No. 4

May 2024

The Need to Make Way for Renewal

Renewal of the Democratic Process Is Essential

– Anna Di Carlo –

On the Use of "Hate" and "Extremism" to Control the Political Space

Parliament's Self-Serving Amendments to Electoral Law

Proposed Changes to Electoral Law Seek to Strengthen State Control Over Political Discourse

Foreign Interference Provisions in Proposed Amended
Electoral Law

Government of Canada Funding for Research
to Identify "Extremism"

UK Government's "New Definition of Extremism"

Attempts to Undermine Palestinian Resistance and Right to Be
on the Basis of Cold War Ideology of “Two Extremes”

Canada's Abstention in Vote Giving Palestine Fuller Status
at United Nations

– Pauline Easton –

Nonsense About Balance Resolving Political and
Social Contradictions

– K.C. Adams –

Discussion on Israeli Terrorism

Quebec's Chief Electoral Officer’s Proposed Changes to Electoral Law

• Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec Organizes Roundtables on Proposed Changes to Election Act

Amendments Should Give Meaning to Right of People to
Elect and Be Elected

– Report on discussions held by the Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec –

Joint Letter of Parties Not Represented
at the National Assembly

The Need to Make Way for Renewal

Renewal of the Democratic Process Is Essential

– Anna Di Carlo –

Today, as ruling elites become increasingly autocratic, the renewal of the democratic process is essential. For this to be achieved, at a time the antipathy to political parties is running very high, the working class must set the example of what it means to pay attention to the need to be political by appreciating a political party of the working class such as ours. The opportunist phrase "more than a movement, less than a party" has become the resort of many a scoundrel that thinks that rights can be provided with a guarantee without the leading role of the working class as an organized force with an aim, as enshrined by the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist). Nowadays it is common to have major cartel parties without members. Parties without members cannot be political. They act like contingents of a mafia fighting turf wars. Cartel parties without members are a dangerous development because citizens and residents cannot afford to drop out of the political discourse and striving for political empowerment. It creates a very dangerous situation and it is important for Canadians to make sure it cannot happen.

Various obstacles lie in the path of making sure Canadians participate in political affairs. It is known, for instance, that today many non-government organizations (NGOs), along with many associations said to be apolitical or humanitarian, ensure that the role of the citizenry is denigrated. It is commonplace to see people from all walks of life, backgrounds, beliefs, abilities, genders and ages lumped into a category or many descriptive categories. On the basis of these categories, every stereotype imaginable is promoted and people are labelled and criminalized accordingly. The state is the prime promoter of such things at the instigation of powerful supranational interests which have seized control of the state's decision-making power.

The fight between competing factions amongst the ruling class and the need for the working class and people to speak in their own names so as to provide the problems they face with solutions cannot be sorted out by engaging in providing better descriptions of such categories, or joining a category and demanding it be recognized and given its due. What are called the democratic institutions are now devoted to such things. Elections, the democratic process, media and educational institutions are all put at the disposal of such attempts to disinform the polity in this way.

On a day to day basis, more often than not the situation looks very bleak, the problems overwhelming, insurmountable and that we are all alone. It appears as if the situation is hopeless, there is nothing we can do. But far from it, the space we call Canada, the space we call home, or where we live and work, where we procreate and rear the coming generation, where we honour our elders, our children and siblings and where we welcome newcomers belongs to all of us. It is our space. We must take our place in it by using our own voices and speech to change things in favour of those who live, work, procreate, rear the coming generations, honour our elders and welcome newcomers. In this regard, we must base ourselves on a process which helps us determine what is pertinent and what is not. We must base ourselves on our experience that speech refers to our deeds, not words. We must remember that the word politics encompasses all of us together, the affairs of concern to the body politic.

Canadians and Quebeckers, as well as all those who live and work in this country from coast to coast to coast, including our Indigenous Peoples whose birthright and hereditary rights are not negotiable, cannot afford to leave politics to rotten, corrupt cartel parties and a system of party rule taken over by narrow private interests. It is through speaking in their own name and developing their own independent politics that the crisis can be resolved in a manner that favours the working class and people, not the rich.

The current period of vicious neo-liberal anti-social offensive began in the 1980s during the rule of the recently deceased Brian Mulroney. At that time, CPC(M-L), on the basis of its analysis of the conditions which were being ushered in, boldly declared that henceforth no force could act in the old way because the conditions had changed. It pinpointed that the working class must constitute itself the nation and lead the striving of the peoples of this country for change by leading them to speak in their own name and vest sovereignty in themselves.

It was an ambitious program in a country imbued with the juridical outlook of a Eurocentric nation-state and its hypocritical standards whereby it tolerates everything except what it does not tolerate, which is usually most of us, our right to conscience, our social, cultural and political being.

Today, it is clear as clear can be that the colonial nation-building project is finished. It was and continues to be based on the precept -- the general rule intended to regulate behaviour or thought – that the land was for the taking because it belonged to no one. This project, led by first the British empire-builders who established an Anglo-Canadian state to serve their interests and then by the U.S. imperialists to serve their Cold War anti-communist aims, has led to Canada's systematic integration into the U.S. state, war economy and war machine. Today, this state, despite hanging around stinking like a rotten fish, no longer recognizes national sovereignty because the decision-making power has been usurped by supranational oligopolies which maraud with impunity.

Today, this anachronistic Canadian state thinks it can continue to deprive the Indigenous Peoples of their hereditary rights, denigrate the working class by turning workers into disposable objects to be discarded, and so too newcomers as well as migrant workers and refugees. It is asking itself whether a new immigration act should discard its racist term "visible minorities" for another name to refer to those it has considered second-class citizens since its founding. Meanwhile "whites" are called Canadians! It is trying to find definitions of hate and extremism which suit its purposes of targeting those whose opinions and values do not jibe with those of the racist state. But this does not erase the image of Canada as an appeaser of genocide as it is doing not only to the Indigenous Peoples of this country whose hereditary decision-making rights on their own territories it does not recognize, but to the Palestinians and others whose right to be it also does not recognize. Today this state is a toady of the United States to carry out the most heinous wars, sanctions and coups d'état, as it is doing in Haiti this very day, also seen in its support for NATO and NORAD and integration of Canada into the U.S. war economy and factional fights which are leading the U.S. into civil war at home and imperialist wars abroad.

Canada's working people have shown since the pandemic that they are a force to be reckoned with. We congratulate all the teachers and education workers, health care workers, university professors, and all industrial, transportation, energy and communications workers who defended us during the pandemic and continue to do so every day.

It has become amply evident that Canada's democratic process is designed to authorize others to speak in our name and that through the system of electing a party government we have no say in any of the decisions which affect our lives. The irony is that it is at the point we cast a ballot to authorize someone else to represent us, i.e. speak in our name, we are disempowered, not empowered as we are led to believe.

In this country, more and more youth are taking up the battle to end their political marginalization by affirming their individual interests, the interests of their own collectives and the general interests of society, on the basis of programs they themselves set and carry out. This is the struggle that opens the path for the progress of society. With this struggle, the youth themselves are on the front lines of the struggle of the working class, women, most vulnerable sections of society and all others for progress.

Renewal of the democratic process is the order of the day and renewal is not a class question. The renewal of the political process favours that class which spearheads it and comes out on top. By leading the work for the renewal of the political process, the working class opens a path for the further development of the society and gives itself a greater role in the advancement of society. It is the struggle not only for democracy, against the erosion of civil rights on all fronts by those who define their so-called reasonable limits, but it is the struggle of this particular turning point of history, to create mass democratic transitional forms which put human beings at the centre of all endeavours to humanize the natural and social environment.

We call on everyone to Make Way for Renewal. Let us together take our place in this historic combat by leaving the Old behind!

Anna Di Carlo is the National Leader of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada.

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On the Use of "Hate" and "Extremism" to Control the Political Space

Parliament's Self-Serving Amendments
to Electoral Law

Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act, tabled by the ruling Liberal Party in the House of Commons on March 20, raises serious concerns for Canadians and Quebeckers alike about how the rulers are using a spurious self-serving definition of "hate" to control the political space. Proposed changes affect, among other things, how political parties are registered and how they can be deregistered.

"Hate" Promotion and Party Registration

Bill C-65 sets out to create some sort of party registration/deregistration mechanism process if a party is deemed to have the promotion of hatred as one of its "primary aims." It does not actually introduce an amendment as to how this will be done but instead shifts the onus onto Elections Canada to file a report with the House of Commons. This report is to set out "a proposed process to determine whether a registered party or an eligible party has as one of its fundamental purposes the promotion of hatred against an identifiable group of persons." It is also to set out "the proposed consequences of such a determination."

The Chief Electoral Officer must file his report no later than 120 days before the next fixed election date, so by the end of June 2025. He is to consult with both the Commissioner of Canada Elections and the Advisory Committee of Political Parties on the matter.

This approach shifts responsibility for a political decision to the body that is supposed to be impartial and free from political interference. This matter came up before when the Nationalist Party was registered in the 2019 Federal Election. It was deregistered not because of its beliefs or program but because it did not meet the statutory requirement during the triennial membership confirmation.

At that time, Elections Canada was confronted by the media and others with the question of how a party that openly espouses Nazism could be registered? Elections Canada pointed out that its responsibility is to follow the law and its requirements. Party registration requirements are content free, so to speak, they explained.

When the Liberals first introduced their online harms bill and there was a lot of controversy about who would define "hate," the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada (MLPC) suggested it was a dangerous move. The Chief Electoral Officer Stéphane Perrault himself said that the "bar would have to be set very high."

The online harms bill attempts to enshrine in law a definition of hate which is, essentially, seen to violate the right to conscience and raise the significance of who decides and with what aim. Nothing illustrates this better than the state's official use of definitions of hate and anti-Semitism when people criticize and condemn the state of Israel's policies towards the Palestinians. To enshrine such definitions in law is an effort to have a legal reference point of what constitutes hate and criminalize people on that basis so as to suppress opposition. Canadians will never agree to that. It is similar to attempts to institutionalize racism as a quality of the people and a matter of insensitive behaviour and perhaps even criminal behaviour to cover up that it is the state which is racist and incites divisions to split the polity and keep it in a subservient position and people enslaved. Such attempts today to blame the people, not the state, for racism, hatred, extremism and the like will not fly but this is nonetheless what cartel party governments are trying to do so as to act with impunity "legally."

Racism and hatred are not qualities of individuals per se, but tools of those privileged few who have usurped power by various means and the state going back to the British colonialists. Without the state inciting hate and groups promoting hate, including the cartel political parties, there would be no promotion of hate. The hate-promoting groups would not exist without the backing of the state. This is what the history of the resistance movement of the peoples of the entire world shows.

The state was founded on the basis of dividing the polity by promoting cultural genocide of the Indigenous Peoples, and thus genocide, along with the British imposing an undesirable category they created called Orientals, and so on, -- against Black Canadians and peoples of Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. To this day, Eurocentric values are pushed as the acceptable and recognized standard of morality and behaviour of the Anglo-Canadian state to which everyone must adhere on pain of being punished, banished, expelled, etc.

We could certainly make a good case that the cartel parties have universally embarked on a bellicose campaign to generate hatred and animosity towards Russia, China, Iran etc. It could be argued that they are promoting hatred in a manner that truly harms and risks the well-being and safety of the people and that this should be brought under legislated control. The conclusions reached post-World War II viewed the incitement of hate for war as a crime.

But these are not the experiences the cartel parties are guided by. The issue is who decides and, in the case of amendments to the Electoral Law, how electors can exercise control over matters such as who should be the candidates put forward for election, the agenda the electors put forward for the rulers to implement, and how to make sure they take up that agenda, not the one set by ruling elites which conflates their narrow private interests and the general interests of the polity.

From the standpoint of hate promotion and who will decide what it is, along with all the measures to police the body politic, the definitions being imposed on the people are part of the U.S.-led Five Eyes (U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) international espionage network that also includes the social media giants and so on. While railing against foreign interference, the ruling circles happily support anti-national international conglomerates that are dictating everything. For instance, when it comes to the Foreign Agents Registry, Australia has been made a model to follow. As concerns online harms and the concept of social media responsibility to take down harmful content, the UK is said to be the best. It is clearly a concerted and coordinated effort.

Unacceptable British Definition of "Extremism"

The British government on March 14 introduced a new definition of "extremism" which is:

"The promotion or advancement of an ideology based on violence, hatred or intolerance, that aims to: 1. negate or destroy the fundamental rights and freedoms of others; or 2. undermine, overturn or replace the UK's system of liberal parliamentary democracy and democratic rights; or 3. intentionally create a permissive environment for others to achieve the results in (1) or (2)."

This definition is said to be a more "precise enforcement tool" over the previous 2011 definition which was described as "vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and belief."

As is now the norm, the announcement of this new definition of "extremism" was followed by a promise that there will be a "high bar" so that civil rights are not targeted and there is no danger that it will target those with "private, peaceful beliefs."

A new "Counter-Extremism Centre of Excellence" is being set up to gather intelligence and identify which groups will be in this new definition-based category. Government funding will be cut off to those categorized as such and they will be "barred from contact with government," whatever that means.

All of this is being carried out in the context of worldwide and UK-wide opposition to the genocide of the Palestinians. Many are also calling for the renewal or replacement of the UK and Canada's system of liberal parliamentary democracy, including the requirement to pledge loyalty to the monarch. There are also calls to abolish the monarchy altogether and its system of enshrining sovereignty in the head of state who is seen to incarnate the supreme power.

Bill C-65 with the amendments to the Canada Elections Act is making its way through Parliament at the same time as the online harms legislation, Bill C-63, which is currently at second reading. The definition of hate that is adopted in that bill is expected to feed into amendments to the Electoral Law, Bill C-65.

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Proposed Changes to Electoral Law Seek to Strengthen State Control Over Political Discourse

Proposed amendments to the Canada Elections Act found in Bill C-65 would tighten the grip of the state over political parties and further restrict the ability of citizens and residents to participate in a meaningful way in the affairs of concern to the body politic. Elections are no longer a forum for political debate and discourse on the direction of the economy, social, cultural and political affairs. On the contrary, they increasingly disempower the citizenry as well as fail to sort out any problem facing the polity, even in the short term.

Bill C-65 is in part the product of the Liberal-NDP Supply and Confidence Agreement which has a section called "making democracy work for people." This declares "a shared commitment" to "maintaining the health of our democracy and the need to remove barriers to voting and participation." Not surprisingly it is posturing and fraud.

Bill C-65 is informed by the reduction of citizens to nothing more than voters, so it is not without irony that the short name given to the bill is Electoral Participation Act. There is certainly nothing in the bill that enables greater participation of the citizenry in any substantive way. In terms of voting, the bill will expand polling from one day to three and allow electors the convenience of voting anywhere in their constituency instead of only at a particular polling place. These changes, if adopted, would not take place until the 2029 fixed-date election. The legislation directs Elections Canada to determine their feasibility. Other voting related amendments formalize polling locations in educational institutions and institutional residential settings.

As for removing other things that the NDP and Liberals seem to view as barriers to participation, the number of signatures needed to become a candidate will be reduced from 100 to 75. This may be because cartel party members are not prone to doing mass work and they are tired of having so many doors slammed in their faces. As well, the election spending threshold which triggers the requirement for individuals and groups to register as third parties will be increased from $500 to $1,500.

Some changes that have been introduced in Bill C-65 concern "False Statements." They too will do nothing to increase the participation of citizens and residents in the decision-making process.

New "False Statements" Provisions

There are several provisions in the current Canada Elections Act which can capture false information that is used to subvert elections, such as occurred with the 2011 Robocall Scandal. In that case, electors received false information about where they should go to vote through automated telephone calls claiming to be from Elections Canada. There are also provisions against making false statements about "a candidate, a prospective candidate, the leader of a political party or a public figure associated with a political party." It is a crime to falsely state that any of these entities has been charged with or is being investigated for violating any federal or provincial law. Also prohibited are false statements about "citizenship, place of birth, education, professional qualifications or membership in a group or association."

Bill C-65 will amend these provisions by adding that the offence applies "regardless of the manner or medium in which the false statement is made or published," presumably to capture AI-altered photos and videos and the like. There are also more specific violations regarding false information in Bill C-65.

Candidate Registration and False Statements

As mentioned, the number of signatures required to be nominated as a candidate will be reduced from 100 to 75. Of greater significance is a new offence that has been introduced concerning nomination forms. It will now be a crime to convey false or misleading information on the nomination form. The signatory, the witness to the signature and the person who files the document are potentially culpable. This would mean, for instance, that should an ineligible elector such as a permanent resident sign a nomination form, it could be treated as a criminal offence. It will also provide grounds for "opposition research" to discredit and disqualify candidates by inspecting the publicly available nomination forms.

False Statements about the Voting Process

In its recommendations to Parliament, Elections Canada proposed that "knowingly making false statements about the voting process in order to disrupt the conduct of the election or to undermine the legitimacy of the election or its results" should be an offence.This has not been included in Bill C-65. Concerns were raised with Elections Canada by several of the parties without representation in the House of Commons about the sweeping character of this proposed prohibition. They pointed out that the definition was vague and open to abuse and violation of the right to freedom of speech. Would it be a "false statement," for instance, to say that a newly-elected government with a particularly small voter share and particularly low turnout is not representative and has given rise to a government with no legitimacy?

Instead, Bill C-65 adds specific subjects about which "false statements" are criminalized. This includes falsehoods about who is eligible to vote, how to register to vote, locations of voting locations, how an individual becomes a candidate, and how votes are counted and validated. It is also an offence to make a false statement about "whom an individual may vote for at an election."

No false statement will be required however for the reform to the Canada Elections Act which moves the date of the 2025 election back a week to not overlap with the Sikh festival of lights known as Diwali. Moving the election back a week means that some 80 MPs would qualify for their pensions, regardless of whether they win or lose their seats. While the original election date is set for October 20, 2025, after serving for six years in office, MPs would qualify for pensions on October 21, 2025. Out of the 80 MPs who will be locked in for their pensions regardless of election outcome, 32 are Conservative, 22 are Liberal, 6 are New Democrat, and 19 are from the Bloc. According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation the decision to move the election one week later, rather than earlier, could cost Canadians up to $120 million, the total pension amount for all 80 MPs.

Also, on April 1, the base salary of a rookie MP rose to $203,100, up from $194,600. This compares to the average annual salary of a full-time employee in Canada of $54,630.

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Foreign Interference Provisions in Proposed Amended Electoral Law

Bill C-65 will establish new prohibitions and modify existing ones that are supposed to counter "foreign interference" in elections. It particularly targets "third parties" which refers to any individual or organization other than a registered political party, riding association, or candidate that spends money to participate in election campaigning.

While appearing to make "third party" participation less burdensome by increasing the amount of money that can be spent before registration is mandatory from $500 to $1,500, the new provisions will require greater reporting requirements as to the source of funds being used. The rules for reporting and divulging the names and addresses of contributors have been made more rigorous, adding a further impediment to organizations of a mass character even considering entering the fray of election campaigning. Canadian-based foreign corporations or groups that have been formed to essentially act as U.S.-style Super PACS (political action committees) will be able to navigate the laws without problem.

Even if an organization wants to campaign in an educational manner to heighten awareness about issues of concern, such as those related to the environment, without referring to a particular candidate or party, the law is such the campaign can be deemed to be pro- or con- a party or candidate.

Every time the law governing third parties is changed there is greater possibility of being caught for innocent acts. It moves the law further and further away from any connection to enabling legislation for citizens to exercise their right to participate and instead turns them into potential criminals. It is for all intents and purposes a legal message: stay out of political affairs, which is usually referred to as a "chilling effect."

These increasingly complicated and restrictive rules and regulations are supposedly to stop foreign interference in elections.

As it stands now, the Canada Elections Act prohibits any third party from using funds that come from a "foreign entity," defined as any individual who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, a trade union without bargaining rights in the country, a foreign political party, or a foreign government, including "an agent or mandatary" of one. Corporations operating in Canada are not considered to be a foreign entity so long as they carry on business in Canada. In keeping with the suggestion that Canada is beset with clandestine activities by surreptitious characters, domestic and foreign alike, a ban on the use of crypto currencies, money orders and other "non-traceable currencies" in an election campaign will apply to third parties as well as political parties and candidates.

This is done even though registered third parties, parties and candidates must report the names of virtually all contributors, and the names and addresses of those contributing more than $200.

Bill C-65 was tabled on March 20, before the Foreign Interference Commission had completed the "fact-finding" phase of its hearings on allegations of foreign interference in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections, let alone issue its report.

When it did issue its report on May 3, it informed "States use a variety of techniques to interfere in the elections of others. Perhaps the most straightforward way to interfere in an election is to provide resources to a candidate's campaign," and cited "domestic third parties" as a vehicle for such interference. No evidence was presented as to such third party activities in either the 2019 or 2021 election.

In fact, the one allegation referenced in the report was based on mere suspicion and after being investigated by the Commissioner of Elections Canada, (OCCE) no foreign interference was found. All the parties involved were Canadians. Jenny Kwan, a candidate in Vancouver East, suggested that Canadian citizen Fred Kwok, who the Commission refers to as "a prominent member of the Chinese community in Vancouver" hosted a free lunch for about 20 people in support of the Liberal candidate in the riding. The invitation to the luncheon was posted on a private WeChat group and Ms. Kwan told the Commission that the invitation encouraged people to vote for members of parliament "'who would care about issues of the Chinese nationals,' the latter term meaning persons who prioritize issues of concern to the Chinese government."

NDP lawyers filed a complaint about the luncheon with the OCCE alleging that the organizer had violated third party election rules. Mr. Kwok consequently registered as a third party and reported the cost of the lunch to be $1,500. The investigation resulted in an administrative monetary penalty for the Official Agent of the Liberal candidate who failed to report the luncheon as a "contribution in kind." According to the Foreign Interference Commission report, "The OCCE determined that the organizer of the lunch did not break any rules under the Canada Elections Act. The OCCE did not identify evidence of foreign funding and noted that it was the Liberal campaign that approached Mr. Kwok to organize a lunch." Ms. Kwan also reported the lunch to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and CSIS, whom she did not hear back from.

Such stories are typical of the spurious claims made about foreign interference based on secret-police inspired suspicions and allegations that China, Russia, Iran or India are lurking everywhere.

The next report, which must be presented by December 31, is supposed to include recommendations on measures the government should take to enhance its powers and processes for countering foreign interference. Witnesses -- including Canadians of Russian, Iranian, and Chinese origin -- testified March 27 to April 5 about how they have been targeted and threatened. This was an encore to the chorus of claims that have already been made through secret police leaks to the Globe and Mail and Global News. Witnesses at the hearings required a battery of lawyers which clearly made it impossible for some to attend but none of it can take away from the fact that there is ongoing disinformation about nomination contests being a target of "foreign bad actors." Rather than limiting themselves to regulating the flow of money, there is a push to put the nomination contests under greater regulation.

At the beginning of March, some 100 electors of Iranian national origin called on Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre to conduct a probe into a Conservative nomination race in Richmond Hill because Iran allegedly interfered to prevent "a critic of the regime" from being selected. Since at least June 2023, this issue has been percolating through parliamentary committees, police statements, and security experts. For instance, Wesley Wark, a senior fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation, told the Hill Times that "it should have dawned on political parties much earlier that they themselves are clearly the target for foreign interference activities, and they are regarded as opportune and vulnerable targets." He concluded that political parties must work with the national security agencies "to harden their practices."

Far be it for the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada to dispute whether the cartel parties are vulnerable targets; there are not a few in the country who believe that the Deputy Prime Minister herself is a veritable foreign agent, amongst others. Nobody wants their country to be under the control of people working for foreign interests but it is doubtful that getting rid of foreign agents is the aim of the legislation. Should the nomination process be put into the hands of the citizenry, not political parties, they could select candidates from among their peers, people who they know, and whose concerns and agendas emanate from the concerns held in common with their peers.

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Government of Canada Funding for Research
to Identify "Extremism"

On March 12, Public Safety Canada announced a federal investment of $195,231 over three years to King's College London in England "to expand their Repository of Extremist Aligned Documents (READ)."

The repository is housed at King's College London's International Centre for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR). This funding was made possible through the Community Resilience Fund (CRF), Public Safety Canada informs. The announcement states:

"The READ is a secured, controlled resource comprised of documents and primary sources about ideologically motivated violent extremism (IMVE)." It is "designed to support in-depth work by researchers and practitioners to better understand forms of IMVE such as white supremacist, xenophobic, anti-authority, and gender-driven manifestations."

According to Public Safety Canada, "This project will enable ICSR to develop and strengthen the READ, through expanding the range of IMVE actors and movements covered, improving the online interface, and providing more support for researchers and practitioners, including trend analysis. This expansion of the READ will involve collaboration with Canadian universities, as well as engagement with the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), including to help identify and address research and policy needs to respond to current and emerging trends."

The March 12 announcement also gives information about the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence (Canada Centre). It says:

"Launched in 2017 and housed in Public Safety Canada, the Canada Centre is the government's Centre of excellence domestically and internationally on prevention of violent extremism. Its work is complementary to -- but distinct from -- national security, law enforcement, and criminal justice approaches. The Canada Centre leads the National Strategy on Countering Radicalization to Violence, working with academia and community-based organizations to better understand and prevent radicalization to violence before tragedies occur. The Canada Centre also funds targeted programming for research and frontline providers through the CRF [Community Resilience Fund].

"The Canada Centre's activities include:

"Policy guidance including the development and implementation of the National Strategy on Countering Radicalization to Violence; promoting coordination and collaboration with a range of stakeholders to build and share knowledge, and to respond to local level realities and prevent radicalization to violence; funding, planning and coordinating research to better understand radicalization to violence and how best to counter it, and mobilizing research to frontline individuals working to prevent radicalization to violence; and supporting interventions through the Canada Centre's CRF to provide financial support to initiatives that aim to prevent radicalization to violence in Canada.

"Preventing and countering online hate and violent extremism in all its forms is a complex and ever-evolving issue. The Government of Canada actively works with Five Eyes partners, through the Five Country Ministerial process, as well as with its G7 allies, the technology industry, experts, and civil society to more effectively counter IMVE in the online space."

The announcement then explains the CRF:

"Public Safety Canada's CRF supports research and community-based projects for the prevention of violent extremism.

"The CRF provides opportunities for local communities, organizations, practitioners, researchers and youth-led initiatives to receive funds for countering radicalization to violence initiatives, as well as for international subject matter experts to help develop evidence-based prevention in Canada. Supporting and enhancing partnerships and innovation in research and programming is key to countering radicalization to violence in Canada.

"The CRF has a total of $7 million available annually to fund new and innovative projects. More than $69 million in funding to 78 projects has been provided through the program since its creation in 2017."

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UK Government's "New Definition of Extremism"

On March 14, the UK Government released what it calls a new definition of extremism which it says applies to England. It issued a document which is published in full below.

1. Introduction

2. The Definition

3. Behaviour that Could Constitute Extremism

4. Further Context

1. Introduction

The threat from extremism has been steadily growing for many years. While the government and its partners have worked hard to combat this threat, the pervasiveness of extremist ideologies in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Israel on October 7, 2023 highlighted the need for further action. This new definition of extremism adds to the tools to tackle this ever-evolving threat. This is in line with the first duty of government -- to keep our citizens safe and our country secure. The definition updates the one set out in the 2011 Prevent Strategy and reflects the evolution of extremist ideologies and the social harms they create.

Most extremist materials and activities are not illegal and do not meet a terrorism or national security threshold. Islamist and Neo-Nazi groups in Britain, some of which have not been proscribed, are operating lawfully but are seeking to replace our democracy with an Islamist and Nazi society respectively. They are actively radicalizing others and are openly advocating for the erosion of our fundamental democratic rights. Their aim is to subvert our democracy.[1]

Extremism can lead to the radicalization of individuals, deny people their full rights and opportunities, suppress freedom of expression, incite hatred, erode our democratic institutions, social capital and cohesion, and can lead to acts of terrorism. The Independent Review of Prevent made clear the importance of placing greater emphasis on tackling ideology and its radicalizing effects and in its response the government committed "to challenge extremist ideology that leads to violence, but also that which leads to wider problems in society, such as the erosion of freedom of speech."[2]

The new definition sits alongside a set of cross-government engagement principles. The definition and engagement principles will be used by government departments to ensure that they are not inadvertently providing a platform, funding or legitimacy to individuals, groups or organizations who attempt to advance extremist ideologies.

The definition and engagement principles will be the first in a series of new measures to counter extremism and religious hatred and promote social cohesion and democratic resilience. This work will complement the government's updated Prevent and CONTEST Strategies, the Defending Democracy Taskforce and the Integrated Review as part of a collective endeavour to uphold our national security and resilience.

The ways in which extremist agendas are pursued have evolved since extremism was first defined by government. As such, government's approach must adapt too. Our new definition is narrow and sharper, and provides more specificity on extremist ideologies, behaviour and harms. The new definition draws on the important work of Dame Sara Khan and Sir Mark Rowley as set out in the 2021 Operating with Impunity report which demonstrated that it is possible to protect freedom of expression whilst countering some of the most dangerous extremist activity taking place in Britain. This new definition does not seek to stymie free speech or freedom of expression. There are concerns that those expressing conservative views will be classified as extremist. This is not the case.

2. The Definition

Extremism is the promotion or advancement of an ideology[3] based on violence, hatred or intolerance,[4] that aims to:

(1) negate or destroy the fundamental rights and freedoms[5] of others; or

(2) undermine, overturn or replace the UK's system of liberal parliamentary democracy[6] and democratic rights;[7] or

(3) intentionally create a permissive environment for others to achieve the results in (1) or (2).

The types of behaviour below are indicative of the kind of promotion or advancement which may be relevant to the definition, and are an important guide to its application. The further context below is also an essential part of the definition.

3. Behaviour that Could Constitute Extremism

Aim 1 (negate or destroy fundamental rights and freedoms): Behaviour against a group, or members of it, that seeks to negate or destroy their rights to live equally under the law and free of fear, threat, violence, and discrimination. Including:

- Using, threatening, inciting, justifying, glorifying or excusing violence towards a group in order to dissuade them from using their legally defined rights and freedoms.

Aim 2 (undermine, overturn or replace liberal democracy): Attempts to undermine, overturn, or replace the UK's system of liberal parliamentary democracy and democratic rights. Including:

- Advocating that the UK's parliamentary democracy and democratic values and rights are not compatible with their ideology, and seeking to challenge, overthrow, or change our political system outside of lawful means.

- Using, threatening, inciting, justifying, glorifying or excusing violence towards citizens, in order to dissuade them from participating freely in the democratic process.

- Subverting the way public or state institutions exercise their powers, in order to further ideological goals, for example through entryism, or by misusing powers or encouraging others to do so.

- Using, threatening, inciting, justifying, glorifying or excusing violence towards public officials including our armed forces, police forces and members of local, devolved or national legislatures, in order to dissuade them from conducting their obligations freely and fearlessly, without external interference.

- Establishing parallel governance structures which, whether or not they have formal legal underpinning, seek to supersede the lawful powers of existing institutions of state.

Aim 3 (enabling the spread of extremism): Intentionally creating a permissive environment for behaviour in aim 1 or aim 2. Including:

- Providing an uncritical platform for individuals or representatives of groups or organizations that have demonstrated behaviour in either aim 1 or aim 2.

- Facilitating activity of individuals or representatives of groups or organizations that have demonstrated behaviour in either aim 1 or aim 2, including through provision of endorsement, funding, or other forms of support.

- The dissemination of extremist propaganda and narratives that call for behaviour in either aim 1 or aim 2.

- Attempts to radicalise, indoctrinate and recruit others to an ideology based on violence, hatred or intolerance, including young people.

- Consistent association with individuals or representatives of groups or organisations that have demonstrated behaviour in either aim 1 or aim 2 without providing critical challenge to their ideology or behaviour.

If any behaviour listed in aim 1 or aim 2 has occurred previously, a refusal by the individual, group or organization that conducted the behaviour to rescind, repudiate or distance themselves from the behaviour.

4. Further Context

The lawful exercise of a person's rights (including freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of expression, freedom of association, or the right to engage in lawful debate, protest or campaign for a change in the law) is not extremism. Simply holding a belief, regardless of its substance, is rightly protected under law. However, the advancement of extremist ideologies and the social harms they create are of concern, and government must seek to limit their reach, whilst protecting the space for free expression and debate.

This definition is intended to reflect an ordinary, commonsense meaning of the word "extremism," whilst enabling a more precise and workable use of the term in real-life cases. In constructing this definition, government is striking a proportionate balance between protecting our democratic right to freedom of expression and belief, and not curtailing the civil liberties and rights of people in the UK, whilst safeguarding them and our democratic institutions against the wide-ranging harms of extremism. For example, "Intolerance" in the context of the definition is closely linked with "violence" and "hatred" and is to be applied to mean an actively repressive approach rather than simply a strong opposition or dislike.

Extremists can be individuals, groups or organizations, where there is evidence of behaviour conducted to further any of the three aims set out in the definition. The behaviour must also demonstrate the advancement of an ideology based on violence, hatred or intolerance. The examples of behaviour above are indicative and not exhaustive; we must have the flexibility to reflect the changing nature of how extremists operate in the UK over time.

Extremists may exhibit one or more of these behaviour to advance their violent, hateful or intolerant ideological goals, but there are times when individuals, groups or organization who do not hold or seek to advance an extremist ideology may undertake superficially similar behaviour. Government does not seek to target these individuals, groups or organization and brand as extremist those who are engaging in fair debate; understanding the intention behind the behaviour when assessing for extremism risk is key. Those seeking to identify whether certain behaviours are extremist should look to identify intention first, and then, where it is not clear whether the explicit intention is extremist or not, investigate whether the behaviour forms a pattern that is promoting or advancing an extremist ideology or goal.[8]

This definition is not intended to capture, for example, political parties that aim to alter the UK's constitutional makeup through democratic means, or protest groups which at times may cross into disruption but do not threaten our fundamental rights, freedoms, or democracy itself. Lawful expression of one's beliefs, for example advocating for changes to the law by Parliament, exercising the right to protest, or expressing oneself in art, literature, and comedy, is not extremism.

In investigating whether an individual, group, organization or behaviour can be considered "extremist," government has a responsibility to ensure fair and reasonable judgements are made, which are justified based on a careful consideration of the context, quality, and quantity of available evidence. Any action or ideology that may be extremist must be considered in its wider context, where possible drawing on a range of evidence, to assess whether it forms part of a wider pattern of behaviour and whether that pattern of behaviour has been conducted with the aim of promoting or advancing an ideology based on violence, hatred or intolerance.


1. "Operating with impunity: legal review," Commission for Countering Extremism, 2021.
2. "The response to the Independent Review of Prevent," 2023.
3. Ideology: A set of social, political, or religious ideas, beliefs, and attitudes that contribute to a person's worldview.
4. This phrase is found consistently in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights; see for example Perinçek v Switzerland (App. 27510/08). "Intolerance" in the context of the definition is closely linked with "violence" and "hatred" and is intended to mean (and is to be applied to mean) an actively repressive approach rather than simply a strong opposition or dislike.
5. In particular those rights and freedoms listed in Schedule 1 to the Human Rights Act 1998. Lawful expression of one's beliefs, for example advocating for changes to the law by Parliament, exercising the right to protest, or expressing oneself in art, literature, and comedy, is not extremism.
6. Parliamentary democracy: The UK is a parliamentary democracy which consists of a constitutional monarch as Head of State, who exercises a number of constitutional and ceremonial duties; Parliament, which is the supreme legislative authority with the ability to make or unmake any law; government, which is drawn from and accountable to Parliament; and a judiciary which is independent from government and Parliament.
7. Including the right to vote, the right to join a political party, or the right to stand in elections.
8. We typically judge a pattern of behaviour to be the exhibiting of three or more instances of extreme behaviour that align to one or more extremist aims in the space of six months, but this yardstick must be flexible and considered proportionally and contextually in line with the evidence.
(New definition of extremism (2024))

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Attempts to Undermine Palestinian Resistance and Right to Be
on the Basis of Cold War Ideology of “Two Extremes”

Canada's Abstention in Vote Giving Palestine Fuller Status at United Nations

– Pauline Easton –

Canada was one of 25 countries to abstain from the vote at the United Nations General Assembly on May 10 to give Palestine increased rights as an Observer State.[1] The official reasons given for Canada's abstention are typical cowardly appeasement of U.S./Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people. Even in Palestine's greatest hour of need, Canada thinks it can provide justification for the crimes against humanity and heinous acts being committed by the U.S./Israeli genocidal drive by citing vacuous high ideals.

An excerpt from an Associated Press (AP) report on Canada's abstention underscores how the country seeks to hide behind a veil of high ideals. It uses words and phrases devoid of meaning which it thinks put it on the side of the angels and permit it to criminalize the resistance movement of the Palestinian people. It claims to adhere to international law while its stand condemns an entire people to annihilation for not adopting the same criminal positions. All of it merely confirms Canada's abject subjugation to the U.S. imperialists and Israeli Zionists and that Canada must also be held to account.

AP quoted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he most deceitfully said that the reason Canada refrained from voting for the resolution on May 10 is because of his government's commitment to reaching a two-state solution, as if the priority for the Palestinian people and the entire world is not to stop the slaughter of the Palestinians by forcing Israel to withdraw from Gaza and ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid. Under the guise of high ideals that Israel has the right to defend itself by obliterating Hamas and that peace can only be guaranteed if the Palestinians' right to self-determination is negated, Trudeau makes an utter fool of himself, of his government and Canada's reputation worldwide.

According to AP, Trudeau said after a news conference on another matter in West Kelowna, BC:

"Over the past while, we've seen us move further away from that two-state solution. The Israeli government, under Prime Minister Netanyahu, has unacceptably closed the door on any path towards a two-state solution, and we disagree with that fundamentally. ... At the same time, Hamas continues to govern as a terrorist organization in Gaza, [and] continues to put civilian lives in danger, continues to refuse to recognize the state of Israel in ways that are also unacceptable.

"So, Canada has decided to change our position from 'no' at the UN to abstaining."

According to AP, Canada's ambassador to the UN, Bob Rae, ever the point man of Canada's criminality of the day, said that the country will recognize the Palestinian state at the time most conducive to lasting peace, adding that this isn't necessarily after a final peace accord with Israel.

"We believe there must be continued progress toward Palestinian self-determination and we will not, and cannot, afford to give up," Rae said during his remarks at the vote in New York [on May 10].

What the U.S. and Canada mean by Palestinian self-determination is that the Palestinian people must not be permitted to decide anything for themselves. On the contrary, they must agree with the definition of a two-state solution imposed by the likes of the U.S. and Canada which keeps the decision-making power in their own hands.

"It is clear that we must urgently rebuild a credible path to achieving a two-state solution -- one that gives hope to both Palestinians and Israelis, that they may live side by side in peace, security and dignity. That process cannot indefinitely delay the creation of a Palestinian state," Rae continued.

These statements are typical of Canada's recourse to the liberal values it acquired from the 19th century empire-builders who tolerated everything which favoured the British Empire and committed brutal atrocities to destroy the peoples of the lands the British declared they "possessed." Presenting those who fought for national liberation and freedom in the most bestial terms, portraying them as terrorists who opposed the "civilized god-fearing white man" and his civilizing mission were par for the course. To this day, the extent of the crimes the empire-builders committed and the heroism of the peoples who fought against them remain unrecognized. Countries such as Canada and other appeasers of U.S./Israeli Zionism think they can avert being held to account once and for all.

The statements of the Prime Minister and Canada's weasel UN Ambassador are also informed by their Cold War outlook. This is the outlook which also imbues the Canadian state and its raison d'état established by the Anglo-American imperialists after World War II. One of its basic tenets is that communism and fascism are two extremes and the liberal democratic institutions establish a "balance" which espouses "moderation," "tolerance" and the democratic values of the Anglo-Americans which everyone must espouse. The U.S. striving for world hegemony pitted the liberal democracy of the U.S. and its NATO allies against what they called communist dictatorship and the alleged terrorism of all those who fought Nazi-fascism and for national liberation. The values of the peoples of the world for peace, freedom and democracy for which they shed their blood in the anti-fascist war were codified with the establishment of the United Nations, in the UN Charter and by all the conventions recognized as International Law, but these have never guided the conduct of the U.S. imperialists and their Canadian Yes-Men.

The nonsense about extremes is used to justify what cannot be justified because it defines whoever refuses to succumb to the U.S. dictate as terrorists, sponsors of terrorism, axis of evil and the like. While their 19th century liberal institutions and Cold War ideology are indefensible and the relations between humans and humans and humans and nature reveal the necessity for the people to acquire political power, those with positions of privilege and power cause great damage. No matter how much the likes of the Biden administration and Trudeau government try to defend the crimes being committed against humanity in the name of high ideals, it is clear they are the ones who prop up the extremists vying for the positions of power and privilege they covet, while the resistance of the peoples of the world forges a new path for humankind.

Canada's abstention in the vote to give Palestine increased rights as an Observer State at the United Nations is unacceptable and treacherous. Its talk about this not being the right time to take positions which enforce a peaceful solution, its claim that Hamas is the problem, and its belief that it can decide for the Palestinians what state they establish and who will decide its form of government, are all contemptible. It is the Palestinian Resistance and the billions around the world who stand with it who are de facto holding those who rule Canada today to account. This includes both those in office and those who make up the Loyal Opposition, as well as all establishment forces which find excuses for what the Zionists are doing and find fault and criminalize those who resist. Try as they might, they cannot escape the verdict of history.


1. Nine countries voted against the resolution: 
Argentina, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea and the United States.
Twenty-five countries abstained from voting:
Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Fiji, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Paraguay, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vanuatu.

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Nonsense About Balance Resolving Political
and Social Contradictions

– K.C. Adams –

NDP Premier of BC David Eby appears never to have met a political or social contradiction he refuses to perpetuate through what he calls balance. His latest iteration is finding balance between the U.S./Zionist genocide in Gaza and the Palestinian resistance movement and Palestine's many supporters and advocates throughout the world, including in Canada. According to the Premier's theory of balance, the oppressed Palestinians who have had their land stolen and lives destroyed can find balance with their oppressors if only they would forsake their resistance. Mr. Eby seeks to deny the historical truth that the oppressed peoples and nations can only find peace and build a future if they defeat colonial oppression and imperialist enslavement through acts of conscious organized resistance.

Another example is the issue of security and rights. According to Premier Eby, rights can be balanced with security without upholding the rights of all as inviolable. Somehow in the realm of imperialist reasonable limits, he contends, a balance can be found between security and rights. This denies the modern reality that security can only be achieved by fighting for the rights of all, which belong to everyone by virtue of being human. Rights are not an abstraction. On the contrary, they exist in their affirmation and it is the claims the people make on society by speaking in their own name which gives them the ability to control their lives and safeguard their security. In other words, spouting phrases about balancing rights and security is mere eye-wash to cover up that there is a "high power" imposing limitations on rights in order to exercise police powers with impunity, the security of the people in all aspects of their lives be damned.

The people need to resolve the contradictions they and society face in their favour, not perpetuate them through conciliation with the social and political forces that find privilege, power and social wealth within the imperialist contradictions. Only by resolving social and political contradictions in their favour can the people move society forward to the New.

The liberal line of Premier Eby is an ideological ploy of imperialism and the privileged elite to perpetuate their domination of the world and block the people from building the New and succeeding in their aim to eliminate imperialist class oppression and realize their dream of humanizing the social and natural environment.

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Discussion on Israeli Terrorism

The following article by Dr. Ismail Zayid was originally published by the Halifax Chronicle Herald, November 4, 2001. Dr. Zayid argued: "How you define a terrorist act depends on whether you're looking down the wrong end of a gun barrel." More than twenty years later, the U.S., Israeli Zionists and countries like Canada and others which appease Israeli genocide, continue to confound what constitutes an act of terror and what constitutes an act of resistance for purposes of literally getting away with murder. Dr Zayid wrote:

The horrendous massacre of thousands of innocent victims, on September 11 [2001] in New York and Washington, brought a great deal of attention to the subject of terrorism, Osama bin Laden, and his group al-Qaida.

There has also been some insinuation, by the media and politicians, towards Arabs and Muslims, with reference to the Middle East and the Palestine conflict.

But nowhere is there any mention of Israeli terrorism in relation to this conflict.

Terrorism is defined in a variety of ways. An interesting definition is put forward by the noted intellectual Noam Chomsky, who wrote:

"There is another defining property of 'terrorism' in contemporary newspeak: it refers to violent acts by Them, not Us."

Another definition is when the men, women and children who are killed are Palestinians and the gunmen or pilots who murder them are Israelis. This form of terrorism is not terrorism, we are told, but mere retaliation, self-defence or what they may call 'civilized terrorism.'

The late professor Israel Shahak, a Holocaust survivor, and then chairman of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights, wrote: "There is nothing new in the fact that Israel is a terrorist state, which, almost from its inception, has used its intelligence service (the Mossad) to assassinate people on foreign soil with any violence or terror it considers necessary for its ends."

The actions of the state of Israel since its creation, and those of the terrorist gangs (the Stern, Irgun Zwei Leumi and the Haganah) that brought it about, testify to Israel's long-established record in terrorism, not only in the Middle East but on the international scene. This record is massive and would take volumes to relate but I will refer only to a few examples:

Assassination of Palestinian leaders and intellectuals, in Europe and the Middle East has gone on for years. This includes the 1972 Lillehammer affair in Norway, where an innocent Moroccan waiter was killed in error, instead of a targeted Palestinian; the murder of the Palestinian diplomat and scholar Naim Khader in 1985 in Brussels, and many others.

Fathi Shikaki was assassinated in Malta in 1995 on the orders of Yitzhak Rabin. The role of Ehud Barak, dressed as an Arab woman, in the assassination of three Palestinian leaders, including the poet Kemal Nasser, in 1973 in Beirut, must not be forgotten.

Israeli-targeted assassination of Palestinians described as activists, as well as bystanders, continues to this day. Israeli assassination is not limited to Palestinians but includes the 1944 assassination of the British minister Lord Moyne in Cairo as planned by Yitzhak Shamir.

A horrible crime was committed in the assassination of the Swedish nobleman, Count Folke Bernadotte, a UN mediator, on September 17, 1948, in Jerusalem, on the orders of Yitzhak Shamir, who later became prime minister of Israel. Count Bernadotte's sin was his recommendation, as the UN mediator, that Palestinian refugees who were driven out from their homes by Israel should be allowed to return to their homes. This recommendation was the substance of the UN resolution 194, on December 11, 1948, stipulating the right of return for the Palestinian refugees as soon as possible.

Israeli use of chemical weapons is also on record in the botched attempt to assassinate Khalid Meshal in Amman in 1997, on the orders of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Incredible as it may seem, Israel also indulged in the development of bioterrorism.

Some readers may recall Daniel Paul's column in the Chronicle Herald titled, "Where is the outrage over Israel's work on biological weapons?" (January 1, 1999). He referred to a report in The Sunday Herald "The Ethnic Bomb: Israeli weapons would kill Arabs, spare Jews," (November 15, 1998), from The Sunday Times of London, quoting Israeli scientists and politicians.

The first act of air piracy in the history of civil aviation was carried out by Israel in 1954, when a civilian Syrian airliner was forced down in Tel Aviv and its passengers and crew held hostage, despite international condemnation.

The first act of shooting down a civilian airliner was deliberately carried out by Israel when a Libyan airliner was shot down by Israeli jet fighters over Sinai in February 1973, on the orders of Israeli prime minister Golda Meir, killing 107 of its passengers and its entire French crew.

Israeli terror was not restricted to Palestinians, Arabs and Europeans but included its own closest supporter and ally, the United States. In 1954, Israeli secret agents bombed the U.S. diplomatic centres in Cairo and Alexandria (known as the Lavon Affair), in an attempt to put the blame on the Egyptians. Israel later honoured the perpetrator, Marcello Ninio.

In June 1967, Israeli forces attacked and sank the U.S. spy ship USS Liberty, and strafed rescue boats, killing 35 and injuring 170 U.S. servicemen, in an attempt to conceal its own secret communications, and again tried to blame it on the Egyptians. To this day, incredible as it may seem, the U.S. Congress refuses to hold an inquiry into this crime, as requested by the surviving crew. Needless to say, no sanctions were imposed or calls to extradite the perpetrators were made.

Zionist terror did not spare Jews. In 1940, Menachem Begin's Irgun Zwei Leumi terrorist gang bombed the ship Patria in Haifa harbor, killing 240 Jewish refugees, so as to put the blame on the British for political gain.

Just after the start of World War II, the Irgun gang led by Begin blew up the SS Patria under
French flag in Haifa

In 1950-1951, Israeli agents were dispatched to Iraq where they tossed hand grenades into the crowded Massauda Shem-Tov synagogue, causing numerous deaths, in order to blame it on the Iraqis and encourage reluctant Iraqi Jews to emigrate to Israel.

Israeli terrorism against Palestinians continues, including murder, torture, expropriation of their land, for the creation of illegal settlements and demolition of thousands of their homes as well as entire towns and villages, not to mention numerous massacres, including those of Deir Yassin, Qibya, and Sabra and Shatilla.

Mural of 1982 Sabra and Shatila Massacre by Iraqi artist Dia al-Azzawi

The Palestinians of the West Bank have remained under illegal occupation for over 34 years, in defiance of international law and UN Security Council resolutions. Their acts of resistance are described by Israel as terrorism, yet international law entitles all peoples, including even the Palestinian people, to resist foreign occupation.

Occupation is violence, and to bring an end to violence and bring peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians, Israel must comply with international law and withdraw completely from all territories occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem.

Israeli acts of belligerency extend beyond its defiance of international law and Security Council resolutions to violation of its own agreements with the Palestinian Authority.

Its recent re-occupation, of seven cities and towns in the Palestinian autonomous areas is illegal. The pretext for this is the recent assassination of the Israeli Minister of Tourism, Rehavam Zeevi, by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in retaliation for Israel's assassination of their leader Mustafa Zibri two months earlier.

Mr. Zibri's assassination was one of over 50 Palestinian leaders assassinated over the last year. The invasion of these towns, including Bethlehem and Beit Jala, using tanks and Apache gunships, has resulted in the demolition of scores of homes and the killing of over 50 Palestinians, mostly women and children.

The invasion of these towns and cities continues in defiance of international condemnation and the call for immediate withdrawal by the U.S., Israel's ally, benefactor and unquestioning supporter. But, alas, Israel remains above international law.

The late Canadian historian Frank Epp, then president of Conrad Grebel college of the University of Waterloo, wrote: "It is true that terrorist acts have been perpetrated by people identified as Palestinians. But there is another terrorism which is more vicious and brutal, that of dispossession and displacement forced upon the Palestinians.

"However, terrorism meted out by the Palestinians, regrettable as it is, is minute by comparison with that which has been inflicted on them. The mass media have failed to make this point adequately."

The tragedy for the Jewish people of Israel, in the crimes that are committed in their name, is highlighted in the statement made by the noted British historian Arnold Toynbee, who stated in a 1961 lecture at McGill University to a largely Jewish audience: "The Jewish treatment of the Arabs in 1948 was as morally indefensible as the slaughter by the Nazis of six million Jews. The most tragic thing in human life is when people who have suffered impose suffering in their turn."

The Palestinian people today are calling for a modicum of justice. For without this, there will be no peace for Arab or Jew in the Middle East.

(Reprinted from Dossier on Palestine, Shunpiking Magazine)

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Quebec's Chief Electoral Officer’s Proposed Changes to Electoral Law

Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec Organizes Roundtables on Proposed Changes to Election Act

From January to the end of March, the Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ), by decision of its National Council, held roundtables to discuss proposed amendments to the electoral law recommended last fall by Quebec's Chief Electoral Officer (DGEQ), Jean-François Blanchet. On October 5, 2023, Mr. Blanchet tabled a document in the National Assembly entitled For a New Vision of the Election Act. "The report aims to generate discussions on the issues facing our electoral system and the solutions that could be implemented," Blanchet said.

In fact, discussion of the electoral law was deliberately not part of the consultation which focused on amendments proposed by the DGEQ to tighten the administrative control of his office over political parties under the guise that this is legitimate because they receive a lot of  state financing. Another feature was to introduce measures to further control party membership in the name of monitoring foreign interference and curbing hate-mongering and extremism. The net result of his proposed amendments, the PMLQ points out, would be to further strengthen state control over political parties, enhance the privileged status of those cartel parties with seats in the National Assembly, and further deprive the citizenry of any role in governance beyond casting a ballot for candidates over whom they exercise no control. All of this is to be achieved in the name of making sure the electoral law is in tune with "modern times" which includes the danger of what ruling elites are calling foreign interference in our democratic institutions.

In this vein, when Blanchet tabled his "new vision" in the National Assembly, he added:

"Our electoral system is at the heart of our democracy. However, it faces some challenges that we need to think about collectively. The last overhaul of the electoral law dates back to 1989. This law has undergone several modifications over time, but it has never been the subject of a comprehensive review. We believe that we must now look at the rules that govern elections and the solutions that would make it possible to adapt the Act to modern issues. Our approach aims to propose a new overall vision of the electoral system so that it is in tune with our times and with the expectations of our society."

The PMLQ held more than 20 meetings and roundtables to inform Quebeckers about the electoral law and to discuss the proposed amendments. These included meetings of its own National Council, and with Party members and their peers in the Outaouais, Montreal, Quebec City, the Centre-du-Québec, on the South Shore, and in several CEGEPs and universities. National roundtables were also held in person and via video conference, in addition to two roundtables with political parties not represented in the National Assembly. Other meetings and discussions were organized amongst their peers by people who participated in these roundtables. All those who participated appreciated the work to inform Quebeckers about the Election Act and the DGEQ's proposals, and to initiate discussion on the serious issues facing the electoral system, democratic process and democratic institutions.

The DGEQ, for his part, said he organized targeted meetings, a day of reflection bringing together organizations and specialists and an online public consultation. This consultation began on November 20 and ended on March 30. It was carried out in two ways: through an online questionnaire and the option of submitting a document or a brief.

As of April 21, 35 briefs or opinions have been made public on the Élections Québec website. The results of the online questionnaires are not yet known. The questionnaires were divided into six main themes:

- Right to vote (average response time: 12 minutes)

- Right of eligibility (average response time: 10 minutes)

- Financing (average response time: 8 minutes)

- Electoral and political information (average response time: 8 minutes)

- Electoral governance (average response time: 4 minutes)

- Electoral map (average response time: 4 minutes)

People had the option of completing the questionnaire, if they wished, and submitting briefs anonymously or with permission to publish. The DGEQ said,

"Whether or not you respond to the online questionnaires, you can submit a document to share with us your thoughts and your possible solutions on one or more of the six themes addressed in the report For a New Vision of the Election Act.

"With your consent, we will publish your document on our website with information identifying its author (surname, first name, professional title and/or organization name, if applicable). If you do not consent to the distribution of your document, it will only be sent to Élections Québec staff.

"A context precedes each questionnaire. It allows you to access a summary of the chapter associated with the theme as well as the complete text. If you wish to complete the questionnaires, reading these documents is recommended, but optional."

The PMLQ submitted to the DGEQ its own opinions on the recommendations and a report of views presented at the roundtables it held. Six parties registered with the Quebec Electoral Commission also issued a joint statement, following the two roundtables they held to discuss the DGEQ's recommendations.

Now that the consultation period is over, the DGEQ is expected to produce a report on the consultations which will be submitted with recommendations for legislative changes to members of the National Assembly.

The document produced by the DGEQ is available here.

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Amendments Should Give Meaning to Right of People to Elect and Be Elected

– Report on discussions held by the Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec –

Quebec's current Election Act celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. A lot has happened since 1989, the time of its adoption. The electoral process established 35 years ago already had serious problems, and has undergone several reforms since then. A review of the Act and its reforms reveals that its fundamental flaw remains. In its current state, the only role it confers on the citizens of Quebec is to vote every four years for candidates chosen by the parties that hold power and privilege in the National Assembly. This pretty much sums up the situation. Even though elections are said to be the cornerstone of democracy, far from empowering the people, party financing reforms have resulted in increased state control over political parties and the marginalization of people's participation. These are alarming signs of autocracy, not democracy.

The Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ) is intervening in the consultation of the Chief Electoral Officer of Quebec (DGEQ) based on the consideration that it is essential that sovereign decision-making power be vested in the Quebec people. So long as the Election Act is designed to elect party governments, in other words, governments formed by the political party that obtains the majority of seats in the National Assembly, the people will remain excluded.

Since 1989, 10 general elections and 57 by-elections have taken place in Quebec based on this electoral law. The first major changes to the law followed the revelations of the Gomery Commission on the sponsorship scandal which implicated the Liberal Party in accepting bags of money under the table to circumvent the election financing regime. That was in 2004. Although changes to the Act have served to tighten the screws on political parties to play by the rules, powerful interests invent all sorts of ways to strengthen their privileged positions.

Between 2009 and 2010, under the pretext of restoring voter confidence in the electoral process and democratic institutions -- rightly considered corrupt due to successive scandals -- three bills were presented to the National Assembly on the Election Act. However, as the parties failed to come to an agreement, none of the bills were adopted.

The Charbonneau Commission, a commission of inquiry created in 2011 into the awarding and management of public contracts in the construction industry, revealed not only the existence of corruption and collusion schemes amongst those in control of the sector, but also how the major parties falsified political contributions by having employees make contributions, seemingly within the limits permitted by law. Although no one was prosecuted, the government declared that "voter confidence had been shaken."

Then in 2012, Bill 2, An Act to amend the Election Act in order to reduce the elector contribution limit, lower the ceiling on election expenses and increase public financing of Québec political parties was passed. It reduced the limit on contributions citizens could make to a political party, reduced the ceiling on electoral expenses and increased the state's public financing of political parties in Quebec. Through these changes emerging parties lost out. They had been able to raise more funds from their sympathizers when the contribution limit was $1,000 than when it was lowered to $100, despite the state's contribution in the form of matching revenues of $2.50 for each dollar contributed. As for the parties with seats in the National Assembly, 80 per cent of their election expenses would be covered through state funding.

The PMLQ has always opposed this type of public financing of political parties, which is then accompanied by the requirement to be accountable to the state, not the party's members. Once it is the state that regulates a political party, it becomes an appendage of the state, not an instrument of its members. A political party should be supported financially by its members, who should also decide on its policies and the direction it envisions for society. Instead, the parties with seats in the National Assembly find themselves in a situation where they require more and more state funding to pay marketing firms to design their campaigns and determine the issues by claiming that this is what electors want.

Calls to democratize the electoral law by providing the people with the means for their affirmation, not that of political parties -- which less than one per cent of the citizenry belong to -- have fallen on deaf ears. So have demands to end the state's violation of the privacy of members and supporters who make contributions to political parties. In 2016, challenges to Bill 101, An Act to give effect to the recommendations of the Charbonneau Commission on political financing, forced the National Assembly to drop the requirement to publish the contributor's address, as well as the requirement to provide the name of his or her employer, to be able to make a contribution.

The fact remains that all information relating to a citizen's party affiliation is publicly available and the DGEQ is legally permitted to interfere in matters that legitimately belong to a party and are not public. This includes accepting party contributions and memberships, without the party having any role in choosing which individuals it accepts into its ranks.

Popular discontent with the parties in power and institutions continues to grow. Amongst other things, this results in low voter turnout, with some 35 per cent of voters not casting a ballot. In 2023, only 29,590 electors out of 6,000,000, or 0.49 per cent, made a financial contribution to a political party, at a time very few citizens were members of a political party. With the changes that have taken place over the years, public financing now accounts for over 85 per cent of political party revenues. Meanwhile, the parties which form the government often obtain the majority of seats even if they do not obtain a plurality of votes cast.

Those who form governments are not seen as representing the aspirations of the people or as being committed to resolving the problems they face. Far from it, the Election Act allows people to come to power who are only concerned about the business interests of the most powerful, to the detriment of the well-being of the population and the natural environment. In recent months alone, hundreds of thousands of health and education workers have had to fight the current government, which has degraded their working conditions. Thousands are fighting to obtain decent social housing. Millions are demanding that the environment be protected. We are in a situation where Authority acts with complete impunity, while people's living conditions continue to deteriorate.

All of this discredits the democracy and democratic institutions, which is seen as autocratic, not democratic. The proposed reforms of the Election Act presented by the DGEQ (see Appendix 1) are oblivious to the reality and of how we got here. They do not ensure that citizens can participate in decision-making on matters affecting their lives and in the administration of public affairs, and that elections contribute to making this so. Instead, the proposals seem to be driven by the need to more ably administer the demands of the most powerful interest groups, such as their insatiable need to get their hands on evermore state funding to finance their marketing campaigns.

Some proposals appear to be prompted by the needs of the political police, who want measures which provide them with direct access over what political parties can and cannot do, to the point of controlling their membership in the name of protecting Quebeckers against foreign interference. If such measures are implemented, the right of Quebeckers to associate freely, make their own decisions without external interference, particularly from the state, and to freely express their opinions and conscience will be further compromised.

Other measures seek to further penalize citizens and their collectives, who are intent on expressing their own opinions during an election or telling politicians competing for positions of power what they want and what they think. Ironically, these citizens and their collectives are referred to as "third parties," as if they were mere auxiliaries forced to pay money and obey rules in order to speak and organize, even though such rules and payments legalize their marginalization.

Again, as long as proposals for the revision and modernization of the Election Act are not worked out by the people themselves and remain the preserve of the parties already present in the National Assembly which enjoy positions of power and privilege, the problems will persist. These parties are not inclined to give up their positions of power and privilege of their own accord. Measures not aimed at empowering the people only serve to exacerbate the credibility crisis in which parties and politicians are mired, as well as the legitimacy crisis of the democratic institutions and the electoral process itself.

In the opinion of the PMLQ, so long as the Chief Electoral Officer does not address this problem in his proposals, amendments of an administrative order will not suffice. In this case, many proposals seem dangerous because they turn citizens into potential criminals who must be penalized for breaking the law. Although we understand that it is not easy for the DGEQ to enforce the law, the PMLQ believes that proposals which further eliminate the participation of Quebeckers from the democratic process and which appear to be deliberately directed against the emerging parties without seats in the National Assembly are not the right way to proceed.

The process followed by Élections Québec in receiving briefs and hearing interventions within so short a time frame also poses a problem. Whether from the point of view of the means used to solicit opinions which, for the most part, are not made public, or of the deadlines given to receive comments from the public, the consultation process does not allow for information to be shared with Quebeckers, let alone encourage an in-depth examination of the Election Act and a discussion on the subject.

These are some of the issues the PMLQ heard from participants during the 20 or so roundtables it organized to inform people and listen to their opinions on the proposals made by the DGEQ for the reform of the Election Act. Roundtables were held in the Outaouais, Montreal, Quebec City, Centre-du-Québec, on the South Shore, in CEGEPs and universities and amongst workers. The PMLQ also organized three national virtual meetings and two roundtables with political parties without a seat in the National Assembly. Some were held in person, others virtually or a mixture of the two. These gave rise to other meetings and exchanges organized by participants in the roundtables.

In all cases, those present were shocked by the DGEQ's proposals. Some participants sent submissions with their opinions or completed questionnaires distributed via the DGEQ website. Some tried to track contributions on the site and found that very few are posted. According to the "Steps of the process" set out on the DGEQ website, in addition to the public consultation which ran from November 20, 2023 to March 30, 2024, there was also a consultation with political actors as well as with academics and specialists. The consultation with "political actors" seems only to have involved six of the 21 registered parties.

However, neither their opinions nor those of academics and specialists are subject to public discussion, never mind the opinions of Quebeckers themselves broadly speaking. Some people told us that they had asked the office of the DGEQ why these opinions were not submitted for public consultation and were told that only the DGEQ receives them and would summarize them in his report. College students also pointed out that the participation of the youth, one of the concerns raised in the DGEQ's document, will not be achieved unless measures are taken to mobilize them in the discussion on the Election Act and how the electoral and political process works. They wonder why the DGEQ does not carry out genuine consultation, for example by touring CEGEPs, communities and municipalities. They said that he must ensure that the information reaches places where young people congregate.

Persons whose mother tongue is not French also pointed out that they had difficulty fully grasping the proposals and arguments put forward during the consultation. They suggested that, in order to encourage greater citizen participation, explanations be made available in other languages.

In short, if the objective is to establish confidence in the electoral process, it will not be achieved by increasing state intervention in the affairs of political parties or by increasing public funding from the state to the political parties. This is because the people do not support the state covering the fees of marketing agencies which determine "the issues" in an election and carry out smear campaigns designed to win votes for one party against another. If nothing is done to allow the people to participate directly and speak as is their right to define the direction of the economy and policies in all areas of life, there is a serious danger of despotism. We are already seeing government ministers usurp more and more powers to take decisions that deeply affect people's lives, using methods which pivot from autocracy to persuasion on the basis of issuing threats, fear-mongering and holding fraudulent consultations.

Our Proposals

1) End state funding of political parties. The state should finance the process, not the parties. As a means of strengthening the democracy, public funds could be used to finance the process 100 per cent to facilitate the participation of all Quebeckers in the affairs of society. Among other things, each household could receive the program of the candidates running for election, provided by the DGEQ. The DGEQ could hold public meetings in neighbourhoods, workplaces, educational institutions and seniors' residences so that citizens and residents are informed and can make proposals on issues of concern to them.

The state currently pays out over $10 million to political parties each year in the form of allowances, not counting additional allowances which, during an election year such as in 2022, amount to over $6 million. This money could be used to assert the right of citizens to vote in an informed manner. This would give a completely new character to electoral campaigns, which today are increasingly run by public relations firms that use microtargeting and other practices, which result in atomizing public opinion and the body politic rather than engaging the electorate politically.

2) Guarantee the right to elect and be elected, which means Quebeckers require a process for candidate selection that is not dominated by the cartel parties, while the people are relegated to the status of "third parties."

The question of candidate selection is of such importance that, without it, elections are meaningless.

We say: no election without selection to address the problem that the cartel parties pre-select candidates and decide the "issues" of concern to the polity on the basis of marketing surveys designed to eliminate the role of the people altogether. The idea of participating in the selection of candidates is based on the principle that when people determine the program and set what they want their representatives to do and say, they must be able to select the person best able to represent that program and also decide upon what means they can use to hold them to account. He or she must be accountable. Without this, the idea that the democracy is representative enshrines concepts of representation and representativity that are not those of Quebeckers. As currently used, these are words that make no sense to Quebeckers. This is because not only are they counter-intuitive, they also have hidden meanings designed to cover up who they serve.

3) Establish an accountability mechanism for elected members by enshrining the right of recall. The right of recall between elections refers to the right of citizens to recall elected representatives who are deemed to have betrayed the mandate given to them by those who elect them.

4) Guarantee the right of Quebeckers to a say over the decisions taken by governments by submitting them to referenda where the people say yes or no to the proposed laws and even regulations imposed by ministries at their discretion.

These changes will make a difference in political life in Quebec, restore the integrity of the vote and undoubtedly increase the participation of all citizens, including the youth, in the electoral process as well as on voting day.

Today, as the anti-social offensive intensifies and the people are unable to hold governments responsible for the decisions they take, the need for democratic renewal is more pressing than ever. Providing this problem with a solution that empowers the people becomes ever more urgent as time goes by and the dangers facing the society increase. We must break with the idea enshrined in law that the role of the citizenry is only that of "voters" who cast a ballot every four years for candidates they do not select or know anything about, who they have no means of holding to account.

Once Quebeckers are able to participate in elaborating the government's agenda, they will no longer be at the mercy of priorities decided upon by the private interests of political parties and the media. The principle of accountability will be activated in a manner that encourages the members of society to participate in political discourse when they see this benefits the people and society itself. The question of who wields political power and where decision-making power resides will begin to be addressed in a manner that is seen to be democratic.

At this time, so many dangers threaten the security of the society and country -- from the climate crisis to an economy that pays the rich and privatizes social programs and public services, to war preparations that Canada and Quebec are embroiled in and increasing levels of generalized anxiety over unpredictable outcomes. It is crucial to understand that our security lies in defending the rights of all, not depriving the members of society of a say over all the decisions taken in their name.

The PMLQ's program is to encourage workers, women and youth to speak in their own name, defend their present and their future, and adopt an electoral process and an Election Act that is a step forward in this direction.

Various reasons are often given for not making the extra effort to engage the electorate in the debate, to broaden the discussion beyond the minimum required to call this an official consultation. The PMLQ believes that it is by doing this that we will see how to go further. Already the discussions we've had in the roundtables we've held, even if still on a relatively limited basis, have given definite signals that people are not at all indifferent once it's established that the initiative belongs to them. We say: For us, accountability begins at home, because it's precisely when voters take ownership of the process that they can fully engage and bring their experiences and ideas to bear.

For the people, the idea that an election (or a public consultation) is the moment when "it's the people who speak" is meaningless if, in reality, those who speak are those who are already in power. If the election is the occasion when the people are called upon to judge the government's orientations, it's the people who should have the say, not the political elites -- those already in government or in the opposition. Yet the current consultation does precisely that: it gives no room whatsoever for the expression of the popular will other than by filling out questionnaires that reject any consideration that elections should have a purpose other than casting a ballot every four years.

The consultation document notes that, "Based on data from the 2018 election campaign, the media space provided to political parties is to be proportional to the results obtained." One intervener at the roundtables commented that this seemed like a self-fulfilling prophecy: "The parties with the most seats or votes, obtained by the 'smartest' mediatized campaign as a result of inordinate media coverage, will have the privilege of being awarded the title of most popular and therefore most legitimate. It's silly logic if the aim is to establish a regime's democratic credentials."

These are our opinions and observations on the matter, and we hope that the discussion on this crucial issue for the future of Quebec continues in a manner that is ongoing, lively and open to all.

Christine Dandenault
Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec


The need for a more profound review of the Election Act

In the introductory letter to the consultation document, the DGEQ writes: "No in-depth reflection, supported by a coherent, structured and concerted vision, has been carried out on the Election Act as a whole for almost 35 years. Considering the importance of the issues facing electoral democracy, as well as the extent of the modifications that have been made to the Act since its adoption, for us such a reflection seems essential to allow the Act to evolve while respecting the individual rights and the democratic principles which are their foundation."

The proposals contained fail to deliver on the promise of an "in-depth reflection, supported by a coherent, structured and concerted vision."

The DGEQ says he has undertaken multiple consultations with specialists, academics, and "political actors." On this basis alone, the consultation poses a serious credibility problem. Six online questionnaires were prepared to consult with citizens. Upon examination of those questionnaires, one is tempted to conclude that everything has already been decided. The six questionnaires are more like surveys with pre-established choices as answers. No wonder people tell us the conclusions have already been drawn. This is not a consultation that allows Quebeckers to express themselves on their own behalf, to share their points of view and their concerns, especially since the time allocated to respond to them is very limited.

The DGEQ lists the changes made to the Election Act over the last 35 years. He writes: "For some thirty years, the Election Act has not remained unchanged. On the contrary, numerous changes, including several major ones, have been made over time. The permanent list of electors was created in 1997; voting methods were expanded in the early 2000s; major political financing reforms took place in the 2010s; and fixed election dates were adopted in 2013. All these changes had significant effects, not only on the behaviour of voters, who are increasingly casting their ballot in advance, but also on the practices of voters, political parties and candidates, who appear earlier in the campaign and have modified their relationships with the electorate. These changes have also influenced the way elections are organized."

But what is our assessment of these changes? For example, has Bill 101, adopted in 2016 following the recommendations of the Charbonneau Commission on corruption, resolved this problem? No, because what constitutes corruption has never been addressed. Has the reduction of contributions from party supporters to $100, with the increase in state funding which purports to compensate for the drop in party funding by members, reduced corruption? Not at all.

The demand for increased state funding is incessant, while the participation of the citizenry is continuously eliminated

The more administrative requirements are imposed in the name of transparency and opposing corruption and the more the state interferes in the affairs of political parties, the more the decision-making power, even within political parties, is taken out of the hands of members. Just because there are all kinds of laws supposedly targeting corruption doesn't mean there won't be any political corruption. Those who are politically corrupt will do anything to ensure they come to power. While making political parties accountable to the state, the fact that they no longer need members is not discussed. However, their control over the National Assembly remains complete.

When the ruling Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) party ministers were recently caught red-handed getting $100 contributions at their cocktail parties in exchange for direct access to them, the CAQ leader said that the solution was to have parties without donors, and presumably without members, and to eliminate the "public" financing that Élections Québec calls "autonomous financing." He called on the other cartel parties to join him in this demand. It doesn't get any more absurd or self-serving than that! And this, after the political parties in the National Assembly agreed last fall to raise the contribution ceiling from $100 to $200. For these parties, it makes sense, but the public is kept in the dark as to their reasoning.

The PMLQ also received sharp comments on proposals that increase the DGEQ's interference in the internal affairs of political parties, and that especially target with specific measures those parties without a seat at the National Assembly. The DGEQ proposes that:

- parties should set targets for candidate parity and diversity and provide a report on the results achieved, and that a sanction be introduced for political parties that fail to produce a report on results;

- reasonable additional expenses related to the care of a dependant or a situation of disability, incurred by candidates during a campaign, could be reimbursed (totally or partially). A specified threshold of valid votes cast could qualify some for the reimbursement;

- the required number of members a party must submit annually to retain its official registered status could be increased from 100 to 250 members;

- criteria aimed at ensuring the political and electoral vocation of a political entity for obtaining and maintaining is official status could be added, with parties having to issue a declaration confirming that one of their essential objectives is to participate in public affairs by supporting candidates and endorsing their election, and many others.

Opposition to these measures is strong: it is interference in the internal life of political parties to want to set parity or other criteria in the choice of candidates for an election, and moreover, disregards a party's situation. The DGEQ wants to make it more difficult for parties not represented in the National Assembly to present themselves. There is already too much administrative paperwork for political entities that are without resources, and this would channel their energy even more administratively rather than politically. The DGEQ is seeking to intervene even more in internal party politics, which runs counter to the aim of the Election Act, which is supposed to enable greater participation.

Many people told us that the DGEQ's proposals seem to be only concerned with enabling him to carry out his administrative duties in the most efficient manner possible and have nothing to do with providing the Election Act with "a coherent, structured and concerted vision." These are definitely not policy proposals aimed at ensuring that the electoral process is democratically based on citizen participation.

Disinformation on foreign interference and false information carried by social networks and concerns over the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence

The document notes, amongst other things, that "Disinformation can be practiced by national actors or be linked to attempts at foreign interference." There is also talk of social networks which convey false information aimed at interfering in elections.

While the use and influence of social networks and AI has become a way of life in Quebec and in Canada and we live in a world where misleading information, rumours and doubt are commonplace, controls being implemented on what people can and cannot say, and who can speak, especially during an election, are inappropriate. It could be argued that the electoral campaigns of the so-called major parties are altogether misleading and include fomenting passions, splitting the electorate and sowing doubt. This is carried out in the form of microtargeting and through social networks to denigrate rival candidates and provide people with false and diversionary information so as to influence the outcome of elections.

Participants in the roundtables declared to the PMLQ that while it is true that a democratic electoral process must adopt standards to ensure that political discourse does not encourage attacks on others, it should not allow activities harmful to social solidarity to be financed with public funds. And when it comes to disinformation, the first thing a modern electoral law should do is to stop protecting and funding the main culprits who spread disinformation, decontextualize facts to deprive them of meaning, while presenting false narratives offering fake alternatives.

Participants at the roundtables told the PMLQ that the electoral process itself claims that people have a choice between the so-called major parties and the programs they propose, which suggests that one of these programs represents them, which is not the case. They represent private interests as well as nonsense concocted by marketing firms that electors are like consumers at a grocery store checkout counter, inciting them to buy this product instead of another.

This is one of the many ways whereby the voice and opinions of the people are stifled during elections which, as the DGEQ rightly points out, begin earlier and earlier, outside the periods determined under the Election Act. Replacing political debate with election campaigns is despicable and keeps the problems facing society within the framework established by official circles who oppose any debate they cannot control. Methods which allow the people to speak in their own name, discuss and propose their solutions to the problems facing society are totally absent from the proposals for the reform of the Election Act.

Disinformation is also presented as being linked to the problem of national and foreign actor interference. In that regard, the DGEQ refers to "close monitoring" and the "collaboration of several entities interested in preserving the integrity of the elections." The so-called democratic party government system would not survive "close monitoring" by the state because the more things go, the more the citizenry can see that these parties are mere appendages of the state, which dictates everything from what values people must espouse, to how they must think and act in what is called a democratic society.

Many people told the PMLQ that they found this seriously problematic.

The use of "hate" as a new instrument for controlling the political space

The DGEQ document takes up the proposals of the Liberal government of Canada, as well as the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, France and other European countries, with regard to the targeting of "entities that incite hatred or violence." The DGEQ takes its inspiration from the political police who suggest approaching such problems from the angle of "ensuring that the Election Act reflects the values of our society."

The document notes that while "disinformation, intimidation, harassment and threats are on the rise" in Canada and Quebec, "reports of hate speech and hate crimes have increased significantly since 2017." He warns that "the more these kinds of comments and actions take shape in the public space, the more likely they are to be reflected in the political environment." "Hate," we read in the consultation document, "marginalizes, excludes, dehumanizes."

To deal with this, the DGEQ goes on to say that privileges derived from the authorization of a political party "should not serve to amplify hate speech." Besides affirming that everything is a matter of privileges that can be given and taken away by outside forces, the DGEQ proposes the addition of criteria linked to the name, objectives, discourse and activities which could lead to the withdrawal of a party's authorization. He cites examples of legislation in Europe that allow for the banning and dissolution of a political party on this basis.

Banning a political party for inciting hatred or violence, or because it is considered extremist, is no small matter in a society that calls itself democratic. While the implication is that the hate-mongers and violent extremists being targeted are from an extreme right-wing fringe, once this door is opened, any party whose opinions are found by the powers that be not in conformity with their own can be targeted. We see this already in the case of those activists and organizations who oppose Zionism and the acts of genocide perpetrated by the Israeli state against the Palestinian people. But within the country as well, we see that those who support the hereditary rights of Indigenous Peoples or oppose the degradation of the environment by narrow private interests are being targeted.

How to defend freedom of expression, the right of association and the right to conscience within the evolving context of social media networks and the influence of Artificial Intelligence is a matter that belongs to all Quebeckers. These rights must not come under attack. Broad public consultations must be held, where the public is informed and engaged in the discussions, including with regard to political parties, and can put forward solutions. This is all the more serious once the importance of the exercise of these rights is recognized in the formulation of a popular will and public opinion which serve the polity, especially at a time when those who currently have access to positions of power and privilege are so self-serving.

The problem with the legalization of prohibitions of all kinds which are applied to individuals and organizations by police powers is precisely that the people are not involved in analyzing the source of these problems or defining how to control hate and violent extremism, what is hateful, violent and extremist and, ultimately, on the basis of what definitions the laws are enacted or the regulations applied. All too often, in the name of the "values of Quebec society" simply proclaimed from above, our Quebec youth have been unjustly accused of radicalization or violence. Once citizens are labelled and put into this or that category, they are marginalized and made targets of police actions.

Today, seeing with what determination all the parties in the National Assembly, the House of Commons and the monopolized media seek to create an equation between support for the Palestinian people and anti-Semitism and hate propaganda and predictions of what will end up in acts of violent extremism, it is not difficult to understand the dangers of measures taken on the electoral front to "fight against hatred."

The point we want to make is that so long as the Election Act does not endorse a process which puts the citizenry at the centre of solving the problems of concern to them and to society itself, based on the collective experience and principles that unite the people, state actions which atomize the body politic will not benefit Quebeckers in the least. Introducing new regulations and norms about which the people are not even informed, let alone able to participate in arguing out, is destructive. This undermines public opinion and the cohesion of the body politic. Measures which divide society between those who are so-called violent and non-violent, between those who promote hatred versus those who do not, also increase apprehensions and chaotic behaviour. Anarchy and violence become the new normal and suppression is used in a vain attempt to bring people under control.

This is very troubling and dangerous, participants in the roundtables told the PMLQ. They want to see the citizens and residents of Quebec, irrespective of their national origin, united on the basis of a modern nation-building project where the people are empowered to set the direction of society and how it conducts its affairs in all fields of endeavour.

The concept of third parties must be banned from the Election Act

Participants in the roundtables also expressed grave concerns over the role assigned to citizens in an election as "third parties." In the name of equality and transparency, the proposals in the DGEQ's consultation document continue to block the participation of Quebeckers during an election and in the so-called pre-electoral period. The stated goal of the DGEQ is to ensure the preponderance of political parties and candidates during an election. He writes: "In Quebec, the intervention of third parties during the electoral period is limited by law so that political parties and candidates have all the necessary space to debate their ideas and their interests." This is simply not true. During the electoral period, those who are designated "third parties" can express their opinions only to the extent that their interventions cost nothing, from their design and production up to publication and broadcast. Unless acting on behalf of a political party or a candidate, an individual cannot make a partisan intervention if that intervention has a cost.

The PMLQ does not agree with this concept of preponderance, that cartel parties are authorized to usurp the possibility of any voter, whether individually or organized, to speak in their own name. Participants at the roundtables told the PMLQ that ordinary people grow up to believe that elections are supposed to be a moment of collective societal debate about the Quebec that people want. They do not appreciate definitions of "fairness" which in fact discriminate against those with scarce financial means. They see that there is no fairness between political parties in Quebec. They see that systematically, parties without representatives in the National Assembly, like ours, are ignored or their views are trivialized, declaring that they have been given the democratic treatment they deserve.

The introduction of the concept of an electoral pre-campaign, will only result in further consolidating the usurpation of the political space by the ruling cartel parties. Reducing citizens to "third parties" subject to financing regimes is unacceptable. It poses a major block to the participation of the citizenry in political discourse.

An example given during one of the roundtables was that of the public interest organization Équiterre which was sanctioned by the DGEQ because marks were given to political parties on their environmental commitments in 2018. The same thing happened to the Quebec Federation of Labour (FTQ) in 2012. The FTQ even tried to go to the Superior Court to defend its right to intervene during a campaign, but its application was refused because it did not conform with the Election Act.

Concerns about infringements on the right of association and of speech

Political parties are private organizations. It is therefore up to the parties to decide by whom they are financed and who their members are. However, political parties are placed under supervision. The Election Act stipulates that a financial contribution can only be paid to the Chief Electoral Officer and the name of the voter, the city and postal code of their residence are published on the DGEQ website as well as the amount paid and the name of the party to which the funds are contributed. This is tantamount to placing the political party under state trusteeship. It is not the party that decides who contributes to its work or who becomes a member. There is no law that requires cultural, sports, educational associations or those in other fields of endeavour to publish their membership lists, however political parties must do so. Given the propensity for political persecution worldwide, many people express serious concerns about this, with regard to both their jobs and their right to conscience.

How can matters of conscience and association be placed under the purview of the state, in the name of controlling finances and fighting corruption? This is something imposed; it's not even discussed within the body politic, despite the infringement on the right of association, freedom and speech, as well as the right to conscience. Many people have told the PMLQ that they do not want their contributions or membership given to the DGEQ to process. They want their party to determine and control who is a member and what is done with their money. This seems elementary and people are shocked to find out that this is not the case. Many do not want to contribute because they refuse to have their right of association and to conscience violated by the Election Act, all the more so because their name and postal code are made public on the DGEQ website.

Appendix 1

Proposals presented in For a New Vision of the Election Act.

Chapter 1 -- The Right to Vote

Entry on the list of electors

Proposal 1: Convert registration and changes to the list of electors to a digital service.

Proposal 2: Enable voter registration and changes to voter registration at advance polls and on polling day.

Proposal 3: Require electors to be registered on the list of electors of the polling subdivision of their domicile at the time of voting.


Proposal 4: Adopt single-line voting at polling stations.

Proposal 5: Open advance polling centres in popular locations.

Proposal 6: Allow remote voting trials.

Organization of the vote

Proposal 7: Provide for fixed-date by-elections.

Proposal 8: Broaden the recruitment pool for election workers.

For further reflection: Enhance polling day as an important civic moment.

Chapter 2 -- The Right to Stand for Election

Candidates in elections

Proposal 1: Encourage political parties to report on their objectives and results in terms of parity and diversity of their candidates.

Proposal 2: Evaluate the possibility of providing a separate plan for the reimbursement of certain expenses related to the care of a dependent or a situation of disability.

Authorization of political entities

Proposal 3: Add criteria to ensure a political entity's political and electoral vocation when obtaining and maintaining authorization.

Proposal 4: Ensure that the Election Act reflects our society's values, to prevent an entity that incites hatred or violence from benefiting from authorization and the privileges that accompany it.

Proposal 5: Add grounds for authorization refusal and withdrawal linked to the financial and administrative obligations of political parties.

Taking the debate a step further: For a healthy and respectful climate within our democratic institutions and processes

Chapter 3 -- Political Financing and Election Expenses

Spending control

Proposal 1: Create a mechanism to enhance the transparency of third-party pre-election activities.

Proposal 2: Clarify, revise and disseminate the rules and standards governing the use of parliamentary and government resources.

For further reflection: Political financing: time to take stock; controlling election expenses within the context of fixed election dates

Chapter 4 -- Electoral and Political Information

Information for electors

Proposal 1: Provide electors with an information window on candidates and political parties.

Transparency of political communications and the fight against disinformation

Proposal 2: Consider creating obligations for digital platforms in terms of transparency and compliance with the Election Act.

Proposal 3: Enhance the transparency of communications of a political nature and regulate the use of certain online practices.

Proposal 4: Consider transparency and oversight measures for the publication of election poll results.

For further reflection: Democracy in the digital age

Chapter 5 -- Election Governance

The process for amending the Election Act and the role of the Chief Electoral Officer

Proposal 1: Provide for a periodic review of the Election Act.

Proposal 2: Revise the Chief Electoral Officer's accountability obligations.

The role of the Advisory Committee

Proposal 3: Review the scope of the advisory committee's mandate and composition.

Further reflection: The participation of other players in the process of amending the Election Act

Chapter 6 -- The electoral map

Preliminary boundaries of electoral divisions

Proposal 1: Consult Members of the National Assembly within the framework of public hearings rather than through the Committee on the National Assembly.

The revised proposal and the establishment of electoral boundaries

Proposal 2: Add a consultation period following the tabling of the second report of the Electoral Representation Commission.

Further reflection: Consultation as a basis for fair and equitable representation

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Joint Letter of Parties Not Represented
at the National Assembly

To the attention of the Chief Electoral Officer of Québec (DGEQ)
Subject: The consultation document For a New Vision of the Election Act

On February 17 and March 10, 2024, parties not represented in the National Assembly (NA) met to discuss the DGEQ's consultation on the Election Act.

One thing was clear from the outset: there is growing disaffection with the political process on the Quebec political scene.

Despite the assertion (page 1) that "our electoral legislation has often been in the vanguard, drawing inspiration from best practices around the world," the fact remains that the entire political process, including elections, is increasingly discredited in the eyes of the Quebec electorate.

Experience teaches us that this situation is of serious concern to the people, and therefore deserves our full attention. Our democratic system needs to be modernized. This applies to us as political parties, and to the entire polity of Quebec -- over 6 million voters.

The need for modernization is also illustrated by the fact that, although there are 21 authorized political parties in Quebec, less than a third of them have been consulted directly by the DGEQ on an issue as important as the Election Act and the resulting process. An exercise that claims to be aimed at modernizing our electoral system must, as an imperative, consult the entire Quebec polity.

We are therefore asking the DGEQ to consult all authorized political parties directly, and to extend the consultation period beyond the March 30 deadline.

The notion of fairness is stated repeatedly in the consultation document on our democratic system. Fairness is the character of what is done with justice and impartiality, or it is the moderator of the objective right according to which everyone is entitled to fair, equal and reasonable treatment. According to this notion, all parties should be treated equally. Indeed, we are asked to collect the same number of signatures, to follow the same process to present a candidate, to campaign, etc. But when it comes time to consult on a proposal to modernize the electoral process, we are not accorded fair and equitable treatment.

Moreover, it emerged from our discussions that money enters the equation and seriously skews the notion of fairness. This situation is detrimental to parties not represented in the NA, as well as to the population as a whole. The notion of equity is transformed here into a notion of privileges that specifically benefit parties represented in the NA.

A political party represented in the NA has the privilege of the disproportionately greater financial resources provided by the current party financing system, as well as other privileges which, in the pre-election and election periods, create inequity between parties that perpetuates the marginalization of parties not represented in the NA. Parties not represented in the NA have the right to exist, but nothing more. This situation is particularly blatant during elections, when parties sitting in the NA enjoy full media coverage, while other parties are left to fend for themselves, facing a wall of silence too rarely broken.

The electorate's right to an informed vote thus becomes mere wishful thinking.

This poses a serious problem for a truly democratic society. People can go to the polls, but during the election period, they are given very little space to discuss in an informed and in-depth manner the concerns and issues that affect the present and future of Quebec, whether as individuals or as organized groups.

It is imperative that the DGEQ take note of this problem, which is detrimental to true democracy, to the exercise of the right to speak, the right to conscience, the right to participate in an election and the right to an informed vote. In past years, Élections Québec has held several meetings with all the parties, and parties not represented in the NA have repeatedly put forward the following proposals to advance democracy:

- implementation of a political party showcase that would enable voters to find out about each party's program;

- distribution to every dwelling in Quebec, the party platforms for elections along with the voter's card.

These proposals would contribute to voters' right to an informed vote, since knowing the program of all parties is essential.

Finally, a number of the DGE's proposals constitute interference in the internal life of political parties: parity and diversity of candidates, accountability for their programs, the number of officers, increased administrative responsibilities to the detriment of time devoted to their political activities, to name but a few.

For all these reasons, our parties reiterate our demand to be able to participate fully and equally in everything that affects our electoral system. Especially, we demand that the Chief Electoral Officer consult all authorized parties in Quebec and Quebeckers within the framework of meetings to ensure that the voice of Quebec's entire polity is heard.


Benjamin Vachon, Leader, Bloc Pot (
Louis Chandonnet, Leader, Équipe autonomiste (
Jean-Louis Thémistocle, Leader, Parti culinaire du Québec (
Charles Olivier, Leader, Libertarian Party (
Christine Dandenault, Leader, Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (
Parti Nul (

To join us:

(March 30, 2024)

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