The 38th Central Convention of our Party follows a major political upheaval in the recent federal election, and a new escalation of the global economic crisis which emerged in 2007-08. Initially, the Canadian economy was buffered to some degree by exports of fossil fuels and other natural resources, and because Canada’s megabanks were somewhat less exposed to the collapse in value of leveraged (re-packaged) debt. Now, the dramatic collapse in energy prices and the Canadian dollar are causing new job losses and rapid increases in the cost of imported products. The working class is paying a heavy cost for the turmoil of the capitalist system.
The Communist Party of Canada fully supports the various mobilizations of labour, community and student groups, as well as democratically-minded people, against omnibus Bill C-51. A cross-Canada day of Action has been proposed for Saturday, March 14th. The initiative is being promoted by Lead Now, Open Media, the BC Government Employees Union as well as the BC Civil Liberties Association which is calling for withdrawal of the legislation.
We urge all people to help build, broaden and strengthen these events and actions in localities across the country. Visible public opposition to the Bill – which is now clearly being railroaded through Parliament by the Harper Conservatives – is crucial to blocking this anti-democratic legislation and preventing its passage.
Déclaration du Comité exécutif central du Parti communiste du Canada, le 5 février 2015
Partout au Canada, l’alarme est sonnée contre le projet de loi C-51, la soi-disant « Loi anti-terroriste 2015 », qui donne à l’État canadien de nouveaux pouvoirs pour criminaliser la dissidence publique. En premier lieu, il vise celles et ceux qui sont critiques des politiques d’austérité néolibérales, de la destruction de l’environnement, et de la guerre impérialiste. Ce dangereux projet de loi conservateur aiderait en outre à transformer le SCRS en une force de police secrète, échappant au contrôle du public ou même du Parlement. Le Parti communiste du Canada soutient que le projet de loi C-51 ne peut pas être « amendé » ou « amélioré »; il doit être rejeté par le Parlement, et le SCRS lui-même devrait être démantelé et non pas renforcé.
Ce projet de loi constitue peut-être la plus grave menace pour la liberté d’expression et pour les libertés civiles au Canada depuis l’époque de la Loi des mesures de guerre qui, de la Première Guerre mondiale jusqu’aux années 1970, a été proclamée à plusieurs reprises par les gouvernements afin de suspendre les droits démocratiques, permettant des incarcérations massives de groupes ethniques particuliers, de communistes, de dirigeantes et de dirigeants syndicaux et d’un large éventail de forces démocratiques au Québec, jusqu’à ce qu’elle fusse finalement abrogée par le Parlement en réponse à une large pression publique.
Across Canada, alarms are being raised against Bill C-51, the so-called “Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015” which gives the Canadian state sweeping new powers to further criminalize public dissent. In the first place, it targets those critical of the corporate agenda of austerity, environmental destruction, and imperialist war. This dangerous Tory legislation would help further transform CSIS into a secret police force beyond the control of the public or even Parliament. The Communist Party of Canada warns that Bill C-51 cannot be “amended” or “improved”; it must be rejected by Parliament, and CSIS itself should be dismantled, not expanded.
This Bill constitutes perhaps the most serious threat to free speech and civil liberties in Canada since the era of the War Measures Act, which was proclaimed by governments several times from World War One to the 1970s to suspend democratic rights, including mass incarcerations of targeted ethnic groups, Communists, trade union leaders and a broad range of democratic forces in Quebec, until it was finally repealed by Parliament in response to massive public pressure.
The Communist Party of Canada warns against the attempt by the federal Conservative government to use the recent events in Ottawa and St‑Jean‑sur‑Richelieu as justification to restrict civil liberties and democratic freedoms. Even before these unconnected incidents the government had been preparing new so‑called “anti‑terrorism” legislation to expand the legal scope for CSIS and other security agencies to spy on the activities and communications of Canadians, and to allow “disruption” tactics – a euphemism for the authority to arrest anyone considered a potential threat, even those who have not engaged in any illegal activity. This chilling legislation will be brought before Parliament shortly, perhaps in an even more draconian form.
Ever since taking office, the Harper Conservatives have directed state security agencies to profile and focus on those they consider “enemies”, such as environmentalists opposed to the expansion of the tarsands and hydraulic fracking, Aboriginal movements which resist the destruction of their traditional territories by governments and resource corporations, or groups CSIS vaguely labels “multi‑issue extremists”. CSIS already operates beyond the reach of Parliament and exists to suppress political dissent. The expansion of police state powers will accelerate this drive to label Canadians as “potential terrorists,” creating a basis for even more severe police spying and repression against, the labour and democratic movements and grassroots opposition forces.
The Communist Party of Canada’s Central Committee calls for democratic‑minded people to join in the condemnation of Montréal municipal bylaw P‑6 and support the ongoing court challenge against this law. Montréal is on the front line of a much broader, reactionary attack on democratic and civil rights which must be reversed.
Bylaw P‑6 was created during, and in response to, the Québec student strike of 2012. Refusing to negotiate in good faith, and responding to the outpouring of public support, the provincial Charest Liberal government imposed draconian legislation under the title of Bill 78 which grossly violated civil and democratic rights by effectively outlawing all student protest and blocking any attempt of solidarity actions by the labour movement.
It is well known that this tactic further discredited the Charest Liberals. Public pressure helped trigger an election in which the Liberals were defeated, and the new minority Parti Québecois government struck Bill 78 from the books.
What is not well know is that on the municipal level, both Montréal and Québec City either adapted or adopted city bylaws mirroring Bill 78 ‑ and that these were never struck from the books.