Category Archives: Justin Trudeau

Trudeau Actively Aids Israeli Occupation

The Trudeau government presents itself as both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian. In fact, Ottawa pursues policies that enable Israel’s expansionism while its relations with the Palestinians also serve the colonial authority.

At the start of last week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had successive calls with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali “I have killed lots of Arabs” Bennett and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. Foreign Minister Marc Garneau then met his Israeli and PA counterparts. The outreach is designed to offer diplomatic support to the new Israeli government and the PA, which recently canceled elections it has postponed for over a decade.

According to polls 84% of Palestinians consider the PA corrupt and many are critical of the Palestinian Authority for yielding in the face of ongoing Israeli settlement expansion. In recent days there have been major demonstrations in Hebron, Ramallah and elsewhere in the West Bank calling for the fall of the PA due to its role in repressing the Palestinian liberation struggle. In response the PA has asked Israel if it could buy gas canisters, stun grenades and “non-lethal” munitions to replenish its stocks.

The protests are a response to Palestinian security forces killing Nizar Banat, a 43-year-old media activist who documented alleged PA corruption. “Now the Dayton authority is arresting political activist Nizar Banat and confiscating all his possessions, including computers and phones, and brutally assaulting him,” his family posted toBanat’s Facebook account minutes before he was killed.

Palestinians regularly denounce the “Dayton Authority” and “Dayton forces”, which is a reference to former US Security Coordinator Keith Dayton. In the late 2000s the US lieutenant general oversaw organizing a 10,000-member Palestinian security force. “We don’t provide anything to the Palestinians,” Dayton told the Associated Press in 2009, “unless it has been thoroughly coordinated with the State of Israel and they agree to it.” For instance, Israel’s internal intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, vets all of the Palestinian recruits.

Like colonial authorities throughout history, Israel has looked to compliant locals to take up the occupation’s security burden. What is unique about the PA security forces’ operations are their international ties. In a 2011 story detailing how PA security “undermine efforts by Palestinians to challenge the occupation”, Adam Shatz wrote: “It is an extraordinary arrangement: the security forces of a country under occupation are being subcontracted by third parties outside the region to prevent resistance to the occupying power, even as that power continues to grab more land.”

Canada was/is the second-biggest contributor to the Dayton/Office of the United States Security Coordinator. A fifth of Dayton’s initial staff were Canadians, including a counterpart Canadian Brigadier-General. During the Stephen Harper government ministers repeatedly praised Dayton and Canadians trained the Palestinian security force in Jordan at the U.S.-built International Police Training Center (established to train Iraqi security after the 2003 invasion). While the number has varied slightly, 23 Canadian troops and 3 RCMP officers are currently part of Operation Proteus, Canada’s contribution to the Office of the United States Security Coordinator.

“The Canadian contribution is invaluable,” explained Dayton to The Maple Leaf, a publication of the Canadian army. Canadians are particularly useful because, Dayton said, “US personnel have travel restrictions when operating in the West Bank. But, our British and Canadian members do not.” Calling them his “eyes and ears” Dayton added: “The Canadians … are organized in teams we call road warriors, and they move around the West Bank daily visiting Palestinian security leaders, gauging local conditions.”

Canada has plowed more than $100 million into the PA security services over the past 15 years. In 2021 the military is allocating $8.8 million to Operation Proteus and millions of dollars more in “aid” supports Palestinian security forces. In 2018 the Trudeau government initiated the $1.25 million “Empowering the Palestinian Security Sector” and the $3.5 million “Security Sector Capacity Building in the West Bank” projects. According to Global Affairs’ description of the latter initiative, “these activities complement the ongoing institutional capacity-building efforts by Operation PROTEUS, Canada’s contribution to the United States Security Coordinator.”

At the height of Canada’s involvement in Palestinian security sector reform tens of millions of dollars a year supported the Dayton led mission. According to former Minister Peter Kent “most” of a five-year $300 million Canadian “aid” package to the Palestinians that began at the end of 2007 was for the Palestinian security forces.

When Harper’s Conservatives threatened to sever aid to the PA for pursuing recognition of Palestinian statehood at the UN, the Israelis pressured Canada not to cut off assistance. “There have been increasing references in the past months during high-level bilateral meetings with the Israelis about the importance and value they place on Canada’s assistance to the Palestinian Authority, most notably in security/justice reform”, explained Canadian International Development Agency president Margaret Biggs. In the heavily censored 2012 note released through an access to information request Biggs also suggests the goal of Canadian “aid” was to protect the corrupt PA from popular backlash. She explained that “the emergence of popular protests on the Palestinian street against the Palestinian Authority is worrying and the Israelis have been imploring the international donor community to continue to support the Palestinian Authority.”

Canadian military trainers and aid money have supported a Palestinian security force explicitly designed to enforce Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. An associated objective of Canadian support for the PA security forces was/is to bolster Abbas’ Fatah against Hamas. In 2007 Canadian ambassador to Israel Jon Allen was quoted by the Canadian Jewish News saying Ottawa supported the Palestinian police “to ensure that the PA maintains control of the West Bank against Hamas.” Dayton all but admitted that he was strengthening Fatah against Hamas, telling a US audience in 2009 his force was “working against illegal Hamas activities.” Between 2007 and 2011 PA security forces arrested 10,000 suspected Hamas supporters in the West Bank as part of the Israel–US–Canada stoked Palestinian civil war.

After Hamas won Canadian-monitored and facilitated legislative elections in 2006 Canada was the first country after Israel to cut its assistance to the PA. The aid cut-off was designed to isolate Hamas, which has long been a Canadian objective.

A principal way this has been accomplished over the past two decades is by criminalizing Palestinian political life. Eight of the oppressed nation’s organizations are listed as terrorist groups by Ottawa, which means Canadians cannot support those groups in any way. According to the terrorist legislation the federal government has to review listed organizations’ status every five years and last week the Trudeau government relisted HAMAS, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, which were all listed in the early 2000s by Liberal governments.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is a left secular organization that barely engages in armed struggle. Hamas won the last Palestinian election in 2006 and despite its obvious ideological problems appears peaceful when compared to the Israeli military, which recently killed 67 children in Gaza.

In 2018 the Trudeau government relisted the first ever Canadian-based group designated a terrorist organization. The International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN) was listed a terrorist organization in 2014 for engaging in the ghastly act of supporting orphans and a hospital in Gaza through official (Hamas-controlled) channels.

The Trudeau government has proffered innumerable forms of customary diplomatic/economic/security support to Israel, ranging from selling it arms to an enhanced free-trade agreement, security forces’ collaboration to diplomatic visits. It has also provided numerous forms of unconventional backing, including celebrating Canadians fighting in the Israeli military, withdrawing from a major UN conference on racism to placate Israel’s supporters, saying Canada would act as an “asset” for Israel if it gained a UN Security Council seat, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to stop consumers from knowing where wines are produced to obscure Israeli land theft, etc.

Despite professions of support for both Israelis and Palestinians, the Trudeau government’s relations with Palestinians largely serve Israel. Ottawa has a pro-Israel Israel policy and a pro-Israel Palestinian policy.

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Filed under Canada and Israel, Israel, Justin Trudeau

Cotler led Anti-Semitism Summit seeks to deflect criticism of Israeli apartheid

Last week the Trudeau government announced it would hold an emergency National Summit on Anti-Semitism. The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and B’nai B’rith (BB) were delighted as they’ve campaigned for the summit since the upsurge of pro-Palestinian activism last month. That the objective of the summit all along was to discredit antiracist and anticolonial Palestine solidarity activism was confirmed when Irwin Cotler was appointed to lead it.

Speaking from his apartment in Jerusalem, Cotler was the keynote speaker at a May 13 online rally in support of Israeli violence in which the moderator lauded Montrealers’ fighting in the Israeli military. On June 30 Cotler is scheduled to speak at a B’nai B’rith conference on “Current Issues in Jewish and Pro-Israel Advocacy” while on May 27 he published a column in the Times of Israel celebrating Israel’s violence. In it he wrote, “while the deliberate and indiscriminate bombardment of Israeli civilians — underpinned by genocidal antisemitism and incitement — have been the trigger for this latest war, there is a longer and underlying proximate cause: the Hamas Terrorist War of Attrition against Israel since 2000.”

Cotler backed attacks that left nearly 4,000 dead in Gazza in 2014 and 2009 as well as its war on Lebanon in 2006. He has sought to pressure the International Criminal Court against investigating Israeli war crimes, supports moving Canada’s embassy to Jerusalem and attends fundraisers for the explicitly racist Jewish National Fund.

The Cotler-led anti-Semitism summit is a transparent effort to deflect criticism from Israel’s ethnic cleansing and violence, as well as an encouragement to those promoting that violence and ethnic cleansing against Palestinians. It is also (less directly) an encouragement of Islamophobia, which lead to an entire family being killed recently in London, Ontario.

The anti-Semitism summit is the outgrowth of weeks of disingenuous claims from the Israel lobby that are often in and of themselves racist. Under the guise of fighting anti-Semitism B’nai B’rith has relentlessly linked Arabs to terrorism in recent weeks. “For the third week in a row, antisemitism and support for terrorism were on display Saturday at a massive protest in downtown Toronto”, they tweeted. In a statement to the Winnipeg Sun BB CEO Michael Mostynsaid, “it is unacceptable that anti-Jewish taunts and support for a banned terrorist group be expressed outside the Manitoba legislature.”

B’nai B’rith has also pushed the argument that anti-Semitism is being “imported” to Canada, which is a coded reference to Arab and Muslim immigrants. Hours before the murder of the Afzaal family in London came to light, they tweeted “we cannot import the conflict to Canada. … and [must stay] united in our stand against antisemitism.” In a National Post opinion article three weeks ago Mostyn wrote:

Over the past two decades, tens of thousands of Jews have fled France due to out-of-control anti-Zionism and society’s reluctance to address it. Some of those French Jews thought they had found refuge in Canada, particularly in Quebec — but what are they to think given what they are now seeing? The anti-Semitic murders of French Jews such as Ilan Halimi and Sarah Halimi (no relation), the terror attacks on Jewish schools and stores in France — none of this emerged from a vacuum, but was rather the inevitable result of a culture of hate and impunity that was allowed to fester.”

Anti-Muslim bigotry from B’nai B’rith and CIJA isn’t new. In a bid to deter organizations from associating with the Palestinian cause or opposing Israeli belligerence in the Middle East, CIJA and BB regularly target Arab and Muslim community representatives, papers, organizations, etc.

They did so again when Imam Munir El-Kassem innocuously stated at the end of Tuesday’s vigil for the Muslim family killed in London that “you all said everything that needs to be said except one angle I would like to share with our officials. Now there’s a reason why they say the world is a small village. Every country has a foreign policy. I just want to say whatever is happening in Jerusalem and Gaza, is related to whatever happened in London, Ontario.” BB tweeted or re-tweeted a dozen messages condemning what Mostyn described as El-Kassem’s “inflammatory remarks”. The other messages called El-Kassem’s comment “disgusting”, “contemporary bloodlibel”, “vile hatred”, “the vigil for the victims was used as an opportunity to vent Jew-hatred”, etc.

CIJA and BB regularly hype “Islamic terror” and openly aligned with the xenophobic backlash against the term “Islamophobia in bill M-103, which called for collecting data on hate crimes and studying the issue of “eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia.” In a 2017 BuzzFeed article titled “Zionist Groups in Canada Are Jumping On The ‘Creeping Sharia’ Bandwagon” Steven Zhou detailed CIJA, B’nai Brith and other pro-Israel groups backlash to M-103 and “how Muslim Canadians define Islamophobia.”

A “summit” about anti-Semitism led by Irwin Cotler will have a pre-determined outcome. It will conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. It will encourage those promoting ethnic cleansing and violence against Palestinians. It will be used by the Israel lobby to stoke even more Islamophobia.

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Filed under Israel Lobby, Justin Trudeau

Venezuela conference another example of Liberal hypocrisy

Was it conscious? Did someone at Global Affairs say, ‘we should organize a lofty sounding conference that’s a cover for our pro-US and corporate policy on the anniversary of the international community rejecting Trudeau’s liberal imperialism’?

On the one-year anniversary of Canada’s defeat in its bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council the Trudeau government is hosting an International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants. While it may sound like a humanitarian endeavor, it’s the latest phase in Canada’s multipronged effort to overthrow Nicolás Maduro’s government, which has included plotting with the opposition to anoint an alternative president.

A number of opponents of the Venezuelan government will participate in the conference. But no one from Maduro’s administration is invited to address the event. Nor is the main issue driving Venezuelans to migrate likely to receive much (or any) attention, namely the seizure of Venezuelan assets and vicious economic sanctions.

The US, Britain and European countries have seized billions of dollars in Venezuelan government assets over the past two and half years. At the same time the country has faced steadily more extreme international sanctions. Canada has imposed four rounds of sanctions against Venezuela since 2017, which have reinforced and legitimated similar devastating US actions. According to the preliminary report by the current UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures, Alena Douhan, “the [Venezuelan] government’s revenue was reported to shrink by 99%, with the country currently living on 1% of its pre-sanctions income.”

The sanctions have contributed to 100,000 deaths, according to former UN Rapporteur Alfred de Zayas, and massive outward migration. While Venezuela’s economic decline began when the price of oil dropped sharply in 2014-2015, the number of Venezuelans leaving the country spiked after the 2017 sanctions. According to Venezuela’s Encuesta Nacional de Condiciones de Vida (ENCOVI), 730,000 Venezuelans left the country between 2015 and 2017. In 2018 and 2019 that number more than doubled to 1.54 million.

Most countries and international law experts believe sanctions are only legitimate when approved by the World Trade Organization or United Nations Security Council. In March the Human Rights Council approved a resolution 30 to 15 (with two abstentions) urging all states to stop adopting unilateral sanctions as they impede “the right of individuals and peoples to development.”

In another indication of the two-faced nature of Trudeau’s concern for Venezuelan migrants, Canada has refused to renew the visas of Venezuelan diplomats. As a result, the last individual from that country’s government providing services to Venezuelans in Canada recently had to leave.

As I wrote last year, Canada’s bid to overthrow the Venezuelan government contributed to its Security Council defeat. Venezuelan diplomats publicly campaigned against Canada’s Security Council bid and reports suggest their influence swayed some in the Non-Aligned Movement.

The Security Council defeat was no doubt an embarrassment for the Trudeau government. Pushing for a seat was part of their rebranding of Canadian foreign policy after the Stephen Harper government. But the Liberals are far more committed to supporting the US empire and corporate interests – which drives their Venezuela policy – than winning favour with populations and governments in the Global South, which largely explains why they lost the Security Council bid.

The Liberals need to be a bit more careful with Canadians. They need the public and particularly their electorate to support (acquiesce to) their pro-corporate and empire foreign policy, which is the purpose of the government’s high-minded claims.

Similar rhetorical strategies are employed on a wide range of issues. Trudeau boasts about promoting an “international rules based order” as they apply unilateral (illegal) sanctions on countries and threaten the International Criminal Court to prevent it from investigating Israeli war crimes; A government representative says “we are committed to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons” as they refuse to sign the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty; The government says they follow a feminist foreign policy while facilitating weapons sales to a patriarchal Saudi monarchy devastating Yemen; They claim to believe in a two-state solution but vote against UN resolutions calling for a Palestinian state; They say they promote democracy as they prop up a corrupt and repressive dictatorship in Haiti. For other examples check out my House of Mirrors: Justin Trudeau’s Foreign Policy.

The Liberals’ strategy works since the dominant media and most of Canada’s intelligentsia focus on government rhetoric rather than the underlying international policies. Politicians and people elsewhere are not as inclined to believe ‘benevolent Canada’ mythology, which is largely why the Trudeau government lost its Security Council bid.

Maybe it’s fitting that on the one-year anniversary of Canada’s Security Council defeat the government is organizing a humanistic sounding conference that’s part of an imperial strategy. It clearly illustrates Liberal hypocrisy.

 

To mark the one-year anniversary of Canada’s defeat in its bid for a seat on the Security Council the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute will be hosting “International Solidarity Now: A gathering for a more just Canadian foreign policy.”

 

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Filed under Justin Trudeau, Latin America, Venezuela

End Canada’s support for Haiti’s dictatorship

The Trudeau government continues to be committed to dictatorship in Haiti. They continue to provide vital policing and other assistance to Jovenel Moïse’s regime as its violence becomes ever more difficult to deny.

At the end of last month Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic co-published a report with L’Observatoire Haïtien des crimes contre l’humanité detailing significant state-sanctioned violence. “Killing with Impunity: State-Sanctioned Massacres in Haiti” documents three “brutal attacks” that left 240 dead, in neighborhoods known for resistance to Moïse. “This state policy”, suggests the report, “can be gleaned from the consistent targeting of opposition neighborhoods and the repeated involvement of government officials, police officers, and police resources in the attacks. Moreover, state actors allowed the attacks to be carried out without police intervention and have since failed to punish those responsible.” The report also points out that the “Haitian National Police (PNH) has repeatedly used excessive force—including shooting live rounds and teargas—to shut down peaceful sit-ins and other demonstrations.”

The Harvard report elicited no comment from Canadian officials or mention in the media. Instead of questioning police violence, Canada’s ambassador Stewart Savage participated in a May 13 graduation ceremony for 94 Haitian police officers. Savage was in attendance alongside de facto Justice Minister Rockefeller Vincent and controversial head of police, Leon Charles, to celebrate the Canadian-funded police training initiative.

Savage and previous Canadian ambassadors have attended innumerable such functions all the while saying little about police repression. Since the 2004 coup Canada has expended more financial, training and diplomatic resources on the PNH than any other foreign police force.

But the political implication of Savage’s participation in the police graduation ceremony went beyond simply continuing Ottawa’s backing for a force protecting Moïse and a highly unequal society. For more than a year Moïse has been ruling by decree and his already limited constitutional legitimacy expired February 7. Now he is trying to rewrite the constitution. In its coverage of Savage and others speaking at the police ceremony Radio Kiskeya emphasized de facto justice minister Vincent’s statement that the new police would aid with the constitutional referendum scheduled for June 27.

But the referendum is widely rejected by the population and political opposition. It also explicitly contravenes Article 284.3 of the current constitution, which prohibits modifying the constitution by referendum. Written after the fall of the 30-year François and Jean-Claude Duvalier dictatorship in 1986, the current constitution was written with an eye to avoiding François Duvalier’s 1964 referendum to rewrite the constitution to make himself “President for Life”.

The proposed constitution also allows the president to run for a consecutive term and strengthens the presidency by eliminating the senate and replacing the prime minister with a vice president who answers directly to the president. It also gives all elected officials full immunity during and after their tenures, which is important for Moise and predecessor Michel Martelly who are implicated in a massive corruption scandal.

Last Wednesday Canada joined an Organization of American States mission to Haiti financed by Washington. Supported by Moïse, the delegation will include the US, Costa Rica, Ecuador and St. Vincent. Ostensibly a way to break the political impasse, the delegation is set to minimize criticism of Moise and undercut the opposition’s push to replace himwith a transitional government that would organize elections.

The Trudeau government understands full well the illegal power grab it is enabling. In recent months there have been massive protests in Port-au-Prince and other cities against Moïse for extending his mandate and rewriting the constitution. Among a number of similar initiatives, a letter was released three months ago criticizing Canada’s “support for a repressive, corrupt Haitian president devoid of constitutional legitimacy.” Three current MPs and three former MPs, as well as Noam Chomsky, David Suzuki, Roger Waters, Stephen Lewis, Naomi Klein and 500 others, signed the letter organized by the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute. On Thursday New York based Haitian community group KOMOKODA held a rally in front of Canada’s consulate in that city to oppose Canadian support for Moïse and mining interests in Haiti. In recent weeks Solidarité Québec-Haïti and Coalition haïtienne au Canada contre la dictature en Haïti have organized rallies in Montréal critical of Moïse and Canadian policy. The Bloc Québécois and provincial party Québec Solidaire also challenged Canada’s role in Haiti and Green MP Paul Manly recently sponsored a parliamentary petition calling for the release of all documents related to the Ottawa Initiative on Haiti meeting where top Canadian, French, OAS and US officials discussed the removal of the elected president and putting the country under UN trusteeship. The petition links the 2003 meeting to the ‘Core Group’ of foreign ambassadors, which continues to heavily shape Haitian affairs.

Canada’s flagrantly undemocratic policy in Haiti is driven by various factors. An important one is hinted at in the readout from last week’s meeting between Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The post meeting statement from the US side noted, “Blinken expressed his appreciation for Canada’s hemispheric leadership in promoting stability and democracy in … Haiti.”

This is a recurring theme in Canada’s relations with Haiti. Canada participated in the 2004 coup against Aristide and thousands of other elected officials partly as a way to make good with Washington after (officially) declining to join the Bush administration’s “coalition of the willing” that invaded Iraq in 2003. Former foreign minister Bill Graham explained: “Foreign Affairs view was there is a limit to how much we can constantly say no to the political masters in Washington. All we had was Afghanistan to wave. On every other file we were offside. Eventually we came on side on Haiti, so we got another arrow in our quiver.”

When Stephen Harper took office two years later, according to a Wikileaks cable, the US ambassador in Ottawa asked the prime minister for “increasing [Canadian] support to the new government in Haiti, possibly even taking on more of a leadership role there.” In response the Conservatives entrenched the previous Liberal government’s policy by announcing a five-year $550 million “aid” plan that channeled large sums to the Haitian police.

The Trudeau government’s support for the US empire and its bid to prop up a dictatorship in Haiti must be challenged by all Canadians of conscience.

 

 

Please sign this parliamentary petition challenging Canadian policy in Haiti.

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Filed under Haiti, Justin Trudeau

The innumerable ways Canada supports Israeli apartheid

 

At the start of the year Israel’s leading human rights group B’Tselem released “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid”. Two weeks ago Human Rights Watch published a long report saying Israel’s treatment of Palestinians “amounted to the crimes of apartheid”. Since then, Israel has ramped up its efforts to ethnically cleanse East Jerusalem, attacked the Al-Aqsa mosque, targeted its Arab citizens, killed 11 Palestinians in the West Bank and begun once again to “mow the lawn” in Gaza, which has left 126, including 31 children, dead.

No matter what government officials say, Canada has enthusiastically supported Israel’s dispossession. Canadian backing of Israel includes arms sales, a free-trade agreement, security forces’ collaboration, diplomatic visits and comments as well as various other forms of common diplomatic/economic/security relations. It also includes numerous unconventional forms of backing for the apartheid regime.

To placate Israel and its supporters the “anti-racist” Trudeau government withdrew Canada from a major United Nations forum on combating racism last week. In November it appointed a vicious anti-Palestinian to a newly created “special envoy” position largely set up to justify Israeli apartheid and two years ago it adopted a description of a form of xenophobia created to shield Israel from criticism. To protect Israel’s regime of Jewish supremacy, Justin Trudeau has repeatedly condemned social justice activists on university campuses.

The current government expanded a trade agreement that applies Israel’s customs laws in the occupied West Bank and Ottawa has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to stop Canadian consumers from knowing where two wines are produced to obscure illegal Israeli land theft. Isolating itself against the vast majority of the world, the Trudeau government has defended Israel against criticism at the UN more than 50 times.

In a deepening of the criminalization of Palestinian political life, Trudeau added an eighth Palestinian organization to Canada’s terrorist list. It also maintained the listing of the first ever Canadian-based group designated a terrorist organization, which was anointed as such because it engaged in the ghastly act of supporting orphans and a hospital in Gaza through official (Hamas controlled) channels.

Even the “aid” Canada has given to Palestinians is designed to advance Israel’s control. In a unique historical dynamic, Canadian aid and military trainers have supported the creation of a Palestinian security force explicitly to enforce Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

In what could be considered an act of treason, Canada’s top diplomat in Israel organized a pizza party in January 2020 for Canadians fighting in that country’s military. Government officials have also ignored illegal recruitment for the Israeli military in Canada.

But, these examples are less important than another form of Canadian support for Israel. Though it receives little attention, tax deductible charitable donations are the most consequential and politically unjustifiable Canadian contribution to a state/movement seeking to eliminate Palestinians.

In 2018 registered Canadian charities raised over a quarter billion dollars for Israel-focused projects. Since the federal government introduced deductions for charities in 1967 billions of dollars in subsidized donations have gone to Israel. In 1991 the Ottawa Citizen estimated that Canadian Jews sent more than $100 million a year to Israel and possibly as much as $200 million. Assuming $100 million has been sent to Israel yearly since 1967 and with approximately 30% of the $5.4 billion total subsidized by the taxpayer that’s around $1.7 billion in Canadian public support.

But there’s little discussion of the public funds that have gone to Israel through charitable donations. With the exception of the campaign to revoke the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund of Canada, which won a partial victory recently, there’s been almost no activism targeting Canadian charitable support for Israel. This despite some of these donations violating Canadian charity law. Funds supporting West Bank settlements, explicitly racist institutions and the Israeli military probably contravene Canada Revenue Agency regulations.

While not against current Canada Revenue Agency regulations, there’s a strong argument to be made against Canadian taxpayers subsidizing donations to hospitals, universities, etc. in “Israel proper”. Is it right for all Canadians to pay a share of some individuals’ donations to a country with a GDP equal to Canada’s? How many Canadian charities funnel money to Sweden or Japan? Is the Israeli government subsidizing Canadian orchestras, museums, guide dog centres, nature conservatory, universities, hospitals, etc? (Canadian Friends of the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind, Canadian Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Canadian Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Canadian Association For Labour Israel and Canadian Friends of the Israel Museum are among the many registered charities that raised over a quarter billion dollars for Israel-focused projects in 2018.)

The Canadian government offers innumerable forms of support to the racist, violent, regime. Canadians of conscience must register their opposition and work to end this country’s contribution to Palestinian dispossession.

On Friday, May 21 at 7pm Yves Engler will be speaking at a Canadian Foreign Policy Institute event on “The Innumerable Ways Canada Supports Israeli Apartheid”

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Filed under Canada and Israel, Israel, Israel Lobby, Justin Trudeau

‘Ugly Canadian’ mining policies continue with Trudeau 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, delivering remarks to supporters at a Liberal Climate Action Rally in Toronto, ON, on March 4, 2019. (Photo by Arindam Shivaani/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Liberal government continues to promote an often-controversial industry across our planet.

Canada is home to 75% of the world’s mining companies. Present in most countries, Canadian-based or listed firms operate about 4,000 mineral projects abroad, which works out to over 20 per UN member state.

There have been an astounding number of conflicts at Canadian-run mines. Pick almost any country in the Global South — from Papua New Guinea to Ghana, Ecuador to the Philippines — and you will find a Canadian-run mine that has caused environmental devastation or been the scene of violent confrontations.

Recently Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) criticized Americas Gold and Silver. The Toronto-based company is accused of blocking workers from unionizing at their mine in northern Mexico.

AMLO has repeatedly criticized Canadian mining companies’ failure to pay outstanding taxes. But Canadian diplomats have gone to bat for the companies embroiled in a tax dispute with the Mexican government. Seventy per cent of foreign-owned mining companies operating in Mexico are Canadian-based and the embassy has repeatedly backed controversial mining projects.

Straight south, Canadian firms have dominated mining in Guatemala as well. In March a case was brought before the Federal Court alleging the minister of foreign affairs had improperly withheld information about its support for a Vancouver company that ran roughshod over indigenous communities in the Central American country. The federal government has refused to release details about its communications with Goldcorp, Guatemala and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights after the commission called for the closure of Goldcorp’s Marlin mine due to its lack of consultation with Indigenous communities.

A different Canadian court is currently hearing another case about a mining firm in Guatemala. Hudbay Minerals (previously Skye Resources) is being sued for its role in the gang-rape of eleven Indigenous women. The Intercept recently published “Evicting Lote Ocho: How a Canadian Mining Company Infiltrated the Guatemalan State” that reported on internal corporate documents released during the precedent-setting lawsuit. The files paint a picture of corporate influence and abuse.

In Brazil Belo Sun Mining has benefited from far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s hostility to indigenous rights and the environment. The Toronto-based company was recently allowed to move forward with a highly contentious gold mine in one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth. It’s use of heavy metals and cyanide in the Amazon’s Xingu River will “prompt the last stages of ecocide”, according to Rosana Miranda of the Sao Paulo-based Amazon Watch.

In March, protesters pelted Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez’s bus over his support for mining in Patagonia. Local and indigenous communities in the southernmost part of the hemisphere strongly oppose projects by Canadian firms Pan American Silver, Yamana Gold and El Dorado Gold. Mining and real estate interests have been pushing for mining bans to be lifted in the region. Suspected as a way to weaken opposition to capitalist encroachment, a wave of fires thought to be caused by arson, have destroyed land that Indigenous communities have protected from miners and developers.

Around the world Canadian-run mines commonly destroy farmland, harm endangered species and contaminate drinking water. They have also spurred beatings, kidnappings, arbitrary arrests and killings in the communities nearby. Canadian mines often undermine Indigenous self-determination and are pushed through despite overwhelming local opposition.

Over the past two decades thousands of articles, reports, documentaries and books have detailed Canadian mining abuses abroad. At least five UN bodies have called on Ottawa to hold Canadian companies accountable for their international operations. In 2015 the UN Human Rights Committee noted: “The State party [Canada] should (a) enhance the effectiveness of existing mechanisms to ensure that all Canadian corporations under its jurisdiction, in particular mining corporations, respect human rights standards when operating abroad; (b) consider establishing an independent mechanism with powers to investigate human rights abuses by such corporations abroad; and (c) develop a legal framework that affords legal remedies to people who have been victims of activities of such corporations operating abroad.”

To comply with international criticism and present a progressive face the Liberals promised to establish an independent ombudsperson on mining prior to their 2015 election. But Trudeau’s government waited nearly four years to announce the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE). Another two years passed before CORE started taking cases last month.

In a House of Commons committee recently Liberal MP John McKay reportedly “confronted” minister for Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng over the government’s failure to provide CORE with sufficient power to properly investigate abuses by companies. All 14 union and NGO representatives on the government’s “multi-stakeholder advisory body on responsible business conduct” resigned in May 2019 after their concerns about the ombudsperson were disregarded. Instead of a robust, independent, position they promised to create in January 2018 CORE “relies on companies’ goodwill to voluntarily provide information that it requires in order to do an investigation,” said Emily Dwyer, coordinator of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability. “It has not been given the basic, minimum kind of mandate and tools that it would need to have any effect.”

The mining industry successfully thwarted legislation to constrain their abuses abroad. According to a report titled “Lobbying by mining industry on the proposed Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE)”, the two main industry associations met government officials hundreds of times between when the government announced it would establish an ombudsperson and its presentation of what turned into a largely powerless position. Between January 2018 and April 2019 the Mining Association of Canada and Prospector and Developers Association of Canada lobbied the federal government on 530 occasions. They met officials in the Prime Minister’s Office 33 times. The industry lobbying campaign was likely even greater since individual mining companies also organized dozens, if not hundreds, of visits.

While the government announced an independent position, they effectively created an advisor to the minister of international trade. But minister Mary Ng is an aggressive lobbyist for Canada’s global mining juggernaut. In March, her department put out a release noting “Minister Ng promotes Canada’s mining industry at virtual Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada 2021 Convention”. During the convention Ng addressed a Canada-Africa Chamber of Business event labeled the “biggest African Mining Event in North America”. Just before the global pandemic hit Ng traveled to South Africa to attend Mining Indaba, the largest African focused mining conference.

Justin Trudeau has placed the power of Canadian foreign policy behind the industry. Canadian diplomats regularly visit officials with mining company representatives and raise mining interests with top government officials.

Extractive companies are big beneficiaries of Export Development Canada’s services. The crown corporation has provided tens of billions of dollars in financing and insurance to the extractive sector, including many controversial international projects. To the benefit of mining firms, the Liberals have demonstrated little interest in establishing human rights and environmental standards for EDC.

The Liberals have also boosted the Global Affairs run Trade Commissioner Service (TCS), which supports many mining projects. TCS officials based at Canadian diplomatic outposts assist firms with market assessments, problem-solving, contacting local officials, etc. “The TCS plays a pretty big role,” said Ben Chalmers, senior vice‑president Mining Association of Canada in 2019. Trade commissioners “stand behind us and give us the additional credibility that being associated with the Government of Canada abroad brings.”

Largely designed to protect Canadian mining investment, the Liberals have continued to negotiate and sign Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (FIPAs). In a March 2017 release titled “International Trade Minister promotes Canada’s mining sector at Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention”, Francois-Philippe Champagne “announced that the Canada-Mongolia Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) is now in force. This agreement provides substantial protections for Canadian investors in Mongolia, where there are already significant Canadian-owned mining assets.” These investors’ rights accords circumscribe governments’ capacity to regulate corporations by giving them the right to sue governments — in a private, investor-friendly, international tribunal — for pursuing policies that interfere with their profit making.

The Trudeau government has also channeled large sums of aid to international mining. They’ve put up more than $100 million in assistance for international projects with names such as “West Africa Governance and Economic Sustainability in Extractive Areas”, “Enhanced Oversight of the Extractive Industries in Francophone Africa” and “Enhancing Resource Management through Institutional Transformation in Mongolia”.

In other words not much changed between the previous taxpayer-subsidizing corporate mining Conservative government and the current Liberals. Notwithstanding some “progressive” rhetoric, the sober reality is that Trudeau has largely continued the Stephen Harper Conservatives’ “Ugly Canadian” mining policies abroad.

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Filed under Justin Trudeau, mining

Do Canada’s unilateral sanctions violate international law?

Is Canada breaking international law when it applies unilateral coercive economic measures that are commonly referred to as sanctions?

Most countries and international law experts believe sanctions are only legitimate when approved by the World Trade Organization or United Nations Security Council. Economic sanctions outside the framework of the UN charter are generally considered “unilateral” and unlawful. According to the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization report “Unilateral and Secondary Sanctions: An International Law Perspective”, “the imposition of unilateral and secondary sanctions on countries through application of national legislation is not-permissible under international law.”

So US sanctions on Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Syria and elsewhere clearly violate the UN charter. Rather than a nonviolent measure, they are akin to a medieval siege designed to starve a city or fortress into submission.

Unilateral sanctions run afoul of the principle of self-determination and people’s right to development. In The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights a trio of authors note: “Unilateral economic sanctions (as opposed to multilateral UN measures under Chapter VII of the Charter) imposed by one State or group of States on another, to compel the latter to change a particular political or economic policy, could amount to a prohibited intervention and a denial of self-determination.” Similarly, the UN Human Rights Council recently reaffirmed that “unilateral coercive measures are major obstacles to the implementation of the Declaration on the Right to Development.” Last month the Human Rights Council approved a resolution 30 to 15 (with two abstentions) urging all states to stop adopting unilateral sanctions as they impede “the right of individuals and peoples to development.”

In recent years the Canadian government has adopted unilateral sanctions against a host of countries including Venezuela, China, Russia, Nicaragua and others. In a sign of Ottawa’s growing employment of sanctions as a tool of coercive statecraft, Canada adopted legislation modeled after the US Magnitsky Act and Global Affairs created a Sanctions Policy and Operations Coordination Division in 2018. At the time they put up $22 million over five years to enforce their sanctions regime.

Alongside the US, UK and EU, Canada sanctioned a Chinese state agency and four officials recently. Individuals assetsin Canada were frozen and they are prohibited from travelling here or doing business with Canadian firms.

Two years ago Canada sanctioned nine Nicaraguan government officials, including ministers and the president of the National Assembly, in coordination with Washington. A June 2019 media note released by the US State Department declared “Canada’s sanctions actions today illustrate the international commitment to Nicaraguans’ cause, signaling clearly that President Ortega’s insufficient and self-serving measures are not nearly enough to address Nicaraguans’ demands for democracy, basic rights, and freedom from repression.”

Canada has adopted four rounds of sanctions against Venezuela since 2017. These moves reinforced and legitimated US sanctions that have contributed to tens of thousands of deaths. According to the preliminary report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures, Alena Douhan, “the [Venezuelan] government’s revenue was reported to shrink by 99%, with the country currently living on 1% of its pre-sanctions income,” which has impeded “the ability of Venezuela to respond to the Covid-19 emergency.”

Not only a possible violation of international law, Canada’s first round of sanctions on Venezuela may have actually contravened domestic law. According to lawyer Andrew Dekany 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 wrote, “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.”

Partly to sidestep the requirement to sanction in accordance with international institutions the federal government adopted the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (or Magnitsky law), empowering it to freeze individuals’ assets/visas and prohibit Canadian companies from dealing with sanctioned individuals. These sanctions are presented as simply targeting corrupt officials, but they have broader impacts. They dissuade broader commercial relations with a country and often legitimate harsher US measures. Whether they are in compliance with the UN charter is unclear. In her September report “Negative impact of unilateral coercive measures: priorities and road map: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights”, Douhan questions “the legality of sanctions imposed on individuals and non-State entities, especially due to the proliferation of Magnitsky-like acts.”

Trudeau and his ministers regularly claim to promote an “international rules based order” with the No. 1 priority on Global Affairs’ website “revitalizing the rules-based international order.” As such, it’s remarkable how little discussion there is of whether unilateral Canadian sanctions violate international law.

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Trudeau’s refusal to sign UN nuclear ban is hypocritical and unpopular

The Trudeau government’s refusal to sign the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty is both unpopular and hypocritical.

According to a poll released last week by Nanos Research, 55% of Canadians “support” and 19% “somewhat support” signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The same percentage agreed, or somewhat agreed with Canada signing a treaty that became international law in January even if Washington pressures Ottawa not to.

The poll commissioned by the Hiroshima Nagasaki Day Coalition, Simons Foundation Canada and Collectif Échec à la guerre also found that Canadians are concerned about the threat posed by nuclear weapons. Eighty percent of the 1007 people asked said the world should work to eliminate nuclear weapons while only 9% considered it acceptable for countries to have nuclear weapons for protection.

The poll highlights the unpopularity of the government’s position towards a treaty designed to stigmatize and criminalize nukes in a similar fashion to the UN landmine treaty and Chemical Weapons Convention. 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. Justin 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 86 countries that have already signed the treaty. At the UN General Assembly in November Canada voted against 118 countries that reaffirmed their support for the TPNW.

The Liberals have taken these positions as they’ve publicly expressed a desire to abolish these ghastly weapons. Just before the TPNW entered into force at the start of the year Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Rob Oliphant said “we are committed to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.” In October, Global Affairs declared, “Canada unequivocally supports global nuclear disarmament.”

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 weapons that are immoral also illegal under international law.

Fortunately, the NDP, Greens and Bloc Québécois all actively support the TPNW. The recent Nanos poll suggests five times more Canadians would vote for a party that supports the Treaty than would vote against one for doing so.

By signing the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty the Trudeau government can fulfill both Canadians wishes and their stated foreign-policy rhetoric.

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Garneau and Blinken meet to subvert Haitian democracy

After Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau and new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held their first bilateral meeting Global Affairs’ release mentioned China, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and… Haiti. The first four nations are all in the crosshairs of Washington and Ottawa. But Haiti’s de facto president is in the opposite position. Jovenel Moïse would fall quickly if the US and Canada withdrew their support.

What does it mean that a supposedly ‘unimportant’, impoverished, nation is the only non-enemy government mentioned by those in charge of US and Canadian diplomacy? Is it a recognition that their Haitian puppet might fall or is it a backhanded compliment to the anti-dictatorship movement? Or maybe it reflects the US and Canada’s commitment to credible elections?

On Sunday thousands marched against the dictatorship in Port-au-Prince. A week earlier 100,000 marched in the capital and thousands more protested in a half-dozen other cities. On February 14 nearly 100,000 also marched in Port-au-Prince.

Since Jovenel Moïse extended his mandate extra-constitutionally on February 7 there has been a wave of criticism against US and Canadian policy in Haiti. The country’s heterogenous opposition have vociferously condemned the foreign powers. In the US there have been a number of rallies and online actions. A number of Democratic party senators and congresspeople have also called on the Biden administration to stop propping up Moïse. In Canada three current MPs and three former MPs, as well as Noam Chomsky, David Suzuki, Naomi Klein and 500 others, signed a letter criticizing Ottawa’s “support for a repressive, corrupt Haitian president devoid of constitutional legitimacy.” A coalition of 30 Haitian Canadian groups, as well as the Canadian Labour Congress and Council of Global Unions, have also expressed opposition to Canadian and US policy in Haiti.

Blinken and Garneau are undoubtedly feeling some pressure. At the same time, however, the situation on the ground is fluid and if they want Moïse to remain it is imperative to express their diplomatic backing.

The post Blinken/Garneau meeting release noted that the two discussed a desire “to ensure the upcoming electoral process in Haiti is credible, inclusive and transparent.” But Haiti’s opposition has already rejected elections under Moïse, which few will consider “credible”. In the summer Moïse pushed out the entire electoral council and appointed a new one in contravention of the constitution.

The Canada-US position ensures the opposite of their stated aim. By supporting Moïse as he extends his mandate, rewrites the constitution, criminalizes protests, sets up a new intelligence agency, instigates a gang alliance to terrorize the slums, etc. they are guaranteeing that forthcoming elections won’t be credible. But concern for credibility has not been a defining feature of Ottawa and Washington’s response to Haitian elections over the past 20 years.

After Fanmi Lavalas won more than 70% of 7,000 mayoral, senatorial, etc. positions in 2000 the US and Canada undermined what OAS observers initially called “a great success”, probably Haiti’s most credible ever election. Realizing there was little chance Fanmi Lavalas would be defeated at the ballot box in the foreseeable future, they suddenly claimed the previously employed method to determine whether a runoff was to be held in a handful of Senate seats made the election “deeply flawed”. A few years later they overthrew all the elected officials.

After a two-year coup government repressed pro-democracy forces, the US and Canada financed elections that blocked the most popular political party from participating. On simple procedural grounds the election was also dubious. During the election in 2000 there were more than 10,000 registration centres and some 11,000 polling stations across the country. In 2006 the coup government reduced that number to 500 registration centres and a little more than 800 polling stations, even though they had some $50 million to run the election (mostly from the US, Canada and France). In the poorest neighborhoods, where opposition to the coup was strongest, registration centres were few and far between.

At the last minute former president René Préval entered the race. The coup government sought to block Préval from winning in the first round and the head of the International Mission for Monitoring Haitian Elections, chief electoral officer of Elections Canada Jean-Pierre Kingsley, ardently supported the effort. After an explosion of protest following the discovery of thousands of ballots burned in a dump, the US, French and Canadian ambassadors — who initially insisted the electoral council continue counting votes to force a second round — reluctantly agreed to negotiate with their counterparts from Brazil and Chile, as well as the UN and others to grant Préval a first-round victory. But they used the negotiation to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Préval’s mandate, even though he likely won 60% of the vote.

Not viewing Préval as sufficiently compliant, the US and Canada pushed for presidential elections months after the devastating 2010 earthquake and amidst a deadly cholera outbreak. Following the first round of voting, Canadian and US officials forced the candidate whom Haiti’s electoral council had in second place, Jude Celestin, out of the runoff. According to the official results, Mirlande Manigat received 31% of the vote, Celestin 22% and Michel Martelly 21%. With no statistical rationale they removed votes from Celestin, who was allied with Préval, until Martelly was in second place.

Through Martelly’s term he failed to hold legislative elections and ruled by decree. That didn’t stop the US and Canada from supporting the corrupt and thuggish former Ton Ton Macoute. After repeatedly postponing elections Martelly held a poll marred by fraud in 2015. A subsequent audit found that 92% of polling place tally sheets had significant irregularities and 900,000 of the 1.5 million votes cast for president were from accredited poll observers who could vote at any voting station. Despite mass protests against Martelly’s handpicked successor Moïse first round lead, the US and Canada pushed to move forward with the second round of the election as if the first round of voting was legitimate. Riots ultimately forced the cancellation of the second round. In a subsequent redo Moïse ‘won’ an election with few participating.

While the US and Canada claim to support democracy and fair elections in Haiti, history proves otherwise. In reality neither government seems to care about the wishes of ordinary Haitians.

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Filed under Canada in Haiti, Haiti, Justin Trudeau

Trudeau faces series of setbacks to corporate, imperial policies

As much as some Canadians would like to believe their country is a force for good in the world, the truth is more sobering. Extreme inequality is rampant and the Canadian government is an important supporter of corporate power and imperialism in global affairs. The good news is that the pushers of the unfair, unjust and immoral existing world order do not always get their way.

It is uplifting to tally some of the Trudeau government’s setbacks:

  • Last Friday the International Criminal Court ruled that it has jurisdiction over Israeli war crimes committed in the Palestinian territories, which should pave the way for a possible criminal investigation. A year ago the Trudeau government sent a letter to the ICC saying it didn’t believe the court had jurisdiction over Palestine. Its letter implied it could sever funding to the ICC if the court pursued an investigation of Israeli crimes. After the recent decision new Foreign Minister Marc Garneau released a statement criticizing the ICC decision.
  • On January 26 former Liberal finance minister Bill Morneau withdrew his bid to lead the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries after it was determined he had no chance of winning.
  • On January 22 the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force, making weapons that have always been immoral also illegal under international law. Canada voted against holding the 2017 UN Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination and boycotted the TPNW negotiating meeting, which two-thirds of the world’s countries attended.
  • On January 20 new US President Joe Biden revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The Trudeau government pressed the president-elect to break a direct promise and maintain a climate-destroying pipeline okayed by Donald Trump.
  • Since Venezuela’s new National Assembly began sitting on January 6 numerous countries have withdrawn from the US–Canada led campaign to anoint Juan Guaidó President. The European Union dropped its de facto recognition of Guaidó. As did the Dominican Republic. Even the Ottawa-led Lima Group has softened its stance. Last week Panama withdrew the credentials of Guaidó’s ambassador.
  • In October Chileans voted overwhelming to rewrite the country’s Pinochet-era constitution. The referendum was a blow to Canadian corporations operating in Chile and the Trudeau government’s alliance with right-wing governments in the hemisphere.
  • A week earlier Bolivia’s Movimiento al Socialismo won a decisive election victory that was a rejection of the Canadian-backed coup against Evo Morales a year earlier. The overwhelming results were also a blow to Ottawa’s bid to wipe out the remnants of the leftist pink tide in Latin America. (On Sunday an ally of leftist former President Rafael Correa, Andrés Arauz, gained the most votes in the first round of Ecuador’s presidential election.)
  • In June the international community decisively rejected Trudeau’s foreign policy. They voted against Canada’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council by a larger margin than a decade earlier under Stephen Harper.

People who support a fairer, more just and equal world should take comfort from these defeats for the Trudeau government’s pro-corporate and imperial policies. Proof that the bad guys are not invincible should offer hope for bigger victories to come.

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Filed under Activism, Justin Trudeau