Communists condemn Israeli slaughter of Palestinians

GazaMay2018-768x402The Communist Party of Canada condemns the calculated slaughter of 60 Palestinian protestors, and the deliberate wounding of 2,700 others including women, children, and the elderly by Israeli snipers on the border with Gaza May 14th.  These are war crimes and crimes against humanity under the UN Charter, which the government of Canada and all people of good conscience must condemn, and demand that Israel be held accountable under international law.  The CPC also condemns the deliberate provocation by the US to move its Embassy in Israel from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.  We call on the Canadian government to reverse its shameful abstention on UN resolutions opposing the US decision to move its Embassy to Jerusalem, which implicitly enabled and encouraged the Israeli government actions this week.

Further, Canada should join with Turkey and South Africa to immediately expel Israeli diplomats, and impose boycotts, divestment and sanctions on Israel to express Canadians’ revulsion and opposition to the Israeli slaughter of unarmed Palestinians this week, and over an extended period.  The labour and democratic movements and all peace-loving people must demand imposition of UN resolution 242 which sets out a political solution to long-term and catastrophic Israeli aggression and to a growing threat of regional and global war.

These Israeli war crimes were premeditated by the government and military, and deliberately planned to coincide with the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Nakba May 15th, when Palestinian protests against the US-Israeli provocation would draw the greatest number of unarmed men, women and children to demonstrate at the border.  Israeli snipers were shooting to kill, and to permanently maim thousands who survived the snipers, but may not survive the thousands of gunshot wounds which have overwhelmed doctors and hospitals.  The Red Cross reports that hospitals – without electricity and supplies due to the eleven year old Israeli blockade of Gaza – were over-whelmed with the dying and wounded, many of whom had been shot with exploding and fragmenting bullets intended to leave fist-sized exit holes in limbs.  Deaths included children, and an 8 month old baby suffocated by an Israeli gas attack.

After years of aggression and war against the Palestinian people, including the illegal arrest, imprisonment, torture and murder of thousands of Palestinian civilians; the collective punishment of Palestinians deemed illegal under international law by former UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon; the continuous and illegal expansion of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and the bulldozing of Palestinian homes and communities; the creation of walled Palestinian towns without access to water, food, medicines and supplies; the illegal blockade of Gaza, and the illegal Israeli hijacking in international waters of boats bringing humanitarian supplies to Gaza; and the continuous efforts of successive Israeli governments to block and prevent implementation of UN resolutions that would lead to a just political solution; all of this and more describes Israel as the perpetrator of crimes against the Palestinian people, crimes against humanity, for which Israel, aided and abetted by the US, must be held accountable.

Israel’s attack on the Palestinians followed Israeli attacks on Syria just days before.  These were also supported by the US and its war-mongering President Donald Trump.  These actions by Israel and the US – both heavily armed with nuclear weapons – are a threat to the whole world.

We call on the labour and democratic movements and all peace loving peoples across Canada to demand the Canadian government condemn, and demand an end to, the US-backed Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people, now in its sixth week.  Further, we call on the labour and democratic movements and all those concerned with peace in the region to demand implementation of UN Resolution 242, which sets out the framework for a political solution to the crisis, including a return to Israel’s 1967 borders, creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the right of return for Palestinians living in exile.

We also call on the labour and democratic movements, and all peace-loving peoples to demand the Canadian government oppose Israeli attacks on Syria, which are acts of war and illegal under international law, and which threaten to escalate tensions into a much larger war in the Middle East.

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

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May Day 2018: Unite against war and reaction!

As we celebrate and build the struggles of the working class around the world this May Day, the enemies of peace are busy organizing for war.MayDay2018

The list of countries under attack or facing increasingly bellicose threats by the United States and its NATO allies is growing. The last year has seen sweeping sanctions and destabilization attempts against the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, US and Canadian backing for an ongoing soft-coup in Brazil, and an election stolen by the elite in Honduras.

In the Middle East, apartheid Israel has stepped up its war crimes against the people of Palestine, especially in Gaza where dozens of unarmed demonstrators have been assassinated by IDF snipers. The recent illegal missile strikes against Syria by the US, France and the UK seek to prolong and deepen the dirty war against Syria which has already cost the lives of over 500,000 people. Iran is facing deepening threats by the Trump administration, which is filled with war mongers with a long history of targeting the country.

The people of Korea, after more than six decades of war, occupation and division, have faced renewed attacks in the last year, including the threat of annihilation by the world’s largest nuclear power, the United States.

The Trudeau government has deepened the Harper era militarization and drive to war in Canada. In almost all of the conflicts around the world the Canadian government is contributing to US and NATO aggression. This is evident in the expansion of Canadian troop deployments in Ukraine, Iraq and Latvia. Most recently Canadian troops have been sent to Mali to aid in France’s imperialist efforts in West Africa.

The war propaganda from politicians and the corporate media is relentless. Cold War horror stories have been resuscitated as the war mongers spread fear and division to justify their aggression. A broad and massive anti-war movement must drown out the drums of war before it is too late.

Last year’s announcement that the Trudeau government intends on raising military expenditures by 70% over the next ten years shows that the government is doing everything it can to expand imperialist war and exploitation. The fight for an independent foreign policy of peace and disarmament is vital.

Unrestrained pillaging of the environment has meant the effects of climate change are starting to be felt around the globe. Hurricanes, flooding, droughts and wild fires have effected millions. Meanwhile the federal government loudly and proudly enforces the will of the oil and gas monopolies allowing for more environmental degradation and the flagrant violation of Indigenous sovereignty in Canada. This is being played out again with the federal governments current insistence that the Kinder Morgan pipeline be built in BC, despite massive opposition and the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Continued capitalist economic crisis has also expanded the drive to deepen exploitation. Their profits are made from growing poverty. As the global economy created a record number of billionaires last year, inequality has skyrocketed. The 8 richest people on earth now own as much wealth as 50% of the world’s population. This year the world’s 2,000 billionaires had their wealth grow by $762 billion, enough money to end extreme poverty seven times over.

Yet that is not enough for the capitalist class. Corporate greed in Canada has sought to deepen exploitation by fighting the raising of the minimum wage tooth and nail, gutting and raiding workers’ pensions, and continuing the privatization and austerity agenda. Signs of destitution and suffering can be seen everywhere, with the homelessness caused by the housing crisis, the opioid crisis increasing its death toll, and the suicide crisis of Indigenous youth on reserves.

The Trudeau government was elected in part because of its talk about addressing rising inequality, but there has been no “real change” to roll back corporate power. The NAFTA negotiations are an indication of this. NAFTA 2.0 will be another disaster for working people. This expansion of the corporate constitution of North America would give more rights to corporations to wreak havoc on Canadian jobs, manufacturing, the supply-management system in agriculture, on universal public Medicare and on labour and democratic rights. An alternative trade policy that promotes sovereignty and independence needs to be fought for. Canada needs international trade based on a system of mutually beneficial, multi-lateral, fair trade with countries around the world.

As anger grows towards declining living standards, the capitalist class is growing more violent and repressive. The most reactionary sections of capitalist classes around the world are growing stronger and seek to blame Muslims, women, Indigenous peoples, Black and racialized peoples, and queer and trans peoples. The rise of ultra-right and fascist organization and ideology in Canada and around the world seeks to rollback the hard fought gains of working and oppressed people and preserve the capitalist system.

Ultra-right governments have made major gains in Europe (Poland, Italy, Hungary, Ukraine) and in the United States with the Trump administration. In Canada the ultra-right is seeking to expand their close relations with the Conservative Party, as can be seen by Andrew Scheer’s connections to Rebel Media and Doug Ford’s Ontario links to anti-choice and ultra-right groups.

Mass action by working people is needed to isolate and rollback ultra-right and fascist forces. Broad alliances fighting for democracy and equality rights must be formed in opposition to racist, white supremacist and fascist organization and advocacy. Last year’s massive mobilizations after the attacks in Charlottesville demonstrate that it is possible.

The drive towards war, racism, climate chaos, poverty and precarity is by no means inevitable. The fight back of the #MeToo movement, the Women’s March, the struggle of Indigenous communities against the Trans Mountain pipeline, and the massive teachers’ strikes in the US South are just some of the current struggles that show the way.

Workers in Canada can show their solidarity and actively support workers struggles globally, standing shoulder to shoulder against the forces that are leading the world off a cliff.

Labour and its allies must unite and fight for a people’s agenda for Canada, organizing mass action for demands that can rollback corporate power and the drive to war.
This May Day the Communist Party of Canada is fighting for:

  • Fair trade, not NAFTA – multi-lateral trade with all countries that is beneficial to all parties, and includes long term credits for developing and socialist countries;
  • A foreign policy of peace and disarmament – Get out of NATO and NORAD, Cut military spending by 75%, bring home Canadian troops involved in foreign wars;
  • Fight Climate Change – nationalize natural and energy resources; close the tar sands and guarantee jobs in public development of new energy sources such as solar, wind, thermal, and renewable energy;
  • Create Jobs – invest in a national housing program to build affordable social housing across Canada; invest in value-added manufacturing, including a Canadian car and urban and inter-urban mass rapid transit; agricultural implements industry; machine tool industry; ship-building; expand social programs;
  • Raise wages and incomes – raise the minimum wage to $20; substantially increase pensions and drop the age for a full pension and OAS to 60; introduce a guaranteed annual income at a living wage; increase EI to 90% of former earnings and expand to cover all job seekers including part-time and first-time job seekers   Enact universal pay and employment equity; repeal the Temporary Foreign Workers Act;
  • Expand immigration and refugee acceptance and re-settlement; scrap the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement;
  • Expand universal social programs and Medicare, and introduce a system of universally accessible, affordable, quality public childcare;
  • Eliminate tuition fees and make post-secondary education accessible to all;
  • Protect and expand civil, social, labour and democratic rights.  Enact a Bill of Rights for labour, including the rights to strike, organize and picket.  Enforce and enact anti-hate laws.

Workers of the world unite!

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of revolutionary Karl Marx. Marx’s foundational writings highlighted the necessity of socialism to overthrow the capitalist system in order to end exploitation and oppression and emancipate humanity. Working people will take control of their own destiny and establish working class political power in order to change the world. Another world is possible, and this May Day the struggle to win it continues.

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada


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Stop the US-led war and aggression on Syria

The Communist Party of Canada condemns the illegal and murderous airstrikes on Syria conducted by the US, UK and France April 13th, and the support given to these attacks by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  We call on Parliament to condemn the airstrikes which are illegal under international law, under US law and under UK law, and under the UN Charter that rules these are war crimes.HandsOffSyriaClr

The strikes take place one day before the United Nations Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was to visit Douma, Syria to examine the site where the US and its allies claim chemical weapons were used against Syrian civilians.  The OPCW was going to Syria April 14 over the objections of the US government which had earlier vetoed a Russian motion to send the OPCW to investigate and determine whether chemical weapons were used, or not.  Following the US veto, the Syrian government invited the OPCW to investigate, which it had agreed to do.  The OPCW arrived in Syria April 14 to carry out the investigation in Douma, despite the airstrikes just hours before.

Contrary to US claims, no evidence has been produced to prove that chemical weapons were used, or found, in Douma.  Senior US officials including US Secretary of Defence James Mattis on April 12 – one day before the airstrikes – have admitted that there is no evidence of a chemical weapons attack in Douma.  Yet President Trump has launched airstrikes with the support of British PM Theresa May and French President Macron, but not their governments or Parliaments, after tweeting his war plans to the world.

The strikes are reminiscent of last year’s attacks, which were also based on falsified information and also sold to the public under the rubric of the US’ and EU’s “responsibility to protect”.  In fact this doctrine and these acts of war are protecting the mega-profits of the corporations and the arms industries.  This doctrine of war is responsible for the deaths of 2 million people since it first appeared in the region in 2001.  The Canadian government’s support for this doctrine has transformed Canada into an active participant in US and NATO’s dirty wars and aggression around the world, and has saddled the Canadian public with a 70% increase in military spending, plus increased spending on NATO, shredding Trudeau’s promise to transform Canadian foreign policy from war-making to peace-keeping.  Canada is in lock-step with US imperialism and the world’s war mongers, ready and willing to overthrow governments it does not like, and the UN Charter that rules these are war crimes.

The infamous fable of Iraqi ‘weapons of mass destruction’ which was the justification for the illegal US war on Iraq has long since been exposed as a fabrication of the US government.  Similarly, the US statement that sarin gas was used by the Syrian government was also proven to be baseless, though it was also stated as fact in the western press and media.  These are the Big Lies created by the US government to justify US and NATO aggression and war on countries around the world.

All of the evidence points to the fact that the April 13 airstrikes on Syria were deliberately aimed to prevent peace and to escalate the danger of a conventional or nuclear conflict between the US and Russia, now that the Syrian government assisted by Russia, has won the war and defeated the US backed insurgent forces of ISIS, the al-Nusra Front, the Army of Islam, and other extremists and terrorists opposed to the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.  The US refusal to accept the military defeat and the transition to peace about to be negotiated according to international law and involving the Syrian government, the US, Russia, and others, is the real reason for the airstrikes April 13.

This is consistent with the unmistakable evidence of the drive to war being pressed in the weeks leading up to April 13, in the US press and media, and in social media.  This campaign of lies and disinformation was echoed in media across the capitalist world resulting in mass confusion about the real situation in Syria, and those actually responsible.   Canadians have been fooled before.  They shouldn’t be fooled again.  The US/UK/French attacks have nothing to do with protection of the Syrian people, and everything to do with the drive for profits and the overthrow of governments that will not bend to US dictates.

TrumpAirstrikesThese airstrikes threaten not only Syria, but global peace and stability.  These actions are a deliberate US provocation against the Russian government which has indicated it will respond to any airstrikes with counter-strikes aimed at the launch sites.  The US/UK/French decision to launch these airstrikes is a recipe for a world war, which could include nuclear weapons.

We call on the peace movement, the labour and democratic movements, and on all peace-loving peoples to demand that the US, UK and France immediately end their war of aggression, and withdraw their weapons, troops and ships from the region, so that negotiations leading to peace in Syria can take place.   Mass public opposition in the streets is decisive to stop the drive to war on Syria.

We call on Canadian Parliamentarians to urgently speak up for peace and against the illegal war and war crimes launched by the US, UK and France against Syria.  Canada must not be complicit in war crimes, and must speak out against US aggression that could ‘totally destroy’ Syria and the Middle East, or escalate into a global confrontation involving Russia and the US, in the name of the specious doctrine of ‘responsibility to protect’.

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

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The Canadian government must condemn Israel’s massacre in Gaza and act to enforce UN resolutions

d11The Communist Party of Canada condemns the massacre of 18 unarmed Palestinians and the injury of 1500 others on Friday, March 30th in Gaza. We demand the Canadian government condemn the murders and attempted murders of peaceful protesters.

773 Palestinians were shot by live ammunition by Israeli occupation forces. At least one person was shot in the back and killed. A further 49 Palestinians were injured on Saturday and another Palestinian killed on Tuesday.

The massacre of unarmed demonstrators is reminiscent of the Sharpeville massacre in apartheid South Africa in 1960 and Canada’s position will be remembered.

Canada must act now to ensure that the UN and the world’s governments and peoples force Israel to stop these crimes and allow for an independent investigation, end the illegal blockade of Gaza, and honour the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

The killings were planned by the Israeli military, with 100 snipers lying in wait and the military testing tear gas dropping drones in days prior. According to the Israeli Defense Forces statements on twitter which were later deleted, “Nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed.” Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has praised the Israeli military’s work in the massacre.

The Trudeau government’s silence in the face of this crime is disgraceful and makes it complicit. This massacre highlights the need to redouble solidarity efforts for an end to the occupation of Palestine and to secure the self-determination for the Palestinian people. Israel, an occupying state with massive support from US and Canadian imperialism, has been permitted to ethnically cleanse a population, refuse it the right of return, and occupy and blockade it in an open air prison. Palestinian resistance has been met with bombings, torture, massacres and assassinations. These war crimes and violations of international law and human rights must be brought to an end through overwhelming international solidarity with the Palestinian people and immediate mass international pressure on Israel and the US to end the attacks.

These latest brutal crimes by apartheid Israel demonstrate the hypocrisy of the Canadian government. Only a few days ago the government was busy war-mongering against Russia by expelling Russian diplomats, now they are silent. If the government was actually concerned about peace and democracy it would join with labour unions, student union and people’s organizations in Canada and around the world and support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions measures against Israel. How can Russian diplomats be expelled over bizarre allegations, while Israel’s diplomats remain as favored allies of the Canadian government while their country flagrantly violates international law?

The US has already blocked a UN statement to call for an independent investigation into Israel’s attack on Friday. We demand that the US and Israel stand aside and allow for an independent and transparent investigation as has been supported by the European Union and the United Nations’ Secretary General.

The Communist Party of Canada stands in full solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination. We call on the government of Canada to immediately condemn the massacre and take action to pressure Israel and the US to adhere to the internationally recognized framework for a peaceful political solution based on Security Council resolutions 242 and 338: the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as the capital, based on the 1967 boundaries, with the guaranteed right of return to Palestinians.

We further call on the labour and democratic movements in Canada to join forces to denounce the massacre, to step up the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions demanding the end of the occupation, the dismantlement of the “security” wall, full equality for Arab Palestinian Israelis and the realization of the rights of refugees.

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

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IWD 2018 Greetings – Women* Rise Up!

IWDMarchingThis year, women will celebrate International Women’s Day with a renewed sense of strength. In many places around the world women are taking stands against sexual harassment, and sexual violence. While in North America this is often connected with what is called the #metoo movement, it is also happening in countries as diverse as India, Ireland and  Japan. We know that sexual violence is still common – in particular women who are Indigenous, racialized, trans, homeless, or sex workers are disproportionately at risk. In war zones, rape is a weapon.

This January there was a second year of marches where those who are gender oppressed displayed resistance against patriarchal violence, inequality, exploitation and oppression perpetuated by capitalism across the globe. Many of the marches had demands that included support for economic equality, women’s right to freedom from violence, full reproductive rights and freedom, full equality rights for the LGBTQ community, racialized peoples, workers, immigrants, those with a disability, for civil rights and environmental justice, and against police brutality and racial profiling, demilitarizing law enforcement and ending mass incarceration.

This fightback is important, but often there is no lasting organizational structure to support it.

The gains of women and the working class, are directly related to the strength and unity of the organizations that fight for their rights.

The retreat and foot dragging of the Liberal government on such matters as the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Inquiry; pay equity; improved sex work legislation; and a universal, accessible, affordable, quality public childcare system – stands in contrast with their quick stands in favour of Kinder Morgan and Keystone XL pipeline projects, support of the Site C dam, the theft of Indigenous lands and continued genocidal violence.

The government’s support for capitalist globalization and free trade deals such as NAFTA and the TPP extends Canada’s imperialist agenda, where corporations will gain further power and profits, but working people – women and their families – are denied food security, the ability to form or join a trade union, access to affordable housing, healthcare, education, prescription drugs and more. This government, like the Harper Tories, continues to ignore the longstanding demand to create a universal, accessible, affordable, quality, public childcare system.

Women in Canada are losing ground in terms of pay equity and pensions. The gender gap in Canada is now double the global average; racialized women make only 68 cents for every dollar made by non racialized men. The Liberal government has no plans to rectify this situation. Recent pension reforms roll-back gains women had achieved by excluding the years taken off on maternity and parental leaves in calculation of their final pensions. These are not “improvements”; this is austerity. Women are being forced to pay the price for the ongoing capitalist economic crisis and for continuing corporate tax cuts and giveaways. It’s no wonder that a recent study on the Global Gender Gap reached the damning conclusion that at the current rate, it will take 170 years for women to reach equality.

There has been a rise of racist, fascist, and extreme right-wing groups in Canada. Gendered Islamophobic violence occurs all too often in Canada. Muslim women are often verbally attacked and have been physically assaulted by having their hijabs ripped off or worse. As this violence escalates, the government sits idle while the media perpetuates the lie that Western military intervention in the Middle East is required to “save” Muslim women. The Liberals have capped refugee migration and sponsorship to Canada while making war on their North African and Middle Eastern homelands, and exploiting them for photo-ops. This is not feminism.

The truth is, PM Trudeau and the Liberal government cannot claim to be feminist while advocating and defending corporate power and super-profits. Policies and decisions that perpetuate violence against Indigenous women and territories, that deepen and expand gendered and racialized economic inequalities, that impose war and austerity at home and abroad, are all part of the capitalist agenda – an agenda that is incompatible with the demands of working-class women from all communities for peace, equality, democracy and economic and social security for themselves and their families.

Historically the labour movement in Canada has played a major role in building unity for women’s rights. However, women in leadership of the labour movement is on the decline, and those that are left to fight are weakened by the exit of Unifor. We must demand the return of inspired, progressive women into the leadership of the labour movement to unite our class in the fight against the main enemy – capitalism.

We need to continue to Rise Up! We need to organize! The Communist Party of Canada demands Full Gender Equality NOW:

  • Restore funding for women’s equality programs.
  • Close the wage gap – legislate full pay and employment equity.
  • Guarantee accessible and publicly funded abortion and reproductive rights services in every province and territory.
  • Create a universal, accessible, affordable, quality, public childcare system, with Canada-wide standards and union wages for childcare workers.
  • Protect women’s right to EI maternity coverage; expand parental benefits to 52 weeks.
  • End all forms of violence against women and provide adequate funding for crisis centres and transition houses. Repeal Bill C-36!
  • Scrap NAFTA, TPP and other treaties for corporate rule.
  • No to Islamophobia! End US, Canadian, and NATO intervention in the Middle East, zero tolerance for Islamophobic and gendered violence, and open Canada’s doors to immigrants and refugees. Repeal the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement. Repeal Bill C-51, stop Bill C-59 and other unconstitutional and undemocratic security state laws.
  • Repeal the Barbaric Cultural Practices Act, which the Trudeau Liberals supported.
  • No to austerity. No to war. People’s needs – not corporate greed!

*Note: Women in this statement includes All Women.

Women’s Commission & Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

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Justin Trudeau’s trail of broken promises

PeaceRiverPrime Minister Justin Trudeau won the 2015 election largely by pledging to take a different course than the Harper Conservatives on many key issues. This included his call for a new nation-to-nation relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples, full acceptance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and promises to act on all the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). If these promises had actually been carried out, this would have meant a sharp break with the historic policies of both the Liberal and Conservative parties, which have always imposed various forms of colonial, assimilationist and genocidal policies upon the Indigenous peoples within the borders of the Canadian state.

Instead, over two years after the Liberals took office, their list of broken and failed promises to Indigenous peoples grows longer every day. The Communist Party of Canada condemns the Liberal government’s abysmal record, as a repetition of the same old pattern of delays and excuses while the resource wealth of traditional Indigenous territories is plundered for the profits of big capital.

Going back on their pledge to engage in meaningful consultations over resource extraction projects, the Liberals continue to ignore the dissenting voices of First Nations and other affected communities. The Liberal government’s backing for the Site C dam and the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain pipeline are among the most outrageous examples of favouring the profit-hungry of big energy monopolies, in direct violation of the principles of the UNDRIP and the TRC.

In late January, for the fourth time in two years, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal issued another order for the federal government to stop removing children from indigenous families, and to end the pattern of racial discrimination in funding for First Nation child welfare agencies. While Minister of Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott has promised to implement the latest Tribunal ruling, the government’s foot-dragging on this issue does not inspire confidence that this form of cultural assimilation will be ended soon.

Similarly, the recent emergency meeting convened by the Assembly of First Nations to discuss the longstanding crisis of lack of clean drinking water on reserves and indigenous communities also drew attention to a related problem – the lack of government action on a wide range of crucial infrastructure needs on reserves across the country, from sewers and sanitation, to all-weather access roads, to completely inadequate health care and education facilities. The first two federal budgets presented by the Trudeau Liberals contained token amounts and vague promises of future funding; it remains to be seen whether things will be different in the upcoming federal budget.

Perhaps most symbolic of this pattern has been the achingly slow progress of the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls. The previous Tory government’s stubborn refusal to call such an Inquiry was an important factor in Harper’s political defeat. But after being launched with high hopes, the Inquiry has been largely bogged down due to inadequate planning, limited funding and failure to respect Indigenous protocols. There are growing calls for a “reset” of the Inquiry, so that it can be conducted in a truly respectful, nation-to-nation manner, with a mandate to expose the systemic reasons for violence against Indigenous women and girls, and also to point to the institutions and individuals in governments and police forces which failed to treat this violence as an urgent priority.

The Communist Party of Canada demands that the Liberal government offer a full and meaningful apology for these and other broken promises. We demand that the government drop its backing for the resource extraction projects promoted by big energy monopolies. The upcoming federal budget must contain adequate funding to provide clean drinking water to all reserves and indigenous communities, not years from today, but now. The budget must also provide the funding to overcome the woeful lack of decent housing for Indigenous peoples, and comply with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings on child welfare issues.

Anything less than full and immediate action on these issues would be yet another case of a federal government doing the “same old, same old” game – prioritizing the interests of the big corporations while paying lip service to the rights of Indigenous peoples. High-sounding words and artistic tattoos are not enough to erase the shameful legacy of centuries of racist, colonial oppression. At this crucial moment, we urge the labour and democratic movements across Canada to stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples who are calling out the Trudeau Liberals for their broken promises.

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

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Solidarity with Indigenous peoples’ demands for justice!

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The acquittal of Gerald Stanley, who fired the shot that killed Colten Boushie, is a stinging indictment of the systemic racism which permeates the entire policing and legal system. The Communist Party of Canada stands in full solidarity with the demands of the Boushie/Baptiste family for genuine reforms to the institutions which continue to systematically deny justice to Indigenous peoples and racialized communities.

Like many others, we are angered that this murder trial had an all-white jury, presided over by Martel Popescul, a white judge who represented the RCMP at the trial of Carney Nerland, the infamous white supremacist from Prince Albert, who in 1991 shot Cree trapper Leo LaChance in the back and received only a four-year sentence for manslaughter. From the moment the RCMP began to investigate, Colten Boushie’s family and friends were treated as criminals and thieves. His friend Belinda Jackson was taken into custody, interrogated without food or sleep for 19 hours, and his mother was told to “get herself together” as cops searched her home. In the eyes of the RCMP and the courts, Colten Boushie was not the victim of a deadly crime; he was portrayed as a dangerous home invader. The defence claimed that Gerald Stanley’s firearm may have misfired, but why would a Saskatchewan farm family even have a handgun, which is useless for protection against predatory animals?

The question points to the shocking depth of anti-Indigenous racism in Saskatchewan. This racism has its roots in the occupation of the prairies by British colonialism and the emerging Canadian capitalist state, which gave away Indigenous lands to European settlers, whose interests were protected by the North-West Mounted Police, the paramilitary force later renamed the RCMP – notorious for smashing labour strikes and spying on Communists. After the military suppression of the Metis Resistance of 1885, Indigenous peoples were forced onto reserves, banned from travelling without the permission of Indian Agents, denied the right to vote or to hire legal representation. Their children were sent to residential schools where many died and their languages were banned. The policies of the Canadian state through both Liberal and Tory governments, and the colonial policies of Britain and France before that, aimed to accomplish the genocide of Indigenous populations either through mass murder, assimilation, or both.

In this context, the social and political progress won through a century and more of struggles by Indigenous peoples is far from full equality. Despite official apologies for the residential school system and the welcome recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Indigenous peoples still face high rates of incarceration, unemployment, suicide and infant mortality; substandard education, healthcare, and housing; lack of access to clean water; violence against women and girls; the effects of mercury poisoning at Grassy Narrows, and on and on. Canada today is a country where a white farmer can put a gun to the head of a young Indigenous man and pull the trigger, without being convicted of any crime. Before reconciliation can become meaningful, the depth of racism imposed on Indigenous peoples must be recognized and addressed. The elimination of racism must become the work of governments, schools and educational institutions, religious and cultural institutions, and child and social welfare institutions which were all used to deny Indigenous people their rights and their lives up to the present. Reconciliation means fundamental change and justice.

The capitalist class benefits from such racism, using it as a tool to weaken resistance to neoliberalism and austerity. The Communist Party of Canada calls for unity of all working people – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – against the corporate drive to extract and export raw materials from the traditional territories of Indigenous peoples. The struggle for justice within the Canadian state can never advance without a consistent fight by the labour movement and all democratic forces against every form of exploitation and oppression, including the denial of the national equality rights of Indigenous peoples, Quebec, and the Acadians. This includes the right to social, economic and political equality, the right to self-determination and nation to nation relationships, and the inherent right to land and resources. The campaign to win justice for Colten Boushie and his family is an important part of this wider struggle. We will continue to support their just demands and fight for equality and justice and an end to the genocide against Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

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