January 5, 2013 - No. 1


One Class, One Program

One Class, One Program - CPC(M-L) New Year's Statement

Postal Workers Accept Tentative Contract by Narrow Margin
Where Do We Go From Here? - Louis Lang

Necessity to Affirm First Nations' Hereditary, Treaty and Constitutional Rights
Harper Forced to Concede to Meeting with Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence
Broad Support for Demands of First Nations
Ongoing Actions Demand Justice

De Beers Diamond Mine
No Benefit to Attawapiskat First Nation or Canadians

Justice for Victims of Residential Schools
Why the Harper Government Withholds Access to Historical Documents

54th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution
Hasta la Victoria Siempre! Socialism or Death!


One Class, One Program

Throughout 2012, Canada witnessed the strengthening of the working class as one class in defence of the rights of all and general interests of society. The New Year began with a militant protest by 800 Rio Tinto workers in Alma, Quebec, who even before their contract expired had been locked out by the neo-liberal regime in power and control of their aluminum plant. Their struggle and the growing upsurge of Quebec students in opposition to tuition fee increases became a beacon of the resistance and organization of the working class to neo-liberal attacks. These struggles implanted in the minds of many workers, youth and seniors across the country that concessions and an austerity agenda to pay the rich are not inevitable and can be beaten back with resistance and organization. As the year concluded, the working class spirit of resistance and organization reached new heights with the active participation of Ontario teachers and education workers in defence of their rights and public education to kill Bill 115 and the resistance of First Nations to the assault on their hereditary and human rights.

The TML Weekly 2012 Photo Review is evidence of the indomitable spirit of the working class, women, youth, pensioners and First Nations to defend their rights and the rights of all, defeat the anti-social agenda and nation-wrecking to pay the rich and move society forward to new political arrangements suitable for the twenty-first century that empower the people.

The year 2013 has now arrived with new challenges for the working class and people to overcome in the battle to affirm their rights and build the new. A primary issue facing the working class is to settle accounts with the notion that it is divided into various categories, political parties and sects and needs a saviour from the ruling elite to do its thinking and provide it direction.

Even as 2013 is ushered in we see attempts to embroil the working class in dividing itself on the basis of a never-ending policy debate about the economy and whether or not Canada is in good shape compared to other countries. Prime Minister Harper cites Canada's economy to justify anti-social measures which criminalize the workers' struggles and violate the hereditary rights of the First Nations. Provincial premiers also justify what cannot be justified in the name of "the economy."

The fact is that only the working class is capable of organizing an economy which meets the needs of society. It produces the wealth on which society depends for its well-being and therefore has an interest in building the nation on a self-reliant basis, rather than destroying it and handing the vast natural and human resources over to a self-serving oligarchy which is hell-bent on nation-wrecking and going to war to further its aim of becoming ever richer.

The working class is one class with one program to defend its rights and the general interests of society. It can think for itself, analyze the objective conditions and open a path for society's progress.

In 2013 the working class can make headway on the basis of its own program to unite everyone who can be united to hold to account any government that does not defend the rights of the working people, First Nations, the Quebec nation, women, youth, seniors, national minorities, collectives such as injured workers and people with special needs, and any other section of the people who have rights by virtue of being human.

With this spirit the working class can take its rightful place as the leader of society. This is an urgent necessity to prevent the escalating nation-wrecking and danger of all-out war in which Canada is being fully embroiled.

Let us make 2013 a year where the working class strengthens its resistance and organization as one class in conscious participation for its program in defence of the rights of all and the general interests of society.

Our Future Lies in Our Fight for the Rights of All!
One Class, One Program! Stop Paying the Rich!
Increase Investments in Social Programs!
Establish an Anti-War Government!

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Postal Workers Accept Tentative Contract by Narrow Margin

Where Do We Go From Here?

After more than a month of ratification meetings across the country, postal workers voted 57 per cent in favour of accepting the proposed tentative contract. The details of the vote are yet to be released but all indications are that the turnout was very low. In fact, one of the most important issues (other than the concessions and roll-backs) that needs to be discussed is the significance of the number of workers who didn't participate in the ratification votes.

If we are concerned with the kind of organization we need to mobilize and lead the workers to defend their rights, we must deal with the reality that during the last two rounds of negotiations (not including the latest one) the participation rate has gone down to the lowest levels in the history of the CUPW. In 2003, out of a total membership of 44,264 only 18,959 voted or 42.8 per cent. In the 2007 ratification vote, there were 16,384 votes out of a total membership of 43,512 for a participation rate of 37.7 per cent.

Some estimates based on the votes in certain locals indicate that the vote and participation rate in this year's ratification vote is even lower.

This has brought to the fore a serious failure of the organization which needs to be addressed. In each of the last three rounds of negotiations, which all contained serious roll-backs and failed to protect workers' wages from the rising cost of living, the fighting strength of the vast majority of workers was never brought into play. Instead, in each case, the workers were told to accept roll-backs for various reasons including: "the political climate was not favourable," "mail volumes were down," "threats of privatization if we went on strike," and many other disastrous scenarios. Each recommendation to accept concessions and roll- backs came with the severe warning that fighting back was not an option and we would "certainly end up with less."

In a letter to CUPW members in November 2012, National President Denis Lemelin stated:

"The membership can either choose to accept the tentative settlement or we can place our destiny in the hands of a government appointed arbitrator who will likely impose a collective agreement which includes many more srious negative changes that will impact upon our pensions, benefits and job security."

Faced with such gloom and doom scenarios and the ultimatum that fighting for our rights is not an option, it is not surprising that workers stayed away from ratification meetings in such large numbers. Furthermore, in many locals, workers were faced with the dilemma that the recommendation of local leaders and activists was diametrically opposed to the recommendation of the National Executive Board.

This state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue. We know that the corporation and the Harper government are escalating their attacks against postal workers and all Canadian workers so it is essential that we strengthen our organizations and our ability to fight for our rights. That is the only way to ensure that we keep our destiny in our own hands.

In October 2010, when negotiations began, the corporation stipulated that the main theme of negotiations would be, "Some things have to change so that others don't." This was a clear threat that the workers must accept a two-tier wage system, loss of sick leave benefits and the gutting of the contract or even more would be lost. The corporation's theme was intended to impose their agenda on the negotiations process that "protecting the financial viability of the Corporation" was a shared responsibility with the Union.

Their document "Canada Post's Opening Comments and Proposals" in October 2010 states; " the individual security of each and every one of our employees is intimately tied to the success of the company." Postal workers through, their experience know that this is not only false but hypocritical as well. We have seen over the years that Canada Post not only made profits each year but also handed over hundreds of millions of dollars in dividends to the government and at the same time closed hundreds of postal stations and cut back many services that are important to all Canadians.

Clearly the corporation intends to carry on its plans to streamline and further privatize the most profitable parts of the Post Office in the service of the international monopolies. Instead of security, workers know that this agenda has imposed the greatest insecurity on the workers. Every day, whether through contract concessions or under the guise of Postal Transformation, there are new attacks on workers' wages, benefits and working conditions in order to seize a greater share of the profits produced by the workers.

Postal workers must reject this perverse logic that if there is a reduction in mail volumes or the pension plan is underfunded or any other fairy tale invented by the corporation, the solution is to attack the security and livelihood of postal workers and even workers who have retired. These are not solutions but excuses invented to make the workers pay for the irrational and reckless actions of the CEO and Board of Directors.

The right to security and livelihood are not gifts from the corporation. Those rights are ours because of the service we provide through our labour and because we fought under the most difficult conditions to defend them.

Now we are facing even more difficult conditions. A contract with severe roll-backs, imposition of a two-tier wage system which reintroduces wage and benefit discrimination against new hires; the same battle that was fought in the '70s and '80s for pay equity; also Postal Transformation, which the corporation refused to negotiate, is being used to eliminate jobs and increase the exploitation of letter carriers and inside workers with an alarming increase in workplace injuries.

The battles against these unbearable and unjust working conditions must be waged at the local level by involving the vast majority of workers. The corporation has made a mockery of negotiations, consultation and even the grievance procedure. We cannot rely on these old structures which have been scrapped. The Union and all its members must act in a new way by concentrating their efforts and resources to organize the most important force, which is the vast majority of workers in the fight to defend their rights. This means taking up every health and safety violation, unjust discipline, inhuman extension of letter carrier routes or any other contract violation by providing information on the shop floor and involving the workers in discussing the problems, finding solutions and making decisions about taking the appropriate actions. Workers involved in discussing and making decisions about how to fight and when to fight is the key to building the organization that we need at this time.

It is this fight, waged in every local across the country, which will turn things around in our favour and show the corporation and the government the united strength of postal workers which they have not seen for some time.

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Necessity to Affirm First Nations' Hereditary, Treaty and Constitutional Rights

Harper Forced to Concede to Meeting with
Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence

TML sends militant greetings to Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence and all First Nations people who are courageously demanding, once again, that their hereditary, constitutional and treaty rights be upheld. Canada has no right -- moral, legal or any other -- to trample the rights of anyone in the mud, let alone those of First Nations on whose land Canada is built and depends.

The groundswell of popular support across the country for Chief Spence and the just demands of the First Nations has forced Prime Minister Stephen Harper to back off from his arrogant colonial refusal to meet with her. Chief Spence, on a hunger strike to back up her demand for a nation-to-nation meeting with Harper and a representative of the Crown to discuss affirmation of First Nations' rights and urgent issues facing First Nations communities, and the support for her courageous stand, have had a stunning effect. On the twenty-fifth day of the hunger strike, Harper announced that he would meet with First Nations Chiefs, including Chief Spence, for talks on January 11.

Chief Theresa Spence (centre) with supporters.

Chief Spence began her hunger strike on December 11 as part of a National Day of Action for First Nations' rights organized by Idle No More. Chief Spence's demands and her hunger strike have become a rallying point for the powerful upsurge in the struggle among First Nations peoples and Canadians from coast to coast to coast for their rights and to call for the repeal of Bill C-45, the second Harper omnibus bill which hands over all public assets to private interests and includes several laws attacking the hereditary, treaty and constitutional rights of First Nations. People from every political trend and from a broad range of social, civic and cultural organizations have met with Chief Spence during her hunger strike and have urged Harper to meet with her.

Harper and his government have become isolated due to their colonial refusal to meet with Chief Spence. Harper's agreement to a meeting must not be a mere attempt at damage control. Chief Spence is continuing her hunger strike until the meeting with Harper actually takes place and the essence of the demands for recognition of First Nations' rights is recognized.

Put Pressure on Harper, Not Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence

Chief Spence started her hunger strike on December 11 as part of the militant actions taken by First Nations and their allies across Canada, launched by the organization Idle No More to demand a meeting of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Crown and First Nations leaders. She called this meeting for the purpose of addressing the criminal neglect by the Canadian state regarding its duty to First Nations and its undermining of First Nations' hereditary, treaty and constitutional rights. She said at the onset of her hunger strike that she was prepared to die for her people if need be to press this demand.

Throughout her hunger strike, Chief Spence called on Canadians and First Nations people to continue to organize rallies, stage ceremonies and hold other protest actions to demand that Prime Minister Harper and Governor General David Johnston meet with her and other First Nations leaders. Many communities across Canada have responded. For example, over 200 First Nations people in Nova Scotia, including many youth, have joined in a four-day hunger strike in support of Chief Spence. A group of First Nations protestors and their supporters from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Sarnia, Ontario blockaded a CN rail line leading to several chemical plants for two weeks to raise their own demands as well as to pressure Harper to meet with Chief Spence. In addition, two elders, Raymond Robinson from the Cross Lake First Nation and Gene Sock, a Mi'kmaq, have joined Chief Spence in her hunger strike.

While Chief Spence continues to receive overwhelming support from First Nations people and Canadians across the country, the state and its media have organized to divert from the substantive issues. Claiming to be humanitarian, some put pressure on Chief Spence to give up, while others engage in more blatant attempts to split the movement for First Nations' rights.

On December 30, Chief Spence held an Open House at her teepee on Victoria Island in the Ottawa River facing Parliament. Over 20 MPs and many supporters and visitors, including former Prime Minister Joe Clark, came to call on her. Not a few MPs, such as NDP MP Craig Scott, tried to talk her into giving up her hunger strike, citing her weakened state of health, and suggesting her "point has been made." Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq and other federal ministers have also put pressure on the Chief to accept a meeting with Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan instead of a meeting with Harper, a proposal which she rejected outright.

The monopoly media made particularly wretched efforts to criminalize Chief Spence's action to divert from the Canadian state's history of crimes committed and being committed against First Nations. The December 28 editorial in the Globe and Mail suggested that Chief Spence is using "coercion" through her hunger strike to meet with Harper. The editorial described this as "inappropriate" and said the Chief should meet with Minister Duncan, thereby dismissing the principle of nation-to-nation negotiations. The editorial ends with the mindboggling statement that Harper could "make a magnanimous gesture [to Chief Spence]. He has already shown he is a friend of aboriginal peoples." Only the pundits of the Globe's editorial team can make such a statement when this "friend" of the aboriginal people is leading the racist Canadian state in extinguishing First Nations' historical treaty and hereditary rights and trying to wipe them out as peoples. In the same racist vein, a signed article in the National Post goes so far as to suggest that Chief Spence is a "terrorist" holding the Canadian people hostage. Both these newspapers say that First Nations people in Canada are living in the past if they think that the Historical Treaties signed in good faith with the Crown by their ancestors have any relevance now.

TML denounces the Canadian state and its monopoly media for trying to dissuade Chief Spence and for trying to criminalize her for her courageous action. The demand for nation-to-nation meetings to affirm First Nations' hereditary, treaty and constitutional rights is just. TML calls on all its readers to lend a hand to make sure this defiant stand prevails.

Stand with Chief Theresa Spence!
Let Us Together Defend the Rights of All!

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Broad Support for Demands of First Nations

People from all walks of life have come out to express support for the bold stand of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence and her hunger strike to support First Nations' demands for justice.

Labour unions, including the Canadian Labour Congress, Canadian Auto Workers, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, are urging the Prime Minister to meet with Chief Spence and for the government to fulfill its duties to the First Nations.

"This government has an obligation to meet with First Nations leaders to engage in a dialogue on a range of important issues," said James Clancy, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "Instead of doing photo opportunities with pop stars or newlyweds or kissing babies he should be meeting with Chief Theresa Spence in an effort to help First Nations communities."

A press release from the National Aboriginal Peoples' Circle of the Public Service Alliance of Canada states in part, "Bill C-45, the so-called Jobs and Growth Act, saw the vast majority of waterways in Canada left without environmental protection. Many PSAC members from the Union of Environment Workers will be affected by these cuts -- and so too will many First Nations who are in opposition to the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. It is slated to run through dozens of Aboriginal communities across British Columbia."

"The way in which our federal government has treated our First Nations is appalling. It is time to set things right!" said Warren "Smokey" Thomas, Vice- President (Ontario) of NUPGE and President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

An open letter from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers honours Chief Spence for her "courageous stand in defense of the land against the moral bankruptcy of the Canadian state." It states in part, "We honour you Chief Spence, driven to this measure, and with humility and gratitude thank you for your courageous defence of the knowledge you have kept alive, for trying to protect places that future generations will enjoy and though it is maybe not your intent, to know that your actions are now speaking for all of us, for everyone who wants and deserves a sustainable way of life in harmony and respect with the earth. We add our name to those who will not stand for taking away sovereignty and the inherent right to land and resources from First Nations peoples in this abusive and indefensible relationship."

An open letter from a group of academics states in part, "We stand in solidarity with Chief Theresa Spence's attempts to change the abusive manner in which the Canadian Government has ignored, threatened, and bullied Indigenous peoples. As teachers interested in contributing to a just and sustainable future where the rights of all Canadians are respected, we recognize that Canada's history is one of exploitation, dispossession and marginalization of Indigenous peoples, denial of their rights and sovereignty, indifference to their suffering, and in many cases the destruction of their land. We also recognize the strength, resilience, and profound respect for Mother Earth that exist in Indigenous communities and welcome this current mobilization against the government-sponsored destruction of the environment.

Chief Spence holds open house, December 30, 2012.

"We urge all people of Canada to enter into respectful dialogues about Aboriginal rights and treaties, and to take meaningful action in your communities to ensure the honouring of our treaties, respect for self- determination, and the protection of our environment for the generations to come."

Chief Spence has received visits from Opposition MPs as well as former Prime Minister Joe Clark.

On December 30, through a spokesperson, the chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation said she was "deeply humbled" by the support she's received from aboriginals and non-aboriginals in her appeal for a face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor-General David Johnston.

"This is a call to arms and a call to action in the most peaceful and respective way that reflects our natural laws as Indigenous nations," she said in the statement. "First Nations leadership need to take charge and control of the situation on behalf of the grassroots movement. We need to re-ignite that nation-to-nation relationship based on our inherent and constitutionally protected rights as a sovereign nation. We are demanding our rightful place back, here in our homelands, that we all call Canada."

(Photos: D. Lerat Ferguson, C. Maloney)

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Ongoing Actions Demand Justice

Barrie, ON, December 26, 2012.

As part of the Idle No More Campaign which began in November 2012, mass actions in defence of First Nations' hereditary and treaty rights and to oppose Bill C-45 have been taking place across the country, with broad support from people from all walks of life. The latest round of actions took place on December 30-January 1. They include rallies, marches, round dances, and rail blockades. The latest events came after major actions on December 10 in more than 20 locations and nearly 100 actions on December 21-23. Also notable are the number of solidarity actions being held in the U.S. by First Nations there to put pressure on the Canadian government, as well as internationally, in Latin America, Europe and New Zealand.

On January 2, members of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation began a walk from Queen's Park in Toronto to Parliament Hill. The KI First Nation was the site of the signing to the adhesion to Treaty #9 on July 5, 1929 of which KI is an original signatory. The signing was viewed by the KI First Nation as developing a new relationship with His Majesty and His Subjects as equal partners, not a mass land surrender as reflected in the treaty text. Mark T. Anderson of the KI First Nation points out, "The Crown pledged to honor the commitments they made at treaty time, 'for as long as the sun shines, the waters flow, and the grass grows.' [...] Canada, through the actions of the Harper government, wants to continue to violate the treaty commitments through Bill C-45, which will negatively impact our peoples, lands, waters, and environment. [...] By reneging and making a mockery through the continued violations of the treaty, Canada is putting the lives of our people and all Canadians on dangerous ground."

The KI walk from Queen's Park to Parliament Hill that began January 2 is in solidarity with Chief Theresa Spence's call for a commitment to a path of recognition and implementation of the treaty commitments and forging a new First Nations-Crown relationship. The walk passed Peterborough on January 4.

Elsewhere, a rail blockade of the CN rail line was held by members of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation near Sarnia for nearly two weeks. A court injunction was carried out to evict the blockade on January 2. Aawmjiwnaang citizens and the Sarnia Chief of Police were issued contempt of court charges as a result of a failure to comply with a December 21 injunction to remove the blockade.

According to Vanessa Grey, one of the youth organizers with the blockade, the difference with the court hearing on January 2 was that the OPP were being instructed to carry out the injunction order, which local police had been unwilling to do. The group took the decision to move its encampment off the rail line for the time being.

In Quebec, demonstrators from the Listuguj Mi'gmaq community began a rail blockade which they will maintain at Pointe-à-la-Croix for as long as necessary. "It started with some youth in our community who felt a strong need to take action in solidarity with Chief Spence and the Idle No More movement," said Alexander Morrison, spokesman for the demonstrators. "We are allowing passenger trains through our blockade as we are aware our fight is not with the citizens of this country, but rather the Harper government."

"We're targeting the cargo rails, the trains which are transporting our resources that were exploited here in our backyard with little or no benefit to our people," Morrison said.

The Tyendinaga Mohawks briefly blockaded a main CN rail line between Toronto and Montreal on December 30. In British Columbia, the Seton Lake Indian Band ended a rail blockade on December 30.

First Nations leaders had discussed plans to launch country-wide economic disruptions by the middle of January if the talks hunger-striking Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence requested had not materialized, APTN National News reports.

TML calls on everyone to go all out to support and participate in the ongoing actions to kill Bill C-45 and defend First Nations' hereditary and treaty rights.




January 2, 2013

December 30, 2012

Dawson City, Yukon

Hay River, Northwest Territories

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's constituency office, Calgary

Weenusk First Nation, Peawanuck, Ontario

Wawa, Ontario

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Serpent River First Nation, Cutler, Ontario

Amjiwnaang First Nation Rail Blockade, Sarnia, Ontario


Kingston, Ontario

Algonquin First Nation Blockade of Highway 105, Maniwaki, Quebec

Listuguj Mi'kmaq First Nation Rail Blockade, Listuguj, Quebec

United States

New York City

Indianapolis, Indiana

Tampa, Florida

Denver, Colorado

Pueblo, New Mexico

Las Vegas, Nevada

Pasadena, California

Sacramento California

Seattle, Washington

Anchorage, Alaska


Tijuana, Mexico

San Felipe, Chile

London, UK

Edinburgh, Scotland

Gizbourne, New Zealand

(With files form Mediacoop, APTN. Photos: Idle No More, K. Konnyu, M. Bush, M. Abbs, E. Doherty, D. Diamond, M. Nakhavoly D. Sayers, C. Hookimaw, L. Mollins Koene, Mediacoop, T. Wysote, C.A. Sheppard, J. Pope, L. Lovely, N. Sherwood, M. Arellano, LoJ, P. Lopez, F. Sistiague, M. Kennedy, P. Lucaj, K. Leal, S. Jackson)

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De Beers Diamond Mine

No Benefit to Attawapiskat First Nation or Canadians

Employees of the De Beers Victor Diamond Mine, located on Attawapiskat First Nation land,
express support for Chief Theresa Spence,
December 30, 2012.

In January 2012, speaking at a luncheon meeting to First Nations Chiefs at an Assembly of First Nations conference in Ottawa, Chief Theresa Spence, currently on an over three-week hunger strike to bring attention to the violation of treaty and aboriginal rights by the Harper government and to press for a meeting with Harper on a nation-to-nation basis, stated that if her community had a share of the resource revenues flowing from the nearby De Beers Victor Diamond Mine which is operating in the traditional territory of the Attawapiskat First Nation, they would have the means to address the housing and other crises in her community. She noted: "Our lands have been stripped from us and yet development on our land area in timber, hydro and mining have created unlimited wealth" that "benefits a few people as well as the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada who receive huge royalty payments from De Beers while the community receives none."

The Victor Mine is the first diamond mine in Ontario and is producing about 600,000 carats of diamonds a year. The impact-benefit agreement with the community, took more than three years to negotiate and covers everything from De Beers' right to override Attawapiskat land claims to what's served at Victor Mine's cafeteria. The legalistic document and its details are unknown to most of the people in Attawapiskat. For example, few know that De Beers has set up a trust fund (like a benevolent patron) for the community in which it has pledged some $30 million over the 12-year life of the mine. Most of the residents do not know about the trust fund or how it is to be managed or accessed. De Beers states that there could be more revenues flowing to the community, but it must come from the royalty payments made to the federal and provincial governments, not from additional taxes to the company. Mining Watch Canada reports that De Beers is masterful at hiding profits it makes so as to limit the taxes it has to pay which is 12 per cent of profits.

When the mine site was being prepared, about 500 members of the Attawapiskat First Nation were given labour-type jobs. Now that the mine is operational, less than 100 workers are from Attawapiskat out of a total population of 2000 members, and those workers are working in the cafeteria or doing other manual labour at the mine, because other jobs require at least a high-school education, and many people in the community do not have that. There is enormous frustration in the community that led in 2009 to members of the community blocking the winter road to prevent equipment and supplies coming to the mine as an action to demand that De Beers revisit the impact-benefits agreement and to negotiate a more favourable agreement with the community.

As Chief Theresa Spence stated last year in the wake of the housing crisis in Attawapiskat that drew the attention of the Canadian people: "In our territory, we have a world class diamond mine, the pride of the Canadian and Ontario governments, as well as De Beers Canada. They have every right to be proud of that mine, but each party has failed to acknowledge the First Nations peoples who continue to use the land as our grandparents did. While they reap the riches, my people shiver in cold shacks, and are becoming increasing ill, while precious diamonds from my land grace the fingers, and necklaces of Hollywood celebrities, and the mace of the Ontario Legislature. My people deserve dignity, and humane living conditions. When our community asked for the assistance from our fellow citizens, for our simple request for human dignity, the government's decision was to impose a colonial Indian Agent." And it is well known that the community affirmed its dignity and its rights by throwing out that Indian agent who was being paid $1,300 a day for his services.

(Sources: Toronto Star, Northern News Network, Mining Magazine, www.miningwatch.ca, De Beers Canada)

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Justice for Victims of Residential Schools

Why the Harper Government Withholds Access to Historical Documents

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which was struck by an order of Parliament in June 2008 to bring to light the historic crimes against Aboriginal peoples that were carried out by the Canadian state with the help of various Christian churches, mainly Anglican and Catholic for over 130 years, has appealed to the Ontario Superior Court to clarify the obligation of the Harper government to hand over all documents relevant to this historic crime. Up until the early 1990s, more than 150,000 aboriginal children were violently taken away from their parents and their communities into residential schools, a state-sponsored program of cultural genocide and terror aimed at "disappearing" aboriginal peoples. Most students faced the trauma of physical, mental and sexual abuse. Many committed suicide and in some schools, close to 50 per cent of these children died and are mostly buried in unmarked graves.

The TRC was itself a compromise that was struck with the surviving victims of the residential school system, in the face of the Harper government's reluctance to hold a full Public Enquiry with the power to call witnesses etc. It was understood that the Commission would have access to all archival documents from various government departments, the RCMP and other institutions which had been involved in implementing the residential school system. However, this has not been the case. From the get-go, the Harper government has interfered in the work of the TRC, prompting the first Chair, Justice Harry Laforme, to resign six months into his mandate because of "political interference."

On Thursday, December 20, the Commission's lawyer Julian Falconer put it to Mr. Justice Stephen Goudge at a hearing at the Ontario Superior Court, that if the victims had known that the Harper government would be stone-walling the inquiry, they would not have agreed to the compromise of a Commission. The Commission's legal action is aimed at forcing the government to hand over millions of documents that it is withholding by insisting that it is too expensive to collect the documents or if the Commission wants them, it can expend its own resources to get them. To date, only one million of an estimated four million documents have been submitted to the Commission. As well, it is part of the mandate of the Commission to create an archive of historical material related to the residential school system as part of the historical memory of Aboriginal peoples and Canadians. This is not possible without complete documentation.

What is the Harper government afraid of? In 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper "apologized" on behalf of the federal government for the residential school experience. However, in the face of the Harper government sabotaging the work of the Commission, Alvin Fiddler, Deputy Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation in Northern Ontario, which includes many people who were forced to attend residential schools, stated that at the time of Harper's "apology" action was expected and notes in hindsight "just how empty that apology was."

Neither Canada nor the Aboriginal peoples who were victims of the residential school system can move forward without the entire truth of the residential school abuse of aboriginal children being brought to light so that acknowledgement is made of the full horror of that state-sponsored act of mass terror and cultural genocide that was committed against the Aboriginal peoples of Canada and the state held to account and proper compensation made to the victims to ensure these crimes are never repeated. Clearly, the reluctance of the Harper government on this score shows that there is another agenda. This agenda is to keep these old historic wounds open and to justify further crimes against the Aboriginal peoples of Canada through legislation such as Bill C-45, Bill C-27 and other laws that seek to "disappear" them as peoples. It must not pass! The working class and people must demand that the entire criminal history of the residential school system be brought to light, so that the victims receive justice, and that these crimes are never repeated. The Harper government must fully co-operate with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission so that it can carry out its mandate and complete its work thoroughly and in time. Justice for the victims of the residential school system!

(Sources: Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Globe and Mail, Canadian Press)

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54th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution

Hasta la Victoria Siempre! Socialism or Death!

On the occasion of the 54th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) sends revolutionary greetings to the Communist Party of Cuba, its leadership and to all the Cuban people. We express our deepest appreciation to the legendary leader of the revolution Comrade Fidel Castro for the great feats the Cuban people and their island nation have performed.

This anniversary comes following some extraordinary moments in 2012 as new strides are made to open Cuba's path to progress. In the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the Cuban Revolution once again demonstrated that whatever challenges nature may set, an organized and conscious people can rise magnificently to the occasion. With the issue of independence and the right of self-determination as sharp and imperative as ever, this past November witnessed another victory of the people of Cuba in their historic struggle to preserve and defend their nation: the resounding rejection for the 21st consecutive year by the world of the empire's genocidal assault against the heroic island. Amidst a tremendous amount of disinformation, beginning with almost no reporting across North America, the UN General Assembly repudiated the blockade by the overwhelming vote of 188 to 3.

The 54th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution arrives with the people of Cuba actively and intently participating in the renewal of their society's arrangements, aimed at further strengthening socialism and the historic achievement of creating the society as envisioned by José Martí of a nation "with all and for all." The 54th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution is celebrated by all those who truly value human freedom and the struggle to expand it against the forces that have become more desperate than ever on the world scale to extinguish such aspirations and their Cuban inspiration.

Fidel Castro leads the victorious rebel forces into Havana, January 8, 1959.

Congratulations! Onward to Victory!

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