July 11, 2020 - No. 25

Federal Government's Economic and Fiscal "Snapshot"

Exaltation of Corruption and Fraud

Let Us Move On to Public Enterprise and End the Charade
of Private Enterprise and a Free Market

- K.C. Adams -

For Your Information

Public Debts to Global Private Interests

• The Circle of Government Borrowing from the
Rich to Payouts to the Rich

Public Spending Connected with the Pandemic

Economic Crisis Causes Suffering to Canadian
Working People and Small Businesses

Sources of Federal Government Borrowings

Federal Government Approval for Public Spending

Cross Canada Day of Action Demands Status for All!

• The Injustice, Discrimination, and Super-Exploitation
of Non-Status People Must Stop!

7th Anniversary of Lac-Mégantic Tragedy

The Need to Build a Public Authority that Defends
Public not Private Interests

- Pierre Chénier -

Citizen Action Essential to Ensure Rail Safety

- Interview, Robert Bellefleur -

30th Anniversary of the Brutal Military Assault
on the Mohawk at Kanehsatà:ke

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

- Fernand Deschamps -

World-Wide Protests Condemn the Annexation
of Palestinian Territory

Peoples of the World Stand as One with the Palestinian People

Federal Government's Economic and Fiscal "Snapshot"

Exaltation of Corruption and Fraud

The federal government's economic and fiscal "snapshot" delivered on July 8 provides a good example of disinformation. In this case the aim is to remain silent about the substantive issues of where the money which has been borrowed to weather the pandemic comes from so that Canadians cannot form an opinion about it which serves them. Far from informing Canadians, the federal government's economic and fiscal "snapshot" exalts corruption and fraud; it raises them to an art in the name of high ideals.

Trudeau set the stage for this disinformation in a press conference just prior to the Finance Minister's presentation in Parliament. Referring to what has now become a $343.2 billion federal deficit to be covered through government borrowing from the private financial institutions of the global oligarchy, Trudeau said, "We took on debt so Canadians wouldn't have to." Clearly the Prime Minister thinks Canadians have no intelligence; that they cannot see through his unfortunate obsession with the word "we."

The debt the government "we" has taken on is to the richest and most powerful institutions within the U.S.-led imperialist system of states. The people "we" will owe this money to private moneylenders and be forced to pay it back with interest. The interest rate the people "we" will be paying is also going up as one of the three major U.S. credit rating agencies, Fitch, recently downgraded Canada's credit rating from AAA to AA+, making borrowing more expensive.

The "we" who will be responsible for this new debt of $343.2 billion, driving the federal debt from $765 billion to $1.2 trillion in one year, is essentially Canadian working people. Workers who produce the value through their work and pay the vast majority of taxes will be saddled with this debt to the global vultures. The beneficiaries of this pay-the-rich scheme are the private industrial and financial global cartels of the imperialists.

The people have had no say in the matter and no control over what has been done. Convenient and disingenuous indeed to have we Canadians, we the government and, as Trudeau likes to say, "We are all in this together."

The fact is: No, we are not in this together. We, the working people, work and produce value and you the ruling imperialist oligarchy and your courtiers expropriate the value we produce; you own and control the economy, and you have usurped the authority of the state to pay the rich and to defend and sustain your privilege and private wealth and the great divide between you and us. You rule and we are excluded from economic and political affairs.

The skyrocketing government deficits and debts to the rich will unleash even greater attacks on Canadians and a further deterioration of social programs and public services and an increase in personal, sales and other individual taxes. The federal, Quebec and provincial governments, the neo-liberal think tanks and mass media are preparing an even more intensive round of the anti-social offensive using the current crisis and "massive debts and deficits" of all levels of government as the excuse. This has already begun in Alberta with the anti-worker anti-social attacks of the Jason Kenney United Conservative Party government against the people, as well as in Quebec, Ontario and other provinces.

Governments declare they have no choice but to borrow from the rich to deal with the economic crisis. This is disinformation of the highest order. It is corruption and fraud. As a part of the U.S.-led imperialist system of states and serving the privilege and private interests of the global financial oligarchy, the ruling elite in government do not want the people to see what they do not want them to see -- that government debts to the global moneylenders are not cast in stone but a deliberate policy to pay the rich.

Despite the efforts of the Trudeau government and the opposition cartel parties and media to hide the corruption and fraud, their exaltation has become obvious to the people who are working hard and demand a new direction for the economy. The alternative begins by demanding that governments stop paying the rich and increase investments in social programs.

The people will have to demand that a moratorium be declared on servicing existing debt and make illegal public borrowing from private interests. Instead, governments should borrow from themselves as a public debt to themselves to be settled without interest as the economy grows and workers produce greater social product. Such a new direction would prohibit the global oligarchs from taking value out of the economy and prohibit all levels of government from going into debt to private interests.

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Let Us Move On to Public Enterprise and End the Charade of Private Enterprise and a Free Market

A state organized to pay the rich is not a free market.
It is a market controlled for the privileged few.

The total Canadian federal debt to global private interests following this year's $343.2 billion deficit will rise to $1.2 trillion.

Contrary to what Prime Minister Trudeau alleges, Canadians will suffer from this debt to the rich as repayment with interest will come out of the value workers produce at work, from reduced social programs and public services and a deteriorating standard of living.

The U.S.-led imperialist system of states has been organized to pay the rich. It does everything to defend and sustain the privilege of ownership of private enterprise and the stupendously wealthy oligarchs who own and control the private global industrial and financial cartels.

The private enterprises that benefit from what workers produce and from state pay-the-rich schemes are the material basis of inequality and exploitation of people and the economy, and the cause of the recurring economic crises that wreak havoc with people's lives. Yet still, songs are sung and speeches ring out that private enterprise represents the free market and the highest form of human economic organization. Nonsense. A state organized to pay the rich is not a free market. It is a market controlled for the privileged few.

Workers ask, what is free about the free market when private enterprises lend money to governments and receive it back with interest and in grants, subsidies, guaranteed contracts and other pay-the-rich schemes? That is not the free market. That is the rich conning the world with its tired old myths of the free market and private enterprise being the greatest.

Private enterprise loves the social wealth it expropriates from its own workers and from others through government handouts. It loves lending its excess private wealth to governments and then receiving it back both with interest and in pay-the-rich schemes of subsidies, grants and guaranteed government contracts. It loves the state saving it from disaster during one of its recurring economic crises. This is not the free market; this is a ruling oligarchy exploiting the working people and using the power of the state to defend its private interests and privilege.

Enough of this odious free market nonsense. The industrial and financial cartels overwhelmed the free market in the early years of the twentieth century. If the private cartels cannot make it in the economy without public handouts, which obviously they cannot, then the working people should brush them aside and move on to the New. The working people demand public enterprise and governments under their control and organized to serve the public interest not certain privileged private interests.

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For Your Information

Public Debts to Global Private Interests

Federal government debt to reach $1.2 trillion

Working people should ponder a situation where such great amounts of privately-controlled money are so readily available for governments to borrow. How can the rich oligarchs be in possession of such enormous wealth at a time of crisis when governments declare themselves broke? The stupendous amount the rich have available to lend to governments indicates how productive the working class is and how much the rich expropriate and accumulate from what workers produce. The billions the government will borrow from private sources to cover the $343 billion deficit originate from the work-time of the Canadian working class but end up under the control of a minority of immensely wealthy global oligarchs.

Think about it. How is it that these rich oligarchs have such vast fortunes to buy government securities? Where does it come from to end up in the hands of a few? The working people engaged on socialized means of production produce the wealth seized by the few. This must change if the world is to be set right. A new direction for the economy must come into being where those who do the work and produce the value control the economy and the social product they produce.

The government spends much of the money it borrows and gains from taxes to prop up and support private enterprise, in particular the biggest and most powerful enterprises, sometimes deemed too big to fail and sometimes systemically important. Working people demand to know why public funds should go to sustain private enterprise and the control of the economy and lavish lifestyles of the rich.

Money Comes Back to the Rich in Spades

The captains of industry, finance and commerce are not simply waiting for their purchase of government bonds to be repaid with interest. They are eagerly anticipating that the money they have loaned to governments will soon come back to them in lucrative pay-the-rich schemes. The government has already announced billions of dollars of guaranteed infrastructure projects: contracts for military supplies to prepare for war are a constant feature, and supplying the education and health care sectors with computers, and pharmaceuticals such as a vaccine for COVID-19 means guaranteed profits for the biggest companies.

The imperialist economic system is a circular single whole that guarantees the rich will become richer and the poor poorer as wealth and power are increasingly concentrated in fewer hands. Only the working class can breach the vicious cycle and forge a new direction that favours the people and averts the recurring economic crises.

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The Circle of Government Borrowing from
the Rich to Payouts to the Rich

The imperialist oligarchy regards lending to governments and then profiting from government projects and payouts as a way to skin the ox many times. The government borrows money from private interests to finance its deficits. As it borrows from the rich oligarchs, the government simultaneously announces pay-the-rich schemes through public/private/partnerships to build infrastructure and other projects. Much of the activity in the service sector is arranged through government contracts to global cartels, including food and laundry services in hospitals and prisons, military supply contracts and extremely lucrative contracts for pharmaceuticals.

The imperialists' "virtuous circle" was summed up in a recent item in TML Weekly:

1. The Bank of Canada begins the process with the purchase of securities held by the global financial oligarchy. Some of the corporate bonds contain mortgages and other loans owned by the private financial institutions and biggest corporations. Many of the mortgages and loans contained within the bonds are now coming under stress from the economic crisis and may collapse. The Bank of Canada has said the amount it may purchase could reach $150 billion and will include the purchase of bonds held by provincial and other levels of government. In addition, the public Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has announced the purchase of $50 billion worth of mortgages held currently by the big banks. The rationale behind all this public money pouring into the coffers of global oligarchs is that the private moneylenders will now invest in the troubled economy but in fact those same global financial institutions are simply saving their own troubled investments and using some of the money to buy guaranteed government securities.

2. The financial oligarchy takes the public money from the Bank of Canada and CMHC from the purchase of its securities and buys the now even more plentiful government bonds, as the federal and other government deficits have soared. These purchases become a safe haven for the social wealth of the oligarchs during the crisis where other investment opportunities have dried up or have become too risky. The guaranteed government bonds even pay interest.

3. The government takes the private money it borrows from the financial oligarchy through the sale of its securities and puts a portion of the money towards financing infrastructure projects. This becomes the seed money to begin construction.

4. The government enlists the private global construction cartels to build the infrastructure projects. Those companies do not have to raise the financing themselves or worry about selling the finished project. The government gives them the construction money as the projects proceed, which includes a healthy profit. This activity is all guaranteed by the government, including exorbitant prices the private construction cartels charge to complete the projects.

5. Once built, the main users of the public means of production (the roads, bridges, electricity etc), which are the big private enterprises in the economy, do not have to pay the full market price for the value of the portion of the infrastructure they consume, as they are given preferential concocted "industrial" rates.

This virtuous circle of the imperialists explains how the federal government's infrastructure plan called "Investing in Canada" pays the rich and contributes to the ever greater concentration of wealth and power in fewer hands. The federal government in 2019 committed $187 billion in infrastructure funding over 12 years. The C.D. Howe Institute, an imperialist think tank, insists the recent crisis should prompt the government to spend even more and more quickly not only on new projects but on maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure.

Canadians are directed and browbeaten not to object to this direction for the economy, as it "provides jobs and the infrastructure" so sorely needed. But a new direction is exactly what is needed to bring the economy under the control of the people who do the work and prevent recurring crises and solve other social and natural problems. A new direction for the economy would prohibit government borrowing from private institutions. A new direction would construct, maintain and manage public infrastructure using permanent public construction enterprises. It would ensure that the value from the infrastructure is fully realized by the public and private enterprises that use and consume the value and that this value would be poured back into the economy and not be taken out by the rich to some tax haven or other place.

(From TML Weekly, Public Infrastructure Spending Programs to Pay the Rich and Sustain Class Privilege and Control, June 27, 2020.)

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Public Spending Connected with the Pandemic

Under conditions of the pandemic and economic crisis, the federal government's fiscal snapshot declares a $343.2 billion deficit and projected federal debt to the financial oligarchs of $1.2 trillion. Regarding this deficit, it says $236 billion is going directly to businesses and individuals.

The government says so far approximately $150 billion has been paid to private businesses with more to come. The program to pay 75 per cent of the wages of workers in private enterprise has been extended and broadened. To the middle of June, 223,918 private companies had applied for the wage subsidy program.

The programs doling out public money to private business include:

- the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF), no final amount listed;

- the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP), no final amount listed;

- the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) administered through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), no final amount listed;

- the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), expected to pay employers $82.3 billion;

- the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), expected to pay $13.7 billion;

- and, the CMHC purchase of corporate and provincial bonds, ongoing.

The government says the total going to individuals who have lost their jobs or are in dire need of assistance is estimated to be $85.2 billion. Much of this is to prop up consumer spending so almost all will go immediately from individuals into payments to business.

Eighty billion dollars is destined for 8.6 million individuals through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

The government says $5.2 billion is expected to be paid to students under the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB).

The government has also issued one-time payments to those it calls "lower income Canadians" under the GST rebate program and to those who receive Old Age Security.

Families eligible for the Canada Child Benefit received an extra $2 billion in payments in May.

The government projects that by the end of the 2020-21 fiscal year next March, it will have spent about $469 billion more than planned when it last set spending targets in December 2019.

The snapshot reads, "The projected contraction in federal budgetary revenues is unprecedented since the Great Depression, with an expected decline in 2020-21 more than twice as big as in 2009-10, following the global financial crisis."

The government says a portion of the total deficit arises from last year's already projected deficit of $34.4 billion, and the loss this year of tax revenue and other government income from the economic crisis estimated at $81.3 billion.

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Economic Crisis Causes Suffering to Canadian Working People and Small Businesses

Personal income taxes of workers are projected to fall by 30 per cent for this taxation year indicating the enormous drop in wages paid for the year. Five-and-a-half million workers lost their jobs between February and April alone. The losses pushed the unemployment rate to 13.7 per cent in May, the highest monthly rise on record.

For the year, the Canadian economy is projected to shrink by 6.8 per cent. In the second quarter alone the economy declined by 40.6 per cent. This represents the worst contraction since the economic crisis during the 1930s known as the Great Depression. The economy is expected to decline in 2020-21 more than twice as much as it did in 2009-10 during the previous economic crisis.

Loss of Federal Revenue

The federal government's revenues are expected to decline to $268.8 billion in 2020-21 from a projected $341 billion in 2019-20. The largest component of the federal government's revenue stream is personal income tax, which is predicted to shrink around $25 billion to $146.3 billion this fiscal year from $170.9 billion in 2019-20 -- a decline of 14.4 per cent.

Corporate income taxes are expected to decline 22.3 per cent, about $11 billion, to $38.3 billion from $49.2 billion last year.

Revenue from the GST is projected to decline 20.4 per cent, around $8 billion, to $30.9 billion from $38.8 billion in 2019-20.

The government through imperialist think tanks, such as the C.D. Howe Institute, is doing propaganda that raising consumption taxes is one way to raise additional revenue to pay back what they have borrowed from the global moneylenders. This would mean higher federal and provincial sales taxes (GST, PST, HST) and other fees.

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Sources of Federal Government Borrowings

The following is from page 161 of the Economic and Fiscal Snapshot 2020, released July 8:

"The aggregate principal amount of money to be borrowed by the government in 2020-21 is projected to be $713 billion. The size of the program reflects significant additional financial requirements as a result of government initiatives to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. All borrowings will be sourced from domestic and foreign wholesale markets.

"The government's borrowing needs are driven by the refinancing of debt and projected financial requirements, which are principally related to COVID-19.

"In 2020-21, the refinancing of debt is projected to be $245 billion, and the financial requirement is expected to be $469 billion. The government's cash balances are not expected to change as new borrowings are expected to meet all financing requirements.

"Financial requirement projections include measures under the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan (the Plan). The Plan includes more than $211 billion in direct support measures to Canadian workers and businesses and an additional $85 billion in tax and customs duty payment deferrals to meet liquidity needs of businesses and households to help stabilize the economy....

"Actual borrowings for the year may differ due to uncertainty associated with economic and fiscal projections, the timing of cash transactions, and other factors such as changes in foreign reserve needs and Crown corporation borrowings. To adjust for unexpected changes in financial requirements, debt issuance can be altered during the year, typically through changes in the issuance of treasury bills."

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Federal Government Approval for Public Spending

The federal government has topped $392 billion in approved spending for the current fiscal year, with two appropriation periods still remaining that will raise the total higher. Parliament approved $6 billion in additional spending for this year beyond the previously legislated amount when members passed the appropriations Bill C-19 last month.

The $6 billion portion MPs approved on June 26 included $586 million in new money for the military's Joint Support Ship project, $481 million for a government settlement with survivors of Federal Indian Day Schools, and $468 million for the Child and Family Services program within the Department of Indigenous Services.

Other new spending money was effectively pre-approved under terms in the government's pandemic emergency relief bills in March and April, which granted the government extraordinary powers to spend money on any "public health event of national concern." This spending has swelled well beyond what was reported in the main estimates in the budget document published in February.

Last year's supplementary estimates included just shy of $5 billion in new spending, bringing the total spent by the government up to that point last year to roughly $305 billion. Final figures for 2019-20 haven't been released yet, but the government has accounted for $313 billion in spending in that fiscal year.

The year before, 2018-19, the supplementary estimates included $8 billion in new spending to eventually reach a total of $346 billion.

Spending this fiscal year may double that of the previous year. Of the $390 billion of spending approved so far this fiscal year, $131 billion has been passed by Parliament directly, and the remaining $261 billion has been authorized under statutes passed by Parliament.

The amount of $139 billion approved so far this year for the Department of Employment and Social Development is up from $65 billion at the same point in time last year, and $69 billion the year prior.

National Defence, which typically boasts one of the government's largest budgets, has been approved to spend $24 billion so far this year, third-most among departments.

The federal government in 2019 alone paid $23.3 billion in interest charges to service the federal debt to the global moneylenders.

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Cross Canada Day of Action Demands Status for All!

The Injustice, Discrimination, and Super-Exploitation of Non-Status People Must Stop! 

Montreal, July 4, 2020.

On Saturday, July 4, a cross-Canada day of action brought people together in defence of the rights of asylum seekers, temporary foreign workers, the undocumented, those facing deportation, international students and others. Events were organized in Quebec, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Ontario, including at federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino's riding office in Toronto.

Montreal, Quebec

Close to 500 people of all ages and from all walks of life responded to the call of Solidarity Across Borders and other organizations in Montreal to demand full immigration status for all. People gathered at 11:00 am at Émilie Gamelin Park for a rally and march. Migrante Canada, the Immigrant Workers Centre, Quebec Is Us Too!, the Action Committee on Non Status Persons, the Committee of Guineans United for Status, Stand Up For Dignity, women's groups and other organizations involved in the defence of rights including a contingent of the Marxist-Leninist Party were among those participating.

The spirit of the action and the many placards and banners were unequivocal: Status For All! Fight for the Rights of All! We Are not Disposable; We Are Human Beings Who Are Part of Quebec and We Are Contributing to Its Development!

Participants demanded immediate full immigration status for all and that no one be left behind. Irrespective of whether one is an asylum seeker, a temporary foreign worker, an international student or a worker whose status has expired, everyone should be treated equally and fairly, and be subject to the same laws and rules as everyone else, they said.

The living and working conditions of many of these essential workers are intolerable, the result of their precarious status and unjust immigration laws and regulations that are continuously changing to suit the demands of employers and the economy. Rather than being treated with dignity and as human beings should be, governments and the tiny ruling elite they represent consider these workers to be expendable, a commodity to use and then discard.

These essential workers are demanding that their contribution to Quebec society be recognized, not only economically but also culturally and socially.

Because of huge public support for these workers, both the Quebec and Canadian governments want to be seen as recognizing their contribution during the pandemic but thus far, have done nothing concrete to assist them. Many continue to be threatened with deportation, as a representative of the Committee of Guineans United for Status pointed out. And if members of his community are deported, they face violence in their home country.

A member of the movement Quebec Is Us Too! informed the crowd of the plight of international students and temporary foreign workers whose future here in Quebec is being jeopardized by recent arbitrary changes to the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) by the Legault government. International students have also been left without any support from the federal Liberal government during the pandemic, other than the possibility of working full time in an "essential service," often at the risk of their own health due to the lack of protective equipment and social distancing afforded them. Many of these essential workers cannot even access public health care.

They stressed that long before COVID-19 began, they were essential and have courageously continued to care for others and to ensure that food is provided for everyone. Many have come here lured by the prospect of a brighter future for themselves and their families, only to find the tables have been turned on them and they no longer qualify to permanently settle here.

Solidarity Across Borders pointed out: "Non-status people are pushed into working very hard for the success and development of the Canadian economy, on the front lines, in dangerous and dismal working conditions, without health care, benefits, or emergency relief. Even while everyone stayed home to protect themselves from COVID-19, many among us were forced to face the danger, and thus allowed Canadian society to continue functioning. Unfortunately, no one thought to compensate non-status people for the great efforts they made, nor recognized them as full human beings who should be entitled to the same as everyone else. People without status are entitled to full recognition, esteem, and respect.

"We come together to say that, the injustice, discrimination, and exploitation of non-status people must stop! We unite our forces and our voices to demand a comprehensive regularization programme. Status for all!"

Toronto, Ontario

Steveston, BC

People from various parts of the Greater Vancouver Area travelled to Steveston on July 4 for a rally outside the office of Steveston-Richmond East MP Kenny Chui. The action was organized in response to the call from the Migrant Rights Network for actions across the country. Chui's office was chosen because the Steveston-Richmond area has a large number of farms that employ seasonal agricultural workers, and because Chui is a member of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. Demonstrators called attention to the conditions of live-in caregivers, farm workers and other migrant workers along with the seasonal agricultural workers.

Besides those who occupied the street in front of the MP's office, there were others who joined in from cars parked along the street, adorned with signs such as Justice for Migrant Workers! and Our Security Lies in the Fight for the Rights of All!

The demonstrators demanded full immigration status for all -- seasonal agricultural workers and other migrant workers including international students, refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented workers -- along with access to health care and social services, Employment Insurance and labour standards. Speakers at the rally encouraged everyone to sign the petition issued by the Migrant Rights Network and to phone Prime Minister Trudeau to demand that the government provide full immigration rights for all migrant workers.

(Photos: TML, C. Martin, D. Hammond, B.S. Walters, H. Shokr, Spring Mag)

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7th Anniversary of Lac-Mégantic Tragedy

The Need to Build a Public Authority
that Defends Public not Private Interests

July 6, 2020 marked the seventh anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, one of the worst train disasters in Canadian history. 

On the evening of July 5, 2013, a freight train comprised of five locomotives and 72 tanker cars, unsuited for the type of crude oil they carried, was left unattended in Nantes, in Quebec's Eastern Townships. At around 1:00 am the train started to roll down the slope towards the town of Lac-Mégantic. Shortly after, 63 of the tanker cars derailed in downtown Lac-Mégantic, spilling their contents and causing a series of fires and explosions of catastrophic proportions. 

Forty-seven people were killed and many others were injured. Downtown Lac-Mégantic was destroyed. The Chaudière River and the lake itself were heavily contaminated by the crude oil spill. 

The people of Lac-Mégantic suffered heavy loss of life and property as well as environmental destruction because of the frenzied pumping of crude oil in North Dakota's Bakken fields to serve the U.S. war machine and the machinations of the U.S. against sovereign nation-building projects such as that of the Venezuelan people. Suddenly, old worn-out tracks were declared perfectly suitable for such shipments, unsuitable tanker cars became suitable, and years of state-organized rail industry deregulation served rail and oil monopoly greed and prepared the conditions for the disaster. 

On this occasion of the seventh anniversary of the tragedy, the people of Lac-Mégantic held commemorative ceremonies and reiterated their urgent demands for rail safety. They have been fighting without ceasing since the tragedy of July 6, 2013 to rebuild their lives, which cannot be done without improved rail safety and without a say and control by the community over the measures that are to be taken. 

On the occasion of the 7th anniversary the city of Mégantic inaugurated an Espace mémoire,
dedicated to the 47 victims.

A main demand is for a bypass track, which the federal and Quebec governments have now committed to build by 2023, so that dangerous goods will no longer be transported through Lac-Mégantic's downtown core. Rail communities affected by train derailments -- which continue to occur regularly across Quebec, Canada and the United States -- are greatly inspired by the steadfastness of the Lac-Mégantic community, backed by all of the people of Quebec.

The fight of the Mégantic people and of so many rail communities is difficult and challenging as they are up against the state-organized deregulation of the rail industry in the service of rail monopolies and the oil and gas industry. They are also up against the biggest challenge of all which is that governments no longer constitute a public authority. They are a wing of the narrow private interests which have usurped the state apparatus. 

The conditions for the Lac-Mégantic tragedy were prepared during thirty years of wrecking activities by the state and the rail monopolies.

To name just a few, in the 1990s, national rail companies such as CP and CN were allowed by the Liberal government to get rid of regional lines under the hoax that they were not profitable. Some were sold to vulture U.S. companies in the business of buying and selling rail companies, which cut the workforce, did not maintain the lines and lowered safety standards. When CP got rid of many regional lines, the regional line that includes Lac-Mégantic ended up, in 2003, in the hands of the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA), the owner at the time of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy.

In 2001, the Liberal government at the time introduced the Safety Management System (SMS), a self-regulating safety system that rail companies themselves devise and which Transport Canada merely audits and whose content is kept secret from the workers and communities with the ruse that this is to protect the competitiveness of the rail companies.

In 2012, the Harper government authorized MMA to run its trains with a one-man crew. Again the conditions that had to be met for the government to grant the authorization were never made public, under the sham of protecting MMA as a private business.

Anti-social concepts such as "risk management," "safety as a cost that has to be balanced against the other costs companies have to pay," and "competitiveness" have become the name of the game at the expense of the rights and safety of, and in spite of the voice of the communities.

Today, claiming these are private business decisions, the Canadian government is turning a blind eye and letting CP, for example, put maximum pressure on office workers to drive and load trains instead of hiring professionally trained locomotive engineers. Near-miss tragic accidents have been reported but this is all part of "risk management" under which everything is declared fine until tragedies happen and governments and companies express sorrow and concerns and nothing changes. Rail companies are now using inexperienced people equipped with remote control belt packs walking alongside trains to assemble and disassemble trains in yards, instead of having experienced locomotive engineers direct the operation from the locomotive itself. This has led to an increase in runaway trains.

The fact is that seven years after the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, the dangers to human life, property and the environment are even more acute due to the criminal negligence of the railway monopolies, supported by governments. They claim their overriding responsibility and most urgent task is to remain competitive with other carriers nationally and internationally at any cost, with governments taking no responsibility and refusing to hold the monopolies to account. They also claim more and more that the human factor is the cause of accidents and tragedies and that unless the process is 100 per cent mechanized, with no workers involved, rail safety will continue to deteriorate and be subject to "human error."

Workers and communities reject this anti-social outlook and these anti-social practices. It is thanks to their activation of the human factor/social consciousness that the demand to provide real problems with pro-social solutions exists and is firmly planted as the basis for opening a path to progress. Even as workers and communities keep pushing their immediate demands for measures to enforce safety in terms of working conditions, required personnel, maintenance of the tracks, safe stationing of trains and the bypass track, they continue to suffer the daily trauma of repeat accidents because of the government's anti-human approach to the problem. The trauma they suffer is not just post-traumatic, but the present foreboding that at any time the mischief could be repeated. 

Any authority worthy of the name must have mechanisms that enable those affected by the decisions taken to have the decisive say over what decision is to be taken, how it is implemented and how it is monitored. Governments and the narrow private interests they serve must be held to account for their anti-human, anti-social and irresponsible response to the demands of the Lac-Mégantic community. 

Lac-Mégantic was a tragic and profound eye-opener as to how the neo-liberal outlook and practice of placing all of society's assets at the disposal of the global monopolies directly led to the self-regulation of the railways and to criminal negligence causing death and chaos, as well as joint attempts by the private owners and the government to blame the workers. The people of Lac-Mégantic have faced the tragedy with immense courage and with the support of people from all over Quebec, Canada, the U.S. and the world. All together, the people are fighting to put an end to these tragedies by empowering themselves so that they can exercise control over their lives.

On the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the tragedy, our warm salute to the Lac-Mégantic community who continue to rebuild their lives and to make an important contribution to the fight for the security of all.

(Photos: TML, La Tribune)

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Citizen Action Essential to Ensure Rail Safety

TML Weekly: First of all, our best wishes to the people of Lac-Mégantic who are fighting so bravely to rebuild their lives, which cannot be done without improved rail safety. What was organized in the city for the seventh anniversary of the tragedy?

Robert Bellefleur: There were three press conferences. Of course, we held our own. The Alliance ferroviaire de l'Estrie et Montérégie, which includes the mayors of Mégantic, Sherbrooke, Bromont, Cowansville and Farnham, also held one, as did the city of Mégantic, which inaugurated the Espace mémoire, a structure dedicated to the 47 victims. It is located where the tragedy took place, on the very foundations of Musicafé. At noon, after the inauguration of the Espace mémoire, bells were rung 47 times in memory of the 47 victims of the tragedy.

TMLW: What are the challenges you are facing at this time in ensuring rail safety?

RB: We took another tour of the track and found new problems with the rails. A second formal notice was sent to Transport Canada to come and re-inspect the rails at the entrance and exit of Lac-Mégantic. On May 7, 2019, Transport Canada sent a report to Central Maine and Quebec Railway Canada (CMQR) noting 253 defective rails between Farnham and Lac-Mégantic. The company was to repair this. In August, it was discovered that a location specified in the report where the rails were defective had still not been repaired. We also produced a video showing the condition of the rails at that time.[1]

This was reported to Transport Canada and the media and two weeks later a train partially derailed at the same location. The wheels just left the track. After that, a formal notice was sent to Minister of Transport Marc Garneau and a ministerial order was issued to force the company to make repairs. That was last year. This year, we are doing the same thing. We are sending a formal notice to Garneau, a second one, to tell him that you have not repaired everything. There's still some left. There's a lot left. We sent him the formal notice yesterday. He now has 10 days to do a new inspection that goes beyond the standard ultrasonic inspection. Ultrasound is a method that is not completely effective when the rails are too worn because the metal no longer conducts the waves properly.

According to an expert report on the seven major derailments of oil-carrying trains in Canada that have occurred since the Mégantic derailment, which was presented in a CBC report on June 15, the condition of the rails is responsible for the derailments. This is because the railway safety regulations on which the maintenance standards are based date back to 2012, that is, before the massive transportation of oil on the rails. The regulations are written based on the old practice of regular freight trains and have not been adjusted to the new reality of massive oil transportation. So the rails wear out faster with characteristic breakages due to the overweight trains. So the Transportation Safety Board of Canada made that observation and recommended that the railway safety regulations be reviewed because they no longer correspond to reality. These regulations govern the companies and define maintenance standards. Journalists have proven that these seven major derailments since Mégantic are due to the fact that maintenance protocols are not up to date and that the trains are heavier and longer. The CMQR boasted that the weight of its trains passing through Mégantic had increased by 56 per cent.

TMLW: At your press conference, you said that the hazardous materials currently in circulation are even more dangerous than those that exploded during the tragedy. Can you tell us more about that?

RB: During the BAPE [Office of Public Hearings on the Environment] meetings in Mégantic last year, the experts who were conducting a risk study told us that the two most dangerous materials circulating on the rails are propane gas and sulphuric acid. There is nothing worse than that. If ever there is a derailment followed by an explosion of these materials, the sulphuric acid will spray into the atmosphere as a vapour and the winds will push this up to 20 or 30 km. This is much more dangerous than the shale oil burning on site. It's ten times worse as an impact.

We see convoys of 30 tanks, where 10 to 12 cars contain propane gas and seven to eight cars contain sulphuric acid, transported by DOT-111 cars. Since the explosion at Lac-Mégantic, these cars can no longer transport oil, but they are now used to transport a product that is ten times more dangerous! We see this type of convoy three to four times a week and it runs on defective rails and culverts.

It should also be added that the trains are still parked at the top of the hill. Since there is no longer a rail yard in downtown Mégantic, the company is shunting in Nantes, at the same place where the death train was parked on July 6, 2013. It parks cars from the industrial park on the service track and when the train arrives from the United States with the dangerous material, they stop parallel to them on the main track, next to the cars to be loaded. They apply only air brakes on the slope, no hand brakes. And there they detach the four locomotives that will pick up the cars on the other track, leaving the whole train alone, on simple air brakes on the grade, from 45 minutes to one hour. That's how long it took, when the firemen left Nantes, for the train to go down the slope in 2013. These manoeuvres are carried out two to three times a week in Mégantic. We are in the same scenario. Nothing has really changed, except that the materials are 10 times more dangerous. I have reported this twice to the City of Mégantic and Transport Canada. We also see it in the video.

All this is tolerated by Transport Canada. Yesterday, July 5, Garneau broke his silence and issued a press release to defend himself, in which he said that there have been 225 inspections of the railway track between Farnham and Lac-Mégantic since 2015, that is 45 per year. I said in an interview that either the inspectors are blind or they are incompetent and inconsistent, which I doubt, or the rules are not strict enough and are too complacent toward the companies.

TMLW: Can you explain the status of the bypass track?

RB: It's stalled. What I have learned is that following the BAPE report in May 2019,  many questions were raised about the environment with regard to the route of the bypass as it crosses wetlands, which are protected in Quebec. The Quebec Ministry of the Environment expressed reservations on certain points and asked for clarification. And that is where it gets stuck. Transport Canada issued a ruling last year on the proposed expansion of the port of Quebec in Beauport Bay, where fish will spawn. The court ruled that Quebec has no business interfering in a federal jurisdiction. And now Transport Canada is using this ruling to say that it does not have to take into account the environmental concerns of the BAPE and the Quebec Department of the Environment.

In our opinion, the concerns raised about the environment must be treated seriously. We must consider that the bypass will cross rivers, streams, swamps and farmland. Ditches will be dug, wooden ties soaked in creosote will be installed in these ditches and it will flow into the Chaudière River.

The coalition's opinion is that this railroad could be built with concrete ties. Concrete has an environmental impact when you make it, but once it is placed in an environment, it is inert. Look at the REM [Metropolitan Express Network] in Montreal on the south shore, they used concrete ties. [REM is a light rail rapid transit system under construction in the Greater Montreal area -- TML Ed. Note] In Ontario, new railways are also built on these types of sleepers. And here we are still using the methods from the last century. It is important to know that wooden ties have an average life of 20 to 30 years, whereas concrete can last more than 50 years. Moreover, when the life of wooden ties is over, there are still toxic products in them, PAHs -- polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are carcinogenic. To dispose of them, you have to take them to a high-efficiency incinerator, so it costs a fortune to get rid of them.

All the pressure we're putting on is to say that the old railroad tracks are dangerous. We're not going to wait three years. They have to be forced to speed up the process of creating the bypass. We are told that it is planned for 2023.

TMLW: Do you want to say anything in conclusion ?

RB: In the absence of Transport Canada oversight, it is always the citizens who remain vigilant. It is citizen involvement and action that remains to ensure safety in the absence of Transport Canada's involvement. The authorities are ignoring safety, so it is the citizens who must see to it.

We continue the fight. They said the Mégantic people were resilient. We'll show them what resilience is!


1. To view the video Lac-Mégantic, a Railroad at the End of its Life click here.  To see a video on the reconstruction of Lac Mégantic on a modern basis click here.

(Photos: TML, Maine-Lewiston-Auburne ProtestTrain Safety)

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30th Anniversary of the Brutal Military Assault on the
Mohawk at Kanehsatà:ke

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

"The plight of the Indigenous peoples of this country is a matter of great concern to everyone. This includes the Trudeau government. Unfortunately, the government's concern is not to redress historical wrongs as the times demand. It is to achieve
what has eluded previous governments -- which is to extinguish Indigenous peoples' rights once and for all, so as to steal their lands and resources. At the same time,
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seeks to restore Canada's tarnished human rights
record on the world stage. This is a reputation as a violator of human rights due to its
abysmal record of criminal negligence of the conditions of life of the Indigenous
peoples in Canada and crimes committed against them
."  -- Pauline Easton[1]

Oka 1990

Thirty years ago, at dawn on July 11, 1990, about 100 heavily armed officers of the Sureté du Québec (SQ) attacked members of the Kanien'kehá:ka of Kanehsatà:ke (Mohawk nation, member of Haudenosaunee Confederacy) who had set up a blockade on a dirt road leading to a sacred Indigenous burial site to oppose the expansion of a golf club on Mohawk territory located close to the town of Oka, Quebec. For the project to proceed, the forest known as the Pines, as well as the Pine Hill Cemetery, the community of Kanehsatà:ke's graveyard, would have to be bulldozed. To prevent this destruction, people of Kanehsatà:ke erected a barricade on a small, secondary dirt road through the Pines, as early as March 1990.

The July 11 SQ raid came after an ultimatum, in the form of a court order that the mayor and municipal council of Oka had sought which supported the expansion of the private golf course on stolen Indigenous land: the Kanien'kehá:ka of Kanehsatà:ke had to bring down their barricade by July 9 or else face the full force of the law.

During the July 11, 1990 assault by the police force in full military combat gear, the SQ used tear gas and concussion grenades on the people at the barricade.

After the SQ started shooting, a firefight broke out between them and the Mohawk Warriors and SQ Corporal Marcel Lemay was shot and killed in the melee.

The SQ abandoned their vehicles and retreated to the bottom of the hill to Oka. The warriors used the abandoned vehicles to build and fortify a new barricade on Highway 344, while the SQ erected a barricade of their own to try to prevent Mohawk reinforcements from coming to Kanehsatà:ke. As a show of solidarity, the Mercier Bridge, one of the five bridges/tunnel linking Montreal to the South shore of the St. Lawrence River, was shut down in Kahnawà:ke by the Mohawk community there. The events are recalled in the 1993 National Film Board documentary entitled Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, directed by Alanis Obomsawin who was in Kanehsatà:ke when the confrontation took place in 1990.[2]

The standoff in Kanehsatà:ke and Kahnawà:ke included thousands of soldiers of the Canadian Army with tanks and helicopters ordered by the Mulroney government at the request of the Bourassa government. It lasted until September 26 when the members of the Onen'to:kon Treatment Center in Kanehsatà:ke decided to walk out of the encirclement after 78 days of resistance.

Oka 1990

The Unsettled Issue of Land Claims

March marks 25th anniversary of Oka uprising, July 11, 2015.

Although the siege ended, the land issues that were at the core of the dispute persist to this day. The land issue in Kanehsatà:ke dates back 300 years, when the Sulpicians began the slow process of dispossessing the Mohawk Nation of Kanehsatà:ke of their lands.[3]

"Nothing has changed," Kanehsata'kehró:non Ellen Gabriel said earlier this week, reflecting on the 30th anniversary of the start of the Kanehsatà:ke siege, or what many refer to as the "Oka Crisis." She was part of those who resisted during the 1990 siege and participated during that period in negotiations with the Quebec and federal governments to settle the land claims.

"How can Reconciliation have failed, if it never even started?" Gabriel asked. In a previous statement she said, "Reconciliation includes reparations and restitution."

What she was referring to is that after 30 years the federal government has failed to find solutions to Kanehsatà:ke's land dispute. Gabriel said a nation-to-nation relationship means meeting with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

The Demand for a Moratorium on the Sale of Land

Press conference about illegal pipeline expansion on traditional Kanien'kehá:ka Territory,
September 28, 2017.

In a news conference almost a year ago, on August 21, 2019, Ellen Gabriel, on behalf of the People of the Longhouse in Kanehsatà:ke, said that she wanted the federal government to stop the development and sale of over 689 square kilometres of the ancestral territory located 40 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

"We caution anyone who decides to purchase land in Kanehsatà:ke, Kanien'kehá:ka homelands, or Oka and its surrounding municipalities of buyer beware, as this whole area remains contested land," said Gabriel.

She added that the federal government has long neglected her community's land grievance, which resulted in the 1990 Oka Crisis.

"The prime minister is allowing land fraud to continue," said Gabriel.

"Reconciliation means a genuine commitment to change, to honestly engage and re-conceptualize relationships to create a future of peace, justice and renewed hope."

In an earlier interview with CBC during that same month, Serge Simon, grand chief of the Mohawk Council of Kanehsatà:ke, said, "The federal government has a fiduciary responsibility to all First Nations people, and here what you see is the lack of fiduciary responsibility."

The unresolved land dispute at the heart of the "Oka Crisis" 30 years ago prompted one Ojibway man from Shoal Lake, Ontario to start a two-week hunger strike on October 11, 2019 with one of the key demands that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau place a short-term moratorium on all land development on Kanien'kehá:ka homelands in Kanehsatà:ke.

"The longstanding historical land dispute which was the crux of the 1990 Kanehsatà:ke Siege, or Oka Crisis, has never been resolved," the Longhouse in Kanehsatà:ke said in a statement the same day. This point was emphasized by Longhouse member Ellen Gabriel, that a moratorium on all development within the area under dispute must be put in place until the land claim is resolved. She said more land has been developed in the area in recent years than what they opposed in 1990.

"Let's settle the land dispute that was promised during the negotiations in 1990, so people can get on with their lives and we don't have to keep worrying," she said.

"It's the first stage. The ultimate goal is to live in peace."

The Comprehensive Claims Policy as a Means to
Divide Indigenous Peoples

The Mohawk community's claim to the land known as the Seigneury of Lake of Two Mountains was first filed with the federal government in 1975. After being rejected and refiled a number of times, a part of the claim referred to as the "small commons" was officially accepted under Canada's Specific Claims Policy for formal negotiations in 2008.

However, the policy allows only band councils to file a claim, not the age-old traditional forms of governance established by the Indigenous peoples themselves.

Joe Deom, a representative of the Mohawk Nation in Kahnawà:ke, said women hold the title of the land under their constitution -- the Kaianere'kó:wa or Great Law of Peace -- which precedes European arrival in North America.

"All of this land that surrounds us here really comes under the jurisdiction of the women of the Longhouse and not the band councils, not the federal government and not the province," he said.

Also, the lack of information available about ongoing specific claim negotiations was one of many issues on which the people of Kanehsatà:ke felt a lack of confidence in their band council.

Gordie Oke, a former council chief, said that's because of a confidentiality clause the band council had to sign when entering the negotiation process for the claim.

"It bothered me because we always have to consult our people about any type of issues coming forward by the feds," said Oke.

Marc Miller, then parliamentary secretary to Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and now Minister of Indigenous Services, in answer to the fact that First Nations are not consulted in this process, said "[Negotiations] are confidential. One major reason is it offers the sides a forum to have face-to-face discussions and not have a process where you're negotiating in the public domain through media." For someone who likes to boast about his knowledge of Mohawk language, he should look up how the word "transparency" translates in Mohawk traditions.

Peter Di Gangi, a board member at the First Nations-led research centre, Yellowhead Institute, said the confidentiality agreements are an issue: "The claims are against the federal government. At the same time, it controls the negotiation process, controls the funding. It controls just about every aspect of the process," said Di Gangi.

"That has an impact on the ability of First Nations to feel that they have an opportunity to have their claims addressed in a fair and open manner."

In places like Quebec, underlying Aboriginal title to the land also complicates situations when the federal government seeks a "release" with regard to the claim when a settlement is reached.

"For some communities, it's viewed as a form of extinguishment," said Di Gangi.

"If you have underlying Aboriginal title and are sitting at the table with the government to resolve a specific claim, why would you want to release your underlying title just to settle a reserve claim?"

A year ago, the federal government attempted to introduce what they called "new comprehensive land claims and inherent rights policies."

As TML Weekly pointed out at that time "The National Day of Action [...] oppose(s) what has been dubbed 'Trudeau's White Paper 2.0.' This includes Bill C-86, an omnibus budget implementation bill that contains amendments to legislation, including the First Nations Land Management Act and the First Nations Fiscal Management Act. With the changes the government is introducing come plans to replace policies dealing with modern treaties (which it refers to as comprehensive claims) and self-government (which it calls its Inherent Right Policy). Due to the opposition expressed by First Nations chiefs, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett backed down from the scheduled June introduction of these changes, which are a blatant violation of the hereditary rights of all Indigenous peoples."

"APTN News reports:

"Canada won't be introducing new comprehensive land claims and inherent rights policies just yet, Crown-Indigenous Relations [Minister] Carolyn Bennett told the Assembly of First Nations" on May 2.


"Speaking about the national day of protest and regional protests, Okimaw Henry Lewis, Chief of Onion Lake Cree Nation on the Saskatchewan-Alberta border, said: 'We are working with a network of nations chiefs across the country to alert our people about what's happening, and to tell the government that they can't continue to proceed unilaterally in the development of law policies and agendas that directly attack our inherent and treaty rights, and sovereign jurisdiction.'

"Lewis clearly set the record straight: 'Canada has never stopped trying to implement their 1969 White Paper policy, which is meant to domesticate our international treaties, turn us into municipalities and remove us from our lands,' adding 'We must stand in unity as chiefs and peoples to fight off this agenda for our children and future generations.'"[4]

To commemorate the 30th anniversary, the Kanehsatà:ke Longhouse will be holding a rolling blockade on Saturday, July 11, starting at 10:00 am.


1."Recognition of the Hereditary Rights of Indigenous Peoples Must Come First," by Pauline Easton, TML Weekly, October 3, 2017. 

2. Extracts of the documentary entitled "Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance."

3. "At the Woods Edge: An anthology of the History of the People of Kanehsatà:ke -- The reality of Kanehsatà:ke and the Myth of 1721," by Brenda Katlatont Gabriel-Doxtater and Arlette Kawanatatie Van den Hende, Kanesatake Education Center, 1995, pp 20-23. 

(With files from: TML Weekly, The Eastern Door, Iori:Wase -- News from the Kanien'kehá:ka Nation, CBC, Radio-Canada. Photos: public domain, K. David, E. Gabriel)

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World-Wide Protests Condemn the Annexation of Palestinian Territory

Peoples of the World Stand as One
with the Palestinian People

The call of the Palestinian resistance for Days of Rage protests against the annexation of Palestinian territories has been taken up worldwide in the days and weeks leading up to and following the July 1 official "launch" announced by Israel.

A Palestinian land protest in Asirah Alshamaliah Village, July 3, 2020. Israeli settlers, escorted and protected by soldiers, erected an illegal colonial outpost on the Village lands a
few days prior.

According to Samidoun, the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, protests took place on July 1 in occupied Palestine; in San Francisco, San Diego, Rancho Cucamonga and Claremont, California; Chicago, Illinois; Salt Lake City, Utah; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Portland, Oregon; Boston, Massachusetts; Seattle, Washington; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Toledo and Columbus, Ohio; Halifax and St. Catharines, Canada; San Jose, Costa Rica; Oldham and Bedford, England; Toulouse and Saint-Denis, France; Amsterdam and The Hague, Netherlands; Frankfurt and Berlin, Germany; Madrid, Granada, Valencia, Valladolid, Sevilla and Bilbao, Spain; Athens, Greece; Istanbul, Turkey; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Seoul, Korea.

Actions continued after July 1 in Berlin, Germany; Amman, Jordan; Copenhagen, Denmark; Toronto, Mississauga and Hamilton, Canada; in many cities across Ireland and the United Kingdom; Auckland, New Zealand; Detroit and Cleveland, USA; Lisbon, Portugal; and other places.

Brooklyn, New York saw one of the largest Day of Rage actions outside Gaza. Thousands of people poured into the streets shouting slogans and marching for four hours. Organized by the NY4Palestine Coalition, which includes Samidoun, it specifically tied the struggle of the Palestinians for their rights with the struggle of Black Americans against state-organized racist police violence. Pre-recorded remarks by U.S. political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal signaled the start of the march.

Day of Rage in Brooklyn, New York, July 1, 2020.

In Los Angeles, hundreds of cars with signs, banners and Palestinian flags drove from the Federal Building to the Israeli Consulate where a boisterous rally was held.

In Baltimore, protestors condemned U.S. support for the Zionist state of Israel and demanded an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. They also demanded an end to the training of Baltimore police by Israeli Defense Forces.

Samidoun reported that nearly 300 people rallied in Toulouse, France, on July 1. For almost two hours, the demonstrators chanted and shouted slogans: "Palestine vivra! Palestine vaincra!" (Palestine will live, Palestine will win) and "Boycott Israel!"

Amsterdam was also home to an action on July 1, where more than 100 people protested at the U.S. consulate against the continued colonization of Palestine. The protest was organized by Samidoun Nederland and supported by a number of different organizations, including BDS Netherlands and the PGNL, the Palestinian Community of the Netherlands.

In Berlin, youth led a demonstration on July 3 outside the Bundestag (the German parliament). They filled the area in front of the Bundestag with Palestinian flags and with calls for justice and liberation, making it clear that no amount of repression by the German state, will prevent the voice of Palestine from being heard.

Samidoun reports that tens of thousands of people in many different cities around the world took to the streets in response to the call for Days of Rage against Israeli annexation, from Palestine to the USA, from the Philippines to Turkey. It is clear that the ongoing colonization of Palestine will be met with increasing resistance.


Toronto, July 4, 2020.

Across Canada, actions continue to be held as part of the international Days of Rage condemnation of U.S. / Israeli Zionist plans to annex huge swaths of the occupied Palestinian territories. Upwards of 300,000 Palestinians are under threat of further displacement as a result of the proposed annexation. Last week TML Weekly reported on an action held in Halifax on July 1. Actions were also held recently in Montreal, Toronto, St. Catharines and elsewhere. The protests have continued and there have been further actions in Toronto, Mississauga and Hamilton and one announced for Vancouver on July 12, and another in Windsor, July 18.


The action in Toronto on July 4 was hosted by the Palestinian Youth Movement, Arab Palestine Association of Ontario, Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, and Campuses for Palestine (C4P). The spirit of resistance was uplifting.

One participant enthusiastically wrote to TML Weekly that it looked as if over 1,000 people joined in at one time or another over the course of the three-hour protest. There was a constant presence of 200-250 people present braving the heat, with many passersby stopping and joining in for shorter periods before going on their way.

It seemed like more than 100 different organizations participated in this act of solidarity and resistance. "They included all manner of communities suffering from all manner of colonialism, racism, sexism, discrimination. Speakers included Black, Indigenous, non-Zionist Jews -- practically every marginalized, discriminated-against community you could think of."


A vigorous, lively, "Protest for Palestine" was held in Mississauga on July 4 at Celebration Square, organized by Sauga for Palestine. The organizers, primarily students, wanted their voices heard in support of Palestine and to make a statement against Israel and its illegal practices. "Mississauga -- we need to stand together against injustice!" they wrote. "Israel plans to destroy/annex Palestinian homes in the West Bank and large swaths of the Jordan Valley, consuming the remaining areas under Palestinian control and causing even more Palestinians to become refugees. This is the largest stage of the ongoing Nakba and the most aggressive plan to steal Palestinian land and expand illegal Israeli settlements. As Canadians, we need to condemn this illegal annexation and condemn Trudeau's support of Israel, as well as show our support for Palestine and demand justice for its people. Palestinian or not, this is a human rights issue, and we all need to come together to stand against it."


Hamilton's Day of Rage action was held on July 5 at Hamilton City Hall. Organizers said they called this rally in an effort to pressure the Canadian government to condemn Israel's impending annexation of parts of the West Bank. They said they are also trying to pressure the Canadian government to take concrete actions -- such as imposing sanctions against Israel, and suspending the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement -- if Israel continues its move towards annexation.

They called for an end to Israeli apartheid policies, including the Jewish-only settlement created on Palestinian lands, contrary to international law. They called for the West Bank apartheid wall to be dismantled. They also voiced their strong support for the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island against racist state-organized police violence and for an end to the "deadly exchange and training partnerships" between Israeli Defense Forces and police departments in North America.

The action was endorsed by the Jewish Liberation Theology Institute, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights Queen's, Palestine House Toronto, Independent Jewish Voices Hamilton, and Students Against Israeli Apartheid at York University.


Vancouver will host a Day of Rage Against Annexation on July 12, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm at the Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street. One and all are called upon to join in. The Vancouver action is organized by the University of British Columbia Arab Students Association and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights in collaboration with Vancouver Allies and Independent Jewish Voices. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is an endorser of the event.

"Join us" organizers write "for a standing protest against the illegitimate annexation of parts of the West Bank and Jordan Valley that will cause further instability and hardships for Palestinians, as well as undermine chances of the establishment of an independent Palestinian state."


The University of Windsor Palestinian Solidarity Group is hosting a Day of Rage to Stop the Annexation of Palestine on July 18 at 3:30 pm at the corner of Ouellette and Riverside Drive in downtown Windsor. "We will NOT stay silent as Israel annexes Palestinian land! Join the Palestinian Solidarity Group as we march for justice. Make your voices heard, and demand action from our government. Stop apartheid, stop these crimes against humanity," write the organizers.

Actions Continue Internationally 

Washington, DC

Tallahassee, Florida

Las Vegas, Nevada

Free Derry, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

Kildare, Ireland

Ennis, Ireland

London, England

East London, England; Sheffield, England

Manchester, England

Liverpool, England

Bristol, England

South Wales

Gothenburg, Sweden

Copenhagen, Denmark

Vienna, Austria

Lisbon, Portugal

Montpellier, France

Gijon, Spain

(With files from Samidoun and La Lucha, www.struggle-la-lucha.org/. Photos: Palestine Chronicle, Y. Arar, J. Catron, Ariel D., A.M. Javeed, Sauga for Palestine, visualsbyebi, T. Berlund, If Not Now When, FSU Students for Justice in Palestine, Nevadans for Palestinian Human Rights, Derry Ireland Palestine Solidarity, Ireland Palestine Solidarity, Palstine Solidarity Ctte UK, J. Hurd, Palestine Return Ctte, Bristol IPSC, R. Dye, Big Ride for Palestine, Palestine Vision Society, O. Said, Palestine Solidaritat Osterreich, MDPPOPNMO, BDS France )

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