What to Expect from the Trudeau Minority Government
Following the announcement that Canada would have a minority government led by the Liberal Party and its leader Justin Trudeau, it is abundantly clear that they will carry on governing in much the same way as during their first term. The Liberal government will continue to pay the rich and implement budgets designed by those in the highest echelons of the financial oligarchy. It will continue to rule with impunity and it will continue interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign nations to achieve regime change of those the U.S. seeks to take over.
To rule with impunity, the Trudeau minority government will continue to undermine the principles that inform Canada’s constitution, international treaties and what are called the democratic institutions. The use of Cabinet prerogatives in the SNC-Lavalin case and interference with the prosecutorial process were not the exception but the rule for this government. Remember how Trudeau ignored the all-party parliamentary committee which proposed to replace the first-past-the-post method of counting votes with a proportional system? This too was just one flagrant example of a common practice of Trudeau in ignoring conventions and eliminating regulations designed to direct and tether ministerial powers.
Trampling on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
How the Trudeau government is proceeding with building the Trans Mountain pipeline is yet another good example of the use of ministerial prerogatives to rule with impunity. The pipeline runs through unceded territories where Indigenous peoples have been the decision-makers since time immemorial. It is designed to connect a terminal east of Edmonton to a marine terminal in Burnaby, BC. The expansion intends to see a second pipeline built roughly parallel to the first that can carry almost twice as much crude oil every day.
In September 2018, after the Federal Court of Appeal overturned federal approval for the construction of the pipeline, citing an insufficient environmental assessment and lack of Indigenous consultations, construction was stopped. The Trudeau government approved the expansion a second time in June 2019 claiming it had satisfied requirements on both counts. Construction on the pipeline then resumed in August. A spokesperson for Trans Mountain Canada said on October 23 that work has started on the marine terminals in British Columbia and pumping stations in Alberta. The first 50 kilometres of actual pipeline will start being laid in the Edmonton area shortly, the spokesperson said.
There is however a new federal court challenge underway from Indigenous communities who argue the secondary consultation process undertaken by the government earlier this year was a sham. The Trudeau government got consenting elected band chiefs to sign on. They represent the Crown, not the peoples, on small allotments of Crown land called reserves.
The government is also conniving with private individuals to project the claim that the pipeline will benefit the Indigenous peoples by providing economic benefits. The Liberals also promised to create a $300 million annual fund from pipeline revenues for natural climate solutions including tree planting, as well as conservation and restoration of forests, grasslands, agricultural lands and coastal areas, CBC reports.
The Conceit of Prerogative Power — the “Done Deal”
This week, Finance Minister Bill Morneau told the Canadian Press that the pipeline is a “done deal.” To divert attention from the true nature of this pay-the-rich scheme which favours the U.S. war economy, the Trudeau government clothes it in high ideals. “We purchased it for a reason,” Morneau told the Canadian Press. “We now see how it can help us accelerate our clean energy transition by putting any revenues that we get from it into a transition to clean energy. We think that is the best way we can move forward in our current context.” Morneau said, “This project we’ve already moved forward on. It’s one that we’ve said that we’re moving forward on, we’ve actually already gone through that process.”
The new federal court challenge is underway because the consultations have been bogus. Even if, as expected, Trudeau’s persistence in using cabinet prerogatives to get what the elites he serves want, the credibility of the democratic institutions is suffering a great deal. All pretense that Canada is building nation-to-nation relations with the Indigenous peoples is also blown to bits. This will deepen the crisis Canada is in because it refuses to settle scores with its colonial past, which has become a new colonial present. It reveals that Canada’s claim to uphold UN treaties on relations with Indigenous peoples and on human rights is counterfeit. Canada’s aims in pushing self-serving definitions of what constitutes an international rules-based order is suspect indeed.
As for the mantra that the pipelines create jobs for Albertans, this too is merely repeated to undermine attempts of workers from across the country as well as in BC and Alberta to organize to change the direction of the economy and control their conditions of work. In fact, Canadians from across the country work in construction on the Alberta job sites, pushed to leave their homes due to economic need.
News reports say that, thus far, more than 2,200 workers have been hired to build the Trans Mountain pipeline, suggesting that the Alberta economy will benefit from pipeline construction. In fact, the majority of jobs are either non-union or company union jobs where the workers exercise no control over working conditions, hours of work, pay or health and safety, which are all said to be deplorable. The monopoly-controlled media repeat the disinforming mantra of the narrow private interests the Trudeau government serves. It is the persistence of the Indigenous people in conjunction with Canadian working people to lay the claims which belong to them by right that exposes what is really going on with the Trudeau government’s energy program. It has nothing to do with humanizing the natural and social environment and everything to do with making the rich richer and promoting the U.S. imperialist war preparations.
Canada-U.S.-Mexico-Free Trade Agreement
Another success of the Trudeau government on the economy is said to be the negotiations with the Trump Administration over the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Free Trade Agreement (CUSMA). Turning the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) into CUSMA is part of the adjustments the financial oligarchy is making to retain its power and control in the face of growing inequality and resistance of the working people.
The aim is to serve the creation of North American trade, energy, communications, transportation and security corridors with regulations which smash all previous arrangements and jurisdictions and bring the productive powers, land and resources under the command of the office of the president of Fortress North America. The striving to create a unified Fortress North America is plagued by fighting among the factions which comprise the ruling class and the shenanigans of the cartels and coalitions of the oligopolies in every sector of the economy to take over the decision-making powers on a supranational basis. The situation is fraught with dangers, for not only the working class and people of Canada and Quebec, but also of the United States, who are already fighting against the imposition of unacceptable conditions on every front, and of Mexico where the people are striving to uphold Mexican sovereignty in the face of a brutal U.S. agenda.
In many ways the changes to NAFTA are similar to the efforts to save from collapse the dysfunctional and outmoded political system of representative democracy and the nation-state which has lost its raison d’être, its reason of state. Instead of democratic renewal to empower the people and a modern constitution which recognizes the rights of all, the financial oligarchy has politicized supranational narrow private interests and is forcing a continuation of the cartel party system, resulting in intensified control and rule of the minority over the majority. Instead of a new pro-social direction for the economy and modern nation-building project where trade with all humanity is for everyone’s mutual benefit and development, the financial oligarchy is forcing a continuation of the anti-social offensive on the people, endless wars and recurring economic crises.
Make Canada a Zone for Peace; Stop Interfering in Sovereign Nations
On matters related to war and peace, the Trudeau government takes its marching orders from the Atlantic Council, the political arm of the U.S.-led NATO aggressive military alliance. Even though questions of war and peace are of the utmost importance to all Canadians, the Trudeau government makes decisions behind their backs. Such is the case with the U.S.-based International Security Forum of warmongers to be held in Halifax in mid-November. Haligonians organizing to make Canada a zone for peace have taken the initiative to hold a series of forums on war and peace during November and an anti-war rally on November 23, to denounce the 11th annual Halifax International Security Forum and the Trudeau government’s participation and financing of these meetings, whose aim is to plot crimes against the peace and the peoples of the world.
The Trudeau government’s continual interference in the sovereign affairs of nations such as Venezuela and acting as flunky for U.S. imperialism’s regime change, anarchy and violence throughout the world, expose Canada’s aim in pushing self-serving definitions of what constitutes a rules-based international order. During the election, Canada gave its support at a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) to activation of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty) against Venezuela, adding fuel to the fire of those looking for a way to justify a foreign military intervention in that country, based on the hoax that it represents a threat to peace and security in the region.
Following the election of Bolivian President Evo Morales to a fourth term in office this week, Canada along with the U.S. and the rogue representatives of a self-appointed president in Venezuela plus two other Lima Group members, forced the holding of a special meeting of the Permanent Council of the OAS for the purpose of raising the spectre of “fraud” without a shred of evidence, and interfering in Bolivia’s electoral process in what looks a lot like the failed attempt by the same forces to use the OAS to de-legitimize the election of Nicolás Maduro, promote instability and carry out a coup in Venezuela.
For working people, the battle to oppose the anti-social offensive and private control of decision-making is for their individual and collective well-being, to make Canada a zone for peace and to humanize the social and natural environment. It encompasses the fight of the actual producers to gain control over the direction of the economy and country so as to guarantee the survival and future of society and Mother Earth.
For working people, their independence of thinking, organization and action is fundamental in dealing with a financial oligarchy that is anti-social, self-serving, warlike and destructive in the extreme.