No. 65November 22, 2021
– Anna Di Carlo –
Today the 44th Parliament opens with ceremonies and the election of the Speaker of the House. The week’s activities are then to be taken up with the Speech from the Throne on November 23, speeches from the ruling Liberal party and the parties in opposition and media accounts of what is in the Throne Speech and what this indicates about what is to come for Canada and Canadians.
The fact is that Parliament has been convoked 63 days after the election of Trudeau’s minority government. During these 63 days, his ministry, the 29th in Canada’s history, has been signing all kinds of international deals with narrow private interests behind the backs of Canadians. It calls this activity part of the rules-based international order by which Canada must abide, despite the fact that the entire decision-making process tramples the international rule of law established by the United Nations Charter in the mud. Also, within the country, the rule of law is invoked to justify what cannot be justified, such as appealing the Federal Court rulings upholding the decision of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on compensation for victims of the child welfare system’s abduction of Indigenous children or condoning the brutal RCMP attacks on Wet’suwet’en land defenders and much more.
According to Prime Minister Trudeau, Canada is at a pivotal moment, “maybe the most important since 1945 and certainly in our lifetimes.”
We could not agree more. However, what this means when Trudeau says it and what it means when the people of Canada say it are very different things.
It is not a matter of a clash of beliefs. It has nothing to do with left-wing versus right-wing or being “moderate and centre-stage” as Trudeau likes to call himself notwithstanding all evidence to the contrary proving that he is a fanatic supporter of the narrow private neo-liberal interests which also espouse Canada’s integration into the U.S. war machine.
No. The clash is between the Conditions and the Authority. The Conditions tell us that the system established in the mid-nineteenth century and strengthened after World War II enforces a racist, misogynist and anti-worker rule over the people. This overbearing self-serving rule acts in the name of peace, democracy, justice and prosperity despite the conditions experienced by people from all walks of life. Its government ministers, Members of Parliament and agencies swear allegiance to an increasingly degenerate, thieving and corrupt monarchy whose façade as being above politics and a symbol of national unity cannot be propped up, no matter how much ink, disinformation and money are thrown at the problem. This rule faces such a profound crisis of credibility and legitimacy that any non-government civil society organization which does not prove allegiance to the democracy represented by “the Crown” – i.e. the state and whatever policy it sees fit to impose on the people – belongs to the category called “extremists” which thus merits being targeted and criminalized as enemies of the state.
This clash is a real problem facing the polity which has the responsibility and inclination to resolve it in a manner which favours the people and opens a path for progress. But not so for Justin Trudeau and his minority government and the cartel parties with seats in the House of Commons. When Trudeau says it is a pivotal moment, it is a threat: Toe the line, or else! He does not care one whit that the path he has embarked on is damaging and destructive to Canada, to Canadians and to humankind itself.
Here is what the Prime Minister said:
“The decisions your government makes right now will define the future your kids and grandkids will grow up in…. So in this pivotal, consequential moment, who wouldn’t want a say? Who wouldn’t want their chance to help decide where our country goes from here?”
What “chance” is the Prime Minister talking about? What say do the people have? Since his actions do not in fact support the people having a say over anything unless it conforms to what the neo-liberal ruling class wants, the only thing left is the threat of what will happen to those who do not submit.
The Prime Minister’s rhetorical questions demand answers, and there’s the rub. He does not even permit the Parliament to deliberate on any matter. This is the same Justin Trudeau who in 2017 refused to consider implementing a form of proportional representation in elections saying it would represent a threat to Canada’s democracy by augmenting “extremist voices and activist voices that don’t get to sit within a party that figures out what’s best for the whole future of the country, like the three existing parties do.” He has gained a reputation for censoring or removing any person from cabinet or his caucus who does not agree with him or agree to submit to whatever form of corruption or conflict of interest he is pushing in the moment.
The Trudeau government has stated its intention of passing so-called anti-hate legislation. It seems to think it can totally ignore what the entire world is witnessing – that Facebook and Twitter and others have been caught red-handed inciting very damaging campaigns of right-wing hatred and hysteria as well as practices dangerous to young people through the creation of false accounts, bots and other practices because it is profitable. It makes money. Trudeau continues to push the narrative on every possible occasion to accuse ordinary people of being racists, fanatics and hate-mongers. In this vein, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken to raising the alarm about the threat of “extremism.” Speaking recently at the International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism in Sweden he controversially blamed “organizations of extremist groups on the far-right and the far-left” for pushing white supremacy, intolerance, radicalization, promoting hatred, fear and mistrust both across borders and within borders, decrying a rise in intolerance “in our elections, in our public discourse and in mainstream communications – let alone social media.”
Since then, the Prime Minister’s Office has informed that Trudeau stands behind those remarks. It declined to identify any groups he had in mind, or who the government defines as “extremist groups.”
The fact Trudeau’s remarks were made at a forum dealing with anti-Semitism is not likely fortuitous given that his government, like the other parties in Parliament, has equated opposition to the crimes of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people and support for Palestinian rights with anti-Semitism and “hate.”
Trudeau repeated the same accusations against right-wing and left-wing extremism at a press conference in Holland, on the eve of the COP26 conference in Scotland. This was also not fortuitous, sending another message that those who resist the continued destruction of the environment will also be the target of the state, as seen by the attacks on the Wet’suwet’en.
A related focus of the Canadian government, in light of Trudeau’s lumping together and condemnation of both so-called far-right and far-left extremist groups, is what it calls “countering radicalization towards violence.” In early November the Minister of Public Safety invited interested organizations to apply for funding under its Community Resilience Fund which since its founding in 2016 has funded 47 projects for this purpose. It is part of an initiative to allegedly “better understand and address violent extremism in the Canadian context.”
One of the projects the government funds is the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence which, among other things, has the job of “tracking ideologically-motivated violent extremism.” It is also collaborating on a project with the U.S., the UK, Australia and New Zealand (i.e. the members of the “Five Eyes” spy network) in which Canada’s role is said to be concentrated on such things as “the impact of exposure to hate in traditional and social media on individuals, audiences, and communities’ and how to define and measure hate.”
This rule by decree versus decision-making by Parliament was illustrated by two concurrent events on November 18. In Ottawa, the Director of Communications for the Speaker of the House of Commons held a technical briefing for the Parliamentary Press Gallery to provide an overview of the first days of Parliament. Subjects covered included “the renewal of the LEGISinfo website,” where the public can get information about legislation tabled in Parliament. Parliamentary reporters were silent about this initiative and explained nothing.
Reporters were perhaps too busy in Washington that day covering the “Three Amigos” gathering of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Joe Biden, and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and their respective ministerial cohorts, convened behind closed doors to discuss and strike deals about the further integration of the North America of the Monopolies.
On the eve of that meeting, Canadian Press reported that Trudeau planned “to push Canada’s abundant supply of critical minerals and stress that the smooth flow of goods across borders is in the best interests of all three countries.” Where this decision was made, Canadian Press did not say.
Such decision-making through supra-national bodies has been the key feature of this 29th Ministry of Canada under the leadership of Justin Trudeau. The cartel parties and Members of Parliament, managed by their Whips, seem to have come to an agreement that they will keep themselves busy and fill the days of the House of Commons with bickering amongst the cartel parties and digging up scandals, and generally consuming themselves with everything but the most critical questions – “Who decides?” and “Whose interests are being served?”
The choice of the word whip is as unfortunate as it is indicative of the parliamentary process, especially in the context of declaring that Canadians can have a say.
Bickering, gossip and scandal-mongering on the part of official media fill the vacuum when there are no politics. They divert attention from the fact that matters of concern to the polity are being dealt with on a law and order basis as well as behind their backs and against their interests.
Aligned as one behind the neo-liberal agenda, and side-lined as they are by having dispensed with the need for national decision-making, MPs are reduced to irrelevancy and they should protest this fact. “News” about parliamentary affairs has been distinguished by members of parliament and “party-insiders” from the cartel, “speaking on condition of anonymity,” about everything but the problems facing the country. This has included internal party grumblings and rebellions, the possibility of a formal NDP-Liberal alliance, and the alleged pro-Liberal bias of the supposedly neutral Clerk of the House of Commons. It is all conducted Facebook style and brings no honour to any of its conductors or passengers.
Liberal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller has even joined in, promising to investigate his own Justin Trudeau Liberal government to get to the bottom of why “Ottawa” dropped its appeal of a ruling that released the Catholic Church from its settlement obligations to survivors of residential schools.
This state of affairs is a serious and dangerous matter showing that indeed Canada is at a pivotal moment. Canadians have already entered a trial of strength with the neo-liberal ruling class, its government, cartel party system, rule by decree and injustice.
The Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada (MLPC) calls on Canadian workers to lead the people including Members of Parliament in rising to the occasion by addressing and defending the concerns of the people and saying No! to the dangerous direction in which the Trudeau Liberals are leading the country.
1. A Ministry refers to the tenure of a Prime Minister in power. Ministrys are numbered not by elections but by Prime Ministers, so this is the 29th Ministry and the Trudeau government’s third term of office.
2. See article and For Your Information, Supplying Critical Minerals to U.S. War Economy, in TMLS November 8, 2021.
3. Noun: whip; plural noun: whips
– a strip of leather or length of cord fastened to a handle, used for flogging or beating a person or for urging on an animal.
– an official of a political party appointed to maintain discipline among its members in Congress or Parliament, especially so as to ensure attendance and voting in debates.
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