Category: Communist Party Canada
Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
| February 18, 2018 | 6:51 pm | Announcements, Communist Party Canada | No comments

February 13, 2018

Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

This February 14th, as in past years, marches will be held across Canada to commemorate the thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The February 14th marches demanding justice have been being held for almost three decades, but the current need for action is as great as ever before.

The Communist Party of Canada continues to stand in solidarity with the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and all those fighting for an end to the ongoing violence.  We demand the government act now to deliver on long delayed promises to address the violence against Indigenous women and girls and to reset the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Women and Girls.

Indigenous women and girls have no other choice but to struggle against racist violence caused by capitalism, patriarchy, the ongoing dispossession of Indigenous peoples and the denial of their national rights to self-determination. The lives of Indigenous women are shattered and cut short by this capitalist social crisis and the negative actions and inaction of the Federal government and police forces across the country.

Part of the fight to honour murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls is the ongoing fight for a national inquiry. One of the Trudeau government’s many promises to Indigenous peoples during the 2015 election was an immediate national inquiry. From the outset Indigenous women have been fighting for an inquiry capable of substantive action to stop the violence.

Included in this is the fight for the inquiry to include a review of individual files of murdered or missing women and of police conduct, after this was deliberately excluded from the initial terms of reference for the National Inquiry. Police actions and inaction are both a cause of violence towards Indigenous women, as in Val d’Or where police officers were the perpetrators of wide-spread sexual and physical assault, or in many cases of murdered women where police failed to take investigations seriously due to deeply ingrained racist views within law enforcement. After public demands from families and allies fought to have the scope of the inquiry widened there is now a commitment to include police behaviour and individual files in the terms of reference.

Indigenous leaders and women’s organizations have expressed serious concerns over communication with the families of victims, the transparency of the process, staff resignations, funding and timelines. In December of last year, a gathering of chiefs hosted by the Assembly of First Nations passed a resolution calling on the Trudeau government to reset the inquiry by demanding that chief commissioner Marion Buller be replaced.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada, who have been campaigning for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls for four decades, issued a call to action in 2017 to demand a comprehensive inquiry: “We are not asking anyone, especially families, to be patient with this Inquiry as it progresses. We are asking that you remain strong and face adversity with the same determination that has made this Inquiry possible. In solidarity, we will not back down until this Inquiry is what we were promised.”

As calls for an inquiry reset mount and the report and recommendations lose credibility, we demand that the Federal government allow a new leadership for the inquiry to be named through a process of full engagement with Indigenous survivors and families.

The February 14th Day of Action to honour murdered and missing Indigenous women has been instrumental in breaking the silence. The Communist Party of Canada stands in full solidarity with these actions across the country. The fight for justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women is bound together with the fight  for an equal and voluntary partnership of nations within Canada, for Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination and for an end to racism and discrimination.

Special resolution of the Central Committee, Communist Party of Canada, Feb 11th, 2018

Unifor and CLC: get back to the table!
| January 27, 2018 | 7:44 pm | Canada, Communist Party Canada, Labor | No comments

Unifor and CLC: get back to the table!

January 23, 2017

The announcement on January 17 by the National Executive Board of UNIFOR, Canada’s largest private sector union, that it was disaffiliating from the Canadian Labour Congress, effective immediately, is a shock to millions of workers in Canada – over 3 million of whom are members of unions affiliated to the CLC, and 300,000 who are members of UNIFOR.

Many remember an earlier split in the late ‘90s, ostensibly over the same issues, which fractured the labour movement for almost a decade. During that time governments and corporations drove a vicious austerity agenda that cut jobs and wages, closed plants and factories, destroyed defined benefit pension plans, orchestrated bankruptcies under the CCAA that stole workers’ wages, pensions, and benefits – just like US Steel, Nortel Networks, and Sears are doing today. Union density was undermined, the pay gap grew wider and part-time and precarious work replaced good union jobs. Public and post-secondary education and healthcare were under sharp attack, core funding for public services and universal social programs was slashed, and the trade union movement itself came under sustained attack. Corporations raked in super-profits, half a million manufacturing jobs disappeared, and real wages, purchasing power, and living standards fell.

This was all part of the neo-liberal agenda to expand corporate control, and to smash the power, influence and capacity of organized labour to become the backbone of an organized Canada-wide resistance, and the starting point to mount an effective counter-offensive.

But the top leadership, burdened under the weight of right-wing business unionism, was unable to recognize its role and responsibilities to unite its ranks and lead a militant struggle against austerity. While workers chafed, instead of exposing the political advocates of austerity in Ottawa and the provinces, many labour leaders embraced the Liberals and NDP, and doused militant, independent labour political action as destructive to these new (and not so new) political partnerships.

At the same time, labour conventions became increasingly centralized, leaving less and less time to debate issues, and making it much harder for delegates not already in leadership – or without a nod from leadership – to run for office. Votes were whipped and slates were the order of the day in too many union meetings and conventions. The labour movement settled in for a long sleep under CLC President Ken Georgetti, and few of the affiliates complained. As union density declined, raiding became a widespread way to maintain membership and the dues income needed to maintain operations. It was the norm, not the exception.

But workers’ interests are fundamentally opposed to the interests of the Big Business parties and the corporations they speak for. Tri-partism and bi-partism are poison, aiming to block and blunt the workers’ struggles.

As economic conditions worsened, workers in some of the lowest paid industries began to demand more, asking their unions to protect them against poor contracts, wages and conditions. Pressure was building for change, for the labour movement to be stronger, more militant, and more independent of employer influence.

The response of right-wing business unionism was to tighten up the organization of the trade union movement even more.

The CAW, at that time a union with a reputation as a militant, class conscious and fighting organization with a commitment to social unionism, was also in a difficult and vulnerable situation with the loss of the Auto Pact. The Big three auto companies seized the moment to squeeze the CAW with threats of closing plants and layoffs of hundreds, even thousands of workers, unless concessions were adopted. The union looked to the Liberal Party for help to stop the closures and layoffs, while also expanding its membership drives well beyond the automotive sector. Many other workers were attracted by the high wages and good contracts for autoworkers, and by the union’s militant history, and today autoworkers account for only 25% of UNIFOR’s members. As to the Liberals, their main contribution to the union was photo-ops with union leaders, and support for the contract stripping that the Tories ordered after the 2008 economic meltdown.

In the late ‘90s the SEIU charged the CAW with raiding, after SEIU locals in Canada opted to leave SEIU and join CAW.

As the CLC’s umpire noted in his report to the CLC, there was no method within the CLC Constitution for Local unions to disaffiliate without the agreement of the parent union. The reason was that the CLC’s affiliates are the unions, not the union Locals. The conundrum facing local unions that want out of CLC affiliates (which are often international unions, located in the US) must convince their union leaderships that they should be allowed to leave to join another union. With the exception of progressive unions like UE, which jointly negotiated a fraternal split at the border, almost every other union has responded by imposing a trusteeship of the local union, as Unite-HERE in the US did to Local 75 in Toronto last month.

Article 4 of the CLC Constitution has been a burning issue in the trade union movement for more than 20 years, with no resolution in sight to date. This is at the heart of the current dispute, according to the UNIFOR letter of disaffiliation. The CLC’s decision not to include UNIFOR in a sub-committee struck to review the issue suggests that a resolution was not being seriously considered.

But questions have arisen about UNIFOR’s constitution and the legality of its National Executive Board’s decision to disaffiliate without any reference to a convention or to the membership more broadly. UNIFOR members heard about the decision in the same way that everyone else did – on the news and on the internet.

They also heard that the CLC had directed that UNIFOR members are not to be seated at provincial labour federations or Labour Councils. Many UNIFOR members are Labour Council delegates, sitting on Committees, or elected Presidents and Executive members. Labour activists are distressed and angered that the on-the-ground centres of labour and community struggles across the country are being disrupted by struggles “at the top” that appear to have little to do with the bread and butter struggles on the ground: against austerity, against Trump’s NAFTA plans, against war and military spending, and much more.

Labour Councils in Hamilton, Durham and London have already refused to ask UNIFOR delegates to leave, and that is exactly what the doctor ordered for labour unity and solidarity. The inability of the CLC and UNIFOR leaderships to resolve key issues at the top levels should not tear apart the movement at the base, in the communities, in the struggles now and just ahead.

There is no doubt that the fight for Canadian autonomy, sovereignty and democracy is directly related to the ability of the labour movement to unite against austerity and the corporate assault. It’s directly related to a labour movement in which class struggle leadership prevails and business unionism is a disappearing relic. It’s related to a trade union movement that utilizes the energy, initiative and capacity of its members to build its strength, and which cooperates instead of competing with its sister unions here at home, and globally.

The decision of UNIFOR’s National Executive Board will not help to resolve the real problems that exist in the CLC. Disaffiliation will divide and weaken the labour movement at a very dangerous time for workers, their families, and for all those who are unorganized, precarious and racialized workers, and the million unemployed and under-employed. This includes our youth, whose future is both poor and uncertain.

The CLC should be equally concerned, as it too will be weakened. Raiding will gather steam everywhere, to the detriment of the unorganized workers and the labour movement as a whole. This will include raids on UNIFOR as well as on CLC affiliates. There is no doubt the employers will take every advantage possible.

Instead of sudden divorce, UNIFOR and the CLC should go back to the table and work to resolve the problems created over many years, and which must be honestly and openly addressed now. The voices of workers in Canada must be heard on this issue: they are not on-lookers but the substance of Canada’s injured labour movement.

Statement by the Central Trade Union Commission, Communist Party of Canada

Citizens head to court against city of Montreal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Citizens head to court against city of Montreal

Montreal, January 18, 2018

Members of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) and the Communist Party of Canada (CPC) are suing the City of Montreal for compensatory and punitive damages for the city’s actions which occurred during the 2015 federal election campaign. The 5-day trial will begin January 22, 2018.

During the 2015 federal election campaign, the BDS movement and the CPC, both duly registered with Elections Canada, joined forces to denounce the pro-Israel policies of Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party during the electoral campaign. BDS was registered as a third party and the CPC is a registered party which ran four candidates in Montreal. The election posters portrayed a Palestinian child murdered on a beach in Gaza during the 2014 bombings. Their aim was to raise the awareness of Montrealers concerning the cause of the Palestinian people.

These posters, identified as election posters in accordance with the Canada Elections Act, were nevertheless systematically removed by the City of Montreal, undermining the fundamental right to freedom of expression of BDS members and reducing the visibility of candidates of the CPC in the midst of an election campaign.

Following complaints to the Chief Electoral Officer, the City of Montreal has admitted to violating the law.

Today, although it recognizes this fact, the City refuses to acknowledge its fault in this case, forcing the continuation of the trial next week.

A joint release from the Communist Party of Canada and BDS Québec

“Vancouver Group Summit”: Escalating imperialist threats of sanctions & war

“Vancouver Group Summit”: Escalating imperialist threats of sanctions & war

The so-called “Vancouver Group” Summit on January 16 will bring together the 14 countries which waged war against Korea in 1950, plus South Korea and Japan – invited by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, allegedly to seek “a diplomatic solution to the Korean crisis.” The Communist Party of Canada condemns this reunion of warmakers as a further step towards new imperialist military aggression against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The North American media has portrayed the Vancouver Group Summit as a “reasonable alternative” to Donald Trump’s threat to annihilate the entire population of the DPRK. Such a US attack would be the most shocking war crime in history, violating every international law which bans military aggression against other countries. It would mean the deaths of millions of people across the region, and could easily spark a nuclear exchange threatening the entire planet. Trump’s latest boasts about his “bigger nuclear button” are a warning that the possibility of such a devastating catastrophe is quite real.

But the Tillerson-Freeland “good cop-bad cop” scenario is not a path away from war. Rather, it is a cover for the ongoing imperialist strategy to bring the people of the DPRK to their knees, by escalating economic and diplomatic sanctions with the aim of forcing their government to end to its nuclear programme. Both approaches are based on the premise that the US has the right to “punish” any country which refuses to accept the dictates of imperialism. Both Trump’s threats of mass murder, and the Tillerson-Freeland strategy, include the continued presence of tens of thousands of US troops at bases and vessels in and around the Korean peninsula, and regular war exercises to remind the DPRK that a new imperialist aggression could be launched at any moment.

The US is the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons in war, and possesses the largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world. The US continues to develop and promote nuclear weapons technology and is poised to spend an additional $1 trillion on its nuclear arsenal, through its current Nuclear Posture Review. The DPRK, on the other hand, was almost totally destroyed and impoverished by the “Korean War” waged by the US and its allies, a war which artificially divided the peninsula along the 1953 ceasefire demarcation line – for the crime of defending itself against threats of foreign invasion and coup d’état. While the US and NATO maintain a policy of “first use” for nuclear weapons, the DPRK committed to no first use in 2016.

We demand: the US must end its provocations, withdraw its massive military forces in South Korea and east Asia, sign a peace agreement, and allow reunification to proceed on the Korean Peninsula according to the right of the Korean people to self-determination and sovereignty free of external threats and provocations. This remains the only road to long-term peace and security.

As the Vancouver Group Summit nears, we call on the labour and democratic movements, and the peace movement in the first place, to say NO to sanctions and war against the DPRK – and YES to peace, peaceful coexistence, mutual security and to global nuclear disarmament, beginning with the arsenals of the United States and NATO.

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

Solidarity with the people of Honduras

December 14, 2017

Solidarity with the people of Honduras

The Communist Party of Canada extends its full solidarity to the people of Honduras who are struggling against election fraud, the suspension of democratic rights and brutal repression.

Hundreds of thousands of Hondurans have taken to the streets to protest the blatant irregularities in the results of the November 26th Presidential election provided by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal as well as evidence of voter fraud. The resistance of the people of Honduras has been met with murderous repression from state security forces and a national curfew. The Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared in Honduras has documented the killing of 14 people, with 51 people injured and 844 people detained thus far in the ongoing protests.

This attempted stealing of an election must be seen within the long history of US and Canadian imperialism’s attacks on democracy in Honduras and throughout Central America. In 2009, the Canadian government supported a coup against the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya by opposing the reinstatement of Zelaya and lobbying for Honduras’ reentry into the Organization of American States.

The coup against Zelaya came after his progressive government was attempting to re-write the constitution which Honduras inherited from the military dictatorship of the 1980s. The government was also raising wages and had placed a moratorium on new mining concessions. Canadian corporations have large mining and sweat-shop interests in Honduras. In 2011, Prime Minister Harper and Canadian business leaders went to Honduras to begin talks that resulted in a free trade deal with Honduras, making Canada the first country to send its head of state to Honduras after the 2009 coup. Canada was also directly involved in reforms to Honduras’ new mining law which was brought into force in 2014 by a pro-military coup legislature.

After the 2009 coup, violence and repression escalated and has continued until today, with hundreds of campesino, Indigenous, environmental, and anti-mining activists killed in recent years. This includes Berta Caceres who was murdered in 2016 after defending Indigenous and environmental rights. The CPC demands an end to the impunity of Canadian corporations operating in Honduras and we demand justice for Berta and the other victims of military, state and para-military repression.

The ongoing attempt at a “soft-coup” in the Honduran elections are part of a pattern of increased interference and intervention in Latin America on behalf of US imperialism, which the current government in Ottawa is complicit in. Recent examples of this aggression can be seen in the soft-coup against Dilma Rousseff in Brazil and the economic war and sanctions against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

A week after the Honduran election, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland released a statement noting concern for violence in Honduras and calling for “participatory, transparent and credible electoral processes” in the election. This mild tone was far different from the statement released by Foreign Affairs after Venezuela’s regional election in October. While there was no verifiable evidence of fraud in that election, Canada condemned the “Venezuelan regime” as well as the National Electoral Council, denounced “many irregularities” and said there was “credible concerns regarding the validity of the results”. There continues to be no evidence of electoral fraud influencing the final results in that election where United Socialist Party of Venezuela won a majority of state governorships seats. This shows that the Liberal government of Trudeau and Freeland continues to pursue a hypocritical foreign policy in our hemisphere that primarily targets progressive governments fighting for sovereignty.

The Communist Party of Canada extends its solidarity to all those fighting imperialism and fights for a foreign policy of peace, disarmament, mutually beneficial trade and sovereignty.

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

Trump’s Jerusalem Statement is a Declaration of War

December 9, 2017

Trump’s Jerusalem Statement is a Declaration of War

The Communist Party of Canada condemns the statement by US President Trump, declaring US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and directing the US Embassy to move to Jerusalem from its present location in Tel Aviv.

The US statement is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people, and complete support and endorsement of the Zionist and expansionist policies of the Israeli government, including expansion of the illegal Israeli settlements, the continuing illegal blockade of Gaza, and the imprisonment and torture of Palestinian people fighting to protect their land and national sovereignty.

The US actions have not only ended the peace process, flying in the face of UN resolutions aimed to find a peaceful political solution, but the US has declared war on all the progressive peoples and states of the Middle East who seek peaceful political solutions to complex political problems in the region.  Trump’s actions are an endorsement of Israeli militarism and aggression against the Palestinians, and others in the Middle East.

Trump’s actions are a threat to global peace and security, because of his actions in the Middle East, because of his actions and threats to DPRK, to Syria, to Venezuela, to Cuba, and because of his administration’s decisions to abandon the UN and assign itself to the role of the world’s policeman.

This is the road to calamity and global destruction.

We call on the government of Canada, and the UN to clearly and unequivocally condemn this latest US provocation and act of war, and to take immediate action to reaffirm UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as the capital, based on the 1967 boundaries, and guaranteeing the right of return to Palestinians now living abroad, which is the internationally recognized framework for a peaceful political solution.

We further call on the labour and democratic movements in Canada to oppose Trump’s criminal acts of war, to demand their retraction, and to step up the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, pending the ending of the occupation, the dismantlement of the “security” wall, full equality for Arab Palestinian Israelis and the realization of the rights of refugees including the right to return.

The Communist Party of Canada will continue to support the just cause of the Palestinian People for sovereignty and independence in their homeland, free from Israeli and US aggression and expansionism.  Their brave resistance is supported by all who value peace, democracy and sovereignty in the Middle East.

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

The Communist Party of Canada’s contribution to the 19th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties

CPC contribution to 19th International Meeting of Communist & Workers’ Parties

October 4, 2017

The Communist Party of Canada’s contribution to the 19th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties

We are honoured to bring greetings to this historic gathering on the centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.

Great October is the historic marker between all class divided, exploitative and oppressive societies heretofore; and the end of the exploitation of one human being by another achieved with the victory of Soviet power in Russia.  The epoch of the transition from capitalism to socialism was irrevocably opened for the working class to pass through, according to the objective and subjective conditions in each country. 

As Lenin said, the road to socialism is not straight like the Nevsky Prospect.  The loss of the USSR showed that the transition period is intense – a life and death struggle with imperialism, in which socialist states can be overthrown and great setbacks sustained.  But the political struggle of the working class and its allies for socialism cannot be stopped and will prevail, because the working class is the grave-digger of capitalism, as Marx proved.  This is the irreconcilable contradiction of capitalism that foretells its inevitable passing.

Imperialism has seized the moment to drive the world to the brink of world war and environmental devastation, and to unleash the forces of reaction and fascism aimed to destroy socialism, to overthrow socialist and progressive governments, to eliminate the Communist and Workers’ parties.

US imperialism’s threat to “totally destroy” DPRK, to overthrow governments in Venezuela and Syria, and to effect regime change in Cuba, is an invitation to world war and nuclear catastrophe.  US imperialism is sliding towards fascism.  The growth of fascist movements and parties globally, of austerity, xenophobia, racism and misogyny, is imperialism’s response to the changed balance of forces after 1991.

We live in a very dangerous time, facing the stark choice of socialism or barbarism.   We must soberly assess how to roll-back the threat of fascism, reaction and war, and how to advance the struggle for fundamental social transformation which working people increasingly seek, despite growing anti-communist campaigns.

In Canada, nascent fascist movements are also blooming, given new life by developments in the US and Europe.  These include Soldiers of Odin, PEGIDA, and La Meute.  They prey on the insecurity and fear of working people who are victims of the capitalist crises and who are aware that there is no recovery for them, while the biggest corporations rake in super-profits, lay-off workers, drive down wages and pensions, and demand social spending cuts.  Social democratic governments and parties, including in Canada, continue to offer prescriptions to better manage capitalism.

In Canada, the Trudeau government was elected on a platform promising peace, jobs, democracy, equality, and redress for Indigenous Peoples, most of which they have abandoned.  Trudeau has bowed to US demands to increase support for NATO and NORAD, and will increase military spending by 70%.  Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland (grand-daughter of a Ukrainian fascist collaborator) has stick-handled the government’s pro-US positions, including threats to Venezuela, and permanent stationing of Canadian troops in Latvia and Ukraine.   We vigorously oppose these policies, and campaign for peace and disarmament, withdrawal from NATO and NORAD, and cutting current military spending by 75%.  We are working hard to build the peace movement, and in particular the Canadian Peace Congress, affiliate of the World Peace Council.

The climate change crisis, causing major disasters this year, has forced itself onto the global agenda.  The struggle for climate justice must be a priority for our movement.  Socialism will prevail, provided the globe has not been destroyed by war and environmental devastation.

The NAFTA negotiations are collapsing, killed by US protectionism.  A revived Trans Pacific Trade and Investment Partnership is on the horizon.  We have campaigned hard against these deals and capitalist globalization generally, designed to cement corporate control of the world’s resources and markets, eliminating national sovereignty.

We fight for mutually beneficial, multi-lateral trade that includes long-term credits for developing countries.

We have closely followed developments in Catalonia and Kurdistan.  Like other parties, we condemn the use of force by the Spanish government against the Catalan people and their struggle for national self-determination, a right that Lenin invoked as inviolable for Marxist Leninists.

Canada is a multi-national state, created at the point of a gun, after British colonialism defeated France in North America in 1763 and then subdued the French speaking populations in what is now Quebec.  During capitalism’s rise, colonial governments aimed to exterminate or forcibly assimilate Indigenous Peoples.  This unequal and involuntary union of oppressed and oppressor has been maintained by force and violence of the Canadian state ever since.

While the CPC does not support the option of Quebec secession, because it will weaken the struggle of the working class as a whole against capitalism and for socialism, we unequivocally support the right of Quebec and other nations in Canada to self-determination and to secession if they so choose.  This puts the onus on the English speaking nation to offer a new, equal and voluntary partnership as the basis for unity in Canada, one which recognizes the national rights of all, including the right of each to leave, in a new democratic Constitution.  This is the option we favour and campaign for.

In conclusion comrades, we thank the CPRF for hosting this historic meeting in Leningrad, the cradle of the Great October Socialist Revolution.

We express our confidence in the unity and coordinated action of the Communist and Workers’ parties, in our historic struggle for socialism, peace, and a sustainable global environment.

Long live Marxism-Leninism!

Hasta la Victoria Siempre!

Delivered by CPC leader Elizabeth Rowley on behalf of the Central Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Canada to the 19th Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Leningrad, November 2-3rd, 2017.