November 23, 2019 - No. 28
International Security Forum
The "Davos of the
Women for Aggression and War
Liberal Government Cabinet Sworn In
Relations to Make Liberal Minority Government
- Peggy Morton -
Quebec and Ontario Trade Union
Conventions in November
Express Need to Find a Way to Move Forward
- Pierre Chénier -
Ford Government's Pay-the-Rich
• Who Said
What in Opposition to Anti-Social Law
NATO at 70
to NATO 70th Anniversary Summit in Britain
During General Election
• U.S. March
on the War Machine Opposes Wars and Atrocities
NATO a "Unique Diplomatic Force Multiplier"
- Nick Lin -
War Alliance and United Nations Discuss
"Enhancing Practical Cooperation"
Impeachment Efforts Continue in
Together for Politics of Empowerment
- Voice of Revolution -
Halifax International Security Forum
Agenda, Partners and Sponsors
2019 Halifax International Security Forum
The 11th annual Halifax International Security Forum
(HISF) is being held from November 22 to 24. No Harbour for War is
organizing a rally on November 23 at 1:00 pm and a panel discussion and
meeting at 6:30 pm to express opposition to this warmongering
gathering. The HISF represents narrow private interests that are linked
to U.S. wars and striving for world domination through its association
with partners, sponsors and media "thought leaders," which Canada
brings together in Halifax once a year.
When it was launched in 2009 from
Washington, DC, with the sponsorship of NATO, the Halifax International
Security Forum (HISF) immediately began to tout itself as the "Davos of
the defence industry." At the time, the U.S. imperialist policy, based
on the brinkmanship of the Bush presidency, was in deep crisis. Obama
set about re-tasking the U.S. agenda as well as NATO -- which had
expanded from 16 to 28 full members -- with a new strategic doctrine,
as part of its imperial agenda to justify it as a global power superior
even to the United Nations. The HISF, which now brings together
representatives from 90 countries, an increase from 17 in 2009, has
become an important tool to this end. The list of its sponsors shows it
is clearly an instrument of giant arms and energy monopolies and
oligopolies and international finance capital involved in the business
of war, the most profitable business of all. To this end, it functions
as a political and ideological mechanism for enforcing U.S. control,
for integrating Canada and other countries into the U.S. war machine
and for nation-wrecking. Behind the backs of the Canadian people,
governments of Canada -- first the Harper government and now the
Trudeau government -- participate in it to adjust to the U.S. demands
and further tailor Canada's decision-making process to NATO demands.
The HISF is well camouflaged by the media. The
techniques of the U.S.-led Halifax war conference being used to sell
war are familiar disinformation strategies, known to the peoples of the
world from before and during the Anglo-U.S. invasion of Iraq. This is
when the phrase "weapons of mass deception" -- referring to the
state-organized disinformation about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass
destruction -- came into vogue.[#note1-1">1]
The HISF and the monopoly media go out of their way to obscure their
war aims through gushing descriptions of how these philanthropic
monopolies support "collaborative efforts" "towards global prosperity"
and a "firm commitment every day to building a more secure world,"
which favour the war aims of the U.S. imperialists and their striving
for world domination. Individual panelists from the think tanks bear faux academic titles like "Senior
Non-Resident Fellow" and "Junior Adjunct Fellow," "human rights
experts" and the like. Selectively invited journalists are described as
"thought leaders." Their main mission is to provide arguments for wars
based on imperialist doctrines, such as "responsibility to protect,"
which favour the U.S. imperialists and their allies. The aim is to make
sure the Canadian people and especially the working class do not look
into, analyze and soberly discuss the actual forces involved, their
connection to the economy and its reality and what is the way forward
to secure their own interests and rights.
Information can be traced about the
sponsors and partners while no explanation is available on what
sponsorship entails. Details of the "partnerships" are kept secret.
Furthermore, two-thirds of the sessions are secret, held behind closed
doors. But facts speak for themselves. [See the items in the
Supplement to this issue of TML Weekly -- Editor].
Canadians should demand that the HISF be banned, along
with demanding that Canada get out of NATO and NORAD and that they be
dismantled. No foreign troops should be permitted to operate on
Canadian territory and Canadian forces should be brought home to
operate only in defence of Canada based on how the Canadian people
define that need, not the U.S. imperialists, NATO and their so-called
intelligence agencies. No foreign warships, whether or not they carry
nuclear weapons, should be permitted to use our harbours. All
foreign think tanks and NATO-sponsored Canadian academic institutions
should be dismantled. All front groups and non-governmental
organizations which promote imperialist war aims must be rejected by
Oppose the Halifax War Conference and
the Government of Canada's War Aims!
No Harbour for War!
Make Canada a Zone for Peace!
1. Hill+Knowlton Canada was
represented by Peter Donolo, Vice-Chairman. Hill+Knowlton is a U.S.
multinational public relations monopoly known for its fraudulent and
corrupt practices. It is the same outfit that staged the infamous "fake
news" in which a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl was reported to have seen
invading Iraqi soldiers ripping Kuwaiti babies out of incubators and
killing them by throwing them on the ground. This sensational "news
story" was used to legitimate the U.S. imperialists' 1991 invasion of
Iraq. Hill+Knowlton was paid U.S.$10 million for services rendered.
The Halifax International Security Forum (HISF) is
promoting a role for women in upholding peace and security that is
informed by U.S. imperialism and the aggressive NATO alliance.
This so-called security is based on the destruction of countries that
will not submit to U.S. imperialist dictate. In the ensuing chaos and
violence of NATO interventions and occupations, it is women and
children who are the first victims.
In October, for the first time since 2009, two women
were appointed to the HISF board of directors: Tammy Harris, former
Deputy Commander, Royal Canadian Air Force; and Cindy McCain, head of
the Washington, D.C.-based McCain Institute. The late U.S. Senator John
McCain, the warmonger and advocate of American exceptionalism after
whom the institute is named, had longstanding ties with the HISF.
The institute is funded by many arms and energy monopolies as well as
the government of the feudal kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In September 2018, the HISF launched a Peace With Women
Fellowship Program. It is a program of indoctrination, not academic
study. Each year, selected women military officers from the NATO bloc
are taken on an "executive tour" of the U.S. and Canada en route to the
Halifax war conference.
The press release announcing the program states:
"Participants will visit Washington, DC, Silicon Valley,
Toronto and Waterloo, and Ottawa before concluding the program in
Halifax, Nova Scotia.
"Fellows will meet with government, military, and
thought leaders as they travel through the political and technological
capitals of the United States and Canada to deepen their understanding
of American and Canadian strategic challenges, as well as the
cutting-edge technologies transforming the realities of national
Presumably this is what is meant by "raising the profile
of women at all levels within the Alliance."
The genesis of this push to recruit women occurred at
the 2017 HISF, when NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced
that Canadian Clare Hutchinson would become NATO's new Special
Representative for Women, Peace and Security.
Hutchinson was previously a Gender Adviser at the United
Nations in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. She was deployed
with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon from July 2012 to December 2013
and the UN Interim Administration in Kosovo from October 2004 to
Both Hutchinson and Stoltenberg present the issue of
women in the military as upholding a decontextualized abstract ideal of
empowerment, gender equality and opportunity for women. The content of
a given military mission, whose aims it serves and whether it is just
and upholds peace, national sovereignty and rule of international law,
or whether it is committing war crimes are not to be discussed.
For example, at a February 2016 ceremony for 125 Indian
women police officers stationed with the United Nations Mission in
Liberia, Hutchinson said:
"What we're doing with the military and the police is
breaking down the perception that this is a male domain and that women
can't be involved. We know that the obstacles aren't that it's too
dangerous or that they don't want to travel or leave their children.
Those aren't the most prevailing obstacles; it's mainly that they're
not aware of opportunities."
Stoltenberg said of Hutchinson's appointment,
"[E]mpowering women is not just the right thing to do, it's the smart
thing to do: it makes countries safer and more stable. NATO is
determined to make a difference, including through our training and
operations -- for example, by deploying gender advisers to local
communities in Afghanistan. We also aim to raise the profile of women
at all levels within the Alliance.
"We still need to do more, but for NATO, peace and
security are not just a man's world.
"I thank Canada for its strong commitment to women,
peace and security, and I look forward to welcoming Ms Hutchinson to
NATO Headquarters soon."
the same time that the HISF began pushing the recruitment of women, the
Trudeau government launched its "Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace
Operations" with which it has given itself the dishonourable task to
convince women -- who are in the front ranks of the opposition to
aggression and war -- to consider the "equal opportunity" offered to be
recruited as soldiers or police officers for the new more aggressive
"peacekeeping" that takes place under UN auspices today.
Hutchinson's appointment can be seen as an attempt by
NATO to give Canada credit for its nefarious activities and bolster its
attempts to make war and aggression "progressive."
Canada has blood on its hands — whether in Korea,
Yugoslavia, Libya, Ukraine, Haiti and Afghanistan and now it is
deploying into Eastern Europe to threaten Russia and suppress
opposition to NATO's aggressive role in Latvia, Ukraine and other
That it is seeking to absolve itself of its crimes by
presenting itself as the biggest defender of women and peace fools no
one. Women's security and empowerment lies in fighting for their own
rights and the rights of all. Women, especially working class women,
are in the front ranks of all the fights for rights and against
military intervention and war.
Trying to hide this by promoting women who act as
instruments of imperialism -- whether openly or under cover of one or
another version of its phony "human rights" agenda -- shows that the
HISF and the Trudeau government's notion of empowerment is bound up
with aggression and war and on this basis is fraudulent to the extreme.
Liberal Government Cabinet Sworn In
Justin Trudeau's new cabinet was sworn in at a ceremony
on November 20 at Rideau Hall, presided over by Governor-General Julie
Payette. The cabinet has been expanded from 31 members to 37, including
the Prime Minister. Seven members are new to cabinet. Three former
cabinet ministers were not re-appointed, and two lost their seats.
Seventeen members come from Ontario, ten from Quebec,
four from British Columbia, one from Manitoba, and one from each of the
Atlantic provinces. There are an equal number of women and men, as in
Trudeau's first cabinet.
Many members who were in the previous cabinet were
assigned new roles. The most prominent change was the naming of
Chrystia Freeland as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of
Intergovernmental Affairs, with responsibility for working with the
provinces. Freeland also remains in charge of Canada-U.S. relations,
including passage of the new NAFTA agreement by the U.S. Congress. The
monopoly-controlled media suggested that Freeland's role involved
exercising her "considerable diplomatic skills" to develop better
relations with the premiers, among them Ontario's Doug Ford, Quebec's
Francois Legault, Alberta's Jason Kenney and Saskatchewan's Scott Moe.
That these "considerable diplomatic skills" were exercised in the last
parliament on behalf of the global oligarchs who control the Canadian
economy is not to be discussed. Nor is the fact that Freeland has done
yeoman's service for U.S. imperialism on matters of war and peace, and
in embroiling Canada in conspiring to bring about illegal regime change
in Venezuela, Bolivia and other countries.
Media reports have highlighted the make-up of the new
cabinet as concerns the number of cabinet members from Quebec and the
different regions of Canada, which it presents as a matter of ensuring
that all parts of Canada as well as Quebec are listened to and
represented. The "sunny ways" by which Trudeau claimed he would govern
in 2015 have been rejigged in 2019 as a matter of "listen hard" and
"mend fences," as the National Post
put it. Political pundits remark that the Trudeau government will have
to exercise skill in negotiating such matters as the carbon tax and
some form of pharmacare with provincial governments. The Trans Mountain
pipeline has been declared a done deal in contempt of the fact that the
Indigenous nations have not given their consent. The suggestion is that
if Freeland could make a deal with the Trump administration, she can
also be the one to make the deal with the provincial governments. In
other words, deal-making is the order of the day. What is not discussed
is who such deals and horse-trading will benefit, beginning with the
fact that the trade negotiations with the U.S. gave the global
oligarchs what they wanted.
The Montreal Gazette
quoted both the Quebec Legault government and the mayor of Montreal as
welcoming the increased number of ministers from Quebec. "The
importance of Quebec is confirmed," said Quebec Treasury Board
President Christian Dubé. "I think it is very good news for all of us."
Mayor Valérie Plante said she is counting on the six Montreal ministers
to ensure the city has a strong voice in cabinet on issues such as
mobility and housing, the Gazette
reported. "The fact that they actually live here or their ridings are
here definitely brings a different layer of understanding, and of
wanting to do the right thing," she said.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney tweeted, "The Government of
Alberta hopes to find common ground with the federal government to
create jobs and growth, in part through responsible resource
development, and to ensure fairness in the Canadian federation."
"In particular, I look forward to working with [Jim
Carr] in his new role as Special Representative for the Prairies,
[Chrystia Freeland] as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs [and
Seamus O'Regan] as the Minister of Natural Resources," Kenney wrote.
At the same time, Kenney has revived a version of
Stephen Harper's "firewall" around Alberta, including a separate
Alberta pension plan, and has been grandstanding about what he calls
the inequity of the equalization arrangements which were negotiated by
the Harper government, of which he was a leading member.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford congratulated those
appointed to the new cabinet, saying that his team is looking forward
to working with Ottawa to "build a stronger, more prosperous Ontario
Jim Carr, former Minister of International Trade
Diversification and before that Minister of Natural Resources was
appointed as Trudeau's "special representative" for the prairies. Carr
almost immediately stated that he thinks there is room to make changes
to regulations governing major energy and mining projects.
In addition to the cabinet appointments, Pablo Rodriguez
was named House Leader, and Kristy Duncan, Deputy House Leader; Mark
Holland remains Chief Government Whip. Commentators point out that the
role of the House Leader and his team assumes more importance in a
minority parliament, where the government needs the support of either
the Conservatives, the Bloc Québécois, or the NDP to get legislation
Among the changes in the new cabinet is the
appointment of Bill Blair, formerly Minister of Border Security
and Organized Crime Reduction, as Minister of Public Safety, a position
formerly held by Ralph Goodale who lost his seat. The minister of
public safety is responsible for the RCMP, the Canada Border Services
Agency, Corrections Canada and the Canadian Security Intelligence
Service (CSIS). As Toronto Chief of Police, Blair presided over one of
the most violent and massive violations of human rights by the police
in Canada at the 2010 G20, including widespread police violence and
abuse of rights and the unlawful arrests of some 1,150 people. His
appointment is another ominous sign as to where this government is
On top of the fraud that the working people of Canada are
at each other's throats and engaged in bashing Quebec and Alberta, the
monopoly-controlled media are now spinning the tale that the provincial
governments represent the demands and aspirations of the people, and
the federal government is somewhat chastened and in fence-mending mode.
The reality is that people are in motion against these same
governments, expressing their fierce opposition to their neo-liberal,
anti-social offensive and the destruction of any public authority.
The fraud that the Trudeau government will consult with
Canadians and do things in a new way has been completely exposed. Now
"listening to Canadians" is being presented to mean that the federal
government is going to conduct some shrewd deal-making with the
provincial governments. Beneath the smooth talk is the reality that
there is no politics, only striving for domination and power and the
dictate of the financial oligarchy. What is being promoted is
deal-making behind the backs of the people. It is further proof that
the "democratic institutions" are obsolete and are dragging society
down. Canadians already have oodles of experience with the Liberals and
their claims to do things differently, to consult, listen to Canadians
and so on, and the reality that what exists is the rule of private
interests through the use of police powers. They are not adopting a
wait and see attitude towards this government. It is a time to Empower Ourselves Now! by
continuing to speak in our own names. It is the demand for genuine
democracy, for democratic renewal, which is the order of the day.
Quebec and Ontario Trade Union
Conventions in November
Trade union activists are gathering this November to
deal with the serious situation working people face. They are
determined to organize their ranks to resist the denial of the rights
of workers by the international financial oligarchy and the governments
and state agencies deployed to serve its supranational private
interests. Many delegates sense an urgency to step up the struggle in
defence of the rights of all in opposition to the anti-social offensive
in both the public and private sectors.
The Quebec Federation of Labour (FTQ) will hold its 32nd
Congress in Quebec City from November 25 to 28 under the theme "In
Action in a Changing World." The FTQ has about 600,000 members from the
private and public sectors, including construction, mining and
metallurgy, communications, forestry and others.
The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) is holding its
14th Biennial Convention in Toronto from November 25 to 29 under the
theme "The Power of Many." The OFL has approximately one million
members who work in the private and public sectors, including all the
In Quebec and Ontario, workers and their allies
throughout society face an authority in governments that rule on behalf
of the international financial oligarchy. Through the fraud of the
cartel party system, these governments claim mandates from the people
when in fact they represent the tiny minority of rich and powerful.
Working people who are the vast majority are subjected
to constant abuse from the minority in power that refuses to solve the
social, natural, economic and political problems facing the people and
society. Instead, the ruling minority has turned over the productive
forces to pay the rich and destroy the social fabric and former
arrangements of civil society and what are called the liberal
The trade unions face a ruling minority that refuses to
recognize the right of workers to a say in their working conditions
and, in many cases, refuses even to negotiate terms of employment in
what used to be considered the norm of good faith bargaining.
But working people are the majority and have over a
century of experience in developing the productive forces, defending
their rights and opening a path forward under constantly changing
conditions. Workers are the essential human factor in producing the
social wealth that the society and people require for their existence.
As the essential human factor in the economy, workers' rights must not
and will not be denied. Workers refuse to accept the situation where a
tiny minority abuse the majority and trample on the rights the people
possess by virtue of being human.
To defend themselves, their rights and future, workers
do indeed have the "power of many." This power of many must be
organized to take "action in a changing world" in ways that make the
working class and its social consciousness the decisive human factor
for democratic renewal, to humanize the social and natural environment,
to stop paying the rich and increase investments in social programs.
Quebec Federation of Labour -- In Action in a Changing
The FTQ convention is taking place at a time when the
Quebec government, in the service of the international financial
oligarchy, is intensifying its activity against the organized struggle
of workers. This was on ugly display with the open and gross
intervention of the government against the ABI aluminum smelter workers
in Bécancour. The Legault government gave its wholehearted support to
the global cartel Alcoa/Rio Tinto and its prolonged lockout of workers
and demand for concessions.
The ABI workers faced 18 months of a brutal lockout. The
Legault government turned against its own working people, talking
nonsense about their demands and allowing Alcoa/Rio Tinto to use its
supranational powers with impunity to the point of refusing to
negotiate and simply throwing "final offers" at workers. The Legault
government caved in to the global cartel reneging on its obligations to
pay Hydro-Québec $400 million in contracted electricity. This in effect
forced Quebeckers to finance the long lockout. The Quebec government
has also allowed Rio Tinto to evade its obligations to invest in its
Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean facilities in exchange for the hydroelectric
preferential rates and privileges that the government and Hydro-Québec
have bestowed upon the monopoly.
In another example of the treachery of the rich minority
in power, the Quebec government intervened on behalf of the big
construction companies to unilaterally impose changes to the training
regime for crane operators without the consent of the workers affected
and in direct opposition to their views and those of experts and
professionals in the construction industry.
Legault has also announced the
government's intention to impose wage settlements on public sector
workers without even going through the pretence of negotiations with
public sector unions and their members. The arrogance of the ruling
minority must be challenged!
Taking action in a changing world means confronting the
abuse of authority and impunity of the ruling minority. It means taking
action not to bring back the old forms of the past but to defend the
rights of all and usher into being new content and forms to deal with
the arrogance and dictate of the ruling minority within the present
When the majority is organized to defend the rights of
all, the ruling minority will not be able to abuse fellow workers in
the construction, metallurgical and other industries and public sector.
The full mobilization of the workers' movement and public opinion has
the power to force the ruling elite and their political representatives
to back off!
The working people are sick and tired of the privilege,
power and impunity of the rich minority and their flunkies in
government and the state. The FTQ convention has the social
responsibility to forge a new beginning of resistance to the ruling
elite and to mobilize the working class majority to engage in actions
with analysis to defend the rights of all and to fight for democratic
renewal in a changing world and give the economy a new direction that
guarantees its stability and the well-being of all.
Ontario Federation of Labour -- The Power of Many
In Ontario, the OFL Convention is taking place in the
midst of the Ford government's escalating attacks on the people and
society. The rich minority has intensified the anti-social offensive
against those who provide the social programs and public services that
strive to raise the level of society and ensure a dignified life for
all, especially the most vulnerable.
The health care and education systems,
injured workers, the unemployed and vulnerable, and the entire public
sector that is providing the necessary services for a modern society
are under attack. The Ford government's austerity measures include huge
cuts in social programs and public services. The government explains
the anti-social offensive in the most pathetic way as necessary to prop
up the privilege and power of the rich minority of the international
financial oligarchy. While ignoring the real problems the working
people, economy and society face, the Ford government seeks to bolster
the social wealth, power and privilege of the oligarchs who own vast
amounts of secure state-organized debt for which they receive
guaranteed interest payments and whose private enterprises benefit from
public money through pay-the-rich schemes.
Ontario workers are in a constant battle to defend their
rights and to speak out against the anti-social offensive of the rich
minority. Workers are organizing to discuss the problems with their
peers and find a way to unleash the power of many to turn the situation
around in their favour.
A blatant example of the rich minority running amuck is
the Ford government's Bill 124, which gives itself the power to impose
caps on wage, benefit and pension increases for hundreds of thousands
of union and non-union public sector workers and to declare null and
void any collective agreement that does not adhere to the imposed caps.
The government has even denied the affected workers the right to
challenge the imposed wages before the courts or Labour Relations Board.
Members and allies of the OFL know they are confronting
a tough battle for their rights against a rich minority that has
abandoned all the old forms and content of civil society and what are
called the liberal democratic institutions. The Workers' Centre of the
Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) shares weal and woe with
working people in this fight to organize and unleash the power of many
to change the direction of the economy and open a pro-social path
forward to democratic renewal with new forms and content in politics
and relations of production suitable for the modern world.
Ford Government's Pay-the-Rich
Toronto, Labour Day 2019
Across the province, teachers and education workers,
health care workers, migrant workers, injured workers, and broad
sections of the people are taking actions and stepping up resistance to
the anti-social offensive of the Doug Ford Progressive Conservative
Since coming to power on June 7, 2018,
the Ford government has carried out massive cuts to health care
spending, public education and social programs, resulting in the loss
of thousands of jobs and the services those workers provide to the
people, with more cuts to come. All of these cuts are carried out under
the pretext of being fiscally responsible and accountable to the people.
Citing the need to reduce the debt and deficit, on
November 7 the government passed into law Bill 124, the Protecting
a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019, which
attacks public sector workers by imposing a one per cent cap on their
wages over the next three years.
The Ford government forecasts paying $13.3 billion in
interest for fiscal year 2019-20 alone to the financial
institutions that hold Ontario's debt. The backgrounder to Bill 124
says that this amounts to "$1.5 million of interest paid every hour of
every day" and the Ford government makes clear that the financial
oligarchs who hold Ontario's debt are the priority and must receive
their interest payments before "a single dollar can be spent on
schools, hospitals or transportation."
It is the political representatives of this financial
oligarchy who are orchestrating the cuts to social programs and public
services and legislating against the rights of public sector workers,
to "sustain" the current pay-the-rich direction for the economy. These
representatives are placed in positions of authority to decide
government policy, either as finance ministers or government-appointed
consultants. Former Liberal Finance Minister Charles Sousa, for
example, was Director of Commercial Banking at the Royal Bank of Canada
Financial Group for more than 20 years. Don Drummond, another appointee
of the McGuinty Liberal government, who advised how to restructure
public services to ensure payments on the debt and deficit were
sustained, was Senior Vice President and Chief Economist for the TD
Bank from 2000 to 2010. Much of the direction he set out in his
Commission for the Reform of Public Services is what is now being taken
up by the Ford government, especially as concerns the restructuring of
wages and benefits throughout the public service and increasing class
sizes in educational institutions.
Walk-ins for education were organized across Toronto and in other
locations in southern
Ontario, October 10, 2019 to demand an end to
cuts in public education.
TML Weekly reported on Bill 124 on August 31,
pointing out that the measures that the Ontario PCs were taking with
this bill "amounts in practice to a form of opting out of the
government's legal duty to be accountable to the people for its actions
and violating the rights of public sector workers with impunity. The
act uses a variation of the fraud of reasonable limits on people's
rights and the notwithstanding clause found within the Canadian
Constitution and its Charter of
Rights and Freedoms."
Public sector workers in Ontario have made it clear that
they intend to file a Charter challenge to Bill 124 at the Supreme
Court. Even bourgeois commentators acknowledge the legislation runs
counter to recent Supreme Court decisions but that has not deterred the
Ontario workers are not relying on the prospect of a
favourable outcome following a protracted legal proceeding. Bill 124
was passed while the teachers and education workers in Ontario, one of
the main targets of this law, are still in bargaining for a new
contract. At the moment, besides preparing to challenge Bill 124,
education unions are getting ready to take various actions, including
strike action, to fight for just wages and working conditions and to
defend the public education system.
Elementary school teachers voted 98 per
cent in support of strike action, if necessary, and will be in a
position to take legal strike action on November 25. Starting November
26, they will stop attending staff and school meetings, participating
in any ministry-related activities, and carrying out a host of other
tasks, which is intended to target school and board administration and
the Ministry of Education.
High school teachers and education workers represented
by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation will hold
information pickets outside of work hours and also begin a limited
withdrawal of services on November 26. Teachers and occasional teachers
have backed strike action by 95.5 per cent, while 92 per cent of
education workers also support possible job action.
Teachers in the Catholic school boards likewise have
voted 97 per cent in favour of taking strike action but are not yet in
a legal strike position.
Students at three Toronto universities are also in
action to defend public education against the Ford government's
measures that affect post secondary education. They held a one-day
walk-out on November 6 to protest the Ford government cuts to public
education and student aid and the increasing cost of post-secondary
education in the province.
CUPE Ontario is also in action against the Ford
government's attack on the rights of injured workers. Under its slogan
"Communities Not Cuts," CUPE Ontario held an action at Doug Ford's
Constituency Office on November 14 to protest the Workplace Safety and
Insurance Board's (WSIB) refusal to acknowledge 93 per cent of claims
related to mental health issues. Currently 1.7 million workers in
Ontario do not have WSIB coverage and, if injured on the job, are
forced to fend for themselves. Organizations like the Ontario Network
of Injured Workers' Groups and others are actively demanding that WSIB
coverage be universal and that the Ford government stop attacking the
most vulnerable workers.
Picket, November 14, 2019 outside Doug Ford's Etobicoke
constituency office opposes Bill 124 and demands measures be taken to
guarantee safe working conditions for temp workers.
The Ontario Health Coalition is also organizing
resistance across the province against the Ford Government's cuts to
public health care. Cuts include services covered under the Ontario
Health Insurance Plan, privatizing the delivery of community care to
seniors and others, plans to privatize and reduce ambulance services
across the province, the reduction of public health units from 35
across Ontario to 10, cuts to mental health services and more. Rallies
and other actions have been held in Chatham and Toronto and others are
called for Sault Ste. Marie on November 30 and Ottawa on December 7.
Details are available on the Ontario
Regional rally for public health care, organized by the Ontario Health
Toronto, November 9, 2019.
"Bill 124 is a direct attack on the
collective bargaining rights of every worker in the province [...] The
Ontario Federation of Labour is committed to fight this Bill at every
step, and we are reviewing all of our options -- both political and
legal -- including the launch of a Charter challenge. Now that the Bill
has passed, I cannot imagine a scenario that does not result in a
charter challenge [...] The agreements unions bargain on behalf of
their members must be negotiated at the bargaining table, not in the
Chris Buckley, President, OFL, November 7, 2019
"This [Bill 124] is a regressive bill that for years
will prevent the majority of Ontario's 280,000 [Canadian Union of
Public Employees (CUPE)] members, as well as tens of thousands of
hardworking frontline workers who belong to other unions, from
exercising their constitutionally protected right to engage in free
collective bargaining. It is absolutely shameful [...] There are no
services without the people who actually do this work and it is those
people that are being impacted by this regressive bill. All that
speculation of a change in direction by the Ford Conservatives, is just
smoke and mirrors. Bill 124 proves that their agenda of cutting public
services and blaming front line workers for the deficit hasn't
changed." -- Fred Hahn, President,
CUPE Ontario, November 7, 2019
"This legislation is clearly driven by ideology and not
sound public policy. Bill 124 strips Ontario faculty of fundamental
democratic rights. This entire exercise has been justified based on a
manufactured crisis and a farcical set of public consultations. The
costly consultation was led by external legal counsel and not civil
servants or elected officials and was clearly a sham to justify
legislation that was almost certainly written well before the
consultations began. It is reckless for the government to introduce
this disruptive measure in the public sector without a shred of
evidence of its economic or other purported impacts. [The Ontario
Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA)] is also
deeply concerned about the sweeping powers granted to the President of
the Treasury Board in the proposed legislation. Empowering the
minister, in their "sole discretion," to make orders about collective
agreements and arbitral awards is at best contrary to democratic
principles." -- OCUFA, June 19, 2019
"The Protecting a
Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act tramples on
collective bargaining rights and targets public sector workers with
unfair austerity measures for the next three years. The legislation
ensures that compensation for educators and other public sector workers
will continue to fall behind the rate of inflation. The passage of the
legislation comes just one day after the Minister of Finance bragged to
Ontarians that the economy is thriving and that the government is more
than a billion dollars ahead of its deficit reduction targets.
"The unions, all currently in negotiations with the
government for new collective agreements, are preparing a court
challenge to the legislation, which likely violates the Charter rights
of their members. The unions entered into negotiations in good faith,
and have been doing everything they can to move the process forward.
With the passage of this legislation, the prospects for good faith
bargaining have been all but shattered."--
Joint Statement of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation,
the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, the Ontario English
Catholic Teachers' Association, and the Association des enseignantes et
enseignants franco-ontariens, November 7, 2019.
"Bill 124 violates the Constitutional
rights of Ontario workers and will see families fall further behind in
their struggles to keep up with the cost of living. [...] The [United
Steelworkers (USW)], which represents thousands of public-sector
workers, particularly in the university sector, believes Ford's
legislation will be struck down by the court [...] The courts have
repeatedly ruled this type of legislation infringes on the Charter
rights of working people to be able to freely and collectively
negotiate with their employers ... Most recently, the previous Liberal
government in Ontario imposed similar legislation that attacked these
fundamental rights and it was emphatically ruled unconstitutional by
the courts." -- Marty Warren, Ontario
Director, USW, November 8, 2019.
"As the elected leaders of one of the largest public
sector unions in Ontario, we vow to vigorously fight the Ford
government's draconian and sexist wage-cut legislation in a court of
law and in the court of public opinion. In both cases, we will win. By
unfairly targeting public sector workers -- the majority of whom are
women -- Bill 124 is an attack on women. At a time when government
should be actively working to make the gender wage gap smaller, the
Ford government is actively making it larger. Bill 124 is also a clear
violation of public sector workers' constitutional right to free and
fair collective bargaining. How can bargaining be free when it has been
hamstrung by a cap? -- Warren
Thomas, President and Eddy Almeida, Vice-President/Treasurer, Ontario Public
Service Employees Union, November 8, 2019.
NATO at 70
No to NATO! action
April 2, 2019, as NATO celebrates the 70th
of its founding.
The British anti-war organizations -- the Stop the War
Coalition, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and the No to NATO, No
to War Network -- are organizing actions across Britain on the occasion
of the NATO Summit to be held in England in December. The organizers
"On December 3 and 4, the North Atlantic Treaty
Organisation (NATO) will mark its 70th anniversary with a Heads of
State Summit in London. With Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Recep
Tayyip Erdogan set to attend this gathering of the world's largest
nuclear-armed military alliance, it is vital that the peace and
anti-war movements are mobilized to full capacity to oppose what John
Pilger calls an 'American invention designed to impose American power
on Europe.' In advance of the protests being organized around the
Queen's reception for NATO leaders on December 3, [the Stop the War
Coalition and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament] are hosting a
counter-summit in Central London. The event will bring together
anti-war voices from across Europe and beyond, to discuss NATO's
nuclear warmongering, its interventionist wars, and set out how civil
society can work to abolish NATO and create a more peaceful world.
"NATO is by design a powerful arm of U.S.
foreign policy, and increasingly dangerous in the hands of the reckless
Donald Trump. We must take action against NATO -- Join us in saying 'No
to NATO' on November 30."
The organizers write:
"Donald Trump is coming to London in December for the
NATO Heads of State summit. On Tuesday, December 3, the Queen will be
hosting a reception for NATO leaders at Buckingham Palace and it is
crucial we raise our voices against the world's largest nuclear-armed
military alliance which is overseen by one of the most reckless U.S.
Presidents in history.
"Donald Trump is a racist, a misogynist and a climate
change denier who threatens communities at home while destabilizing the
rest of the globe.
"NATO, as an aggressive and expansionist nuclear and
military alliance, plays a dangerous global role -- it is still in
Afghanistan 18 years on and is expanding further into Eastern Europe,
the Middle East and Latin America.
"The summit is a crucial opportunity for our movement to
oppose Trump, his nuclear warmongering, interventionism and destructive
social and political agenda. Let's unite against war and military
aggression and ensure President Trump's visit to Britain will be met
with the response that it deserves.
"Assemble at 4:00 pm in Trafalgar Square on December 3
for music and speeches before we march to Buckingham Palace saying loud
and clear: No to Trump, No to NATO!"
International Counter Summit
Saturday, November 30 -- 10:30 am-5:30 pm
Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, 235 Shaftesbury Ave., London WC2H 8EP
For information click
December 3 -- 4:00 pm
Assemble at Trafalgar Square and March to Buckingham Palace
The Rage Against the War Machine march on October 11 in
Washington, DC brought together various individuals and groups to stand
against all U.S. wars, atrocities and interference against the peoples
worldwide. It demanded an end to war funding and targeted the war
monopolies, war economy and war government. Held during the 2020
election campaigns, it stood against both Democrats and Republicans as
war parties that refuse to implement the broad anti-war stand of the
country's majority that are calling for an end to U.S. wars. In
saluting the actions to defend the environment and affirm the right of
the youth to a bright future, it was brought out that the Pentagon is
the world's single largest polluter and that U.S. wars and military
worldwide poison the water, soil and human beings, often making land
uninhabitable. Stopping war is key to stopping climate change.
Starting from the White House, the demonstration
-- held on a Friday during the day in order to do outreach to the
public -- proceeded to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is
responsible for massive attacks on social programs and the sovereignty
of countries worldwide, while profiting from wars and the huge debts
imposed on the peoples. The march also went to the office of the
Atlantic Council, which is in an unmarked building, consistent with
hiding the role of its influence in acting to advance U.S. domination
and use of force, using the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
As the leaflets distributed pointed out, the Atlantic Council
specifically targets the anti-war movement, using disinformation while
acting, for example, to have 800 Facebook pages removed, many of them
opposing U.S. wars and crimes. No explanation was given for the removal
of the pages, some of which had millions of "likes," including Police
the Police, Cop Block, and Free Thought Project.
The demonstration proceeded to the Washington Post, where it denounced
current owner and Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, as a CIA
contractor, responsible for the widespread misinformation and
disinformation of the Post.
This includes its consistent failure to even report on anti-war
demonstrations and many other efforts of the peoples in DC defending
Leaflets with information about the role of the various
pro-war forces were distributed to the many passers-by at each stop and
to workers along the way. This outreach to the public was an important
part of the action and reflective of the need for demonstrations today
to be directed to and engage the public in discussing and standing
against the U.S. war machine and war government. Importance was given
to putting the issue of war and peace on the agenda during elections
and to demanding that candidates support the call to Bring All U.S.
Troops Home Now! This is a solution the peoples at home and abroad are
The march was followed by a summit the next day where
all involved were able to share their organizing experience and provide
information about ongoing struggles. Discussion included the
Syrian people's efforts to get the U.S. out, Venezuelans defending
their right to decide their government against U.S. efforts at regime
change, and opposing the crime of collective punishment against the
peoples, including sanctions.
The importance of the people relying on themselves, not
the government, including organizing work to repeatedly engage and
politically mobilize the public was raised. So too was the need to be
pro-active, to advance a pro-people, anti-war program and not be
limited to reacting to the agenda set by the rulers and their pro-war
Demonstration in Washington, DC, March 30, 2019, as NATO foreign
ministers meet to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of NATO on
April 4, 1949.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg accepted Foreign
Policy magazine's ''Diplomat of the Year'' award at a ceremony in
Washington, DC, on November 12. In accepting the award from
editor-in-chief Jonathan Tepperman, Stoltenberg made a case for
"relentless transatlantic diplomacy, backed by credible transatlantic
defence." He called NATO "a unique diplomatic 'force multiplier,'" and
claimed that "when 29 nations speak with one voice, their voice is more
powerful than any other in the world."
These remarks are self-serving in the
extreme. The term "force multiplier" pertains to the field of military
combat. The U.S. Department of Defense defines it as follows: "A
capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force,
significantly increases the combat potential of that force and thus
enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment." This is
the opposite of diplomacy, where differences are resolved through
peaceful means for mutual benefit. According to the NATO Secretary
General, NATO's coercive threat of force strengthens and is
essential to effective diplomacy.
In his acceptance speech, Stoltenberg spoke at length to
justify NATO's war preparations, claiming military threats to NATO
countries where none exist. He highlighted NATO's aggressive
encirclement of Russia with its massive military buildup in eastern
Europe: "[O]ur diplomatic efforts can only be effective if we engage
Russia from a position of credible deterrence and credible defence." He
went on to suggest that China poses a similar threat to NATO countries:
"Diplomacy combined with military strength is also important as we
adapt to a shifting global balance of power. A key driver for this is
China. China will soon have the world's biggest economy. And it already
has the second largest defence budget, investing heavily in new
capabilities." Although China has not been invading other countries and
carrying out coups and regime change, it is said to pose a threat to
NATO countries. Stoltenberg's so-called diplomacy is simply window
dressing to cover up outright aggression that serves the interests of
NATO countries, especially the big powers.
As concerns his assertion that NATO represents "29
nations speak[ing] with one voice [that is] more powerful than any
other in the world," this does not reflect reality. A major split
currently exists in NATO, between the U.S. and the other members, as
the Trump administration considers NATO to be ineffectual and a
hindrance to U.S. aims because it does not function without the U.S.
military and funding. Moreover, 29 countries out of the nearly 200 in
the world is a small minority compared to other international
groupings, such as the Group of 77 or the Non-Aligned Movement.
Furthermore, whereas the Group of 77 and the Non-Aligned Movement
operate within the bounds of the United Nations and the rule of
international law, NATO does not. It is a rogue military alliance that
flouts the rule of international law. Its aggressive activities are
opposed by a majority of the world's peoples, who decry it as the
"North Atlantic Terrorist Organization." Counter to Stoltenberg's
sophistic remarks, reality indicates that NATO serves narrow aggressive
aims and imposes itself on others according to the imperialist doctrine
of "Might Makes Right."
Who or What Is Foreign
It is relevant to inquire who or what is Foreign
Policy magazine, which has proclaimed NATO's Secretary General the
"Diplomat of the Year."
Foreign Policy is a U.S. publication, founded in
1970 during the turmoil of the Vietnam War, whose cofounders -- Samuel
P. Huntington and Warren Demian Manshel -- espoused reactionary world
views. Huntingdon was an imperialist ideologue known for his "clash of
civilizations" theory. Manshel was an investment banker, editor,
publisher and diplomat. During 1954-55, he was the director and chief
administrative officer at the Council for Cultural Freedom, an
anti-Communist organization of U.S. and European intellectuals.
Foreign Policy has links to the annual Halifax
International Security Forum (HISF) war conference. Foreign
Policy has been designated a "Media Partner" of the HISF, since
2017 when HISF Vice Chairman Jonathan Tepperman became its
editor-in-chief. That year, Foreign Policy gave Chrystia
Freeland its "Diplomat of the Year" award, the same year she began
spearheading the work of the Lima Group -- a minority of countries
within the Organization of American States -- aimed at foreign
intervention and regime change in Venezuela.
Tepperman originally became involved in the HISF in 2010
when Foreign Affairs, the journal of the U.S. Council on
Foreign Relations, of which he became managing editor in 2011, became a
"media partner" of the HISF.
NATO recently touted its cooperation with the United
Nations. This would seem to be a contradiction in terms, given that the
UN was founded on the basis of defending international peace after
World War II by upholding the sovereignty and equality of all nations
and providing the mechanisms to work out differences based on
diplomatic means. NATO, for its part, was founded for the express
purpose of undermining the UN and imposing a Cold War ideology on
international relations to advance Anglo-American imperialist aims.
On November 7, NATO's Military Committee
hosted Lieutenant General Carlos Humberto Loitey, UN Military Adviser,
for a briefing on its activities. Chairman of NATO's Military
Committee, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, remarked, "Since 2008,
our cooperation has grown significantly. In 2018, we signed a new joint
declaration to further enhance our cooperation. Today, we work closely
together on Afghanistan and Iraq. And NATO operations are carried out
under UN Security Council mandates. NATO has also pledged support for
UN peacekeeping operations. There is still more NATO and the UN can do
The UN Military Adviser referenced the involvement of
NATO countries in current UN peacekeeping operations, saying that NATO
members contribute more than 5,000 personnel to UN Peacekeeping
Operations. He explained that NATO has also provided support to
UN-sponsored operations, which includes logistical assistance to the
African Union's UN-endorsed peacekeeping operations in Darfur, Sudan,
and in Somalia; support for UN disaster-relief operations in Pakistan;
and escorting merchant ships carrying World Food Programme humanitarian
supplies off the coast of Somalia.
NATO states, "Practical cooperation between NATO and the
UN extends beyond operations, including amongst other projects, the
cooperation on tackling terrorist misuse of technology, countering
improvised explosive devices, border security, providing assistance to
NATO Allies in the identification and prosecution of foreign terrorist
fighters, and strengthening capabilities to deal with threats posed by
terrorist attacks with the use of chemical, biological, radiological or
Air Chief Marshal Peach concluded the
November 7 meeting by saying, "This high-level visit is an opportunity
to reconfirm the commitment between our organizations and discuss areas
where we could enhance our practical cooperation while remaining
complimentary and avoiding duplications. We could both benefit by
working together on crisis assessment and management, information
sharing, training and education, tackling corruption in the defence
sector, promoting the role of women in peace and security, the
protection of civilians, including children, in armed conflict,
combating sexual and gender-based violence, and arms control and
NATO's report on the November 7 meeting also refers to
UN Security Council Resolutions as providing "the mandate for NATO's
operations in the Western Balkans, Afghanistan and Libya. They have
also provided the framework for NATO's training mission in Iraq."
Rather than this indicating a field of cooperation, these activities
show how the UN Security Council has been coopted for warmongering aims
to provide a legal veneer for unjust wars of aggression in all those
Overall, this situation shows the growing danger posed
by NATO, not only through its outright aggression, but also through its
attempts to put a humanitarian face on its war preparations and to
insinuate itself as a legitimate body that is qualified to intervene in
social, political and economic affairs. It must not pass.
Impeachment Efforts Continue in United
Public hearings on the Trump impeachment, broadcast
live, have begun, with various officials testifying. The monopoly media
is filled with reports of every detail involving hours of testimony and
hundreds of pages of depositions. There is speculation as to whether
the various statements provided help or harm Trump, along with Trump's
numerous tweets. Everyone is to be embroiled in every detail of who
said what, what role the president did or did not play, whether
individuals were acting on his orders or not, etc. Trump has also
proclaimed he will not work with Congress as long as the impeachment
process is taking place. This is yet further evidence of the
intensifying conflicts among the rulers as to how to restore confidence
in a dysfunctional system and how to maintain the unity of the country
when the ruling factions are at war with one another.
The issue facing the people, however, is not the
power struggles and conflicts among the rulers but rather their own
struggle for political empowerment. With or without impeachment, the
existing system of representative democracy by and for the rich does
not serve the interests of the people. This is evident in their broad
rejection of the current direction of the country, their discontent
with the electoral process, including the many debates by Democrats
that ignore the people's main concerns, like issues of war and peace,
inequality, poverty and solutions for -- not talk about -- the
environment and a bright future for the youth.
What is needed now is politics of empowerment, politics
by and for the working class and people. The rulers, including with
impeachment, are striving to disempower and depoliticize the people, so
as to preserve their power. We are to line up pro and con the
individuals testifying, the various congresspeople involved, the
process itself, the supposed apathy of the people about it, and so
How to resolve the current crisis of the existing
institutions, their dysfunction, their lack of democracy, is not
answered by becoming embroiled in the impeachment process and lining up
for and against. While there is no doubt broad discontent with Trump,
the bigger concern being widely expressed in actions and organizing of
all kinds is with the existing democracy itself. It is a democracy
which does not heed the will of the majority, which does not give voice
to the people's concerns, which acts in their name while acting against
their interests. The concerns of the people are silenced and government
crimes at home and abroad, that are far more serious than those being
investigated with impeachment, continue to occur with impunity.
In the current set up there is no place for
holding government accountable for genocide against African Americans
and Native peoples, for colonization of Puerto Rico, for militarization
of the border and police, for illegal aggressive wars, for collective
punishment of whole countries and more. Why no public hearings on these
matters of concern? No testimony by the people? No criminal charges for
those responsible? To do so would call the existing undemocratic nature
of the current system into question, something the rulers are striving
desperately to avoid.
Through their many struggles, the people are giving
voice to their concerns and coming forward to speak out, in their own
name and for their own interests. Now is the time to step up the work
for politics of empowerment, to put this issue front and centre as the
many battles for rights move forward.
Voice of Revolution is a publication of the U.S.
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