June 1, 2019 - No. 20

Alberta Government's Assault on the Polity
a Matter of Concern for all Canadians

Alberta Government's Assault on the Polity

Throne Speech Proclaims Alberta "Open for Business"

- Peggy Morton -
Legislative Agenda of the Kenney Government

Illegal Request to Put Arbitration of Wage Re-Openers on Hold

Provincial Government Announces "Cutbacks and Wage Restraint"
for All Public Sector Workers

Comment on the Public Sector and Its Crucial Role in the Economy

- K.C. Adams -

For Nation-to-Nation Relations and an End to Genocide
of Indigenous Peoples

Day of Action Defends Indigenous Rights

BC Court of Appeal Ruling Means British Columbians and
Indigenous Nations Remain Vulnerable to Oil Spills

Contention Over the Arctic

Canada Files Submission on Arctic Ocean Continental Shelf

- Peter Ewart -

Canada-Cuba Relations

Parliament Hosts Symposium on Cuba

Pickets in Ottawa and Montreal Continue to Demand Provision of Canadian Consular Services in Cuba

Open Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau Concerning Visas for Latin American and Caribbean Scholars

- Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies -

Canadians Take Part in Annual Caravan to Overcome U.S.
Unjust Blockade of Cuba
Toronto Coming Event: Cuba in the Time of Trump

Opposition to New Attempts to Impose U.S. Dictate

Caribbean Community Must Unify to Resist Imposition of
Secretary-General of Organization of American States

- Sir Ronald Sanders -

Trump Administration's Deal of the Century

Resurrecting the PLO Is Palestine's Best Response

- Ramzy Baroud -

35th Anniversary of Operation Blue Star

Heinous Crime of the Indian Ruling Class Against the
Peoples of Punjab and All of India

75th Anniversary of D-Day

Deepest Respects to All Who Contributed to the Defeat
of the Nazis in World War II

Normandy Landing and the Re-Writing of History

- François Lazure -


One Year of Resistance to Escalating Anti-Social Offensive
- Photo Review -

Alberta Government's Assault on the Polity

Throne Speech Proclaims Alberta
"Open for Business"

The spring session of the Alberta Legislature began May 22 with the Speech from the Throne delivered by Lieutenant-Governor Lois Mitchell. Based on the usual claim that the people have spoken and the government now has a mandate to pay the rich and impose its anti-social agenda, the Throne Speech declared the election "reflects a movement towards democratic and economic renewal."

It is indeed true that the people of Alberta want democratic and economic renewal. It is their greatest need and desire. But what Jason Kenney is doing will not satisfy this want. It will in fact resolve none of the problems facing the economy and polity in Alberta and only make matters worse. At present, the polity plays no role in deciding the policies of the cartel parties and their candidates contending for power in Alberta or elsewhere in Canada. Democratic and economic renewal for working people is their striving for political empowerment and the power to change the direction of the economy. The changing of the cartel party in power in Alberta continues the dominance, class privilege and regime of the financial oligarchy and has nothing to do with renewal.

Kenney's seizure of power of the Progressive Conservative Party in Alberta and formation of the United Conservative Party was a coup by the Harperites centred in Calgary to regain control of the province from the Wildrose conservatives in the rural areas and the NDPers centred in Edmonton. The regime change consolidates and continues the rule of the financial oligarchy to pay the rich and the previous government's campaign to allow global private interests to exploit the natural resources without restriction while intensifying the dog-fight amongst competing sections of the ruling circles. The anti-social offensive, the attacks and the disinvestment in social programs continue, including an open assault on the public education and health care systems and measures to make life more difficult for the working class and its organizations.

The Throne Speech paints a picture of an Alberta "beset by severe external political and economic constraints, and consequently saddled with serious internal fiscal challenges requiring urgent action." By describing these "severe external political and economic constraints," the Throne Speech does not analyze the actual material conditions of Alberta, Canada or the world. The "serious internal fiscal challenges" previously blamed on the NDP government are now portrayed as "external political and economic constraints." In other words, now Alberta is said to be the victim not only of economic forces beyond its control but a conspiracy to "landlock its oil." This self-serving view, largely shared by the Notley NDP government when in power, positions Albertans to take sides in the vicious inter-monopoly fight that fraudulently pits the natural environment against the economy and divides Canadians on an irrational basis.

The resurrection of the slogan "Open for Business" can hardly be called renewal. It has been dragged from the pit of disgrace that was the Mike Harris anti-social offensive in Ontario in the 1990s, and copied by the Ford government in Ontario, the Legault government in Quebec and now Kenney in Alberta.

The Throne Speech promises to "create jobs, growth, and economic diversification" and "show the world that we are open for business to restore investor confidence, while carefully restoring balance to our province's finances." Is Kenney serious? What can he do when a global financial oligarchy owns and controls the main sectors of the Alberta economy and his government has no intention to change these arrangements? The recurring economic crises reflect that global dominance and how little, if any, power the Alberta Legislature or Alberta's cartel parties have over the situation within the U.S.-led imperialist system of states.

The Kenney government's anti-social legislative agenda reduces the minimum wage for youth from $15 to $13 an hour. It targets the public system of education and health care and social programs for further privatization and destruction. It will further eliminate regulations that restrict those it calls "the job creators." That is what Kenney calls job creation and economic renewal. The heavy burden of $2 an hour, the social programs, regulations and red tape are lifted from the backs of the rich oligarchs who in turn toast Alberta being "open for business."

For the state to serve private interests and provide everything the financial oligarchy needs to pursue its plunder of the natural resources and expropriation of the value workers produce is reckless and contributes nothing to solving the problems of either the economy or the democracy. Economic renewal for Kenney and his ilk means rejecting any consideration of the consequences of economic activity except the only one that matters -- the rate of profit on invested private wealth. Nothing must interfere with the motive of production of imperialism, which is the greatest profit in the fastest time.

What democratic renewal can working people expect from the gods of plague when even the labour laws are stacked against the workers to keep them from forming defence organizations at the workplace? In the construction sector the law permits "double breasting," where companies can transfer work to their non-union arm, and where laws favour the recognition of the business-led Christian Labour Association of Canada, as well as other tricks to deprive workers of the right to organize collectively. Under the previous government, while boasting of tweaking labour laws in favour of the working class, not a single workplace has been able to negotiate an essential services agreement without which strikes are illegal.

"Unstack the Deck" rally in Edmonton, April 30, 2017, demanded an end to the practice of
"double breasting" in the construction industry.

For the Kenney government, democratic renewal for workers means treating them like consumers who have choices -- whether to belong to a union or not, whether to pay union dues or not, which cartel party to vote for. And everyone knows what those choices mean in a country where anti-union propaganda is rife and the workers are blamed for all the ills of the economy because their choices interfere with the striving of the rich to increase their profits no matter what the consequences for the social and natural environments.

The cartel parties and governments are put into power and removed at the bidding of the financial oligarchy, so any talk of democratic renewal has to begin somewhere other than in their backrooms and press releases. The working people themselves have to gain power through their own efforts and organizing, through their own empowerment and speaking for themselves. Only then can they experience genuine democratic renewal and march out on a path of economic renewal with a new motive of production that guarantees the well-being and rights of the people as a first priority and strives to humanize the social and natural environment.

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Legislative Agenda of the Kenney Government

Youth in Calgary participate in climate strike actions, March 15, 2019, demanding that governments take measures to protect the natural environment and their future.

Making Alberta workers and resources open for private profit
of the financial oligarchy

The Kenney Conservative government in Alberta began to lay out its legislative agenda for the spring and fall sessions with its May 22 Throne Speech, making clear it will intensify the neo-liberal anti-social offensive. Four bills followed in short order.

Bill 1, the Carbon Tax Repeal Act

Bill 1, introduced May 22, will eliminate the Alberta carbon tax. In doing so, Kenney promises a court challenge to the federal carbon tax, which the Trudeau government is expected to apply to Alberta immediately following the repeal of the provincial tax.

Kenney vows to launch a constitutional challenge despite the ruling from the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal upholding the federal government's right to impose such a tax. This indicates the increasing hostility and animosity among competing sectors of the ruling elite, which with Kenney at the helm in Alberta can only grow more rancorous.

Bill 2, an Act to Make Alberta Open for Business

Bill 2, tabled on May 27, reduces the minimum wage for young workers from $15 to $13 an hour. The bill cynically calls this reduction in wages something that promotes job creation for young workers.

The bill also reverses legislation from the previous NDP government providing for automatic certification of a union when 65 per cent of workers in a workplace sign union cards. On this issue, the Throne Speech suggests that more will be coming, continuing the project of the former federal Harper government to obstruct the right of workers to organize effectively in their defence collectives. Expected as well is legal permission for employers to pay out all banked overtime hours as straight time.

Bill 3, the Job Creation Tax Cut Act

Introduced the following day, May 28, Bill 3 reduces the nominal corporate tax rate on net enterprise profit from 12 per cent to 8 per cent, becoming the lowest provincial rate in Canada.

Corporate income tax at 12 per cent provided only a small fraction of the total revenue collected by the Alberta government. In 2017-2018, total government revenue was $47.295 billion, with only $3.448 billion coming from corporate income taxes or about 7.2 per cent of the total budget. Assuming the reduced rate of 8 per cent had been applied in that fiscal year, this would have resulted in about $1.138 billion less collected for a total of $46.157 billion. The corporate income tax revenue of only $2.310 billion would have been just 5 per cent of the total provincial revenue collected.

The Throne Speech postulates the reduced corporate tax on net enterprise profit will "generate 55,000 new full time jobs, and increase the size of our economy by $12.7 billion." How this rabbit will be pulled out of the hat is, one can assume, a mystery of imperialist economics. However, making up for this lost revenue is no mystery as it will come out of lower investments in social programs and attacks on the wages and working conditions of workers in the public sector and job cuts.

Bill 4, the Red Tape Reduction Act

In rapid succession the next day, May 29, Bill 4 was introduced. The government wants this bill to speed up approval of resource projects, reduce the cost to corporations seeking regulatory approval, and generally provide a free hand for the monopolies to do whatever they please without restrictions on their actions regardless of the social and natural consequences.

Many would say this is a recipe for disaster given the reality that making as much money as fast as possible is the motive and modus operandi of companies within the imperialist economy. The profit motive leads big companies routinely to ignore their social responsibilities. This often results in reckless adventures and disasters -- such as the 300,000 orphaned oil and gas wells in Alberta, along with abandoned mining sites and polluted air, water and soil -- for which no company wants to be accountable, as that would damage the bottom line.

Additional Legislation

Another bill, the Appropriation Act will provide interim estimates for public services, to be followed by a full budget in the fall sitting. The Throne Speech states, "That Budget will be informed by the report of the Fiscal Review Panel chaired by former Saskatchewan Finance Minister Janice MacKinnon, which will make recommendations on how to restore balance to our province's finances so that we stop encumbering future generations with debt. My government will also engage in widespread public consultations on how best to end deficit spending while protecting front line public services."

Government deficit spending and debts are integral to the imperialist economy. For the cartel parties to use their existence as an excuse not to fulfil their social responsibilities exposes their role as toadies of the financial oligarchy and unfit to govern. The cartel parties block the working people from finding, proposing and implementing a pro-social direction for the economy that would guarantee the well-being and rights of the people, humanize the social and natural environment and eliminate the destructive class privilege of the rich oligarchs.

Also announced are the Tax Statutes Amendment Act that is expected to revert to a flat tax regime for personal income tax, which entrenches its regressive nature; and the Royalties Guarantee Act to "provide certainty that the royalty structure in place when a well is drilled remains in place for the life of the well."

The Choice in Education Act will restore and expand "the choices available to parents and children," which is code for continued privatization of education, as well as an attempt to attack the right of students to privacy and the responsibility of teachers to respect that privacy.

Perhaps the most cynical claim of all is the promise to enact the Saving the Girl Next Door Act, which would introduce measures against human trafficking. This comes from Jason Kenney who as federal Minister of Immigration during the Harper regime launched particularly vicious assaults on migrant workers, including live-in caregivers and temporary foreign workers. Such treatment of these workers by Canadian governments is considered by many as tantamount to human trafficking.

The Throne Speech repeated the Kenney government's assertion to repeal the Carbon Competitiveness Incentive Regulation and replace it with a Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction Fund to "ensure investment in new emissions-reducing technologies which can be exported around the world."

The previous NDP government provided extensive pay-the-rich schemes to the energy cartels for "emissions reduction technology." Oil sands companies are eager to introduce such technology, as it reduces fuel use and therefore the price of production of their commodities. They also want to be paid from the public treasury to do what is in their self-interest and to attract global investors. Kenney's pledge to reduce emissions should be considered within the context of a pulling back by certain sections of the financial oligarchy from investment in carbon products and their use, and the growth of private investment and public pay-the-rich schemes in green energy and related actions, such as carbon capture.

The Kenney government also proclaimed the Preserving Canada's Economic Prosperity Act, legislation passed by the previous NDP government but never given Royal Assent. This gives the government authority to require companies to obtain a licence before transporting energy products from Alberta via pipeline, rail or truck. The legislation is a threat to the BC government that the authority in Alberta will "turn off the taps" should the BC government or others "obstruct" the building of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion.

The BC government responded with a court challenge to the legislation calling it unconstitutional. Former Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said Kenney's action weakened Alberta's fight with BC. She said her government's intention in passing the bill was to wait until it was "necessary to turn off the taps," quickly proclaim the bill and use its provisions within three hours before BC could file a legal challenge. "He [Kenney] is a bit like a gunslinger who's swaggering down the streets waving his gun after intentionally taking the bullets out of it," Notley said.

The Alberta Throne Speech signalled that the Kenney government will continue the opposition mounted by the Notley government to two federal bills. Bill C-48 turns into law the current ban on tankers loading and unloading on BC's west coast, north of Vancouver Island. Bill C-69 revises the regulatory regime for approval of projects such as pipelines and mines. The Alberta Throne Speech states that Bill C-69, the Impact Assessment Act "threatens Alberta's exclusive jurisdiction over non-renewable natural resources, and is damaging investor confidence."

Jason Kenney Then and Now

Jason Kenney was a prominent member of the Harper Conservative federal government that used every means at its disposal to impose the will of powerful private interests Canada-wide to carry out nation-wrecking, attack the rights of working people and the Indigenous nations, and to attempt to crush all opposition, declaring that you are either with us or against us.

Kenney has now morphed into a defender of particular private interests in Alberta and provincial powers, although the private interests of the supranational financial oligarchy that own and control the energy, construction and other dominant cartels in Alberta do not stop at or even recognize any border unless it serves their narrow interests.

The Throne Speech repeated Kenney's declaration of war against anyone who stands up against the demands and direction of the ruling elite regarding bitumen and other carbon-based production in Alberta. A public inquiry will be held into "the foreign sources of funds responsible for the campaign to landlock Alberta's energy." This does not, of course, refer to the words, deeds and huge sums of money spent by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers -- an organization largely made up of foreign entities -- other organizations of Big Oil, or the mainly foreign corporations that dominate the energy sector in Alberta, to promote their private interests and block any discussion or thinking of an alternative direction for the economy, to wean the province off its one-dimensional, crisis-prone and foreign-controlled economy.

(Photos: TML, Calgary Social Change)

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Illegal Request to Put Arbitration of
Wage Re-Openers on Hold

Members of United Nurses of Alberta's bargaining committee prepare to meet with employer negotiating committee for a Wage Re-Opener Arbitration on May 13, 2019, but the new government put arbitration on hold.

Even before being sworn into office, the Kenney United Conservative Party government of Alberta acted in contempt of the law and proved itself unfit to govern. The UCP dismissed its obligations to Alberta's 30,000 nurses, members of United Nurses of Alberta (UNA), and tens of thousands of members of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) by instructing the Alberta Health Services (AHS) to put the arbitration of a wage re-opener on hold. The arbitrator complied with the illegal request, despite the fact that the Alberta Labour Relations Code specifically prohibits an arbitrator from changing a collective agreement when in force. The UNA immediately acted to block the illegal actions of the UCP government and capitulation of the arbitrator, which violate the nurses' collective agreement with the AHS and three other employers in the province.

Timelines for negotiations and arbitration of a wage re-opener are contained in UNA's collective agreement. The agreement required negotiations to begin by February 15, and if no agreement could be reached by March 31, the issue would proceed to arbitration with a hearing no later than June 30. The UNA had not reached a negotiated settlement with the previous NDP government, which proposed a zero wage increase; therefore, a date for arbitration was established. The illegal interference of the UCP government at this point blocks arbitration from proceeding.

The UNA asked the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) to order that the collective bargaining process and arbitration resume forthwith as required by law and the current collective agreements. The ALRB responded by announcing an expedited hearing to take place May 30.

The UNA has also filed charges of bargaining in bad faith with the ALRB. David Harrigan, UNA Director of Labour Relations explains: "[Unilaterally putting the arbitration of a wage re-opener on hold] clearly meets the legal definition of bargaining in bad faith. The bargaining representatives of our members' employers are obviously not making the decisions in bargaining as required by law, the Government of Alberta is. They are sending people to the bargaining table who have indicated to us they have no idea what is happening and have in reality been given no power to negotiate."

The UCP government also attempted to force a second arbitrator to put arbitration on hold for tens of thousands of members of AUPE, who have a wage-re-opener in their collective agreement. In this instance, the arbitrator heard representations from both the government and the union. The arbitrator ruled to uphold the terms of the collective agreement and denied the government's request.

AUPE members working in Provincial Government Services, AHS General Support Services, and AHS Nursing Care ratified collective agreements in 2018 that include wage-adjustment arbitration to be held no later than June 30, 2019. A delay of this arbitration process would have been a denial of the legitimate and legal negotiated rights of these members, the AUPE points out.

The Edmonton Journal reports UCP Finance Minister Travis Toews admits he instructed the AHS to put the arbitration on hold while the government "consulted with stakeholders."

Organized workers have years of bitter experience in dealing with similar antics of governments depriving public sector and other workers of their rights. Enough! The working class will not accept any arbitrary anti-worker actions of the UCP government no matter what its powerful and privileged "stakeholders" may demand.

(Photos: UNA)

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Provincial Government Announces "Cutbacks and
Wage Restraint" for All Public Sector Workers

The Kenney UCP government is reported to be preparing a "Charter proof" law on "wage restraint" for public sector workers. Apparently, this is the plot behind its illegal obstruction of arbitrated wage re-openers for public service workers. Kenney wants to stall for time until his newly appointed "Blue Ribbon Panel on Alberta's Finances" releases the government's plan to cut social programs and public services and drive down the working and living standards of all public sector workers.

In an article published by the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary in 2017, "Putting the Alberta Budget on a New Trajectory," authors Janice MacKinnon, who just happens to be the Chairperson of Kenney's "Blue Ribbon Panel" and Jack Mintz, renowned or rather infamous for his slavish devotion to powerful private interests, call for wage cuts followed by zero increases for all Alberta public sector workers. The authors outline the process for imposing collective agreements, which they insist will withstand a Charter challenge that such anti-worker actions and laws of the government violate the right to collective bargaining.

Alberta working people have the right to a say and control over their wages, conditions of work and their living standards generally, at the very least the right to negotiate their terms of employment in a climate of equilibrium. No "Blue Ribbon Panel," academic experts, rich oligarchs or provincial law can dismiss, deny or negate the right of workers to negotiate collectively their terms of employment without expecting serious consequences in an atmosphere of disequilibrium.

The use of force and dictate to impose wage cuts, unsustainable working conditions, and work that is increasingly precarious on workers in the public sector and other working people, and, in the process, cut the social programs and public services the people need for a modern humane existence, must not pass!

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Comment on the Public Sector and Its
Crucial Role in the Economy

Alberta public sector workers create enormous value, which greatly benefits those who own and control the enterprises in the energy and other major sectors of the economy. Those who own and control the enterprises that benefit from the value public sector workers create refuse to recognize and realize (pay for) the value in a proper exchange using the value the workers in their enterprises create. The failure to do so must be addressed so that the value from social programs and public services can be realized and reinvested back into them for their extended reproduction. If this were done, the "lack of money" fraud could not be used to cut social programs and public services, and to attack the rights of public sector workers.

The refusal of other sectors and enterprises to pay for the public sector value they consume in a proper exchange of value creates a constant crisis of underfunding for social programs and public services. The lack of funds fraud is then used to cut social programs and to attack the right of public sector workers to negotiate wages and working conditions acceptable to themselves.

The words and actions of the former NDP government have failed to address this serious problem in the economy and in the relations of workers to their employers. Instead, the previous government used the lack of funds fraud to excuse similar anti-worker antics, which were touted as being softer and more suitable in times of crisis. Softer or harder misses the point that a new direction in the economy is necessary and the rights of the people are inviolable and cannot be negated no matter what the excuse.

Current NDP opposition Labour critic Christina Gray, who in the previous NDP government was Labour Minister, commented that the Kenney government is "playing a dangerous game." and that "It's incredibly frustrating to see her former government's approach to good-faith bargaining thrown under the bus when it led to zero-per cent pay increases and a good deal for taxpayers during a recession. That approach is immediately being rejected, and these workers are being disrespected through the actions of the government."

What is the great difference between the two governments other than that the words of Christina Gray are blatant hypocrisy and misleading, while those of Kenney are grossly backward and in your face?

Both Jason Kenney and Gray are gravely mistaken if they think Albertans will accept lock, stock and barrel the line of the financial oligarchy that "there is no money," as a pretext to deprive workers of their rights and to step up the anti-social offensive and continue to attack Alberta's public services, social programs and the workers who deliver them. Of course, there is no money when those in control of the economy and its main enterprises refuse to pay in an equivalent exchange for the social value their enterprises consume, and instead, take the new value workers create out of the economy and province.

Alberta has everything it needs for a vibrant economy that could meet and guarantee the well-being and rights of all without recurring economic crises. The problem lies in its control by a handful of global oligarchs and their representatives who cannot escape their privileged social being and refuse to step aside.

Working people want a new pro-social direction for the economy; they want their claims on the economy and society recognized and rights upheld without fail. The government and official opposition are pandering to the demands of the mainly foreign oligarchs who control the energy and other major industries and enterprises in Alberta. This clash of contending interests shows the time is now to organize and prepare the subjective conditions to build the New.

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For Nation-to-Nation Relations and an End to Genocide of Indigenous Peoples

Day of Action Defends Indigenous Rights

On June 3, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls will release its final report. The inquiry came after years of advocacy efforts led by grassroots Indigenous women who called upon the Canadian state to address the systemic and root causes of violence faced by Indigenous women and girls. Meanwhile, the abuse continues due to the failure of the Government of Canada to end colonial relations and treatment of Indigenous peoples once and for all and establish nation-to-nation relations and provide redress for all the crimes committed against them.

To protest continued mistreatment and abuse, on May 27, Indigenous peoples and their supporters held actions across the country which specifically targeted several bills being imposed on them. They have not been meaningfully consulted on these bills, which fail to recognize the nation-to-nation relations that must underpin Canada's relations with the Indigenous peoples.[1] These bills come in the context of the Trudeau Liberals' widely rejected 10-point framework that sought to extinguish hereditary rights, which the government was forced to back down from in December 2018.[2] All told, they are tantamount to a new White Paper 2.0, which like the 1969 White Paper tabled by then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his Justice Minister Jean Chrétien, are aimed at extinguishing Indigenous peoples' hereditary and treaty rights. Actions were held in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Sault St. Marie, London, and Ottawa.

At the action on Parliament Hill, Chief Lee Crowchild of the Tsuut'ina First Nation called on everyone to educate themselves on the proposed legislation. "I think this day of action, this reality that's taking place across Canada is a wakeup call for the generations that we can't just sit idly by," he said.

Speakers at the Ottawa action reiterated the problematic nature of the Indigenous child welfare bill, that is supposed to help Indigenous communities gain jurisdiction over child welfare, while money will still come via provincial governments. The need for Indigenous people to create their own child welfare laws was also emphasized. "We as first nations are in the process of our own. Developing our own law, and this law on childcare is pending. So in essence we know what the problem is, and we will know how to fix," said Chief Henry Lewis of the Onion Lake Cree Nation.

From Parliament Hill, the demonstrators went to the Prime Minister's Office and after a brief picket marched down Wellington Street to the building where the Senate of Canada is located.

At the rally in Winnipeg, organizer Elyssa McIvor directed her remarks "To the federal government and Justin Trudeau, also Carolyn Bennett and Seamus O'Regan" She said, "They need to know that they don't have our consent [for these bills]. They never informed us of these changes, and we will fight it till the end."

She added, "These bills are falsely claiming that they will give us more self-government, more self-determination, more control of our services, more control of our territories. But in reality, it is lessening and weakening everything that we are trying to work toward."

McIvor said that the Winnipeg march, from the Canadian Museum of Human Rights to the Manitoba Legislature, included participants from Treaty 1, Treaty 2 and Treaty 5 territory, and their supporters.

In Calgary, one hundred people rallied downtown at Olympic Plaza. Speakers and slogans emphasized the fact that Indigenous peoples will not accept assimilation and they are determined to uphold their sovereignty along with nation-to-nation relations with Canada. Everyone gathered then marched to the Harry Hays federal building and back, where they continued to voice their demands.

Another protest was held in Calgary on May 30 outside of the First Nations Innovation & Success National Meeting, taking place at the Westin Hotel from May 28-30. The meeting is organized by the First Nation Fiscal Institutions (First Nations Finance Authority, First Nations Financial Management Board, and the First Nations Tax Commission) and the First Nations Lands Advisory Board. This includes First Nations participating in the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management (FAFNLM) and First Nations which are entering 10-year grants with the federal government.

More rallies are planned throughout the summer by Indigenous leaders and grassroots organizations, in advance of the federal election, APTN News reports.

Vancouver, BC

Edmonton, AB

Calgary, AB

Saskatoon, SK

Winnipeg, MB

Sudbury, ON

London, ON

Ottawa, ON


1. The bills in question are Bill C-91, the Indigenous Languages Act (at second reading in the Senate); Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families (at second reading and referred to the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs); Bill C-97, the 2019 omnibus budget implementation bill (at second reading and referred to committee in the House of Commons) that created the Department of Indigenous Services and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs to replace Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada; and the 2018 budget implementation Bill C-86 (received Royal Assent in December 2018), that amends the First Nations Land Management Act and the First Nations Fiscal Management Act. Bills C-91 and C-92 are anticipated to receive Royal Assent in June, CBC News reports.

Currently, the House of Commons is scheduled to rise for the summer recess on June 21, and the Trudeau government is seeking to extend sitting hours to push through these and other bills before then, or to have a summer sitting.

2. "Trudeau Liberals' New Attempt at a 'Final Solution' to Extinguish Hereditary Rights," Pauline Easton, TML Weekly, December 4, 2018.

(With files from CBC and APTN. Photos: TML, Rally 4 Indigenous Rights, A. Nathan, M. Clifton, A. Madison, C. Chantal, P. Quinn, M. Moran, B. Ballantyne, K. Jones.)

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BC Court of Appeal Ruling Means
British Columbians and Indigenous Nations
Remain Vulnerable to Oil Spills

Picket in Terrace, April 18, 2019, outside Senate hearings on Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, which would ban tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tonnes of oil from stopping or unloading along BC’s northern coast.

A BC Court of Appeal decision released on May 24 rules that proposed amendments to BC's Environmental Management Act (EMA) are outside provincial jurisdiction. This "leaves British Columbians vulnerable to health, safety and environmental risks associated with increased transportation of heavy oil through the province," a press release issued by West Coast Environmental Law says.

"BC's proposed amendments included a permitting regime for companies that transport hazardous substances, such as diluted bitumen, through the province," the press release says.

"Addressing the environmental challenges of our time will require effective action by all jurisdictions: federal, provincial and Indigenous," said Jessica Clogg, Executive Director and Senior Counsel. "With this judgment, the BC Court of Appeal has turned back the clock on cooperative federalism, putting our health, safety and environment at risk."

Staff Lawyer Eugene Kung points out that the decision is a loss because "Oil spills don't respect borders, and neither does climate change." He said, "It is also a slap in the face to Indigenous governments whose jurisdiction has been ignored."

The BC government has announced that it plans to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada. If the Supreme Court of Canada accepts the appeal, it will rule on the constitutionality of BC's proposed law which, arguably, does not resolve the substantive issue which is the justice of the cause for which the people of BC and the Indigenous peoples are fighting.

The Haida and Heiltsuk Nations decried the decision of the BC Court of Appeal saying in a press release that it "reduces the power of provinces to protect lands and waters from inter-provincial infrastructural projects, and fails to recognize the role of Indigenous peoples in protecting the environment. The decision will increase the risk of oil spills and environmental damage associated with the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion."

"Today's ruling is disappointing as it reveals the lack of understanding and/or unwillingness of the courts to properly recognize Indigenous jurisdiction over our territories. The failure to recognize our arguments in the ruling is a missed opportunity for the courts to demonstrate an act of genuine reconciliation," says Nang Kaadlljuus President of the Haida Nation Gaagwiis Jason Alsop.

"The Court of Appeal's ruling is offensive and irresponsible. It is unacceptable that despite being granted interested party status, the court failed to even acknowledge ours or any other Indigenous government's arguments in its decision. They invited us into the room, but they completely ignored us," adds Marilyn Slett, elected Chief Councillor of the Heiltsuk Nation. "Despite over 30 years of litigation that has reinforced constitutional recognition of the rights of Indigenous peoples, the Court took an overly narrow view. In this era of reconciliation and Crown commitments to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the decision today is a big step backwards," she said.

The press release by the Heiltsuk and Haida said they were among four Indigenous interested persons that presented arguments to support BC in protecting the environment. They made arguments related to their inherent Indigenous title and rights and addressed gaps in the existing spill response framework that BC's proposed legislation would address. "However, today's reasoning makes no mention of Indigenous arguments, instead referring solely to federal and provincial jurisdiction. Ignoring Indigenous jurisdiction reflects continued unwillingness to take practical steps towards reconciliation and recognition of title and rights in the real world," the press release pointed out.

Gaagwiis reminded the public that "Indigenous governments are not equivalent in power to municipalities, that courts can choose to hear or ignore when convenient. We speak as Nations. Our laws and jurisdictions are the first order of government, as they flow from the natural laws of Earth. We have a responsibility to uphold these laws and protect our territories for future generations of our people and Canadians."

The press release explains that in the court, speaking in support of BC's proposed legislation, the Heiltsuk nation presented its experience with the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill which "brought to light gaps in federal spill response that have negatively impacted the remote community's recovery from the 2016 spill. These gaps were not even addressed by the court and, as a result of today's decision, they remain in place:"

Protest by Heiltsuk Nation during visit by Transport Minister Marc Garneau in November 2016, shortly after the Nathan E. Stewart tug ran aground on their territory.

The gaps include failure to compensate for Indigenous losses. "In the event of an oil spill there is currently no compensation available for many Indigenous losses, including communal losses. This is because compensation under Canada's Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund and Marine Liability Act's definition of 'pollution damage' focuses exclusively on 'loss of profit,' ignoring the devastating impacts spills may have on the food, social, and ceremonial losses."

There is also no requirement for a robust Environmental Impact Assessment, the Heiltsuk pointed out. "Both provincial and federal legislation do not presently have any mandatory requirements for an environmental impact assessment to be conducted, or provide capacity funding for Indigenous governments to conduct one themselves. An environmental impact assessment is critical to understanding both the short and long-term effects of an oil spill on the natural environment."

"While both these gaps exist, Indigenous nations will continue to be disproportionately impacted by oil spills," the press release explains.

For a copy of the decision, click here. For a PDF of the press release, click here. For Heiltsuk's earlier release on the reference case, click here.

(heiltsuknation.ca, May 24, 2019.)

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Contention Over the Arctic

Canada Files Submission on Arctic Ocean
Continental Shelf

This map is part of the Canadian government's submission to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), all coastal states have a continental shelf extending 200 nautical miles. However, it could extend beyond 200 nautical miles if the shelf is a "natural prolongation of [the state's] land territory." This latter is often referred to as the "extended" or "outer" continental shelf and applies in the case of an estimated 85 countries.

In this regard, on May 23, the Canadian government filed a 2,100-page submission with the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf regarding Canada's continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean. Article 76 of UNCLOS "sets out a process for states to determine the limits of the continental shelf" and involves making a submission to an expert body of the Commission and having it reviewed.

This UNCLOS process is part of a compromise that "balances recognition of the inherent rights of a coastal state over its continental shelf with the interest of the international community in defining the limits of seabed beyond national jurisdiction."

To establish the outer limits of the shelf, technical and scientific data is gathered on the physical attributes of the seabed as well as distance from shore. These attributes are then used to determine a series of latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates by which the outer limits are defined.

To prepare the submission, the Canadian government brought together a team of scientists, technical personnel and lawyers from various departments who were responsible for collecting and interpreting thousands of kilometres of bathymetric, gravimetric, seismic and other types of data. Others were also involved in the collection, including Indigenous peoples, territorial governments, and the Department of National Defence. In addition, Canada collaborated with the Kingdom of Denmark, Sweden and the United States in joint surveys and scientific activity.

The Arctic Ocean is rich in natural resources, including oil, gas, minerals and fisheries amounting to trillions of dollars. Under the Convention on the Law of the Sea, coastal states exercise sovereign rights over the continental shelf "for the purpose of exploring it and exploiting its natural resources."

Establishing shelf boundaries and other issues related to the oceans can be highly contentious. According to its preamble, the stated purpose of UNCLOS is "to settle, in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation, all issues related to the law of the sea." Most countries of the world have signed on to UNCLOS. However, the U.S. has yet to ratify the convention, although it now recognizes it "as a codification of customary international law."

Canada's submission to UNCLOS covers 1.2 million square kilometres of seabed and subsoil in the Arctic Ocean, including the North Pole. As such, it overlaps in some areas with the submissions of other Arctic states.

For example, Canada, Russia and Denmark (Greenland) are each claiming the vast underwater Lomonosov Ridge, which stretches for 1,800 kilometres between the three countries, to be an extension of their respective continental shelves. The ridge, which includes the North Pole, was first discovered in 1948-49 by Soviet expeditions conducting hydrological measurements and is named after a famous Russian naturalist. In 2007, Russian deep-sea submersibles descended the Arctic Ocean and planted the Russian flag on the Ridge, an action which triggered "an international outcry and indignation." Canada's foreign minister at that time, Peter McKay, stated: "This isn't the 15th century. You can't go around the world and just plant flags and say: 'We're claiming this territory.'"

In addition to the above, Canada has a longstanding boundary dispute with the U.S. involving 21,000 square kilometres of the Beaufort Sea, as well as a territorial dispute with the U.S. over Canada's claim to the Northwest Passage.

The next step in the UNCLOS process will be for the Commission to consider Canada's 2,100-page submission and develop recommendations regarding the outer limits of Canada's continental shelf. However, it could take as long as 10 years to complete the process, or longer if additional time is needed to delimit overlapping boundaries with neighbouring states.

(With files from Global Affairs Canada, Wikipedia, The Guardian and the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea. Photo: Government of Canada)

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Canada-Cuba Relations

Parliament Hosts Symposium on Cuba

The morning of May 28, a Symposium on Cuba was held at the federal Canadian Parliament, under the auspices of the Hon. Senator Pierrette Ringuette and Member of Parliament T.J. Harvey, Co-Chairs of the Canada-Cuba Parliamentary Friendship Group, on the initiative of the Canadian Network on Cuba.

The opening panel, made up of renowned scholars, namely, Isaac Saney, John Kirk and Julia Sagebien from Dalhousie University, Halifax; and Professor Keith Ellis from York University, Toronto, examined Cuba-Canada's long-standing positive bilateral relations, current challenges and future prospects; as well as Cuba's economy, society and foreign policy.

The second and last panel of the meeting focused on the nature of the Canadian trade relationship with Cuba, its importance for both countries, and the impact of the escalation of U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba on Canadian companies doing business with the island, particularly, after the activation of Title III and the threat to enact Title IV of the Helms-Burton Act. Among the panelists were representatives of Canadian companies and organizations that maintain links with Cuba, including Sherritt International Corp., Acasta Capital, the National Bank of Canada, Gowling WLG international law firm, Air Transat and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Canada-Cuba.

In addition to Senator Ringuette and MP Harvey, the Honourable Senators Stan Kutcher, Beverley Busson and Diane Giffin; and Members of Parliament Michel Picard, Anthony Rota and Fayçal El-Khoury, were also in attendance.

Representating the Embassy of Cuba at the Symposium in Ottawa were Ambassador Josefina Vidal, accompanied by other members of the diplomatic staff.

(Cuban Embassy May 28, 2019. Photos: Cuban Embassy)

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Pickets in Ottawa and Montreal Continue to Demand Provision of Canadian Consular Services in Cuba


On May 25, the Cuban-Canadian Association of Ottawa-Gatineau organized a picket in front of Parliament in Ottawa to protest the closing of consular services at the Canadian Embassy in Havana. This action by the Canadian government means that the Canadian visa office in Havana will not process the biometric data (fingerprints and photos) required for visa applications for Cubans to travel to Canada. This creates great difficulties for Cuban families who will have no choice but to travel outside the country to get a visa. This implies exorbitant expenses and travel to a third country and makes family visits and cultural exchanges almost impossible. The members of the Cuban-Canadian Association of Ottawa-Gatineau, who were joined by members of Ottawa Cuba Connections and ALBA Social Movement, Ottawa Chapter, called on the Canadian Government to fulfill its responsibilities and provide all the services that are part of the diplomatic relations between Canada and Cuba.

Also that day in Montreal, Cubans residents in that city, along with friends of Cuba held a similar action outside the federal government offices at Complexe Guy Favreau.


(Photo: TML, OCC)

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Open Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau Concerning Visas for Latin American and Caribbean Scholars

Dear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,

On behalf of the Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CALACS), we write to express our concern with the Canadian visa application process for Latin American and Caribbean scholars who wish to visit Canada for academic meetings and conferences. Our Association held its 50th annual conference at York University in Toronto on May 10-12 -- a milestone for Latin American and Caribbean studies in Canada -- and, unfortunately, four distinguished Latin American scholars, three Cuban and one Brazilian, never received their visas allowing them to travel to Canada, despite having undertaken the process more than three months in advance and having paid for all their travel and lodging expenses.

In the case of the Cuban scholars, the treatment they received from the Visa Section at the Canadian embassy in Havana was cavalier and disrespectful. The Canadian government only informed them that their visas were not going to be processed and that they would have to reapply outside of Cuba on May 8, just two days before the start of the conference. This conduct does not meet the standards we expect and demand from the Canadian public service.

We acutely felt the absence of these Latin American scholars and strongly debated the issue at our conference. At CALACS, we feel that Canada's failure to deliver their visas interferes with our mission to foster the ongoing development of a dynamic Canadian-based, international intellectual community, to support research and teaching and to provide the infrastructure and capacity to facilitate knowledge mobilization and engagement strategies in Canada and abroad.

CALACS reaches out to and establishes partnerships with Latin American and Caribbean communities, NGOs, research institutions, and international academics. In addition, our Association works to inform policy makers, and public and private sector organizations through its events, publications, communications media and virtual resources. In so doing, we contribute to developing strong and long-lasting Canadian networks in Latin America and in the Caribbean and we promote Canada's image and influence in the region. In this sense, Canada's failure to provide visas for Latin American and Caribbean scholars in timely and respectful fashion can only be understood as a failure.

We appeal to you to make sure that Canadian visa processes never again stand in the way of scholarly activities, of free thought and of critical debate. Academic freedom can only promote and develop Canadian interests at home and abroad and is critically important for maintaining excellent political, economic and cultural relations with Latin American and Caribbean countries.


The Board of Directors of the Canadian Association for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

(May 27, 2019. Photos: OCC)

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Canadians Take Part in Annual Caravan to Overcome U.S. Unjust Blockade of Cuba

Ottawa, May 10, 2019

Canadians and Quebeckers from all walks of life treasure the longstanding and warm relations with the Cuban people. Within this situation, the Cuba solidarity movement plays a vital role to deepen these relations in practical ways. This includes public events with Cuban speakers and other experts to elaborate Cuba's revolutionary nation-building project and how it permits the flourishing of the human person, its profound internationalism and social love for the peoples of the world that always upholds the rule of law and the cause of peace in international relations. One of the most important aspects of the solidarity with Cuba at this time is to make sure that Cuba cannot be isolated by the stepped-up U.S. campaign against Cuba, first and foremost the U.S. illegal blockade intended to overthrow the Cuban Revolution.

Rev. Luis Barrios in Montreal, May 9, 2019.

One of the practical projects taken up by the solidarity movement in Canada to overcome the blockade is participation in the Peace Caravan, an annual tour led by the U.S. organization Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO)/Pastors for Peace. Every year for the past 30 years, it has travelled through Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, to inform people about Cuba and collect important humanitarian goods to send to Cuba, in defiance of the blockade.

Events for the Canadian leg of this year's Peace Caravan received Reverend Luis Barrios of Pastors for Peace. The first event was held in Montreal on May 9 at the Centre Patro Le Prevost, hosted by the Quebec-Cuba Friendship Caravan.

The Peace Caravan then stopped in Ottawa on May 10 at St. Giles Presbyterian Church. The event was hosted by Ottawa Cuba Connections, ALBA Social Movements-Ottawa, Frente Bolivariano Hugo Chavez, Association d'amitie Outaouais-Cuba and the Peace and Social Concerns Committee of the Quakers. Notably, Ottawa Cuba Connections has the distinction of taking part in the caravans since they began 30 years ago, and is sending a participant to this year's edition as well.

These were followed by an event in Kingston on May 11 at Sydenham Street United Church and Toronto on May 12 at San Lorenzo Anglican Church.

At these events, Rev. Barrios reaffirmed the solidarity movement's commitment to the fight against the blockade despite the enormous hurdles imposed by the U.S. administration. He explained how the Trump administration's implementation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act is not just an attack on the Cuban people but also on the sovereignty of many other countries, including Canada, as well as an attack on the business interests of companies throughout the world, including in Canada. He went on to elaborate that this is part of a more profound U.S. agenda to recolonize Latin America and the Caribbean. For example, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton has explicitly talked about the U.S. taking control of Venezuela's vast oil reserves.

Cuban Ambassador Josefina Vidal also spoke at the Ottawa event. She thanked Pastors for Peace for their support to and solidarity with the Cuban people throughout all these years, and underscored that Cubans will never forget the images transmitted worldwide of Pastors for Peace, led by Lucius Walker, confronting the heavily armed authorities on the United States-Mexico border. Likewise, on behalf of the Cuban people, the Cuban diplomat also thanked the Canadian solidarity movement for always standing by Cuba.

John Waller, Program Coordinator for Pastors for Peace, explained to TML Weekly that "the hostility of the U.S. government toward Cuba has always created a myriad of logistical challenges for our project. This was most extreme under the Bush administration when our caravanistas were being threatened with legal harassment and fines. Those particular actions stopped under Obama and so far haven't resumed under Trump, but we have to prepare in case they do this year."

Waller went on to explain, "The U.S. caravan is just about to happen. It begins on June 8 with public events in 40 U.S. cities. We are taking 37 people to Cuba without a U.S. government licence, many of them travelling to Cuba for the first time. Almost half are young people under 30. The caravanistas are principally U.S. citizens, especially from Seattle, New York, Minneapolis and Fresno but we also have international representation from Canada, Mexico and Germany.

"The Canadian events in early May received a very warm response from those who attended. We anticipate that in the U.S. people who come to our Caravan events will be outraged by what Trump is doing, after a period in the latter years of the Obama presidency where limited but significant steps had been taken in the direction of normalizing relations between the U.S. and Cuba."

The Peace Caravan will then go to Mexico, where the program includes an orientation for participants in Mexico City, June 22-23, before they travel to Cuba. The caravan concludes on July 5, with participants returning home via Mexico City.

(Photos: TML, OCC, Cuban Embassy)

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Toronto Coming Event: Cuba in the Time of Trump

Friday, June 7 -- 7:00 pm
A Different Booklist, 779 Bathurst St.
Sponsored by: Canadian Network on Cuba and A Different Booklist

Cuban Consul Yoslaidy Clemente López and Dr. Isaac Saney (noted Cuba specialist and co-chair and spokesperson of the Canadian Network on Cuba) will discuss the current situations in Cuba and in Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole. This is the kickoff for the 9th CNC biennial convention, June 8-9.

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Opposition to New Attempts to Impose U.S. Dictate

Caribbean Community Must Unify to Resist
Imposition of Secretary-General of
Organization of American States

Mass action in Venezuela, April 27, 2019, celebrates the country's exit from the OAS.

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

Readers of this commentary, particularly those in small countries, might wonder why they should be concerned about who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of any multilateral or international organization. It could be claimed that the disposition of the person, holding such an office, is far removed from the existence of people who are focussed on the necessities of living and improving their lives.

They would be wrong to dismiss interest in the holders of these positions.

Caribbean small states are already marginalized in the world with little account being taken of the significant threats posed to their well-being. Among those threats are climate change, global warming, exclusion from access to concessional funds for development, very poor terms of trade, increasing erosion of their sovereign rights over matters such as the rate of taxes they charge and the incentives they offer to businesses so as to remain globally competitive in the industries that provide employment and the opportunity for ownership.

In this context, it is vitally important to people in small and vulnerable countries that the CEOs of inter-governmental organizations are persons with a commitment to reducing poverty, advancing economic development, improving access to education and training, and promoting international arrangements that allow developing countries to compete in the global community. It is also important that such CEOs be genuinely interested in safeguarding human rights, protecting citizens from abuse by governments, and upholding democracy and freedom of expression.

These are the qualities that heads of multilateral and international organizations should possess if they are to serve the interests of the global community, particularly the people of small and vulnerable nations.

Inevitably, however, governments of larger and more powerful countries dictate the persons who end up in these positions. These governments select candidates, who serve their interests, and using their greater financial resources and capacity to pressure others, they ensure their appointments.

In the cases of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the European Union and the U.S. have long since arrogated the posts of heads of these organizations to themselves through an understanding between them that the U.S. will hold the headship of the Bank and the Europeans the headship of the Fund. Invariably, the holders of these posts are then in thrall to their patrons and, over the decades of the existence of the two organizations, few of them have strayed far from the positions of their sponsors.

There are only a few organizations in which Caribbean countries have a genuine opportunity to influence who is elected as their chief executive. The Organization of American States (OAS) is one of them.

Repeatedly, I have called for the 14 member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), that are also members of the OAS, to nominate one suitably qualified Caribbean candidate for the post of Secretary-General or to agree on a non-Caribbean person who would be mindful of the importance of Caribbean interests.

"No to interference by Luis Almagro -- Venezuela must be respected."

It is alarming that, counter to all electoral arrangements that have ever been instituted for the election of the OAS Secretary-General, certain governments are busy promoting the idea that, at the OAS General Assembly in Colombia in June, 18 countries should force through the re-election of the incumbent, Luis Almagro, for a second term -- one year before such an election is due, and for which no proper arrangements have been made. This process is usually called "rigging."

Such an action would be as unprecedented as it would be wrong. Forced re-election of Mr. Almagro, one year before an election is due, would be highly improper. But, it could be done. The rules allow for the nomination of a candidate up to the morning of the day an election is held. And, if, as has been the recent experience, 18 countries vote to hold such an election at the General Assembly in June, it can be done.

In this way, any possibility of an unprepared CARICOM nominating a single Caribbean candidate or coalescing behind an approved non-Caribbean candidate would be scuttled. The decision of the 18 would prevail, and the interests of the Caribbean and the Caribbean people would be swept aside.

That is why Caribbean people should be interested in this matter, and in the position that their governments take.

The behaviour of Mr. Almagro as Secretary-General of the OAS has left much to be desired. He is a very bright and clever man, and with a different attitude, he might have served well the OAS and all its member-states. But, instead of ending divisions by building bridges between states and working to garner consensus within the organization, Mr. Almagro has become a divisive figure.

Further, his disregard for the Permanent Council, which is comprised of the representatives of governments, and his readiness to pronounce his own strongly-held views in the name of the OAS, have compromised the organization, depriving it of a role in resolving conflicts within member states of the organization and between them. Additionally, the Caribbean has suffered under his stewardship through the absence of any advocacy on his part to maintain funding for Caribbean programmes.

Beyond the necessity for a challenge to him, given his record, his forced re-election by any foisted process would leave the OAS in tatters. It may even cause some member states to reassess the value of their continued membership of an organization which is ruled by the will of a simple majority and the officers they impose.

For previous elections of a Secretary-General, including Mr. Almagro's own election, the Permanent Council of the OAS put rules and procedures in place. Amongst those rules was that a date for elections would be set by the Permanent Council and member states would nominate candidates who would make public presentations to the Organization on their proposals and initiatives prior to the elections.

It has never been envisaged, as is being done now by some governments, that the preparation for elections of the Secretary-General would not follow established rules and that a fully democratic process would not be adopted.

CARICOM states will have to assert themselves immediately in the OAS in nothing short of full regional solidarity and unity to insist on a Permanent Council meeting that sets the rules for the elections on a democratic and consensus basis. Anything less than full CARICOM unity will hurt the region's interests.

(Caribbean News Now, May 17, 2019. Photos: Cancilleria Venezuela, AVN, periodico26.cu.)

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Trump Administration's Deal of the Century

Resurrecting the PLO Is Palestine's Best Response

Protest in Gaza City, March 6, 2019, against Trump's "Deal of the Century."

Palestinian groups, Fatah, Hamas and others should not confine themselves to merely rejecting the Trump Administration's so-called 'Deal of the Century.' Instead, they should use their resistance to the new American-Israeli plot as an opportunity to unify their ranks.

Leaked details of the 'Deal of the Century' confirm Palestinians' worst fears: the 'Deal' is but a complete American acquiescence to the right-wing mentality that has ruled Israel for over a decade.

According to the Israeli daily newspaper, Israel Hayom, a demilitarized state, 'New Palestine' will be established on territorial fragments of the West Bank, as all illegal Jewish settlements would permanently become part of Israel. If Palestinians refuse to accept Washington's diktats, according to the report, they will be punished through economic and political isolation.

This is certainly not an American peace overture, but an egregious act of bullying. However, it is hardly a deviation from previous rounds of 'peace-making,' where Washington always took Israel's side, blamed Palestinians and failed to hold Israel to account. Washington has never refrained from supporting Israeli wars against Palestinians or even conditioned its ever-generous aid packages on the dismantling of the illegal Jewish settlements.

The only difference between the U.S. 'peace process' of the past and today's 'Deal of the Century' is in the style and tactics as opposed to the substance and details.

Undoubtedly, the 'Deal,' championed by Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's adviser and son-in-law, will fail. Not only will it not deliver peace -- this is not the intention -- but it is most likely to be rejected by Israel. The formation of Israel's new government under Benjamin Netanyahu's leadership is centred round far-right and religious parties. It is no longer politically correct in the new Israeli lexicon to even discuss the possibility of a Palestinian state, let alone agree to one.

Netanyahu, however, is likely to wait for Palestinians to reject the deal, as they certainly should. Then, with the help of pro-Israel mainstream western media, a new discourse will evolve, blaming Palestinians for missing yet another opportunity for peace, while absolving Israel from any wrongdoing. This pattern is familiar, highlighted most starkly in Bill Clinton's Camp David II in 2000 and George W. Bush's Road Map for Peace in 2003.

In 2000, the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, rejected then Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak's 'generous offer,' an entirely manufactured political hoax that, to this day, defines official and academic understanding of what had transpired in the secret talks then.

All Palestinians must reject the 'Deal of the Century,' or any deal that is born out of a political discourse which is not centred on Palestinian rights as enshrined in international law, a political frame of reference that is agreed upon by every country in the world, save the U.S. and Israel. Decades of fraudulent American 'peacemaking' prove that Washington will never fulfill its self-designated title as an 'honest peacemaker.'

However, rejection per se, while going back to business as usual, is inadequate. While the Palestinian people are united behind the need to resist the Israeli Occupation, challenge Israeli apartheid and employ international pressure until Israel finally relents, Palestinian factions are driven by other selfish priorities. Each camp seems to rotate within the political sphere of foreign influence, whether Arab or international.

For example, Fatah, which is credited for 'igniting the spark of the Palestinian revolution' in 1965, has been primarily consumed with the trappings of false power while dominating the Palestinian Authority, which itself operates within the space allocated to it by the Israeli military occupation in the West Bank.

Hamas, which began as an organic movement in Palestine, is forced to play regional politics in its desperation for any political validation to escape the suffocating siege of Gaza.

Whenever both parties verge on forming a united leadership in the hope of resurrecting the mostly defunct Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), their benefactors manipulate the money and politics, thus resuming disunity and discord.

The 'Deal of the Century,' however, offers both groups an opportunity, as they are united in rejecting the deal and equally perceive any Palestinian engagement with it as an act of treason.

More importantly, the steps that were taken by Washington to isolate the PA through denying Palestinians urgently needed funds, revoking the PLO's diplomatic status in Washington and shunning the PA as a political ally provide the opportunity to open the political dialogue required that could finally accomplish a serious Fatah-Hamas reconciliation.

Israel, too, by withholding tax money collected on behalf of the PA, has lost its last pressure card against Mahmoud Abbas and his government in Ramallah.

At this point, there is little else that the U.S. and Israel could do to exert more pressure on the Palestinians.

But this political space available for Palestinians to create a new political reality will be brief. The moment the 'Deal of the Century' is discarded as another failed American scheme to force a Palestinian surrender, the political cards, regionally and internationally, will be mixed again, beyond the ability of Palestinian factions to control their outcome.

Therefore, it is critical that Palestinian groups at home and in the diaspora push for Palestinian dialogue, not merely for the sake of forming a unity government in Ramallah but to revitalize the PLO as a truly representative and democratic body that includes all Palestinian political currents and communities.

It is only through the resurrection of the PLO that Palestinians could finally return to their original mission of devising a national liberation strategy that is not manipulated by money and not subjected to regional politicking.

If history is any indication, the 'Deal of the Century' is another sinister American attempt to manage the situation in Palestine to assert political dominance in the region. This 'Deal' is essential for American reputation, especially among its disgruntled regional allies who feel abandoned by the progressive American military and political retreat from the region.

This latest charade does not have to be at the expense of Palestinians, and Palestinian groups should recognize and grasp this unique opportunity. The 'Deal of the Century' will fail, but efforts to achieve Palestinian unity could finally succeed.

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His latest book is 'The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story' (Pluto Press, London). Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and was a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California Santa Barbara. His website is www.ramzybaroud.net.

(Palestine Chronicle, May 29, 2019. Photos: W. Hashlamoun, Middle East Monitor, M. Hassona)

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35th Anniversary of Operation Blue Star

Heinous Crime of the Indian Ruling Class Against
the Peoples of Punjab and All of India

Original Akal Takht, Darshani Deori and surrounding area prior to Operation Blue Star.

From June 3-8, 1984, 35 years ago, the Indian government of Indira Gandhi carried out the devastating assault and massacre of innocent Sikhs at the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar, Punjab, known as Operation Blue Star.

The stated aim of Operation Blue Star was to "flush out" so-called "Religious Terrorists" led by Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Operation Blue Star was carried out in the context of the concerted action of the Indian and Canadian states to criminalize the political demands of Sikhs for statehood for Punjab -- the creation of Khalistan. They labelled the proponents of this demand "Sikh fundamentalists." By associating Sikhism with extremism they managed to criminalize Punjabis, including those who were not religious in any way and especially the youth. This served as the model for the subsequent targeting of all people of the Muslim faith and the demand that people prove their loyalty to the state by demonstrating that they are moderates. Meanwhile, as in the case of the Sikhs, all Muslims became targets of violence and the impunity of the state, along with all others on the basis of communal divisions and identity.

Remnants of the Akal Takht consumed by fire.  Large bullet holes are visible on the right hand side of the building.

The Golden Temple is the holiest site of Sikhs. By modern standards the state is not permitted to interfere with a person's conscience and the practice of their beliefs or the sanctuary of their own church. The Indian army operation against the Golden Temple violated the sanctity of a place of worship and established the precedent that holy places would henceforth no longer be considered a safe haven from persecution or a refuge from the action of the state.

The military action, which included tanks, helicopters, armoured vehicles, artillery and chemical weapons, was timed to take place on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev in 1606. Over 70,000 troops were ordered to capture less than 50 men. The military assault occurred under cover of a total media blackout. Thousands of innocent civilians were killed over five days.

The storming of the centre of Sikh spiritual and temporal authority by the Indian Army under the orders of Indira Gandhi led immediately to a mutiny in Sikh units of the Army and four months later, on October 31, to the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. Ruthless anti-Sikh pogroms were unleashed by the Indian state to wreak revenge. Thousands of innocent Sikhs were beaten and burned alive during the anti-Sikh pogroms on November 1, 2 and 3. The state-organized anti-Sikh mobs massacred over 8,000 innocent Sikhs, 3,000 in Delhi alone.

The police stood by and watched and, in some cases, actively participated in the attacks. It is estimated that subsequent government operations Woodrose, Blackthunder, Night Dominance, Rakshak I and II, and Final Assault led to the deaths of 25,000 to 80,000 Sikhs.

The government officials who are known to have instigated, authorized and organized the violence subsequently enjoyed promotion, including to cabinet positions and decades of impunity despite repeated demands for justice.

Speaking a year later in London, England, Hardial Bains pointed out:

"What has been proven during this year in which the army has occupied the Punjab -- the year which began with the invasion of the Golden Temple, the headquarters of the Sikh religion, and the indiscriminate massacres which were committed there and all over Punjab, as well as, shortly after, in Delhi and other places in the wake of the assassination of Indira Gandhi -- is that the Indian ruling classes want to create a religious problem, a communal problem, in order to divert the attention of the people from their real struggle for national and social liberation.

"At the same time, through their use of communal violence and fascist terror, they want to convince the struggling masses that the ruling classes are 'strong' and will be as ruthless in smashing the struggle of the people as the situation warrants. Nonetheless, the Indian ruling classes and their bourgeois political parties have not been able to accomplish any of their aims. The pure love and unity which the people of Delhi and other places exhibited for one another, in which they defended and sheltered the Sikh people, condemned the bestial hatred and the rape, looting and murders engineered by the Rajiv Congress under the watchful eyes of the police forces -- the expression of the people's unity irrespective of their religion, caste or regional origin -- brought forth tears of joy amidst the people, while the bitter news of the communal violence and fascist terror brought forth anger. This joy, and anger, both so deep, with the anger seething like a volcano, this response of the people, has driven the Indian ruling classes into further frenzy and desperation. The people expressed their real psychology, their love and affection for one another and for their cause. This has been ingrained in them, the result of the centuries-long struggle for real national and social liberation. The Indian ruling classes miserably failed in their aim of making religion the issue and a point of division and bestial hatred amongst the people. Even though Rajiv Gandhi assumed the role of a swaggering Hindu who accuses others of being 'Sikh fanatics,' 'Naxalite extremists' and so on, the people in India and the people abroad, irrespective of their religion, caste or region of origin have condemned this as an insult to the Indian people and as abhorrent. They have understood all too well that this has been nothing but a cover, a ruse, to hide the real enemies, the Indian ruling classes. They have expressed their profound anger against this attempt to blame the people for the crimes the ruling classes themselves commit so as to sow communal strife. Rajiv Gandhi tried to divert the issue of the just struggle of the people for their livelihood, for their freedom, and for progress. This, he claims, overwhelms the government. He passed the anti-terrorism law and under this law, any struggle, be it of the workers for their livelihood, or of the peasants for their land, or of the people for true independence, prosperity and progress, is liable to overwhelm the government. Thus, all who stand for these just causes must be put to death, or carted away to the dungeons and jails. In passing this law, Rajiv Gandhi wants to kill the Indian revolution and put the Indian people to death or imprison them for it is only through the revolution that they can win their rights.

Bodies of Sikhs killed in the assault lie on the once beautiful covered marble parkarma.

"Besides failing to make religion the issue over which the people are fighting, the Indian ruling classes also failed to create a climate of compromise and submission. Facing such an impossible situation, Rajiv Gandhi's draconian law also includes, besides the threats of death and long-term imprisonment, clauses which prohibit the Indian people from singing their songs of revolution, of valour and heroism and which espouse their determination to put an end to this barbaric rule which has brought them so much suffering. Under the pretext that this law is to curb terrorism, the government gives itself the right to commit any act of terror and, like Aurangzeb who also banned the playing of instruments and the singing of songs, Rajiv Gandhi has done the same. Aurangzeb was facing the revolt of the people of the south and of the northwest and northeast and the ground was slipping under his feet as well. He too, wearing the gown of a swaggering Muslim, thought he could kill the revolution and imprison and put to the sword all the revolutionary forces. In the same manner, today the Indian ruling classes and Rajiv Gandhi feel the ground slipping out from under them. This shows the utter fear that has gripped their hearts. Far from being able to create an atmosphere of fear, of compromise and submission, it is the Indian ruling classes which are afraid. It is they who must further split and divide, and this will further deepen the crisis and the contradictions will erupt like volcanoes. For their part, the Indian people know no compromise with their enemies, nor do they have the tradition of submitting to their native and foreign exploiters. The entire history of the struggle of the Indian people for national and social liberation is testimony to this.

"The Indian people will march on along their road of national and social liberation. They have the wisdom and the strength never to sacrifice their pure love and ancient traditions of unity and common struggle and to heroically fulfill their age-old desire to be independent and prosperous. They will never compromise their pure ideals, nor will they submit to the tanks and bullets of the enemy. It does not matter how much the Indian ruling classes try to find and promote those who will agree to engineer a compromise and create a climate of submission in Punjab, and it does not matter how much pressure they put on the people professing the Sikh religion or on the people in Assam, Kashmir and elsewhere, imposing communal tension and pressure on the peoples everywhere, or to what extent they carry out communal violence and fascist terror. The people who could put an end to Abdalis and Aurangzeb and who never accepted the massacres of Jalianwala Bagh and of Dum Dum, the heroic people of India who went to battle with their bare hands against the foreign occupiers and their native collaborators, this same people will also send the present ruling classes and their foreign backers packing. Such is the historical destiny of the doctrine of supreme sacrifice for the freedom, unity and love for the cause of the peoples. Such is also the destiny of the oppressors and traitors whose downfall and overthrow will be the first step towards the full expression of the real heroism and true ideals and values which the Indian people hold so precious and dear.

"The joy of struggle and the bitterness of tragedies and sufferings imposed on the people is their lot today. The victory of the people's revolution will end this bitterness. It will create the condition for the proliferation of the real personality of India, the land of heroes and heroic fighters, the land where the people value their ideals of freedom more than their lives, where the millions of hearts are throbbing to put an end to the curse of division and humiliation, of exploitation and oppression, the curse which British colonialism imposed on them and which is now carried out by their collaborators and world reaction. The victory of the people in this glorious struggle is guaranteed by their heroism and by their ideals."

(Meeting in London, England on the first anniversary of the massacre at the Golden Temple known as Operation Blue Star. Photos: Sikhmuseum.com)

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75th Anniversary of D-Day

Deepest Respects to All Who Contributed to the Defeat of the Nazis in World War II

D-Day landing in Normandy, June 6, 1944.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the World War II allied landing on the coast of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944. On this anniversary, Canadians pay deepest respects to all the men and women who contributed to the defeat of the Nazis in Europe. Nearly 150,000 Allied troops landed or parachuted into the invasion area on D-Day, including 14,000 Canadians at Juno Beach. The Royal Canadian Navy contributed 110 ships and 10,000 sailors and the Royal Canadian Air Force contributed 15 fighter and fighter-bomber squadrons to the assault. Total Allied casualties that day reached more than 10,000, including 1,074 Canadians, of whom 359 were killed.

The invasion force that landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944 was comprised of Americans, British and Canadians. This date known to history as D-Day, refers to the long-awaited invasion of northwest Europe to open a Second Front against the Nazi forces of Adolf Hitler who had occupied France and most of Europe and had been waging a savage war against the Soviet Union. To that time, the Soviet Union had borne the brunt of the fight against Hitler. From 1941 to 1945, the Soviet peoples fought more than 75 per cent of the German and Axis forces and suffered the loss during the war, all-told, of more than 20 million people.

The landing at Normandy is said to be the largest amphibious invasion in history. The allies were able to establish a beachhead as part of Operation Overlord. The First United States Army attacked on the beaches, code-named "Utah" and "Omaha." The Second British Army assaulted the beaches, code-named "Gold," "Juno" and "Sword" with the Canadians responsible for Juno in the centre of the British front. The venture was formidable because the Germans had turned the coastline into a continuous fortress with guns, pillboxes, wire, mines and other obstacles.

Soldiers of the 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade deploying in the Nan White Sector at Juno Beach.

Eleven more months of fighting followed the Normandy landing until in May 1945, the Red Army marched into Berlin and the Germans capitulated. Today May 9 is celebrated as Victory in Europe Day to honour all those who gave their lives to defeat the Nazi-fascists.

Historica Canada points out:

"For years, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had pressured the British and Americans to open another front in the war, by invading occupied France in the west. In the summer of 1943, the Allies agreed they were ready to launch the invasion the following year. American General Dwight Eisenhower was appointed supreme commander of an amphibious invasion of unprecedented size and scope, code-named Operation Overlord.

"The Allies needed a French harbour from which to supply and sustain a successful invasion force. However, the disastrous 1942 raid on the French port of Dieppe, in which 3,369 Canadians were killed, wounded or captured, had convinced military planners that a seaborne assault against a well-defended port was folly.

"In fact, much of the French side of the English Channel had been turned into what was called the 'Atlantic Wall' -- mile after mile of concrete bunkers, machine gun nests, and other fortifications built by the Germans, overlooking beaches and tidal estuaries strewn with layers of barbed wire, anti-tank ditches, mines and other obstacles designed to obstruct an invading army. [...]"

The Normandy campaign finally ended on August 21, 1944, with Canadians playing an important role in closing the Falaise Gap and assisting in the capture of approximately 150,000 German soldiers. Now the pursuit of the enemy into the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany could begin.

Today it is commonplace to hear the Anglo-American and European imperialists dismiss the feats of the Soviet peoples in defeating Hitler, while claiming that it was the historic landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944, which broke Hitler's back. This makes it possible to claim that the United States played the decisive role in saving the world from Hitlerism and describing current U.S. wars of aggression and occupation as wars of liberation. All U.S. military interventions since the landing at Normandy are said to oppose dictatorships and tyrannies similar to Hitler's, thus faithfully following in the tradition of the landing at Normandy.

This is not the case. The Red Army broke Hitler's back in Stalingrad and then chased his Nazi forces all the way back to Berlin where they were finally forced to surrender. This does not take away from the fact that the Second Front kept many Nazi troops engaged and away from the eastern front. German casualties (killed and wounded) in the Normandy campaign were estimated at more than 200,000, while the Allies suffered 209,000 casualties among the more than two million soldiers who landed in France following the D-Day landing. Among the Allied casualties were more than 18,700 Canadians, including more than 5,000 soldiers killed. Had the Anglo-American powers joined the anti-fascist front called for and established by the Soviet Union under Stalin, losses caused by the Hitlerite occupation of Europe and invasion of the Soviet Union would not have been so grave. Instead they were driven by an aim to make sure they, not the Soviets, would control the outcome of the war.

On this anniversary, Canadians pay deepest respects to all the men and women who contributed to the defeat of the Nazi-fascists and Japanese militarists in World War II. Their cause for peace, democracy and freedom is not the same as the cause for which the U.S. imperialists and big powers wage wars today. Today the fight to secure peace, freedom and justice requires establishing anti-war governments and making sure countries are zones for peace, not war.

(With files from HBRC archives, Historica Canada. Photos: Libraries and Archives Canada, Imperial War Museum)

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Normandy Landing and the Re-Writing of History

In an article published on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, military historian Benoît Lemay, of the Royal Military College of Kingston, Ontario pointed out, "There are many misconceptions about the Normandy landing. It is believed to have enabled the Allies to win the Second World War. A more nuanced view is required. In fact, in June 1944, Germany had already lost. The landing only served to accelerate the end of the war. It was the Russians on the Eastern Front who did most of the work. For propaganda reasons, during the Cold War years that followed, the West would try to minimize the Soviet effort. It would be conveyed that it was the Allies who did most of the work."[1]

Lemay explained the motives behind the landing: "In reality, the Allies landed in France not only to defeat the Germans, but also to ensure that Western Europe did not fall under the Soviet yoke. There was a political aspect and economic interests."[2]

During their meeting in Tehran at the end of November 1943, the three leaders -- Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt -- agreed a Second Front would be opened. It was the landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944 that opened this Second Front, in the military context created by the Red Army, where Germany had already lost the war because of it and now had to fight on two sides.

According to the invasion plans, Caen was to be liberated on the evening of June 6 but the fighting was so fierce, it was only finally liberated 40 days later on July 17. The French historian Claude Quétel explains, "On June 22, 1944, a little more than a fortnight after the Normandy landings -- and three years to the day after the invasion of the Soviet Union by the Nazi armies -- Stalin attacked the Hitlerite troops from his side. The objective: to hold down a maximum of German divisions in the East to facilitate the progression of the Allies to the West. Stalin went all out. For this operation, no less than 166 divisions, 1,300,000 men, 5,000 aircraft, 2,700 tanks were mobilized. The main front is not the one thought to be in Normandy: it was in the East."[3]

However, Quétel writes, "This Soviet offensive, the largest since the beginning of the war, has often been obscured in the Western world because of the Cold War and rewriting of history."[4]

Quétel tells us: "The Russian victories in Stalingrad and especially Kursk changed the game. The major risk for the Anglo-Saxons was no longer to see Stalin sign a separate peace with Hitler, but to see him win the final victory alone! It became urgent to discuss strategy [...] with the Soviets. The Tehran Conference brought Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin together for the first time in this war."

Historian Antony Beevor summarized what happened a few days before the landing in Normandy: "Roosevelt wanted to remind his subordinates that the Allies were not liberating France to install General de Gaulle in power." The U.S goal was to "impose a military government until elections were held," which would take some time. This is why Roosevelt "insisted on creating an occupation currency." The disagreements were serious in Roosevelt's entourage, and "Churchill did his best to persuade him that they had to work with de Gaulle."[5] Roosevelt yielded. De Gaulle was then made aware of the landing that had been planned without his knowledge in his own country. He learned about it on June 4, the day before the landing was originally scheduled to take place; it was postponed a day due to bad weather. The "occupation" of part of Europe would take place anyway, but without a U.S. "military government" and its "occupation currency" in France.

In an interview, Beevor expressed the concern of the Anglo-American Allies with regard to a surrender of Germany only to the Soviet Union if the disembarkation of their troops was delayed:

"Eisenhower's decision to launch the operations on June 6, despite warnings from weather specialists, after a first postponement on the 5th, was not only a courageous decision, it was a historic stance. If he had said, 'we postpone the date,' the next possible window was exactly in the middle of the great storm of June 19, one of the worst in the [English] Channel. He would therefore have again had to suspend operations probably until the spring of 1945. This would have had unimaginable consequences, not only for the secrecy of the operations and for the maintenance for a very long time of the armada assembled in Great Britain, but, especially during this period, the Red Army would not only have arrived in Berlin, but would have had time to cross the Rhine and go, why not? all the way to La Rochelle [...] You can imagine the scene!"[6]

The decisive role of the Soviet Union in the military defeat of fascist Germany was accepted by everyone at the time such as the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who, even before the landing at Normandy, on May 17, 1944, honoured the city of Stalingrad declaring:

"In the name of the people of the United States of America, I present this scroll to the City of Stalingrad to commemorate our admiration for its gallant defenders whose courage, fortitude, and devotion during the siege of September 13, 1942 to January 31, 1943 will inspire forever the hearts of all free people. Their glorious victory stemmed the tide of invasion and marked the turning point in the war of the Allied Nations against the forces of aggression."[7]

Nonetheless, the Anglo-American imperialists like to claim that they, not the Soviets, with the invasion of Normandy were the decisive force in defeating Hitler. The D-Day Commemorations are used to make this claim and do warmongering propaganda against Russia today. This does a great disservice not only to the peoples of the former Soviet Union whose sacrifice in the war literally saved Europe, but also to the anti-fascist forces in Britain, the U.S., Canada and the European countries who fought heroically to do their part in the war. It is done to claim that wars of aggression and occupation today are for democracy, peace and freedom which dishonours the anti-fascist contribution of the soldiers who fought in the Second Front even more.


1. La Presse, June 6, 2014. Translated from French by TML.

2. Ibid.

3. Le Monde-Hors série: 1944/Débarquements, résistances, libérations, May-July 2014, La bataille de Normandie en neufs points, pp.20-23. Quote translated from French by TML.

4. Ibid.

5. Antony Beevor, The Second World War, Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2012.

6. Antony Beevor, "Ce n'était pas gagné d'avance," Le Point, June 5, 2014, pp.58-62. Quote translated from French by TML.

7. J.V. Stalin, Correspondence with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, Vol. 2 (1941-1945), footnote no. 67.

(A version of this article was translated from the original French and abridged for publication by TML Weekly on the 74th anniversary of D-Day. Photo: TML)

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