November 22, 2010 - No. 199
Annexation No! Sovereignty Yes!
Oppose Vale's $10 Billion Plan to
Annexation No! Sovereignty Yes!
• Oppose Vale's $10 Billion Plan to Further
Annex Canada's Resources
• Styrochem Workers in Baie-d'Urfé
Fight Company's Lockout - Interview, Yvan Vernier,
Chairperson, CEP Local 700
No to NATO! NATO Out of Afghanistan! Dismantle NATO!
• Mass Demonstration in Lisbon Opposes NATO
Plans for Militarization and War
• Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver Actions Oppose
Extension of Canada's Afghan Mission
• Mass Demonstration in Britain Demands "Bring
the Troops Home Now!"
Annexation No! Sovereignty Yes!
Oppose Vale's $10 Billion Plan to
On November 17 Vale made public its $10 billion
five-year plan in a press release entitled "Vale Outlines Investment
Plans For Canadian Operations; In Excess of $10B Over Five Years." What
Vale and apologists for the neoliberal globalization agenda of the rich
would call "investment" in Canada is its complete opposite, unless one
considers a more archaic meaning of
investment: "the surrounding of a place by a hostile force in order to
besiege or blockade it." The contents of Vale's plan reveal an agenda
to further annex and monopolize control of Canadian natural resources.
Vale's press release itemizes its spending plans:
$2.5-$3 billion to be spent on expanding its control of potash
resources in Saskatchewan; $2.8 billion for a hydrometallurgical nickel
processing facility in Long Harbour, Newfoundland; $1.5-$2 billion for
what Vale touts as "the most significant environmental
investment ever contemplated in the Sudbury basin"; $360 million to
re-open the Totten Mine as a deep mine project to access high grades of
nickel, copper etc; $200 million for new floatation technology at the
Clarabelle Mill that will increase mineral recovery by 3-4 percent; etc.
Just because the numbers are big does not mean it is of
net benefit to Canada. Vale "invested" $19 billion to take over Inco
and then removed as much social wealth as possible from Sudbury and
Canada, placing it in the hands of monopoly capitalists and financiers.
regardless of the hoopla of the Vale
cheerleaders that this is "good" for Canada, the truth is that it is
good for Vale and its bottom line. Vale is manoeuvring to hold the
world to ransom by monopoly price-fixing for nickel and potash, just as
has done with its control of iron ore resources worldwide. That is not
in our national interest. Vale is a hostile
force besieging and blocking the demands of the Canadian working class
to establish public ownership and control of our natural resources for
the benefit of Canadian society, for our people and the First Nations.
These resources belong to the peoples of this land, not to the
Vale's Plans to Destroy
Productive Assets in Thompson, Manitoba
Delegation of Vale workers of USW Local 6166 from Thompson, Manitoba
visits striking Vale
workers in Sudbury, August 7, 2009.
Vale's $10 billion plan will wipe out 500 full-time jobs
and destroy useful, productive assets of Canadian society by phasing
out smelting and refining in Thompson by 2015. Vale calls this
"transitioning to a new operating model
in Manitoba" and demands Thompson workers embrace change and get on
board with Vale's agenda to become "the biggest mining company in the
"The idea is 'let's grow in mining,'" Vale CEO Tito
Martins said in an interview. "What we want to do over the next five
years is work together with our employees, with the local authorities
and even the federal authorities."
It is completely unacceptable for global monopolies
like Vale or U.S. Steel or the forest monopolies to seize control of
our resources, destroy productive capacity according to their own
narrow self interest. Destroying the smelting and refining capacity at
Thompson is not a net benefit for Canada!
Vale plans to phase out the Thompson smelting and
refining operations, reducing Thompson along with Voisey's Bay
to feeding Vale's planned hydrometallurgical nickel processing
plant in Long Harbour Newfoundland, which is scheduled for completion
Vale's Agenda in Sudbury
The big ticket item for Sudbury is what Vale refers to
as "the most significant environmental investment ever contemplated in
the Sudbury Basin. At a cost of $1.5 to $2 billion, the project will
reduce emissions of sulphur dioxide more than 80 percent over current
levels." The project is at "the feasibility stage" with 2015 as a
projected completion date.
Some of that technology will be applied to the
Clarabelle Mill in Sudbury immediately, introducing a new floatation
system and modern technology to improve recovery by 3-4 percent once
implemented. Vale expects to complete the Clarabelle upgrade by 2012.
Besides increasing recovery rates Vale is going all out
to high grade the ore bodies in Sudbury. The Totten Mine will be
brought into production by the end of next year ($360 million) and Vale
is "re-evaluating the previously suspended Copper Cliff Deep project
targeting 126 million metric tons of
ore" which at depth are extremely rich and will "yield impressive
results" for Vale.
Once Vale increases volumes of nickel produced by high
grading and through the technological and scientific advances in
processing that have been perfected for nickel in recent years, what
will be the net benefit for the working people of Sudbury? Vale's
plans to reduce its productive workforce
significantly was exposed during the strike in documents tabled before
the Ontario Labour Relations Board by the United Steelworkers. Only an
effective Workers' Opposition can establish public control of our
resources and curb the
power of these global monopolies. The seeds of the next
battles with Vale have already been sown.
Vale and the Environment
File photo: Toronto support rally for striking Vale workers,
Vale presents itself and its $10 billion five-year plan
Canada as environmentally responsible, aiming to reduce sulphur dioxide
emissions in Sudbury, for example, by more than 80 percent. That there
sulphur dioxide reduction benefit from the new hydrometallurgical
processing technology is really only coincidental -- welcomed, but
coincidental to Vale's "investment" which results in
significantly higher recovery rates for nickel, copper and the
platinum-metal-group byproducts such as platinum, cobalt, etc.
The hydrometallurgical technology may not produce
sulphur dioxide emissions but it has its own toxic waste potential
that requires its own kind of management. Vale's processing
facility at Long Harbour, for example, is expected to produce 386,000
tons of waste a year that will be poured into
Sandy Pond tailing facility. There are serious concerns about it. Vale
has secured the use of Sandy Pond for its tailing facility at Long
Harbour by using a section of the Fisheries
Act to exempt it from
Once implemented, Vale's new processing technology may
well reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 80 percent in Sudbury but in
one familiar environmental waste management problem will be replaced
by another less familiar environmental waste management problem which
will have its own unique
features and hazards to deal with.
Potash Is a Strategic
Resource Not Another Big Score for Vale
Vale has its sights set on
potash as a
significant part of its $10 billion five-year global plan of annexation
resources in Canada -- $2.5-$3 billion to be exact. In partnership with
a Chinese resource development company, Vale is
one of the global monopolies contending with the likes of BHP Billiton
for control of potash resources world wide to make a big score selling
fertilizer at monopoly rigged prices to India and China, as they have
done with iron ore this past year. In the last couple years, Vale
bought out the Rio Colorado
potash project in Argentina and the
Regina project in Saskatchewan from Rio Tinto for $850 million -- as
part of a $1.6 billion war chest earmarked to
acquire potash resources and fertilizer production facilities.
Workers need to discuss these developments based on
their own real life experience with these global monopolies and shut
out the noise of the apologists and public relations people who carry
on 24-7 turning
truth on its head, that the annexation and plunder of our resources is
somehow beneficial and an "investment"
without which we could not survive.
Styrochem Workers in Baie-d'Urfé
Fight Company's Lockout
Styrochem workers in Baie d'Urfé near Montreal
have been locked out since August 6. Styrochem is a U.S.-based
manufacturer of expandable polystyrene (EPS) used in food services,
packaging, construction, casting and specialty applications. At the
start of negotiations for a new contract, the workers put forward
their demands to limit subcontracting and supervisors doing their job.
They also opposed the company's practice of creating "new" job
classifications as a means of lowering the wages of the workers.
Styrochem refused to negotiate and locked out the workers.
Posted below is an interview with Yvan Vernier who is
the Chairperson of CEP Local 700 at Styrochem.
TML: Tell us about Styrochem.
Yvan Vernier: Styrochem is a polystyrene
manufacturer based in Texas that serves the world market for this
material. Polystyrene has several applications and here in Baie
d'Urfé the polystyrene we make is used in the construction
to extend Autoroute 30 [on Montreal's South Shore]
and in construction in general, in the auto sector, in food services
and so on. We are just over 30 production workers, all members of
CEP Local 700. There are also office employees who are not unionized.
TML: What are the main issues in this
YV: This is not the first time that
we've fought with Styrochem. The main thing is that they always try to
bypass the union; they try to act as if there is no
union. They did it in 2001, 2005 and are now doing it again.
They locked us out on August 6 after only 4 days of
negotiations. They do not want to negotiate. They are saying that we do
not have any demands but this is not true. What they want is to have
total power in the plant to decide everything, namely subcontracting,
inventing new job classifications as a way to
lower wages and getting their supervisors to do our jobs. It is this
power that we want to limit and they don't even want to talk to us
These demands are important for us. We want to limit the
ability of the company to subcontract our jobs. With the current
contract, they can bring in any number of contractors. They
could replace us all if they wanted.
There is the issue of the new job classifications
they are introducing, for the wrappers for example. The workers are the
same, but they suddenly fall into a new category within the category of
wrappers and they get their wages cut. We want to limit the ability of
the company to do that as well.
Then there is the category they call "aid." The current
contract says that the company has the right to ask supervisors to help
us do our jobs. What kind of language is that in a contract? In real
life it means that the supervisors have the power to replace us. We are
trying to limit these things but for Stryrochem
these are not demands and they totally dismiss our concerns.
They went to the Labour Board in October to force a vote
on their offer because our executive refused to submit the offer to the
members. The Labour Board agreed with them and forced a vote on October
12. The offer was rejected by more than 90 percent and this after two
of lockout. We are not asking
for the moon, but for something normal. The main thing is that since
the beginning they have refused to recognize the union and they want to
run the place without the union.
We are still strong and we are picketing and we need all
the support we can get. We were at the September CEP Convention in
Toronto in numbers and our members were encouraged to see the support
they got, including financial support. We met workers in all the
that CEP represents and we were able
to see that the workers are under attack everywhere and fighting
everywhere whether in big or small workplaces.
No to NATO! NATO Out of Afghanistan!
Mass Demonstration in Lisbon Opposes
NATO Plans for Militarization and War
November 20, 2010
On November 20, some 30,000 people marched through
Lisbon on the Avenida de la Libertad, to collectively express their
rejection of the aggressive NATO alliance, and its preparations for
war. At the front of the march was a banner declaring "Peace Yes! NATO
No!" with many other signs and slogans denouncing
NATO and calling for its dissolution and an end to nuclear arms. More
than 100 organizations were
represented, including many unions and some political parties,
such as the Communist Party of Portugal (PCP). Participants came from
across the country, with banners indicating their city or region as
well as from other parts of Europe and beyond.
The protest was marked by heavy security, with dozens of
police vehicles and hundreds of officers equipped with riot gear which
provocatively attempted to stop the march on more than one occasion and
prevented others from joining in the main march.
A civil disobedience action was held under the slogan
"NATO Game Over" where protestors blocked an intersection to prevent
NATO delegates from attending the Summit. Riot police arrested 42
people who have now all been released.
Campaigners from Portugal, other European countries and
Canada said in a statement: "We are using civil disobedience to
highlight the violence committed by NATO in Afghanistan. They are
meeting here today to perfect their arsenal of destruction."
Activists report that authorities stopped some 200
people from entering Portugal to participate in the anti-NATO actions
claiming this was to prevent "violence" since Tuesday, when they
revived border checks on the border with EU partner Spain for the first
time since 2004. The only violence was from the police
themselves as well as that of the NATO alliance itself.
The march concluded with a rally where several
personalities addressed the crowd including Helena Barbosa, of the
National Preparatory Committee for the 17th World Festival of Youth and
Gomes, President of the World Peace Council, Rui Namorado of the
General Confederation of Portuguese Workers and
Francisco Lopes, the presidential candidate of the Communist Party of
stated that NATO must be dismantled and that it is the duty of the
president of the country to uphold the Constitution to ensure that
peace is maintained.
Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver Actions Oppose Extension
of Canada's Afghan Mission
Toronto, November 20, 2010
Canadians opposing Canada's ongoing involvement in the
war on Afghanistan took part in actions on Saturday. In Ottawa,
demonstrators held a mass-leafleting action and a picket outside the
Prime Minister's Office at Elgin and Wellington. In Vancouver, people
demonstrated outside Liberal MP Hedy Fry's office.
The Toronto action was held at Dundas Square in the
heart of downtown. The mass leafleting and picket were met with a
positive response from the thousands of people who passed by,
reflecting the majority will of Canadians to end the mission and bring
the troops home now. In addition
to their banners, participants militantly
chanted slogans throughout the picket such as "End the Occupation,
Troops Out Now!" and
others which drew the attention and support of people walking by.
One speaker from the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War
pointed out that after a decade of war,
very little in the way of physical territory and the hearts and minds
of ordinary Afghans is under the control of the occupying forces. Many
denounced the deal-making in the Canadian Parliament to extend the
Canadian participation in the occupation of Afghanistan
beyond 2011 under the hoax that the Canadian military was going to play
A youth from Afghans for Peace, an organization of
Canadians and residents of Afghan origin stated that there is no way
U.S. imperialism and its allies like Canada will win the war in
Afghanistan because it is an unjust war that the Afghan people do not
want. He demanded that all occupation forces leave and let the Afghan
people sort out their own future
themselves. Many people signed and took petitions and postcards as a
way to continue the work to demand that the government and their MPs
represent their will to end Canada's participation in the war in
Mass Demonstration in Britain Demands
"Bring the Troops
Thousands of people from across Britain marched through
November 20 to demand an immediate end to the war in Afghanistan and
the British mission which
is to continue until 2015. The demonstration, held under the slogan
"Afghanistan: Time to Go," was called
by the Stop the War Coalition, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and
British Muslim Initiative.
As the march moved through the streets from Hyde Park,
voiced the sentiment that troops should not have been sent to occupy
Afghanistan in the first place and that they should be brought home at
At the concluding rally in Trafalgar Square, speakers
government cuts that have been made on the pretext that there is no
money available and demanded that the billions being spent on the
military be used to increase support for social services.
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