We Are All Venezuela: No to U.S. sanctions and invasion! No to Canadian complicity!

We Are All Venezuela: No to U.S. sanctions and invasion! No to Canadian complicity!

The Communist Party of Canada sends our greeting to the “We Are All Venezuela” solidarity meeting in Caracas taking place the weekend of September 16th, and takes this opportunity to reiterate the demand for an immediate end to efforts at ‘regime change’ in Venezuela.

In August, the United States government, headed by the administration of Donald Trump, strengthened sanctions against the Venezuelan people and threatened the country with direct military invasion. U.S. imperialism has exploited and oppressed the region, including Venezuela, for more than a century. These efforts at destabilization and the overthrow of another elected government are part of a long history of bloody intervention, including dozens of invasions, occupations, coups, assassinations and dirty wars.

Canada’s government, under the leadership of Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, has issued ten official statements since March condemning the “regime”, Venezuela’s “decent into dictatorship”, and supporting the “opposition”, which has been promoting violence and murder in the street. There has been no criticism of Trump’s war mongering in Venezuela. In fact, Ottawa’s statements and actions have been in lock-step with the United States’ efforts at destabilization and overthrow.

It should be remembered that the Canadian government has planned and supported coups in the region in recent memory, notably Haiti in 2004 and Honduras in 2009. Aggression against Venezuela should also be seen in the context of Canadian troops being deployed in Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Iraq and soon in Africa, combined with the proposed 70% increase in Canadian military spending. Ottawa is intent on following Trump into war. Defending the sovereignty of Venezuela is part of our own struggle for sovereignty and the fight to win an independent foreign policy of peace and disarmament, outside of NATO.

Venezuela has been labeled a threat to U.S. national security and called a dictatorship. The only threat that Venezuela poses is the threat of a good example. The Bolivarian revolution has provided massive gains in living standards and democratic rights for the majority of Venezuelans. Since 2009, there have been more than 1.7 million social housing units built for poor families. Since 1999, extreme poverty has plummeted from 20% to 5.4%. The power of the racist and sexist capitalist oligarchy has been reduced and different forms of popular democracy have grown.

The elections for the Constituent Assembly on July 30th showed massive participation in a process dedicated to further advancement. The Constituent Assembly has exposed the isolation of the country’s rightwing, but the U.S. is now trying to directly intervene with sanctions and threats of invasion. The struggle of the Venezuelan people to chart a path towards full sovereignty, peace and independence, is at the heart of the struggle of the people of Latin America and those around the world fighting imperialism.

We urge the labour movement and all anti-war and democratic-minded peoples in Canada to speak out against attacks on Venezuela. The Communist Party of Canada fully and actively supports the efforts of the forces coming together across Canada in September and October under the banner “We Are All Venezuela” to condemn imperialist intervention and build solidarity with Venezuela.

Central Executive Committee, CPC

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Tell Trump No to War! Hands Off Syria!

April 7, 2017
For Immediate Release
Contact: Elizabeth Rowley, Leader 416-469-2446 (office), 647-994-4976 (cell)

US President Donald Trump’s illegal bombing of Syria yesterday is a war crime.
Prime Minister Trudeau’s statement this morning, supporting the US airstrikes, makes Canada complicit in these war crimes.
We call on the Liberal government to oppose the US airstrikes, to take a firm position supporting a return to the peace process and a negotiated settlement, and to demand a full investigation into the release of sarin gas which led to the deaths of 80 civilians.
There is no proof – nor any investigation – to determine who is responsible. What is known is that the Pentagon has trained the terrorists in the use of sarin gas, and that the terrorists had stock-piled sarin gas in secret storage facilities that were bombed by government air strikes last week.

Trump’s rush to war suggests the truth is incidental – or inconvenient for the US administration, which has fought to overthrow the Assad government for years, using mercenaries and terrorists recruited and trained to do their dirty work from the most reactionary countries in the Middle East.
Now that the Syrian government is defeating the terrorists, including ISIS, Al’Nusra, and others, the US has no more proxy forces inside the country able to overthrow the government from within.
In fact the peace process was proceeding well at the international level, with peace talks including the Assad government well underway, and the war against the terrorists nearly won. For the democratically elected Assad government, the prospects of a peaceful and negotiated political solution were at hand. They clearly had no interest in derailing the peace process.

Honest people must ask themselves, who benefits from the sarin gas deaths and the US airstrikes on Syria?

The answer, clearly, is the reactionary states in the region which have called for a no-fly zone and US military intervention to overthrow the Assad government, and a US President and Republican administration in deep trouble at home, unable to move legislation forward in the Congress, with very low public approval ratings and mass opposition growing, including inside the Republican caucuses. Not least, Trump is in trouble because of a budget which shifts $54 billion out of social spending into spending for war.

The terrorist stock-piling of sarin gas and the terrible deaths resulting from its release after the facilities were hit by bombs, has created the incident that the US government has been seeking to directly intervene in Syria. Their aim is to overthrow the Assad government by force, and to distract US public opinion from Trump’s catastrophic foreign and domestic policies including on immigration, healthcare, the EPA, and civil and democratic rights.

Trump claims that US national security interests in the region are threatened and that this gives the US the right to launch a war on Syria, is not credible. This was the justification given by the Bush and Obama administrations in launching their wars on Iraq and on Libya, leaving thousands of civilians dead and those countries in ruins.

The US airstrikes have also escalated the frightening scenario of a direct military confrontation between the US and Russia on the territory of Syria. The world is now facing the horrific possibility of a confrontation between the two countries with the largest nuclear arsenals in the world.

The Canadian government must be the voice of reason, and the voice of peace and a political solution, not the weak-kneed echo of Donald Trump and his crimes against the Syrian people.

We call on the labour and democratic movements and all those peace-loving peoples across Canada to speak up and mobilize against the US airstrikes yesterday, and against any Canadian support for or involvement in this new US war on Syria.

Canadians must make it clear in every possible way – in protests on the streets, in the media, in Parliament and on the Hill, that war is not an option. The only solution is a negotiated political solution, based in international law.

HANDS OFF SYRIA! END CANADIAN COMPLICITY IN THIS DIRTY US WAR! BRING THE TROOPS HOME!

Central Executive Committee
Communist Party of Canada

April 7, 2017

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Long live to the example of Howard

Schafik Handal Club

We would like to express our deepest feelings of love and affection to the family, comrades and friends of comrade Howard Tessler (1952 – 2017) who passed away yesterday.

A great person and beloved comrade, tenant rights advocate, storyteller, member of the Parkdale Club of the Communist Party of Canada.

We are saddened today, but know that your life has set a wonderful example to follow.

Thanks for having shared so many moments with all of us.

 

Howard Tessler 1952 - 2017

 

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Women fight back against misogyny and racism

This year, women will celebrate International Women’s Day with a renewed sense of strength, after almost 5 million women and their allies took to the streets around the world on Jan. 21 to oppose the xenophobic, racist, misogynist, homophobic, Islamophobic and pro-war agenda of Donald Trump and his government of Wall Street bankers, billionaires and oilmen. This march was a display of resistance against patriarchal violence, inequality, exploitation and oppression perpetuated by capitalism across the globe. Several lasting unity principles came out of the march, including 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. 

 

IWD Guelph 2017 - Poster

This powerful women’s  movement is needed in Canada now more than ever, with our self-styled feminist prime minister who believes gender equality means creating a gender-balanced cabinet to carry out anti-women, pro-business policies such as the approval of the Kinder Morgan and Keystone XL Pipeline projects. Indigenous women are at the forefront of resisting this policy, along with the occupation of lands, theft of resources, and colonial gendered violence which all continue under the Trudeau Liberals. The government’s support for capitalist globalization and free trade deals such as CETA 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.

Trump’s Muslim ban and his bigoted statements have encouraged racist, fascist, and extreme right-wing groups in Canada to spread their hate propaganda and terrorist activities.  The recent terrorist attack in Quebec City, which resulted in the death of six innocent lives during prayer, was aimed against the entire Muslim community in Canada. But the Trudeau government responded only with words, not action. Further, 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.

Which way forward for women in Canada?

The Women’s March on Washington’s Unity Principles provide a solid basis for building unity across our communities. We are building strong coalitions of women’s groups together – women from groups like Idle No More, Black Lives Matter, Labour Women’s Committees, LGBTQ, disability, student and, pro-choice and other groups. We also need to mobilize to win a progressive, anti-capitalist women’s program in our communities and across our country.

We refuse to wait any longer for equality. 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!
  • 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-31 and other unconstitutional and undemocratic security state laws.
  • Repeal the Barbaric Cultural Practices Act.
  • No to austerity.  No to war.  People’s needs – not corporate greed!

 

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

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Caring for the public: Guelph Hydro is a significant asset for our city

 

It is very important that the City of Guelph maintains Guelph Hydro as publically owned. We must do this despite neoliberal trends from the Provincial Government, which is shamefully privatizing Hydro One. This privatization is increasing hydro rates, especially in rural communities, reducing long term revenue for the province of Ontario, and taking away an opportunity for Ontario to democratically plan our energy network and better invest in public green energy. If Guelph Hydro is sold off, there will be similar negative results for people in Guelph to what the people in Ontario are facing because of the sale of Hydro One.

 

83%, of Ontarians, including an average of 8 out of 10 people in Guelph, are opposed to the privatization of Hydro One (and, by extension, the general privatization of electrical utilities), and 200 municipalities (half of the municipalities in the province) have passed motions opposing the privatization. People take this position for good reasons.

 

The price of private electricity

According to the United Nations, access to energy is basic human need.

 

Guelph Hydro provides over 100 good, unionized jobs, and at a time when the gap between the rich and poor is widening, and we are experiencing an increase in unemployment and precarious work, the importance of maintaining good jobs cannot be understated.

 

Guelph Hydro also provides lower prices than private hydro companies. In a recent study looking at costs per customer for people in Ontario, fully public Local Distribution Companies averaged a cost of $409 per year, but fully private companies averaged a cost of at $725 per year. Working class people cannot afford for Guelph Hydro to be sold off and privatized, and the higher costs that would result.

 

Because workers are in well-paid, unionized jobs, Public Local Distribution Companies also provide a much better service for the community than private companies. On average public companies end blackouts quicker and more efficiently than private companies.

 

Guelph Hydro is also publically controlled and owned. If it is sold off – this means the Guelph community will lose control over its energy provider. It also means the City of Guelph will lose revenue, to re-invest in its electricity infrastructure and in the city. This loss will also harm the city’s ability to generate revenue shortly after the initial sale. According to the 2015 Guelph Hydro report, Guelph Hydro provided 1.5 million dollars in dividends to the city of Guelph.

 

Governments and corporations try to justify privatization by saying it brings in much-needed money for things like infrastructure. In reality, though, much more money can be raised, in a much more predictable and sustainable way, by keeping these services public, and by increasing corporate taxes. Ontario is the lowest corporate tax jurisdiction in North America, and the tax cuts of the past 20 years add up to $18 billion per year in lost public revenue . There is simply no way that privatization can provide that kind of money to any government.

 

A merger with a private company would result in the privatization of Guelph Hydro soon afterwards. As well, a merger with a public company will simply create something more profitable to be sold off in the future. Merging with a public or private company would have several detrimental impacts that clearly offset potential benefits: i) a significant portion of the current revenue generated by Guelph Hydro will be shared with the partner, ii) the staff of both companies will be reduced, with arguments about company efficiency – taking away good jobs from the Guelph community, iii) investments on the grid of our city will be reduced as the merging companies now have a greater area to serve, iv) decisions about distribution rates in Guelph, and renewal of our city’s grid will not be made with Guelph have as much of a priority as today.

 

We are against the privatization of hydro and also the merging of hydro. Both privatization and merging of Guelph Hydro will result in workers losing jobs, and much less or no control over Guelph Hydro by the city council and by extension people in the Community.

 

Don’t sell off Guelph Hydro. Instead, enhance it as a public service that provides good jobs and decent, affordable electricity rates.

 

Statement presented by the Communist Party of Canada – Guelph, at the Special Council Meeting about the status of Guelph Hydro held at the City Hall on February 15th, 2017.

 

Further readings:

http://cpress.org/leftnews/news-item-1474895719.38

http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2016/ex/comm/communicationfile-61047.pdf

http://www.guelphhydro.com/en/aboutus/resources/2015_GMHI_Annual_Report_-_FINAL.pdf

 

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Norman Bethune Day

“Medicine, as we are practising it, is a luxury trade. We are selling bread at the price of jewels… Let us take the profit, the private economic profit, out of medicine, and purify our profession of rapacious individualism… Let us say to the people not ‘How much have you got?’ but ‘How best can we serve you?”

Norman Bethune

images

Doctor Norman Bethune. Photo credit: Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

 

People’s Voice is sponsoring the celebrations honouring the Gravenhurst-born Doctor Norman Bethune, who was a pioneer and innovator in medical surgeries for tuberculosis. Father of the Canadian Medicare practised medicine for the benefit of the majority of the people following his profound humanist and internationalist spirit.

What: Norman Bethune Day Dinner!

$5 tickets, door prize includes trip for 2 to Cuba!

Dinner, drinks, music, poetry and more

When: Saturday February 25th 730pm

Where: 290 Danforth Ave TORONTO (Greektown). Subway Chester

More information at: https://www.facebook.com/events/201882110286341/

 

 

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Unite against Trump’s ultra-right racists!

The election of Donald Trump marks an extremely dangerous shift, that threatens peace, democracy and sovereignty abroad, and labour, civil, social, and equality rights in the U.S. As the de facto leader of a fascist movement, Trump has been compared to Silvio Berlusconi, the fascist leader of the Italian People of Freedom Party. The Republicans now control both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the executive branch, with power to make crucial appointments to the Supreme Court. We are witnessing the rise of a far right political movement similar to several European countries with all of the violent racism, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, and transphobia that goes with it. Marine Le Pen of France’s far-right National Front was the first foreign party leader to congratulate Trump on election night.

poster

On January 19, the Communist Party of Canada and the Guelph Young Communist League have organized this event to analyse the origins and consequences of Trump’s presidency. Additional details of the event can be found on this Facebook page.

Most Republican electors cast a vote for Trump, despite earlier repudiations by many prominent party leaders. At the end of the campaign, most of them rallied for Trump and for the Republican candidates for Congress and Senate. Other factors included a relatively low turnout, racist voter suppression tactics, the electoral college system which helped Trump win despite a lower share of the popular vote, and the wide prevalence of misogynist and sexist views in the United States.

But Trump’s victory also resulted from the inability of Hillary Clinton’s campaign to hold together the broad coalition of forces that led to Barack Obama’s election in 2008 and re-election in 2012, including Black and Hispanic voters, women, labour, and youth. In this campaign, the turnout by Black Americans was significantly lower. A similar albeit narrower coalition had coalesced around Bernie Sanders, a self-styled “democratic socialist.” After Sanders’ candidacy for the Democratic nomination was defeated, many of his supporters opted to stay home even though the Democratic platform included some of his policies. Others voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, or other third party candidates, rather than support Clinton, who was widely recognized as a war-monger and a representative of the banks, finance capital, and the 1%. The Democratic Party establishment, which hand-picked Clinton for the nomination, turned their backs on the US working class which faces worsening social conditions, collapsing wages and living standards, and mass permanent unemployment.

In the process, the Clinton campaign helped Trump build up his image as an outsider, beholden to no-one, though he was in fact heavily financed and supported by the Breitbart group and alt.right movements, the Tea Party, the religious right, the KKK, the military, police, and secret service, and by reactionary corporate interests who undoubtedly helped to finance the campaign behind the scenes. Trump has never been the lone cowboy he claims to be, either financially or politically. He is the front man for the ultra-right corporate and fascist forces in the US today.

The ongoing capitalist crisis since 2008, combined with systematic de-industrialization, plant closures and job losses resulting from global capitalist trade deals such as NAFTA and the upcoming TPP, has created a tipping point. Unwilling to continue with the status quo, working people have become increasingly angry and bitter, demanding change.

The field was wide open for the demagogic ultra-right to offer their alternative: attacks on immigrants, racialized communities, Muslims, women, and unidentified elites, including trade unions and equality seeking groups and legislation blamed for the crisis in the country. “Make America Great Again” was Trump’s broad stroke promise to improve the lives of unemployed and unorganized sections of the white (male) working class and ruined small business people, and to wreak revenge on those held responsible for their situation.

Trump’s promises to create jobs and raise living standards are fantasies for the public. His agenda is to lower corporate taxes, eliminate regulation of corporations and banks, slash education and healthcare, privatize public assets and services, scrap civil, labour, equality and democratic rights, expel immigrants, repeal “Obamacare”, appoint judges who will attack reproductive rights, and rip up the Paris Accords and other efforts to tackle climate change. He will be in charge of the US nuclear weapons codes, and he proposes to double military spending. There will be no breathing space under Trump, who will continue the imperialist policies of previous presidents, including new wars in the Middle East and Central Asia, continued aggression in Africa, regime change in Latin America, and the NATO drive to encircle Russia and China.

Living next door to the tiger, Canada will not be immune. US investment and control runs right through the Canadian economy, our energy and resource extraction policies are very similar, our environmental policies are almost as bad, and Canadian foreign policy and support for NATO is in lock-step. Where there are differences, the US always prevails. This will include any amendments to NAFTA or the TPP, or the Keystone Excel Pipeline and other pipeline deals.

Facing this onslaught, working people in Canada and the US, and especially the trade unions, must organize to defend hard-won rights and standards, and to mobilize broad-based unity and mass independent political action in the streets to stop Trump and the ultra-right in their tracks. Unity of the Canadian labour and people’s movements with our counterparts in the US will strengthen this fight in both countries. The Communist Party of Canada stands in solidarity with those who voted against and fought to defeat Trump, and with the Black Lives Matters movement, the Standing Rock water protectors, and all other post-election struggles against the ultra-right, in the US, Canada and globally. To succeed, this fight must include a program and policies for the real, fundamental, and progressive change that working people are so desperately looking for. In the meantime, unity, unity and more unity is what we need in this struggle. The people united, will never be defeated!

Statement on the U.S. election, Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada, Nov. 10, 2016

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