June 6, 2015 - No. 23

In Memory of Judith A. Snow

In Memoriam
Judith Snow

October 29, 1949 - May 31, 2015

In Memoriam 
A Wonderful Life
- Renewal Update -

Voice, Expression and Validation
- Diane Johnston -

Focusing on the Right Question
- Judith Snow -

Banks' Guilty Pleas Underscore
Necessity for New Direction for the Economy

Criminal Manipulation of Currencies for Private Gain
- K.C. Adams -
The Necessity for a New Direction for International Trade

Harper Government's Glorification of
Fascism in the Name of Victims of Communism

Why Harper Government's Anti-Communist Memorial Must
Be Scrapped, Not Relocated

- Pauline Easton and Louis Lang -
Harper Government Plays the Numbers Game
- François Lazure -
Ottawa City Council Opposes Ministerial Dictate
on Proposed Monument

Historic Fight to End Colonial Justice
Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report Underscores
Need for Constitutional and Political Renewal

- Philip Fernandez -
Who Said What
Highlights of Recommendations

World War Two History

Anglo-American Nazi Appeasement, Conciliation
and Anti-Communism

In Memoriam

With profound sorrow the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada informs you of the death of our dear comrade Judith Snow on the evening of May 31, 2015. The Party sends heartfelt condolences to Judith's family, comrades and friends at this time of great loss and sorrow.

Judith Snow was born in Oshawa, Ontario. Diagnosed as a baby with spinal muscular atrophy type 2, Judith and her parents defied all the predictions of the medical establishment. Judith vehemently rejected being pathologized and labelled "disabled." She fought for all to be permitted to fully develop their gifts and make their contribution to society.

Her focus was on ensuring that everyone's right to have a full life is recognized. She opposed the lack of respect afforded to people with special needs who are treated as a drain on society, not treasured for their gifts and contributions. She taught others to look at people's different abilities and limitations as gifts to the society that build social solidarity and to create practical solutions that benefit everyone based on how society can meet people's needs.

Judith's achievements are the stuff stories are written about. Her exploits were legendary, winning the affection and tremendous admiration of all who knew her.

In 1980, with the help of family and friends in her Joshua Committee, she defied the fate Canadian institutions had in store for her and she became the first person in Canada to receive individualized funding from the government so that she could live independently, not in an institution. She had to fight to maintain that support year after year but this opened the door for more than 600 people in Ontario and countless others across Canada to demand and receive state funding to cover their needs.

Academically Judith excelled, first getting a BA in mathematics, then a Master's in clinical psychology to then enroll in a PhD program at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education.

She travelled extensively throughout North America and Europe and lectured to promote the integration of people with special needs in all aspects of life.

She was the author of numerous articles published worldwide and the books What's Really Worth Doing and How To Do It, and Who's Drawing the Lines. She also contributed to the play The Book of Judith. The book From Behind the Piano: The Building of Judith Snow's Unique Circle of Friends was written by Jack Pearpoint with much input from Judith.

Describing herself as a social inventor and advocate, Judith was also an artist who founded the Laser Eagles Art Guild, a group of painters who have exhibited widely including at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Judith was a treasured member of the MLPC and represented the Party in its work for renewal as a candidate three times federally and once provincially. She profoundly understood that the rights of people can only be guaranteed with the renewal of the political system in Canada. She joined many causes dear to her heart and made friends everywhere she went.

Nothing would stymie her. Nothing would stop her. Judith, you will be sorely missed.

Anna Di Carlo, National Leader, Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada


Judith's funeral will be held on Saturday, June 6 from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm at Metropolitan United Church, 56 Queen Street East in Toronto.

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A Wonderful Life

Judith Snow -- author, lecturer, artist, advocate for social justice, political renewal and the rights of all, mentor, comrade, friend and much much more.

Judith was 65 years of age when her life ended on May 31, 2015, almost 36 years longer than the medical establishment predicted at her birth. The doctors not only predicted she would not live long but that her life would not be worth living.

How wrong they were! At an early age Judith set out to prove them wrong and she prevailed. Not only did she make her life worth living, it became a wonderful life worth sharing for all who knew her -- a life full of achievements, adventures, sorrows and joys, courage and bold decisions about choices to be made and about the lack of choices also. Judith fought relentlessly to be always in command of her life, taking us with her in a deliberately conscious act of finding out. A passionate life. A beautiful life.

Judith's premature death is a great loss to all who knew her as well as all who benefited from the successes she achieved. Among her many contributions, she elaborated the relationship between the individual and the society upon which every person depends for her or his living and on this basis she not only did her duty but claimed her rights in order to fulfil her duty.

It has been a great honour to have known Judith, and a great honour that she chose our Party, the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada (MLPC) as her own. Let her cause for a society that affirms the rights of all flourish! Let it always be connected to her name!

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Voice, Expression and Validation

Judith -- a sweet, caring and determined woman who fought for and embodied a human-centred vision of society. She deeply understood that individual and collective rights must be respected and that the two can be harmonized with the general interest of society only if society affirms public right.

It was my privilege to stand alongside her as an independent candidate for democratic renewal in two Ontario provincial by-elections in 1993. I vividly remember her being there. It was March and often cold. She could always be counted upon to be at the entrance of a small shopping mall, speaking with people about the need for the renewal of the society.

The following is an excerpt taken from a message posted by Judith from the web site Community Works some 15 years ago:

Why are We Called "Dis-abled"?

We have different and unique characteristics. Often we are silent, or nearly so. Our bodies are unusually shaped. We are often fragile and frail.

We live in intimate connection with other people's bodies, minds and hearts. Our ways are not inferior to others' ways.

Living in this way challenges and extends our courage, our love, our empathy for others and our creativity. We see and hear what others miss entirely.

I am not suggesting that everyone should be like us. Our gifts are rare, and that is good. But, as difficult as our bodies and minds can be, their very uniqueness brings strength and positive challenge both to we who live in these bodies and minds, and to society -- when we are appreciated, respected and celebrated.

We are unique and unusual people.

Why are we constantly being compared to the "normal"? What is important about us that is being denied? What are we and others turning away from?

Where do our gifts find full expression? How do our gifts benefit others? How can this aspect of our lives be celebrated and shared everywhere?

How do we naturally lead -- as our vulnerable selves and not as bad copies of other people?

Who listens to us now? How can it be made possible that more people will listen?

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Focusing on the Right Question

TML Weekly is posting an article written by Judith Snow in 1993, in which she gave her views on society's need for political renewal so that Canadians can exercise control over their lives and make sure the rights of all are affirmed.

Judith wrote the article as part of the work of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada to spearhead a project for democratic renewal which led to the creation of the Canadian Renewal Party (CRP) as a non-partisan organization open to all regardless of ideological or political persuasion to work together with the sole aim of empowering Canadians so that they can exercise control over their lives. The project was subsequently continued by the MLPC in its own name with the expectation that in the course of time, conditions will once again be created to sustain the CRP to achieve its aim of realizing the renewal of political life in Canada.


Judith Snow speaking at the founding convention of the Canadian Renewal Party held
in Toronto April 24-25, 1993.

At the dawn of the Canadian Renewal Party, of which I am a founding member, I decided to write down some thoughts on what I have been learning in the last few months. I was active with the Committee to Vote No during the time of the (Charlottetown) Referendum, last September and October. From there I have worked as part of the National Council for the Renewal of the Economy, Democracy and Federalism (NCR). Throughout this time I have struggled to understand the true nature of renewal. This struggle stems from our shared concern that our work will be effective.

I have been an activist for many years, directing my efforts at fostering diversity among classmates, workers and so on. About three years ago I began to seriously ask the question, "Who can make a decision?" I could not do so; I was always obstructed by bureaucrats. Policy makers in turn were always obstructed by other official procedures and interests. Even elected officials could only make referrals to other ministries or legislative bodies. Occasionally an executive decision got made deep within the conclaves of a cabinet, but there was never any sure way of influencing a federal or provincial minister to take action.

My question was crystallized when I attended a public discussion sponsored by the Committee to Vote No on October 26. It was made clear that citizens have the right to be elected and to elect. This right comes out of the fact that in a true democracy, the sovereignty lies with the citizens. This means that citizens have the right to decide in matters concerning how their society is governed. Our problem is that Canadian citizens are not truly sovereign under our present Constitution.

Judith speaks at the Constitutional convention of the Canadian Renewal Party, held in Ottawa, September 1993.

Many of us in the NCR, in our eagerness to bring about renewal as quickly as possible, went about doing and writing various things. Further discussions revealed that, at least for some of us, our approach was not political, and therefore we were not effective. I did not understand what it means to be political. But in time I gathered the following realization.

At no time in the past has there ever been a true democracy, where the sovereignty of the people has been completely empowered by the political structures and the economy of society. But at various points in history people have a chance to take a step toward becoming a democracy. If the step was taken, society advanced and thrived for a time. If, instead, the leaders of the time turned their backs on the people, society would become deeply entangled in economic and political crises.

For example, when men of property forced the kings of the 17th century to give up their "divine right" and establish a Parliament, society advanced. When Yeltsin in modern day Russia is attempting to gain executive power over the elected legislature, he is deepening the crisis in his country.

A genuine political problem is one that addresses the course of society in relation to its development toward democracy. A genuine political approach to a problem is one that opens up the opportunity for citizens to develop themselves into a democratic society.

There are many problems that face society today and many approaches that an activist can take. Most of these approaches will look like good things to do. But an activity that is not political does not open up the way for citizens to address the root problem that faces us all: that is, that there is a flaw in Canadian democracy, and we are politically obstructed from making decisions and solving our own problems.

Members and supporters of the Canadian Renewal Party must strive to avoid apolitical work that would only render us in a deeper crisis in our country. Instead, we must do genuine political work that will empower Canadian citizens and residents to develop a democracy that will renew our country and serve as a hope-engendering model for the world.

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Banks' Guilty Pleas
Underscore Necessity for New Direction for the Economy

Criminal Manipulation of Currencies for Private Gain

The global financial institutions Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland pleaded guilty on May 20 to criminal charges of conspiring to rig the value of the world's currencies for private gain. A fifth bank, UBS AG, entered a guilty plea of manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and other benchmark interest rates, although the court noted that UBS also participated in the broader currency conspiracy. The U.S. Justice Department accepted the guilty pleas in exchange for a collective $9 billion fine but took no further action against the banks or individual executives involved to hold them to account for the stolen money and damage they caused. The Justice Department clearly said the guilty pleas are not a prelude to further court action but its "resolution."

In their guilty pleas, the banks acknowledged that they criminally conspired to manipulate the value of currencies for personal gain from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2013. During this period, the four banks' gross income from transactions dealing with foreign exchange totalled $85 billion. No calculation was made of the damage their manipulation caused to countries, companies and individuals involved in exchanging currencies or the collateral damage to international trade, where the spot value of currencies is a crucial element.

The banks involved have not had their banking privileges suspended or received any other punishment of note. Business as usual and lives of continued class privilege seem to be the result. No one from the banks involved has even been named let alone charged. The U.S. Justice Department refused to explain how such lengthy, lucrative and repeated criminal conduct could have gone unsuspected and undetected by supervisors, managers and executives. Also of note, the Justice Department labels the banks involved as serial offenders constantly breaking previous non-prosecution agreements yet refuses to restrict their financial activities as required in U.S. law.

Reflecting the absence of any serious accounting for their criminal activities, the chief executive of Citicorp (after yet another takeover and merger now known as Citigroup), Michael Corbat, in a memo to employees called the criminal conviction "an embarrassment." Compare the "embarrassment" Mr. Corbat is experiencing with the arrests, indictments, and resignations forced upon executives of FIFA who have been targeted by the same U.S. Justice Department for corruption involving far less money. A double standard appears obvious. The friendly relations of FIFA executives towards South Africa, Brazil, Russia, Iran, Qatar and even Palestine spurred the U.S. Justice Department towards harsh punishment. Quite the contrary has occurred in the case of the five banks, which hold prominent positions within the U.S.-led imperialist system of states. They received the kid gloves treatment with a tender admonishment, "You're one of us and too big to fail so carry on but don't be so obvious."[1]

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) embraced the plea deals as good for the economy and gave its official blessing and assurance that the banks could keep operating the same as always, despite their criminal misconduct and recidivism. One SEC commissioner, Kara Stein strongly disagreed and issued a public dissent from the Justice Department and SEC's decision to excuse the banks and not hold them to account.

This sordid affair is yet another example of the necessity for a new pro-social direction for the economy. The modern socialized economy embraces all the people and is their lifeblood. The economy and its institutions must serve the broad public interest and not the narrow private interests of a privileged few. Just think of how this currency manipulation affected not only those directly involved, concentrating social wealth and power in fewer hands, but also affected the much broader issue of international trade and development.

The recidivism of the banks brings to the fore their motive based on greed and class privilege. Their central position within the economy highlights the fact that private banks operating for profit no longer serve any useful purpose in the modern economy. They are tools of private interest to enrich a privileged few and in this way are in contradiction with the socialized economy and public interest. Their criminal disruptive activities are factors causing economic crises.

The financial institutions are currently accountable to themselves and their private ownership groups. They hold extensive authority over the economy that can be characterized as self-serving to particular powerful private interests and against the public interest and good. Even within the current capitalist system, private financial institutions play no positive role but are a drain on the socialized economy and a disruptive and destructive force. As part of the drive for a new direction for the economy, the people should insist that the financial sector be recognized and treated in law as a public utility and enterprise with a mandate to serve the public interest and good.


1. Citigroup, the largest bank in the world during the global economic crisis of 2008, suffered huge losses from trading in derivatives with the crash of the mostly fictitious bond market. The U.S. government rescued the company and its "troubled assets" in late 2008 and early 2009 as "too big to fail," providing a massive pay-the-rich scheme totalling hundreds of billions of dollars in an equity stake, grants, line of credit and guarantees.

Five Major Banks Agree to Parent-Level Guilty Pleas

Five major banks -- Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays PLC, The Royal Bank of Scotland plc and UBS AG -- have agreed to plead guilty to felony charges. Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays PLC, and The Royal Bank of Scotland plc have agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to manipulate the price of U.S. dollars and euros exchanged in the foreign currency exchange (FX) spot market. ... A fifth bank, UBS AG, has agreed to plead guilty to manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and other benchmark interest rates and pay a $203 million criminal penalty, after breaching its December 2012 non-prosecution agreement resolving the LIBOR investigation.


"The charged conspiracy fixed the U.S. dollar-euro exchange rate, affecting currencies that are at the heart of international commerce and undermining the integrity and the competitiveness of foreign currency exchange markets which account for hundreds of billions of dollars worth of transactions every day," said Assistant Attorney General Baer. "The seriousness of the crime warrants the parent-level guilty pleas by Citicorp, Barclays, JPMorgan and RBS."


Between December 2007 and January 2013, euro-dollar traders at Citicorp, JPMorgan, Barclays and RBS -- self-described members of "The Cartel" -- used an exclusive electronic chat room and coded language to manipulate benchmark exchange rates. Those rates are set through, among other ways, two major daily "fixes," the 1:15 p.m. European Central Bank fix and the 4:00 p.m. World Markets/Reuters fix. Third parties collect trading data at these times to calculate and publish a daily "fix rate," which in turn is used to price orders for many large customers. "The Cartel" traders coordinated their trading of U.S. dollars and euros to manipulate the benchmark rates set at the 1:15 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. fixes in an effort to increase their profits.

As detailed in the plea agreements, these traders also used their exclusive electronic chats to manipulate the euro-dollar exchange rate in other ways. Members of "The Cartel" manipulated the euro-dollar exchange rate by agreeing to withhold bids or offers for euros or dollars to avoid moving the exchange rate in a direction adverse to open positions held by co-conspirators. By agreeing not to buy or sell at certain times, the traders protected each other's trading positions by withholding supply of or demand for currency and suppressing competition in the FX market.

Citicorp, Barclays, JPMorgan and RBS each have agreed to plead guilty to a one-count felony charge of conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for U.S. dollars and euros exchanged in the FX spot market in the United States and elsewhere.


Barclays has further agreed that its FX trading and sales practices and its FX collusive conduct constitute federal crimes that violated a principal term of its June 2012 non-prosecution agreement resolving the department's investigation of the manipulation of LIBOR and other benchmark interests rates .

In addition, according to court documents to be filed, the Justice Department has determined that UBS's deceptive currency trading and sales practices in conducting certain FX market transactions, as well as its collusive conduct in certain FX markets, violated its December 2012 non-prosecution agreement resolving the LIBOR investigation. The department has declared UBS in breach of the agreement, and UBS has agreed to plead guilty to a one-count felony charge of wire fraud in connection with a scheme to manipulate LIBOR and other benchmark interest rates. UBS has also agreed to pay a criminal penalty of $203 million.

According to the factual statement of breach attached to UBS's plea agreement, UBS engaged in deceptive FX trading and sales practices after it signed the LIBOR non-prosecution agreement, including undisclosed markups added to certain FX transactions of customers. UBS traders and sales staff misrepresented to customers on certain transactions that markups were not being added, when in fact they were. On other occasions, UBS traders and sales staff used hand signals to conceal those markups from customers. On still other occasions, certain UBS traders also tracked and executed limit orders at a level different from the customer's specified level in order to add undisclosed markups. In addition, according to court documents, a UBS FX trader conspired with other banks acting as dealers in the FX spot market by agreeing to restrain competition in the purchase and sale of dollars and euros. UBS participated in this collusive conduct from October 2011 to at least January 2013.

In declaring UBS in breach of its non-prosecution agreement, the Justice Department considered UBS's conduct described above in light of UBS's obligation under the non-prosecution agreement to commit no further crimes. The department also considered UBS's three recent prior criminal resolutions and multiple civil and regulatory resolutions. Further, the department also considered that UBS's post-LIBOR compliance and remediation efforts failed to detect the illegal conduct until an article was published pointing to potential misconduct in the FX markets.


In conjunction with previously announced settlements with regulatory agencies in the United States and abroad, including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), today's resolutions bring the total fines and penalties paid by these five banks for their conduct in the FX spot market to nearly $9 billion. [...]

Dissenting Statement Regarding Certain Waivers Granted by the
Commission for Certain Entities Pleading Guilty to Criminal Charges
Involving Manipulation of Foreign Exchange Rates

I dissent from the Commission's Orders, issued on May 20, 2015, that granted the following waivers from an array of disqualifications required by federal securities regulations:[1]

1) UBS AG, Barclays Plc, Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. ("JPMC"), and the Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc ("RBSG"), waivers from the provisions under Commission rules that automatically make them ineligible for well-known seasoned issuer ("WKSI") status;[2]

2) UBS AG, Barclays, and JPMC waivers from automatic disqualification provisions related to the safe harbor for forward-looking statements under Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; and

3) UBS AG and three Barclays entities[3] waivers from the automatic Bad Actor disqualification provided under Rule 506.[4]

The disqualifications were triggered for generally the same behavior: a criminal conspiracy to manipulate exchange rates in the foreign currency exchange spot market ("FX Spot Market"), a global market for buying and selling currencies. Traders at these firms "entered into and engaged in a combination and conspiracy to fix, stabilize, maintain, increase or decrease the price of, and rig bids and offers for," the euro-dollar foreign currency exchange ("FX").[5] To carry out their scheme, the conspirators communicated and coordinated trading almost daily in an exclusive online chat room that the traders referred to as "The Cartel" or "The Mafia."[6] Additionally, salespeople and traders lied to customers in order to collect undisclosed markups in certain transactions.[7] This criminal behavior went on for years, unchecked and undeterred.[8]

There are compelling reasons to reject these requests to waive the automatic disqualifications required by statute or rule. Chief among them, however, is the recidivism of these institutions. For example, in the face of the FX criminal action, a majority of the Commission has determined to grant Citigroup yet another WKSI waiver, its fourth since 2006. It is worth noting that Citigroup was automatically disqualified from WKSI status between 2010 and 2013 for unrelated misconduct, meaning that it has effectively now triggered WKSI disqualifications five times in roughly nine years. Further, through this latest round of Orders, the Commission has granted:

- Barclays its third WKSI waiver since 2007;

- UBS its seventh WKSI waiver since 2008;

- JPMC its sixth WKSI waiver since 2008; and

- RBSG its third WKSI waiver since 2013.

The Commission has thus granted at least 23 WKSI waivers to these five institutions in the past nine years. The number climbs higher if you include Bad Actor and other waivers.

This latest round of criminal charges also comes on the heels of the Department of Justice's actions against UBS, Barclays, and RBSG for their collusive manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR"), a benchmark used in financial products and transactions around the world. The manipulation of LIBOR was flagrant and "impact[ed] financial products the world over, and erode[d] the integrity of the financial markets."[9] As part of the settlements in the LIBOR matters, UBS, Barclays, and RBSG each entered into agreements with the Department of Justice in which they undertook not to commit additional crimes during the term of the agreements.[10]

Allowing these institutions to continue business as usual, after multiple and serious regulatory and criminal violations, poses risks to investors and the American public that are being ignored. It is not sufficient to look at each waiver request in a vacuum.

And today the Commission heads further down this path. After the LIBOR guilty pleas, UBS was granted a WKSI waiver that was explicitly conditioned on compliance with the judgment in the LIBOR-related matter.[11] That explicit condition has now been violated. Yet, the Commission has just issued UBS a new WKSI waiver.

It is troubling enough to consistently grant waivers for criminal misconduct. It is an order of magnitude more troubling to refuse to enforce our own explicit requirements for such waivers. This type of recidivism and repeated criminal misconduct should lead to revocations of prior waivers, not the granting of a whole new set of waivers. We have the tools, and with the tools the responsibility, to empower those at the top of these institutions to create meaningful cultural shifts, yet we refuse to use them.

In conclusion, I am troubled by repeated instances of noncompliance at these global financial institutions, which may be indicative of a continuing culture that does not adequately support legal and ethical behavior. Further, I am concerned that the latest series of actions has effectively rendered criminal convictions of financial institutions largely symbolic. Firms and institutions increasingly rely on the Commission's repeated issuance of waivers to remove the consequences of a criminal conviction, consequences that may actually positively contribute to a firm's compliance and conduct going forward.


To read the full notes click here.

1. Created by the Commission as part of the Securities Offering Reforms of 2005, WKSI, or well-known seasoned issuer, status is available "for the most widely followed issuers representing the most significant amount of capital raised and traded in the United States." See Division of Corporation Finance's Revised Statement on Well-Known Seasoned Issuer Waivers (Apr. 24, 2014), available here. This status confers on the largest companies certain advantages over smaller companies. For example, WKSIs are granted nearly instant access to investors through the capital markets. In addition, WKSIs enjoy greater flexibility in their public communications and a streamlined registration process with less oversight than smaller businesses.

2. [...] As part of this package of plea agreements, rather than pleading to the deceptive FX trading and sales practices in which it engaged, UBS AG agreed to "plead guilty to manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") and other benchmark interest rates....

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The Necessity for a New Direction for
International Trade

Part Two
March Trade Figures and the Record Deficit

TML Weekly is posting below Part Two in the series “The Necessity for a New Direction for
International Trade,” which discusses the problem of volume and fluctuating prices and provides information on the March figures for merchandise trade. For Part One in the series see TML Weekly, May 23, 2015 - No. 21.


Statistics Canada has revised upward the record deficit for the country's international merchandise trade for March 2015. The original $3.0 billion deficit has now become $3.9 billion. The trend continued in April with an additional $3.0 billion trade deficit. The monthly deficits do not bode well for the future, as it represents a continuing drain of social wealth from the country.

Reasons for the large deficit include the fall in value of the Canadian currency relative to the U.S. dollar and other currencies, the drop in the market price of oil and importantly the use of international trade and production to serve private monopoly empires and not nation-building. The issue facing Canadians is their lack of control in dealing with the situation and solving problems. No public authority exists that can exercise any meaningful control over what is exported or imported, the price of those commodities, or the value of the Canadian currency. The global monopolies control all the basic factors of international trade and do whatever suits their narrow private interests.

Currency Manipulation for Private Profit

The private control of the monopolies extends to manipulation of the price of currencies and their trading for private profit, as revealed in the guilty pleas of five major U.S. and European financial institutions in a New York court. Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays PLC, The Royal Bank of Scotland plc and UBS AG agreed to a joint fine of $9 billion for illegal manipulation for private gain of both currency exchange rates and the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and other benchmark interest rates. The $9 billion penalty is eclipsed by the estimated gross income of $85 billion the banks pulled in from their collusion in trading and manipulating. The guilty plea does not include any individual punishment for those involved and allows the monopolies to continue their activities without additional restrictions. One member of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission loudly dissented from the majority over the lack of justice and punishment in the case, allowing the financial institutions to continue operating as usual.

The fluctuation in currency prices directly affects international trade, as transactions are realized in the relative value of currencies at the time, especially in relation to the U.S. dollar, as most basic commodities are priced in U.S. dollars and it remains the primary reserve currency. The volume and quality of goods traded may be similar but their value in one's own currency can vary widely under the current trading regime controlled by private monopoly interests. All aspects of international trade are seen as means for speculation and easy profits by finance capital and a forum in which competition for empire is played out.

The Necessity of a Public Authority to Restrict Monopoly Right

Everything is traded globally, both goods themselves and their imagined derivatives, including the much ballyhooed carbon credits. The most powerful monopolies compete and collude to manipulate international trade for their narrow private interests. This drains social wealth from the people, their economies and nation-building, and further concentrates wealth and power in the hands of a few. This problem can be addressed through a public authority with the power to restrict monopoly right and uphold the principle of trade for mutual benefit and development. Private centres of exchange for goods, their derivatives and currencies should be banned. International trade should be conducted nation-to-nation for mutual benefit and development. Market prices should be determined scientifically according to their prices of production and evened out internationally according to friendship and the mutual development of the peoples and their economies and needs.

For a chart detailing the fluctuating price of the Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. dollar over the last two years, click here.

The figures from the March report dealing with manufactured goods are troubling, as most sectors experienced large deficits. Calculated in money, exports of Motor vehicles and parts totalled $6,602 million for March. This compares with imports of Motor vehicles and parts totalling $7,858 million for the same month, a deficit of $1,256 million. Some of this deficit arises from the big auto companies importing parts going into their own vehicles assembled in Canada, most of which are subsequently exported to the United States. In this manipulation of many countries for the benefit of private monopolies, Canada acts as a conduit for auto parts that are imported, then fitted into vehicles, and immediately exported. This process results in a net loss for the country's balance of payments and leaves Canadians at the mercy of the global monopolies, but is excused as a net gain in employment, which is rapidly being eroded. Rarely is any thought given to a new direction centred on an indigenous vehicle sector under Canadian control spread across the country building cars, trucks and heavy equipment from raw material to finished product designed for Canada's varied weather and needs.

The widest deficit occurs in Consumer goods where exports totalled $5,337 million with imports at $9,980-million creating a deficit of $4,643 million in just the one month of March.

Another troubling manufacturing sector consistently in deficit is industrial machinery, equipment and parts with March exports of $2,674 million and imports of $4,607 million for a deficit of $ 1,933 million. No excuse exists for this continuous large deficit except the sector's obvious domination by the global monopolies Caterpillar Inc., Komatsu, Volvo Construction Equipment and Hitachi Ltd. that resist any change towards local production.

Also, electronic and electrical equipment and parts saw exports of $2,294 million and imports of $5,279 million for a deficit of $2,985 million.

Those four manufacturing sectors alone accounted for a trade deficit of $10,817 million for March. The fall in value of the Canadian currency accounted for some of the deficit but the problem in those manufacturing sectors is a consistent systemic feature of monopoly opposition to nation-building.

Many commentators say the cheaper Canadian dollar should boost exports thus lessening the trade deficit and generating employment but this is not borne out with the facts. The cheaper dollar means imports of manufactured goods calculated in money are greater even if volumes decrease and the reverse for exports. One effect of the cheaper dollar was on exports of Energy products, which decreased in money for the month of March by 43.7 per cent compared with March 2014.

Statistics Canada writes in the March report, "(Total) Imports rose to $45.5 billion in March, as 7 of 11 sections increased. Imports increased 0.6% in the first quarter of 2015 from the fourth quarter of 2014. However, quarterly imports were down 0.2% in real (or volume) terms....

"Total exports declined 3.0% in the first quarter of 2015 from the fourth quarter of 2014. However, quarterly exports were up 0.6% in real (or volume) terms....

"Exports of energy products declined 8.9% to $6.9 billion (in the one month from February 2015 to March 2015). There were widespread decreases in exports among the commodity groupings in the section, led by refined petroleum energy products, down 29.7% to $855 million. Exports of natural gas (-16.2%) and crude oil and crude bitumen (-2.7%) also declined. For the section as a whole, prices fell 7.0% and volumes 2.1%."

Necessity for a New Direction for the Economy

International trade controlled by private interests motivated by empire-building to serve global monopolies is contrary to the public interest and nation-building. Imperialist globalization with its free trade controlled by the most powerful monopolies means that trade is viewed as a way to exploit the people and enrich private interests. The situation points to the necessity for a new direction for international trade and the manufacturing sectors in Canada.

Stability in manufacturing sectors can be found through public enterprise, especially in those sectors where the Canadian economy has constant demand both as articles of consumption and means of production. Only a public authority with power to restrict monopoly right in the wholesale sector and international trade can turn the situation around to serve the public interest, nation-building and the public good.

The deficits and instability of trade value in money reflects in part the fluctuation of the market price of currencies and commodities controlled and manipulated by private interests. A public authority must have the power to restrict the global monopolies and their self-serving trade in currencies and major commodities and manipulation of their market prices. Market prices of goods traded must be set in a mutually acceptable way amongst the trading partners, which more accurately reflects the prices of production and actual value of the goods traded and the specific needs of the countries involved. Market prices should align consistently with their prices of production and be adjusted in international trade to serve the principle of mutual benefit and development. The particular relative value of currencies should not be used to distort trade. In most cases, other means than pricing in currencies, in particular the U.S. dollar can be found to ensure the principle of mutual benefit.

The criminal activity of the global monopolies in controlling international trade and prices of currencies and major commodities, and their parasitic practice of exchanging derivatives must stop. A public authority must have the power to deprive the private mostly foreign interests of the control they now exercise over Canada's international trade in merchandise and the market prices of the Canadian currency and major commodities. The criminal activity of the global monopolies with regard to financial wheeling and dealing underscore the necessity to transform the financial sector into a public utility serving the public interest and not private greed.

The demand for a new direction for international trade is directly linked with the desire for good relations amongst the peoples of the world based on peace and the friendly and mutual development of each other's economy and all peoples' well-being. A new direction embodies the desire of the peoples everywhere for empowerment, stability and security in their working lives, anti-war governments, and to put an end to imperialist globalization.

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Harper Government's Glorification of
Fascism in the Name of Victims of Communism

Why Harper Government's Anti-Communist Memorial Must Be Scrapped, Not Relocated

Lest We Forget: Hitler and his ilk were the victims of communism, not eight million Canadians or 100 million people on the world scale as Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper claims, to which his Minister of Defence Jason Kenney and Minister of Employment and Social Development Pierre Polievre add their voices. In their virulent anti-communism, they repeat outrageous bits of anti-communist propaganda such as the nonsense that all those in Canada who come from current or former socialist countries are victims of communism.

Let us take the argument that all Canadians of Chinese origin in Canada are victims of communism. How many of them arrived in Canada prior to 1949 when China stood up free from Japanese militarism and Anglo-American and European foreign domination? Is the Harper government counting them as part of the eight million Canadians? Members of the Vietnamese community have already come forward to say they are not opposed to the direction in which the government of Vietnam has taken their country. In fact, those among Vietnamese who left the country after the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975 who sought to escape communism were the few who had become stooges and lackeys of the U.S. imperialist occupiers and drug lords, responsible for inflicting heinous crimes on the people of Vietnam. A similar case can be made for the 21,000 Canadians of Cuban origin. They too came to Canada for economic and other reasons, but not to escape communism, which is also the case for people of Korean and other origins.

Of the Ukrainian community in Canada, a fighting contingent of the Canadian working class, 170,000 had arrived by World War I, while another 70,000 came from Poland and Romania between the world wars. Many were fleeing the reactionary and chauvinist governments which denied the right of Ukraine to a unified state only won by the World War II liberation mission of the Red Army and partisans. These waves of migration make up the bulk of Ukrainian settlement in Canada yet so too are all these Canadians declared "victims of communism" by the Harperites without any say in the matter.

Many people left Indonesia after the documented massacre of one million communists carried out in 1965-66 by President Suharto, while people of Kosova left to escape the bombing of their country by the aggressive NATO military alliance and people of Albanian origin left after their country was devastated following the fall of socialism.

Harper's claim of 100 million victims of communism on the world scale and eight million in Canada merely serves a propaganda purpose. It is to embroil us in forgetting that the victims of communism were in fact Adolf Hitler himself and his Werhmacht and Third Reich, along with Mussolini and his brownshirts and Tojo and the Japanese militarists. They were routed by the United Front Against Fascism in which the Red Army played a particularly heroic role and suffered the greatest losses along with the peoples of Europe. They were joined by peoples from all countries, including Canada, as well as north Africans, Italians, Greeks, Albanians, Yugoslavs and other European peoples with the help of the Americans at the end of the war. Tojo and the Japanese militarists were defeated by the heroic Korean, Chinese and other peoples of Asia with the help of the Red Army at the end of the War.

Harper and his ministers have nothing to say about the victims of fascism except to mention the European Holocaust in a manner which suggests only the Jewish people suffered at the hands of the Hitlerites and, most importantly, to cover up the role of their heroes in committing those crimes. They do not tell us how many Canadians would be counted as victims of fascism according to their political algebra nor recognize them. It is telling that the Harper government does not recognize Canadians of German, Italian, eastern European, Spanish or Japanese descent as victims of fascism, much less those from countries who came under the jackboot of German imperialism or Japanese militarism. With utter shamelessness they neither condemn the crimes of fascism nor recognize the significance of its defeat in an effort to disarm the people from confronting it today.

The boycott by the Harper Conservatives and other leaders of NATO countries of the celebration in Moscow on May 9, the 70th anniversary of victory over German fascism in Europe, was not an isolated incident. The purpose was to negate the decisive role of the Soviet Union in defeating the German Nazis' aggression throughout Europe and to do further warmongering propaganda in support of the Ukrainian neo-nazi government which is poised to attack Russia.

Harper and other western leaders were not present at the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the victory over German fascism in Europe.

The ongoing falsification of the history of World War II being propagated by the Harper Conservatives is not a new phenomenon. It is a continuation of the lies and distortions put forward by the ruling circles of the U.S., Britain and France who did everything in their power before and even during the war to isolate the USSR, help Germany rearm and encourage Hitler to drive east and defeat the Soviet Union.

Outright lies are being repeated by Conservative cabinet ministers like Chris Alexander that the USSR was the aggressor in Ukraine and Poland when in fact the Soviet Red Army, despite facing 85 per cent of the elite German Wehrmacht, was victorious in liberating all of the east European countries, all of which were under German Nazi occupation.

Mr. Alexander's praise for the "national heroes of Ukraine" who fought on the side of the German Nazi army against the Red Army is the glorification of fascism and an attempt to reverse the verdict that history has already pronounced on these mass murderers and traitors. It is an established fact that the Ukrainian collaborators with Germany, who joined the Galicia division of the Waffen SS, were responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands of Polish, Ukrainian and Yugoslav partisans and Jews. Their descendants who have been put into power in the Ukraine today are committing the most vicious crimes against the people in the eastern part of Ukraine, who are fighting to defend their democratic rights and opposing the illegitimate neo-nazi government in Kiev.

The Harper Conservatives are actively participating with the U.S. and NATO in fomenting war on the borders of Russia. They are sending hundreds of Canadian troops to train the army of the Kiev government, comprised largely of Nazi militias who display German Nazi symbols on their uniforms and tanks.

This betrayal by the Harper Conservatives of Canadian WWII veterans and all the Allied armed forces who fought and died fighting German fascism is of great concern to all Canadians. It is a clear indication of the extremism that the Harper Conservatives are trying to impose on Canadian society. This includes its abuse of power in building an anti-communist memorial in Ottawa on a prime piece of real-estate so as to impose Nazi values on Canadians who value the sacrifice made in World War II to contain and defeat fascism and do not want to have it restored and promoted in their name.

Lest we forget: Hitler and his henchmen were the victims of communism, not Canadians who sacrificed so much to join the anti-fascist cause spearheaded by the Soviet Union and its heroic red army in World War II. As far as crimes committed at the time of the Cold War, it is a well-established fact that it was the United States which dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and subsequently waged one war after another against the peoples of Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean no sooner than the Second World War was over. Even before the war ended, they plotted to join the Hitlerites in undermining the Soviet Union and they subsequently sabotaged the peoples of the new people's democracies. A serious inquiry is required into the crimes committed during the Cold War in the name of freedom, democracy and human rights and opposition to totalitarianism and communism.

It is incumbent upon Canadians to think deeply about Anglo-American crimes of the Cold War and ask why the Harper government does not consider them worth investigating let alone memorializing. In their drive to construct a fascist monument the Harperites have put forward spurious and over-the-top claims about communism and even put the government of Canada and the National Capital Commission in the position of sanctifying a monument based on no facts or expertise whatsoever. At no time has the Harper government undertaken an objective investigation into these matters, which would also have to investigate the crimes of the fascists, U.S. cold warriors, British imperialists and the colonialists in Canada.

Communism is the ideology of the working class to bring about its emancipation and the emancipation of all oppressed peoples and to open society's path to progress. All those forces in society who seek genuine democracy demand that the Harper Government's anti-communist memorial be scrapped.

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Harper Government Plays the Numbers Game

No matter what the Harper government says to justify building the memorial to so-called victims of communism, it does not change the fact that this monument has no historical foundation. The government is basing itself on a book (a single book!) entitled The Black Book on Communism which claims that Communism killed 100 million people around the world during the 20th century. "A minimum approximation" only, one reads in the original edition (1997). Are we to forget that the book was nearly not published precisely because of this "minimum approximation" invented by one person?

The group of authors of the Black Book arrived at a minimum of 65 million people; no more than 93 million maximum. What was the figure of 65 million minimum based on? As for the difference of 28 million between this minimum and maximum, an amount almost equal to the population of Canada, how can this be explained? These questions have not been addressed. On the contrary, they were buried by the hype surrounding the book's release.

[The Black Book's] publication was preceded by a crisis within the team of authors, caused by the intervention of the coordinator Stéphane Courtois hired by Éditions Laffont. With the stroke of a pen he arbitrarily changed certain results. For example, the 15 million Soviet casualties of communism rose to 20 million, an increase of 33 percent! Following other arbitrarily added "corrections," Courtois announced his personal minimum: 100 million, a minimum higher than the maximum extrapolated by the authors and 35 million higher than the authors' minimum!

Indignant, some of the authors refused to submit their final copy meaning that the Black Book would not be published. Supporting Courtois against the authors, Éditions Laffont resorted to legal threats, "registered letters, threats of prosecution in court, bailiff summons at the request of the editor demanding the copies be surrendered." (Le Monde, 31 October 1997)

The authors conceded and their names are on the cover of the book which contains the inflated figure they rejected.

Minister Kenney was therefore incorrect in stating that the figure of 100 million was the result of "close[...] stud[y] by several leading scholars and historians in The Black Book on Communism."[1] (23 August 2013) The opposite is the case.

The private organization Tribute to Liberty, as if to combat the ignorance of the Canadian people, stated in its online petition calling on Parliament to support the project, "Who knows that the Soviet Union murdered 20 million people?" (October 2010) The answer is that nobody knows except Courtois!

A year ago, Prime Minister Harper added his voice to this manipulation of figures saying, "More than 100 million souls were lost, an almost incomprehensible number. We must never forget that these are not numbers, they are not statistics. They were mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, friends and neighbours." (May 30, 2014)

These are just invented numbers, not statistics, let alone people. What is "incomprehensible" is that the government of Canada has used state funds and such a prime piece of real estate, valued at anywhere between $16 - $30 million based on arbitrary figures. The figure of 100 million people worldwide is as arbitrary as the figure of eight million Canadians. Such contested numbers are themselves a reason to prohibit the project from being built.

Professor François Lazure teaches history at the Cégep de l'Outaouais.


1. This quote is a paraphrase from Kenney's August 23, 2013 speaking notes (see here). The full quote is:

"But Black Ribbon Day recalls just one aspect of a century of tyranny behind the Iron Curtain and in totalitarian communist regimes, a century closely studied by several leading scholars and historians in The Black Book on Communism, which estimates that in the range of 100 million people lost their lives in the 20th century as a result of state-sponsored violence and terror, persecution and genocide in communist states."

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Ottawa City Council Opposes Ministerial Dictate
on Proposed Monument

Opposition to the Harper government's proposed monument to "victims of Communism" is continuing to grow in all sectors of Canadian society, and increasing dissatisfaction with the Conservatives' arrogant flouting of longstanding procedure is playing a major role. One example of this is a motion adopted by Ottawa City Council on May 27 officially requesting that the location the government has declared be reconsidered and another site found. The motion pointed out that the government's preferred location in front of the Supreme Court of Canada violates the Long Term Vision and Plan (LTVP) for federal land in the capital which states that the site should be used for a new federal court building as part of a judicial triad.

Ottawa City Council debates motion on location of anti-communist memorial, May 27, 2015.

The final vote on the relocation motion moved by Councilor Tobi Nussbaum was 18 to 6. A number of councilors spoke of a large number of complaints about the proposed monument from the people they represent.

Debate on the motion took the form of an argument about jurisdiction and which levels of government have the right to comment on what issues. Opponents of the motion contended that because the government has a majority in the parliament and can make decisions over all sorts of matters no matter what the people think, it was not appropriate for the City of Ottawa to comment. Others, supporting the motion said that because the proposed location is in such a prominent area of the city for tourists and residents it is appropriate to comment on the monument's placement, but matters such as the monument's design or its validity period were not for the city to discuss.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson's comments highlighted the city's dissatisfaction with arrangements by which it is not consulted by the federal government on matters such as this monument and the way past practice on land allocation has been swept away by abuse of ministerial power:

"Why does the government feel it is necessary to consult the public on the redevelopment of Tunney's Pasture but not the judicial precinct?" he asked. "Why has there been extensive public consultation on the Rockcliffe Airbase lands but absolutely no input allowed on this project? Why has this prime piece of real estate valued at millions of dollars been given away to a private interest when we at the city are required to pay tens of millions of dollars to the federal government for subterranean land rights for a public transit system?"

Mayor Watson said, "[As] a resident of Ottawa and as a federal taxpayer I'm bothered by the lack of consultation on this project and on the proposed changes to the federal plan for the judicial precinct that was part of the 2006 study, where there was great input from the city, citizens and other government agencies."

Watson reminded councillors of the high level of opposition to the monument and to its location, providing examples of some of those who spoke out against the Conservatives' extremist disdain for Canadian institutions.

"The architecture community both locally provincially and nationally oppose the location as its bleak nature runs counter to the principle of good urban design. The legal community rightfully opposes this being used as a political statement to erase the long-established plans for the Supreme Court of Canada federal court precinct," he said.

Watson went on to say that "taxpayers rightfully oppose the financial arrangements and decision making which have been void of fairness and transparency. And many residents of the city of Ottawa have also spoken out on this approach," he said, adding "it's clear to me that a majority of residents engaged on this project are, in fact, against it."

In response to the city council vote, the government indicated its disregard for the existing designation of federal land via the LTVP through Pierre Poilievre, the minister responsible for the National Capital Region. Poilievre called the established plan for a federal court building at the site "yet another government building full of lawyers to destroy beautiful green space in downtown Ottawa." According to Mark Kristmanson, CEO of the National Capital Commission which is tasked with allocating federal land, an amendment to the LTVP is required before the anti-communist monument can be built on the land chosen by the government. Neither Poilievre nor anti-communist crusaders Harper and Jason Kenney have acknowledged this fact or treated the existing legal framework as relevant or having any bearing on their plans.

Canadians are continuing to demand that the Harper Dictatorship's reactionary monument project be tossed in the dustbin of history. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report and recommendations released June 2 included a recommendation that a national monument be built in Ottawa "to honour survivors [of residential schools] and all the children who were lost to their families and communities." Calls are being made to scrap the anti-communist monument in favour of a space for a memorial to the victims and survivors of Canada's genocidal policies towards the First Nations. Letters to the editor in major newspapers, including two in the June 4 Chronicle Herald, express this opinion and dozens expressing their views on social media agree. A June 4 CTV News article by Don Martin voiced the public's opposition to the anti-communist monument and said Canada's genocide "is singularly worthy of a monument on the same scale as our National War Memorial."

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Historic Fight to End Colonial Justice

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report Underscores Need for Constitutional
and Political Renewal

"Walk for Reconciliation" in Ottawa, May 31, 2015 began the final gathering of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

On June 2, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) presented the summary document of its report on its 6-year investigation into the Residential School System and its impact on Aboriginal peoples. The rest of the six-volume report will be presented later this year.

Speaking to a packed audience at the Delta Chelsea hotel in downtown Ottawa, Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the Commission said among other things: "We must remember that at the same time that Aboriginal children were made to feel inferior, generation after generation of non-Aboriginal were exposed to the false belief that their cultures were superior." He also noted that this legacy of the residential schools continues to this day. "Imperialism, colonialism and a sense of cultural superiority linger on," he said, adding: "The courts have agreed that these concepts are baseless and immoral in the face of inalienable human rights."

His comments underscore the pressing need for constitutional and political renewal in Canada. The current constitution, based on 19th-century colonial notions of white man's burden and values of "tolerance" of "inferior cultures" is outdated and can only give rise to the suppression of rights across the board by the state as we are seeing today. The Canadian constitution cannot meet the claims and aspirations of Aboriginal peoples nor can it meet the needs of the people of Canada and the people of Quebec for their rights. It is noteworthy that on June 3, at a meeting at Rideau Hall, to bring formal closure to the work of the TRC, Governor General David Johnson, the representative of the Queen in Canada, and an honorary witness to the TRC stated: "A moment like this arises very rarely in a country's history. This is a moment for national reflection and introspection. This is a moment to reflect upon our history, our relationships and our responsibilities towards each other.... To think about the depth of our commitment to tolerance, respect and inclusiveness and whether we can do better. We can and we must."

"Tolerance, respect and inclusiveness" are not going to cut it. Aboriginal peoples are rising up and laying their claims. In this they are supported by the Canadian people and Quebec people. A recent EKOS poll found that the majority of Canadians think that instead of a monument to the victims of communism that the Harper government is trying to fast-forward, the government should be building a "memorial to the historic injustices against Aboriginal peoples." This shows the high level of consciousness among the Canadian people and Quebec people to stand with the First Nations and bring to an end the crimes that were committed and continue to be committed against Aboriginal peoples in Canada and to find a way forward together by fighting for political and constitutional renewal.

(Photos: B. Powless, TRC)

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Who Said What

"Walk for Reconciliation," Ottawa, May 31, 2015.

Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the TRC:

"We must understand that the lives of Aboriginal people across Canada are connected to the lingering effects of residential schools and that many of the most destructive attitudes are perpetuated in our public education.

"We must remember that at the same time Aboriginal children were made to feel inferior, generation after generation of non-Aboriginal children were exposed to the false belief that their culture was superior. Imperialism, colonialism and a sense of cultural superiority linger on.

"The courts have agreed that these concepts are baseless and immoral in the face of inalienable human rights. To this end, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's recommendations address some of these core challenges...Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people from coast to coast to coast, the young and the elderly, are interested in taking part of the discussion about reconciliation and being part of making reconciliation a reality.The eyes of the world and the gaze of history is upon us.What we do now and in the years ahead matters a great deal. It matters not only for those who are with us today, but also the generations to come and the spirits of those who are not with us here today whose memories we must honour. We must work together "

David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, at closing of TRC's work, June 3, Rideau Hall:

"This is a moment for national reflection and introspection.This is a moment to reflect upon our history, our relationships and our responsibilities towards each other. To think about the depth of our commitment to tolerance, respect and inclusiveness, and whether we can do better. We can, and we must. Generations of First Nations, Metis and Inuit people suffered as a result of residential schools, and for many that pain continues. This is a moment to think about those people -- those children, those mothers and fathers, those families and those elders, past and present. And it's also a moment to ask: where do we go from here?...Our hope lies in learning, and an unwavering commitment to tolerance, respect and inclusiveness in our relationships.

"This is the only way forward -- the path by which we will create a country for all of our children and grandchildren to share. A country we can all be proud of."

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister, in Parliament on June 2:

"Canada is one of the very few countries in the world where Aboriginal and treaty rights are recognized, and that's one of the reasons why the government accepts the UN declaration as an aspirational document ...

"We have taken specific actions to enhance the rights of Aboriginal people, particularly women living on reserves and generally all Aboriginal people, under the Canadian Human Rights Act."

Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the Official Opposition and the NDP:

"The release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report is a landmark moment in Canada's reconciliation process. Today, our country is trying to turn the page on the many dark years and to move forward towards a better future for all peoples. As Canadians, we must all learn more about this sombre chapter in our history. We will not forget the testimonies and we will remember the children who never made it home to their families. The NDP remains determined to repair the broken relationship with Indigenous peoples, which is the result of the inaction on the part of previous governments at the nation-to-nation level."

Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party:

"As the TRC's report and recommendations note, it is time to act, without delay, to advance the process of reconciliation, and rebuild Canada's relationship with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples based on rights, respect, cooperation, and the standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Meaningful reconciliation will only come when we live up to our past promises and ensure the equality of opportunity required to create a fair and prosperous shared future. On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our Parliamentary Caucus, I affirm our unwavering support for the TRC's recommendations, and call on the Government of Canada to take immediate action to implement them. As leaders and legislators, we have a responsibility to act. The truth of what occurred has been established. Now we must all commit to the important work of reconciliation going forward."

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party:

"Reconciliation means forging new relationships in light of this history -- extending the respect and equality to First Nations that has been withheld for generations. The TRC findings provide an unprecedented accounting of our past mistakes; but, also an opportunity to atone. The report outlines recommendations for actions that touch all jurisdictions, all policy areas and all Canadians. Although the last residential school closed in 1996, their devastating effects remain. Canada consistently ranks in the top ten of the UN Human Development Index, but First Nations rank 63rd or lower. These recommendations give us the means to work with Aboriginal communities to begin to overcome the historical and ongoing injustices of brutal colonialism and cultural genocide. We can, and must, all take action to redress the legacy of residential schools."

Pam Palmater, Associate Professor and Chair of Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University:

"The Truth and Reconciliation Commission did an incredible job in the face of many barriers put forward by the federal government to make sure that their stories were heard and that as much documented evidence was contained in the report.

"It would be a terrible mistake to historicize this [the residential school period] and say, 'Well, this happened a long time ago. We now know what happened. Let's apologize and move on.' It is ongoing. When they closed residential schools, their very next policy was known as the Sixties Scoop where they actually took more children from first Nations than during the residential school period. Which is why we now have 30 to 40 percent of our children in care. They're still taking our children. They're still trying to raise them in non-indigenous families. And many of these children end up murdered or missing indigenous women, or they end up in the prison system. And this legacy of the residential schools is ongoing. It is very much in the present."

National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Assembly of First Nations:

"Motivated by courage, the survivors of the Indian Residential Schools sought justice and recognition from Canada through court cases that set us on a course toward truth and reconciliation. To the former students -- the survivors -- I honour you and I thank you. I am humbled to be before you. On behalf of the Assembly of First Nations, one of the parties to the Settlement Agreement, we thank the Commissioners for your strength, courage and heartfelt approach to the important work of truth and reconciliation. The Assembly of First Nations commitment to reconciliation remains strong. Reconciliation means so many things as we move through the aftermath of the Indian Residential School system, one that we know was designed to rid Canada of 'Indians'. In its aftermath, we are left with the gap -- a persistent, wide and unacceptable gap in the quality of life between First Nations and other Canadians. We commit to doing the necessary work to close the gap."

(Sources: Macleans.ca, CBC.ca, www.democracynow.org. Photos: B. Powless)

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Highlights of Recommendations

The 382-page summary document of the final report of the TRC contains 94 recommendations which the Commission is putting forward to assist the reconciliation process between the Aboriginal peoples and the legacy of the residential school system and the Canadian people. The overarching recommendation is for the federal government and governments at all levels to adopt and implement the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as "the framework for reconciliation." The Harper government has resisted implementing this international law for several years and only formally "endorsed" it in 2012.

Another theme is for legal reforms that would end the over-representation of Aboriginal peoples in the criminal justice system in Canada, one of the legacies of the residential school system. The Commission's report calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women in order to address the indifference of the Canadian state under the Harper regime to this important concern of the people.

The Commission also proposes various strategies for governments to implement in order to inform Canadians about the true history and consequences of the residential school system and to correct the disinformation about Aboriginal people that is being taught in schools, the work-places and in government. It calls for a "National Council for Reconciliation" which would monitor the reconciliation process and provide reports on a regular basis.

The Commission also calls for the Canadian government to work with Aboriginal peoples to issue a "Royal Proclamation of Reconciliation" similar to that of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the Treaty of Niagara of 1764 which would affirm the "nation-to-nation" and mutually respectful relations between Aboriginal peoples and the Crown. Such a Royal Proclamation would, amongst other things, reject the Eurocentric Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius, adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and "renew or establish Treaty relationship based on principles of mutual recognition, mutual respect, and shared responsibility for maintaining those relations into the future" amongst other principles.

In light of the destruction of Aboriginal languages through the residential schools system where Aboriginal children were forbidden to speak their own languages, an Aboriginal Languages Act is also proposed as a means to recover and encourage Aboriginal languages as well as to appoint an Aboriginal languages commissioner to monitor the implementation of this act.

The Commission is calling for additional funds to maintain the National Residential School Student Death Registry that it has created as part of its work in order to recover the identity of thousands of children who died in the hands of residential schools authorities and who are buried in unmarked graves, so that their families and communities can put to rest what happened to their children. The Commission is also calling for $10 million over the next seven years to fund the work of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation housed at the University of Manitoba to carry on the work of the TRC.

Last but not least, the Commission is calling for commemorative events such "a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation" to honour the survivors, their families and communities as well as a Residential School Monument in Ottawa and in other cities as part of events leading to the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017

The full summary report can be found here.


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