January 30, 2016 - No. 5

The Debate About Pipelines

A New Direction Is Needed
for the Economy

Manufacturing Yes! Nation-Wrecking No!

Keep Stelco Producing!
All Out for the January 30 Hamilton Day of Action!

"The People vs U.S. Steel," Hamilton Day of Action, January 29, 2011.

Saturday, January 30 -- 1:00 pm

Hamilton City Hall, 71 Main St. W.
For information: Local 1005 USW 905-547-1417
or Local 8782 USW at 519-587-2000.

Energy East Pipeline and the Requirement for a
New Direction for the Economy

Regional Chiefs Not Satisfied with Reforms to Pipeline Reviews
- Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs -

Liberal Government to Sign Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
Working People Step Up Opposition to
Sell-Out Trade Deal

The Fight of Indigenous Peoples Against Colonial Injustice

Human Rights Tribunal Finds Massive Underfunding
of Child Welfare Benefits

Families Provide Direction for National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Calls for Emergency
Task Force on Suicide Epidemic

Haitian Elections Postponed Indefinitely
Hands Off Haiti! No More Death Squad Democracy!
As Tens of Thousands Foil Fraudulent Elections
the Martelly Regime Begins Deploying Death Squads
- Kim Ives -

We Will Not Obey
- A Call for Solidarity from Haiti's Popular Movement -

Viet Nam
Communist Party Holds 12th National Congress
Three Decades of Renewal

25th Anniversary of Outbreak of U.S. War in Persian Gulf
Remarks by Comrade Hardial Bains to the
Party's Basic Organization in Hamilton

- January 17, 1991 -

The Debate About Pipelines

A New Direction Is Needed for the Economy

The issue of pipelines, in particular the Energy East pipeline, received much attention as the new session of Parliament opened. The Conservatives filed a motion on January 26 calling on the House to express support for the Energy East Pipeline.

The Liberals taunt the Conservatives in return that no new pipelines were built under the Harper government, with the Keystone pipeline to the U.S. Gulf Coast blocked by Obama and the Northern Gateway Pipeline to ship bitumen through Kitimat in British Colombia facing massive public opposition.

Justin Trudeau is pledging that he will restore public confidence in pipeline projects and move oil from Alberta to tidewater. "We are working very, very hard right across the country with municipal leaders, with provincial leaders to make sure we're creating the social licence, the oversight, the environmental responsibility, [and] the partnership with communities to get our resources to market in a responsible way," he said in Parliament. "Because that's what it takes in the 21st century."

The monopoly media also created a great noise about the "danger to national unity" arising from the posturing of Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre against Energy East. Initially, 80 mayors in the Montreal region led by Coderre came out against Energy East based on support for the environment. However, after a meeting with Justin Trudeau, Coderre now says he will support the pipeline if there exists a "balance" between environmental stewardship and economic development.

Meanwhile, Energy East has dropped its proposal to build a port in Cacouna, Quebec due to fierce opposition from local residents and environmentalists alike concerned about the beluga whale breeding grounds. Yet Quebec Premier Phillipe Couillard questioned the benefits of the project to Quebec in terms of jobs and infrastructure without a port.

As part of its plan to obtain "social licence" the government has introduced a new pipeline approval process. Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr stated that the projects currently under review will not have to complete a review under the new procedure. The proposal to twin Kinder Morgan's Trans-Mountain Pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby BC and TransCanada's Energy East Pipeline will be reviewed under the old rules even though no formal Energy East hearings have begun, intervenors have not been confirmed and the National Energy Board has yet to determine whether its revised application is complete. Both projects are subject to a separate environmental review. This includes an assessment of their impact on Canada's greenhouse gas emissions, which is a requirement under Canada's participation in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Nation-Wrecking Versus Nation-Building

Once again, the people are being directed to line up behind a "pipeline camp" or a "no pipeline camp." Both the Liberals and Conservatives suggest everyone should get behind pipelines as a nation-building project. Within this framework, in spite of being in the "pipeline camp," the Trudeau Liberal government has gone out of its way to present itself as the protector of the environment. Within the "pipeline camp," the Liberal posturing as environmentalists and the Conservatives as open to business act together as a smokescreen to hide the central issue of nation-wrecking under the neoliberal agenda of sellout of the country to the global monopolies, and the opposing need for a new direction for the economy and in particular Canada's oil and gas and resource extraction industries.

Alberta's oil industry has always been based on serving the needs and demands of the U.S. market. During the last decade as U.S. production of oil and gas soared, the looming prospect of Alberta oil being shut out of its main market intensified and came to a head with Obama's rejection of the Keystone pipeline to ship Alberta oil south. Reacting almost in panic mode, the energy monopolies operating in Alberta forced the Harper government and mass media to beat the drums to ship Alberta crude to Asian and even European markets as the only alternative. To date, despite all the noise and oil crisis, this tactic has gone nowhere. Oil workers, other working people and their allies across Canada have opposed shipping raw bitumen and called instead for a nation-building project to upgrade and refine oil and manufacture its many by-products right here in this country.

The Northern Gateway Pipeline has faced massive opposition from First Nations and others in BC, and strong opposition has also developed to the Kinder Morgan expansion in particular in the Lower Mainland. Pipelines have a common denominator of a "rip and ship, boom and bust" economy imposed and controlled by big oil and serving their narrow private interests. Such a lop-sided shallow economy stands in stark contrast to a stable economy where raw resources are seen as building blocks of a self-reliant diverse economy based on manufacturing, social programs and public services under the control of the people and serving the public interest.

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Energy East Pipeline and the Requirement for a
New Direction for the Economy

Energy East is the latest proposal to move landlocked oil targeting markets in Europe. Energy East is a 4,600 kilometre, $15 billion project by pipeline giant TransCanada that would transport 1.1 million barrels a day of Alberta bitumen and conventional oil, and oil from Saskatchewan and the U.S. Bakken Shield extracted through hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

Energy East would use a converted natural gas pipeline from Alberta to the Quebec border and a new pipeline from Montreal to Lévis, across the river from Quebec City, and then on to St. John, New Brunswick where the Irving refinery is located.

TransCanada and various politicians are now going to great pains to assert that Energy East will eliminate Canada's dependence on oil imports, as well as eliminate rail traffic of highly volatile shale oil from the United States. TransCanada says the pipeline capacity is the equivalent of 1,500 rail cars per day therefore displacing an equal number of rail cars that travel the same route. Figures show oil shipped out of Ontario towards eastern Canada totalled about 550 tank cars per day in 2012, or one-third of the total projected capacity of Energy East.

Frank McKenna, former Premier of New Brunswick and Canadian Ambassador to the U.S., and now Deputy Chair of the TD Bank and board member of Canadian Natural Resources, a major oil sands monopoly very actively pushing the Energy East project states, "In Western Canada, we have large reserves of oil and yet in Eastern Canada, we have three refineries (two in Quebec and one in New Brunswick) that import about 80 per cent of their feedstock. These are oil imports of about 700,000 barrels a day that Eastern Canadians rely on, coming from countries such as Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Angola and Venezuela.

"Energy East is not only capable of displacing 100 per cent of this foreign oil, it can also help provide an element of energy security and stability that Eastern Canadians have never enjoyed. That is to say nothing of the forecasted cost of oil supplied to eastern refineries, which some estimate could decline by more than $10 a barrel, leading to lower gasoline prices at the pump."

Interesting choice of words where McKenna, the Deputy Chair of the TD Bank speaks in the east of cheaper oil, while in Alberta the project is promoted as resulting in higher prices for Alberta oil.

No evidence presented shows that Energy East will end dependence on foreign oil. More than 50 per cent of Canada's imported oil now comes from the U.S. This oil is the highly volatile shale oil obtained through fracking, which ignited and exploded at Lac Mégantic killing 47 people and destroying the town's centre.

It has been suggested that Energy East would replace shipping oil by train. If this is the case, then up to one-third of the pipeline capacity would be used to ship fracked oil from the U.S., which would not end Canada's dependence on foreign oil, only change the supplier in favour of the U.S.

No evidence has been presented showing any bitumen from the oil sands will be upgraded, or even that any conventional oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan will be refined in Canada. Existing refineries in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces are not designed to upgrade bitumen; no plans are proposed to build upgraders.

The reversal of the Line 9 pipeline from Sarnia to Montreal will allow transportation of 300,000 barrels a day of western Canadian crude to refineries in Quebec and eastern Canada. With this additional supply, no further refining capacity exists for oil or bitumen from Alberta and Saskatchewan, and of course no upgraders have been built or even planned to convert and deal with bitumen or dilbit (bitumen plus diluent).

All the evidence points to the fact that Energy East is designed to export bitumen from the oil sands and fracked oil from the U.S. Bakken Shield, not to reduce or eliminate the need for Canada to import oil let alone refine and manufacture the valuable non-renewable resource. The Energy East project does not address the demand of Canadians to put an end to the "rip and ship, boom and bust" economy dependent on foreign markets. Albertans in particular are demanding an end to this unstable and defeatist direction.

The issue is not for or against a pipeline. An economy built on extracting and shipping unprocessed oil to export to uncertain markets under conditions where the world is awash with oil is simply not sustainable. Such a direction does not even consider what changes to current extraction processes must be put in place to protect Mother Earth, the workers who produce the oil, their families and other residents of the area and the First Nations on whose unceded lands the oil sands exist.

Canadians are being told to accept this or that choice as just fine if the process by which they are "consulted" is tweaked. "Consultation" has become a means to blackmail people that either monopoly dictate wins the day or more unemployment and job losses follow. This fraud must not pass!

A new direction for the economy requires the introduction of economic science and social consciousness into the planning for the future well-being of the economy and people. Instead, monopoly right makes crucial decisions about the economy subject to the narrow interests, greed and drive for world domination of competing private interests. The monopolies and their political representatives use the mass media to sweep the people up into aggressive camps engaged in regime change and predatory wars to control raw material, markets and bring regions under their domination, spreading anarchy and violence even into the imperialist heartland.

Pipeline or no pipeline is not the choice. More thought and conscious planning than that is required. A new direction for the economy is possible where the aim is nation-building, not wrecking of manufacturing and social programs and the promotion of a precarious rip and ship economy subject to extreme boom and bust cycles.

The government of Alberta can require upgrading and refining and take measures to develop the petrochemical industry not only in Alberta but across the country. These projects would require Canadian steel for example. It is not acceptable that governments allow the Canadian steel industry to be destroyed while infrastructure and other projects are proposed to be built with imported steel from the U.S. and elsewhere, especially given the fact that U.S. Steel and others have engaged in deceptive manipulation of Canada’s investment laws in order to boost their global profits and destroy Canadian steel production in the process. All this nation-wrecking is part of a neoliberal pattern and agenda that the working class must organize to stop.

In the oil sector, the majority of permanent or long-term jobs are in the upgrading and refining of oil and in the petrochemical industries, which are being lost down the pipeline, as people say. Upgrading, refining and the development of manufacturing are also necessary so an all-sided diverse economy with many vibrant sectors can engage in exchange of value with one another, which would result, amongst other positive things, in the direct realization of value workers produce in social programs and public services.

All this requires the working class to activate itself and become a powerful organized force for pro-social change and a new direction in opposition to monopoly right and control. It can be done! It must be done!

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Regional Chiefs Not Satisfied with
Reforms to Pipeline Reviews

The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL), the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) and the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) are seeking greater change than the modest reforms to Harper's signature pipeline review process announced yesterday by the Trudeau government for TransCanada's Energy East pipeline and Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau dated December 17, 2015, the AFNQL, the AMC and the UBCIC had called for, in line with the Liberals' campaign commitments, a complete overhaul of the broken and illegitimate process for both of the Tar Sands export pipelines, as well as for Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline (potential for 760,000 barrels per day of Tar Sands).

Despite [the January 27] announcement by the federal government, the main failings of the current system -- a product of the unconstitutional Omnibus Bills C-38 and C-45 which First Nations vigorously opposed -- remain, including artificial timelines, the sidelining of critics, a lack of oral cross-examination of the companies' evidence and the exclusion of key elements of evidence such as the behaviour of sinking dilbit and the environmental havoc it would cause. Likewise, the National Energy Board (NEB) remains a politicized and industry-captured 'rubber stamper' that pays only lip service to the respect for the positions and rights of First Nations.

"Ultimately, how are we any better off today than yesterday as far as the Kinder Morgan project goes?" asked UBCIC President Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. "The process is done and it was carried out under those bogus Harper rules. There will now be more consultation according to yesterday's announcement but that is something that Canada is already required to do under the Constitution. What needs to be demonstrated is the federal government's willingness to take NO for an answer from First Nations like Tsleil-Waututh Nation who are exercising their sovereign decision-making power."

"It's unfortunate that we were not consulted about the planned reforms because we could have signalled ahead of time that such reforms did not go nearly far enough," stated AFNQL Regional Chief Ghislain Picard. "At a time when First Nations are already suffering major climate change related impacts to their ways of life, one of our main concerns is that the new climate test that these pipelines will be subjected to will not sufficiently reflect the urgency with which we need to reduce emissions and get off fossil fuels."

"These pipeline issues are wrongly being perceived as a conflict between the economy and the environment -- the threat of climate change is such that the real issue is whether we will survive as a civilization and whether there will even be an economy left to speak of," added AMC Grand Chief Derek Nepinak. "Our First Nations were shocked, therefore, to see that no measures at all were announced to address Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline project, which was also reviewed under the dysfunctional NEB process."

The AFNQL is made up of 43 First Nations in Quebec-Labrador, AMC is made up of some 60 First Nations in Manitoba and UBCIC is made up of over 100 First Nations in BC, representing collectively, therefore, over a third of First Nations in Canada, many of which are on the route of the Trans Mountain, Line 3 and Energy East Tar Sands pipelines, and all of which will be drastically affected by the climate change crisis that these pipelines will significantly contribute to.

(January 28, 2016)

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Liberal Government to Sign Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Working People Step Up Opposition to
Sell-Out Trade Deal

International meeting of social organizations opposed to the TPP,
Mexico City, January 27-29, 2016.

Working people and their organizations, legislators and civil society groups from Canada and across the Americas took part in events in Mexico City, January 26-29, to step up their opposition to the neo-liberal Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. This included an international parliamentary dialogue on the TPP hosted by Mexican senators on January 29. Federal NDP Trade Critic Tracey Ramsey as well as other parliamentarians participated in this session through video feed from Canada.

Ministers from 12 countries, including Canada, are meeting in Auckland, New Zealand on February 4 to formally accede to the TPP, after its "legally verified" final text was made public January 26.

Meeting in Duncan, BC, January 24, 2016 to oppose the TPP.

The Liberal government in Canada confirmed via an "open letter" released by International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland on January 25 that it will sign the agreement.

Freeland attempted to justify this decision by saying, "Signing is simply a technical step in the process, allowing the TPP text to be tabled in Parliament for consideration and debate before any final decision is made. [...] In addition, it is important to note that signing next week preserves Canada's status as a potential full partner in the Agreement, with all of the rights and powers that go with it." Freeland stated that the government's "guiding principle is that strengthening Canada's trade performance is one of the ways we will work to strengthen our middle class and support high wage jobs."

"Canada is a trading nation," Freeland said. The government has also begun what it calls consultations on the TPP, holding meetings with those it considers to be stakeholders while others are invited to e-mail the government with their opinions.

The final text of the TPP is roughly 190,000 words and 599 pages, negotiated in secret between 2008 and 2015 with the U.S. pushing to finalize the deal in its own favour as the decisive factor for its completion. As such, organizations are still analysing the text and its implications for the peoples of the member countries, their sovereignty and rights. The research and analysis released to date points to serious dangers for the people's well-being. It indicates the further strengthening of the trend evident since the advent of the North American free trade deal of putting monopoly right in command of the economy, politicization of private interests and turning over all that remains of the public authority to those private interests.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, which joined with other unions in Mexico City to oppose the TPP, notes, "the TPP gives rights and protections to the world's richest corporations, while workers and the environment lose more ground. The deal will expand privatization, drive down wages and increase the cost of health care and education."

"The TPP will also limit a government's ability to protect its citizens or the environment. The deal gives foreign corporations the right to sue national governments if a policy decision interferes with their investments -- and profits," CUPE points out.

Events in Mexico City, January 28 (left) and January 29, 2016 to oppose the TPP.

Analysis released by the Trade Justice Network, Quebec Network on Continental Integration and Common Frontiers on January 29 points out some of the areas in which the Canadian government will be restricted from intervening in the public interest. Such restrictions will apply in the areas of "food production, access to medicines, health care, the internet and digital rights, environment, climate action and labour regulations." The TPP "will drive down wages and labor conditions; encourage further outsourcing and offshoring, thus contributing to the widening gap of income inequality in Canada and other TPP countries," the statement says.

The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions points out that aspects of the TPP which grant additional privileges to pharmaceutical monopolies will "raise the price of drugs and reduce the availability of lower cost generics, and strengthen and create new patent and regulatory monopolies for pharmaceutical products." This will "cement high drug prices and undermine the health of hundreds of millions of people for generations," and "will deprive citizens of poorer countries of access to life saving medicines because of cost."

Doctors Without Borders points out that "patent ever-greening" measures in the TPP will allow pharmaceutical monopolies to continue to extend patent durations for each "new" use found for an existing medication or change to such a medication, preventing the use of "generic" alternatives. The Partnership also forces member states to provide 12 years of "data exclusivity" for vaccines and drugs, "which will block government regulatory authorities from allowing price-lowering generic competitors to enter the market with previously generated clinical data."

A report by researchers at Tufts' Global Development and Environment Institute finds that the TPP will result in at least 58,000 Canadians losing their jobs. UNIFOR, a Canadian union with many members in the auto sector has determined that more than 26,000 jobs in the auto sector alone are at risk under the agreement.

January 22 Day of Action in Peru, Chile and Argentina

Lima, Peru

Santiago, Chile

Buenos Aires, Argentina

(Photos: CUPE, M. Vick, Council of Canadians, TeleSUR, @elsilvacuadra, @cancerberomx, Xinhua, TierrActiva Peru, Piensa Prensa Independiente, E. Viale, diarioelitihue)

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The Fight of Indigenous Peoples Against Colonial Injustice

Human Rights Tribunal Finds Massive Underfunding of Child Welfare Benefits

On January 26, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) ruled that the federal government of Canada has for years been systematically discriminating against Indigenous children living in reserve communities by underfunding their child welfare benefits to the tune of 22 to 34 per cent less than non-Indigenous children living in Canada. The underfunding of these benefits, through the First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) Program, began in 1990. The case was brought before the CHRT in 2007 by Dr. Cindy Blackstock on behalf of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (Caring Society), as well as by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and other organizations. They claimed that the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's (INAC, now referred to as Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada) funding of child services for on-reserve communities was discriminatory and inequitable under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

At a press conference on January 25, Dr. Blackstock stated: "This case was brought on behalf of 163,000 little kids, and it was filed in 2007 after the federal government failed to implement reforms on two reports we jointly did with them showing the inequalities, showing the harms of the underfunding, that it was driving children into care, and depriving kids of fundamental health equipment."

This is the "only known case in the developed world where a national government has been held to account for its current treatment of a generation of Indigenous children before a body that can make binding orders," a January 26 Caring Society news release pointed out. This case also sets an important precedent for dealing with the federal government's chronic underfunding of social programs such as education, housing and health care for Indigenous peoples, the statement said.

The landmark case was before the CHRT from February 25, 2013 to May 30, 2014 and heard from 25 witnesses and received more than 500 documents as evidence.

In its decision, the CHRT found that "the Complainants have presented sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case of discrimination under section 5 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Specifically, they prima facie established that First Nations children and families living on reserve and in the Yukon are denied [s. 5(a)] equal child and family services and/or differentiated adversely [s. 5(b)] in the provision of child and family services."

The CHRT noted that despite the federal government being aware of its underfunding, including through "numerous reports and recommendations to address the adverse impacts" of its policies, it continued to do so in violation of the principle to uphold "the best interests of the child" enshrined in international law. The CHRT also found that this deliberate underfunding "perpetuates the incentives to remove children from their homes" to off-reserve foster care thus causing great harm to them and their families.

In its decision, the CHRT "acknowledges the suffering of those First Nations children in foster care and families who are or have been denied an equitable opportunity to remain together or be reunited in a timely manner."

As a result of its findings, the CHRT ordered the federal government "to cease its discriminatory practices and reform the FNCFS Program and the 1965 [Ontario] Agreement to reflect the findings of this decision." The ruling also orders the federal government to "cease applying its narrow definition of Jordan's Principle" which aims to ensure that Indigenous children have the same access to government services as other children in Canada.[1] It also ordered the government to take other measures that would end these unjust policies.

In addition to restoring funding without discrimination, the CHRT ruling called for the government to ensure the delivery of its programs to Indigenous children is carried out respecting of human rights principles and in the "best interest of the child."

Dr. Blackstock called the decision a "complete victory for the children" and for Canadians who value equality and justice. She also felt vindicated in taking up this political battle.

Dr. Blackstock is a respected Indigenous leader, academic and child advocate who was targeted politically by the Harper Conservative government when she spearheaded this case before the CHRT. In an act of revenge, the Canadian government tried various tactics to silence and bully her including trying to humiliate her by barring her from a conference with the government she was fully entitled to attend. A report by the Privacy Commissioner in 2013 and subsequent government reports obtained by Dr. Blackstock indicated that both the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and the Department of Justice had monitored her personal Facebook page, tracked people who posted to her page, and sent staff to take notes on her public presentations -- all in an effort to find information that could be used against Dr. Blackstock to prevent her from pursuing the case. The government also spent $5 million in eight unsuccessful legal attempts to block Dr. Blackstock, and improperly withheld some 90,000 documents relevant to the case. As a result of this political persecution, Dr. Blackstock brought another complaint against the government before the CHRT and was awarded $20,000 for the abuse she suffered.

Dr. Blackstock said she now fully expects the new Liberal government to act without delay in implementing the decisions of the CHRT. She pledged to take further legal action if necessary to compel the government to act.

Following the ruling, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett issued a press release which said in part:

"We must address the inexcusable number of children in care and make real progress on the social outcomes for children by working with First Nations leaders and communities, provincial and territorial partners. Child and family services issues are complex and require constructive dialogue through a renewed relationship built on trust and partnership. Together, we will make the right changes for better outcomes for First Nations children."

This statement did not make clear what the government intends to do. Bennett responded to a media inquiry by saying that "it is difficult to predict how much funding will be needed to address the various problems related to health and child welfare." Dr. Blackstock responded to this by pointing out that the government already knows how much is needed and where the money needs to be spent. "They just have to get down to doing it. And they know it from their own documents," she pointed out. She added that a good place to start would be to restore the $108 million annual shortfall that should be going to Indigenous child welfare programs. Dr. Blackstock offered to send the government more documentation if needed.

The seriousness of the situation facing Indigenous children and youth is confirmed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Final Report which put the issue of ending the large number of Indigenous children in foster care as its number one recommendation. Almost half of the 30,000 children and youth in foster care in Canada are Indigenous even though Indigenous peoples account for only 4.3 per cent of the population.

The Liberal government must implement the decision of the CHRT immediately by restoring full funding for the FNCFS Program as a matter of right. Redress must not be subject to conditions. The victims of the brutal underfunding of child welfare services for Indigenous children on reserve must also be compensated. Indigenous children have suffered as a result of colonial injustice. They must be compensated and the injustices must be ended once and for all. Hold the federal and provincial governments to account for their treatment of Indigenous peoples!


1. Jordan’s Principle is a child-first principle intended to resolve jurisdictional disputes within, and between, provincial/territorial and federal governments concerning payment for services to First Nations children when the service is available to all other children. It is named in memory of Jordan River Anderson from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba. Born with complex medical needs, Jordan spent over two years unnecessarily in hospital because of funding disputes between Health Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and the Government of Manitoba about who should pay for his home care. He died in hospital at the age of five, without ever having spent a day in a family home. Jordan's Principle was unanimously endorsed by the House of Commons in 2007, but the Canadian Paediatric Society reports that it has not been fully implemented by either the federal government or the provinces and territories.

(First hand interviews and files from Globe and Mail, Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, ipolitics.ca)

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Families Provide Direction for National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

A group of family members of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in BC have released the letter they sent to Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs; Patricia Hajdu, Minister for the Status of Women; and Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, that contains recommendations on how the National Inquiry should be established and carried out.


Dear Ministers:

We are a group of families from the traditional territories of the Indigenous peoples living in the Province of British Columbia. We are family members of loved ones who have gone missing or who are now passed on to the spirit world after being violently murdered. We are writing after hearing that there is planning ahead for a pre-inquiry process, which will then lead to a National Inquiry into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. We are writing to advise of our experiences (or lack of experiences) in the Oppal Inquiry, which took place here in Vancouver from 2012-2014.

First of all, we are relieved to hear that there is a pre-inquiry process being planned in order for our voices to be heard. This did not happen with the Oppal Inquiry. We want to ensure that you are aware of the issues that we, as families, had to deal with as a result of the lack of consultations with the Province of British Columbia. We believe that there are many lessons learned from the Oppal Inquiry that can be addressed in the planning of the National Inquiry.

1. When the Oppal Inquiry began, the Province of BC already had appointed a Commissioner, its staff and the terms of reference finalized. No one had any opportunity to make recommendations for anything. We believe that Commissioners for the National Inquiry be appointed with consultations with families and advocates of MMIWG to advise of who the Commissioners should be. We would recommend four Commissioners.

2. Families need to be informed about what an Inquiry actually is and what it will do.

3. The Terms of Reference should not already be set in stone, as they were in the Oppal Inquiry. Consultations with families and advocates must include the discussions of the Terms of Reference.

4. Families must be informed about the process at all stages.

5. There must be a Family/Advocate Advisory Committee to provide advice to the Commissioners at all stages of the inquiry.

6. All families and advocate organizations must be given immediate standing and proper resources provided to legal counsel at the Inquiry. This did not happen at the Oppal Inquiry and we, as families, were totally silenced.

7. Proper support (i.e. mental health counsellors, Elder guidance) provided at the pre-inquiry and inquiry process. We feel that we will also require supports for at least a year after the National Inquiry and right now. Families are already being triggered.

We look forward to meeting you when you come to Vancouver. We wish to reiterate that you must meet with families in northern communities as well as on Vancouver Island.

Yours truly,

Lorelei Williams
Michele Pineault
Elaine Williams
Harriet Prince
CJ Julian
Bernie Williams
Lillian Howard
Gertie Pierre
Melody Pierre
Lila Purcell
Mona Woodward

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Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Calls for Emergency Task Force on Suicide Epidemic

Mushkegowuk Tribal Council releases report The People's Inquiry Into Our Suicide Pandemic at NAN Chiefs gathering, January 20, 2016. (NAN)

On January 20, at the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN)'s Chiefs' winter gathering in Thunder Bay, Ontario, NAN Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler called for the federal Liberal government and the Ontario Liberal government to immediately strike a Special Emergency Task Force to confront the growing suicide epidemic, especially among the youth in NAN territory. Such a call has been made numerous times in the past but these appeals have fallen on deaf ears with little to no response from either level of government.

NAN is a political organization that represents 49 First Nations living across northern Ontario with a total population of some 50,000 people, the majority of whom are youth. Grand Chief Fiddler stated, "Hundreds of our young people, some as young as 10-years-old, are taking their lives while living in poverty, hopelessness and despair and without immediate action there will be no end in sight. This crisis is a national tragedy and the time for action is now." He said NAN is looking for immediate assistance from both levels of government including "crisis response teams to immediately begin to assist communities as well as developing a long-term strategy for suicide prevention including physical and mental health services and counselling and addiction treatment" and other investments that would turn things around.

NAN points out that between 1986 and 2016, there have been more than 500 suicides in NAN First Nations. Of these, 270 were children and youth between the ages of 10 and 20.

The issue of youth suicide among the Indigenous peoples living in NAN territory and across Canada is directly linked to their historic abuse and mistreatment at the hands of the Canadian colonial state and its racist policies aimed at assimilating Indigenous peoples into Canadian society. This historical fact is pointed out in the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and many other documents and reports. It is reflected in the fact that federal governments -- as noted in the recent Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision -- continue to criminally underfund child welfare and other much needed programs mandated by treaty to Indigenous peoples. These constitute crimes against humanity.

On the same day that Grand Chief Fiddler called for the Special Emergency Task Force, the Mushkegowuk Tribal Council -- one of the seven Tribal Councils that comprise NAN -- released a report, The People's Inquiry Into Our Suicide Pandemic. The inquiry was a response to the ongoing suicide pandemic in the eight First Nations that make up that Tribal Council. Between the years 2009 and 2011, it is estimated that over 600 children and youth thought about or tried to take their own life and many committed suicide. A state of emergency was declared but the federal government ignored their requests for support. Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon of the Mushkegowuk Tribal Council stated at the NAN Chiefs' press conference that in the face of continued government inaction and indifference: "The Mushkegowuk were forced to take the situation into our own hands; we didn't want to see any more of our family members and children die. The people sourced their own funding to conduct the inquiry and started an in-depth review of ourselves, by ourselves." The Inquiry's final report can be found at peoplesinquiry.com.

Among other things, the report states: "One hundred years ago, we were self-reliant, self-governing nations living in harmony with our neighbours and all that lives on our lands or in our waters. We shared the land in ways that did not disrupt or threaten our survival. [...] In 1905 the King's representatives promised our ancestors that this satisfying way of living would not change. [...] Instead, the sharing has been one-sided. Our way of life was radically disrupted and we were herded into settlements with substandard housing and infrastructure."

TML Weekly supports the demands of the NAN that federal and provincial governments immediately strike an Emergency Task Force and provide all funding and resources necessary to address the suicide epidemic. This is the least that can be done towards preventing further tragedies, let alone ending the racist colonial relations and the legacy of the residential school system and other crimes that have been committed against the Indigenous peoples at the root of this crisis. Putting an end to these colonial relations once and for all requires Indigenous peoples, Canadians and the Quebec people strengthening their political unity and stepping up their collective struggle to renew the political arrangements in Canada to establish modern nation-to-nation relations that recognize the sovereignty and independence of Indigenous people and guarantee economic, political, cultural and social rights for all peoples. 

(With files from www.nan.on.ca, www.mushkegowuk.com)

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Haitian Elections Postponed Indefinitely

Hands Off Haiti! No More Death Squad Democracy!

"We Will Not Obey!"

On January 22, two days before the Haitian presidential runoff election and third-round elections for a number of seats in the Senate and Chamber of Deputies were scheduled to take place, the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) called off the elections indefinitely. "January 24 is no longer opportune for having elections considering the threats against the electoral infrastructure and on the population who would have to go vote," CEP president Pierre-Louis Opont announced at a news conference. First round legislative elections were held in August 2015 and first round presidential elections October 25, 2015. The second-round presidential elections, initially planned for December 27, had already been delayed twice before the latest postponement.[1]

The postponement comes after Haitians across the country took to the streets in their thousands during the week leading up to the scheduled vote to demand the complete cancellation of the elections after massive fraud was discovered in the August and October rounds of voting. Chanting what has become a slogan of the movement, "Nou Pap Obey!" ("We will not obey"), the people have stepped up their demands, calling for President Michel Martelly to resign before his term ends on February 7.

The Haitian people consider the foreign-dominated electoral process illegitimate. Were the election to take place it would do nothing to resolve the deepening political crisis. The foreign countries occupying and interfering in Haiti's internal affairs -- the U.S., France, Canada and others -- have not been able to get away with declaring the people's support for their regimes due to the determined resistance the people wage. Instead of recognizing the Haitian people for their determination to ensure that elections are not a mechanism to legitimize a foreign coup d'etat and their disempowerment, these countries present Haitians' resistance to the fraudulent elections as the problem.

The daughters and sons of slaves who liberated themselves from their colonial oppressors more than two hundred years ago continue to defend that historic victory. The stand of the Haitian people against another electoral coup is a continuation of their centuries-long fight against repeated attempts by foreign countries to keep them in thrall. Today the U.S., France and Canada are the main bearers of the longstanding grudge of imperialism against Haiti and declare themselves the judge, jury and executioner of the Haitian people's destiny.

Haitians demonstrate outside UN in New York, December 11, 2015.

The monopoly media blame the Haitian people for the postponement, claiming the election was cancelled due to "violence." This serves to hide the imperialists' ongoing attempts to violate the rights of the Haitian people and in particular the massive fraud uncovered by the country's own election verification commission and the overwhelming evidence that the votes were rigged.

While these three countries talk about free and fair elections and transparency, these phrases mean nothing when they do not serve to bring about the outcome they want. It is these same countries which orchestrated the coup in 2004 to remove the democratically-elected Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power and from the country, then imposed a United Nations military mission to prevent the outraged Haitian people from exercising their right to sovereignty and self-determination. Subsequently these countries imposed elections that banned the largest political party and social movement in the country, Lavalas, from participating.

According to the Constitution, current Haitian President Michel Martelly is empowered until February 7, after which it is not clear what will take place. Haitians are now mobilizing to ensure that these foreign countries cannot block the people's forces from playing their decisive role in politics, including any future electoral process. This includes the Lavalas political movement.

The countries organized in what is called the "Core Group" on Haiti with the U.S., France and Canada at the head are now positioning themselves in hopes of not losing control over the political process.

TML Weekly calls on Canadians to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Haitian people at this time. They should remain alert and ready to oppose whatever the foreign countries may do, including once again setting into motion death squads, to keep the situation under their control and prevent any resolution which favours the people from emerging.

Who Said What

Fanmi Lavalas

In a statement issued after the cancellation of the January 24 vote, Haitian political party Lavalas applauded the Haitian people and called on them to continue their mobilizations for sovereignty and dignity.

"[...] Fanmi Lavalas bows deeply to the courage and dignity of the Haitian people, who managed to slow this infernal electoral coup. Congratulations for this victory! We will never stop mobilizing and showing our commitment for a true democracy in the country, and this was done once again after their failure of December 27 and January 17 of the key elements of the electoral coup, the Provisional Electoral Council and the [political party] Tèt Kale and the international community (Core Group) -- on January 24, 2016. [...]

Lavalas pointed out that "the battle is not over. The electoral coup is not finished. Right now, it is the same coup that takes another form. The conspirators are trying to continue with a second round [...] while the report of the Presidential Commission of Electoral Evaluation shows clear evidence of fraud and serious irregularities. This is the same massive fraud that Fanmi Lavalas had denounced after its visit to the tabulation center on 21 and 22 November 2015."

"[...] Fanmi Lavalas continues to require an independent verification commission to provide the Haitian people the truth about the results of the polling day 25 October and to allow the continuation of the electoral process. The formation of this Commission, its mandate and the agenda should be prepared in consultation with all sectors of the opposition. Fanmi Lavalas asks for the dismissal of the Electoral Council of [Pierre-Louis] Opont.

"Fanmi Lavalas will quickly sit with parties, political organizations, and all other sectors in the country to provide a response to the political crisis and prepare for the continuation of the electoral process in Haiti for a legitimate government that will work for the country to regain its sovereignty and dignity.

"Fanmi Lavalas declares that the mobilization must not stop because the coup machine has not stopped yet: each neighborhood, each zone, each department take up your responsibilities. Fanmi Lavalas continues to support all mobilizations across the country."

Jude Célestin

The candidate declared the runner-up in the first presidential round held in October, Jude Célestin, called the cancellation "a victory." Célestin had refused to participate in the runoff. He called the October results "a ridiculous farce" and demanded that the recommendations of the country's elections verification commission be enacted to improve transparency in the runoff.

"Core Group"

The "Core Group" is comprised of the ambassadors of the U.S., France and Canada, as well as of Brazil (which heads the UN's "peacekeeping stabilization" military mission in Haiti known as MINUSTAH), the EU and Spain and the Special Representatives of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations Secretary General in Haiti.

In a statement on behalf of the "Core Group," the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Haiti and political head of MINUSTAH Sandra Honoré said that it "continued [its] support for the conclusion of an inclusive and equitable electoral process while supporting efforts aimed at finding a way forward that ensures the democratic renewal of State institutions.

"The 'Core Group' continues to extend its full support for efforts to find consensual and constructive solutions to Haiti's ongoing governance challenges, through elections and through dialogue among interested parties.

"The members of the 'Core Group' deplore the recent acts of electoral violence and call on the national authorities, political parties, candidates and supporters, and the electorate in general to participate in the electoral process with responsibility and restraint, so that the people of Haiti can express their will in a climate free of intimidation and violence."

Similar statements deploring "violence" and saying nothing about the rampant electoral fraud the Haitian people have been protesting were issued by the "Core Group" member states.

United States

U.S. State Department Special Coordinator for Haiti Kenneth Merten was quoted by Haiti Libre as saying, "Realistically speaking [...] we may be looking at some sort of temporary solution until there is a handover to a new elected president. Our fear is that we go into a situation that is open ended [...] In our analysis that is a dangerous place to go."

What is not a good thing," Merten said, "is seeing people out on the streets and creating disruption and intimidation, that is not acceptable in our view. We are watching it very carefully, we are very concerned; we hope that dialogue between the candidates, the president and the president of the Senate and others can come to a solution." He indicated the U.S. wants to see new elections take place quickly but did not specify that they should occur before February 7, when the Constitution requires that Martelly, who has been ruling by decree for over a year, step down.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Mark Toner also made the issue one of "violence," saying the U.S. "expects that persons responsible for organizing, financing, or participating in electoral intimidation and violence will be held accountable in accordance with Haitian law."


During a press briefing on January 26, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development issued a statement stating that "France expresses its concern following the deferral, for security reasons, of the second round of presidential and legislative elections. It condemns the violence of the last few days and is committed to the rapid conclusion of the electoral process begun in August 2015.

"We call on the parties to reach compromises that make it possible to conclude this last step in the electoral process in a peaceful climate that respects the voters' choices.

"Given the severity of the economic, social and humanitarian challenges facing Haiti, working in a united fashion to bring about recovery is more necessary than ever.

"As a partner and friend of Haiti, France renews its commitment to support it on this path."


On January 24, Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie issued a most cynical statement raising concern about the postponement. Their statement did not raise any concern whatsoever for the fraud that characterized the earlier rounds of the legislative and presidential elections in Haiti. Instead, it placed the blame on the Haitian people who refuse to accept that a second round election be based on earlier fraudulent results.

"Canada is closely monitoring the electoral process in Haiti and deplores the violent acts of the past few days, which have led the country's Provisional Electoral Council to postpone the elections that should have been held today," the statement said.

"Canada regrets the lack of willingness to achieve consensus in pursuing the electoral process, which has resulted in the current crisis and to the suspension of the electoral calendar."

Showing the Canadian government's determination to impose an outcome which the Haitian people reject, the statement added: "Concluding the second round of presidential elections is essential to Haiti's stability and to the upholding of Haitians' democratic rights.

"As a partner of Haiti and the Haitian people, Canada encourages Haiti's political actors to work together so that the partial legislative elections and second round of presidential elections may be held as quickly as possible.

"Haitians are facing enormous economic and humanitarian challenges. To overcome these challenges and realize their aspirations, the Haitian people need to be able to rely on leaders who are elected and accountable to the public.

"Canada is closely monitoring the electoral process in Haiti and deplores the violent acts of the past few days, which have led the country's Provisional Electoral Council to postpone the elections that should have been held today."

Canada's new Ambassador to Haiti, Paula Caldwell St-Onge was quoted in Le Devoir as saying that Canada agrees with the favourable assessment of the October elections by the OAS. Caldwell St-Onge claimed that accusations of electoral fraud only began to be heard after the results were made known on November 5, from those who had hoped to win but did not.[2]

Le Devoir also reports that Canada invested $20 million in the current Haitian elections, including close to $11 million through the UN Program for Development for the actual holding of the elections and $9 million paid to the U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI) "which supports Haitian civil society organizations" for electoral observers.


The Government of Brazil also issued a statement "condemning the recent episodes of violence in the country" and "urg[ing] the Haitian political forces to repudiate, unequivocally, the use of violence." It called for those participating in the presidential elections to "work together in search of a consensus with a view to the prompt resumption and early conclusion of the electoral process." Brazil concluded by "reaffirm[ing] its permanent solidarity and commitment with the cause of a democratic and stable Haiti, according to the sovereign will of the Haitian people and in consultation with the United Nations and other countries and organizations associated with such goal."

United Nations

In response to the postponement, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, "The Secretary-General [...] strongly urges all stakeholders to work towards the peaceful completion of the electoral process without delay, through the forging of a consensual solution that will allow the people of Haiti to exercise their right to vote for the election of a new president and the remaining representatives of the new Parliament."

The observer missions of the European Union and the Organization of American States also issued a similar appeal, while condemning "the acts of violence across the country" that Provisional Electoral Council President Pierre Louis-Opont cited as the reason for postponing the January 24 vote.

Organization of American States

At the request of Haitian President Michel Martelly, the Organization of American States (OAS) convened an extraordinary session of its Permanent Council on January 27 in response to the cancellation of the January 24 vote.

In convening the special meeting, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said, "Despite the critical situation Haiti is facing, it is absolutely necessary we contribute to mold a democratic solution out of this conundrum. In that regard, a representative and plural transition government with a pre-established exit date should be constituted. The legitimacy and sustainability of this transition government will be guaranteed with the participation and commitment of all major political and social stakeholders. One of the immediate purposes of this transition government is to restore political and social stability to the country and to build minimum trust between political actors. From this standpoint, the transition government will then need to work on improving conditions to restore the electoral process and authority's credibility."

At the meeting, Haiti's permanent representative to the OAS said that President Martelly's request that the OAS send a high-level mediation mission to Haiti was not an appeal for interference, but a "call to solidarity" so that Haiti would "avoid falling into political chaos."

The OAS subsequently announced that a mission would be sent. Its work will include engaging in "a dialogue with all appropriate parties" with the mandate and limits under which it will act to be set by "the legitimate government of Haiti at this moment." It added that "any other action beyond that would be an intervention that Haiti does not want, and that we want even less."

Current OAS chairman, Ronald Sanders, the Permanent Representative of Antigua, said that without the intervention of the OAS there would be "utter bloodshed" in Haiti.

Meanwhile, former OAS Special Representative to Haiti, Ricardo Seitenfus of Brazil warned against such an intervention, calling it "a very bad idea." In 2010 Seitenfus was relieved of his post a day after speaking out against interference in the elections held that year by the same countries trying to impose their will on Haiti today. He is quoted in the Huffington Post as saying the OAS duped Haiti in the elections of 2010 and 2011 and was part of the problem, and could not be associated with attempts to find a solution. "If I have any advice to give to the international community," Seitenfus said, "it is to listen to Haitian actors. Without a Haitian solution to the Haitian crisis, there is no salvation."


1. For background information on the October 25, 2015 round of elections, see TML Weekly No. 3, January 16, 2016.

2. Before beginning her mandate in Haiti on October 23, 2015, Ambassador Paula Caldwell St-Onge was Consul General of Canada in Dallas, Texas from 2010 to 2014. In 2005, she joined International Trade Canada, serving as Senior Trade Commissioner at the Consulate General of Canada in São Paulo, Brazil, and then as Minister Counsellor (trade) at the Embassy of Canada in Mexico City.

Ambassador Caldwell St-Onge spent part of her youth in Port-au-Prince where her father was the representative of the Royal Bank of Canada in Haiti.

She graduated in 1982 from Union School in Haiti and later Queens Univ. with a BSc Hons. She was born in Colombia.

(Haiti Libre, Le Devoir. Some quotations edited for style and grammar. Photos: TML, Haiti Information Project, Canadian Haiti Action Network.)

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As Tens of Thousands Foil Fraudulent Elections the Martelly Regime Begins Deploying Death Squads

Mass protest against fraudulent elections, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 22, 2016.

On Friday, January 22, many thousands marched over ten miles up Port-au-Prince's Delmas Road to Pétionville then back down the Bourdon Road to the capital's central square to demand new elections and denounce a government ban on demonstrations that was to begin that midnight.

The marching, chanting multitude scared the daylights out of Haiti's Pétionville elite, loudly pouring into the narrow, tony streets of the wealthy mountain enclave while young men scattered large rocks and telephone poles across roadways and set aflame cars and columns of tires.

The tumultuous day forced Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), six of whose nine members have now resigned in disgrace or disgust, to indefinitely cancel the third round of widely denounced [legislative and presidential] elections, which had been scheduled for Jan. 24.

The Police's Company for Intervention and Maintenance of Order (CIMO) armored vehicles shadowed the marchers on side-streets throughout the afternoon, occasionally engaging them with shots in the air or teargas, but mostly they put out fires with their water cannon trucks and made a show of force in front of ministries and embassies the marchers passed.

Despite the CEP's announcement, the Haitian masses have continued marching in cities throughout Haiti on every day since last Friday's historic march, emboldened by their victory and calling for the immediate departure of President Michel Martelly and the United Nations military occupation troops known as MINUSTAH. Martelly is constitutionally required to step down on Feb. 7.

However, the Martelly regime is now planning to deploy death-squads against the popular uprising and opposition leaders, according to a source in the Haitian National Police (PNH).

The government is also spending tens of thousands of dollars in a bid to buy the allegiance of sectors of the population during the celebratory days leading up to Carnaval, which falls this year on Tue., Feb. 9, two days after Martelly is supposed to resign.

According to a reliable PNH source, on Mon., Jan. 25, a police officer called "Chariot" assigned to the PNH's Presidential Guard and Security Unit (USP) received at the National Palace weapons, four Prado SUVs, and money to sow trouble in the capital's largest slum, Cité Soleil, and the semi-rural suburb north of the capital, La Plaine.

According to the source, Chariot has the collaboration in the USP of a former Lavalas activist named "Yabout," who will be a key actor in the planned terror.

Chariot also gave two Galil rifles to a paramilitary thug known as "Noé" (Noah) to murder anti-Martelly people in La Plaine and Croix des Bouquets, the police source said.

Chariot himself lives in the area of Papo in the capital district of Croix des Missions and owns a nightclub called "Scandale Disco" in the Anba Mapou area of Croix des Missions.

Among the people to be targeted by Chariot's assassins are Rony Colin, the new mayor of Croix des Bouquets, supposedly elected in the contested polling under the banner of the Palmis Party, and Caleb Desrameaux, the similarly elected deputy of Tabarre, from the Vérité (Truth) Party. The assassins would try to make it look like the anti-Martelly opposition was responsible for the murders, according to the police source.

On the morning of Tue., Jan. 26 in Croix des Mission, partisans of Martelly's Haitian Bald Headed Party (Tet Kale -- PHTK) blocked the main artery to Haiti's north, National Highway No. 1, by disabling a tractor-trailer truck in front of the Damiens Bridge. Until [the afternoon of January 26], when this report was written, the truck was still blocking the road and any northbound traffic.

The PNH reportedly received instructions not to intervene if PHTK partisans block roads or demonstrate, our police source said.

According to another anonymous source close to the PNH, the PHTK has distributed 300 million gourdes (U.S.$ 51,000) to mobilize support for the Martelly government in a demonstration scheduled for Jan. 28. The action was originally planned for Jan. 26 but was called off at the last minute. [The January 28 demonstration did go ahead -- TML Ed. Note.]

Meanwhile, Guy Philippe, the leader of the paramilitary "rebel" force which helped overthrow former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004, has declared that he and his partisans "will divide the country" and "are ready for war" against the "anarchists" who stopped the vote, according to Reuters. A former Haitian cop and soldier, Philippe is today a Senate candidate in the now-postponed run-off and a close Martelly ally. He has been holed up in the picturesque south-western seaside town of Pestel since 2004, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has made two half-hearted attempts to arrest him in the last decade. Each time, the accused drug trafficker supposedly could not be found.

As the battle lines in Haiti draw up, the "Group of Eight" [G8] opposition presidential candidates, who contest the results which put the PHTK's Jovenel Moïse in the lead with 33% of the vote, issued their proposal on Jan. 24 for the provisional government that would take over when Martelly steps down. They proposed the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court be named President (as dictated by the 1987 Constitution) and choose a "consensus" prime minister with a cabinet of "no more than 15 ministers" chosen from Haiti's "known political personalities."

This provisional government would then set in place a five-member "independent commission of inquiry" drawn from the leading organizations of the media, human rights, women, the university, and national election observers. After reviewing the results of the elections' violence-and-fraud-plagued first two rounds [of the legislative elections on] Aug. 9 and Oct. 25 [and the first round of the presidential election on Oct. 25], the commission of inquiry would then "recommend to the provisional government of consensus all the measures deemed useful and susceptible to reestablish trust."

The G8 also proposed that the illegally sworn-in parliamentarians determined by the independent commission of having won their seats fraudulently would be "ejected" and the CEP would be reconstituted.

In light of the bloody repression being prepared by the Martelly regime, the G8's moderate and half-step recommendations are likely to enrage the masses, who are chanting "we want revolution" as they march. The last proposal will surely be found particularly galling: "To guarantee the protection of the members of the Tet Kale (Bald Headed) executive against all harassing and wrongful prosecution."

Kim Ives is an editor with Haïti Liberté newsweekly, the host of a weekly Haiti show on WBAI-FM, and a filmmaker who has helped produce several documentaries about Haiti. He has contributed to the Guardian, Democracy Now, Common Dreams, Al Jazeera and The Nation on Haiti and intervention in the country, including manipulation of the 2010 earthquake and revelations in Wikileaks cables.

(Photos: K. Ives)

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We Will Not Obey

Reflecting on the voting rights struggle led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and so many other courageous fighters for justice fifty years ago in the US; on the one person one vote struggle led by Mandela's comrades in South Africa; reflecting on struggles everywhere, we came to the conclusion that a people can't be sovereign if they don't have the right to vote. No people can retain their dignity if their vote does not count. As clearly stated by President Aristide: "If we don't protect our dignity, our dignity will escape us!" That is why we struggle and ask that people the world over with a history of struggle stand in solidarity with us.

Six years after the earthquake that jolted the country, causing the death of hundreds of thousands of Haitians, we, Haitian organizations, in the context of reflection, take our hats off and humbly say to the people all over the planet who opened their hearts to us, "We have not forgotten your acts of solidarity". The sharing impulse manifested by people the world over, should have helped the Haitian people to rebuild their environment, rebuild their lives. Pity! To this day, the people's lot has not changed. Adding insult to injury, shameless characters, local slave owners, empowered by various international organizations, hijacked the reconstruction funds.

Right after the earthquake, the internationals took advantage of our momentary state of helplessness to occupy the political space. Today, the Haitian people are engaged in an all out struggle to reclaim that space and to exercise their right to vote. The very ones who hijacked the reconstruction money want to prevent the people from choosing their government, in a wide scale conspiracy to continue the looting of the country's resources. Subsequent to many schemes designed to remove the people from the political equation, local colonialists joined forces with international colonialists to force the people to accept choices against their best interests. Illegitimate officials implemented urban removal plans and land grabs, assaulting both the middle-class, as well as the poorer classes, putting the country on the brink of collapse. The people's resistance slowed down the "terror apparatus," preventing it from completing this program. Now they want to put more false officials at the helm of the government to continue their assault.

The blatant violence perpetrated in Ile-a-Vache, the hideous massacres perpetrated on the people of Arcahaie, the continuous massacre of the people of Cité Soleil because they manifest a will to vote, various acts of aggression perpetrated throughout the country, in the context of land-grab or voter suppression, convince the Haitian people that they are in a fight for their very existence. We say NO, WE WILL NOT OBEY ILLEGITIMATE OFFICIALS. Self-defense is a legitimate universal law. Civil-Disobedience is an accepted universal right when a people confronts an illegal regime. The right to elect a government is universally accepted as a way for a people to protect its existence. Today, confronted by the danger presented by local and international colonialists, the Haitian people have started a RESISTANCE FOR EXISTENCE movement. They ask for people to people solidarity from everywhere on the planet. The local and international colonialists' plan is not an earthquake, yet it has caused far more damage to the country.

Our experience of the six years since the earthquake is no different than the experience of other small countries with natural and human resources. The internationals loot, have an orgy, while the international media turns a blind eye to lies spread by "their" ambassadors in their country's name. The Haitian army, now being rebuilt to oppress the people, is a gift to the Haitian people by the Organization of American States (OAS). The Cholera epidemic and the blood thirsty and corrupt Haitian Police were United Nations (UN) gifts to the Haitian people. The Media is mute, as the country nears total collapse. We say NO, WE WILL NOT OBEY. We will not dig our own graves. We'd rather tell the truth and expose the conspiracy.

(January 2016)

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Viet Nam

Communist Party Holds 12th National Congress

Opening day of the Congress, January 21, 2016.

The 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of Viet Nam was held in Hanoi's National Convention Center from January 21 to 28.

The Congress carried out its work under the theme "Promoting the building of a pure and strong Party while putting into play the strength of the entire nation and socialist democracy, stepping up reform comprehensively and synchronously, firmly safeguarding the Fatherland and maintaining a peaceful and stable environment, and striving to turn Vietnam into a modernity-oriented industrialized country."

On January 20, delegates paid tribute to President Ho Chi Minh by laying flowers at his mausoleum in Ha Noi, ahead of the Congress' preparatory session.

Those paying tribute included Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung, as well as President of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan, and members of the Political Bureau and the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee.

They expressed their gratitude to the beloved late president and hero of national liberation who laid the ideological foundation of the revolutionary cause of the Communist Party of Viet Nam. The delegation then laid a wreath at the Monument to Heroes and Martyrs.

Top: Congress delegates pay tribute to President Ho Chi Minh and other heroes and martyrs;
bottom: decorations in Hanoi to mark the Congress.

A total of 1,510 delegates representing more than 4.5 million Party members attended the Congress which also received 235 messages of congratulations from foreign parties, organizations, friends and diplomatic corps, the Secretariat of the Congress reported.

The Congress focused on reviewing the implementation of the Resolution of the 11th National Party Congress and three decades of doi moi (renewal), drawing lessons, and defining goals and missions for the entire Party, people and army for the next five years.

As part of the proceedings, Nguyen Phu Trong was re-elected as General Secretary, along with the election of the 200 members of the Party's 12th Central Committee.

In his closing speech, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong announced with pleasure that the 12th National Congress of the CPV had been a success.

He said after eight days of working promptly and seriously in the spirit of "Solidarity -- Democracy -- Discipline -- Renewal" and with a high sense of responsibility, the Congress successfully completed all of the planned working agenda.

Delegates discussed the work in a candid and democratic manner and unanimously passed important documents, including the Political Report and a report evaluating the implementation of socio-economic tasks between 2011 and 2015 and the orientation and tasks for the 2016-2020 period.

They also approved a report reviewing the leadership of the 11th Party Central Committee; another on the execution of the Party statutes in the tenure of the 11th Central Committee, and a document summing up the implementation of the 11th Central Committee's fourth plenum's Resolution on urgent issues in Party-building.

General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong thanked delegates for their trust in the new 12th Central Committee of the Party -- the supreme organ on party affairs.

He said the Committee is deeply aware of its great responsibility towards the Party, the people and the country. On behalf of the Committee, the General Secretary pledged to fulfil their tasks, leading the country to overcome difficulties and challenges to develop further in the coming period.

The Party's leader also took the occasion to thank international parties, organizations, and friends for extending their congratulations to the Congress, which, he said, demonstrate their friendship and solidarity with the Vietnamese Party and people.

He thanked press agencies both at home and abroad for their timely reporting about the Congress.

The General Secretary called on the whole Party, people and army as well as Vietnamese expatriates to uphold patriotism, self-reliance and great national unity to realize the Resolution of the 12th Congress.

This will help open a new development period for the country towards socialism, he concluded.

(CPV, VNA. Photos: VNA, Xinhua)

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Three Decades of Renewal

General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong addresses the Communist Party of Viet Nam's
12th Congress, January 21, 2016.

At the opening session of the Communist Party of Viet Nam's 12th National Congress, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong delivered a report on the 11th Party Central Committee (the 2011-2015 term). The report highlighted core contents of the documents submitted to the Congress. They indicate that Viet Nam is:

- firmly advancing on the path of renewal;

- developing rapidly and sustainably while the country strives to industrialize itself;

- firmly safeguarding the Motherland, maintaining a peaceful and stable environment, improving the effectiveness of its external activities, and proactively integrating into the world;

- putting into play the strength of national unity and socialist democracy, and building and perfecting a law-governed socialist State; and building a pure and strong Party, and improving its leadership and capacity to combat adversity.

The report also reviewed Viet Nam's achievements together with its shortcomings over the past five years, in politics, national security and defence, economics, culture, society, education and training, science and technology, diplomacy and international integration.

Regarding the achievements made in three decades of doi moi (renewal), the report said it was an important period in advancing the cause of national construction and defence.

Viet Nam has made great and historic achievements on the path to socialism and national security. However, there remain a number of major and complex issues that must be dealt with to develop the nation rapidly and sustainably, the report said.

The report underlined that these achievements proved the Party's reform policy was sound and creative, and the country's path to socialism is in accordance with the country's current situation and trends in development, providing an important foundation for continued reform and vigorous growth in the years to come.

It also pointed out that the reform period required more comprehensive and synchronous development in terms of politics, economics, culture, society, national defence and security, and diplomacy.

Of these areas, socio-economic development is the focus, Party-building is the key, building culture and human resources is the moral foundation; and enhancing national defence and security is a vital task.

To conclude, the report named six focal missions for the tenure of the 12th Central Committee (2016-2020).

The first is to enhance Party-building and reorganization; prevent and fight the degradation of political thought, morality and lifestyle; and train a contingent of capable and reputable officials capable of performing their tasks.

The second mission is to organize a political system with lean, efficient and effective apparatus, and bolster the fight against corruption, wastefulness and bureaucracy.

Third, it is necessary to promote growth, labour productivity and competitiveness, and accelerate national industrialization and modernization with a focus on rural areas and new-style rural areas.

The fourth task is to resolutely safeguard the country's independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, and ensure peace and stability for national development.

The fifth mission is to put all the country's resources and the people's creativity into promoting the strength of national unity.

The last is to develop human resources in terms of morality, personality, lifestyle, intelligence and working capacity.


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25th Anniversary of Outbreak of U.S. War in Persian Gulf

Remarks by Comrade Hardial Bains to the
Party's Basic Organization in Hamilton

Protests in Toronto (left) and Halifax oppose the Gulf War.

Twenty-five years ago, a U.S.-led coalition that included Britain, France, Canada, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria attacked Iraq on January 16-17, 1991, launching the Persian Gulf War. On January 17, 1991, Comrade Hardial Bains addressed CPC(M-L)'s Basic Organization in Hamilton. TML Weekly is reprinting his remarks below.

* * *

All the democratic forces and broad masses of the people should be informed at once that the Party resolutely condemns the U.S. attack against Iraq which began last night. This attack has motives other than those which they claim, namely to end the Iraqi aggression against Kuwait. Their motive is that in their so-called new world order, the United States of America will be the world gendarme, the world policeman, and it will police according to its wishes. If anyone steps out of line, the U.S. will use violence against them. If a country submits to them and is their pawn and tool, like Israel, then they will protect them.

Thus, this is not a new world order in which all nations and peoples, big and small, have the right to exist and to settle their own affairs in accordance with the conditions of their own countries and regions and the requirements of their relations with their neighbours. The people should be told that our Party resolutely condemns any definition of new world order in which one superpower or several big powers together can dictate to the world what should go on. This is not the definition of a new world order. This is actually reinforcing the old world order.

Our Party resolutely condemns, not only the attack on Iraq, but any form of interference in the Arabian peninsula, or in the Middle East as a whole. Our Party believes that all the problems that have occurred through the decades have been caused by the interference of foreigners -- from the colonial period of the British, French and others to the 1950s when the U.S. began trying to establish its hegemony in the area and to date. Peace will come to the Middle East only if all foreign intervention and interference, military aid and the sale of military equipment is ended.

It should also be explained to the people that we are resolutely opposed to the government of Brian Mulroney for carrying out this deceptive propaganda that the United States is for a new world order, and for its own full collaboration to reinforce the old world order. It should be pointed out that this amounts not only to appeasement, but to actually siding with the aggressor to reinforce the old world order, with gun-boat diplomacy as the order of the day. The U.S. has the right, as does any country, to express its opinion that Iraq should leave Kuwait, but it has no right to organize an attack on Iraq. If their aim was a peaceful one, then there were a lot of other avenues open to find a solution without resorting to war. The fact that they pushed for war, right from the outset, shows that their design was to establish their economics, political, and military control of this region to serve their own interests.

No sooner had the attack taken place than the French joined the Americans, British and others in this attack. Why? Because the French president also wanted to be at the table of the robbers. Then Italy and Holland joined. They don't want to be left out either. This is a war of robbers, and Brian Mulroney cannot convince the people that it is a way to establish a new world order. In the new world order, the use of force to settle affairs between countries cannot be accepted. The mere fact that one country uses force does not mean that others are justified in doing the same. It cannot be that way. People carry on their struggles, establishing political unity, putting forward their ideological stances thereby creating a situation where peace can be achieved through non-military means.

The peace and stability which the United States claims it wants to achieve through this war will never come about. They are sowing the seeds of much bigger conflicts, and it will go on. Behind it lie the self-serving interests of the United States, Britain and other countries.

For Jean Chretien, leader of the Liberal Party, to advocate that Canada should march under the banner of the United Nations, and that under those conditions the use of force would be justified, is equally unwarranted. The United Nations should not use force in order to settle these matters. It should not become an organ of the big powers, with big military means at its disposal. This would be to reinforce the same old world order. When the Liberal Party says that now that the war has been unleashed the government should be supported, it shows that if the Liberal Party were in power it would have acted no differently from the Conservatives. As for the NDP, for them to say that they disagree with an offensive role for Canadian forces in the Gulf, but not to condemn the U.S., not to join with all Canadians to remove the Mulroney government for dragging Canada into the war, shows that it is not serious. It shows that the NDP is also on the side of the U.S.

We have to make it very clear that those who are protesting the war in Iraq, especially the youth, are expressing the pure feelings of the people, and these youth should be supported. They may be confused, they may not be clear in ideological terms, they may be under the influence of pacifism or anarchism, or they may be used by various intriguers and provocateurs, but in all cases we should sympathize and work with them. They will learn that their protest movement is very noble and expresses the best wishes and feelings of the people against these warmongers. At the same time, they will learn that the protest movement is not enough. They will learn that we have to fight to bring about real democracy and real democratic institutions in our own country, so that not only in this battle can the people impeach and remove the Mulroney government for its actions, but ensure that in the future, anybody who goes against the democratic will of the people, their desire to live in peace and their desire to have genuine democracy, can also be removed.

This means that a very heavy responsibility rests on all of us. The message should be taken to the workers that they should be helping their youth, they should be assisting them to see a future where a new world order and real democracy can come into being. These youth should be inspired not just to protest but also to find political solutions for these problems. They should be educated, in the course of political actions, to organize those people, those candidates, those committees which will protect people's democratic rights, including the right to live in peace, and eliminate these imperialist war preparations which as everybody can now see were not just against the Soviet Union, but against others. In the same fashion, the Soviet Union's war preparations turned out to be against Georgia and so on. These youth should open a future for themselves, a future of real democracy, a future where the natural environment can also be protected.

In the meantime, our Party has already set for itself very definite tasks. It has taken bold steps to strengthen itself, to build the organizations of the broadest sections of the people, and to build the Party Press and the non-Party press. It has its program. This war, which is unleashed by the Americans and imposed on us by Brian Mulroney, cannot divert us from these tasks. Without organizing the working class, without strengthening the Party and fulfilling the aims of the class, and without realizing the tasks which we have set for this period, it would not be possible to accomplish any other tasks. It would not be possible to help the youth, nor to draw all kinds of democratic forces into a broad front against the warmongers. In this respect, we have also a very heavy responsibility to ensure that ideological questions are not permitted to in any way become an obstacle to political unity against the warmongers. At the same time, we have to ensure that our ideological positions are well known to everyone and that we wage every kind of struggle, especially the ideological struggle, against all forms of bourgeois ideology which hinder the development of this political unity.

It is very important to pay attention to the work among women as well as the work amongst the youth. Serious consideration should be given, for example, to women calling their own demonstrations, elaborating their own program of action to oppose the war in Iraq, and linking this to the struggle for democracy. The youth should be educated and put into action. Those who are involved in organizing the youth should explain to them the connection between the warmongering policy which is being pursued by the Mulroney government and the anti-democratic methods which it uses on every occasion, whether it was to impose the Cruise Missile testing, (the same Cruise missiles being used in the Arabian peninsula today) or the GST or this war itself, all in defiance of the people's opposition. This means that the youth should actively participate in the reform of the electoral process. The youth should demand the right to recall or impeach those elected representatives who go against the interests of the people. At the same time, they should deal with the constitutional problem. Canada needs a new constitution, one which is worked out by the people. Without dealing with these problems, we will be repeatedly facing the same situation in which the people want one thing and the government does something else, where the politicians say one thing during elections when they are in the opposition, and another when they are in government.

The youth, the workers and the women should be inspired to turn their opposition to this war, and to the Mulroney government for getting Canada into an unjust war, into a torrential force for the building of real democracy. They should be imbued with the spirit of proletarian internationalism. They should resolutely support the struggles for democratic reform in all the countries of the world, including the Eastern European countries, and they should support the right of all nations to self-determination. They should support the struggle of the peoples in the Baltic states, in Georgia and other Soviet republics. They should support the peoples who are fighting for an end to racism in South Africa, the people in Palestine who are fighting for their homeland, the people in India who are fighting against communal violence and fascist terror, and all the struggles for real democracy around the globe.

All the basic organizations of the Party should have their feet firmly on the ground so they are one with the masses and have the strongest links with them. In a thoughtful, mature manner, the basic organizations should act with initiative in their own hands. In this way, they can achieve the results which the people want to achieve, they can build the truly democratic society which the workers and people of Canada want to build.

In Canada today, pragmatism is being pushed as the official ideology and every kind of deception and lies are used against the people. Even those who profess to be the leaders of the working class work against the interests of the workers. Those who say they are the leaders of women also work against the interests of women. Those who speak in the name of peace work against the interests of peace. An atmosphere of abstraction is created, in which absolute ideas are bandied about, in order to cover up the reality. Thus, when George Bush says what he really wanted was a peaceful solution, what does it mean? How could this peaceful desire turn into war? When Brian Mulroney says he really wanted peace, what does it mean? These are deeds of war and words of peace. This is the falseness, the hiatus between word and deed, which only the coming generation, the workers, youth, women and all the democratic forces can bring to an end. They can create a new situation in which word and deed will become one, in the realization of a genuinely democratic society. Let us tell everyone that this is our Party's response to the U.S. war against Iraq!

For the Party, it is not a "single issue." It touches all the important aspects of our lives, and this is why the response is so profound. It is a response where everything is linked together in one great struggle which this humanity must wage to liberate itself from all the forces which are binding it to the old world order. The new world order has captured the imagination of the people. Let them now come forward to realize it in deeds in real life! That is the call of our times. And that is why our response cannot be just to have some protest movement or some isolated action or just to write one or two articles, speeches or leaflets. We must respond in a profound manner to the situation, and the Party's response is a just and important one.

Immediately there should be full discussion in the basic organizations, and on that basis, the branches should let the working class and people know where the Party stands. The leading organs of the Party will of course voice their opinions as well, but the basic organizations should also give their views. Hoist the banner of justice in each city! Let the democratic and peace-loving people know where the Party stands! The people need a clear-cut, unvacillating, anti-dogmatic stand, a stand which helps the creation of the new world order, and we must fulfil that need without delay. We should call upon the people, irrespective of their ideology, political affiliation, region of origin, etc., to come forward and unite, and call upon the workers to constitute the core of the new committees for these aims. It is all the democratic and peace-loving forces, the workers, youth and women together with us who should head these committees and also take these initiatives. As the leader of the Party, I have full confidence both in the ability of our comrades and the possibilities which our basic organizations have created, as well as in the working class and people. I am also fully confident that our thinking is the same as that of the workers and broad masses of the people, because we have no other aims or interests than their aims and interests. On this firm basis, let us organize to win!

(TML Daily, Vol. 21, No. 8, January 17, 1991. Photos: C. McConnell, Envision Productions)

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