whether in their places of work or in public spaces, to deliberate on the issues of concern to themselves, their communities, sectors of the economy and society itself, as well as the world around us. Everyone is contending with the problem of working together to deliberate on matters of concern and provide the problems we face with solutions.

It is also the case that wherever one looks, for ruling elites, human beings are things to be dealt with using police powers. It has gone beyond treating human beings as things. Today, human beings are without rights or any consideration. The modern view which favours the peoples of the world is that human beings have rights simply because they are human. The ruling elite works to eliminate this modern view no matter what the cost. Instead, the point of view prevails that people are things, to be disposed of at the whim of those with the power to do so.

A prime example of this is the recent ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court attacking the rights of women. It considers that women are things and if they object they can be disposed of with either criminalization or, in some cases, death. If we were to accept that women can be discarded in this manner, so too everyone else can be discarded.

The blatant way this has been done also reflects the reality that, in general, the rulers are consolidating governments of police powers. Such governments are not based on law and are not concerned with legitimacy, only with retaining power for the ruling elites.

In a situation where the rulers are more and more desperate, unable to solve any problem and faced with one failure after another while the peoples are more and more angry and increasingly conscious of the need for change that favours their interests, this reality of humans considered to be things and dealt with using police powers becomes ever more devastating.

Considering human beings to be things also means they can be moved around and discarded, like machinery, like property. The U.S. and countries such as Britain, Canada and others have a history of enslavement, hundreds of years where human beings were property -- owned, killed, their children taken away, women raped and used as machines producing more human "things," and so forth. This direction of the rulers to have humans as things is not new, but rather a return to the Old. The rulers of these countries are incapable of moving forward because they refuse to meet the needs of modern times for people's empowerment. Going backward, striving to keep control through these old means, and destroying whatever cannot be controlled is what characterizes the ruling elites today. As many have concluded, they are unfit to rule and no longer have legitimacy to do so. The collective consciousness emerging among the people is that the people themselves must become the rulers, they must hold political power and are the decisive force in achieving this aim.

Reliance on constitutions, or dysfunctional governments, or executives like prime ministers or presidents -- who are the main ones imposing police powers -- will not solve problems and indeed will further exacerbate them. This can be seen in part with the current manoeuvres by the ruling circles. In Britain conditions are such that a party leader can resign as party leader, yet still remain Prime Minister, as Boris Johnson did. This is contrary to existing norms for parliamentary government where it is the leader of the party in power who becomes Prime Minister. But, in the so-called rules-based international order the U.S., Britain, Canada and other countries are imposing, they make up the rules and change them as they go.

In the Ontario election, voter turnout was very low. This is an expression of people's rejection of existing governance, yet Ford can claim a majority of seats and say he has an uncontested mandate. Or in the U.S., despite people considering the Supreme Court and Congress illegitimate and self-serving, the police powers used against women and health care providers stand.

All of these actions by governments have not only increased conflicts among the ruling factions, but also the anger of the people about the current set-up. It is not an accident that the many demonstrations across the U.S. against the attack on women's health care include mothers and daughters and granddaughters, with the mothers having fought for the rights now being attacked. There is consciousness that relying on the old methods will not suffice. The same can be said of the many struggles here in Canada, by railway workers, healthcare and education workers and many others.

In the U.S. the Democrats had years of opportunities to put abortion rights into law, such as when Obama passed his Obamacare Act dealing with health care. They did not. Efforts to now make some politicians look good against their adversaries come the November 2022 mid-term elections are seen as self-serving. 

What it shows is that in the eyes of the people, elections no longer serve to sort out conflicts nor to maintain illusions of democracy. Indeed, many are concerned that elections, especially in the U.S., will further intensify conditions of civil war and efforts to divide the people, pitting them against each other to block them from advancing their battles for peace, justice, and democracy. This then spills over into Canada with the same factions in action here. So too in Britain, France and other countries, elections no longer serve to preserve constitutional orders which are no longer on par with the needs of the times.

In taking up deliberations and providing solutions to the problems at hand, it is important to look at the conditions and conflicts from our own vantage point, one that is to our advantage. It is necessary to take the world as is and look at what is being revealed by the existing ensemble of human relations. That is, we are looking at the whole of relations of humans and humans and humans and nature, all the institutions, all the many and varied and entangled relations, everything dealing with humans and nature.

At present, as people are already experiencing, these relations are revealing the absence of political power for the working class and people and the need to resolve this problem in favour of the people who must organize to vest political power in themselves. Guidelines of how to do this already exist. For example, Marx recognized that people are born to society and enter into indispensable relations independent of individual will. Whether slave master or slave, people are born to society. Rules, institutions and arrangements develop after that. He also pointed out that social relations are only one aspect of the relations which exist. The ensemble of relations people enter into are all the relations, functions, institutions and arrangements, including those beyond class relations. It is the whole in its entirety.

The relations that exist come from the massive human productive powers that exist and are independent of individual will. In other words, the conditions and circumstances exist independent of every one of us. They are necessary, which means there is necessity and also that it incorporates all the possibilities of what we, as individuals and collectives, are going to do with that situation -- with our will, our interests which comprise the basis for political power.

When the capitalists make a claim to control those relations, it means they are also making a claim that they can control what is independent of their will and block us from exercising our will. Our reality then is that we all exist in conditions of slavery, blocked from exercising our will, which is a fundamental contradiction in society.

In speaking about power, it must be stressed that power must be whole and integral, which means that there can be no separation of powers. To be integral means that every aspect is essential, necessary to complete the whole. While the rulers claim there is a separation of powers -- executive, legislative and judicial -- in fact this is a division of labour; it is the one power authorizing different functions. The notion of a separation is meant to divert people into thinking one or the other "power" can assist, if only there were better people in command. As conditions make clear, that is not the case.

In the U.S. neither Congress nor the Office of the President nor the courts can be relied on to block the increasing concentration of power in the executive and the use of police powers against the people. So too in Canada. The Courts are a police power unto themselves as is the Prime Minister and his office and cabinet, while the parliaments are increasingly dysfunctional as far as decision-making goes. Far from separation of powers, the political power of the ruling classes remains whole and indivisible and the problem the rulers are contending with is the factional wars being waged to control it.

Marx brought out the history of class struggle and private property and also emphasized that there is a distinctive feature of bourgeois society, which is that the whole of society increasingly splits into two. In the Communist Manifesto Marx and Engels point out: "Society as a whole is more and more splitting into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other -- Bourgeoisie and Proletariat."

Several points are significant here. It is important to keep in mind that when speaking of the whole of society, the whole is integral to itself. There is not an external force at work engineering this split. The contradiction develops within the whole. There is a simplicity that develops. Marx is not referring to the social relations which exist, nor is he saying that it is an issue of society becoming more complex, which diverts our attention from the whole of society and that it is splitting into two.

By recognizing that the problem and solutions are integral to the whole itself and it is that whole that must be addressed, one can contend with all kinds of frauds which are promoted. One such fraud concerns elections, such as saying that the problem is not the existing undemocratic institutions, but some foreign power interfering to achieve a certain electoral outcome. And so too, propaganda about the source of danger to national security, economic instability, climate change, violence, discrimination, inequality and the like.

When speaking of power, it is necessary to recognize that supreme power is also whole and integral and that one cannot talk about that without seeing that it is based on the antagonistic contradiction within society as a whole.

What is it that splits? It is not workers and capitalists as such that split, because they were never together, but two classes which remain entangled in the whole. It is not two different worlds or two camps directly facing each other, for the same reason -- they remain entangled in the whole. It is the alien human productive powers created by humans that are out of their control. Our problem today is not the existence of these massive powers, but rather that the working class and people do not control them for the benefit of humanity.

Attention needs to be put on the whole of society, which needs to be transformed into a new whole, a whole of human society fit for the human species. That is the problem before us, a new whole, not a recycling of the old, not another civil society with "better people" and "better policies," but a whole of human society fit for humans as a species.

Workers, their independent politics, their world outlook, are decisive in creating this new whole. They are not only the producers and most numerous, but they are also the ones closest to the vast human productive powers. Their duty is to revolt against being mere producers, to become the holders of political power. They must use their agency to empower themselves and empower the people, to govern and take the decisions which affect their lives.

The conditions make it necessary to continue efforts to defend rights -- as is occurring through demonstrations, strikes, union drives, petitions, protests, propaganda and agitations which put forward demands to governments at all levels. It is also necessary to take these struggles further through organizing for people's empowerment. It is critical to solve this problem of the lack of political power by ourselves creating mechanisms and institutions for the political deliberations which are needed and for broadly disseminating our own views, experience, and solutions.

Political gatherings to exchange views are one form for this, as are virtual and other meetings to exchange experiences. Extending the use and dissemination of our own party and non party press, radio programs, podcasts, videos and other such means, as well as joining in to strengthen projects we are developing are all ways to engage in bringing modern definitions and new forms into being which activate the human factor/social consciousness required at this historical conjuncture to empower the people.

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Snapshot of the Influence of Consulting Firms
and Hedge Fund Managers in Governance

– Pierre Soublière –

A September 30 news report from Radio-Canada informed that the Coalition Avenir Québec government had hired U.S. consulting firm McKinsey & Company "for strategies on managing the COVID-19 pandemic" at a cost of $6.6 million. The company is said to have conducted strategy meetings and advised the government on the purchase of personal protective equipment. Confronted with a request from the opposition parties in the Quebec National Assembly for the government to make public all documents related to McKinsey's role in managing the pandemic in Quebec, Premier François Legault replied that McKinsey had "helped to save lives." This explains nothing in terms of the magnitude of what is at stake when it comes to such so-called consulting firms.

An article in Harvard Business News in the early 1980s, entitled "Consulting Is More than Giving Advice," points out that there are various stages in the work of management consulting, besides providing information, making a diagnosis to solve the client's problem, and making recommendations. There is the step of assisting with the implementation of the recommended solutions. A concern was raised at the time that to put the recommendations into effect was in fact to take up the role of manager, which thus exceeds consulting's legitimate bounds. In the anti-social offensive which has ensued, consulting firms and hedge fund managers have evolved into powerful supranational oligopolies, taking over areas of governance where they act like lord and master without any accountability.

In France, for example, consulting firms have literally taken control and are taking decisions at all levels of government. The French administration has made public that at least 575 contracts with private consulting firms have been signed since October 2018, related to economic recovery, carbon neutrality and the pandemic.

France is not the only country to turn to the private sector to manage the affairs of the state. The UK, Spain, Germany and Switzerland have been contracting out for many years, if not for decades. In France, the process took off after Sarkozy's election in 2007, when he announced the elimination of one out of two jobs in the public service, pushing civil servants into early retirement, while secretly giving firms such as McKinsey, Deloitte, Cap Gemini and Accenture contracts worth 250 million euros during his term. Over time, these firms were even hired to work on drafting legislation. When Macron ran for president, his main supporters were two associates from the McKinsey office in Paris.

McKinsey has since had contracts to deal with the economic recovery, to encourage technological investments in France as well as contracts linked to defence. Recently, Roland Lescure, who was chief investment officer for seven years at the Caisse de dépôt et de placement du Québec (CDPQ), was named delegate in charge of industry in the Emmanuel Macron government. Lescure himself, a money manager from France, was recruited by a foreign "head-hunting" firm hired by the Quebec government at the time to find qualified people to be on the CDPQ board of directors.

In November 2021, the French Senate set up a commission of inquiry on the influence of private consulting firms on public policy and produced a report entitled, An All-Pervasive Phenomenon: the Growing Influence of Consulting Firms on Public Policy. The report pointed out that State expenditures of 1 billion euros towards these firms put into question "our vision of the State and of its sovereignty with regards to private firms." This was in light of the fact that entire areas of public policy were contracted out to private firms: the health care crisis, legal aid reform, roadside radar, evaluation of the national health strategy, etc. The report says that the influence of consulting boards of directors on public policy is clear. Consultants propose turnkey solutions to policy-makers, and public officials are called upon to apply them.

In Canada, many speak of a "shadow public service," one example being the role played by McKinsey in managing the pandemic in Quebec and Ontario. In March 2021, the federal government estimated that costs linked to consulting firms would reach $16 billion in 2022, and two months later, the actual figure was $17.7 billion. Governments throughout Canada hired these firms to deal with the impact of the pandemic on Canadian industry, biomanufacturing capacity and the managing of long-term care homes. The five biggest federal department spenders on contracting out are the Canada Revenue Agency; Employment and Social Development Canada; the Canada Border Services Agency; Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; and the Department of National Defence.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) points to the outrageous example of the contracting out agreement with IBM IT consultants and their role in the Phoenix pay system debacle. The project, which began in 2011, was supposed to cost $309 million but wound up costing $2.2 billion. The project turned payday into an endless nightmare for tens of thousands of workers, and workers continue to face the consequences. Yet the government rewarded IBM, the very company responsible for Phoenix's disastrous implementation in the first place, with yet another contract to manage the system's day-to-day operations.

The problem was not the decision to digitalize a pay system but the fact the job was not given to the public service. The vast amounts of money paid to IBM were designed to enrich the few. The system was not ready and the public servants paid the price. The anti-human factor/anti-social consciousness prevailed.

The fact that vaccination contracts were handed to Deloitte clearly indicates that many of these firms are not only auditors but also technological firms which have increased their influence through their sheer size, the result of mergers and acquisitions. The PIPSC calls them a shadow public service which operates without supervision and accountability, since governments declare that the content of these contracts are subject to the discretionary power of Cabinet. McKinsey itself has a hedge fund, the McKinsey Investment Office, in an unprecedented arrangement where clients, present and former partners, and hedge funds overlap. The firm is notorious and has been involved in a number of lawsuits and court challenges.

As a worldwide power, McKinsey has 2,000 entities, and its clients include companies and governments, with former partners sitting on the boards of its client companies or in positions of power within governments. Its sheer power in terms of companies and governments shows how oligopolies work by forming cartels and coalitions to skew the law-making process and take over government police powers. Its financial services group includes clients such as Barclays, BlackRock, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Wells Fargo and UBS, who are also the money managers of the McKinsey Investment Office.

In Quebec, contracting out to these firms has been going on since long before the pandemic. For example, in 2009, McKinsey, which itself played an important role in the 2008 financial crisis, was one of the firms called upon to work with the CDPQ following losses of up to $40 billion. In a debate of the Public Finances Commission in May 2010, a member of the Quebec National Assembly (Bonnardel) put several questions to Michael Sabia, who had been recently hired to head the CDPQ. Having not received the answers he was expecting, Bonnardel said: "Mr. Sabia, you seem to be telling us that McKinsey sets the rules, and according to these rules, you cannot tell us how much the contract cost, if it was a private agreement, or how many people from McKinsey were at the CDPQ in the past year," to which Sabia replied that the contracting out to McKinsey had been a board of directors' internal decision.

In fact, Sabia's explanation was consistent with various laws which had been passed in that decade, such as the Bill on the Caisse de dépôt et de placement du Québec (2004), the Bill on public administration (2000) and the Bill on the governance of state-owned enterprises (2006). These laws authorized the conversion of government practices in line with principles of managerial logic. They established enterprise-based rules of governance and promoted a new public management which makes the CDPQ independent of political power. This ended its initial mandate which was that part of the CDPQ's mission as a financial institution was to meet the social and political expectations of Quebec society. At the time in 1960,  the Confederation of Trade Unions (CNTU) declared: "The CDPQ could in the upcoming years be the best tool for economic planning a collectivity could dream of."

Michael Sabia was the CEO of the CDPQ from 2009 to 2020. He is the federal Deputy Minister of Finance, appointed by Prime Minister Trudeau in December 2020. He became President of the Board of Directors of the Infrastructure Bank of Canada in April 2020 and is presently Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. Before joining the CDPQ, he had been at the head of Bell Canada Enterprises and chief financial director of the Canadian National Railway Company. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 2017 for his exceptional contribution to rebuilding the CDPQ and in transforming it into a world class financial institution, a leader for investors who are working towards "fighting climate change" and strengthening urban infrastructures.

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Public Funding of Quebec Political Parties 

An Undemocratic Process from A to Z

– Christine Dandenault –

The aim of what is called the democratic electoral process is to bring political parties to power. The process favours those parties which the ruling class deems can form a party government that will serve their interests. The hope is to have a party in power and a party in the opposition which together are said to represent the electorate. Whosoever did not vote for the party in power it is hoped would have voted for the party in opposition. Thus, everyone is said to be represented in government.

Of course this is not what takes place because the electors neither choose their candidates from amongst their peers, not set the agenda governments take up. The number of people who belong to political parties is less than one per cent of the eligible voters and the non-participation of a large number of eligible voters in elections is increasing. This is why the state subsidizes political parties, especially the cartel parties which could not make it on their own without this money. It makes the cartel parties appendages of the state which is  anti-democratic and makes a mockery of freedom of association and expression. 

The corruption involved in this regime that pays political parties from public funds is best seen during electoral campaigns. This system of funding the parties in the name of enhancing the democracy privileges the cartel parties by providing them with all the resources to put them in power. This system turns ordinary citizens into "third parties" who are penalized for participating in an election on a partisan basis if it costs them money to do so. If that cost exceeds $300, they will be in the news and sued.

Therefore, there is absolutely no possibility for political discourse based on the demands of the Quebec people in an election. Only the self-serving electoral promises of the cartel parties are put forward, some more than others, and there is no meaningful way for the people to participate. The role of electors is to choose a party to vote for, which supposedly gives the parties a "mandate" from the electorate.

The regime of financing parties with public funds does not include in its calculations the enormous amount of free promotion that cartel parties receive through media coverage. The value of the free promotion provided all year long and even more so on the eve of and during an election by radio and television broadcasters, cable companies, newspapers, periodicals, polling firms and other media outlets, only to the cartel parties, is virtually incalculable.

It should be noted that the Election Act guarantees what it calls "media freedom." Élections Québec writes: "The Election Act ensures the freedom of the media both in the treatment of information and in the coverage given to parties and candidates. Thus, at any time during the election period, including election day, the media may cover political issues, candidates and political parties."

The Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ) has been opposed from the outset to the system of state financing of political parties, which it considers anti-democratic in many respects.The electoral law is supposedly designed to ensure that there is no corruption when it comes to fundraising, such as the Liberal Party receiving paper bags filled with cash under the table as revealed during the Sponsorship Scandal. Far from eliminating corruption, it subjects political parties and their donors to state control, violating freedom of association, the right to conscience and the right to privacy.

Freedom of association, which is a matter of individual conscience, has become a matter of state control. In the name of transparency, Élections Québec demands the names of party donors and full information about them to ascertain whether it was really them who gave the money or somebody else.

When a voter wants to contribute to a party, they send the contribution to Élections Québec and it is Élections Québec that decides if the party will receive the contribution or not on the basis of verifying the authenticity of the donor. Should the Party not want to receive a contribution from that donor for reasons of its own, too bad. All decision-making power is usurped by the agency of the state in the name of high ideals.

The intimidation factor is huge with Élections Québec checking on donors through sources such as Revenue Québec and even the person's employer. Their name, political affiliation and postal code are made public. At one time even addresses were published but due to opposition from the PMLQ and others, this was rescinded. If the donor does do not agree to these conditions, they cannot financially support the party of their choice.

The right to privacy, conscience, and association are completely violated and this is supposed to be okay. In exchange, the parties now receive far more money from the state than they did under the prior regime when contribution limits were higher, and state subsidies lower. In other words, parties are no longer financed by their members and these members are no longer the ones who decide party policy or course of action. It is the state. As the saying goes, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

The electoral law simply stifles the right to conscience, to think, to speak for oneself, to have even basic information for an informed vote. The public space is flooded with one-sided coverage of the cartel parties. Through the cartel parties and the media, the agenda is set of what are considered "the issues." Electors are reduced to the status of consumers.

The state recognizes the right of "small parties" to exist but saddles them with that self-serving label to marginalize their program, their candidates and their presence. The right to privacy is violated by the use of databases containing names, age, income, jobs -- all to contact voters without their consent. The ruling elite corrupts all organs of state power and government institutions, so that all that remains is intimidation, prosecution, fines and police powers.

Quebec's electoral system is said to be "representative" but of what exactly?

It is representative of a ruling elite that has reached such a level of corruption that the parties have become appendages of the state, while the electorate is gagged, so that power is kept in the elite's hands. This process must be completely renewed.

The PMLQ reiterates that public funds, the wealth created by the hard work of the people of Quebec, must serve the body politic, not private interests. That is why the political process must be funded, not the parties.

Christine Dandenault is a director of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ)

(Translated from the original french by TML.)

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Undemocratic and Exclusionary Essence of the Electoral Process Said to Be Representative

On October 21, Quebec's political parties were informed by Élections Québec of the allowances they will receive for the period from October 4, 2022 to October 3, 2023.

How is this calculated? Élections Québec allocates $1.71 per elector, in accordance with section 82 of the Election Act. This $1.71 is multiplied by the total number of registered voters -- 6,302,789 -- for a total of $10,777,769.19. This amount is distributed in proportion to the percentage of valid votes obtained by each party. It is not $1.71 for each vote received by a political party, but $1.71 per elector.

At the election, there were 6,302,789 registered voters; 4,110,700 exercised their right to vote and 2,192,089 voters did not vote. This means that even if an elector did not vote -- in rejection of all of the candidates, disinterest, the difficulty of voting or any other reason -- Élections Québec still gives non-voters a financial value, $1.71 each, which is distributed among the parties. Even if an elector does not support any of the parties and does not vote, their refusal to vote is still recovered by those parties. In other words, even if an elector does not vote, he or she is still a taxpayer to the parties, especially to the parties in the National Assembly who receive the largest share of the pie.

According to the table below, $10,777,769.19 was distributed among the parties. The four political parties in the National Assembly will receive a total of $9,207,768.05, which represents 85.43 per cent of the total amount distributed.

Click to enlarge.

In addition to these allocations, in September -- 10 days after the writ calling the election was issued -- Élections Québec paid to each political party an additional $1 per vote obtained by it in the 2018 election. A total of $6,169,722 was issued to political parties.

Of this amount,

- $2,314,265.58 (37.5%) was issued to the CAQ,

- $1,534,835.80 (24.9%) to the Quebec Liberal Party,

- $1,054,865.46 (17.1%) to the PQ, and

- $995,847.76 (16.1%) to Québec Solidaire.

These parties therefore received 95.6 per cent of this additional allocation for the election.

Click to enlarge.

In addition to these amounts paid by the State, other sums were also paid. There is the matching revenue that applies to the contributions of electors to political parties. The maximum allowable contribution per elector to a political party is $100. For every $1.00 contributed, Élections Québec contributes $2.50 for a maximum of $20,000. Thereafter, for every additional $1.00 contributed, Élections Québec contributes $1.00 to a maximum of $200,000.

Also, during the election year, an elector may contribute an additional $100. This means that an additional matching amount is provided of up to $250,000, which favours the four cartel parties in the National Assembly.

In 2021, matching revenues totalling $1,330,087.50 were paid to political parties, independent members and independent provincial candidates.

From January 1 to December 31, 2021, $10,176,582.86 in allowances was paid to provincial political parties.

The government also reimburses half of the annual audit costs of political parties, up to a maximum of $15,000. It reimburses as well election expenses for candidates and parties. After receiving and verifying the return of election expenses, Élections Québec reimburses 50 per cent of the election expenses incurred and paid by any candidate who is declared elected or who receives at least 15 per cent of the valid votes cast and to any party that receives at least one per cent of the valid votes cast.

The election demonstrated the urgent need for democratic renewal at all levels. The financing of political parties is part of the need for renewal because, as can be seen, it is part of the stranglehold of the cartel parties on the Legislature, from which the people are de facto excluded from the decision-making processes. According to the electoral law, during an election, except in exceptional cases, an individual or organization that does not act on behalf of a political party or a candidate cannot make a partisan intervention if this intervention incurs a cost.

The Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ) demands that the use of public funds to finance private entities such as political parties be abolished. The state should fund 100 per cent of the political process to ensure the full participation of the electorate in political life, rather than funding political parties in which barely two per cent of the population are members.

(PMLQ. Translated from the original french by TML)

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Agenda of Legault Government in Quebec

Premier's Choice of Cabinet Ministers Confirms
Pay-the-Rich Agenda

– Fernand Deschamps –

Premier François Legault announced on October 20 the formation of his cabinet. Pierre Fitzgibbon, the previous government's Minister of Economy and Innovation, became, as well, the Energy Minister in the new government.

The argument presented by circles close to Fitzgibbon is that as Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy he is responsible for Hydro-Québec, and can more easily intervene in managing the energy demands of companies wanting to establish themselves in Quebec. He will be in the best position to "define what company will bring in the most wealth with the available kilowatt-hours," as one source close to Fitzgibbon declared.

Already big industrial plants set up in Quebec that require a lot of energy to operate, such as aluminum smelters, pay a hydro rate of around five cents per kilowatt-hour for the energy they use. Meanwhile the cost associated with the most recent hydro dams built by Hydro-Québec is around 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. This difference between the energy cost and the rate offered by Hydro-Québec to these monopolies is a disguised pay-the-rich scheme where ultimately it is the people of Quebec who foot the bill through increased residential and commercial hydro rates.

Hydro-Québec CEO Sophie Brochu, in a radio interview on October 12, openly said that she doesn't want Hydro-Québec to become the "Dollarama" of electricity for these huge private interests whose eyes are set on Quebec because Hydro-Québec also generates what qualifies as "sustainable green energy." Here is what she said: "What we should not be doing is attracting an undue number of industrial kilowatt-hours that want to pay cheap rates, and then be building dams to power them because we lack the energy." Brochu already threatened last spring to resign after some heated exchanges between herself and Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy at the time.

An October 18 statement issued by the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL), referring to the moves of governent to seize Indigenous lands and resources, said that "after over four years of difficult, even conflictive relations with the various ministers with an economic vocation, the AFNQL can't help but be concerned about the possibility of the appointment of a superminister of the Economy." The statement pointed out, "First Nations are Nations of their own with full rights, who have established, over the millennia of their existence and presence on the land, their own governments, their own laws and practices for the benefit of their populations and of the sustainable development of their territories and resources, and whose rights are confirmed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."

In a speech given after the swearing-in of his Cabinet, Legault tried to downplay all the criticism around this new mega Economy and Energy ministry. This is why Legault announced that he is setting up an Energy Transition Committee that he will chair, comprised of the ministers of the Economy, Innovation and Energy; Finance; the Environment; and Relations with First Nations and Inuit, representatives of Indigenous Peoples and the CEO of Hydro-Québec.

State Subsidization of "Sustainable Green Energy" to Process Critical Minerals

Part of the "energy transition" Premier Legault refers to has to do with what the Legault government calls a "global hub for the battery industry," planned for in the industrial and port area of Bécancour in central Quebec.

Many mining and manufacturing monopolies involved in the production of components for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have already announced in 2022, their intention to set up operations in the Bécancour region along the St. Lawrence River for the processing of lithium, nickel and graphite, some of the minerals which the U.S. claims are critical to its national security. While claiming to be in favour of a green economy, they are also demanding hydroelectricity rates that they consider favourable to their own narrow private interests.

For example, in June the Brazilian mining oligopoly Vale announced plans to set up a plant in Bécancour with an annual capacity to process 25,000 tonnes of nickel sulfide into nickel sulphate, the chemical compound used in the production of pre-cathode active materials for nickel-based lithium-ion batteries. The nickel would come from its mining operations in Voisey's Bay, Labrador or Sudbury, Ontario.

The Bécancour industrial park is also home to two other large-scale projects: one by the German firm BASF and the other by the alliance between south Korean steel company POSCO and U.S.vehicle manufacturer General Motors for the production of cathode materials -- the main component of the lithium-ion battery. Nickel is also used in the manufacture of the cathodes of these same batteries, which explains Vale's interest in Bécancour.

The graphite used for manufacturing anode-components for lithium-ion batteries is currently extracted 120 kilometres north of Montreal at the Nouveau Monde Graphite (NMG) open-pit mine that has been approved by the Quebec government, without all the environmental studies requested by the Office of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE) having been completed. NMG is owned in part by the British Group Pallinghurst and Investissement Québec and now also by Japanese Mitsui and Panasonic, who announced on October 20 that they are investing $25 million (U.S.) with a matching amount by Pallinghurst and Investissement Québec of $12.5 million (U.S.) each. The extracted graphite is of high purity and could also be used for weapons production. It is to be processed at a future refinery plant to be built in Bécancour, part of "completely new integrated anode production in Canada."[1] Already in April, both the federal and Ontario governments announced unspecified hundreds of millions of dollars in handouts to the Europe-based Stellantis and LG Energy Solution from south Korea "to build a $5 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Windsor."

In Sorel, less than 100 kilometres upstream from Bécancour, the plant owned by the Anglo-Australian mining corporation Rio Tinto processes the titanium ore from Havre St-Pierre to extract titanium dioxide and scandium oxide, two other strategic minerals that have military applications.

On October 11, during a visit to the plant, Prime Minister Trudeau and François-Philippe Champagne, Federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced federal government grants of $222 million to Rio Tinto to proceed with "electrifying furnaces and replacing coal" for "decarbonizing" the plant's operations. Rio Tinto has already announced that if "the conditions are right" it will also proceed with refining lithium from a number of international sources at the same plant.

It goes without saying that for these wealthy private interests, obtaining a hydroelectricity rate from the Quebec government they consider favourable will be a determining factor in whether they proceed with these projects in Bécancour and Sorel.

Guy Leblanc, CEO of Investissement Québec, which provides funding for Quebec's Ministry of Economy and Innovation, said last summer: "We are in discussion with several groups. It's confirmed: the entire chain will be established in Quebec. For the first time in Quebec's history, we will be processing our minerals on site."

Even if this processing is done on site, there is no indication that the Legault government will be able to control where these processed minerals end up. In other words, in the critical minerals supply chain, the extraction and initial processing is not under the control of the Legault government but rather that of large, primarily Anglo-American and Japanese private interests competing with China and Russia.


1. Although presented as only useful for electric vehicle batteries, graphite is also a component of military instruments and weapons, such as the graphite bombs used by NATO in the 1995 bombing of Yugoslavia. The graphite bomb is one of the weapons developed by the U.S. military to paralyze electrical equipment without destroying it permanently. When exploding close to the ground, this bomb releases thousands of microscopic carbon fibres that infiltrate all electrical systems -- power plants, transformers and high voltage substations or telecommunication systems -- and creates gigantic short-circuits. See "Green Electrification and Mining Plans that Clash with the People's Wishes," by Pierre Soublière, TML Daily, September 30, 2022.

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Supply Chain Strengthened to Satisfy
U.S. War Aims

A document published by the U.S. Department of Defense entitled "Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States" was released in September 2018 by the Interagency Task Force in Fulfillment of Executive Order 13806 issued by President Donald Trump. In this document, countries with which the U.S. has agreements to secure supplies of all kinds, including critical minerals, are told very clearly that they must accept the following dictate:

"Any international agreement between the U.S. and another nation constitutes a commitment binding in international law on the part of the U.S. and the foreign government. The agreements obligate both governments to commit resources -- funds, equipment, labor, information, or action -- and outline the authorization and approval process to ensure the U.S. only commits to a course of action that is implementable and in its best interest. [TML emphasis]."[1]

In other words, the U.S. sees itself as the indispensable nation to which all countries within its sphere of influence must submit. Examples of this are the Defense Production Sharing Agreements signed with 27 countries, including Canada, and most recently in June this year the Mineral Security Partnership (MSP), which includes Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, the UK and the EU.

This is a dangerous path taken by the Canadian and Quebec governments that will have disastrous consequences for millions of people. Peace-loving Quebeckers and Canadians must strongly denounce all these plans to further integrate the economy of Quebec and Canada into the U.S. war machine under the pretext of developing a green economy.


1. Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States, Report to President Donald J. Trump by the Interagency Task Force in Fulfillment of Executive Order 13806, September 2018, p. 122. 

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Visit of U.S. Secretary of State to Montreal

Canada Told to Fall in Line with U.S. Attempts to Further Isolate China and Russia

On Friday October 28, François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, issued a press release entitled "Canada strengthens guidelines to protect critical minerals sectors from foreign state-owned enterprises."[1]

The announcement was made during the two-day official visit of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Canada. His two-day visit to Canada served in part to promote the integration of Canada's critical mineral supply chain into the U.S. economy. On day two of the visit Blinken was in Montreal, along with Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, to visit a pilot plant for recycling lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles.

On October 11, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland had already told a gathering at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. that a deepening of trade ties between countries that espouse "liberal democracy" is necessary to combat "powerful authoritarian regimes" such as Russia and China that "are fundamentally hostile to us." She added that this "means we need to be cautious about our economic relations with the world's dictators and their elites [...] We should continue to trade, but we should avoid strategic vulnerabilities in our supply chains and our economies more broadly."[2]

In the same vein, the October 28 press release stated that, "Starting today, significant transactions by foreign state-owned enterprises in Canada's critical minerals sectors will only be approved as of likely net benefit on an exceptional basis. As well, should a foreign state-owned company participate in these types of transactions, it could constitute reasonable grounds to believe that the investment could be injurious to Canada's national security, regardless of the value of the transaction."[3]

As to the importance and value of these transactions, the Trudeau government states the following  in the updated Policy Regarding Foreign Investments from State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) in Critical Minerals under the Investment Canada Act:

"Critical Minerals are also strategic assets that contribute to Canada's national security as vital inputs to defence and high technology. In this context, some investments into Canada by SOEs can be motivated by non-commercial imperatives that are contrary to Canada's interests." this would also include "investments from private investors assessed as being closely tied to, subject to influence from, or who could be compelled to comply with extrajudicial direction from foreign governments, particularly non-likeminded governments."[4]

The Trudeau government defines an SOE this way: "For the purposes of these guidelines, an SOE is an enterprise that is owned, controlled or influenced, directly or indirectly by a foreign government."[5]

The document goes on to say that "Under the Act, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry must approve proposed acquisitions of control from foreign investors, including SOEs, where the value of the Canadian business is above the defined threshold."

For 2022, the thresholds are "$1.141 billion in enterprise value for investments to directly acquire control of a Canadian business" by private sector WTO and non-WTO investors that are not state-owned enterprises, "$1.711 billion in enterprise value for investments to acquire control of a Canadian business by trade agreement investors that are not state-owned enterprises and by non-trade agreement investors that are not state-owned enterprises [...]" and "$454 million in asset value for investments to directly acquire control of a Canadian business by WTO investors that are state-owned enterprises and non-WTO investors that are state-owned enterprises where the Canadian business that is the subject of the investment[...] is controlled by a WTO investor."[6]

As part of the changes made to the Investment Canada Act, guidelines are being given as to what criteria to follow when it comes to state-owned enterprises, called the net benefit assessment. Some of the criteria will include an examination of "whether the non-Canadian adheres to Canadian standards of corporate governance (including, for example, commitments to transparency and disclosure, independent members of the board of directors, independent audit committees and equitable treatment of shareholders), and to Canadian laws and practices, including adherence to free market principles." The examination "will also cover how and the extent to which the non-Canadian is owned, controlled by a state or its conduct and operations are influenced by a state."

All of this gibberish about examination of "foreign influence" by a state and "adherence to free market principles" is to hide the fact that it is the U.S. administration which dictates the line of march the Trudeau government is to take and this line of march is to integrate Canada's economy into the U.S. war economy. Canada's sovereignty is trampled in the mud in the name of high ideals.

Here is what the October 28 statement released by François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, titled "Canada strengthens guidelines to protect critical minerals sectors from foreign state-owned enterprises," said, in part:

"Critical minerals are essential to powering the green, digital economy of tomorrow. Increasing demand and constrained supply of these all-important minerals are presenting Canada with a generational economic opportunity, and the Government of Canada is committed to seizing that opportunity while delivering on its ambitious climate goals.

"That is why Canada must build strategic resilience in the North American critical minerals supply chain with like-minded partners at home, within North America, and around the world.

"While we continue to welcome foreign direct investment that supports this goal, Canada will act decisively when investments threaten our national security and our critical minerals supply chains. To this end, Minister Champagne is providing additional direction with regard to the application of the Investment Canada Act in cases involving critical minerals and critical minerals supply chains."


1. "Canada strengthens guidelines to protect critical minerals sectors from foreign state-owned enterprises," Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, October 28, 2022.

2. "How Democracies Can Shape a Changed Global Economy," Chrystia Freeland, Speech given at the Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, October 11, 2022, pp. 10-11.

3. "Canada strengthens guidelines to protect critical minerals sectors from foreign state-owned enterprises," Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, October 28, 2022.

4. "Policy Regarding Foreign Investments from State-Owned Enterprises in Critical Minerals under the Investment Canada Act," Ministerial Statement, October 28, 2022

5. "Guidelines -- Investment by state-owned enterprises -- Net benefit assessment", Investment Canada Act.\

6. "Thresholds for review", Investment Canada Act, Government of Canada.

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Montreal's Lithion Recycling Pilot Plant

On the same day that François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources issued a press release on how to "protect critical minerals sectors from foreign state-owned enterprises," U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, visited a Montreal-based pilot plant for recycling lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles. He was accompanied by Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly.

The pilot plant, Lithion Recycling, is said to be owned jointly by foreign private interests General Motors (GM), South Korean IMM Global Battery Limited and the Canadian and Quebec governments. In April the Legault government invested $15 million in shares in Lithion Recycling and gave it $7.5 million in subsidies. In a joint statement issued in September 2021, GM and Lithion announced their joint partnership "to pursue a circular battery ecosystem using Lithion's advanced battery recycling technology," with "a recovery rate of over 95 per cent and using Québec's green energy."[1]

Where the first of the recycling plants envisioned will be located is not yet determined but if GM gets its way with the Legault government, when it comes to hydro-electricity rates there is a good chance it will set up a $500 million plant in the Bécancour area in central Quebec, along the St. Lawrence River. This then lines up with the trade corridors which feed U.S. manufacturing.

Prior to the visit to the plant, Blinken delivered a 12-minute interview at the French language TVA studios in the form of a script on U.S. foreign policy. In that script he raised his visit to Lithion Recycling, saying: "That is the future. It's the future for energy, and it's the future for the climate. It's the future for Canada and the U.S. because we're working on this together with investments coming from General Motors, in this particular case. And for us, this represents a future that binds us together, but that also gives us the ability to do what we need to do for the climate."[2]

Blinken was referring to the arrangements being put in place to integrate the supply of Canadian critical minerals into the U.S. economy and providing cheap electricity.

In the United States, under the Inflation Reduction Act 2022 adopted in August by the U.S. Congress, and signed into law this year by President Biden, electric vehicles equipped with lithium recycled mineral batteries "manufactured in North America" are eligible for a total tax credit of U.S. $7500. Determined to no longer depend on China, the U.S. administration aims for the extraction and/or processing of critical minerals "in its own backyard."

In fact, on October 19, the Biden administration announced that as part of a bid to wean the country off supplies from China, it is awarding $2.8 billion in grants to boost U.S. production of electric vehicle (EV) batteries and the minerals used to build them.[3]

"The U.S. and its allies currently do not produce enough of the critical minerals and battery materials needed to power clean energy technologies. China currently controls much of the critical mineral supply chain and the lack of mining, processing, and recycling capacity in the U.S. could hinder electric vehicle development and adoption, leaving the U.S. dependent on unreliable foreign supply chains," the White House says in the statement announcing the grants.

"By undercutting U.S. manufacturers with their unfair subsidies and trade practices, China seized a significant portion of the market," President Joe Biden said in announcing the awards. "Today we're stepping up... to take it back, not all of it, but bold goals."

In March, Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to support the production and processing of minerals and materials used for EV batteries.

The $2.8 billion in grants will enable 20 manufacturing and processing companies in 12 states to extract and process more lithium, graphite, nickel and other battery materials. The states are Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee and Washington. This is the first set of projects funded by the President's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand domestic manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles and the electrical grid, according to the statement. This is part of the stated goal of the Biden administration to make half of all new vehicles sold by 2030 electric.

The funding for the selected projects will support, among other things, the development of enough lithium to supply over 2 million electric vehicles annually and establish significant domestic production of graphite and nickel.

It is expected that the private companies that will receive these grants will match this investment with their own.

President Biden also announced, in the same statement, the launching of the American Battery Materials Initiative as a way "to strengthen critical mineral supply chains." The statement says: "Today, the White House is launching a new whole-of-government effort to secure a reliable and sustainable supply of the critical minerals that power everything from electric vehicles to homes to defense systems. The American Battery Materials Initiative will be led by a White House steering committee and coordinated by the Department of Energy with support from the Department of the Interior."

The initiative involves, the White House writes, "working with partners and allies to diversify international supply chains, recognizing that America's national and economic security is bolstered through strong alliances, and international coalitions of reliable partners reinforce the security of our supply chains."

The statement says: "The Initiative will work through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, and leverage ongoing work by the Department of State, to work with partners and allies to strengthen critical mineral supply chains globally, and it will leverage and maximize ongoing efforts throughout the U.S. government to meet resource requirements and bolster energy security."

Always in lockstep with U.S. imperialism, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke about critical minerals from countries considered "friendly" to U.S. ambitions for world hegemony in a speech given at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. in October. She referred to what U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen described as "friendshoring," by which is meant building supply chains through the economies of countries the U.S. considers friendly.

"Canada must and will show similar generosity in fast-tracking, for example, the energy and mining projects our allies need to heat their homes and to manufacture electric vehicles," Freeland said. "I cite these examples because, critically, friendshoring must be green. The curse of oil is real, and so is the dependence of many of the world's democracies on the world's petro-tyrants. Friendshoring can both defend liberal democracy and help to preserve the planet, if one of our objectives is to speed up the green transition together," Freeland said [4]

This shows how terms such as "friendshoring" and what is called the "green economy" are used not to enhance the well-being of the peoples at home and abroad but to shore up the U.S. desperation to compete with China and humiliate Russia as well as escape the profound crisis in which its liberal democratic institutions are mired.

No good will come from the direction being set for the economy which is to create a war economy linked to the U.S. striving for world domination. It is an unworthy aim which will bring undesirable consequences as the workers of Quebec and Canada are reduced to "things" whose wages and working conditions are considered a cost to be constantly reduced, while the likes of GM will receive Quebec hydro for a pittance and Quebec and Canadian tax payers have to pay to build the infrastructure for the secure trade corridors and new technologies the so-called green war economy demands.


1. "GM and Lithion Announce an Investment and Strategic Partnership Agreement to Pursue a Circular EV Battery," Joint Statement General Motors and Lithion, September 2022.

2. "Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Gino Chouinard and Georges Pothier of Salut Bonjour - Interview," U.S. Department of State, October 28, 2022.

3. White House press release and news agency reports

4. "How Democracies Can Shape a Changed Global Economy", Chrystia Freeland, Speech given at the Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, October 11, 2022, p. 8.

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Putting Canadian Defence Procurement on a War Footing

Ottawa Conference Calls for Increasing
Production of War Materiel

A Conference was held at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa on Tuesday, October 25, entitled "Annual Defence Procurement Conference: Putting Canadian Defence Procurement on a War Footing." The conference was hosted by the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, a think-tank closely aligned with the Canadian Forces and the defence industry.

Sponsors included the Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) program of the Department of National Defence (DND), Lockheed Martin Canada, General Dynamics Canada, Irving Shipbuilding Inc., Chantier Davie, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa and Innovation Norway, ATCO Frontec, BAE Systems, The Boeing Company, Bombardier, Babcock Canada, and General Atomics - Aeronautics Systems Inc. and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories. The Department of National Defence provided $50,000 to finance the conference.

Top defence officials, including Chief of the Defence Staff General Wayne Eyre and DND Assistant Deputy Minister (Materiel) Troy Crosby, were listed as the key speakers at the event. In the week leading to the conference, Eyre reportedly pushed for companies to switch to what he is calling a "war footing" so weapons production can be ramped up both for Ukraine and to replenish Canadian military stocks.

According to an Ottawa Citizen article, Eyre, unscrupulously acting as a spokesperson for arms merchants and for the warmongering policy of the U.S. and NATO, argues that the war between Ukraine and Russia should be the catalyst for a major shift in defence industrial capacity. "Given the deteriorating world situation, we need the defence industry to go into a wartime footing and increase their production lines to be able to support the requirements that are out there, whether it's ammunition, artillery, rockets you name it. There's a huge demand out there." Eyre is also quoted as saying that China is "at war with western nations, including Canada."

The aim of the conference was to highlight the need for the Liberal government to buy more weapons for both Ukraine and the Canadian military. The Ottawa Citizen article also points out that the Liberal government has made no "announcement" that firms need to go onto a war footing or for Canada's military procurement process to change to an urgent acquisition process such as that used during the Afghan War.

The political and economic elite which dominates Parliament likes to pretend that somehow the government is still in charge, at least to some extent, and is not totally under the command of and serving the warmongering policies of the U.S. and NATO. Conferences such as this, exhibitions of weapons such as CANSEC, and the fact that Canada firmly follows NATO policy on Russia and is stepping up its role as a frontman for U.S. and foreign interference and aggression in Haiti and Venezuela amply shows how this pro-war government is acting against the interests of the Canadian as well as the world's people, and that the need to oppose it and to actively fight for an anti-war government must be taken up without delay.


1. For your information, below is the program of the "Annual Defence Procurement Conference:
Putting Canadian Defence Procurement on a War Footing"

09:05 - 09:35 -- Defence Policy: An Overview

- Stefanie Beck, Associate Deputy Minister of Defence

09:40 - 10:40 -- Assessing the Socio-Economic Considerations in Defence Procurement

- Stephanie Batstone, NyRad
- Jody Langelier, Nassituq
- Sean Willy, Des Nedhe Group
- Marcel Poulin, Chantier Davie
Moderator: Sarah Goldfeder, Canadian Global Affairs Institute

11:00 -12:00 -- Industrial Capacity, Coordination, and Resiliency

- Dr. Cynthia Cook, Center for International and Strategic Studies
- Giles Ahern, UK Ministry of Defence
- MGen Odd-Harald Hagen, Royal Norwegian Army
- Matthew Zolnowski, US Department of Defence
Moderator: Dr. James Fergusson, University of Manitoba and Canadian Global Affairs Institute

12:30 - 13:15 -- Canadian Defence Procurement: A View from the Inside

- Troy Crosby, Department of National Defence
- Simon Page, Public Services and Procurement Canada
- Demetrios Xenos, Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada
Moderator: Dr. David Perry, Canadian Global Affairs Institute

13:30 - 15:00 -- Implementing NORAD Modernization: Collaboration and Prioritization

- BGen Chris McKenna, Canadian Armed Forces
- BGen Patrice Sabourin, Canadian Armed Forces
- Cheri Crosby, Department of National Defence
- Dr. Martin Tomkin, Department of National Defence
Moderator: Dr. Andrea Charron, University of Manitoba and Canadian Global Affairs Institute

15:30 - 16:00 -- Procuring for the Alliance: The Defense Security Cooperation Agency

- James Hursch, Defense Security Cooperation Agency

16:05 - 17:05 – Overcoming Workforce Issues

- Jeff Tasseron, CAE
- Bill Ferreira, BuildForce
- Christine Clarkson, Thales
Moderator: Kathleen Monk, Canadian Global Affairs Institute

17:10 - 17:40 -- The Future of the CAF's Force Development

- General Wayne Eyre, Canadian Armed Forces
Moderator: LGen (ret'd) D. Michael Day, Canadian Global Affairs Institute

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Assange's Extradition to U.S.

Canada's Silence Speaks Volumes

– Hilary LeBlanc –

Protest October 29, 2022 outside Belmarsh prison, London, England, where Assange is being held.

The attempt to deport Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange from Britain to the U.S. violates many fundamental democratic principles. He is an Australian citizen who Britain is extraditing to the U.S. where he is charged with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act. New developments in the case have been all but ignored by the U.S., Canadian and European press which is focussed on Ukraine and dismisses its own hypocrisy and the complicity of the U.S., Britain and Canada when it comes to violating basic democratic freedoms.

"How can [the U.S.] demand Assange's extradition to the U.S. when Assange is not a U.S. citizen, was not involved in espionage against the U.S. and all he did was, without a doubt publicize war crimes committed by the U.S.?" asked Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, pointing out that Assange faces 175 years in prison "for merely exposing U.S. crimes beyond reproach."

Assange's case highlights the problem faced by the peoples of the world when governments which style themselves as defenders of democracy and the free press spare no effort to lock up a man whose only "crime" was to publish leaked documents that revealed wartime atrocities committed by those governments, Zizek points out.

This is the first ever indictment in the U.S. of a publisher under the Espionage Act. Using the act also means Assange cannot argue why he published what he published, what he exposed, and the fact that doing so did not result in any physical harm.

The extradition, charges and trial restrictions are a brutal attack on Assange for publicly exposing military documents that show the U.S. committed horrific war crimes, including torture and mass killings of innocent men, women and children, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Assange is an Australian citizen, not a British or U.S. citizen. At U.S. insistence he has basically been kidnapped and imprisoned -- since April 2018, in Britain's high-security Belmarsh prison -- without any conviction of any kind. As is common for political prisoners, he has been subject to brutal conditions in prison such that, in 2019, 117 doctors worldwide demanded that his "torture and medical neglect" be ended.

The entire case is revenge and blackmail by the U.S. against Assange and any journalists or people in media who make public U.S. war crimes and crimes against humanity and those of countries which are complicit with the U.S. The U.S. has adamantly pursued this case on the basis that Might Makes Right. President Obama pardoned former military intelligence officer Chelsea Manning, who leaked the files to WikiLeaks. She served seven years in prison.

The U.S. persisted, filing charges against Assange in 2018 and demanding he be arrested, which Britain did. Then extradition was ordered, but in January 2021 a British judge blocked extradition on the grounds that Assange could rightly fear that his health and well-being would not be provided for in U.S. prisons. The U.S. appealed, making assurances, not backed up by any legal documents, that he would be looked after.

Britain's High Court then approved the extradition of Assange in April. The Court found extradition would not be "oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process." It found too that extradition would not be "incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression, and that whilst in the U.S. he will be treated appropriately, including in relation to his health." Any justice-seeking judiciary should know what a lie this is and that U.S. assurances cannot hide the horrendous treatment of political prisoners in the U.S., including the torture of years of solitary confinement, extra-long sentences, and the blocking of visits by family and lawyers. The U.S. criminal justice system is known to be unfair and unjust -- rigging trials, adding terrorism charges, using Guantánamo, which is not U.S. territory, to by-pass rule of law, and more.

What possible credibility can the U.S. or Britain have when they claim to be defenders of democracy? In this regard, Canada's silence also speaks volumes about its alleged defence of freedom of speech, the press and journalists. U.S. actions are meant to silence, intimidate and criminalize conscience, beginning with freedom of speech and the press, both vital rights necessary for human discourse and accountability. Journalists, newspapers, lawyers, doctors, academics, and people worldwide have supported Assange and denounced the U.S. and Britain. They are demanding all charges be dropped and that Assange be released. It is high time for Canada to speak out against what is being done to Assange. Australia has also refused to uphold the rights of its own citizen against impunity.

The U.S. has pressured Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to remain silent, even though Assange is an Australian citizen. Albanese has said he will not intervene in the case. On June 20, he was quoted as saying "I intend to lead a government that engages diplomatically and appropriately with our partners." Evidently what is "appropriate" is being part of the U.S.-dominated Five Eyes spy network (along with Britain, Canada and New Zealand) and participating in U.S. war games in the Pacific and in NATO meetings.

The U.S. and all those who are complicit seek to divert attention from the heinous war crimes which they are committing in the name of democracy and the disinformation against their rivals and accusing them of war crimes. The press and media are to submit and promote disinformation and those who do not had better heed the precedent being set by the extradition of Assange.

The message for the peoples is that all notions of civil rights in the U.S. and nation-states complicit with it no longer exist. They are a thing of the past. The raison d'état of these states is no longer to maintain a rule of law which upholds civil rights as defined in the past. There is not a shred of civil rights, let alone democratic principles, involved in any aspect of the Assange case, a future trial, or sentencing. Only the peoples are standing up for democracy and freedom of the press and refusing to bow down. Assange has been firm, steadfast and uncompromising in his defence of his democratic right to speak out and do his duty as a publisher. He is innocent of the crime of espionage of which he is accused. He is not a U.S. citizen and cannot justifiably be tried in the United States, let alone for crimes which it is clear he did not commit.

This is political persecution pure and simple and the countries such as Canada which are complicit have no credibility whatsoever when they claim to defend human rights and freedom of the press in any country of the world, including their own. They aim to define a threat to national security in any way they wish to establish uncontested control over the entire world. It is necessary to speak out against the methods they are using to achieve this, including attempts to extradite Julian Assange.

Oppose the Extradition of Wikileaks Publisher Julian Assange to the U.S.!

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Crisis in Europe Continues to Deepen

"European Political Community" -- Another Failed Attempt to Control Europe

A new body called the "European Political Community" (EPC) has been established in yet another attempt to control what takes place in Europe. Described as a new European political informal grouping that is dedicated to advancing security and energy co-operation across the continent, it is aimed at bringing together countries that do not necessarily agree with the EU stand on Ukraine and other matters, but nevertheless is aimed at reaching out to "counter Russian narratives," as some EU leaders have put it. It was initiated by French President Emmanuel Macron and held its first meeting in Prague, the Czech Republic on October 6. Leaders from EU member countries held an informal meeting of the European Council in Prague on October 7.

Macron made the proposal for this new grouping at the EU's Conference on the Future of Europe on May 9, and later promoted it at a June 23 meeting of the European Council, the executive body of the European Union, in the context of Ukraine seeking expedited EU membership. More to the point, its actual aim is now being revealed as a body that brings together leaders from nearly every European country, even those that are not EU members, with the exception of Russia and Belarus. In other words, the aim is to further target and isolate Russia and Belarus for opposing NATO expansion in a manner which endangers their security by permitting an end-run around requirements for joining the EU or NATO.

Once some countries of Europe can take it upon themselves to decide which countries are part of Europe, from the get go they violate the spirit of the UN Charter and international law which stipulates that all countries, big or small, are equal and prohibits interference into their internal affairs or violations of their sovereignty.

According to reports, 27 EU states and 17 European countries attended the EPC. As many expected following this meeting in Prague, the EU has tried to claim that the EPC supported the stand of the EU and "paved the way for the upcoming formal European Council in Brussels on 20 and 21 October, at which the leaders are expected to reach decisions and adopt conclusions on the three issues discussed in Prague." A report from the European Council informs that these three issues were "Russia's war against Ukraine," its impact on the energy situation in Europe, and its economic ramifications.

News reports indicate that following the meeting, the participants praised themselves for their united front against "Russia's war on Ukraine" and claimed that the body represents "common values."

Then-UK Prime Minister Liz Truss was quoted saying, "Leaders leave this summit with greater collective resolve to stand up to Russian aggression. What we have seen in Prague is a forceful show of solidarity with Ukraine, and for the principles of freedom and democracy."

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said that the countries participating in the EPC meeting showed its importance: "The whole European continent is here, except two countries: Belarus and Russia. So it shows how isolated those two countries are."

No joint statement was issued at the end of the meeting or even planned as none would have been possible. A briefing posted on the European Parliament website claims that due to its informal nature, the participants did not release a final declaration. The EPC was like "a sword striking water," commentator Thierry Messan opined.

It was announced the next meeting of this forum would take place in six months in Moldova, next year in Spain, and then in the UK.

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European Council Fails to Address
Peoples' Concerns

The European Council, the executive body of the European Union (EU), held a formal meeting in Brussels from October 20 to 21, following on its informal meeting held in Prague on October 7.

In his invitation to the meeting, President of the Council Charles Michel stated, "The focal point of our agenda is the energy crisis, on which we must act with the utmost urgency. In particular, we must imperatively intensify our three lines of action: reducing demand, ensuring security of supply and containing prices." He further stated, "Our economic outlook will depend to a large extent on how we manage our energy crisis." Michel went on to say that the Council would also "return to Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine." As a final point on the agenda, Michel stated, "Lastly, in the light of the current geo-political context, we need to hold a strategic discussion on China, exchanging views on how we wish to frame this critical relationship in the future."

Notably, the entire agenda was presented as if the conflict in Ukraine and the energy crisis are not inextricably connected and the result of EU countries taking up sanctions against Russia. Thus, the European Council, by basing its agenda on the disinformation that Russia, and not NATO, is ultimately responsible for the conflict in Ukraine, has as its aim to isolate Russia, not to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict. According to such a rendering of the situation, it is as if Russia is not historically, culturally and economically an integral part of Europe, thus its peoples and their concerns for peace and security can simply be excised from Europe.

At its meetings, the Council adopted several "conclusions on energy and economy."

"16. In the face of Russia's weaponisation of energy, the European Union will remain united to protect its citizens and businesses and take the necessary measures as a matter of urgency.

"17. The European Council has agreed that in light of the ongoing crisis, efforts to reduce demand, to ensure security of supply, to avoid rationing, and to lower energy prices for households and businesses across the Union need to be accelerated and intensified, and the integrity of the Single Market has to be preserved."

Various proposed measures were aimed at capping prices on natural gas, joint purchasing of gas, improvements to the functioning of energy markets, fast-tracking the use of renewable energy, increased efforts at saving energy, "energy solidarity measures in case of gas supply disruptions at national, regional or Union level, in the absence of bilateral solidarity agreements," and structural reform of the electricity market.

Regarding "Energy and Economy," the Council "discussed the energy crisis and agreed on the need to accelerate and intensify efforts to reduce energy demand, avoid rationing, secure supply and lower prices. They stressed that the integrity of the single market had to be preserved.

"In the face of Russia's weaponisation of energy, the European Union will remain united to protect its citizens and businesses and take the necessary measures as a matter of urgency European Council conclusions, 20 October 2022."

The Council talks about "protecting households and businesses" from the energy crisis it has created, however it said nothing about immediate measures to urgently alleviate the crisis facing the people, not only to do with the exorbitant costs of energy but the overall increases in the cost of living that surpassed unsustainable levels and triggered mass protests at the end of August and beginning of September. This indicates that the EU's sanctions and warmongering directed at Russia are to come at the expense of the peoples and their needs.

As concerns the EU's decision to back U.S./NATO-led aggression against Russia via Ukraine, the Council in its Ukraine-Russia conclusions adopted at the meeting, said that it "addressed Russia's escalating war of aggression against Ukraine, which is putting European and global peace and security at risk. The European Council is determined to counter disinformation aimed at negating our collective efforts to defend the sovereignty of Ukraine and rules-based international order. It reiterates that Russia bears the sole responsibility for the current energy and economic crises."

The conclusions go on to portray the situation in Ukraine in the most one-sided manner, to not only claim that retaliation against Russia is justified, but also that there can only be a military solution to the crisis, the word negotiations is not mentioned once. The Council states:

"The European Union will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. It will continue to provide strong political, military and financial support to Ukraine, including for its liquidity needs, and step up its humanitarian response, in particular for winter preparedness. The decision to conduct an EU Military Assistance Mission in support of Ukraine was adopted by the Council, as well as the recent decision to further increase the European Peace Facility assistance measures in support of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The European Council commends the work on the ground of the civilian EU Advisory Mission in Ukraine."

The EU Military Assistance Mission referred to above was established by the EU's Foreign Affairs Council established the EU Military Assistance Mission (EUMAM Ukraine) on October 17. The EU's explanation of its military mission in Ukraine further reveals its objectives in Ukraine:

"The EU objective is to train on EU soil a first batch of 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers through both basic and specialised as well as individual and collective training in order to respond to the urgent short-term needs expressed by Ukraine. The Mission's mandate is scalable, flexible and modular in order to adapt swiftly to the evolving Ukrainian needs. It will provide a long-term and sustainable platform for the support to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

"EUMAM Ukraine will enhance the overall training coordination and scale, building on the existing training support, which Member States are already providing bilaterally to Ukrainian Armed Forces. The Mission also enables EU Member States that are not (yet) offering bilateral training to contribute to the overall effort.

"The Council also adopted assistance measures under the European Peace Facility (EPF) that will allow the EU Member States to continue supporting the capabilities and resilience of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to defend the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders of the country. A sixth tranche of support will add 500 million to the resources already mobilised under the EPF for Ukraine, thereby bringing the total amount to more than 3.1 billion. The scope of the equipment to be provided in the new support package is in line with the current priorities as expressed by the Ukrainian government."

Overall, the European Council meetings on October 20 and 21 indicate that the EU's agenda is based on geopolitical calculations, in which the peoples of Europe are a sideline consideration. The peoples have been protesting in the tens of thousands to express their demands for acceptable living conditions, peaceful relations with Russia and their rejection NATO and its warmongering which the EU and the European Council are not capable of addressing.

(With files from European Union, European Council)

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Class Struggle Intensifies in France

Striking ExxonMobil refinery workers at Gravenchon-Port-Jerome,  France, October 2022.

Ruling imperialist elites are attempting to pass the burden of the economic and political crisis sweeping across Europe onto the backs of the working class and youth. The people are having none of this and are resisting with strikes, mass meetings and demonstrations.

Strikes calling for immediate wage increases to counter surging price inflation are now underway throughout France. Workers have shut down six of France's seven oil refineries and energy depots. In response the French government has unleashed its police powers ordering workers back to work at the TotalEnergies fuel depot near Dunkirk and the Esso-ExxonMobil refinery at Gravenchon-Port-Jerome, both in northern France. Refusal to work under police orders could result in fines and imprisonment.

General assembly of workers at ExxonMobil plant, October 7, 2022

The Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT) and Force Ouvrière (FO), unions representing energy workers, responded angrily to the government intervention on the side of the global energy monopolies against workers who are attempting to raise their wages in the face of price inflation. They have called on other unions to organize strikes, mass meetings and demonstrations against the use of police powers and for immediate wage increases.

Benjamin Tange, a CGT official at the Dunkirk worksite, denounced the government order as "Macron dictatorship." Describing the upsurge in strike struggles across France, Tange said, "What we're seeing is the anger built up over several months and years, and a breakdown of any social dialogue."

CGT and FO leaders are meeting with other unions to discuss broadening the mass movement for workers' rights and wage increases. During mass meetings of organized energy workers during their strike, they have voted overwhelmingly to continue their struggle until their wage demands have been met. Workers expressed disgust at the government for imposing its police powers on them. They also denounced the energy monopolies, which continually boast to their global investors of the huge profits they are making during the crisis, yet refuse to raise wages.

On September 29, 250,000 protesters took to the streets across France to demand an increase in salaries and pensions and a reduction in working time.

The resistance to price inflation in France is escalating with strikes spreading to sectors and enterprises not currently engaged in walkouts. The ruling elite express alarm at this development, calling the strikes "contagious." The newspaper Le Parisien expressed concern about "the 'contagion' of the movement to other sectors of the country." It mentions in particular "dockers, port agents, railway workers or even employees of nuclear power plants and the automotive sector."

Workers at several French nuclear plants are engaged in partial strikes including the Gravelines nuclear power station and plants in Ardèche, Moselle, Drôme and Tarn-et-Garonne.

Le Parisien continues, "The strike at the SNCF (National Railway Company) could extend to other sectors. The CGT-Cheminots, the main union representing workers at SNCF, and Sud-Rail have called for a strike next Tuesday [October 18] to demand wage increases and protest against requisitions in the energy sector. ‘Anger is brewing, including in our professions,' warned the union, which represents truck drivers among others. ‘We are asking unions to organize general meetings at work sites on the 18th and we do not rule out any scenario for the conduct of the action,' the secretary general of the CGT-Cheminots, Laurent Brun said Thursday [October 13]."

The one-day train drivers' strike organized for October 18 will involve both the SNCF and the Paris transport operator RATP (Régie autonome des transports parisiens).

FranceInfo quotes Vincent Gautheron, general secretary of the CGT RATP saying, "We are mobilizing for wage increases, on the issue of pension reform and to defend the right to strike, which is called into question by government decisions."

(Quotes translated from the original French by TML.)

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Mass Protests Continue Demanding Economic Stability and Opposition to Sanctions
Against Russia

The peoples of Europe are continuing their mass protests as the political, economic and financial crises in which their countries and all of Europe are mired continue to deepen. It is the peoples who are bearing the brunt of governments in service of the rich which are either forced to submit to U.S. hegemony and U.S./NATO dictate or are rebelling against it. Throughout October protests over fuel prices and high costs of living took place in more than 90 countries worldwide.

In Prague, the Czech Republic, mass actions filling Wenceslas Square have been taking place since early September. On October 28, Independent Czechoslovak State Day, a national holiday celebrating the date in 1918 when Czechoslovakia was created, tens of thousands of people rallied in the square in an action called by the organization "Czech Republic First!" The action demanded that the coalition government of Prime Minister Petr Fiala resign and reiterated the call for the Czech Republic to get out of the EU and NATO, to end its involvement in the conflict in Ukraine (which the Czech Republic has provided with heavy weapons), including the sanctions against Russia. "Russia's not our enemy, the government of warmongers is the enemy," one speaker said.

A similar rally was held in the country's second-largest city of Brno.

Prague, Czech Republic, October 28, 2022. Sign reads "Dilettantes Resign."

Prior to that, on October 8, thousands gathered in Wenceslas Square in an action called by the country's major trade unions. They demanded the government take immediate action to end the people's impoverishment. The unions pointed out, "By procrastinating, the government has allowed the situation to reach a state where in our country we have one of the highest inflation rates in the EU, households are losing purchasing power and companies are losing their competitiveness. We have repeatedly appealed to the government since its inauguration to start solving the situation. We present concrete solutions and measures on how to proceed, we offer help. The government has been silent for months, and instead of actually helping people and businesses, its officials simply ignore the situation."

The days when the country's major trade unions put their faith in bringing back classical capitalism as they did in the early nineties when the former USSR collapsed are back, only this time the disastrous conditions are clearly seen as a problem of capitalism, not socialism while the demand for democracy persists under the new conditions of neo-liberalism.

Prague, Czech Republic, October 8, 2022

This action was preceded by another action at the square on September 28, organized by Czech Republic First! In keeping with the 70,000-strong action it held on September 3, it continues to call for the Czech government to secure gas contracts with Russia and be "militarily neutral" regarding the crisis in Ukraine instigated by the U.S. and NATO to provoke Russia.

Prague, Czech Republic, September 28, 2022

In France, on October 18, a nationwide general strike was held to demand an increase in wages and the restoration of the purchasing power of people affected by the crisis. The General Confederation of Labour (CGT) informs that there were nearly 180 demonstrations with the participation of some 300,000 people across France, including 450 in Gap, 2,500 in Pau, 7,000 in Bordeaux, 10,000 in LaeHavre and 70,000 in Paris.

Angers, France, October 18, 2022

Laval, France, October 18, 2022
Versailles, France, October 18, 2022
Paris, October 18, 2022
Valenciennes, France, October 18, 2022
Tulle, France, October 18, 2022

In Paris on October 16, more than 100,000 people marched to denounce the Macron government's failure to tackle the cost of living crisis and the climate crisis.

Paris, France, October 16, 2022

Strikes by oil refinery and oil depot workers employed by TotalEnergies and ExxonMobil were underway for several weeks until October 20, until employers offered wage increases. At their height, more than 30 per cent of gas stations were affected by shortages.

Workers at Électricité de France's Bugey nuclear plant started a strike on October 13. Besides the rising cost of living, workers are incensed that the energy monopolies are charging extortionate rates and making obscene profits at the expense of the people amidst a growing energy crisis. As of October 20, strikes had affected 20 of the country's 56 nuclear reactors.

On October 9 in Paris, hundreds of demonstrators waved French flags and held large banners reading "Resistance" and "Frexit," the latter expressing their demand that France should leave the European Union. The protesters shouted "Leave NATO" and denounced NATO "warmongering" and the economic crisis arising from EU sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine conflict. They also called for the resignation of President Macron, and that his government should stop supplying arms to Ukraine.

Paris, France, October 9, 2022

Also on October 16, tens of thousands marched in Chisinau, Moldova, to oppose the rising cost of living and to demand the resignation of President Maia Sandhu and the government.

In Italy on October 16, protests were held in Rome, Bologna, Palermo, Ancona, and other places, protesting the high cost of living, profiteering by the energy companies and imperialist warmongering. At the action in Rome, demonstrators called on the government to leave the NATO military alliance and demanded an end to the conflict in Ukraine. The new Prime Minister responded saying Italy is committed to NATO.

Rome, Italy, October 16, 2022

In Cyprus on October 15, workers mobilized by the Pancyprian Federation of Labour marched to the Ministry of Finance in Nicosia, to demand living wages and the recognition of other rights, measures to strengthen collective agreements and an immediate reduction of the value-added tax on fuel, electricity and other essential goods and services.

Nicosia, Cyprus, October 15, 2022

On October 14, the Workers' Party of Belgium (PTB/PVDA) continued its weekly Fridays of Rage protests, this one held in Brussels at the headquarters of the energy monopoly Engie. Protest marches took place in Charleroi and Gand.

Brussels, Belgium, October 14, 2022

A similar mass protest took place in Brussels on September 21, in which 10,000 people took part. Protestors told Euronews they want local, national and European politicians to take immediate measures to help them with the financial burden of the crisis. They say the responsibility lies with national politicians to address the matters now and they rejected government attempts to skirt responsibility by saying that geopolitical problems are the cause of the crisis and it is out of their control.

News agencies report that workers and their defence organizations are planning a general strike for November 8.

In Graz, Austria on October 14, people marched to demand lower prices and increased wages.

Graz, Austria, October 14, 2022

In Amsterdam, the Netherlands on October 13, students and youth groups demonstrated against the University of Amsterdam's mistreatment of international students. The university exploits them as cash cows, yet does not provide adequate access to housing and other facilities and services after they arrive. The action took place in the context of broadening actions by the Dutch people for the right to housing.

Amsterdam, Netherlands, October 13, 2022

In Greece, working people are protesting against the persecution of workers by employers and the state. On October 9, a concert by the Panhellenic Music Association was organized at Th. Malerdou Square in the city of Larymna in solidarity with the workers of the state-owned General Mining and Metallurgical Company (LARCO) who have been fighting against the privatization of the company and demanding its reopening and full operationalization.

On October 7, trade unions in Thessaloniki had organized a massive demonstration in solidarity with persecuted workers of the Malamatina Winery and the Hellas Gold mines.

Greek workers are said to be preparing widescale strikes on November 9 to oppose the increasing cost of living.

Thessaloniki, Greece, October 7, 2022

In Germany, activists report that tens of thousands of people have been driven into poverty. Many cannot pay their energy bills, while predatory energy companies and others are taking advantage of the situation.

In Berlin on the weekend of October 15, hundreds of people affected by Germany's cost-of-living crisis gathered outside the Federal Chancellery to protest the worsening situation, calling for help securing decent housing and more support for people in low-income households. Some of the signs called for "immediate help for the poor" while other placards read, "We need healthy food. Abolish poverty!"

Prior to this, in Cologne on October 1, hundreds of people protested against rising inflation, especially in energy prices, shouting, "Enough is enough: Prices have to fall." The demonstrators demanded that recent gas prices hikes be withdrawn, and that an upper limit for rent increases be set. They also asked for an increase in pensions and social benefits, as well as a decrease in the cost to use transit systems. Germans have also been calling on their government to open up the Nord Stream 2 pipeline with Russia to lower energy prices and ensure that people have heat to get through the winter.

Cologne, Germany, October 1, 2022

(With files from Anadolou Agency, People's Dispatch, BBC, Global Times, Euronews, CMKOS. Photos: Naprvnimmiste, CMKOS,, PressTV, CJB, KPO, LFI, Jeunes Insoumises, UDCGT53, Sindica Estudian, G. Ledhuy, CGT)

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