Media refuses to publish op-ed by Venezuelan Foreign Minister

Despite claims to objectivity and fairness, when it comes to Canadian interference in other countries’ domestic affairs, there’s long been only one side to the story reported in the dominant media.

Even so, the pro-Ottawa slant on Venezuela is shocking.

Recently Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza published an op-ed titled “Regime Change with a Human (Rights) Face: Trudeau’s Venezuela Policy”. The commentary notes, “Relations between Venezuela and Canada are currently at their worst point. Although previous Canadian governments did not hide their dislike for our policies aimed at reclaiming sovereignty over our natural resources and prioritizing social policies, none had so actively imitated the U.S. regime change policy as much as the current Trudeau Administration.” Arreaza criticized Canadian sanctions on Venezuela and noted that “Canada was the only country in the world that specifically forbade Venezuelan diplomatic missions” from allowing Venezuelans to vote during the May 2018 election. Venezuela’s former vice president also invited Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne to meet to discuss restarting diplomatic relations.

Few saw Arreaza’s op-ed since it was published in The Canada Files, an upstart left-wing website. But, the article was submitted to a number of major daily papers. Apparently, the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and others didn’t consider criticism by the foreign minister of a country of 30 million, that’s had diplomatic relations with Canada for seven decades, important enough to offer their readers. Blind to the irony, they would likely justify their decision on the grounds that Venezuela’s government is authoritarian and suppresses oppositional voices!

In September lawyer Andrew Dekany published a long article arguing that Canada’s first round of sanctions on Venezuela contravened Canadian law. Licensed to practice in Ontario, Dekany wrote that the August 2017 sanctions weren’t in accordance with Canadian legislation stating that international sanctions be adopted only as part of international alliances. As such, the Trump administration aided the Trudeau government by creating the US-Canada“Association Concerning the Situation in Venezuela” to conform to the existing sanctions legislation. In a Venezuela Analysis article titled “Do Canadian Sanctions Against Venezuela Violate Canadian Law?”, Dekany writes, “there is no reason for Canada to ‘create’ this association but for its desire to help the U.S. out [by sanctioning Venezuela], having failed to persuade the one obvious organization (Organization of American States) which it had democratically joined to, among other things, act in such a way.” I couldn’t find any mention of Dekany’s arguments in any major Canadian media. (The Toronto Sun published an op-ed on the subject by Dekany in 2017.)

An April 2019 Center for Economic and Policy Research report written by prominent economists Jeffrey Sachs and Mark Weisbrot concluded that 40,000 Venezuelans may have died in 2017 and 2018 as a result of US sanctions. The intensity of the US sanctions, as well as their impact on Venezuelans’ ability to eat and access medicine, has grown significantly since then. A search of Canadian Newsstand, Toronto Star and Globe and Mail elicited two mentions of Sachs and Weisbrot’s findings (A Halifax Chronicle-Herald story titled “Four million Venezuelans have fled crisis: UN” mentioned it at the bottom of the story and an op-ed in the Hill Times by Canadian Foreign Policy Institute director Bianca Mugyenyi.)

Since the fall of 2017 Canadian taxpayers have been paying a hardline pro-corporate, pro-Washington, former diplomat hundreds of thousands of dollars to coordinate the Liberal government’s bid to oust Venezuela’s government. There’s been total silence in the dominant media about Allan Culham’s role as Special Advisor on Venezuela.

As Arreaza pointed out in his op-ed, the Trudeau government’s Venezuela policy took a sharply belligerent turn after Donald Trump became president and Chrystia Freeland replaced Stéphane Dion as foreign affairs minister. In reaction to Freeland’s January 2017 appointment an official at the US embassy in Ottawa claimed Justin Trudeau appointed her to promote the interests of Washington. In July 2019 researcher Jay Watts disclosed a dispatch from the US embassy in Ottawa to the State Department in Washington entitled “Canada Adopts ‘America First’ Foreign Policy.” Uncovered through a freedom of information request, the largely redacted cable also notes that Trudeau’s government would be “Prioritizing U.S. Relations, ASAP.” Despite all kinds of fawning coverage of Freeland, the dominant media has completely ignored the US cable.

In A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation I detail extreme media bias in favour of power on topics ranging from Haiti to Palestine, investment agreements to the mining industry. Considering the pattern, the Venezuelan coverage is not surprising.

But, the growth of left and international media, as well as social media bubbles, makes it is easy to forget how few Canadians are actually receiving this critical information. Canadian media rejecting a commentary by the foreign minister of a country of 30 million is a reminder of just how biased foreign policy coverage is.

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Filed under Media, Venezuela

The people versus war profiteers and their propaganda machine

Despite polls that suggest most Canadians do not support warplanes used to kill and destroy things around the world, the federal government seems determined to spend tens of billions of dollars to expand that capability. While there is a growing movement afoot to block the Liberals’ fighter jet purchase, it will require significant mobilization to overcome the powerful forces seeking cutting edge new warplanes.

At the end of July Boeing (Super Hornet), Saab (Gripen) and Lockheed Martin (F-35) submitted bids to manufacture fighter jets for the Canadian Air Force. The sticker price for 88 new warplanes is $19 billion, but the full lifecycle cost of purchasing the jets will likely top $40 billion.

In response to the government moving forward with the planned warplane purchase, a campaign has taken off to oppose the massive government outlay. There have been two days of action at two dozen MPs offices against the warplane purchase, which is planned for 2022. Hundreds of individuals have sent emails to all MPs on the issue and a recent Canadian Foreign Policy Institute and World BEYOND War webinar pierced parliamentary silence on the planned fighter jet purchase. The October 15 “Challenging Canada’s $19 Billion Warplane Purchase” event included Green Party MP and foreign critic Paul Manly, NDP defence critic Randall Garrison and Senator Marilou McPhedran as well as activist Tamara Lorincz and poet El Jones. Manly spoke out directly against the fighter jet purchase and recently raised the issue during Question Period in the House of Commons (Green leader Annamie Paul echoed Manly’s opposition to the purchase in a recent Hill Times commentary). For her part, McPhedran suggested more sensible priorities for the large sums devoted to the warplane procurement. A noted anti-Palestinian, Garrison equivocated. He said the NDP opposed purchasing the F-35 but was open to purchasing some other bombers depending on industrial criteria.

The no warplane campaign should take heart from a recent Nanos poll. Bombing campaigns were the least popular of eight options offered to the public when asked “How supportive, if at all, are you of the following types of Canadian forces international missions.” Only 28% supported “Having the Canadian Air Force involved in airstrikes” while 77% of those polled backed “Participating in natural disaster relief abroad” and 74% supported “United Nations peacekeeping mission”. Fighter jets are largely useless for natural disasters, humanitarian relief or peacekeeping, let alone a 9/11 style attack or a global pandemic. These cutting-edge new planes are designed to enhance the air force’s ability to join belligerent US and NATO bombing campaigns.

But, using the military to support NATO and allies was also a relatively low priority of those polled. Asked by Nanos “In your opinion, what’s the most appropriate role for the Canadian Armed Forces?” 39.8% chose “Peacekeeping” and 34.5% “Defend Canada”. “Support NATO missions/allies” received the backing of 6.9% of those polled.

The no fighter jet campaign should link the $19 billion warplane purchase to Canada’s recent history of participating in US-led bombings such as Iraq (1991), Serbia (1999), Libya (2011) and Syria/Iraq (2014-2016). All these bombing campaigns – to varying degrees – violated international law and left those countries worse off. Most obviously, Libya remains at war nine years later and violence there spilled southward to Mali and across much of Africa’s Sahel region.

The no fighter jets campaign is also right to highlight warplanes contribution to the climate crisis. They are carbon-intensive and purchasing a fleet of expensive new ones is completely at odds with Canada’s stated commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. During the 2011 bombing of Libya, for instance, Canadian jets burnt 14.5 million pounds of fuel and their bombs destroyed the natural habitat.

Most Canadians have no idea about the scope of the air force and military’s ecological destruction. To mark Disarmament Week NDP MP Leah Gazan recently asked on Twitter “Did you know that according to the 2017 Canadian Armed Forces Defence and Environment Strategy, all military operations and activities are EXEMPT from national emission reduction targets!!??”

DND/CF is the single largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the federal government. In 2017 it released 544 kilotons of GHGs, 40 percent more than Public Services Canada, the next largest emitting ministry.

While the background issues and polling numbers suggest campaigners are well placed to mobilize public opinion against the $19 billion fighter jet purchase, there is still a huge hill to climb. The military and associated industries are well organized and conscious of their interests. The Canadian Forces want new jets and the CF/DND has the largest public relations operations in the country.

There are also powerful corporations set to gain substantial profits off the contract. The two main competitors, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, finance think tanks such as the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and Conference of Defence Associations. All three companies are also members of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, which supports the fighter jet purchase. Boeing and Lockheed advertise aggressively in publications read by Ottawa insiders such as iPolitics, Ottawa Business Journal and Hill Times. To facilitate access to government officials Saab, Lockheed and Boeing maintain offices a few blocks from Parliament. They actively lobby MPs and DND officials and have hired retired Air Force generals to top executive positions and contracted retired Air Force commanders to lobby for them.

Scrapping the entire 88 warplane purchase won’t be easy. But people of conscience can’t sit idly by as huge sums are devoted to one of the most destructive parts of the military, which is among the most damaging elements of our government.

To stop the fighter jet purchase, we need to create a coalition of those who oppose war, are concerned about the environment and anyone who believes there are better uses for our tax dollars. Only by mobilizing large numbers to actively oppose the warplane purchase can we hope to overcome the power of war profiteers and their propaganda machine.

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Filed under Military

National Post’s John Ivison is the real ‘useful idiot’

Who is the useful idiot?

According to National Post columnist John Ivison, I am. (“Useful idiots of the world unite – and they have, with ‘Free Meng’ event”) So are others who challenge the narrative that authoritarian China is such a danger to the US/Britain/Canada/Australia/New Zealand “Five Eyes” settler colonial states’ way of life that we must spend ever more billions on the military, put corporate executives under house arrest for Trumped up crimes and have our governments interfere in their supposedly sacred “free market” to ensure “our companies” dominate emerging communications technology. Afterall, we can’t take the chance that China might spy on us — that’s the job of our “intelligence services”.

But perhaps Ivison and his ilk should look in the mirror when searching for the “confused and misguided” who are duped into aiding another country’s agenda. They seem unable to see the forest of the US Empire for the Chinese trees.

According to experts, a country’s foreign policy is supposed to be all about defending its “self-interest” but what exactly is that?

Was it in ordinary Canadians’ self-interest to arrest a Huawei executive at the bidding of a Trump administration that reneged on an anti-nuclear agreement with Iran and reimposed sanctions against the wishes of Ottawa, Britain, France, Germany and most of the rest of the world? Wasn’t it obvious that our second largest trading partner would be angered and upset? It was certainly obvious to the other countries that refused Washington’s request to arrest Meng Wanzhou.

It seems a reasonable proposition to suggest that the arrest was in fact not in the self-interest of ordinary Canadians, but rather was undertaken to avoid the wrath of a narcissistic president and his Make America Great Again gang of extreme US nationalists.

Certainly, the ratcheting up of confrontation with China was not, and is not, in the self-interest of Canadian pork producers or farmers who grow canola and other crops that are sold to the 1.4 billion people of the world’s most populous country. Or to the tens of thousands of Canadians whose livelihoods are dependent on trade with what will soon be the world’s largest market.

US sanctions against and the banning of Huawei equipment from telecommunications networks are certainly not in the immediate self-interest of the thousands of Canadians who work in research labs owned by that company.

Most important, going along with the White nationalist tainted Trumpian demonization of China is not in the self-interest of the nearly two million Chinese Canadians who will face the brunt of the racism that is the inevitable result of rising tensions.

What would be in the self-interest of most Canadians would be a federal government that asserted our independence from Washington, that developed a foreign policy aimed at actually doing good in the world, rather than simply talking about it.

Also in the self-interest of Canadians (and most of the world) would be a government that treated people everywhere with respect and worked towards ensuring their dignity by supporting efforts to share the world’s finite resources fairly. Such a government might still make enemies, but they would be the rulers of countries and corporations who insist on taking more than their fair share, exploiting others and destroying our planet while proclaiming “greed is good, war is peace and there are no limits to growth”.

Does believing this make one a “useful idiot” or should the epithet be redirected to those who believe the best we can strive for is junior partner to those who brought us Donald Trump?

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Filed under China, Media

The hypocrisy of Liberals’ nuclear policy

Justin Trudeau & Hedy Fry

 

A Vancouver MP’s last-minute withdrawal from a recent webinar on Canada’s nuclear arms policy highlights Liberal hypocrisy. The government says they want to rid the world of nuclear weapons but refuse to take a minimal step to protect humanity from the serious threat.

A month ago Liberal MP Hedy Fry agreed to participate in a webinar on “Why hasn’t Canada signed the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty?” The long-standing member of the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament group was to speak with MPs from the NDP, Bloc Québécois and Greens, as well as Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor Setsuko Thurlow, who co-accepted the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. More than 50 organizations endorsed the webinar that took place Thursday. After the press was informed about an event seeking to press Canada to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) Fry said she couldn’t participate due to a scheduling conflict. Asked for a short video to play during the webinar Fry declined.

Did the Prime Minister’s Office intercede after becoming aware of Fry’s participation and the 27-year veteran of the House of Commons caved to their pressure?

Fry’s withdrawal from the exchange of ideas captures the hypocrisy of the Liberals’ nuclear policy. They publicly express a desire to abolish these ghastly weapons but are unwilling to upset any source of power (the PMO in Fry’s case) and the military/Washington (in the PMO’s case) to achieve it.

Last month Global Affairs claimed “Canada unequivocally supports global nuclear disarmament” while two weeks ago a government official repeated their support for a “world free of nuclear weapons.” These statements were made in response to renewed focus on nuclear disarmament after the 50th country recently ratified the TPNW, which means the accord will soon become law for the nations that have ratified it. The treaty is designed to stigmatize and criminalize nukes in a similar fashion to the UN landmine treaty and Chemical Weapons Convention.

But the Trudeau government has been hostile to the initiative. Canada was one of 38 states to vote against -123 voted in favour – holding the 2017 UN Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination. Trudeau then refused to send a representative to the TPNW negotiating meeting, which two-thirds of all countries attended. The PM went so far as to call the anti-nuclear initiative “useless” and since then his government has refused to join the 85 countries that have already signed the Treaty. At the UN General Assembly two weeks ago Canada voted against the 118 countries that reaffirmed their support for the TPNW.

In isolation the gap between the Liberals’ nuclear weapons pronouncements and actions is striking. But if one broadens the lens, the hypocrisy is substantially more astounding. The Trudeau government says its international affairs are driven by a belief in an “international rules-based order” and “feminist foreign policy” yet they refuse to sign a nuclear treaty that directly advances these stated principles.

The TPNW has been dubbed the “first feminist law on nuclear weapons” since it specifically recognizes the different ways in which nuclear weapons production and use disproportionately impacts women. Additionally, the TPNW strengthens the international rules-based order by making these weapons that are immoral also illegal under international law.

There’s a terrifying gap between what the Liberals say and do on weapons that continue to pose an existential threat to humanity.

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Filed under Justin Trudeau, nuclear weapons

Double standard blatant on Israel and China ‘foreign influence’ in Canada

Foreign influence in Canada is bad if it comes from China, but not even worth mentioning if it comes from Israel. That seems to be the position of the Globe and Mail.

Canada’s ‘paper of record’ is so gripped with anti-Chinese fervor that it is blind to a blatant double standard. Contrasting the Globe and Mail’s reporting on Canadian groups close to China and Israel highlights the xenophobic nature of their coverage.

Alongside Washington’s bid to build international opposition to China, the Globe has sought to expose Chinese influence in Canada. The paper has recently criticized Chinese government funded Confucius Institutes, which sponsor Mandarin programs and other cultural endeavors. In an October 15 story titled “Beijing used influence over B.C. schools to push its agenda and keep tabs on Canadian politics, documents show” the Globe reported on a Vancouver area Confucius-Institute-promoted school program where children read a poem that included the line “I am proud! I am Chinese!”

In a follow-up column citing the poem reading titled “It’s time to kick the Confucius Institute out of Canada” Gary Mason complained, “we have no laws or protections to force organizations acting in the interest of foreign powers to be registered and accountable.”

In a column on Thursday titled “Canada’s laws about foreign agents haven’t caught up to the modern world” Campbell Clark also called for legislation to blunt Chinese influence in Canada. “The first [to do] is to establish much greater transparency about the people in Canada working on behalf of foreign interests. The second is a law that signals it is not acceptable to secretly do the bidding of a foreign government in Canada.”

On October 28 the Globe published a story headlined “Chinese-Canadian groups laud China’s fight against U.S., allies in Korean War”. The story quoted former Canadian diplomat and senior fellow at the right-wing Macdonald Laurier Institute, Charles Burton, saying “it is so wrong to get Canadians to identify with the interests of a foreign state. That goes against the principle of citizenship.”

(The Chinese-Canadian groups’ statement on the 1950-53 Korean War was historically accurate. As many as 4 million mostly Koreans and Chinese died in a war that was partly a response to the success of China’s communist/nationalist revolution. Before China entered the war US aircraft bombed that country and Beijing only sent forces into Korea after hundreds of thousands of hostile US-led troops approached its border.)

A follow up Globe commentary partly based on the Korean war story was titled “China’s Xi Jinping is mobilizing his propaganda machinery against the west”. It noted, “these groups are revealing themselves as being plugged in and susceptible to the Chinese propaganda media; they seem to identify with China rather than with Canada.”

Since August the Globe has published a series of other stories critical of Chinese influence, including “Ontario legislature criticized for plans to fly China’s flag on Wednesday”, “CSIS warns China’s Operation Fox Hunt is targeting Canada’s Chinese community”, “Trudeau says Beijing’s targeting of Canadian Chinese community has ‘intensified’”, “CSIS warns about China’s efforts to recruit Canadian scientists” and “Universities, school boards across Canada defend ties with China’s Confucius Institute”. Another story headlined “Canada failing to address rising complaints about foreign intimidation of rights activists, Amnesty International says”, claimed that “Chinese government officials and supporters of the Communist Party of China are increasingly resorting to ‘threats, bullying and harassment’ to intimidate and silence activists in Canada.”

As the Globe has campaigned against Chinese influence and those who “identify with the interests of a foreign state”, they’ve ignored far more flagrant examples of Israeli nationalists doing the same thing. The Globe failed to report on the Israel lobby’s recent “threats, bullying and harassment” of Foodbendors due to the Toronto restaurant’s support of the Palestinian cause. Last month an open letter signed by Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters, filmmaker Ken Loach, author Yann Martel, former MP Jim Manly, poet El Jones and more than 150 others was delivered to Justice Minister David Lametti calling on the federal government to apply charges under the Foreign Enlistment Act against those recruiting Canadians for the Israeli military. The Globe ignored the letter and associated legal complaint as well as a campaign that saw more than 1,400 individuals email every MP calling for an investigation into IDF recruitment. More broadly, the paper has ignored Israeli military recruitment in Canada.

As I recently detailed, a number of Toronto schools openly promote the Israeli military. Canada’s largest private high school, Toronto’s TanenbaumCHAT, organizes fundraisers for Israeli military initiatives and holds regular “IDF days.” Former and current Israeli soldiers also talk to the students about the IDF, which sometimes appears part of the Israeli consulate’s recruitment drives. Additionally, students sing the Israeli national anthem and fly the Israeli flag.

A school enticing young people to join another country’s military is a far clearer example of “acting in the interest of foreign powers” then reciting a nationalist Chinese poem or echoing Beijing’s perspective on the Korean War. But, if the above-mentioned comments directed at Chinese-Canadian organizations were leveled against groups promoting Israel there would be a flurry of accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ just as there were when two Liberal MPs were accused of promoting the interests of a foreign country.

But, the ‘allied with another country’ discourse is a red herring. Rather than a nationalist lens, progressives everywhere should judge these matters based on whether a position is emancipatory or oppressive. A statement critical of the US-led Korean War is progressive. A poem recital noting “I am proud! I am Chinese!” is progressive when made in reference to overcoming a century of foreign domination, but not if it supports Han supremacy against ethnic minorities in China.

Defending China is somewhat complicated. While there’s lots to object to about the Chinese government, it has succeeded in mostly breaking from foreign domination over the past 70 years. But, the country’s GDP per person is still only $10,261– equal to Mexico – and its global influence has yet to reflect its share of the world’s population.

Promoting Israel — let alone recruiting for its military — is unquestionably oppressive. With a $43,641 per person GDP, nuclear arms and staunch support from the world’s hegemon, Israel has spent its entire history taking ever more of the indigenous population’s land. The Israeli military is currently imprisoning Gaza and occupying land in Syria and the West Bank in contravention of international law. Israel has bombed most Middle Eastern countries and in recent years has been bombing Syria on a near weekly basis.

Understanding what is truly going on in the realm of foreign affairs is complicated. But when double standards appear as blatant as the Globe and Mail’s coverage of groups close to China and Israel every thinking person must question what they are being told.

One must at least consider the possibility that rather than defending Canadian interests perhaps people attacking China are motivated by racism and Trumpian nationalist ‘keep America on top of the world’ sentiments.

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Filed under Asia, Campbell Clark, Gary Mason

Trudeau’s fake feminist foreign policy targets progressives

Like a cereal company marketing sugar-covered GMO cornflakes as a “healthy breakfast”, Justin Trudeau’s government spouts progressive buzzwords that mask elitist, pro-corporate policies.

As part of their self-declared “feminist foreign policy” the Liberals established a Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP), convened the first ever Women Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and appointed an Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security. Considered in isolation, each of these initiatives is praiseworthy. The problem is the government’s broader foreign policy is decidedly non-feminist and their ‘feminist’ marketing legitimates those policies.

For example, Honduras recently became the 50th country to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). As such, it will enter into force on January 22 for those nations that have adopted it. The Trudeau government opposed negotiating a treaty to abolish nuclear weapons, boycotted the conference where it was born and has steadfastly opposed signing the treaty. At the UN on Tuesday Canada voted against a resolution backed by 118 countries that reaffirmed support for the TPNW.

This is the opposite of a feminist foreign policy. In The Nation Ray Acheson, director of the disarmament program of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, wrote, “the TPNW is the first feminist law on nuclear weapons, recognizing the disproportionate impacts of nuclear weapons on women and girls and on Indigenous peoples, urging more equitable participation of women in disarmament, and mandating victim assistance and environmental remediation in relation to nuclear weapon use and testing.” Women exposed to nuclear radiation are significantly more likely to suffer deleterious health impacts than men.

Another example of Liberal hollow words: Bolivians recently defeated an elitist, Christian extremist, coup government. They did so through protests demanding an election and then a landslide victory at the polls. In the recent election women (mostly indigenous) won 57% of the seats in the Senate and 51% of the positions in the Chamber of Representatives. By way of comparison 29% of Canadian Members of Parliament are women.

From what I can tell the Trudeau government has remained silent on this feminist win. Understandably. Last year the Liberals backed the overthrow of the Bolivian government that adopted the legislative measures that greatly advanced women’s representation in politics.

The Liberals have also been seeking to oust a Nicaraguan government in which women hold more than half of all cabinet positions and 40 percent of the legislature. While seeking to get rid of leftist governments with stronger feminist credentials, Trudeau touts right-wing allies for being pro woman. In August 2018 the PM lauded extreme right Colombian president Ivan Duque for adopting “a gender-equal cabinet.” Over the past two years the number of women social movement leaders murdered has increased significantly at least partly because of Duque’s policies, notably his bid to scuttle the peace accord with the FARC rebels.

A number of repressive, elitist governments have claimed the feminist mantle to curry favour with Ottawa. When a parliamentary delegation led by Liberal MP Robert Oliphant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in 2018 the Egyptian president claimed his dictatorial regime promoted women’s rights. This hard-to-believe claim appeared in the delegation’s post trip report that whitewashed el-Sisi’s substantial repression.

In a similar vein, proposed Haitian Prime Minister Fritz William Michel presented a gender-balanced cabinet amidst massive protests in July 2019 calling for President Jovenel Moïse to go. Moïse’s appointee sought to align with a stated objective of his second most influential backer, which generated sympathetic Canadian headlines. Along with praise for Moïse, Global Affairs’ webpage about “Canada’s international assistance in Haiti” focuses on gender equity and during a February 2018 visit international development minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau, launched the first project under FIAP’s Women’s Voice and Leadership Program. “It’s a new president and we want to support him,” Bibeau told CBC before leaving on a trip that included a meeting with Haiti’s illegitimate leader.

Taking the feminist justification for its support of the corrupt and repressive Haitian regime to an absurd extreme, the Trudeau government recently tendered a $12.5 million contract in operational support to the Haitian police under its Feminist International Assistance Policy! Haiti’s Canadian-trained and funded police force is what sustained Moïse as president while facing multiple general strikes between July 2018 and December 2019.

As the Liberals have touted their “feminist foreign policy,” they have also sold armoured vehicles to the Saudis and deepened ties to other misogynistic Gulf oil kingdoms. In another position hard to align with feminism, Canada was one of two countries to vote against a June 2019 United Nations Economic and Social Council resolution stating, “the Israeli occupation remains a major obstacle for Palestinian women and girls with regard to the fulfillment of their rights.”

In a highly patriarchal and unequal world one cannot expect a government — even one, unlike the Liberals, genuinely committed to feminism — to be consistent on the subject. But, the Liberals have taken hypocrisy to new heights and this sort of fake feminist branding can weaken progressive resistance to reactionary policies, if people actually believe the marketing.

In fact, the FIAP was launched partly to dampen criticism of the dearth of aid spending at a time when they ramped up decidedly (patriarchal) military spending. The government launched their Feminist International Assistance Program two days before releasing their 2017 defence policy statement, which included a 70% increase in military spending over a decade. The FIAP didn’t include any new aid, which was at its lowest proportion of GDP in half a century. (As I’ve detailed, Canadian aid is far from as benevolent as often portrayed, but it’s preferable to military spending.) In “Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy: Bold Statement or Feminist Fig Leaf?” Stephen Brown and Liam Swiss write, “while the feminist aid policy will buttress the Liberal government’s feminist credentials, it will also provide a convenient fig leaf for the lack of political will to expand aid funding and decidedly un-feminist policies in other areas.”

The primary problem with the Liberals’ “feminist foreign policy” is not the specific initiatives or even the hypocritical double standards. It’s how the marketing drains all meaning from the word ‘feminist’ and sometimes succeeds in convincing progressives to support a foreign policy overwhelmingly driven by the US Empire and Canadian corporations.

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Filed under Justin Trudeau

Remember the history of the red poppy and Canadian militarism

As we approach the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month our political, media and military elites are once again blanketing the public sphere with martial patriotism.

NDP MP Don Davies got the ball rolling with some Yankee capitalist bashing that cheaply covered for his jingoism. After Whole Foods blocked its employees from wearing anything on their uniform – implemented in response to workers expressing solidarity with Black Lives Matter – he put forward a motion in the House of Commons critical of Whole Foods for not allowing employees to wear red poppies. He subsequently published a statement noting:

American billionaire Jeff Bezos’ company Whole Foods tried to ban their employees from displaying the poppy while at work. Thankfully, due to massive public pressure and a condemnation by Parliament, the company has quickly reversed their decision. But no Canadian should ever be told they can’t wear the poppy to remember our veterans and the sacrifices they made to preserve our free society from the horrors of fascism. Our veterans sacrificed too much. It’s time to enshrine in law the right for every Canadian to wear a poppy in the workplace so this situation never arises again.”

Global News’ Ontario news director, Mackay Taggart, sent an email to staff stating, “Poppies should be worn by all Global News anchors, reporters and radio hosts appearing on television and in online videos from Sunday November 1st to Wednesday November 11th.” The email also counselled Global staff to wear a poppy while off work. “In today’s era of social media, it would also be good practice for all our personalities to be diligent and mindful of wearing a poppy when out in public”, added Taggart.

As I detail in this story, a militaristic, imperialistic, Royal Canadian Legion owns the copyright to the red poppy. To help the historically racist and homophobic organization fundraise, the federal government granted it a monopoly over poppy distribution more than a decade before Canada got involved in the fight against “fascism”, which Davies wants us to believe the poppy represents.

Red poppies were inspired by the 1915 poem “In Flanders Fields” by Canadian army officer John McCrae. The pro-war poem calls on Canadians to “take up our quarrel with the foe” and was used to promote war bonds and recruit soldiers during World War I.

As Davies must know Remembrance Day marks the end of WWI, which was a capitalist, colonialist, horror show. The ruling elites of France, Germany, England and Russia saw war as a way to weaken working class challenges in their countries. The other major force that spurred WWI was inter-imperial rivalry in Europe. It was a struggle for global supremacy between up-and-coming Germany and the imperial powers of the day, Britain and France. In fact, support for the British Empire was Ottawa’s primary motive in joining the war. As Canada’s Prime Minister Robert Borden saw it, the fight was “to put forth every effort and to make every sacrifice necessary to ensure the integrity and maintain the honour of our empire.”

During WWI Canadian troops supported the colonial system in the Caribbean. Canadians also fought to conquer German West and East Africa, as well as Iraq and Palestine. In East Africa alone about one million died as a direct result of the war.

The horror of the war in Europe is hard to wrap one’s head around. Over four days nearly 16,000 Canadian were killed or gravely wounded fighting for a few yards of terrain at Passchendaele. During the battle for Hill 70 9,000 Canadian suffered casualties while militarists boast that Canadians “killed or wounded an estimated 25,000 Germans” fighting for the largely inconsequential hill.

The total number of Germans and others killed by Canadians during the war is unknown. Canadians killed many Germans who surrendered though. In a 1929 book English poet Robert Graves wrote, “the troops that had the worst reputation for acts of violence against prisoners were the Canadians.” One Canadian soldier wrote his parents, “after losing half of my company there [Neuville-Vitasse], we rushed them and they had the nerve to throw up their hands and cry, ‘Kamerad.’ All the ‘Kamerad’ they got was a foot of cold steel thro’ them from my remaining men while I blew their brains out with my revolver without any hesitation.” Some Canadian commanders even ordered their soldiers not to take prisoners. In “The Politics of Surrender: Canadian Soldiers and the Killing of Prisoners in the Great War” official military historian Tim Cook points out that the evidence of these killings came from interviews the CBC conducted with aging veterans for a 1960s radio series. “Dozens of Canadians testified to the execution of German prisoners,” Cook said of the 600 WWI interviews. But “none of these grim accounts found their way into the final 17-hour script.”

No one in their right mind should celebrate WWI. But what about Canada’s other military deployments?

The 385 Canadians sent to Sudan in 1884 to defend Britain’s position on the upper Nile should not be celebrated. Nor should the 7,000 Canadians dispatched to strengthen Britain’s position in southern Africa during the 1899–1902 Boer War. The 26,000 Canadian sent to Korea in the early 1950s helped turn a civil war into a multi country conflict that left as many as four million dead. In the 1990s Canada contributed significantly to the first Iraq war and participated in NATO’s 78-day bombing of Serbia. Both of these conflicts were bad for humanity. So was the war in Afghanistan, which saw 40,000 Canadian sent there between 2001 and 2014, and the bombing of Libya in 2011.

Canadian soldiers have only fought in one morally justifiable war: World War II. And even in that case, it was Nazi expansionism’s threat to British interests, not opposition to fascism or anti-Semitism, that led Ottawa to battle. Additionally, Ottawa’s position on the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War enabled the rise of fascism in Europe and Canadian forces were responsible for numerous atrocities during WWII. Nonetheless, WWII was ultimately justifiable.

While some Canadian military deployments under the auspices of the UN have contributed to the betterment of humankind, that history is also not simply positive. In early 2004 Canadian troops invaded Haiti to oust the elected president and then they helped violently suppress the popular resistance in the slums of Port-au-Prince.

In 1960 Canadian troops were dispatched as part of a UN mission to the Congo. They enabled the assassination of Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba with a Canadian Colonel, Jean Berthiaume, assisting Joseph Mobutu in recapturing the popular leader.

Do red poppies commemorate the Congolese or Haitians harmed by Canadian peacekeepers, or the Afghans, or Libyans killed by Canadians in the 2000s, or the Iraqis and Serbians killed in the 1990s, or the Koreans killed in the 1950s, or the Germans, Russians, South Africans, Sudanese and others killed before that? By focusing exclusively on “our” side Remembrance Day poppies reinforce a sense that Canada’s cause is righteous. They create an ideological climate that supports military spending and future wars.

Canadians of conscience should not help fund the reactionary Royal Canadian Legion. Nor should they promote the martial patriotism red poppies/Remembrance Day represents. To remember all victims of war support peace organizations’ white poppy campaign.

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Trudeau lobbies Biden to maintain climate-destroying Trump policy

US President Donald Trump’s climate criminality has been shocking. His administration’s contribution to worsening this existential threat to humanity will be remembered as his most damaging policy.

Largely in response to the president’s ‘spew more fossil fuels’ outlook Noam Chomsky described Trump as “the worst criminal in human history.” Pressed on the matter, Chomsky recently told the New Yorker that Adolf Hitler “was an utter monster but [he was] not dedicating his efforts perfectly consciously to destroying the prospect for human life on earth.”

So why is Ottawa trying to maintain one of the Republican’s worst environmental policies?

Incredibly, the Trudeau government’s immediate reaction to US voters rejecting Trump was to press the president-elect to break a direct promise and maintain the worst of the Donald. Soon after Biden was declared winner Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne told CBC that persuading the incoming president to build the Keystone XL Pipeline was at the “top of the agenda” for Canada.

As the first global leader to talk to President-elect Joe Biden on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised a pipeline that would ship more than 800,000 barrels of heavy carbon emitting crude a day from Alberta to the US. In response to the Trudeau government’s bid to maintain the worst of Trump, Bill McKibben wrote to 350 Canada’s list, “It’s truly unacceptable that the Trudeau cabinet’s top agenda item is to weaken Biden’s position on climate.”

Under intense pressure from indigenous and environmentalist groups President Barack Obama denied TransCanada the permit for Keystone XL. But, immediately upon taking office Trump signed an executive order allowing the pipeline. In 2018 a federal court judge in Montana halted the project after concluding the US State Department hadn’t properly considered the pipeline’s environmental impact. In response, Trump signed a new order last year that bypasses the judge’s ruling and granted permission for construction.

During the election Biden promised to cancel Keystone XL within his first 100 days in office. But now the Trudeau government, Alberta and other oil interests are pressuring Biden to break his promise. This is not an idle threat. In response to a question on the matter Alberta’s lead representative at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, James Rajotte, told the CBC on Monday that he’s already lobbying aggressively on the matter. The Stephen Harper government established an oil sands advocacy strategy that, noted Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson, “put Canada’s entire diplomatic apparatus in the US behind the Keystone campaign.” In a 2011 series dubbed the “The War for the Oil Sands in Washington” The Tyee described the intensity of Canadian lobbying efforts on behalf of Keystone XL. One congressional aide compared Canadian officials to “aggressive” car salesmen. It “was the most direct encounter I’ve had with a lobbyist representing a foreign nation,” a congressional staffer told the Tyee. Canada’s 22 consular offices in the US were ordered to take up the Keystone cause.

The Keystone XL decision is in keeping with Trudeau’s support or indifference towards Trump’s climate policy. While Trump was “dedicating his efforts perfectly consciously to destroying the prospect for human life on earth”, Trudeau sought to avoid conflict with the president over his administration’s climate criminality. Spiegel Online reported that the Canadian prime minister rejected a proposal by Chancellor Angela Merkel to support a German initiative at the 2017 G20 summit to pressure Trump on climate change. The Liberals also refused to commit Canada to improved automobile fuel mileage standards the Obama administration negotiated with the auto industry. Against the wishes of even some carmakers, Trump announced the US would freeze planned fuel-economy targets at 2020 levels, which prompted a bitter battle with California and a number of other US states. With Canada, the collection of dissident states represented 40 per cent of the North American auto market, enough to push the (divided) auto industry to follow the previously agreed fuel mileage standards. But the Liberals failed to publicly commit to push forward with steadily improved fuel mileage standards.

Despite claiming to take the climate crisis seriously, the Trudeau government has failed to put the country on track to meet even dangerously insufficient targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Expansion of the tar sands guarantees that Canada will flout its international commitments to reduce GHG emissions.

As the climate crisis worsens, it’s outrageous that Trudeau would press the president-elect to break his promise to voters and maintain the worst of Trump. Makes one wonder what level of climate criminality posterity will assign to the current Canadian prime minister.

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Canadian military support for nukes must be met with popular resistance

Why hasn’t Canada signed the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty?” is the title of an upcoming webinar featuring Liberal MP Hedy Fry, Green Party MP Elizabeth May, NDP deputy foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson, Bloc Québécois MP Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, as well as Setsuko Thurlow, who accepted the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

This is an important and timely question in light of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) recently reaching the threshold required to enter into law. On October 24 Honduras became the 50th country to ratify the TPNW, meaning it will enter into force for those states in 90 days.

Since taking office Justin Trudeau has not only refused to sign or ratify the treaty, but his government voted against holding and then boycotted the conference where two thirds of the world’s nations negotiated the TPNW. Still, the Trudeau government claims to support nuclear disarmament, the “international rules-based order” and a “feminist foreign policy” (the TPNW makes these ghastly weapons illegal and is the first nuclear treaty that seeks to remedy their disproportionate impact on women).

How to explain the gap between the government’s rhetoric and its nuclear policy? US pressure is the reason most commonly cited by proponents of the TPNW. There’s no doubt the world’s leading nuclear power and only nation to have ever dropped an atomic bomb on a human population is threatened by the treaty. In the hopes of blocking the TPNW from reaching its required threshold, the US recently called on countries to “withdraw your instrument of ratification or accession” to the treaty. After the 50th country ratified a US State Department spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, told the New York Times, “the TPNW will not result in the elimination of a single nuclear weapon, enhance the security of any state or contribute in any tangible way to peace and security in the geopolitical reality of the 21st century.”

US pressure contributes to Canada’s opposition to the TPNW, but Ottawa hasn’t simply caved to Washington.

Long before the rise of Donald Trump or Justin Trudeau, Canada’s free trade agreement with the US or the TPNW, Ottawa opposed efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. In the 2006 book Just Dummies — Cruise Missile Testing in Canada John Clearwater writes, “the record clearly shows that Canada refuses to support any resolution that specifies immediate action on a comprehensive approach to ridding the world of nuclear weapons.” As early as 1948 Canada voted against a UN call to ban nuclear weapons.

For years Canadian Forces (CF) leaders pushed for Canada to formally acquire nuclear weapons. They’ve also possessed these ghastly arms and supported the US and other allies’ atomic weapons.

Beginning in 1950, notes Clearwater in Canadian Nuclear Weapons: The Untold Story of Canada’s Cold War Arsenal,the “Canadian military longed for the weapon which separated the military haves from the have-nots.” In 1960 the Department of National Defence developed a position in favour of formally acquiring nuclear weapons. In a PHD thesis on the history of The Defence Research Board of Canada Jonathan Turner notes, “the [Defence Research] Board, and especially the Chiefs of Staff, were keen to acquire Canadian atomic and nuclear weapons.” A 1961 joint staff paper titled “Nuclear Weapons for Canadian Forces” opened by saying its objective was “to present a rationale in support of nuclear weapons for the Canadian Armed Forces.” External Affairs was opposed. After contributing to the development of the first atom bombs, CF members took part in 29 nuclear weapons trials in the US and South Pacific between 1946 and 1963.

During this period Canadian air force brass placed significant “importance” on acquiring an “offensive nuclear-strike role”, notes the official history Swords, Clunks and Widowmakers: The Tumultuous Life of the RCAF’s Original One Canadian Air Division. The Royal Canadian Air Force began secret negotiations with their US counterparts for nuclear weapons. “The clandestine nature of these discussions over the assignment of nuclear targets begs the question as to the RCAF’s motivation for secrecy,” notes Ray Stouffer in Swords, Clunks and Widowmakers. Air force leaders didn’t want government officials to know their plans.

At the height of Canadian nuclear deployments in the late 1960s the Canadian air force had between 250 and 450 US atomic bombs at its disposal in Europe. Based in Germany, the CF-104 Starfighter, for instance, operated without a gun and carried nothing but a thermal nuclear weapon.

Today Canada participates in the NATO Nuclear Planning Group and contributes personnel and financial support to NATO’s Nuclear Policy Directorate. For more than six decades Canada has backed NATO forces’ use of nuclear weapons. These ghastly weapons remain “a core component of the Alliance’s overall capabilities.” Through NATO Canada has effectively committed to fighting a nuclear war if any country breached its boundaries.

Beyond potentially disrupting its role in NATO, the TPNW could interfere with the Canadian military’s prized relations with its US counterpart in other ways. US nuclear armed vessels dock and train in Canadian waters. Since 1965 nuclear-armed US submarines have fired torpedoes at CF Maritime Experimental and Test Ranges (CFMETR), Nanoose Bay. Having endorsed Nuclear Weapons Free legislation, BC’s NDP government sought a review of Nanoose Bay’s environmental impacts in the late 1990s. In response Ottawa expropriated CFMETR’s land in the first hostile expropriation of provincial property since the early 20th century.

Through the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) the Canadian Forces have supported US nuclear policy. NORAD highlights why the CF opposes eliminating nuclear weapons and displeasing their US counterparts.

Through NORAD and a slew of other military accords the CF access “a sophistication of defence technology unavailable in Canada”, notes Ann Crosby in Dilemmas in Defence Decision-Making: constructing Canada’s role in NORAD, 1958-96. A Canadian general is the vice commander of NORAD’s advanced (mostly US) capabilities and runs the entire command when the US commander is absent. “NORAD brings the Canadian military more deeply within the US defense establishment than any other ally”, explains Ann Griffiths in The Canadian Forces and Interoperability: panacea or perdition?.

The US offers the CF special treatment. In the 1960s Washington didn’t want Ottawa to share its nuclear weapons accord with the allied West German government because they weren’t given “the same level of control afforded Canada in the Canada-US agreement”, notes Clearwater.

The CF leadership prizes its special relations to the US military and its role in the nuclear armed NATO. Canadian military leaders have long sought to gain access to the most powerful weapons the world has ever produced and in their efforts to do so were willing to keep secrets from elected officials. Ottawa’s hostility to the TPNW is far more complicated than what most understand when they hear about “US pressure”.

To counteract pressure from the military, substantial grassroots pressure is required to force the government to fulfill its expressed support for nuclear disarmament, a “rules-based international order” and “feminist foreign policy”. For Canada to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, we need to both rekindle an anti-nuclear movement that has garnered mainstream successes and revitalize broader antiwar/demilitarization/anti-imperialist activism.

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CLC lobbies for former Liberal finance minister to head international organization of rich countries

 

Bill Morneau and Hassan Yusuff

Why is the Canadian Labour Congress lobbying for a wealthy capitalist and former Liberal cabinet minister to head an international organization of rich countries?

The CLC recently released a joint statement with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce endorsing Bill Morneau, the former Liberal finance minister’s bid to lead the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a forum of 36 wealthy countries. Spurred by the current head of the CLC, the endorsement also highlights the labour federation’s sad alignment with the government and corporate Canada on the world stage.

CLC head Hassan Yussuf followed last week’s statement up with a video from Parliament Hill promoting Morneau.

A growing number of CLC affiliates and others within the union movement have criticized the endorsement. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Steelworkers and others have put out statements or tweets criticizing Yussuf/CLC. Their criticism has focused on the Liberals’ anti-labour measures domestically and the former Bay Street CEO’s bid to rip up pensions. None appear to have criticized the Liberals pro-rich people position towards some useful OECD initiatives. The Liberals have shown little interest in the OECD’s work to curtail ‘transfer pricing’ and other forms of corporate tax avoidance that drains huge sums from the Global South. They don’t, for instance, appear to have engaged with the OECD’s Inclusive Framework “new practice notes” for countries dealing with tax avoidance/evasion in the mining industry.

Yussuf became the head of the CLC with the backing of the country’s largest private sector union Unifor, which is aligned with the Liberals and no longer part of the CLC. A month before last year’s federal election Unifor invited foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to address their convention. The Freeland invitation demonstrated the union’s indifference to her staunchly pro-corporate and pro-US policies that have been bad for workers around the world, as I detailed in “Unifor aligns with Liberal foreign policy instead of international solidarity”.

But, the CLC/Yussuf endorsement of Morneau shouldn’t be explained as simply the action of a lame duck, Liberal inclined, CLC president seeking a Senate appointment. It also reflects the CLC’s long-standing alignment with Canadian foreign policy.

The CLC has worked with various establishment foreign policy organizations such as Cooperation Canada, Parliamentary Centre for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Canadian International Council. While generally on the liberal end of the international affairs discussion, these groups often depend heavily on Ottawa.

The CLC itself has received substantial international aid since its creation in 1956. The CLC’s international affairs department expanded substantially due to government funding. By 1983 six out of nine CLC international affairs positions were funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and in the early 1990s CIDA covered two thirds of all CLC international staff and project costs. When the Harper government cut CIDA funding to the CLC they had to lay off most of the staff in their international department.

Federal funding has greatly shaped Congress international operations. A CIDA-commissioned evaluation of the CLC’s International Affairs Department in 1988 noted, “the current core program is as much a response to the availability of CIDA funding and to CIDA funding categories as it is to the CLC’s perception of the needs of trade unions in developing countries.” The Congress all but admitted as much on a number of occasions. In 2012 CLC International Program Administrator Monique Charron highlighted how the labour federation shaped its policies to acquire government funding: “Alignment with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)’s pro-poor growth strategy has been an enormous challenge for the LIDP [Labour International Development Program] of late, in particular as the program attempts to position itself for future CIDA funding.”

Along with ties to the aid agency, union officialdom has collaborated with External Affairs. In a 1982 article on “Canadian Trade Unions and Palestine” Mordecai Briemberg referred to “the intimate linkages and interchanges between IAD [International Affairs Department] and External Affairs.” In the post-World War II years, explains John Price, labour leaders “developed close ties with the Canadian government and to some extent became an appendage of state foreign policy. … [Union leaders] Millard, Conroy and Mosher were all willing to collaborate with the Canadian government in the same fashion that the AFL [American Federation of Labour] was collaborating with the CIA and U.S. State Department.” When first CLC President Claude Jodoin and international affairs director Kalmen Kaplansky met new external minister Sidney Smith in 1957 they called for the “establishment of personal contact between our International Affairs Department and heads of division in [the] External Affairs department.”

(I detail many of these “contacts” over the years in Left, Right: Marching to the Beat of Imperial Canada as well as anti-worker CLC positions such as backing for NATO, support for the Bay of Pigs invasion, endorsement of Canada’s role in the UN’s destruction of Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba, a bid to prevent pro-Sandinista union representatives from coming to Canada, projects that isolated anti-apartheid activists in South Africa, etc.)

A 1980 CLC executive council report noted that the deputy director of the international affairs department, Bruce Gillies, was “on secondment to the CLC from the Department of External Affairs of Canada.” The CLC Director of International Affairs at the time, John Harker, worked previously as Executive Director of the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers, which represents Canada’s diplomats. After a decade at the CLC, Harker would oversee a number of foreign affairs-initiated projects. CLC Development Education Animator and Project Officer for Asia in the 1980s, Alan Amey previously worked at CIDA. An External Affairs employee based at the Canadian Embassy in Santiago, Chile, in the mid 1970s, Rick Jackson, later became a CLC Development Education Officer and Project Officer for Latin America.

Other labour leaders were appointed to government posts after leaving the CLC. After a decade as international affairs director Kaplansky was appointed head of the Canadian branch of the ILO and the Congress’ international director in the early 1970s, Romeo Maione, was made head of CIDA’s NGO section. For his part, CLC president during the mid-1980s Dennis McDermott was appointed ambassador to Ireland.

The CLC/Yussuf’s endorsement of Morneau to lead the OECD is odious. But, it’s not the first time the CLC has aligned with the government and corporate Canada on international affairs. Perhaps it is time for CLC members to demand foreign policy positions that support the interests of workers around the world, rather than simply align with the Canadian government.

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