Canada-U.S. Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration

No to Canada's Integration into the U.S. Imperialist War Economy!

"Canada's integration into the U.S. imperialist war economy is a serious matter of concern for Canadians. The U.S. war economy has tentacles into every U.S. state as well as Canada and countless other places abroad. [...] The U.S. war economy exists within a relation with the aim of the U.S.-centred financial oligarchy for worldwide hegemony. U.S. imperialist theft of social wealth from the peoples of the world and its competition with other big powers feed the war economy and in turn generate increased instability, violence and war."
-  "Canada's Integration into the U.S. Imperialist War Economy," by K.C. Adams, TML Weekly, December 21, 2019.

Natural Resources Canada, on January 9 issued a news release which states, "Today, Canada and the U.S. announced they have finalized the Canada-U.S. Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration, advancing our mutual interest in securing supply chains for the critical minerals needed for important manufacturing sectors, including communication technology, aerospace and defence, and clean technology. [...] [The Action Plan] will guide cooperation in areas such as industry engagement; efforts to secure critical minerals supply chains for strategic industries and defence; improving information sharing on mineral resources and potential; and cooperation in multilateral fora and with other countries. This Action Plan will promote joint initiatives, including research and development cooperation, supply chain modelling and increased support for industry. [...] Experts from both countries will convene in the coming weeks to advance joint initiatives to address shared mineral security concerns -- helping ensure the continued economic growth and national security of both Canada and the U.S."[1]

The release says the "Action Plan" arose following Trudeau's visit to Washington, DC last June where he met President Trump and discussed the "rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran, including reports of Iran shooting down a U.S. drone in international airspace." Within this atmosphere of escalating war preparations, the two leaders "discussed ways to improve mineral security and ensure future competitiveness of their minerals industries, and work more closely to ensure secure and reliable supply chains. [...] Canada and the U.S. will develop a joint action plan on critical minerals collaboration."

Trudeau is quoted as highlighting "the importance of Canadian uranium to North American energy security, and underscored how Canada has been a reliable supplier of uranium to the U.S. for over 75 years."[2]

Quebec Government's Role in the Joint Action Plan
on Critical Minerals Collaboration

"A material needed for military purposes is considered strategic and a material is termed critical if future events involving its supply from abroad threaten to inflict serious harm on a nation's economy."
- DeYoung et al, Proceedings of the 42nd Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals, 2006, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Prior to Trudeau's visit to Washington, Quebec Premier François Legault was at the White House on May 22, 2019. Legault met with Wells Griffith, then-Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for International Energy and Environment for the National Security Council. Afterwards Legault met with Mark Menezes, the Under Secretary of Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Premier's office issued a press release noting that Legault expressed to the U.S. officials his government's "desire to considerably increase the sale of hydroelectricity to the U.S. [and] its intention to see Quebec become an important partner of the United States in the strategic minerals sector."

In September 2019, Quebec's Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Jonatan Julien, arrived in Washington to sign a joint statement between the Quebec government and the U.S. Geological Survey of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The statement speaks of joint collaboration "in areas of data mapping and analysis, particularly with regard to strategic and critical minerals."

A follow-up statement from Minister Julien's office says: "In particular, the Minister had the opportunity to meet with Steven Fortier, Senior Policy Advisor of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. This meeting revealed the importance that the U.S. administration attaches to the need to find reliable suppliers of critical minerals in order to reduce the vulnerabilities of their own supply chain. The Minister was thus able to highlight Quebec's potential in this regard. [...] These minerals are growing rapidly in importance as they respond to challenges linked to new technologies and the energy transition (transport, aviation, telecommunications, renewable energy and the military industry). Several goods manufactured for tomorrow's economy contain them, including electronic equipment and electric cars. [...] Washington said it was open to improving international trade and collaboration with its allies to ensure a supply chain with countries with a proven social and environmental track record. To this end, Quebec is well positioned."

The statement concludes by emphasizing the importance of Quebec's economy to the U.S. war economy: "The critical minerals produced in Quebec are niobium, graphite, elements of the platinum group, cobalt and titanium. However, Quebec has mineral potential for lithium, rare earth elements and vanadium. The demand for strategic and critical minerals is growing rapidly to meet challenges related to new technologies and the energy transition. [...] Quebec is the leading foreign electricity supplier for the United States and one of the largest producers of hydroelectricity in the world."

Cynical Actions to Promote Integration into the U.S. War Economy

The Quebec Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources announced on November 19, 2019 the launch of a consultation process to "review Quebec's role in the development of critical and strategic minerals (CSMs)." To that end, the government produced a discussion paper entitled "Review of Quebec's Role in the Development of Critical and Strategic Minerals."[3] The review states, "The Ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles considers as critical minerals those that have significant economic importance in key sectors of the economy, present a supply risk, and have no commercially-available substitutes. Strategic minerals are those needed to implement Québec's economic policies, such as the 2020-2030 Electrification and Climate Change Plan and the 2030 Energy Policy. [...] Aeronautics, telecommunications, renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.), energy storage, the medical sector and transportation electrification are all high-growth sectors in which the supply of CSMs is vital."

Any reference to CSMs being vital and critical to the military industry and war economy disappeared from the Ministry's Discussion Paper, replaced with talk of "climate change" and "renewable energy," even though many of the CSMs in Quebec are being extracted or have the potential to be extracted for war preparations.[4]

For example, primary aluminum is being produced and titanium oxide extracted in Quebec. Mining for vanadium is also possible. The United States Geological Survey, in its study review on vanadium, says "Vanadium has been used together with aluminum to give the required strength in titanium alloys used in jet engines and high-speed airframes."[5]

The Quebec government has issued a questionnaire regarding the mining and production of CSMs which includes the question: "Should the government and state-owned corporations support investment attraction in the CSM sector in Quebec. If so, how?"

This questionnaire should be denounced as part of a cynical government campaign to win public opinion for state funds to be doled out in pay-the-rich schemes to the financial oligarchy involved in CSMs and to further entangle Quebec and Canada within the U.S. war economy. An important aspect of making Canada and Quebec factors for peace in the world is to oppose the country's integration into the U.S. imperialist war economy.


1. "Canada and U.S. Finalize Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration," News Release, Natural Resources Canada, January 9, 2020.

2. The Prime Minister's Office and Natural Resources Canada boast of the plunder of Canada's natural resources in the service of the U.S.-centred financial oligarchy in its striving for world domination: "Critical minerals -- used for defence, manufacturing, and high tech industries -- are essential to the economies and national security of Canada and the United States. Canada's rich minerals sector is well-positioned to contribute significantly to North American requirements, and to benefit from strategic trade and investment opportunities." (PMO)

"Canada is an important supplier of 13 of the 35 minerals that the U.S. has identified as critical to economic and national security. We have the potential to become a reliable source of other critical minerals, including rare earth elements, key components in many electronic devices that we use in our daily lives. Canada is currently the largest supplier of potash, indium, aluminum and tellurium to the U.S. and the second-largest supplier of niobium, tungsten and magnesium. Canada also supplies roughly one quarter of the uranium needs of the U.S. and has been a reliable partner to the U.S. in this commodity for over 75 years." (Natural Resources Canada)

3. Discussion Paper: Overview of critical and strategic minerals worldwide and the potential for mining them in Quebec, Quebec Government, 2019.

4. Strategic and Critical Minerals in Quebec, Quebec Government, 2019.

5. Vanadium Statistics and Information, Désirée E. Polyak, National Minerals Information Center, United States Geological Survey.

This article was published in

Volume 50 Number 2 - February 1, 2020

Article Link:
: No to Canada's Integration into The U.S. Imperialist War Economy! - Fernand Deschamps


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