November 13, 2015

English Edition, No. 18

Remembrance Day 2015

Let Us Reaffirm Our Demand for
an Anti-War Government!

Remembrance Day 2015
Let Us Reaffirm Our Demand for an Anti-War Government!

20th Anniversary of the 1995 Referendum
20 Years After the Referendum and the Election of Justin Trudeau's Liberals


Remembrance Day 2015

Let Us Reaffirm Our Demand for
an Anti-War Government!

 Remembrance Day is a time to pay tribute to the victims of the war, to all those who fought for genuine peace, as well as the thousands of refugees who are the victims of the politics of war which Canada continues to play a determining role in. It is an occasion to reiterate our aspiration for an anti-war government that upholds the principles of equality between peoples and nations, big or small, without interference in their internal affairs. It is an occasion to reaffirm our rejection of the use of force to settle conflicts between peoples. Demanding that Canada withdraw from the aggressive and warmongering organizations NATO and NORAD, in the service of the U.S. and its designs against the peoples of the world, remains the order of the day.

These aspirations and demands must be reaffirmed on this Day of Remembrance 2015 now that the pro-war government of Stephen Harper has been defeated and the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau has been sworn in. On October 20, the day after the election, the media reported that Trudeau contacted U.S. President Barack Obama to announce to him that Canada would stop the air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria while reaffirming the commitment of Canada to play an active role within the alliance led by the United States. "I committed that we would continue to engage in a responsible way that understands how important Canada's role is to play in the fight against IS (Islamic State), but he (Barack Obama) understands the commitments I've made around ending the combat mission," he said. The new prime minister then spoke of humanitarian aid while reaffirming that Canada will continue to be a leading member of the alliance led by the United States.

So what will be the difference between the defeated pro-war government of Stephen Harper and the "sunny ways" of the Liberal government? A government that will find the justification to present humanitarian aid in a progressive light, while remaining under the helm of the U.S.? A government that will form and train the military and paramilitary to serve the plans of the big powers for domination against the sovereignty of the peoples of Iraq, Iran, North Africa and Asia?

The reality of a Canadian government in the service of the U.S. war agenda is a fact of life and cannot be hidden or evaded forever. The issues linked to the questions of war and peace remain problems that must be taken up for solution, just like the need for the renewal of the political process so that the people are placed at the centre of decision-making in all matters that concern them, including the need for an anti-war government to ensure genuine peace.

On this Remembrance Day, let us reaffirm our demand for an anti-war government!

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20th Anniversary of the 1995 Referendum

20 Years After the Referendum and the Election of Justin Trudeau's Liberals

October 30 marked the 20th anniversary of the 1995 referendum on the sovereignty of Quebec. On October 30, 1995 Quebecers were called upon to answer the question: Do you accept that Quebec should become sovereign after having made a formal offer to Canada for a new economic and political partnership?

The result of the referendum is well known. Despite a difference of less than 1 percent of the vote, Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chrétien proclaimed it was a "victory over separatism."

While the election of a majority Liberal government took place at practically the same time as the 20th anniversary of the 1995 referendum in Quebec, in both cases a concerted effort was made on the part of the federal and Quebec establishment to act as if nothing had happened and go about business as usual.

In interviews and reports on the October 30, 1995 referendum, a lot of coverage was given to the likes of Jean Chrétien, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Jean Charest, leader of the Conservative Party federally (Vice-President of the No side) and Brian Tobin, Liberal Premier of Newfoundland, who shared in military campaign style how they had gone all out to interfere in the discussion of the Quebec people regarding their legitimate right to exercise their sovereignty.

During the period leading up to the referendum, the Liberals led by Jean Chrétien and Daniel Johnson, leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, did everything possible to block the holding of a calm discussion on the needs of the Quebec nation and the need for a modern constitution for Canada. They resorted to lying, disinformation, threats and blackmail to subvert all efforts for a sensible discussion. The No side repeatedly violated the Quebec Referendum Act, notably with regards to spending limits.

Later, in 2006, the Chief Electoral Officer of Quebec asked Judge Bernard Grenier to investigate the allegations of illegal spending on the part of the No side and Option Canada, a lobby group associated with large businesses who had also made contributions to both the Liberal and Conservative parties. The judge determined that $539,000 had been spent illegally by the No Committee during the referendum campaign, not including the unity rally.

Following the release of Grenier's report in 2007, demands were voiced urging a full federal inquiry into infringements of Quebec's referendum law and the demand was raised in parliament by the Bloc québécois and by the authors of the book Les Secrets d'Option Canada. All demands for a federal inquiry were dismissed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the time, and during the recent electoral campaign his party, the Liberals and New Democrats refused to speak about the need for constitutional change.

The electoral coup that brought the Justin Trudeau Liberal government to power also strategically said nothing about the constitution and Quebec's right to self-determination. A concerted effort was made by the media in Quebec not to ask him the question and Justin Trudeau spent nearly 78 days of the election campaign without having to present his position. The only time he was asked about the issue was during the leaders debate and his off-hand remark said it all. NDP leader Thomas Mulcair asked him what would he consider the right number if a vote of 50 percent plus one in favour of sovereignty were not enough, to which Trudeau responded: "The number is nine. Nine judges of the Supreme Court." He therefore is clearly saying that the decision belongs to the federal power and not the Quebec people.

Despite the fact that the issue was not discussed during the campaign, it is now being claimed that the election results prove that Quebec sovereignty is a thing of the past.

The reality is that the constitutional and federal arrangements that date back to the 19th century no longer meet the needs for the affirmation of rights, be it the national rights of Quebec, the rights of the First Nations peoples or the rights of citizens and residents Canada-wide. The repatriation of the Constitution by Pierre Trudeau in 1982 and his Charter of Rights and Freedoms failed to sort out a single issue -- far from it! Not only did repatriation take place without the consent or support of Quebec, which in itself is a reality that no amount of silence will settle, but the Charter of Rights and Freedoms created even more contention and left Canadians open to a brutal assault on their rights, including through Stephen Harper's new anti-terrorism law, Bill C-51. In no way did it offer any assistance in the affirmation of the hereditary rights of the indigenous peoples with respect to the assault by governments in the service of the rich, intent to hand over the resources and land to irresponsible development by world monopolies. Nor did it contribute to affirming Canadians' sense of belonging.

The day after the October 19 election Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard declared that the election results proved that Quebec sovereignty is a thing of the past. Will he now be tempted with Justin Trudeau to carry out his threat to sign the Constitution on behalf of Quebec and to end the debate once and for all? He should think twice!

If there is a clear message from the Quebec electorate on the issue of sovereignty, with regard to the October 19 federal election or, for that matter, the April 2014 Quebec election, it is that Quebecers refuse to have a vision of a nation or of an identity defined by others or forced upon them. They reject any narrow vision that does not begin with guaranteeing the rights of all. No proclamation by Couillard or Trudeau will end the national question and the Constitutional question.

) The upcoming period, in particular the 150th anniversary of the Canadian federation in 2017, should be the occasion for a broad discussion on the arrangements needed to guarantee Quebec's national rights, the hereditary rights of the indigenous peoples, the rights of the national minorities, the rights of the citizenry and the desire of Canadians to affirm their identity. Now is the time to discuss the need for a modern constitution for Quebec and for Canada and to guarantee the rights that belong to all by virtue of being human. It is the struggle for the affirmation of the rights of all that will guide us through the sea of disinformation that will come with the the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Our Future Lies in the Defence of the Rights of All! Let the Working Class Constitute Itself the Nation and Vest Sovereignty in the People!


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