September 17, 2016 - No. 36
What to Expect
Implementation" of Anti-Social Offensive
Government's Phony Consultations
- K.C. Adams -
• Canada's International Agenda
Matters of Concern at
the United Nations
• 71st Session of the United Nations General
• Defence Ministers' Meeting on Reform of
End the U.S. Blockade
• Cuba Prepares for 25th Annual UN
Condemnation of Blockade
• U.S. Prevents Spanish Bank from
Offering Services to Cuba
What to Expect as Parliament Opens
Government Gears Up for "Relentless
Implementation" of Anti-Social Offensive
The first session of the 42nd Parliament resumes
September 19 at 11:00 am after a two-and-a-half-month hiatus.
What is the Trudeau government's agenda for the coming
The answer lies in the
agenda adopted at the retreat held by
the ruling Liberal Party in Sudbury, Ontario from August 21 to
22. The Liberal Party of Canada adopted a program of "relentless
implementation" of the anti-social agenda they have been putting
in place since the 2015 federal election which gave them a
majority government. When everything is said and done, the aim is
to continue the trend of concentrating economic and political
power in fewer and fewer hands.
At the retreat, the Liberals announced that they will
begin making "hard choices" that will "not please everyone."
Media speculated that it is the end of "the honeymoon" and that
the Liberals will now do all the unpopular things to get them out
of the way well before the next election. Trudeau told media at a
press conference following the retreat, "There are going to be
difficult decisions and challenges ahead of us on everything from
natural resources to investments to trade deals."
Already in July the Trudeau government issued permits
advance construction of the massively-opposed Site C dam
pay-the-rich scheme on the Peace River in British Columbia. The
government is set to decide on approval for the Pacific NorthWest
liquefied natural gas project in BC by October 2 and the Kinder
Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline by December.
Already in early September, a "report" indicated that
plans to approve the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline
expansion project. The report was released in the underhanded
manner established under the Harper government of giving
exclusive stories to the news agency of U.S. financial services
monopoly Bloomberg. Bloomberg News, citing "people familiar with
his plans," said that Trudeau "plans to neither approve all the
projects under consideration nor reject them all."
The buzz phrases of "hard
choices" and "difficult decisions"
are repeated by government and media in a manner which seems
designed to imbue the people with the idea that there is no
alternative, they are not in control, and the resultant feelings
of helplessness, hopelessness and humiliation. The idea that the
interests of the people can be "balanced" with the interests of
the rich is prevalent even as people plainly see the rich getting
away with reneging on their responsibilities. The people are
supposed to accept an agenda that goes against their interests
because some aspects will allegedly favour them.
The "hard choices" never include choices that challenge
monopoly right. The bottom line is that decisions about matters
of concern to Canadians, especially the economy, the environment
and questions related to war and peace are to be left in the
hands of the rich. On this basis, Canadians are supposed to give
up their political movement in defence of rights and hope that
within the "hard choices" they will be favoured in some
instances. The problem for the Trudeau government and the private
interests it represents is that Canadians, Quebeckers and
Indigenous peoples continue to affirm their rights in the face of
all attempts to get them to submit.
Like the two previous Liberal Cabinet retreats, in
and April, this one was addressed by Michael Barber, the founder
of so-called Deliverology. This neo-liberal method has been
adopted by the Trudeau government to activate the anti-human
factor/anti-social consciousness and deliver what the monopolies
demand at the fastest possible speed. Barber has advised the
Trudeau government on restructuring the public service to impose
the anti-social offensive more effectively. He also spoke of the
government being "bound to make hard choices" and noted, "In year
two you really need a focus on relentless implementation, on
taking some difficult decisions where you can't please all of the
people all the time...."
In this regard Trudeau and other ministers hold
every two weeks with Matthew Mendelsohn, former head of the Mowat
Centre and now Deputy Secretary for "Results and Delivery" in the
Privy Council. In
Trudeau revealed the "results" delivered by the Liberals so far,
saying "How we actually figure out whether what we're doing is
having a positive impact on the lives of Canadians isn't
something that governments have spent a tremendous amount of time
worrying about in the past."
In this way, the Liberal government is preparing to
its negation of rights. The government has identified its "big
three relationships" to focus on in the coming period as
federal-provincial relations, relations with Indigenous peoples
and relations with the U.S., all of which herald serious abuse of
power which Canadians need to address. It is a program which
clearly continues nation-wrecking and undermining the well-being
of the people.
This issue of TML Weekly is providing
what to expect from the Trudeau Liberal government in the coming
months. All fronts are accompanied by unprecedented levels of
disinformation over what the ruling elite are up to, the new
arrangements they are putting in place and whose interests these
1. The Mowat Centre is a
neo-liberal think tank that
specializes in "evidence-based applied public policy
Liberal Government's Phony Consultations
The Liberal government has been conducting phony
consultations on a myriad of fronts which it is using to unite
the ruling class behind one program said to represent Canadian
values and Canada's national interest. Meanwhile, based on silly
results like tweets and emailed responses to questionnaires which
it interprets as "input by Canadians," the government
fraudulently claims popular support for its programs. It is
reported that these consultations will come to an end before the
new year. After this, the government says it will determine how
to use the results. It is clear Canadians will be faced with a
barrage of phony "hard choices" that are fraudulently claimed to
have come from the people themselves.
Consultations on the
Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and the Comprehensive Economic
Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union have yet to be
given an official end date. However, the government has already
made plain its intention to adopt them. It has begun to issue
reports promoting the economic benefits of the TPP and declaring
that anyone who opposes "globalization" is for protectionism,
implying that they represent retrogressive views that promote
xenophobia and other bad things. This is to cover up that
globalization as such is a fact of life and that what people
oppose is the neo-liberal agenda of the international financial
oligarchy and its corollaries -- state terrorism and imperialist
The Canada Post Review will conclude on December 31,
report issued by the government-appointed Task Force in early
September calls for further dismantling of the public post office
and attacks the rights of postal workers. The government and its
Task Force have set the parameters of the review as choices
between various kinds of privatization and attacks on workers.
Proposals brought forward by postal workers or Canadians based on
strengthening the public post office have not been deemed worthy
of consideration by the government. The September 22 issue of the
publication of the
Workers' Centre of CPC(M-L), Workers' Forum, deals with
this review and other assaults on unions, workers' rights and
underhanded changes to labour law.
The Consultation on National Security will end on
The government stated when it launched the process that it will
then "begin the process of crafting new legislation, policy
options and/or programs," including on information-sharing
between security agencies, collection of Canadians' personal data
and "counter-radicalization." As part of the consultation, the
government has issued a Green Paper called National Security:
Our Security, Our Rights, a backgrounder document, and the 2016
Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada:
a Safe and Resilient Canada. The documents divert discussion
on security and rights into a discussion on "violent extremists,"
which is then used to justify all the exceptional measures
outside of the rule of law that the government says it needs to
combat them. By enacting legislation to make impunity legal, the
fraud is perpetrated that we have a government of laws. In fact,
unfettered police powers are all that remain of the former public
A Defence Policy Review
consultation ended on July 31 and the
Department of National Defence informs that it is "compiling and
reviewing the information received" for "the development of
Canada's new defence policy to be launched in early 2017." A
serious concern of Canadians is how the Defence Policy Review
reintroduced the idea of Canada joining the U.S. missile defence
program and other warmongering measures already rejected by the
Perfunctory consultations on electoral reform finish on
October 7, followed by a final report to Parliament on December
1. The next issue of TML Weekly will address that
As concerns the major focus for the fall -- what
communications director Kate Purchase called "the big three
relationships" -- they too are being used to railroad anti-social
arrangements. These are the relationship with provincial and
territorial governments; with Indigenous peoples; and with the
U.S. Besides other things, the government hopes to squeeze new
life out of Canada's outdated constitutional framework. To
identify these relationships as the "big three" is no
consolation, given the experience of autoworkers with the defunct
arrangements in the automobile industry.
Current federal-provincial relations are enshrined in
the British North America Act, 1867. Despite
adjustments made since then, they addressed the requirement of a
world which has long since passed away. Today sharp
inter-monopoly contradictions exist over powersharing under the
dictate of making the biggest monopolies number one on the world
market. A problem of federal-provincial powersharing
arises as a result of the need to have one authority not several
to negotiate the sellout of Canada. The Liberals blame Harper's
confrontational attitude for the problems related to
federal-provincial powersharing while they claim their
cooperative approach will yield better results and they are
themselves working hard to complete anti-people arrangements with
the "cooperation" of the provinces. They are now involved in
preparing a number of new federal-provincial agreements to be
finalized in the coming months. What all these contradictions in
fact show is the need to completely renovate the Constitution on
a new historical basis where it is the working class which
constitutes the nation, not the bourgeoisie. Only in this way
will the interests of the people, not exclusively those of the
rich, be served.
These new federal-provincial agreements being
- An agreement on internal trade. A "Canadian Free
Agreement" was signed in July by Premiers at the meeting of the
Council of the Federation in Whitehorse, but its contents have
not been made public.
- A new Canada Health Accord. The current Accord
April 1, 2017, and Minister of Health Jane Philpott says the
federal government is opposed to increasing health care transfer
payments to provinces and instead favours "targeted spending" on
areas such as privatized home care;
- A national climate change strategy in the form of an
agreement with the provinces to implement the joint agreements
already announced between the U.S. and Canada. This will be the
subject of a meeting with premiers in late October.
- Legislation to put in place changes to the Canada
Plan to reflect a tentative agreement reached between the federal
government and most provincial governments in early
Relations with Indigenous Peoples
To divert from the fact that the Liberals' program has
nothing to do with ending the colonial relations imposed on
Indigenous peoples, media reported that Trudeau in particular is
trying to "dampen expectations" in regards to "building
On the relationship with Indigenous peoples most
for the Trudeau government is to implement what it calls a "new
fiscal relationship." Trudeau said the "new relationship" will
provide "funding that is sufficient, predictable and sustained."
Funding for what and decided and directed by whom is of course
not discussed. What is known is that the "new fiscal
relationship" is part of the government's efforts to obtain
"social licence" from Indigenous nations for resource extraction
and other projects on Indigenous territory. This involves the
program of "modern-day treaties" -- a buzz phrase which refers to
arrangements which negate hereditary rights.
The Trudeau government has announced that it will not
introduce laws to implement the United Nations Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), Minister of Justice Jody
Wilson-Raybould stated in July. Ratifying the document in
Canadian law is "simplistic," "unworkable," and "a political
distraction," she said. Instead Wilson-Raybould said the UNDRIP
would be implemented via "agreements between the federal
government and Indigenous organizations." This illustrates how
the government is introducing new ways of negating hereditary
rights by sleight of hand outside the rule of law.
Far from the "new fiscal
relationship" reversing decades of
underfunding of badly-needed social programs for Indigenous
peoples, it has become a serious attack against them.
During the 2015 federal election the Liberals promised
"immediately" lift a two per cent cap on annual growth of
investments in social programs and services for Indigenous
peoples. This cap was set under the Chrétien Liberals in 1995.
The result was that services declined year by year based on
population growth, inflation and other factors.
The government claimed that the cap was lifted with its
2016-2017 federal budget. Now, however, documents obtained by the
Canadian Press in June show base funding for Indigenous and
Northern Affairs Canada for that fiscal year has remained within
the two per cent growth limit. An internal memo stated that
overall annual programs for Indigenous peoples grew by three per
On July 12, the government signed a Memorandum of
Understanding with Perry Belgarde, National Chief of the Assembly
of First Nations. The government again stated its intention to
provide "sufficient, predictable and sustained funding." The
press release from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada stated
that the government "is committed to lifting the two per cent
funding cap for First Nations programs."
On September 15, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal
notice that the Trudeau government has failed to comply with its
January 26 order finding that Canada racially discriminates
against over 163,000 First Nations children by providing flawed
and inequitable child welfare services and failing to properly
implement "Jordan's Principle." The Tribunal ordered the
federal government to
immediately cease its discriminatory conduct. It had already
issued an order in April noting that action had yet to be taken
Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First
Child and Family Caring Society said of the government's refusal
to follow a legal order: "It is saying, really, in its actions
that the government of Canada is above the law and sadly, that
First Nations children are below the law."
Relationship with the U.S.
Evidence of the nature of the Trudeau government's
"relationship" with the U.S. is its legislative priorities. The
last three bills tabled in the House of Commons immediately
before the summer recess concerned Canada's further integration
into the U.S. national security regime. These and other bills to
come will be a major feature of the fall session of
Two of the bills continue the process of establishing a
"North American Security Perimeter" started by Prime Minister
Harper and U.S. President Obama through increasing the permanent
presence of U.S. security agencies on Canadian soil. Bill C-23, An
Act respecting the preclearance of persons and goods
Canada and the United States (Preclearance Act) and Bill
C-21, An Act to amend the Customs Act, are the result of
decisions made during Prime Minister Trudeau's visit to
Washington, DC on March 10.
The other piece of legislation significant for
relations is Bill C-22, An Act to establish the National
Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and to
make consequential amendments to certain Acts.
A main concern of the Liberals' national
and the committee is information sharing within the U.S.-led Five
Eyes global spy network, as well as the ability to decrypt and
collect Canadians' personal information, sidestep privacy issues
and trample on rights. It is another indication that key to "the
Canada-U.S. relationship" as seen by the Trudeau Liberals is the
further integration of Canadian security agencies into the U.S.
striving for world domination. All of it represents stepped up
All of this was expressed
as major concerns of Canadians
during the fight waged by broad sections of the people in 2015
against Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015. A
serious issue was the difference between "review" and
"oversight." It was pointed out, for instance, that Canada has
"review" bodies for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service,
the Communications Security Establishment and other security
agencies that examine some of these agencies' activities after
the fact, but no "oversight" bodies that monitor their activities
and ensure they operate according to their mandate and the
During Bill C-51's passage through the House of Commons
in the Liberals' electoral platform, the Liberals called for the
establishment of a "national security oversight committee"
established by Parliament. Testimony of security experts was
cited to proclaim that "oversight" could deal with the violation
of rights in Bill C-51.
Now the concept of oversight has been stricken entirely
the mandate of the government's proposed committee. Instead the
committee is to "review [...] the legislative, regulatory,
policy, administrative and financial framework for national
security and intelligence," the activities of intelligence
agencies, and any matter referred to the committee by a minister.
Canadians will not know what the committee does as all of its
members are sworn to secrecy. The mandate of the committee is
further reduced in the government's Green Paper on National
Security to "examin[ing] how national security institutions are
As well, the Liberals will soon announce that Canadian
soldiers will participate in training and counter-insurgency
missions in at least one country in Africa. It is done under the
high ideal of "peace operations." This is part of the role Canada
has staked out for itself in the U.S. imperialist reorientation
of UN peacekeeping and the new scramble for Africa.
Self-Serving Neo-Liberal Definition of Middle Class
Irrationality in the service of class
monopoly right and the status quo
The Liberal government uses the term middle class
incessantly. Trudeau and his ministers present themselves as
leaders of and for a middle class, which they consider exists as
a definable social entity according to annual earnings. During
the federal election, Trudeau defined the middle class as a
family of three with a combined annual taxable income of between
$44,701 and $89,401. This flies in the face of social science,
which classifies social classes according to their objective
position within the economy and their relations with other
classes. It also clearly puts himself and all his cronies above
the people they claim to represent.
The main social class in
Canada and largest by far is the
working class. Members of the working class must sell their
capacity to work to acquire their living. Those who own and
control the socialized means of production, the bourgeoisie, buy
workers' capacity to work and own and control the social wealth
they produce returning only a portion to the working class as
reproduced-value in wages, benefits, pensions and various other
social programs and public services.
While Trudeau seems to believe his own self-serving
propaganda and thinks he has the support of all working
Canadians, working Canadians do not see themselves as middle
class wannabes. On the contrary, they increasingly consider
themselves to be working people, as those who comprise the
The working class and those who own and control the
socialized forces of production enter into a social relation
called capital to produce all the value that the people and
society depend on for their existence. Class struggle between
these two social classes is constant over their claims on the
value workers produce, the direction of the economy, and the
necessity to resolve the contradiction within the social relation
capital to move society forward to the emancipation of the
working class and the elimination of social classes.
From the Liberal government's self-serving neo-liberal
definition, it would appear that its policies and actions are all
meant to benefit its defined middle class, including foreign
relations and pushing free trade. But everyone can see that what
is called the middle class is being pushed further and further
down the ladder of economic and social well-being. The working
class concludes that Trudeau is using the term middle class as a
subterfuge to camouflage its policies and actions that serve the
ruling elite in power, those who own and control the socialized
forces of production and who dominate the working class within
the social relation capital. All of it is done to smash the
resistance of the people in defence of their rights.
The logic of the Liberals is deplorable. It is akin to
logic of owners of slaves in the United States who insisted that
they provided good food, decent housing, recreation and medical
treatment for their slaves, giving them a standard of living
above many in the working class at the time. They would complain
that their beneficial treatment of their slaves, which after all
are their property, comes at some sacrifice for their families,
as the value the slaves produce is directed more at their
well-being than into the owners' pockets. This patronizing
attitude prevailed in the U.S. prior to the Civil War. At no time
however did the owners' belief change the objective social class
position of the chattel slaves and their captive social relation
with their owners. The enslaving social relation had to be burst
asunder before the chattel slave economy and society could move
forward in a new direction.
Examples abound of the Trudeau government's deceptive
the term middle class such as the following from the Prime
Minister's Office regarding his recent visit to China: "Renewing
Canada's relationship with China will help to grow the economy
and strengthen the middle class.... Both countries could harness
the untapped potential and benefits that closer relations could
provide [for] growing the middle class."
Trudeau said of his visit, "I believe my official visit
China has placed the Canada-China relationship on a renewed and
stable track that will foster greater economic and social
benefits for both our peoples, especially the middle class."
Trudeau's Minister of Finance Bill Morneau said
the Toronto Global Forum: "Rising tides of disenchantment around
the world point to the fact that for too long, the middle class
has not felt as though it's getting ahead....We [Liberal
government] are now widely recognized as a model for the world,
and are at the forefront of global efforts toward making the
economy work better for middle class families."
The Liberal-defined middle class is comprised of about
cent of those declaring an income, according to Statistics
Canada, only a fraction of all Canadians. Trudeau skirts this
issue of appearing to favour only one group of Canadians by
insisting his government is bent on "growing" his defined middle
class. The Liberal government through its statements wants those
below the $45,000 annual income level to increase their incomes
and rise to his defined middle class, while those currently above
the income level are privileged and should help "grow the middle
For many Canadians this constant targeting of a middle
strikes them as irrational and a disconnect from solving real
problems. For example, U.S. Steel seized control of Stelco in
2007 and promised to grow employment and production, which would
have strengthened the position of both current and retired Stelco
steelworkers within Trudeau's defined middle class. The opposite
occurred, which has been well documented. The Trudeau government
has done nothing to reverse U.S. Steel's destruction of jobs and
production nor has it stepped in to halt the continued attacks on
the over 20,000 pensioners who have had their pension benefits
directly reduced with the removal of indexation and their
post-employment benefits eliminated under the fraud of bankruptcy
protection. The Trudeau government has refused to intervene to
stop U.S. Steel's abandonment of its social obligations towards
the existing pension funds, and its state-organized plan to
abscond with $2.2 billion upon the sale and liquidation of the
company within the legal framework of the federal Companies'
Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). These actions will plunge
retired steelworkers and salaried employees further below
Trudeau's defined middle class but he is doing nothing concrete
to stop the bleeding.
It is similarly targeting
the organized workers in both the
federal public sector and the private sector, lowering their
standard of living drastically while claiming it is good for the
The working class is rightly concerned that this noise
the middle class is merely propaganda which turns relations of
production and the economy generally into an irrational mental
construct that can be manipulated by the rich and powerful.
Workers' problems and those in the economy and within relations
of production generally should be viewed and dealt with
objectively as they present themselves and not obscured in
Workers sell their capacity to work to those who own
control the material forces of production within a social
relation called capital. These two social classes are the main
and most important social forces in Canada. They are in constant
class struggle within the social relation capital and throughout
the society over control and direction of the political,
economic, social and cultural affairs of the country. The amount
workers receive in return for the sale of their capacity to work
does not change their objective social position as members of the
working class in direct class contradiction with those who own
and control the socialized forces of production. Workers in
Canada, even those in Trudeau's middle class mental construct, do
not have control over their workplaces or any of the major
affairs that directly affect their lives. Even the price workers
receive for their capacity to work or the guarantees they receive
for a claim on value until they pass away is not secure, as the
example of Stelco workers and many others, including the more
than one million unemployed, reveals.
Workers' existence within Trudeau's defined middle
20 per cent of Canadians with an income is far from assured. The
reason for this stems not from their current wage or pension or
prospects for a raise but from the insecurity underlying their
social class position as workers who sell their capacity to work
to those who own and control the forces of production, both
private and public, within the social relation capital. Workers'
social class position within the political power structure means
they exercise no control over an economy that suffers recurring
crises and intractable contradictions that the ruling elite
refuse to address because it would undermine their power and
This position is made many times worse as a result of
governments have given to the country -- to pay the biggest
monopolies to make them competitive on global markets.
The Trudeau government's self-serving neo-liberal
of the middle class is a fanciful concoction that does not exist
as a social force but merely as a propaganda tool designed to win
over their agents in the workers' movement whose rate of pay in
fact puts them above the so-called middle class. Economic
problems need real solutions not whimsical ones that exist as
sound bites in a public relations campaign. The economy exists
objectively and it needs a new pro-social direction. Its problems
must be solved with objectivity of consideration.
The working class is the only social force with the
and the position within the economy to solve its problems and
those the country is mired in. It must set a new direction for
the economy despite opposition from those who are determined to
defend their class privilege and monopoly right.
Canada's International Agenda
Prime Minister Trudeau will be in New York City as part
the Canadian delegation to the 71st Session of the United Nations
General Assembly from September 19 to 20. Before the opening of
the UN General Assembly, Trudeau held meetings in Montreal with
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and musician Bono.
Since the Liberals' return to power, the government has
its full weight behind portraying Trudeau as a "significant
player" on the world stage who should be included in
international bodies where the big powers make decisions about
matters affecting all humanity. Trudeau is supposed to embody the
"progressive credentials" and "values" to which U.S. President
Obama referred when he said, "The world needs more Canada" in his
speech to the Canadian Parliament on June 29.
"Peace operations" are one
such area where Canada is
supposedly "well-placed" to contribute. The Trudeau government
found out the worth of its "progressive credentials" in late
August when, according to media reports, it had to announce
specific troop commitments and funding in order to secure a place
alongside more than 50 other countries at a defence ministers'
summit on peacekeeping hosted by the Ministry of Defence of the
United Kingdom in London.
Carrying on the legacy of the Obama regime, the Trudeau
government uses so-called progressive credentials to advance an
agenda for war. This is why Trudeau's dual mission at the UN
General Assembly, according to media reports, is to present
himself "as a significant progressive leader on the world stage"
and to "make the case that the Security Council needs Canada's
perspective around the table."
Under the Trudeau Liberals there is not one single
"Canada's perspective" being different from the line set by U.S.
imperialism on important questions of war and peace. What is
called "Canada's perspective" does not distinguish itself in any
meaningful sense and is not the perspective of Canadians. Thus,
should Canada's bid for a rotating seat on the UN Security
Council succeed, it would mean one more vote for the U.S.
imperialist striving for world domination on the Security
Council, a body which has been unable to secure the peace
worldwide and is tainted by the domination of the big powers in
the first place. The post-war arrangements on which the Security
Council was based are in tatters.
To cover up these facts, the Prime Minister's Office
statement announcing Trudeau's participation in the UN General
Assembly which said the government "is committed to redefining
its place in the world and promoting core Canadian values like
diversity and inclusion, gender equality, and respect for peace
The Prime Minister's Office also announced that Trudeau
take part in the Refugee and Migration Summit, hosted by UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as co-host U.S. President
Barack Obama's Leaders' Summit on Refugees." On this front as
well, the more than 30,000 Syrian refugees who have arrived in
Canada since November 2015 are cynically used as examples of
Canada's "leadership" and need to have a "seat at the table."
What is Canada's
responsibility towards those refugees? Media
reports have said they are in large part reliant on food banks
that already could not meet people's needs. Furthermore, the
limited government support some refugees receive will expire very
soon. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum
claimed that food bank
usage amongst Syrian refugees is due to a "cultural element" and
not based on the difficult conditions they face, high food prices
and lack of support or job opportunities. The government
justifies its lack of support for refugees by stressing that they
receive less than Canadian citizens requiring social assistance.
This is therefore "fair" and as it should be.
What does it mean that Trudeau is being groomed to take
the so-called legacy of Obama? Obama's method was to tell people
in the U.S. and around the world that he was for rights, for
peace and against war and injustice and these values would then
be the values of the institutions he represented. Ten years later
drone assassinations are routine, training terrorists to
accomplish foreign policy goals is routine and the war crimes of
the U.S. imperialists are increasing. More regime change and
destabilization operations have been carried out or are underway;
and more migrants and refugees are thrown to the winds all over
the world, not to speak of the fact that more people have been
deported from the U.S. than under any previous president.
Canadians should reject the claim that receiving "the
from Obama is a good thing. Immediately after Obama said "the
world needs more Canada" he added, "NATO needs more Canada." Ten
days later the Trudeau government announced hundreds of troops
will be sent to the Baltics as part of the U.S. and NATO's
occupation of these countries and the encirclement of Russia. It
must not pass!
71st Session of the United Nations
Matters of Concern at the UN
The United Nations 71st General Assembly opened in New
York City on September 13, 2016. The opening of a new session of
the UN General Assembly each September is one of the major
The greatest concerns of the world's peoples at this
include the ongoing destabilization of sovereign states in North
Africa and West Asia by NATO-sponsored death squads and "moderate
rebels" and the dangers of world war posed by the U.S.
imperialist encirclement of Russia and "pivot to Asia." Nowhere
are the devastating effects of these destabilization efforts more
brutally felt than in the ongoing sponsorship of state terrorism
by the Anglo-American imperialists and former colonial powers and
the resultant refugee crisis. The UN Refugee Agency counts nearly
21.3 million refugees in the world today, more than half of whom
are under the age of 18.
In this regard, an ongoing problem facing the UN is the
manipulation of its own institutions and other international fora
by the U.S.-led imperialist system of states and the big powers
which block the principled and peaceful resolution of many
international issues. Given the major issues of war and peace and
other important developments in the world today, it is certain
that these contradictions will be as sharp as ever as the UN
opens its new session.
As well, the deeply-felt desire of the peoples for
social progress is reflected in the ongoing peace processes in
Colombia and the Philippines. The world's peoples also take the
opportunity of the UN General Assembly session to reaffirm their
support for the heroic Palestinian people who are steeling their
resistance in the face of the ever more severe repressions and
land theft of the Zionist occupation. Cuba continues to resist
the criminal U.S. blockade which the international community
continues to condemn while the UN is also used by the U.S. to
violate the deep desire of the Korean people for national
reunification and a permanent peace treaty. A major concern as well
is the ongoing campaign to elect a war president in the U.S. to
"make America great again" and save the U.S. from crisis on the
backs of the world's peoples.
Outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (whose term
December 31) said at a September 14 press conference that the
global challenges pertaining to refugees and migrants, climate
change, and the war in Syria are the topics that will likely
figure prominently at the opening week of the General Assembly,
the UN News Centre reports.
Ban said that the international community must "come
in a spirit of shared responsibility for the world's refugees and
migrants. More countries must resettle more people who have been
forced from their homes. More countries must recognize the
benefits of migration. And everyone, everywhere, must stand up
against the animosity that so many refugees, migrants and
minority communities face."
He also said he is pushing for the entry into force of
Paris Agreement on climate change before the end of this year.
"Now we need just 28 more countries, representing 16 per cent of
global emissions, to cross the necessary threshold," he said,
drawing attention to the September 21 special event at which
countries can deposit their ratification instruments with the
Ban said that "while many conflicts are causing
pain, none is causing so much death, destruction and widespread
instability as the worsening war in Syria."
Theme of 71st Session -- "The Sustainable Development
Goals: A Universal Push to Transform our World"
John Thomson of Fiji, president of the 71st UN General
Assembly, gave the opening remarks in which he highlighted this
year's theme, "The Sustainable Development Goals: A Universal
Push to Transform our World."
"The 70th Session launched the SDGs [Sustainable
Goals], and for integrity's sake the 71st must be the year we
witness the wheels turning on the implementation of all 17 [Sustainable
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were set by
General Assembly during its 70th session. The UN News Centre
"On 1 January 2016, the 17 [Sustainable Development
Goals] of the 2030 Agenda for
Sustainable Development -- adopted by world leaders in September
last year -- officially came into force. Over the next fifteen
years, with the aim of achieving the [Sustainable Development Goals],
mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities
and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are as follows:
1. No Poverty:
End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
2. Zero Hunger:
End hunger, achieve food security and
improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
3. Good Health and
Well-Being: Ensure healthy lives and
promote well-being for all at all ages.
4. Quality Education:
Ensure inclusive and equitable
education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for
5. Gender Equality:
Achieve gender equality and empower
women and girls.
6. Clean Water and
Sanitation: Ensure availability and
sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
7. Affordable and
Clean Energy: Ensure access to
reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
8. Decent Work and
Economic Growth: Promote sustained,
inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive
employment and decent work for all.
Innovation, and Infrastructure: Build
infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable
industrialization and foster innovation.
Inequalities: Reduce inequality within and
Cities and Communities: Make cities and
settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Consumption and Production: Ensure
sustainable consumption and production patterns.
13. Climate Action:
Take urgent action to combat
change and its impacts.
14. Life Below Water:
Conserve and sustainably use the
oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable
15. Life on Land:
Protect, restore and promote
use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat
desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt
16. Peace and
Justice Strong Institutions: Promote
and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide
access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and
inclusive institutions at all levels.
17. Partnerships for
the Goals: Strengthen the means of
implementation and revitalize the global partnership for
Summit for Refugees and Migrants, September 19
The General Assembly will host "a high-level summit to
address large movements of refugees and migrants, with the aim of
bringing countries together behind a more humane and coordinated
approach," states the summit website.
"This is the first time the General Assembly has called
a summit at the Heads of State and Government level on large
movements of refugees and migrants and it is a historic
opportunity to come up with a blueprint for a better
international response. It is a watershed moment to strengthen
governance of international migration and a unique opportunity
for creating a more responsible, predictable system for
responding to large movements of refugees and migrants. [...]
"The Summit will be attended by heads of state and
government, Ministers, and leaders from the UN System, civil
society, private sector, international organizations, academia,
and beyond in alignment with the General Assembly resolution
establishing the summit's modalities. [...]
"Also on the margins of the General Assembly, on
20, 2016, the United States' President Obama is hosting the
Leaders' Summit on Refugees, alongside co-hosts Canada, Ethiopia,
Germany, Jordan, Mexico and Sweden, which will appeal to
governments to pledge significant new commitments on refugees.
While the Leaders' Summit will focus on refugees, not migrants,
the General Assembly High-Level Summit will address large
movements of both. The two events will complement one
The situation facing humanity in the wake of the regime
change, fomenting of civil war and other foreign interference in
North Africa and West Asia remains extremely dire. In its
September 13 update on migrant arrivals in the Mediterranean
alone, the International Organization for Migration reports
that "294,450 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016
through September 12, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy [...
F]or the region as a whole, through 2015's first eight months
(January 1-August 31) a total of 354,618 arrivals were recorded
crossing the Mediterranean, or some 60,000 more than 2016's total
thus far. [...]
"Nonetheless, while total arrival numbers are down,
fatalities among Mediterranean migrants and refugees now stand
through this past weekend at 3,207 -- exceeding by 456 the total
recorded during the same period last year. According to [the
International Organization for Migration]'s Missing Migrants Project,
Mediterranean fatalities for last year
stood at 2,751 through September 12, 2015."
General Debate, September 20
A highlight of the opening of a new session of the
General Assembly is the General Debate, where each member country
of the UN in a speech to the plenary, raises its concerns and
preoccupations. It is an important forum where the smaller
countries, especially those countries which are taking an
independent path in defiance of U.S. imperialism and big power dictate,
important matters of principle and concern to their own people and
the peoples of the world.
This year, the General Debate begins September 20, the
after the Summit for Refugees and Migrants. Many heads of state
of the 193 UN member countries will attend to deliver their
Defence Ministers' Meeting on Reform
of UN Peacekeeping
On September 7-8 a United Nations Peacekeeping meeting,
attended by Ministers of Defence from 64 UN member states, was
held in London, England. The event was hosted by the United
Kingdom's Ministry of Defence. The conference was a follow-up to
the 2015 "Leaders' Summit on Peacekeeping" organized by United
States President Barack Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon on the margins of the 70th United Nations General
Assembly in New York. 
At that time UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S.
President Barack Obama joined 50 heads of state and government
representatives to announce stepped-up troop and equipment
commitments to UN "peace operations." They pledged more than
40,000 troops and police, as well as what are called "critical
enablers," including more than 40 helicopters, 22 engineering
companies, 11 naval and riverine units, and 13 field hospitals.
However, despite the troop commitments there was no unanimity on
how to reform peacekeeping, especially with respect to the
demands of the U.S. imperialists to have peacekeeping become a
means to carry out regime change and wars of aggression under a
UN flag. This conflict remains at the heart of ongoing attempts
at peacekeeping reform.
Communique issued after the London Ministerial addressed the issues
discussed and pledges made and said, in part, under the heading
'Planning': "We call upon the Secretary-General to ensure that mission
planning and assessment fully integrates the military, police and
civilian parts of the mission, and takes into account other partners
including the host government and regional actors, to accomplish the
mandated tasks, and that mission planning and assessment considers from
the outset how missions will complement the work of existing UN staff
The notion that host governments of peacekeeping
are "partners," is not the same as the main parties to a conflict
having to consent to a peacekeeping mission, one of the stated
principles of UN peacekeeping. It reveals attempts to sidestep
the fundamental issue of the right of nations to
self-determination and the UN Charter's opposition to interference in
the internal affairs of member states.
Speaking at the London Ministerial, UN
Field Support, Atul Khare stated: "International and regional
peacekeeping operations that are UN-led or supported must be able
to act rapidly, effectively, efficiently and responsibly." He
said the UN needs better intelligence capacity to protect
civilians and its own personnel, adding that the first-ever
policy on intelligence in UN peacekeeping will be presented to
all Member States later this year. He also underlined the
importance of "partnerships" and "collective responsibility,"
referring to new and innovative "partnerships." He cited the
rotation system for C-130 transport aircraft used to transport
troops and military equipment into Mali established by a group of
five European countries: Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and
Norway. "The rotation system will deliver a predictable supply of
this asset for years to come," he added, while also noting that
the possibility of creating the same type of shared arrangement
for helicopters was to be discussed on the sidelines of the
gathering in London.
The attempts through such Ministerials and Summits
outside of the UN and with various coalitions represents an
ongoing effort by various big powers to reform the UN in a manner
that undermines the UN Charter and its founding principles. The
U.S. imperialists headed by War President Barack Obama have taken
the lead to try and make reform serve their aims. Obama in
particular is seeking to pass the torch of UN peacekeeping reform
towards what they call "peace operations" to the Trudeau
government to try and gain legitimacy for the imperialists'
pro-war reforms. The Harper government sent a very low-level
delegation to the 2015 UN General Assembly and did not
participate in Obama's Leaders' Summit on Peacekeeping; however
under the Trudeau government Canada is positioning itself to take
a leadership role in this reform.
Canada Implementing Imperialist Marching Orders
Canada's Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan participated
the London Ministerial at which he re-announced Canada's
intention to establish a standing force of at least 600 troops
plus 150 police officers to be deployed for future UN peace
operations and upped the ante adding Canada's intention to host a
United Nations conference on peacekeeping in 2017. It is reported
that Canada's announcement of the troops and police it was
prepared to commit was specifically made in order to gain a seat
at the Ministerial, since it had not been invited to attend prior
to the announcement.
"Canada is committed to leading international efforts
peace support operations. That's why we're here today, pledging
our support and reaffirming our commitment to the United Nations.
We want to ensure the dialogue continues next year, so we have
committed to host the next UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial in
2017," Sajjan said.
Setting the tone for Canada's aims, Sajjan reiterated
Liberals' talking points about conflicts being more complex so as
to try and fool the gullible into accepting military
intervention, counterinsurgency and regime change as an
"innovative response" to "a new reality internationally."
"Conflicts today are more complex than ever before and we're
serious about being part of the solution -- that's the reason
we're bringing our resources and skills to the table. I'm
confident that our unique whole-of-government approach will make
tangible contributions to peace support operations around the
world," he said. "Canada remains committed to building a more
peaceful and prosperous world. Its increased support to UN peace
operations is centred on a whole-of-government approach,
combining diplomacy, deployment, training, and capacity-building
-- and includes conflict prevention, mediation, peace operations,
and peacebuilding efforts," he added.
1. See "Revamping
to Meet War Aims: U.S. Calls Summit to Discuss UN Peacekeeping ," TML Weekly, November 21, 2015 - No.
End the U.S. Blockade of Cuba
Cuba Prepares for 25th Annual UN
Condemnation of Blockade
All Out to End the
Blockade of Cuba Now!
Return Guantanamo to Cuba!
Ottawa monthly picket to
end the blockade against Cuba, August 2016.
Cuba is once again preparing for the annual vote at the
the resolution entitled, "Need to put an end to the economic,
commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of
America against Cuba." This year's vote takes place on October
27. It is the 25th consecutive year such a resolution has been
considered by the UN General Assembly. The 2015 vote was 191 to
two (the U.S. and Israel), meaning the U.S. is totally isolated
on this question and the only matter left is for the U.S. to end
the blockade now.
On September 9, at a press
conference with national and
foreign news media gathered at Cuba's Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla
annual report that accompanies the resolution. The report
provides the detailed accounting of cumulative damage caused by
the unjust and illegal economic, commercial and financial
blockade imposed by the U.S. for more than half a century.
began by saying, "The
and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba
persists. The blockade endangers the Cuban people. There's no
Cuban family that doesn't suffer the effects of the blockade....
The blockade is the principle cause of our economic problems, the
principal obstacle to our development."
Rodríguez recalled the remarks of U.S. President
on December 17, 2014 who acknowledged the failure of the
traditional U.S. policy towards Cuba and who promised to
undertake a debate in Congress in order to lift the blockade. He
also noted that Obama has undertaken several executive measures
that have mitigated some aspects of the blockade in a limited
Nonetheless, while the U.S. claims to champion human
Rodríguez pointed out the refusal of the U.S. president to
acknowledge the illegality of the blockade and how it violates
Cubans' human rights:
"President Obama said the blockade wasn't working ...
they had to lift it; he said it hadn't worked [to achieve] the
historical objectives of the United States ... He didn't say it
was illegal, a violation of international law ... a violation of
Cubans' human rights; he didn't say it's immoral and violates all
ethics, nor did he say that it's cruel and endangers human
Cuba's June 2016 report on Resolution 70/5 of the United Nations
General Assembly entitled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial
and financial blockade
imposed by the United States
of America against
One way in which the criminality of the U.S. hostile
can be quantified is the estimate of the human and economic
damage caused by the blockade. Rodríguez explained:
"Between April 2015 and March 2016, the direct
damages caused by the blockade went up another $4.68 billion....
Damages accumulated over almost six decades have reached at least
$753.67 billion, expressed as the monetary value of gold.
"The damages include income that our people never saw,
our country never saw through goods and services never exported
... particularly from the bio-pharmacology industry." There are
"losses through geographical disruption of our commerce -- long
distances, the need for large inventories, the unpredictability
of when goods arrive, and extra freight, insurance, and
"... A third direct effect of the blockade is monetary
financial. Confronted with the ban on using the dollar in
international transactions, Cuba has to use other currencies. All
these operations are costly; for example, they depend a lot on
relative value of the currencies ... Last year the dollar
appreciated in value, increasing its value over the year relative
to other currencies by an average of 3.58 percent."
Rodríguez denounced "the U.S. prohibition on
opening accounts in U.S. Banks" and the "intimidating effect of
$14 billion in fines -- a world record -- during the Obama
presidency, basically against European and Asian Banks [handling
dollars in Cuba's transactions with the outside world]."
"... There's no sector in Cuba that doesn't suffer
consequences from the blockade: in the service economy -- health
care and education; in the economy in general, and in people's
lives -- feeding themselves, prices, salaries, social
Rodríguez also pointed out "the impossibility of
access both to products, technologies, and equipment with U.S.
patents and access to indispensable, high-technology surgical
devices ... There's still a ban on acquiring products or
medicines directed at assuring improved treatments and above all
assuring fewer adverse effects of treatments."
The foreign minister remarked that "the
application of the blockade persists, in violation of the
sovereignty of other nations, of all nations on the planet." He
surveyed U.S. laws on the blockade. For example, the U.S. Trading
with the Enemy Act ... now is applied only
Cuba...." Despite Obama's claim that he wants to do what he can
to end the blockade, on September 13, he issued a memorandum
extending the Trading with the Enemy Act for another year,
until September 14, 2017.
Regarding the continuing U.S. aim to overthrow the
Revolution and all its mechanisms that empower the people,
Rodríguez underscored that "to change Cuba is the business of
Cubans. But also we have accepted that challenge [of changing
things] because it fits with the interests of our people, of our
He called on everyone to judge the situation based on
As part of the leadup to the October 27 vote at the UN, a
worldwide campaign is underway with the theme Tenemos Memoria.
Solidaridad contra el Bloqueo y el Terrorismo (We Remember:
Solidarity against the Blockade and Terrorism). The events began
on September 4 and run through to October 27 with a
range of activities planned to recall the various attacks on the
Cuban Revolution and their thousands of victims, and to demand an
immediate end to the blockade. Such worldwide actions play an
important part in achieving justice, as was the case in winning the
freedom of the five Cuban heroes imprisoned in the U.S. To that
end, TML Weekly calls on everyone to go all out to
participate and step up the work to end the U.S. blockade against
Click to enlarge.
U.S. Prevents Spanish Bank from Offering
The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed
the U.S. on Cuba over 54 years ago is preventing the Spanish
Santander Bank from offering services to Cuban consular offices
in Spain today.
A press release from Havana's embassy in Madrid reveals
Washington's system of sanctions is preventing the Santander Bank
from installing outlets at the Cuban General Consulates in
Barcelona, Sevilla and Santiago de Compostela.
"It is disappointing that three Cuban consulates have
banned from receiving services from a Spanish entity that would
improve services for their users," said the Cuban ambassador to
Spain, Eugenio Martinez.
The diplomat attributed those restrictions to "obscure
unjustified unilateral decisions of the U.S. that affect
negatively Cubans and third countries."
How is it that two months after President Barack
visit to Havana last March, a subsidiary of the Santander Bank in
Catalonia tells the Cuban consul in Barcelona that they could not
install an outlet to facilitate the payment of consular tariffs
with magnetized cards? asked Martinez.
The release says the explanation given then by Spain's
largest financial entity was that they could not render that
service because of an agreement signed with Elavon, the U.S.
company that handles the credit and debit cards of the U.S.
A subsidiary of the Santander Bank in Seville,
region, on June 1 canceled a contract signed May 12 with the
Cuban Consulate in that city to have an outlet because Elavon
said U.S. restrictions on the island prevented it from doing so,
said the note.
Also in May, the Santander Galicia's subsidiary
informed the Cuban Consulate in Santiago de Compostela that it
could not approve setting up the device for the payment of
services in that consular office.
They said "what it meant is they would stumble again on
the international regulation of [the U.S. Department of the Treasury's
Office of Foreign Assets Control] which impedes contracting products to
Cuban entities, despite the fact that for more than a
decade the Cuban consulate in Galicia has been a client of the
Santander Bank," the communique informs.
For Ambassador Martinez, the prohibitions are
in March, the departments of the Treasury and Commerce of
the United States announced they would allow the Banks to process
operations of the Cuban government.
The diplomat denounced the fact that those three
consulates in Spain have become victim to "the extraterritorial
application of the greatest system of coercive financial measures
standing," alluding to the blockade of the U.S. government against his
It is an evident obstacle to the normal functioning of
those offices which prevents the ordinary consular functions and
represents harmful limitations for Cubans resident in Spain, for
Spaniards and others who request services from Cuban offices,' he
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