January 26, 2019 - No. 2

Environmental Posturing for the 2019 Federal Election

The People Must Not Give Up Their Own Thinking, Interests and Voice

Individual Behaviour Is Not the Problem
- K.C. Adams -

For Your Information
Trudeau Government's Carbon Sales Tax

Ontario Government's Anti-Social Offensive
Dishonest Attack on Right to Education and Freedom of Speech
Provincewide Actions Oppose Ford
Anti-Social Offensive in Education

Bill 66, Restoring Ontario's Competitiveness Act, 2018
The Human Toll of the Ford Government's
"Job-Killing Red Tape" Campaign

- Pierre Chénier -

The Need to Oppose Colonial Injustice
Coastal GasLink Bulldozes Unist'ot'en Trapline
Ongoing Actions Support Wet'suwet'en Land Defenders

No to "Regime Change" in Venezuela
Condemn U.S.-Led Attempts to Overthrow the Legitimately Constituted Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
- Margaret Villamizar -
The OAS Dangerously in Disarray
- Sir Ronald Sanders, Antigua and Barbuda's Ambassador
to the U.S. and OAS -

Bolivarian National Armed Forces Ratify the Legitimacy of Nicolás Maduro as the Constitutional President of the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

- Ministry of People's Power for Defence -

Statements on the Developments in Venezuela
Aggression Against Venezuela Must Cease
- Government of the Republic of Cuba -
Statement of the Caribbean Community
Uruguay and Mexico Urge Venezuelans to Find a Peaceful
Solution to Their Differences

Statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry
No Coup d'État in Venezuela!
- ALBA Social Movements, Ottawa Chapter -
Statement of Common Frontiers
Statement of the Foro de São Paulo

Venezuelan 2018 Presidential Elections
Canadian Delegation Observations
- Common Frontiers Report, June 2018 -

Environmental Posturing for the 2019 Federal Election

The People Must Not Give Up Their Own
Thinking, Interests and Voice

Climate march in Vancouver, September 8, 2018, demands problems of the environment be resolved in a manner that favours the people and the future of the planet.

"Economists like to argue, about climate change as much as anything else. [...] But on the
biggest issue of all they nod in agreement, whatever their political persuasion. The best
way to tackle climate change, they insist, is through a global carbon tax."

- The Economist, November 28, 2015

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says those who support the carbon tax are pro-environment while those opposed are anti-environment. Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer says those who oppose the carbon tax are pro-people, while those in support of the tax are anti-people. They declare the die is cast, the agenda is set for the 2019 federal election. Let the electoral farce begin!

It is a prime example of how the financial oligarchy and its representatives and media speaks definitively and in doing so it attempts to deprive everyone of the right to take up politics of social responsibility and speak in their own name. Regarding climate change, the ruling elite want everyone to give up their own thinking, interests and voice and divide according to whether they support a global carbon tax or not.

On this issue, the science is persuasive that the world faces an environmental crisis to which human activity has contributed. The problem poses itself as an increasing global average temperature due in part to an accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which trap heat. Scientists say human activity plays a role in this rise of temperature. Changes in the economy and way of life must occur to restrict global warming to no more than one and a half degrees centigrade above the level of the year 1850.

The imperialist world has responded not with real solutions but with carbon taxes, carbon credits and allowances traded as derivatives, state subsidies for "green" projects, and other pay-the-rich schemes to entrench the status quo and make the people pay for the problem. The ruling financial oligarchy refuses to own up to the mess it has created with its anti-conscious pursuit of maximum profit at the expense of the working people and social and natural environment. The oligarchs seek to pass the burden of the problems they have created onto the backs of working people and ensure that the control, social wealth, power and class privilege of the ruling elite go unscathed and are even enhanced.

The political representatives of the financial oligarchy within the cartel Party system are attempting to impose environmental posturing as the agenda for the 2019 federal election. The electorate is being forced to line up for or against the Trudeau carbon sales tax. Pundits in the mass media have already announced that this will be the issue on which the people will divide and either vote yes for a Trudeau carbon tax or no with Andrew Scheer's Conservatives.

The Trudeau Liberals and others in the NDP and Green Party are pushing carbon sales taxes in an effort to posture as pro-environment and capture the people's concern about global warming. They proclaim that anyone opposed to carbon sales taxes must be anti-environment. The Scheer Conservatives and Bernier's People's Party say the issue in the federal election is the Trudeau carbon sales tax and declare a vote for them is a vote against increased taxes.

The Saskatchewan and Ontario Conservative Party governments have split with the federal Liberal government and do not want Trudeau telling them what to do. They have launched a constitutional challenge to Trudeau's carbon tax and have united with federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to defeat Trudeau, the NDP and Greens in the October 2019 federal election.

Is this true? Is this the agenda on which people should participate in the 2019 election and make their vote count? Within this constriction, does this mean that if you are concerned with the state of the natural environment you must be for a carbon sales tax? Or, if you are concerned that another sales tax, carbon or otherwise, imposes yet more hardship on working people, and that pay-the-rich subsidies to green oligarchs drain the public treasury to enrich a few, does this mean that you are against taking action to mitigate climate change?

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) is calling on Canadians to make their vote count in 2019 by setting their own aims and agenda, and intervening in events as they unfold in an organized manner. This is achieved by deliberating on the matters at hand, drawing warranted conclusions and taking stands that favour their interests, not the interests of those who have usurped power by force. It is done by building the political unity of the people based on a political vision of a society that serves them. Far from accepting the state of affairs imposed on the people, CPC(M-L) calls on the working people to unite in action, uphold social responsibility, speak in their own name and represent themselves.

The ruling elite frame the problem of environmental degradation and climate change in such a way that the people must bear the burden of increased taxes and in other ways while the class privilege, control and social wealth of the oligarchs are strengthened. This reflects the basic truth that the imperialist oligarchs will not willingly agree to any measure to solve problems that would reduce their expropriation of profit from the value workers produce or weaken their control over their empires and socialized economy.

Human release of carbon into the atmosphere has accelerated with the development of the modern system of industrial mass production. The science and ingenuity that gave rise to this advance can also find solutions to the problem but the motive and outlook to do so must exist within the social class in control. The absence of a motive and outlook to address the problem at its source within the social relations and methods of production and distribution and way of life is found in the fact that the actual producers, the working people, have no control over the political and economic system. Without mass political mobilization and organizing themselves as a coherent force, the working people have no power to bring in a new direction to the economy and solve problems.

This is a real election issue.

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Individual Behaviour Is Not the Problem

The carbon sales tax is said to be a measure to change behaviour. But behaviour is not the problem. Behaviour did not cause the problem of climate change and efforts to change behaviour will not resolve it; they only result in empty words and posturing. The cause of human-induced climate change is the imperialist economic system itself and the motive and outlook of those who control it. The motive of maximum individual gain in competition with others while exploiting working people, and an outlook devoid of social responsibility are in contradiction with the socialized character of the economy that requires a motivation and outlook of social responsibility and cooperation to defend the rights and well-being of all, focus on the extended reproduction of the collective economy, humanize the social and natural environment and serve the general interests of society. Only with a motivation and outlook of social responsibility and cooperation will the problem be resolved.

The carbon tax does not change the motivation and outlook of those in control because the very being and soul of the imperialist oligarchs is self-serving in the extreme. While retaining the motive and outlook of the financial oligarchy in deeds that put hardships on working people through increased taxes, the Trudeau government postures with cynical words to fool the gullible.

In some ways the carbon sales tax is similar to the levies on tobacco and alcohol. These taxes attack individual working people without dealing with the social conditions at the root of the problems of smoking and drug and alcohol abuse. Certain oligarchs amass huge profits from the continuation of these problems that have become worse, such as the opioid crisis.

Regarding modes of transportation, a carbon sales tax suggests Canadians should change their behaviour and abandon individual car driving. But the car culture arises from the motivation of the vehicle oligopolies to make money. The design and infrastructure of cities including lack of mass transit promotes the car culture. The problem is particularly acute in smaller centres where a car is a necessity.

For the Trudeau Liberals to present themselves as concerned with global warming is the height of cynicism and hypocrisy. They have criminalized opposition to the shipping of bitumen to Vancouver via the Trans Mountain pipeline, wax eloquent on the glories of an economy based on exporting raw materials, especially carbon commodities, and are trampling on nation-to-nation relations with Indigenous peoples up to countenancing the dispatch of RCMP paramilitary troops to northern BC. Also, they are hell-bent on fueling the U.S. war economy and its military, which is the biggest single contributor to greenhouse gases.[1]

As far as taxation is concerned, all individual taxation such as personal income tax, sales taxes, payroll and home property taxes, carbon taxes and user fees for social programs and public services such as charging the people for mass transit and tolls on roads and bridges should be abolished. The state power to tax is social not individual or private, especially considering that the vast majority of production occurs within an interrelated socialized economy.

Abolishing individual taxation is one front of class struggle. The claims of the state to run its unproductive affairs such as the military should be made directly on private and public enterprises from the value workers produce and not from individuals. Enterprises consuming social value from mass education, health care and other institutions should return the equivalent social value their workers reproduce directly to the social institutions that produced the value in the first place, such as schools, universities and hospitals etc.

For the needs of the state machinery, another criterion must be used to determine the amount the government expropriates from the value workers produce. It could be determined as a rate of taxation or percentage of the old and new value similar to the way profit should be calculated within a modern formula to determine the price of production of all basic commodities, especially means of production.


1. See:

- "Federal Court of Appeal Overturns Approval of Trans Mountain Pipeline," Peggy Morton, TML Weekly, September 8, 2018;
- "Trudeau Government Buys Trans Mountain Pipeline in Massive Pay-the-Rich Scheme: No Consent! No Bailout! No Pipeline! Stop Paying the Rich!," TML Weekly, June 2, 2018.

Also see:

- "The LNG Canada Project and the Natural Environment," K.C. Adams, TML Weekly, October 27, 2018; - "LNG Canada Project in Northern BC," K.C. Adams, TML Weekly, October 13, 2018.

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For Your Information

Trudeau Government's Carbon Sales Tax

The Trudeau government is arguing that climate change is a matter of national security. It says that since climate change affects all of us, it is in the national interest to do something, therefore, the federal government can impose a carbon tax countrywide.

The Saskatchewan government has launched a court challenge to the federal government's authority to impose a federal carbon tax saying this infringes on provincial responsibility. In its court factum defending its effort to impose a carbon tax on Quebec, all provinces and territories, the federal government says its power comes from the "peace, order and good government" clause, Section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867. The Liberals say this allows the federal government to step in and do something nationally when it includes a national interest component to any policy.

"[Greenhouse Gas (GHG)] emissions are a matter so vital to the interest of the nation as a whole that GHG emissions must be dealt with on a national basis," the government court factum argues.

"The Attorney General submits that the Court should not be swayed by arguments about the importance of climate change in today's world," says Saskatchewan's filings. "Legislative jurisdiction under our Constitution is not determined by the importance of the matter."

Tyler Dawson in the National Post writes in part:

"In brief, this case is about which level of government has jurisdiction to regulate carbon emissions. Or is it shared jurisdiction where the federal government can impose a tax and provinces are free to have carbon policies too? And, if it is the federal government that has jurisdiction, how does the Constitution grant this power?

"Why do the Liberals think they have the power to impose carbon prices on the provinces?

"A co-operative approach would be preferable, but Saskatchewan says the federal approach is the opposite of co-operation because there's no ability to refuse to participate. 'Nothing less will satisfy the principle that provinces are sovereign and autonomous within the realms of their jurisdiction and that neither level of government is subordinate to the other,' it says.

"The federal government disagrees, naturally. 'Federal jurisdiction to legislate as a matter of national concern does not shift the balance of legislative power, but rather provides Parliament with a flexible tool, reflecting the scale of the problem,' it argues.

"The federal government's lawyers argue that the carbon tax isn't a tax. It's, rather, a regulatory [measure] meant to change behaviour by compelling people to use less carbon. It says that in order for something to be a tax, its primary purpose must be to raise revenue."

Excerpts from Federal Government Documents

In October 2016, the Prime Minister announced the Pan-Canadian Approach to Pricing Carbon Pollution (the federal benchmark), which gave provinces and territories the flexibility to develop their own carbon pollution pricing system and outlined criteria all systems must meet to ensure they are stringent, fair, and efficient.

The federal government also committed to implementing a federal carbon pollution pricing system in provinces and territories that request it or do not have a carbon pollution pricing system that meets the federal benchmark.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, adopted on June 21, 2018, (two aspects):

- A trading system for large industry, known as the output-based pricing system
- A regulatory charge on fuel (fuel charge)

Provinces and territories had until September 1, 2018, to outline their plans.

Provincial systems will apply in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The governments in these jurisdictions are either already implementing or are on track to implement carbon pollution pricing systems that meet the federal benchmark.

The federal pricing system for large industry will apply starting in January 2019, in Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and partially in Saskatchewan.

The federal fuel charge will apply starting in April 2019, in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Manitoba, and New Brunswick because those governments have not developed a system to price carbon pollution, which meets the federal benchmark.

The Government of the Northwest Territories is planning to implement a system that meets the federal benchmark, on July 1, 2019. The federal carbon pollution pricing system will apply in Yukon and Nunavut. The federal system will start applying in the territories on July 1, 2019, to ensure alignment across the territories.

All direct proceeds from pricing carbon pollution under the federal system will be returned to the jurisdiction in which they were collected. Provincial and territorial governments that have committed to addressing climate change by voluntarily adopting the federal system will receive these proceeds directly from the federal government and can decide on how to use them.

The federal carbon pollution pricing system is not about raising revenues. It is about recognizing that pollution has a cost, empowering Canadians, and encouraging cleaner growth and a more sustainable future.

[TMLW editorial comment: This issue of cost and value related to pollution must be challenged. Objective economic value arises from the work-time of the working class engaged in productive work within the socialized economy transforming natural resources into use-value. Through a sales tax, the government takes value from the economy for whatever purpose it decides. The sales tax lowers the amount of economic value available to the working people. It says "the majority of direct proceeds from the regulatory charge on fuel" will be returned to the people directly with the rest going into general infrastructure. This begs the question as to the purpose of the carbon sales tax, which from what the government is saying will be taken with one hand and returned with the other. What does this have to do with changing the direction of the economy so that it does not harm the environment? To do so requires depriving those in control of the socialized economy of the power to damage the economy.]

For provinces that have not committed to pricing carbon pollution (Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan), the federal government proposes to return the majority of direct proceeds from the regulatory charge on fuel, in the form of Climate Action Incentive payments, directly to individuals and families in the province of origin.

Most households in those provinces will receive more in Climate Action Incentive payments than the increased costs they incur from carbon pollution pricing. This incentive will benefit those who adopt practices that lead to less carbon pollution.

Under the proposed approach, individuals will receive the full amount of the Climate Action Incentive payment for the year, after having filed their tax returns (starting in early 2019).

This amount will include a 10 per cent supplement for residents of small communities and rural areas, in recognition of their specific needs.

In Ontario, for example, the baseline amount for a family of four will be $307, in 2019.

Climate Action Incentive payment amounts will be increased annually to reflect increases in the price on carbon pollution, under the federal carbon pollution pricing system.

The Minister of Finance will make announcements on Climate Action Incentive payment amounts once a year, reflecting the increasing price on carbon pollution and updated levels of direct proceeds. In Ontario, for example, the baseline amount for a family of four is expected to be $718, by 2022.

In each province that has not committed to pricing carbon pollution, those direct proceeds from the federal regulatory charge on fuel, which are not returned directly to individuals and families through Climate Action Incentive payments, will be earmarked to provide support to schools, hospitals, small and medium-sized businesses, colleges and universities, municipalities, not-for-profits, and Indigenous communities in the province.

Pricing carbon reduces pollution at the lowest overall cost to businesses and consumers. A well-designed price on carbon pollution provides an incentive for climate action and clean innovation while protecting competitiveness. Carbon pollution pricing is efficient and cost effective because it allows businesses and households to decide for themselves how best to reduce pollution.

Carbon pollution pricing stimulates innovation, which helps Canadian businesses compete in the emerging low-carbon economy. Putting a price on pollution creates an incentive to innovate, develop, and adopt clean technologies and processes.


Wikepedia Entry on Carbon Taxes (Excerpts)

A carbon tax is a tax levied on the carbon content of fuels. It is a form of carbon pricing.

Carbon is present in every hydrocarbon fuel (coal, petroleum, and natural gas) and converted to carbon dioxide (CO2) and other products when combusted. [...]

CO2 is a heat-trapping "greenhouse" gas [...]

Carbon taxes can be a regressive tax, in that they may directly or indirectly affect low-income groups disproportionately. [...]

Most environmentally related taxes with implications for greenhouse gas emissions in OECD countries are levied on energy products and motor vehicles, rather than on CO2 emissions directly. [...]

In 2018, efforts by French president Emmanuel Macron to implement a carbon tax led to mass protests by citizens, which forced the government to again suspend the tax. [...]

On December 4, the French government suspended the carbon tax, justifying the suspension because, as French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said, "No tax is worth putting in danger the unity of the nation." [...]

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Ontario Government's Anti-Social Offensive

Dishonest Attack on Right to Education
and Freedom of Speech


The Ontario government has issued a decree targeting post-secondary students, faculty and staff and their collective defence organizations. The January 17 decree contains three parts:

1) a tuition reduction of 10 per cent across the board at institutions;

2) changes to Ontario's student financial assistance program placing a greater burden to cover education on students and their families; and

3) a requirement that post-secondary administrations make membership voluntary in student unions, which are the collective defence organizations of the student body.

Attack on Student Organizing

The government seeks to hide and force through without response from the working people the liquidation of the collective defence organizations of the students. The government sees this as necessary to impose further anti-social changes in education. It strives to undermine the resistance of the youth and students to the government's attacks on their rights. It wants a legal means to brand as criminals and outlaws those youth and students who organize to resist the overall anti-social, anti-worker, pro-war direction of governments at both the provincial and federal levels as they integrate Canada and Ontario even further into the U.S. war machine.

The Ford government announced that starting next year every institution will be required to allow students to opt out of "all non-essential non-tuition fees," which is an open assault on student organizing and their right to resist. A news release from Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities states, "[every student in Ontario will be] empowered to choose which student fees they want to pay and how that money will be allocated. Fees for essential campus health and safety initiatives will continue to be mandatory.

"Student fees in Ontario can range as high as $2,000 per year and, too often, force students to pay for services they do not use and organizations they do not support. We will ensure students have transparency and freedom of choice regarding the campus services and organizations which get access to their money."

Revealing that these measures are specifically aimed at targeting the collective organization of the student movement, the opt-out provision will not apply to "fees used to fund major, campus-wide services and facilities or fees which contribute to the health and safety of students [which] are deemed mandatory, and will remain a part of the fee structure. Essential campus initiatives include: walksafe programs, health and counselling, athletics and recreation and academic support."[1]

The government is hiding its true intentions behind the recognition that such programs and infrastructure are important. By targeting the collective organization of the student movement, it is targeting their collective consciousness. Even the "services" the government says can be kept where fought for by the students through their organizations. The aim is to eliminate students' ability to make their own decisions on matters of concern on campus by making membership voluntary in the independent students' unions and other on-campus groups, those which are not under the control of the administration of the university, college or the government. The government will give students the "freedom of choice" to opt out of these "non-essential" membership fees knowing full well that a majority of students are strapped for money. By so doing, the government claim to uphold "individual choice" is based on the false premise that collective rights negate individual rights. This, in turn, supposes that there is no such thing as a society which has general interests with which both individual and collective interests must be harmonized while individual and collective interests must also be harmonized. Far from giving society an aim consistent with the needs of its members and the times, individuals are turned into random persons with individual likes and dislikes which the monopolies will satisfy. It is a profoundly anti-social outlook with measures which are destructive and have anti-social consequences.

Tuition Reduction Without Offsetting Increased Government Funding

The government says tuition fees are to be reduced by 10 per cent. The reduction will affect the budgets of universities and colleges as the funds are not being replaced with government funding. This will lead the educational institutions to pursue their own restructuring to make up for the loss of those funds. The reduction will undoubtedly be used to justify attacking the rights of campus faculty and staff as has happened in the past.

Another result will be to lead these institutions to seek even greater funding from private monopolies in return for providing research and training for their future employees. Greater private funding outside any public regulations to do so in return for educated youth is always accompanied with greater monopoly influence on the curricula and other features of education.

Students will pay less tuition in the short term; however other measures being put in place make this an exercise of giving with one hand while taking even more away with the other. The Ford government is deliberately attempting to hide its plans and actions on this front.

Changes to Student Loans

The government is imposing changes to the student loan program to make it more difficult for students to obtain loans to finance their education while at the same time replacing existing grants with loans. The measures include a reduction in non-repayable grants and their replacement with loans. The government will do this by reducing the family income thresholds associated with eligibility for the Ontario Student Grant. The government also introduced the charging of interest on student loans during the six-month grace period after students graduate before they are required to start paying back their loan.[2]

These measures are presented as shifting loans to "the most needy." This is an insidious attempt to divide the youth between "the most needy" and the allegedly "less needy" so as to negate the right of all youth to an education that the society is duty-bound to provide. An aspect of the neo-liberal anti-social offensive is to eliminate universality in social programs under the hoax of directing available funds to those most in need. This attacks the modern definition that the economy of industrial mass production is capable of providing the rights and well-being of all with a guarantee and that the state is duty-bound to do so.

With these measures of the Ford government, students and their families will not only end up paying more for their education, they will also be under greater pressure to apply for public loans and, when not available, to take out private loans with higher interest rates. Both the public and private loans hand over greater amounts of students' and their families' funds to the financial oligarchy further entrenching its wealth and power.


1. On many campuses students have voted in referendums over the years to finance campus facilities, especially for athletics and recreation, as governments refused to invest in the conditions students require for their education. These measures let governments off the hook for properly funding education and allowed them to shift available public funds into pay-the-rich schemes for the global monopolies. In addition, students' unions have established programs for students, funded through ancillary fees approved through referendums, such as health and dental plans and others. These also make up for the refusal of successive governments to provide the youth with the conditions they require to live healthy lives. This letting government off the hook through ancillary fees paid regardless of the capacity of individual students to pay will be permitted to continue.

2. For the 2019-20 school year, a government news release indicates that the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) will:

- Continue to provide grants to students with the greatest financial need;

- Ensure that students who receive OSAP are those who have shown they have financial need and eliminate the non-needs-based portion of the Ontario Student Grant;

- Increase the share of funds going to low income families from 69 to 72 per cent;

- Ensure 82 per cent of grants will go to students with a family income of less than $50,000, up from 76 per cent under the previous government;

- Reduce the family income thresholds associated with eligibility for the Ontario Student Grant, provide some provincial loans to low-income students, and increase the per-term cap for the Ontario Student Loan;

- Base the calculation for student financial assistance on a contribution from students that reflects the recent increase to minimum wage and increase and restore parental contribution rates back to 2017-18 amounts;

- Make the computer allowance reflect a one-time purchase, rather than an expense eligible for each year of study;

- Change the definition of independent student for Ontario aid to a student who has been out of school for six years, up from four years, with parental income factored into the OSAP needs assessment for students up to six years out of high school, to address concerns outlined in the recent Auditor General's report;

- Change the grant-to-loan ratio to a minimum of 50 per cent loan from Ontario for students in second-entry programs (e.g. post-graduate college certificates, graduate degrees, law, etc.) at publicly-assisted Ontario institutions and for students attending institutions outside of Ontario;

- Maintain the current $25,000 annual income threshold for the Repayment Assistance Plan, ensuring that students can get on their feet after school before they need to start repaying their loan;

- Align Ontario's repayment terms with that of the federal government by charging interest during the six-month grace period, to reduce complexity for students.

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Provincewide Actions Oppose Ford
Anti-Social Offensive in Education

Toronto, January 25, 2019

Across Ontario, post-secondary students are in action to oppose the Ford government’s anti-social offensive on education, including the attacks on their right to organize collectively in their student unions and associations. They boldly affirmed that education is a right and that the wealth of the society must be put at the disposal of realizing this right in practice, so that their skills and talents flourish and they can have a bright future and make their contribution to society. They refuse to be impoverished or criminalized for affirming their right to education.

Students are organizing a provincewide dayof action on February 4. Join in the actions and go all out to support the students!

Toronto, January 25, 2019

Windsor, January 24, 2019

Brantford, January 24, 2019

Ottawa, January 22, 2019

London, January 18, 2019

Toronto, January 18, 2019

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Bill 66, Restoring Ontario's Competitiveness Act, 2018

The Human Toll of the Ford Government's
"Job-Killing Red Tape" Campaign

Demonstration in Toronto, October 15, 2018, against Ford government's anti-worker Bill 47, passed in November. Bill 66 continues the attack on workers' rights.

The Ontario Ford government tabled Bill 66, the Restoring Ontario's Competitiveness Act, 2018, on December 6, 2018, the day the Legislature adjourned until February 19. The bill passed first reading the same day and the government opened an online comment period that ran from December 6, 2018 to January 20.

The government describes the bill as "the second in a series of bills through Ontario's Open for Business Action Plan to stimulate business investment, create good jobs, and make Ontario more competitive by cutting unnecessary regulations that are inefficient, inflexible or out of date."

The first bill was the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, known as Bill 47, which received royal assent on November 21 last year. Amongst other things, Bill 47 cancelled the increase in the minimum wage from $14 to $15 an hour that was set to come into force on January 1, freezing the current rate until October 1, 2020. Not content to only attack those on minimum wage, the bill cancelled the minimum legal requirement of two paid sick days a year, and a measure prohibiting employers from forcing employees to obtain medical notes to prove they were sick.

Bill 66 is omnibus legislation amending 18 existing laws.[1] No consultation was held with workers or the general public on the changes that are going to significantly affect their lives.

Here are some of the bill's main features:

Changes to the Labour Relations Act, 1995

Schedule 9 of the bill amends the Labour Relations Act, 1995 to deem municipalities and certain local boards, school boards, hospitals, colleges, universities and public bodies to be non-construction employers. This means the trade unions currently representing employees of those agencies and institutions, who are now or may be employed in the construction industry, no longer represent them. Any collective agreement binding the employer and the trade union ceases to apply in so far as it applies to the construction industry. What this means is that the government is preparing to massively de-unionize construction workers and construction work in public institutions and terminate legally binding collective agreements without the consent or permission of the workers involved. This is a frontal attack on the wages and working conditions of construction workers, the right to organize and be a member of a collective, and to work in construction under safe and healthy conditions that have the general approval of construction workers and their collectives. This comes at a time when the rates of fatalities and injuries in Ontario's construction sector continue to rise.

Changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA)

Bill 66 removes the legal requirement that employers must apply to the Director of Employment Standards before entering into an agreement according to which their employees can exceed 48 working hours per week, with a limit of 60 hours per week. A significant change contemplated in Bill 66 is the repeal of the 60-hours-per-week cap. 

Bill 66 also removes the requirement that employers receive approval from the Director of Employment Standards before entering into agreements that allow them to average out their employees' hours of work for the purpose of determining their entitlement to overtime pay. Workers, especially those who are not unionized, already find it very difficult to avail themselves of the current provisions of the ESA. In a cynical way the Ford government avoids this difficulty for workers by simply eliminating the ESA provisions.

The bill also removes the requirement that an employer post at the workplace a copy of a poster prepared and published by the Ministry of Labour concerning the rights and obligations of employers and employees under the ESA.

Changes to the Planning Act

Demonstration outside Environment Minister Lisa Thompson's office December 14, 2018.

Some of the most retrogressive and dangerous measures introduced in Bill 66 are changes to the Planning Act. This section faced swift and broad opposition as soon as the bill was introduced. On January 23 the Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark tweeted on social media that  the PC government "... has listened to the concerns raised by MPPs, municipalities and stakeholders with regards to Schedule 10 of Bill 66 and when the legislature returns in February, we will not proceed with Schedule 10 of the Bill." It remains to be seen whether Schedule 10 is in fact removed from Bill 66 when the Legislature returns.

The Planning Act sets out the ground rules for land use planning in Ontario. Schedule 10 of the bill would have amended the Act by adding a new provision that enables a municipality to pass an "open-for-business planning bylaw." According to the Ford government, the change would have created a new "economic development tool" that allows "municipalities to ensure that they can act quickly to attract businesses seeking development sites."

An open-for-business planning bylaw would be part of a municipality's zoning powers. However, according to the bill as introduced, before passing such a bylaw, the municipality must first seek the approval of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The demand would require a council resolution and any "prescribed information." This would include "open-for-business information, including details about the proposed employment opportunity, [and demonstrate that the bylaw is] for a new major employment use." The minimum threshold is 50 new jobs in municipalities of less than 250,000 people and 100 jobs for municipalities with over 250,000. The "prescribed information" must also "identify the uses," of which "residential, commercial or retail" cannot be "the primary use." Within the process, no public notice or hearing is required prior to passing an open-for-business planning bylaw.

Once an "open-for-business planning bylaw" has provincial government approval and is passed, a number of provisions from the existing Planning Act and the following laws will not apply to whatever "development project" has been proposed:

- Clean Water Act, 2006;
- Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015;
- Greenbelt Act, 2005;
- Lake Simcoe Protection Act, 2008;
- Metrolinx Act, 2006;
- Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2001;
- Ontario Planning and Development Act, 1994;
- Places to Grow Act, 2005; and
- Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016.

These negated laws exist often with significant history, including fatalities suffered by Ontarians and environmental damage. Many people consider the laws have great social value. However, without consulting the people or even bothering to explain why the government considers them obsolete or presenting any scientific argument, the Ford government has merely declared that they constitute "job-killing red tape."

For example, the Clean Water Act (CWA) was passed after the Walkerton, Ontario tragedy in 2000.  Contamination of Walkerton's drinking water, as a result of inadequate purification and water testing following the system's privatization, claimed seven lives and made thousands of people very ill. After Walkerton, the CWA drew up source water protection plans to protect drinking water facilities across Ontario. Bill 66 now threatens those measures and opens the door to other water contamination tragedies.

For the Ford government, a "job" does not include environmental protection for the people, nor does it include workers' health and safety, adequate living and working conditions, nor the right of workers to organize as a collective so as to have a voice and defend their interests. The government considers a worker a means of production similar to a machine, and the "job" they do a conduit to private profit. Anything standing in the way of the "job" such as a degree of social responsibility for the well-being of the people and environment is condemned as "job-killing red tape."

Changes to the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014
and the Education Act

Schedule 3 of Bill 66 makes a number of changes to child care rules. Amongst others, it allows for up to three children under the age of two in an in-home daycare. Currently only two young children are allowed in such settings. It also allows two child care providers to look after six infants at a time, an increase from the four infants currently allowed. The changes also mean that once their own children are four years old, care providers no longer have to include them in the total number of kids under their care.

All this was decided behind closed doors, without any public discussion or input from child care workers and parents and their organizations, under the hoax that this is the way to create more affordable child care spaces.

Numerous other changes of that nature in the bill include the repeal of the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009, scheduled for December 31, 2021 as well as all existing regulations within the Act. This significant change has appeared without a word of explanation or science. The Toxics Reduction Act deals with the use of toxic substances at the workplace with the stated aim of reducing them. The Ford government considers the Act to be eliminated as yet another "cost" and "job killing red tape" encumbrance on an "Ontario open to business" regime. Workers who are now or have been exposed to toxic substances and have suffered the consequences would say dismissing such regulations is socially irresponsible, especially without scientific proof and extensive discussion and agreement. This is not making Ontario open for socially responsible business but open for death and disease at the workplace and surrounding communities.

Bill 66 is a usurpation of power over the lives of the people by forces other than those who provide the services and produce the goods people and society depend upon for existence. The malignant government forces in control reveal themselves as blinded by their neo-liberal mantra of putting all of society's assets at the disposal of the rich regardless of the damage to the people and their society. The backward and socially irresponsible outlook sees the conditions in which people live and work and their needs, as amounts on a ledger that must be reduced or shifted into private profit no matter what the consequences.

Bill 66 is retrogressive and dangerous. Workers and their unions, environmental organizations and other social organizations have pledged to firmly oppose the legislation, with some city councils announcing that they will not implement such things as open-for-business planning bylaws.

The organized people must not let this pass, and through mass political mobilization ensure the bill is withdrawn.


1. Bill 66 will amend the following 18 existing laws:

- Agricultural Employees Protection Act, 2002
- Child Care and Early Years Act, 2013
- Education Act
- Employment Standards Act, 2000
- Farm Registration and Farm Organizations Funding Act, 1993
- Highway Traffic Act
- Labour Relations Act, 1995
- Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007
- Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act
- Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998
- Pawnbrokers Act
- Pension Benefits Act
- Personal Property Security Act
- Planning Act
- Private Career Colleges Act, 2005
- Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000
- Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 (this act will be fully repealed)
- Wireless Services Agreements Act, 2013

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The Need to Oppose Colonial Injustice

Coastal GasLink Bulldozes Unist'ot'en Trapline

The Wet'suwet'en land defenders at the Unist'ot'en Camp report that on January 22, "Coastal GasLink (CGL) contractors drove a bulldozer through the heart of one of our traplines. Trapping is part of our healing centre programming; we return to the land to heal from the trauma of colonization. Damage to the trapline represents a direct attack on our healing centre and the wellness of our Wet'suwet'en people.

"We have notified CGL workers that it is a violation of the Wildlife Act to interfere with lawful trapping. CGL claimed to be conducting preliminary survey work and did not send advance notice of bulldozing or clearing. We were notified in June that parts of our trapline may be affected in August 2020. Two traps along the trapline are unaccounted for and may have been destroyed. CGL continues to disrespect our yintah [the hereditary rights to their traditional territory -- TML Ed. Note], our culture, our people, and our traditional practices."

The Canadian Press (CP) reports CGL saying on its website that it has stopped work on the project "because traps had been placed inside construction boundaries and people were entering the site, raising safety concerns." It claims its work in the area has been fully approved by elected chiefs and permitted, which goes against the agreement reached with the hereditary chiefs to carry out surveying. CP reports that CGL reminded the public that unauthorized access to an active construction site where heavy equipment is being used can be dangerous and that it is working with the RCMP to address the issue.

(January 23, 2019)

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Ongoing Actions Support
Wet'suwet'en Land Defenders


Across the country, working people continue to express their support for the Wet'suwet'en land defenders and their just stand to affirm their sovereignty and claims on their hereditary lands and their right to say No! Shown below are events held from January 15 to 23. The actions are sure to continue as the Wet'suwet'en continue to face violations of the agreement reached on January 8 by the hereditary chiefs and the RCMP. Meanwhile, the interim court injunction granted to Coast Gas Link against the Gidimt'en checkpoint and enforced by the RCMP raid remains in place until the defendants -- those arrested on January 7, as well as residents and supporters of the Unist'ot'en camp -- file a response in court January 31.

Wet'suwet'en Press Conference and Rally in Smithers, BC

Sointula, BC

Tofino, BC

Sunshine Coast, BC

Langford, BC

Vancouver, BC, January 16

Vancouver, BC, January 18

Student Walkout at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC

Calgary, AB

Edmonton, AB

Spirit of the Buffalo Camp on Enbridge Line 3, MB

Sudbury, ON

Windsor, ON

London, ON

Prime Minister Trudeau's Town Hall, St. Catharines, ON

Peterborough, ON

St-Hyacinthe, QC

Charlottetown, PEI

(Photos: TML, Solidarity with All Land Defenders, UBCIC, A. Glickman, C. Kelly, J. Wong, Clayoquot Action, Extinction Rebellion, Grassroots Rendering, A. Pettman, Fight C, R. Deer, Climate Justice Edmonton, R. Bluesky, J. West, J. Tomchishen, One Dish One Mic, G. Broughton, M. Hale, c. Perry)

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No to "Regime Change" in Venezuela

Condemn U.S.-Led Attempts to Overthrow the Legitimately Constituted Government of the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

On January 23 and 24, U.S. imperialism and the coup forces it commands took new steps to try and force regime change on the people of Venezuela. Within minutes of illegally and unconstitutionally declaring himself "interim president" of Venezuela at a mass rally of opposition supporters, deputy Juan Guaidó was recognized by U.S. President Donald Trump as the "legitimate" president of the country. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared shortly after that the U.S. would continue to use the full weight of its economic and diplomatic power to impose regime change, or what he called "the restoration of Venezuelan democracy."

The governments of Canada and other members of the so-called Lima Group quickly followed suit. At a press conference from Davos, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland stood shoulder to shoulder with the presidents of Colombia and Brazil and the Vice-President of Peru as each one declared their government's support for the U.S. puppet who had just declared himself Venezuela's "interim president." As it turns out these paragons of "democracy" had been working together behind the scenes for some time to orchestrate what had just taken place, according to news reports. Freeland, speaking "on behalf of Canada," tried to sugarcoat her government's involvement in a full-fledged regime change operation by asserting that the person who had just declared himself “president" of a parallel “transition government” was acting in compliance with the country's constitution -- an outright lie.

Left to right: Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland joins with Vice President of Peru Mercedes Araoz; Colombian President Ivan Duque; and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in backing the U.S. puppet Juan Guaidó as "interim president" of Venezuela.

As the usurper swore himself into office in front of his sponsors and supporters, "to formally assume the competencies of the national executive as interim president of Venezuela," other streets of Caracas were filled with tens of thousands of mainly working people who came out to reject the coup attempt against their president Nicolás Maduro and affirm their loyalty to him and to the Bolivarian revolution that is the legacy of Hugo Chávez.

They were addressed by President Maduro, who denounced the U.S.-orchestrated coup attempt and announced the decision of the Bolivarian government to sever all ties with the U.S. government, giving its diplomatic personnel 72 hours to leave the country. He later confirmed that the Venezuelan embassy and consulates in the U.S. would also be closing.

Pompeo responded by declaring that the U.S. did not recognize the Maduro government's authority to break off diplomatic relations and so it would not be withdrawing its personnel. He then issued a provocative threat, saying the U.S. would "take appropriate action to hold to account anyone who endangers the safety and security of the U.S. mission and its personnel."

The same day, Venezuela's Defence Minister, Vladimir Padrino López, declared the full support of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces' (FANB) for President Nicolás Maduro, saying they would never support a coup perpetrated by dark forces. The position of the FANB was ratified and further elaborated in an official statement the next day.

President Maduro addresses thousands of Venezuelans rallying at Miraflores Palace and elsewhere in Caracas to affirm their loyalty to his presidency and the Bolivarian Revolution,
January 23, 2019.

U.S. Fails to Get a Declaration Supporting Its Puppet Adopted by the Organization of American States

On January 24, a special meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) was held at the request of the U.S. and a number of its close collaborators, including Canada. At the meeting, the U.S. Secretary of State browbeat all those he possibly could into recognizing the puppet "interim president," incredibly equating this to "aligning with democracy" and "respecting the rule of law." He said the time for debate was done, that it was time for the OAS as a whole to act. 

Pompeo also used the occasion to announce that the United States was ready to give its puppet in Venezuela the laughable sum of $20 million for what he called "humanitarian assistance to the people of Venezuela" and was also going to help "rebuild" their country and economy.

Right after Pompeo concluded his imperial diatribe about "restoring democracy in Venezuela," Medea Benjamin of the U.S. anti-war group Code Pink stood up holding a placard reading, "OAS: Don't support a coup d'état" -- an act which was met with loud applause. Before she was dragged away by security, she shouted appeals to delegates and repeated that a coup d'état is not a peaceful transition.

For her part, Canada's Ambassador to the OAS Jennifer Loten had the gall to declare that actions which seek to overthrow a legitimately constituted government uphold democracy and human rights and are in accord with the rule of law.

Venezuela was honourably and courageously represented by its representative Asbina Marín Sevilla, whose statement was a powerful indictment of the criminal plot unfolding against her nation and people. Among other things, she said some countries in the OAS are supporting a fascist coup that seeks a civil war, and a dictator who openly calls for conflict and foreign intervention to come and kill his countrypeople and defend his surrender of the country. That's how the U.S. likes its dictators.

Never before in Venezuela's history has a foreign government dared to do so much as this mafia government, which is itself the biggest threat to peace in the region, Marin said. Never before has a Venezuelan prostrated himself before a foreign power like the puppet who has declared himself "president," as if he were a king. He does not recognize the Head of State, he does not recognize the Supreme Court of Justice or the National Electoral Council; he does not recognize the Attorney General or the Ombudsman or the Comptroller General, but he does recognize the power of the United States. One did not have to support Nicolás Maduro to reject such a puppet, she said, whose political boss is in Miami and who gets his orders from the White House. She said all of them were traffickers in death who have been waging an economic, political and psychological war against Venezuela and now want to convert it to a shooting war.

Marín Sevilla dismissed the communiqué read out on behalf of a group of member states by Argentina, as nothing more than propaganda to justify a coup which applies only to those who signed it. She ended by declaring that Venezuela is not alone, that today's generation will not fail its ancestors nor its children.

In the end, the lies, slander and threats Pompeo used to try and sway those present did not yield the results he, Canada and the so-called Lima Group wanted. Eighteen of the 34 OAS member states refused to recognize the usurper Juan Guaidó. Along with others who took firm stands, members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) played an important role in denying the coup forces the majority they sought by staunchly defending the principles of non-intervention and self-determination.

Later in the day, 10 heads of state and two foreign ministers of CARICOM released a statement in which they "reaffirmed their guiding principles of non-interference and non-intervention in the affairs of states, respect for sovereignty, adherence to the rule of law, and respect for human rights and democracy" and offered their good offices "to facilitate dialogue among all parties to resolve the deepening crisis." They also called on external forces to refrain from doing anything to destabilize the situation in the country and called on all to "step back from the brink."

While the U.S. did not succeed in getting its coup declaration adopted at the OAS, Pompeo issued threats on behalf of the U.S. which not only spurned international law and all norms of diplomacy but made it clear that the U.S. will continue to foment acts of violence. He warned "remnant elements of the Maduro regime" not to use violence to "repress" the "peaceful democratic transition," as he called the coup d'état his government is organizing against the Venezuelan people.

The Trudeau government's claim that it is upholding "democracy," "human rights" and the "rule of law" cannot hide that high crimes are being prepared against the Venezuelan people in Canadians' name.

Condemn Canada's Role in Attempting to Overthrow the Legitimately Constituted Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela!

Support from the Peoples of the World




Washington, DC, U.S.

New York City; Los Angeles, U.S.

Damascus, Syria

Beirut, Lebanon

(Photos: TML, TeleSUR, ANSWER, Workers World Party, A. Chavez)

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The OAS Dangerously in Disarray

OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at an OAS meeting on Venezuela in Washington, DC, January 24, 2019.

Over the last few days there has been a serious overreach by Luis Almagro of the authority he has as secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS).

If Mr Almagro continues to exceed his authority, plainly set out in the Charter of the OAS, the already fragmented organization will be headed for grave fracture.

The job of the secretary-general of any multi-national or international organisation is to represent the positions of the collective membership of the organization either after direction by the appropriate governing bodies or after discussion with them that establishes a consensus. Almost from the day of his installation, Mr Almagro has steadfastly ignored any such requirements.

In his latest overreach, Mr Almagro has taken upon himself to unilaterally and publicly anoint an "Interim President" of Venezuela. Almagro's selection is Juan Guaidó who was elected by the National Assembly -- made up of only opposition party representatives -- as its president "for a year." He made this spontaneous statement at a meeting on January 15 at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a U.S. think-tank based in Washington, DC.

No official organ of the OAS has made any such decision or even discussed it, and none has authorised Mr Almagro to make it.

This latest unauthorized statement on Venezuelan matters is the most recent in a series by Almagro, directed at the Venezuelan government that ruled-out both he, as secretary-general, and the OAS as honest brokers in trying to reach a settlement to the political divisions that have plagued Venezuela over the past five years.

The secretary-general has also taken to tweeting his personal views, which he incorrectly represents as speaking for the OAS, a grouping of 34 countries. In a tweet on January 11, Luis Almagro stated: "We support the agreement in Venezuela's national assembly declaring the usurpation by Nicolás Maduro and the need to apply constitutional article 233 on a transitional government and the call for an election."

Exactly who is the "we" to whom Almagro referred is unknown, since he did not identify them. But what is known is that it is not any official organ of the OAS, including the Permanent Council, which is the highest decision-making body, representing all member states at ambassadorial level.

It may be that Mr Almagro is working with a handful of countries which, from their own governments' declarations, oppose the government of Nicolás Maduro to the point where they are using every means to topple it, but in doing so, he is not representing the OAS or the collective will of the member-states. Governments are free to pursue their own national policies on Venezuela, but they have no entitlement to impose those policies on the OAS.

The reality is that the membership of the OAS is deeply divided, not over the troubling humanitarian, political and financial crisis in Venezuela, but over the response to it.

There is no member state that condones the political impasse created by both ruling and opposition parties; the shortage of food and medicines; the hardship being endured by a large number of Venezuelans; and now the flow of refugees into neighbouring countries. The disagreement arises from the manner in which 14 countries, calling themselves "The Lima Group" has held private meetings to fashion decisions which they then try to push through the Permanent Council of the OAS on a majority vote of 18.

The problem with this approach is that when a majority of 18 secures passage of a resolution or a declaration on which others have not been consulted and that is unpalatable to them, a trail of bitterness is left among the 15 others, particularly when it is known that governments have been cajoled and pressured to help attain the majority of 18.

It is sad that in the Americas, the governments of countries that benefitted from the wisdom of the founding fathers of the United States, ignore the observation of Thomas Jefferson, one of the authors of the U.S. Constitution, that: "All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression."

Tied-up with Secretary-General Almagro's disdain for the official organs of the OAS is his decision now to run for a second term, although he had previously indicated that he would not. His stance on Venezuela, particularly, would have endeared him to those member states whose governments might wish him to remain as an additional instrument for advancing their peculiar interests.

But, if Mr Almagro is not reined-in and his overreach not curtailed, many member-states will not tolerate it, and the organization will be damaged irreparably. Governments, except the timid and the frightened, will not sit by idly while their rights are eroded, and their voices disregarded.

Mr Almagro's latest dangerous pronouncement, made casually at the CSIS meeting on January 15, is that, if what he calls "the interim president" of Venezuela being Juan Guaidó, one of the leaders of the opposition, designates representatives to the OAS, he will accept their credentials and seat them, presumably ousting the current delegates.

The secretary-general has no such authority. No instrument of the OAS gives him that power. And, if it is that Mr Almagro is setting-up this possibility for any vested-interest group in the OAS to force adoption of such a notion by a majority vote of 18, the OAS, in its present form, will not survive it.

To be clear, objection to any such action will not come because any country is blindly supporting the Maduro government in Venezuela; it will come because the precedent it would establish would be far-reaching and dangerous for any other country that is targeted for whatever reason.

The rules of international organizations and international law must be respected and upheld, or disarray will result.

Venezuela needs a negotiated and sustainable solution for the sake of its people and for the stability of the region. Promoting division within Venezuela and isolating its de facto government from diplomatic discourse simply protracts the hardships the people endure.

Sir Ronald Sanders, in addition to being Antigua and Barbuda's Ambassador to the U.S. and OAS, is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London and Massey College, University of Toronto.

(Caribbean News Now, January 18, 2019)

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Bolivarian National Armed Forces Ratify the Legitimacy of Nicolás Maduro as the Constitutional President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

This Thursday, January 24, the Sectoral Vice President for Political Sovereignty, Security and Peace and People's Power Minister of Defence, General-in-Chief Vladimir Padrino López, accompanied by the expanded Superior General Staff of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, took a firm and unwavering stand to reject the illegal actions that a parallel government intends to carry out in Venezuela and, at the same time, ratified the Bolivarian National Armed Forces' (FANB) full adherence to the Constitution and laws of the Republic.

Also, during the reading of the official statement from his office in Fuerte Tiuna, the head of the military reproached the interference by foreign governments, which he described as "disrespectful of international law and the principle of the self-determination of peoples."

On the other hand, the Minister of Defence guaranteed citizens peace as well as the proper functioning of State institutions, saying vandalism or terrorist acts will not be tolerated.

In the same vein, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces recognized -- once again -- the legitimacy of Nicolás Maduro Moros, as Constitutional President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Commander-in-Chief of the FANB, emphasizing that he was elected on May 20, 2018, through free, universal, direct and secret elections.

In the statement, Padrino López said that "for a long time a vulgar coup d'état has been in the making against the legitimately constituted government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela by sectors of the extreme right, brazenly supported by imperial agents."

In this regard, he denounced the claim of "establishing a de facto parallel government, lacking legality and popular support, for the shadowy purpose of generating chaos and anarchy in our society."

Finally, the General-in-Chief reiterated that the military will never accept a President who has been imposed, or self-proclaimed outside the law; nor will it ever be subordinated to a foreign power or to a government that is not democratically elected by the people of Venezuela.

Military detachments across Venezuela reaffirm their loyalty to the legitimate government of Venezuela headed by President Maduro, and the Bolivarian Revolution, January 24, 2019.

(January 24, 2019. Translated from original Spanish by TML. Photos: MPPDefensa, Prensa FANB.)

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Statements on the Developments in Venezuela

Aggression Against Venezuela Must Cease

The Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Cuba condemns and energetically rejects the attempt to impose a coup d'état, a puppet government at the service of the United States, in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and expresses its unwavering solidarity with the government of Constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros.

The true objectives of actions against Venezuela are to control the vast resources of this sister nation and destroy the value of its example, as an emancipatory process defending the dignity and independence of Our America.

As President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez said: "The sovereignty of our peoples is expressed today in one's attitude toward Venezuela. To support the legitimate right of the sister nation to define its own destiny is to defend the dignity of all."

Other coup attempts should not be forgotten, such as the military coup of 2002 and the 2003 oil lockout; the aggressive U.S. Executive Order describing Venezuela as "an unusual and extraordinary threat to national security and foreign policy" of the superpower; unilateral coercive measures; the call for a military coup against the constitutional government of Venezuela; the President of the United States' threat to use "a possible military option" and the August 4 [2018] assassination attempt against President Maduro.

The acts of a group of countries and the shameful role of the OAS constitute a new, desperate attempt to implement an unsuccessful policy of regime change, which has not been imposed due to the unwavering resistance of the Venezuelan people and their determination to defend national sovereignty.

Havana, January 23, 2019


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Statement of the Caribbean Community

The following Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) -- Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago; Foreign Ministers of Grenada and Suriname; meeting by video-conference on January 24, 2019, issued the following statement:

Heads of Government are following closely the current unsatisfactory situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, a neighbouring Caribbean country. They expressed grave concern about the plight of the people of Venezuela and the increasing volatility of the situation brought about by recent developments which could lead to further violence, confrontation, breakdown of law and order and greater suffering for the people of the country.

Heads of Government reaffirmed their guiding principles of non-interference and non-intervention in the affairs of states, respect for sovereignty, adherence to the rule of law, and respect for human rights and democracy.

Heads of Government reiterated that the long-standing political crisis, which has been exacerbated by recent events, can only be resolved peacefully through meaningful dialogue and diplomacy.

In this regard, Heads of Government offered their good offices to facilitate dialogue among all parties to resolve the deepening crisis.

Reaffirming their commitment to the tenets of Article 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter which calls for Members States to refrain from the threat or the use of force and Article 21 of the Charter of the Organization of American States which refers to territorial inviolability, the Heads of Government emphasized the importance of the Caribbean remaining a Zone of Peace.

Heads of Government called on external forces to refrain from doing anything to destabilize the situation and underscored the need to step back from the brink and called on all actors, internal and external, to avoid actions which would escalate an already explosive situation to the detriment of the people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and which could have far-reaching negative consequences for the wider region.

Heads of Government agreed that the Chairman of Conference, Dr the Honourable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis would seek an urgent meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General to request the UN's assistance in resolving the issue.

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Uruguay and Mexico Urge Venezuelans to Find a Peaceful Solution to Their Differences

Mexico and Uruguay gave a timely response to recent events in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Together, the Governments of Uruguay and Mexico called on all parties involved, both within the country and abroad, to reduce tensions and prevent an escalation of violence that could aggravate the situation.

In accordance with the principles of international law, Mexico and Uruguay are urging all actors to find a peaceful and democratic solution to the complex situation facing Venezuela. To achieve this goal, both countries propose a new process of inclusive and credible negotiations, with full respect for the rule of law and human rights.

The Uruguayan and Mexican governments, in line with the declarations of the United Nations and the European Union, as well as the governments of Spain and Portugal, express their full support, commitment and willingness to work together in favour of stability and peace and the welfare of the Venezuelan people.

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Statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry

The events in Venezuela have reached a dangerous point.

Failing to remove Nicolás Maduro, including physically, the extremist opponents of the legitimate government of Venezuela have opted for a highly confrontational scenario. The United States and several other countries in the region have recognised the opposition leader who has sworn himself in as Venezuela's interim president. This can only deepen the social divide in Venezuela, aggravate street protests, dramatically destabilise the Venezuelan political community and further escalate the conflict. The deliberate and obviously well orchestrated creation of dual power and an alternative decision-making centre in Venezuela is a direct path towards chaos and erosion of Venezuelan statehood. Several people have already died. We firmly condemn those who are pushing Venezuelan society into the abyss of violent civil discord.

We regard Washington's unceremonious actions as yet another demonstration of its total disregard for the norms and principles of international law and an attempt to pose as the self-imposed master of another nation's future. The United States is clearly trying to apply a tried and tested regime change scenario in Venezuela.

We are especially alarmed by the signals we have received from some capitals on the possibility of foreign military interference. We warn that such opportunism can have catastrophic consequences.

We urge the sober-minded Venezuelan politicians standing in opposition to Nicolás Maduro's legitimate government not to become pawns in other players' chess game.

We believe that political activity is only acceptable if it is pursued within the constitutional framework and in strict compliance with the national legislation. Of course, the people must be able to freely express their opinions, including through rallies, but only if they do so peacefully in a manner that will not provoke violence or, worse still, endanger public safety.

Venezuelans alone have the right to determine their future. Any destructive foreign interference, especially amid the current tensions, is completely unacceptable. Incitement has nothing in common with a democratic process; it is a direct path towards lawlessness and violence.

It is a mission of the international community to help promote understanding between the political opposition forces in Venezuela that respect national interests. We are ready to cooperate with all countries that share these views.

(January 24, 2019)

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No Coup d'État in Venezuela!

Support the Democratically Elected President, Nicolás Maduro.

ALBA Social Movements Ottawa expresses its deep concern for the continuing aggressive actions of the United States, trying to attack the constitutional order and destabilize the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The U.S. is making every attempt to attack the legitimacy of President Nicolás Maduro Moros, who was elected as a result of free and democratic elections with national and international observers. On May 20, 2018, President Maduro was elected to second term with 68 per cent of the votes.

The leaders of more than 120 countries expressed their congratulations and support for the election of President Maduro and 90 countries sent delegations to the inauguration ceremony in Caracas on January 10, 2019.

At this time we are witnessing a brutal and despicable media campaign of disinformation to manufacture a humanitarian crisis and economic collapse to justify interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela and imposing the U.S. goal of regime change in contempt of the will of the Venezuelan people.

The U.S. imperialists and a handful of collaborator countries like Canada have even sunk to the level of declaring that the President of the Legislative Assembly of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, should replace Maduro as President. This is a flagrant violation of the Constitution of Venezuela as the National Assembly has been declared in contempt by the Supreme Court. Under the guise of defending democracy, this action promoted by the U.S. is nothing more than a coup d'état with a president imposed through foreign interference in violation of the Constitutional order in Venezuela.

In the past few days, in typical mafia style, both U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton and Senator Marco Rubio have openly called for the Venezuelan military to overthrow President Maduro. These despicable actions deserve the full condemnation of all peoples who defend democracy and the sovereignty of Venezuela.

The Venezuelan people will not accept this dictate in violation of their democratic choice and in violation of international law.

As President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro has declared that the government will continue its repeated appeals to the opposition for political dialogue for a peaceful resolution of the problems facing the nation. This is the only path forward for all patriotic forces who defend the right of Venezuelans to decide their own fate without any foreign interference.

ALBA Social Movements, Ottawa Chapter declares its support for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, its democratically elected President, Nicolás Maduro, its unwavering, peaceful vocation and its right to choose, within the principle of self-determination, its national authorities, since sovereignty resides in the Venezuelan people which legitimizes the constituted powers of the Venezuelan State.

If the opposition wishes for a solution to the grave crisis, this has to pass through a National Dialogue between Venezuelans with no outside interference nor by way of imposing false legalities and much less using violence to destroy a legal elected government.

NO to Intervention, Yes to Sovereignty!

NO to a coup; YES to a patriotic dialogue!

NO to legal trickery, YES to due process!

The laws and constitution of Venezuela should be respected.

(January 23, 2019)

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Statement of Common Frontiers

On May 20, 2018, presidential elections were held in Venezuela, and incumbent Nicolás Maduro was re-elected president for a second term with 67.8 per cent of the vote. A delegation of Canadian election observers were on the ground as eyewitnesses and corroborated what international elections observers unanimously reported -- the Venezuelan presidential elections were fair, transparent and represented the will of the Venezuelan people.

The Canadian government, along with its allies in the Lima Group, have consistently attempted to delegitimize President Maduro and provide unconditional support to extreme right-wing sectors of the Venezuelan opposition. The New York Times reported that the Trump administration has been actively discussing plans with rebel Venezuelan military officials to stage a coup against president, Nicolás Maduro.

Over the past couple of days, the Trump administration has escalated its attacks against Venezuela including recognizing self-proclaimed opposition leader Juan Gerardo Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed Trump and called upon President Nicolás Maduro to "cede power to the democratically elected National Assembly." Juan Gerardo Guaidó is a relative unknown figure in Venezuela with no mandate from the people and whose actions have no constitutional basis whatsoever.

Common Frontiers is deeply concerned with these actions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's willingness to follow Trump's lead. We consider the actions of the Canadian government to be a provocation which violates Venezuela's sovereignty and democratic norms. This reflects interventionist polices that seek nothing less than undemocratic regime change in Venezuela.

Canada's actions will only serve to heighten the conflict and polarization facing the country with the added danger of an open civil war between supporters of Guaidó and Maduro. Accounts from Venezuela indicate at least 13 people were killed on January 23 in the context of violent demonstrations and street blockades during the recent protests called for by Guaidó and his supporters.

We reject any attempts by the Canadian government to interfere with the sovereignty and democratic order in Venezuela or actions that seek to bring about regime change.

Canada should not be supporting U.S.-led coups and be seen as playing politics with democracy and human rights in the region. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has consistently and vehemently condemned Venezuela, while turning a blind eye to well documented fraudulent elections and human rights abuses in Guatemala and Honduras.

The economic and political problems facing Venezuela must be resolved internally by Venezuelans through peaceful dialogue and in accordance with the democratic norms of the country. The role of Canada and the international community should be to support and foster a climate of dialogue and peace, rather than to support attempts to impose a Washington based solution to the crisis in Venezuela.

Common Frontiers is an organization comprised of civil society organizations and labour groups based in Ontario.

(January 23, 2019)

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Statement of the Foro de São Paulo

The Executive Secretariat of the Foro de São Paulo expresses its profound rejection of the decision of the Government of Donald Trump, of Canada and of several Latin American countries to support the illegitimate presidency of opposition leader Juan Guaidó in Venezuela, contrary to the popular decision expressed in May 2018, when the people democratically elected compañero Nicolás Maduro for the presidency of the country.

The 2018 elections were legitimate and recognized by various sectors of Venezuelan society, including the opposition. The Venezuelan political-electoral system assures the population broad exercise of the right to vote and has transparency and verification mechanisms. It was praised by the former president of the United States Jimmy Carter and now by the former president of the Spanish government José Luís Zapatero, who joined the delegations of international electoral observers.

The group that now wants to assume the command of the country is a minority group and does not accept the popular will. This group uses the support of the Trump government and its puppet governments in the region. Trump has already demonstrated on several occasions that he does not respect the sovereignty of other countries and international agreements, in addition to having attitudes that are openly opposed to peace and dialogue for the resolution of conflicts.

We call on the countries of the continent to respect the sovereign decision of the people and the principle of non-intervention.

Together in the Foro de São Paulo, we will fight for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to reach their full sovereignty and independence!

(January 24, 2019. Translated from original Spanish by TML.)

Venezuelan 2018 Presidential Elections 

Canadian Delegation Observations
- Common Frontiers Report, June 2018 -

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