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.
On National Aboriginal Day, June 21, the Communist Party of Canada sends our warmest greetings to all First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We take this important occasion to renew our solidarity with the resistance against the expansion of resource extraction industries on traditional indigenous territories, and with all those who stand for an end to racist oppression of indigenous peoples in this country.
Just ten days after June 21, hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent by the federal government to mark “Canada 150”. This year’s July 1 holiday is not a day of celebration for millions of working people who suffer from growing economic insecurity, and especially for indigenous peoples who face the highest rates of unemployment, poverty, health crises, incarceration, police violence, and countless other measures of inequality. For indigenous peoples, being forced to pay for this “party” with their own tax dollars is a bitter insult, especially since these events are being held by the Liberal Party government of Justin Trudeau, who won the electoral support of many indigenous voters two years ago, when he campaigned as a leader who would heal the damage inflicted by Stephen Harper’s Tories.
Our 38th Central Convention meets at a moment of escalating danger, from increasing war, environmental crisis and economic decay. As the systemic crisis of capitalism continues to deepen, and the effects of the 2008 economic meltdown continue to be felt, imperialist states and organizations are becoming increasingly aggressive. The standoff between nuclear armed states in Ukraine and the expanding war in Syria are powderkegs that threaten disaster. Millions upon millions of people in all parts of the world are being forced into poverty, hunger, homelessness and displacement.
But this is also a moment of rising working class and popular resistance. In all countries, albeit unevenly and with different characteristics, we see increased unity and mobilization. From online campaigns to mass demonstrations, general strikes, and political actions, people are using many different vehicles to advance these struggles. This is also expressed by the rising popularity of so-called democratic socialism, with all its contradictions, which is examined in detail in this report.
In Canada, the electoral defeat of the Conservatives in October 2015 represents a significant victory for the working class, Indigenous peoples, racialized communities, women, LGBTiQ communities, youth and students. While the victory of the Liberal party does not represent a break from the reactionary policies that are characteristic of the Canadian state, through a united, conscious political and organizational struggle we can open new space and possibilities in the fight for peace and disarmament, for immediate action to combat climate change, and for social equity and social justice. These advances can be realized – and can become concrete steps toward more fundamental change.
People’s Voice newspaper commentary
The shocking attack on Oct. 17 by RCMP officers against anti-fracking protesters in New Brunswick sends a clear signal that the Canadian state and the Harper Conservative government want to smash the growing resistance by Aboriginal peoples, environmentalists and other forces which oppose the destructive profiteering of transnational energy monopolies, such as the Houston-based Southwest Energy company (SWN).
People’s Voice and the Communist Party of Canada join with all democratic and progressive people in condemning this brutal police violence. The Oct. 21 decision by the Court of Queen’s Bench to lift SWN’s injunction, which had been filed to end the blockade protecting Mi’kmaq traditional territory from fracking, is a major victory, and makes clear that the RCMP attack was completely unjustified.