Prime 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.
The Federal Liberals’ support for the Trans Mountain pipeline makes a mockery of any promise to give Indigenous peoples the veto on developments affecting them, and to recognize Indigenous sovereignty while also trashing commitments on climate change. The difference between Tory all-out support for all pipelines, up to and including climate change denial, and Liberal support for some pipelines, despite their intended reform of the environmental review process, is at best stylistic. There is no difference of substance.
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.
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.
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.