The main concern in the elections for Quebec is also the
necessity to be very active and to organize to break the passivity
imposed on the elections by the monopoly media and the cartel parties.
They are imposing an atmosphere that everything is the same and rotten,
or even that it is bourgeois to participate,
so one should not do so. But all this leads further to the conclusion
that there is a need to be active for the independent program of the
working class and for renewal, and the elections do not change this
necessity. The need for renewal and the necessity for an anti-war
government that protects and defends our rights,
ensures our well-being, security and peace are also the main concern in
the election. The election is an opportunity to advance these
discussions. We must lift this weight of cynicism by consistently
defending the people's best aspirations.
Another Electoral Coup Against Quebec on the Horizon
Since 1993 the parties of the Canadian establishment have viewed Quebec as a "nuissance" standing in the way of their pursuit of a "national" mandate to escalate their anti-social offensive in the service of the monopolies. Stephen Harper made it known from the start of the campaign that he would interpret his re-election as a mandate to step up Canada's faithful service to U.S. plans of aggression for conquest of the world. Moreover, the "major" parties have made it clear that they believe the best solution to the constitutional crisis and the historic refusal to recognize Quebec's right to self-determination is to avoid talking about it altogether.
The desperation of these parties of the rich to form a majority government could bring them to once again mount an electoral coup against Quebec. The biggest lie of the 2011 Federal Election is that the Conservatives, Liberals and New Democrats represent together the majority in Canada while in fact they strictly represent the interests of the tiny rich minority. In that, they see Quebec's representation as an aberration, a mistake of history that has no logic or reason. The reality is that since 1993, following the defeat of the Meech Lake Accord, the majority of Quebeckers have used the federal elections to demonstrate their historic rejection of the constitutional arrangements established against Quebec's will. Since 1993, the parties of the rich and their media have sought by every means to break this resistance, sometimes through violence, sponsorship campaigns involving kickbacks and election law violations, interference in how the will of the people should be interpreted through the "Clarity Bill," and sometimes through cajoling and false declarations of recognition. At every election they fail.
In the 2011 election, who will be the champion of the monopolies in Canada and Quebec? It remains to be seen. Over the weekend the pollsters and media announced that Jack Layton and the NDP might be the answer to their prayers. The Conservatives, with their slogan, "Here for Canada and the regions," tell Quebeckers that they are missing out on an opportunity to prosper if they continue to "remain on the outside." As if the vast majority of Canadians are not already more and more "on the outside" regarding the decisions which affect them, whether they live in Quebec or not. Meanwhile, the NDP's slogan is "Working together."
A beau mentir qui vient de loin! Lying is easy for someone who thinks their past is unknown, the saying goes. The NDP is a social-democratic party -- that is, socialist in words while in deeds it carries out the unbridled imposition of the dictate of the rich. In Ontario it was Bob Rae's NDP government that launched the brutal anti-social offensive against social programs and workers' rights under the pretext that before realizing its socialism it needed to "restore the health of public finances." Today in Nova Scotia, the NDP government of Darrell Dexter is at the forefront of the anti-social offensive in the service of the Irving empire and its battle to obtain $35 billion dollars of government funds to build warships. In Quebec, the onset of the assault against society was kicked off in the '90s with Lucien Bouchard's "social consensus" with the participation of the union leaders of that time.
The Canadian establishment relies on the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP to maintain the status quo. Their aim is to deny at all costs the peoples of Canada and Quebec and First Nations the opportunity to create modern arrangements as part of a modern constitution. Since the Sponsorship Scandal, the Liberals have been discredited while the Conservatives' attempt to rally Quebec has met defeat after defeat. So in comes the NDP with its slogan of "Working together."
The desires of the long-dead builders of the British Empire still haunt the empire builders of today, whose mission is to make subject all the Canadian vassals to the new United States of North American Monopolies. They all shout in unison, "My Canada includes Quebec!" What kind of Quebec do they speak of and, moreover, what kind of Canada? They don't want a sovereign Quebec, a modern and independent Quebec. Their silence on the issue of human rights in Quebec and particularly on its right to exercise its sovereignty speaks volumes about their true intentions. This silence speaks for itself and is very suspect. Beware of the liberal-social democratic illusions! These parties have not changed their political position towards Quebec. By blocking the fundamental rights of Quebec, they are impeding the creation of a modern Canada based on a voluntary union of sovereign peoples. Block the cartel parties' attempts to mount their electoral coup against Quebec!
Vote for the MLPC's program of democratic renewal!
Vote for renewal candidates!
Quebec "Cracking for Jack"?
There's a pathetic attempt in the bourgeois press to create excitement about a "famous cracker jack." But what Quebeckers should understand is that the prize at the bottom of the box isn't the NDP -- it's Ignatieff!
No need to waste time reading "strategic voting" analyses by the bourgeois parties to understand that everywhere the NDP weakened the Bloc vote, it was the Conservatives or Liberals who won the seat! There aren't too many differences between the NDP and Liberals -- they're both neoliberal parties. Pro-war and status quo defenders the lot of them, in spite of the efforts of the NDP to get Quebeckers to believe it supports sovereignty. After all, Quebec sovereignty is inscribed in their "Sherbrooke Declaration," says Jack. Even the most ardent federalist NDP candidate pushes the declaration's message about supporting a strong Quebec within a united Canada. The declaration doesn't propose any constitutional renewal, it just hangs on to the status quo.
The declaration even says that the NDP seeks to establish an environment in which Quebec will be able to sign the Constitution with confidence that its interests will be respected within an "asymmetrical federalism." That's what Jack Layton calls the condition for Canada to win Quebec! Clearly, it's the status quo position shared by Harper and Ignatieff, even if Jack Layton repeats that he respects the right of Quebec to self-determination. Sure, he respects it -- as long as it isn't exercised!
NDP's Asymmetrical Federalism --
Many illusions are being spread in Quebec, particularly
in the Outaouais area where the NDP is presenting two "star
candidates," former Liberal MP Françoise Boivin in Gatineau and
the former president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Nycole
Turmel, in Hull-Aylmer.
In Jack Layton's opinion, "Quebeckers are now ready to elect NDP members because they are prepared to create an asymmetrical federalism." For Layton, a concrete gesture of his desire to "seduce Quebeckers" is the declaration adopted at the NDP convention in Sherbrooke in 2006.
The Sherbrooke Declaration that Jack Layton and the NDP refer to on the constitutional crisis "supports a strong Quebec within a united Canada" and does not propose any constitutional renewal, only the status quo. On the other hand, we also read that "the NDP is trying to establish an environment in which Quebec could sign the Constitution while feeling confident that its interests will be respected within the framework of a system of asymmetrical federalism." Clearly, that is the position of the status quo shared by Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff, even though Jack Layton repeats that he respects Quebec's right to self-determination.
The refusal of the NDP to address the constitutional crisis is not new. Historically, it has always played the role of facilitator of the policy of divide and rule of the empire builders, not to speak of its role of saboteur in the workers' movement through its electoral politics. The false notion of "two founding peoples" was concocted by one of the founders of the CCF, the forebear of the NDP.
The declaration also clarifies Layton's position on the referendum process, when he says that "it is up to the federal government to determine its own process, within the spirit of the Supreme Court Opinion and international law, in response to the results of Quebec's internal public consultation process."
That clarifies the NDP's position on recognizing in words the right of the nation of Quebec to self-determination and saying it opposes the Clarity Act while at the same time referring to the principles of that Act which negate the right to self-determination. Thus the deeds of the NDP negate that same right. That's what they call clarity!
It's the same discourse as Ignatieff and Harper which dares to affirm that "open federalism delivers results for Quebec." It is to affirm that great things can be achieved while refusing to address fundamental problems, which is nonsensical.
In this election the NDP's role in Quebec is to maintain the status quo and divide the electorate. By presenting itself as the "alternative," the NDP is attempting to hide its policies towards the Quebec nation and of its defence of the anti-democratic institutions and the status quo. It's literally the same position as those of the Conservatives and Liberals to block any road to progress and suppress Quebec's right to self-determination.
For Canada, the affirmation of Quebec's sovereignty constitutes a bulwark against annexation to the United States of North American Monopolies. It's an opportunity for the entire country to take control of its economic and political affairs and finally stop the pillaging of our land.
For the MLPC, the national question can only be settled through a nation-building project based on the recognition of the rights of all which recognizes Quebec's right to self-determination including secession, on which a free and equal union can actually be based. Such a constitution must ensure the immediate restoration of the hereditary rights of the First Nations, and redress for the past injustices and wrongs they have suffered.
On May 2, not one Member of Parliament for the status quo!
All out for democratic renewal!
British Royal Wedding
The monopoly media are bombarding Canadians with images of a royal wedding. This is not innocent or detached tabloid journalism having a bit of fun. It is an offensive spectacle of obscene wealth and decadence and a crude reminder to Canadians that they are subjects of a foreign monarch. All the while, it diverts attention from the fact that Canada's democratic institutions are not based on the consent of the governed but on the Royal Prerogative.
The monopoly media are serious in their mission to promote the British monarchy as a romantic institution which is not of much relevance. In this vein, the people are constantly fed the fiction that the "constitutional monarch has no power" and that the Queen of England is just a "titular head of state." Decision-making really lies in Canada, not in England and not with the Queen we are told, notwithstanding the several recent examples of the powers of the monarch's representative in Canada, the Governor-General, and the tyranny which is established through the prerogative powers of the Prime Minister who acts as a king above even Parliament's control. In fact, this nostrum of a "symbolic sovereign" diverts from the issue of where sovereignty -- the decision-making power -- actually lies which is in the financial oligarchy, not in the people.
The historic striving of the people for empowerment opposed the conception of hereditary rights accorded by the kings who laid claim to "divine right" and all the arbitrariness that went with it. As capitalism came into being, the property owners demanded a guarantee for property rights and gave rise to the conception of "natural right." This was used to establish a civil society based on a notion of equality which provided property rights with guarantees. The rule of the propertied classes was carried out in the name of "the people." The "people" were represented in a "House of Commons" which evolved in a manner intended to keep the Royal Prerogative in check. On this basis, the democratic institutions based on a constitutional monarchy were born. In Canada this morphed into a system of self-government and a representative democracy in which the Queen of England remained Canada's Head of State. In neither Britain nor Canada did this system do away with power based on privileges conferred to the property holders. The society said to defend the public good continued to be divided between exploiters and exploited in which those who were the possessors of wealth lay claim to an allegedly natural right to rule. The rule is said to be merit-based but it is de facto a system which deprives the people of the decision-making power.
Today, the more wealth is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the more political power is also concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. The "Commons" no longer play their role to curtail the use of the Royal Prerogative. On the contrary, what is called the House of Commons is now an anachronistic institution which protects the Royal Prerogative, the rule of arbitrariness and tyranny against the rule of law.
The British monarch and her heirs embody both the conception of hereditary right from medievalism and the "natural" right of the capitalist property owners. The monarchy combines hereditary privilege, land, money and social property with the "natural" right to seize vast fortunes from investments inside Britain, Canada and throughout the world.
The merged hereditary right and natural right of money, power and privilege together now stand for monopoly right to dominate the people and suppress public right. This obstructs the striving of the people for empowerment expressed in the demand for the working class to constitute itself the nation and vest sovereignty in the people, for an end to all forms of privilege and power resulting from wealth and status, and recognition that all individuals have rights by virtue of being human.
The flaunting of the royal wedding in the midst of an election stands as a symbol of the conflict between the striving of the Canadian people for empowerment and the determination of the ruling circles to preserve archaic and anachronistic institutions that deprive the people of power. And all of this is presented as harmless! If it is so harmless then why is so much money and attention spent on it?
Behind the "fairy-tale" wedding lies the ugly glorification of monopoly right to suppress public right. It forms one of the many blocks to the march of the working class, seniors and youth towards new arrangements that are in harmony with the present objective conditions. The diversion from the issue of where sovereignty resides is meant to block the coming into being of a modern constitution and political system consistent with the demands of the times. The political, economic and social realities of contemporary Canada and the world requires guaranteeing the human rights of the people instead of the property right of the monopolies as is presently the case. The right of the Quebec nation to self-determination and the hereditary rights of the Aboriginal First Nations must also be recognized.
Elevating the "royals" to cult celebrity status seeks to divert attention from the disastrous direction in which society is headed under the rule of the rich whose appetite for more and more wealth and pleasure-seeking is insatiable. It also hides what is required to change the situation to one which favours the people. Behind the smiling faces are representatives of the world's depraved obsolescent forces, a brutal world where medieval obscurantism serves to push the neoliberal anti-social offensive. In this regard, the Windsor family is one of the most powerful and wealthy in the world. The so-called inherited rights of its members bring with them enormous possibilities to influence investments, raise capital and manipulate the state. The money from land and other holdings, and the annual stipends the family members receive from the state can be parlayed into even greater fortunes.
The fawning coverage of the royal marriage also exposes the Canadian monopoly media as undemocratic and opposed to the sovereignty of Canada and a modern democracy which should confer rights by virtue of being human, and recognize the national rights of Quebec and the hereditary rights of the Aboriginal First Nations. As a remnant of feudal right, the constitutional monarchy stands in direct contradiction with democratic renewal and public right and it should be abolished immediately.
The British royal family, the Windsors, refuse to disclose their personal wealth. They also protest that property Elizabeth Windsor holds as the "sovereign" should not be included, although she has the exclusive use of it and will be able to pass on that use to her children.
In 2008 the Times newspaper Rich List placed Ms Windsor at number 264 in its report of the UK's wealthiest individuals. Her personal wealth was put at £320 million. (Note: £1 = $1.6)
The Forbes magazine Rich List
published in 2010 estimated the Windsors' net worth at £349m.
Estimates of wealth vary according to what assets are included. According to a survey by EuroBusiness published in 1999, the Windsor family had personal wealth of £2.7 billion. This was said to include £20m in cash and investments, £1bn in works of art, jewellery worth £130m, land valued at £895m and other assets of £160m. Much of the real estate is state land held through hereditary right. Elizabeth receives the income from the Duchy of Lancaster and her son Charles the income from the Duchy of Cornwall -- £11.9m and £16m respectively in 2007.
The Windsors are exempt from the death duties paid by other Britons. In 2002, this allowed Elizabeth to avoid paying tax on as much as £50M left to her by her mother.
In addition to the income from the 33,000 acre Duchy of Lancaster, £11.9m in 2007, Ms Windsor also has free run of three palaces, a castle and two racehorse studs.
As stated, her son Charles is allowed to take the income from the Duchy of Cornwall, £16m in 2007. Some of this was considered as "official duties" while the rest was his to spend as he pleased. The Duchy's land holdings include the 70,000 acres of Dartmoor. The Duchy of Cornwall, from which Charles draws most of his income, and the Duchy of Lancaster that funds his mother, are both exempt from corporation and capital gains tax. This has been questioned by the British House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, which has been particularly concerned that this gives the Duchies an unfair advantage in the property market that provides much of their profits.
The Accounts Committee inspects the accounts of the Duchies but the Auditor-General is not allowed to examine their financial records.
Charles is taxed on only 30 per cent of his income.
The residential palaces occupied by the Windsor family consist of 285 apartments and 6,000 rooms.
The Windsors receive their huge income from a number of other sources beside the two Duchies. Some of it comes directly from the taxpayers. And some is income from financial and property investments. In all, the annual income amounts to more than £110m a year.
In 2007, Charles spent £1.16m on travel by plane and train.
Whoever becomes Britain's hereditary head of state also becomes the "Duke/Duchess of Lancaster." The eldest son of the head of state is automatically the "Duke of Cornwall."
The Windsors even boost their incomes by taking from the dead. When someone dies in Cornwall without leaving a will, their estate is taken by the Duchy of Cornwall if they have no surviving relatives entitled to inherit from them. Similarly, when a person dies in parts of Lancashire and in other parts of England and Wales that belong to the Duchy of Cornwall, their estate is added to the wealth of that Duchy.
What is officially termed "Head of State Expenditure" amounted to £40m in the 2007-2008 financial year. However, this excludes the cost of security for the numerous family members and residences. The cost is kept quiet but has been estimated to exceed £50m. The coming wedding of Charles' son will be protected by 5,000 police and some 1,000 members of the armed forces lining the route to Westminster Abbey. The security costs are estimated to be on the order of £20m.
The "Head of State Expenditure" is divided among "The Civil List," "Parliamentary," grants in aid, and spending on the Windsors by various government departments.
The spending is not restricted to the hereditary head of state Ms Windsor. Other members of her family also receive funding. For example, the government gave her son Charles an additional £3m in 2008, a 23.5 per cent increase on the previous year. Most of the extra money was accounted for by £550,000 spent on travel, including two overseas tours. The government gave Ms Windsor's husband Philip £0.4m of extra money in 2007-2008.
According to press reports Ms Windsor's mother, now dead, also lived the high life using pay-the-rich schemes of the state. Fifty personal staff, four lavishly furnished homes and a taste for the fanciest of dining out, was paid in part from an annual stipend of £643,000 from the British government but she also had vast personal wealth.
Each year Ms Windsor receives £14.2m for the running expenses of her household. Charles also receives an amount from the civil list.
This is an undisclosed amount but it is known that the royal train alone has an annual maintenance cost of £1m.
Now that Ms Windsor's mother is dead, a remaining annuity is a £400,000 annual handout to Elizabeth's husband Philip.
These amount annually to around £22m, broken down into £15.3m for the upkeep of the numerous family residences, £6.2m for travel and £500,000 for public relations work.
Various government departments contribute £4.9m for the administration of the honours or class system, servants, palace maintenance, ceremonies and overseas visits.
The Windsors are the most expensive monarchy in Europe. Only in 1998 were the accounts for the massive expenditure on transport and accommodation opened for parliamentary inspection. But the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons and the National Audit Office are still forbidden from looking at how the family spend the money provided from the Civil List. Instead, in June of 2002, the Windsor family published their own annual civil list accounts for the first time, for information only. The family is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, as they are not considered to be a "public authority."
Security costs are estimated to exceed £50m annually.
Transport for the family cost £6.2m in 2007-2008.
Charles Windsor billed the government for £970,000 for one year's travel expenses. A single trip to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji cost £292,229.
Andrew Windsor has spent more than £560,000 of government money on travel in a single year.
To enable the Windsors to get around in style the government funds a 9-car train costing around £1m a year, and pay £4.8m for helicopters and Air Force and private planes. Thirteen staff are employed to organize their travels and the administrative bill is £300,000. The bills presented to the government for payment in recent years have included:
£275,000 - Caribbean cruise on a chartered yacht
£18,916 - Charles Windsor to visit a pub in Cumbria
£381,813 - Trip by Ms Windsor to the USA to celebrate 400th anniversary of Jamestown settlement
£123,731 - Andrew Windsor 11 day visit to East Asia
£700,000 - garden parties
£40,513 - 3-day tour by train for Charles Windsor
£24,870 - two-day visit to Spain by Charles Windsor
£25,829 - train for Charles Windsor to visit the Eden botanical project in Cornwall
£2,565 - family member flying to a golf tournament
£2,938 - flight by Charles Windsor to London for a movie
£1,200 - Philip Windsor to attend a cricket game
£1,500 - a visit by Charles Windsor to Wembley Stadium
£33,000 - for an unnamed "prince" to travel the 110 miles from Salisbury to Birmingham
Accommodation for this large family, at almost £15m, is a highly expensive part of the bill. The Windsors are provided with seven residences, 160,000 square metres of land and 1,000 staff to look after the properties. Fifteen craftspeople are employed just to care for the furniture.
In June 2000, a report by the National Audit Office revealed the following costs:
£19,000 - new wardrobes
£650,000 - repairs to a palace exterior
£218,000 - redecoration of a castle living room
£135,000 - replacement of a palace elevator
£500,000 - palace furniture and equipment
Other items charged to the government have included £150,000 for new silk walls and gold gilding in one of the palaces and £300,000 for double glazing and sash windows at the Windsors' castle in the borough of Windsor.
The family has increased its spending of government money on public relations to £0.5m a year.
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