Category Archives: Justin Trudeau

Rocking the G7: Trump Stomps His Allies

Disruption, disturbance, eruption, the words crowning the presidency of Donald J. Trump, who has effectively demonstrated an idea made famous by Nazi doodler of law and political theorist Carl Schmitt: politics is defined, not by identifying with friends in cosy harmony but with enemies in constant tension.

There are many ways that Trump might be seen as a creature of Schmittian reaction.  Alliances may well be lauded as good (the diplomat’s clichés of “eternal friendship”, “special bonds” and the treacly covering that comes with it), but then again, potential adversaries can also be considered in accommodating fashion.  In every enduring friendship between states is a potential enemy in wait, a dormant instinct that, given certain circumstances, might awake.  In every alliance, a potential shift might undermine, if not threaten, the national interest.

In short, the current US president likes the bruising, the bullying and the cajoling in the abstract name of US self-interest. Forget the distinctions and the similarities.  There are no values in any shared sense.  There is only his road.

The press conference concluding the summit with Kim Jong-un on Sentosa Island provided the platform for Trump to round on his supposed allies even as he praised Little Rocket Man as his newly made friend, Chairman Kim, no less.  The spectacle was terrifying for groupies of the US empire, those who have praised the virtues of alliances and bonds with Washington as necessary for the Pax Americana.  Before them, the spectacle of US hegemony was being challenged with a brazen confidence. The Chairman seemed to be getting what he wanted, even if it all seemed a touch vague.

As the Kim-Trump show unfolded, the rubble at the G7 seemed to be growing, a sentiment captured by the satirical Borowitz Report in The New Yorker.  The meeting preceding the gathering in Singapore had put many a nose out of joint.  After leaving the Quebec summit, Trump got his fingers busy by tweeting that he had asked US representatives not to endorse the customary joint communiqué from the G7 leaders calling for “free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade” over the devil of protectionism.

The cooling towards Canada’s Justin Trudeau was a case in point, mixed with the usual air of berating condescension and sulkiness.  Much of it had arisen because of a disagreement on whether a sunset clause would find its way into any renegotiated trade agreement between Mexico, Canada and the United States.  Trump’s own version of reality was that negotiators were “pretty close on the sunset provision”.  Trudeau differed on such a reading, wanting nothing of the sort.  The bad blood was taking time to dry.

“Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our US farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our US reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at tariffs on automobiles flooding the US market!”

In Singapore itself, Trump wished to add some flesh to the remarks, getting a few jocular asides in.  “When I got onto the plane,” considered Trump, “I think that Justin probably didn’t know that Air Force One has about 20 televisions, and I see the television.  And he’s giving a news conference about how he will not be pushed around by the United States.  And I say, push him around?  We just shook hands.  It was very friendly.”

Then came that picture, poured over by aroused pundits and eager commentators, showing Trump sitting down like a bemused, bright coloured Buddha, seemingly defiant, with Germany’s Angela Merkel leaning across with grave school teacher disapproval. “In fact,” he explained, “the picture with Angela Merkel, who I get along with very well, where I’m sitting there like this, that picture was we’re waiting for the document because I wanted to see the final document as changed by the changes that I requested.”

For Trump, the visuals are nigh everything, and this titillates the pundits he lures like starving waifs to a banquet.  Academics are also getting on board, being brought into Trumpland’s sordid undergrowth.  “Critics of President Trump say this is President Trump isolated,” suggested Dan Nexon of Georgetown University on the G7 snap, “so it feeds into the pre-existing narrative.”  But then came the other side, those supporters who considered the show “a sign of American strength, status and position in the dominance hierarchy.”

Others have also fallen for tissue-like substance and liberal readings, suggesting that Trump is seducing those who should know better.  “The symbolic meaning of a 13-second handshake in the visual form is the establishment of a physical and therefore a personal bond between the two leaders,” came the distinctly unscientific observation of political science professor Bruce Miroff.  The G7 meeting did the opposite of the Sentosa Island summit, suggesting a spectacle “of alienation, opposition and even international condemnation of Trump.”

Any amount of time might be spent on such performances, but Trump, for all the displays, remains heartily consistent in what superficially seems to be jolting anarchy.  On the issue of mistrusting, badgering, even punishing allies economically, he has remained true to his word, carrying through attitudes nursed since the 1980s. “I’d throw a tax on every Mercedes-Benz rolling into this country,” he claimed in his 1990 Playboy interview should he ever become President, “and on all Japanese products, and we’d have wonderful allies again.”  And, prophetically, he promised a Schmitt-inspired attitude: don’t “trust our allies” and “perfect” that “huge military arsenal”.

G7 vs. G6+1: The War of Words

Background

The war of words has intensified between the U-S and G-7 allies after President Donald Trump retracted his endorsement of the communiqué of the once-united group.

The German chancellor called Trump’s abrupt revocation of support for a joint communiqué sobering and depressing. Angela Merkel, however, said that’s not the end. France also accused Trump of destroying trust and acting inconsistently. Trump pulled the U-S out of the group’s summit statement after Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the imposition of retaliatory tariffs on the U-S.  The White House said Canada risked making the U-S president look weak ahead of his summit with the North Korean leader. But, Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland later reiterated that her country will retaliate against U-S tariffs in a measured and reciprocal way.

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PressTV: What do you make of Mr. Trump’s decision to renege on the G7’s final statement?

Peter Koenig: Trump pulling out from the final G7 statement is just show; the usual Trump show. He signed it, then he pulled out. We have seen it with the Iran Nuclear Deal, with the North Korea meeting, on and off, with the tariffs first. About two months ago the tariffs were on for Europe, Mexico and Canada, as well as China. Then they were off for all of them, and now they are on again…

How serious can that be? Trump just wants to make sure that he calls the shots. And he does. As everybody gets nervous and talks about retaliation instead of practicing the “politics of silence” strategy.

In the case of Europe, the tariffs, or the equivalent of sanctions, as Mr. Putin recently so aptly put it, may well serve as a means of blackmailing Europe, for example, to disregard as Trump did, the Iran Nuclear Deal, “step out of it – and we will relieve you from the tariffs.”

In the case of Canada and Mexico, it’s to make sure Americans realize that he, Mr. Trump, wants to make America Great again and provide jobs for Americans. These tariffs alone will not create one single job. But they create an illusion and that, he thinks, will help Republicans in the up-coming Mid-term Elections.

In China tariffs are perhaps thought as punishment for President Xi’s advising President Kim Jong-Un ahead of the June 12 summit and probably and more likely to discredit the Yuan as a world reserve currency, since the Chinese currency is gradually replacing the dollar in the world’s reserve coffers. But Trump knows that these tariffs are meaningless for China, as China has a huge trade surplus with the US and an easy replacement market like all of Asia.

PressTV:  How could the silence strategy by the 6 G7 partners have any impact on Trump’s decision on tariffs?

Peter Koenig: Well, the G6 – they are already now considered the G6+1, since Trump at the very onset of the summit announced that he was considering pulling out of the G7- so, the remaining 6 partners could get together alone and decide quietly what counter measures they want to take, then announce it in a joint communiqué to the media.

It does not have to be retaliation with reciprocal tariffs.  It could, for example, be pulling out of NATO.  Would they dare? That would get the world’s attention. That might be a much smarter chess move than copying the draw of one peon with the draw of another one. Because we are actually talking here about a mega-geopolitical chess game.

What we are actually witnessing is a slow but rapidly increasing disintegration of the West.

Let’s not forget, the G7 is a self-appointed Group of the “so-called” world’s greatest powers. How can that be when the only “eastern power”, Russia, and for that much more powerful than, for example, Canada or Italy, has been excluded in 2014 from the then G8?

And when the world’s largest economic power – measured by the real economic indicator, namely, purchasing power parity – China has never been considered being part of the G-Group of the greatest?

It is obvious that this Group is not sustainable.

We have to see whatever Trump does, as the result of some invisible forces behind the scene that direct him. Trump is a convenient patsy for them, and he plays his role quite well. He confuses, creates chaos, and on top of it, he, so far single-handedly wants to re-integrate Russia in the G-7; i.e., the remaking of the G-8.

So far the G6’s are all against it. Oddly, because it’s precisely the European Union that is now seeking closer ties with Russia. Maybe because they want to have Russia all for themselves?

If that is Trump’s strategy to pull Europe and Russia together, and thereby create a chasm between Russia and China, then he may succeed. Because the final prize of this Trump-directed mega political chess game is China.

Trump, or his handlers, know very well that they cannot conquer China as a close ally of Russia. So, the separation is one of the chess moves towards check-mate. But probably both Presidents Putin and Xi are well aware of it.

In fact, the SCO just finished their summit in China’s Qingdao on 9 June, about at the same time as the G7 in Canada’s Charlevoix, Quebec Province, and it was once more very clear that this alliance of the 8 SCO members is getting stronger, and Iran is going to be part of it. Therefore, a separation of Russia from the Association is virtually impossible. We are talking about half the world’s population and an economic strength of about one third of the world’s GDP, way exceeding the one of the G7 in terms of purchasing power.

This, I think is the Big Picture we have to see in these glorious G7 summits.

Canada’s Justin Trudeau Promotes “Anglosphere” Spying

While the media has been full of news about information-gathering by Facebook and other Internet giants, other secretive organizations that are a major threat to our personal privacy and public security are seldom mentioned. And when they are, it has most often been because politicians are praising them and offering up more money for them to spy.

For example, Justin Trudeau recently promoted the “Anglosphere’s” intelligence sharing arrangement. Two weeks ago, in a rare move, the PM revealed a meeting with his “Five Eyes” counterparts. After the meeting in London Trudeau labelled the 2,000 employee Communications Security Establishment, Canada’s main contributor to the “Five Eyes” arrangement, “an extraordinary institution”. Last year Trudeau said that “collaboration and co-operation between allies, friends and partners has saved lives and keeps all of our citizens safe.”

The praise comes as the government is seeking to substantially expand CSE’s powers and two months ago put up $500 million to create a federal “cybersecurity” centre. This money is on top of CSE’s $600 million annual budget and a massive new $1.2 billion complex.

Since its creation CSE has been part of the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing framework. The main contributors to the accord are the US National Security Agency (NSA), Australian Defence Signals Directorate (DFS), New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and CSE. A series of post-World War II accords, beginning with the 1946 UKUSA intelligence agreement, created the “AUS/CAN/NZ/UK/US EYES ONLY” arrangement.

Writing prior to the Internet, author of Target Nation: Canada and the Western Intelligence Network James Littleton notes, “almost the entire globe is monitored by the SIGINT [signals intelligence] agencies of the UKUSA countries.” With major technological advancements in recent decades, the Five Eyes now monitor billions of private communications worldwide.

The Five Eyes accords are ultra-secretive and operate with little oversight. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden labeled it a “supra-national intelligence organisation that doesn’t answer to the known laws of its own countries.”

In addition to sharing information they’ve intercepted, collected, analysed and decrypted, the five SIGINT agencies exchange technologies and tactics. They also cooperate on targeting and “standardize their terminology, codewords, intercept–handling procedures, and indoctrination oaths, for efficiency as well as security.”

CSE Special Liaison Officers are embedded with Five Eyes counterparts while colleagues from the US, Britain, Australia and New Zealand are inserted in CSE. NSA has had many long-term guest detachments at CSE facilities. An NSA document Snowden released described how the US and Canadian agencies’ “co-operative efforts include the exchange of liaison officers and integrees.”

NSA has trained CSE cryptanalysts and in the 1960s the US agency paid part of the cost of modernizing Canadian communications interception facilities. With CSE lacking capacity, intelligence collected at interception posts set up in Canadian embassies in Cuba, Jamaica, Russia, etc. was often remitted to NSA for deciphering and analysis. In his 1986 book Littleton writes, “much of the SIGINT material collected by Canada is transmitted directly to the U.S. National Security Agency, where it is interpreted, stored, and retained. Much of it is not first processed and analyzed in Canada.”

Five Eyes agencies have helped each other skirt restrictions on spying on their own citizenry. Former Solicitor-General Wayne Easter told the Toronto Star that it was “common” for NSA “to pass on information about Canadians” to CSE. Conversely, former CSE officer Michael Frost says NSA asked the agency to spy on US citizens. In Spyworld: Inside the Canadian and American Intelligence Establishments Frost reveals that on the eve of the 1983 British election Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher asked GCHQ to spy on two cabinet ministers “to find out not what they were saying, but what they were thinking.” Reflecting the two agencies close ties, GCHQ requested CSE’s help on this highly sensitive matter. Frost notes that CSE wasn’t particularly worried about being caught because GCHQ was the agency tasked with protecting Britain from foreign spying.

In the lead-up to the US-British invasion of Iraq NSA asked Canada and the rest of the Five Eyes to spy on UN Security Council members. On January 31, 2003, NSA SIGINT Department Deputy Chief of Staff for regional targets wrote alliance counterparts: “As you’ve likely heard by now, the agency is mounting a surge particularly directed at the UN Security Council (UNSC) members (minus US and GBR [Great Britain] of course) for insights as to how membership is reacting to the ongoing debate RE: Iraq, plans to vote on any related resolutions, what related policies/negotiating positions they may be considering, alliances/dependencies, etc. – the whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favorable to US goals or to head off surprises.”

While CSE reportedly rejected this NSA request, a number of commentators suggest CSE has shown greater allegiance to its Five Eyes partners than most Canadians would like. Littleton writes, “the agreements may not explicitly say that the United States, through its SIGINT organization, the National Security Agency (NSA) dominates and controls the SIGINT organizations of the other member nations, but that is clearly what the agreements mean.”

An NSA history of the US–Canada SIGINT relationship released by Snowden labelled Canada a “highly valued second party partner”, which offers “resources for advanced collection, processing and analysis, and has opened covert sites at the request of NSA. CSE shares with NSA their unique geographic access to areas unavailable to the US.”

The Five Eyes arrangement has made Canada complicit in belligerent US foreign policy. It’s time for a debate about Canadian participation in the “Anglosphere’s” intelligence sharing agreement.

Behold a Miracle at the UN: Canada Abstains from its Usual Pro-Israeli Vote

Thank you, President Donald Trump and US UN Ambassador Nikki Haley for helping end the Trudeau government’s ‘Israel no matter what’ voting pattern.

On Thursday Canada actually abstained on a UN General Assembly resolution, which “affirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council, and in this regard, calls upon all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem.”

Since taking office the Trudeau government has repeatedly isolated Canada with the US, Israel and a few tiny Pacific island states in voting against UN resolutions upholding Palestinian rights. Last Tuesday, for instance, Canada opposed a motion supported by 176 nations calling for Palestinian statehood. Two weeks earlier the Trudeau government also voted against a resolution on Jerusalem backed by 151 UN member states.

As RawStory pointed out, the media attention devoted to Trump and Haley’s threats against those voting in favour of the Jerusalem resolution actually drove Trudeau to abstain on Thursday instead of his usual pro-Israel vote. While Stephen Harper’s anti-Palestinian positions at the UN found support among many of the party’s base of right wing Jews, evangelical Christian Zionists and Islamophobes, the same is not true of the Liberals. Prominent Trudeau fundraisers such as serial tax evader Stephen Bronfman and the late murder suspect Barry Sherman may want Canada to side with Israel ‘no matter what’, but younger, darker skinned and progressive Liberal supporters believe Palestinians are human beings. They overwhelmingly reject the notion that a 3,000-year-old book grants Poles, Austrians, New Yorkers, etc. the right to take a city from its indigenous inhabitants or that the world should enable Russians, French, Torontonians, etc. to gather in the Middle East to fulfill Bible literalists’ interpretation of the supposed “word of God”.

The Liberal leadership understands that party supporters and the broader public are uncomfortable with Israeli expansionism and Canada isolating itself from world opinion on the matter so the more attention devoted to their UN votes the more equivocal the Liberals’ position. Hopefully the recent attention devoted to the Trudeau government’s extreme pro-Israel voting record will spur further abstentions on Palestine votes (at this point its probably too much to expect Trudeau to vote in support of international law and official Canadian policy).

Regularly abstaining at the UN on Palestine would be a step forward, but these votes are only the tip of the iceberg in Canada’s multifaceted contribution to Israeli expansionism. The two-decade old Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement includes the occupied West Bank as a place where Israel’s custom laws apply. Ottawa also has a wide-ranging “border management and security” agreement with Israel, even though the two countries do not share a border. Additionally, Canada’s Communications Security Establishment has long gathered intelligence on Palestinians for Israel.

Every year, registered Canadian charities channel tens of millions of dollars to projects supporting Israel’s powerful military, racist institutions and illegal settlements. The Canada Revenue Agency allows organizations whose projects contravene international law and official Canadian policy to write tax credits for these donations.

Despite a GDP per capita greater than Spain or Italy (and equal to Japan), hundreds of registered Canadian charities deliver hundreds of millions of dollars a year to Israel. How many Canadian charities funnel money to Spain or Japan?

Even a large swath of Canada’s “aid” to the Palestinians – who have one-twentieth of their occupier’s per capita GDP – is explicitly designed to advance Israel’s interests. Over the past decade Ottawa has delivered over $100 million and sent military and police trainers to build a security apparatus to protect the corrupt Mahmoud Abbas-led Palestinian Authority from popular disgust over its compliance in the face of ongoing Israeli settlement building.

There have been increasing references in the past months during high-level bilateral meetings with the Israelis about the importance and value they place on Canada’s assistance to the Palestinian Authority, most notably in security/justice reform,” read an internal 2012 note signed by then Canadian International Development Agency president Margaret Biggs. In the heavily censored note Biggs explained that “the emergence of popular protests on the Palestinian street against the Palestinian Authority is worrying and the Israelis have been imploring the international donor community to continue to support the Palestinian Authority.”

Drawing on previously classified materials, Carleton Criminology Professor Jeffrey Monaghan details Canada’s role in turning Palestinian security forces in the West Bank into an effective arm of Israel’s occupation. In Security Aid: Canada and the Development Regime of Security, Monaghan describes a $1.5 million Canadian contribution to Joint Operating Centers whose “main focus … is to integrate elements of the Palestinian Authority Security Forces into Israeli command.” He writes about Canada’s “many funding initiatives to the PCP [Palestinian Civilian Police]” which “has increasingly been tasked by the Israeli Defence Forces as a lead agency to deal with public order policing, most recently during IDF bombings in Gaza and during Arab Spring demonstrations.”

Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem may well mark the end of the spurious “peace process” and Abbas’ US–Canada–Saudi–Israel backed Palestinian Authority. Hopefully, it will also be seen as a turning point in Canada’s effort to suffocate the Palestinian liberation struggle.

Trans-Pacific Follies: Australia Asleep as Canada Wakes Up

It was as dreary as listening to the formulaic assessments of political economy by an unreconstructed Leninist.  But Sunday morning with Steve Ciobo, Australia’s trade minister, was such an occasion.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, withering away on the branch of false optimism, has been an instrument of deserved suspicion and opprobrium from popular movements across countries suspicious about the paternalistic follies of their governments.  It was precisely opposition to such a proposed agreement, negotiated in total secrecy away from the prying eyes of public interest groups, that fuelled the campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump during the 2016 US presidential elections.

Even Hillary Clinton, whose husband was a vital figure behind initiating the North American Free Trade Agreement during the 1990s, began to chew some of the anti-free trade cud close to her ignominious defeat.

No free trade faith quite matches the monomania of Australian governments.  Since the 1980s, liberalising and opening the economy has been an unshakeable trajectory, a punishing, stripping dogma that insists that being economically open is liberally good, and closed, parochially bad.

While other states have wised up to the idea that total openness is a recipe for local instability, estrangement, and disaster, the Australian response has been unshakeable: keep borders open and corporations content, except when it comes to refugees who arrive by boat.  As Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull has insisted with staid predictability, the TPP “creates rules of the road to match the new economic world in which we’re living.”

For all this, Australia’s own industries have been supplanted.  Energy and banking oligopolies have been given free rein to operate.  Property prices in Sydney and Melbourne are reaching stratospheric heights, and the current government is promising to partly subsidise what will become one of the world’s largest, and environmentally destructive, of white elephants: the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland.

Most telling of all is that the free traders have no interest in considering data of such irrefutable weight it should put an end to that unfortunately lingering religion.  The US-Australian Free Trade agreement remains a matter of considerable loss to Australia, limiting rather than extending markets and access to Australian producers, and showing the country’s diplomatic crew as inept, ill-informed and, in the final analysis, sycophantic.

None of these points concern the bemused Ciobo. Ideology has already set the tone in this field. When the United States announced, through President Donald J. Trump, that it would have no truck with the TPP, the Australian delegation was left baffled but unmoved.  The remaining states would keep the ship steady.

Now that Canada’s Justin Trudeau has decided to give the remaining countries a grand snub, Ciobo has been left searching for justifications.  On Saturday in Danang, the Canadian Prime Minister did not so much decide to leave the party as ask for another one with a new set of provisions.  In the spirit of Trump, he wished to negotiate for a deal would be far more beneficial to Canada than what was already on the table.

Trudeau insisted at his closing APEC news conference that the Canadians “were not going to be rushed into a deal”.  It was a matter that came as “no surprise and it actually didn’t come as a surprise to people who’d noticed that I was saying that and have been saying that all week.”

It certainly did come as a surprise to the lethargic Australians, already convinced that a revised deal had plugged all holes, and settled all differences.  The problematic intellectual property restrictions, for one, were supposedly to be suspended.  Concessions had been made.

Lindsay Murdoch of the Sydney Morning Herald insisted that the Canadian leader had “sabotaged the endorsement of a pact to salvage a multi-billion dollar, 11-nation Pacific Rim trade deal at the last minute, surprising other nations, including Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull.”

Murdoch even went so far as to speculate that Trudeau had engaged in an entirely unilateral move, one that went against the wishes of his own cabinet. “Mr. Trudeau’s walk-out is deeply embarrassing for his Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne, who has agreed to the deal.”

On Sunday, Ciobo suffered what can only be an episode of denial, having himself been asleep for a good deal of Trudeau’s conversion.  “Having lost a bit of momentum on the back of the decision by the Canadians not to attend the leaders meeting on the TPP11, we’ll have to keep working methodically through it.”

Notwithstanding the Canadian rebuff, Ciobo could still insist with an unmoving, humourless face that matters would work out for the free marketers.  “I’m very confident.  And I know my counterparts in the 10 other countries, we all feel that we can accommodate the various questions that are outstanding.”

The new approach was to suggest that Trudeau’s behaviour could be managed and tempered.  Exemptions on culture, notably those touching on French-speaking Quebec, might be considered.  After all, claimed Ciobo, the TPP was of the very highest “quality”, a deal maintaining “high standards and would have been seen benefits flowing to the countries.”

That these benefits are speculative and almost entirely corporate based rather than focused on the commonweal, suggests why the Australian delegation, along with its like-minded colleagues, has been left in the lurch.  It remains for others to wake up from this self-imposed hibernation from sense and sensibility.

On Hiding Truth in Canada

Freedom of expression includes not saying what you don’t want to. So these updates which may give some insight to ‘truth management’ in Canada start out with the journalist’s right to protect his/her sources. Refusing to reveal a source to the court in both the U.S. and Canada can place a journalist in jail. The extremes of countering an individual’s wishes not to reveal information have become the state’s domain due to current policies on torture. U.S. officials who have approved torture are allowed to enter Canada although torture is clearly against Canadian law. And the law is further compromised by government agencies accepting from other countries information which is obtained by torture.

1. The House of Commons has unanimously passed Bill S-231, allowing journalists to not reveal confidential sources unless required by a Superior Court judge.1 Superior Court judge approval will also be required for the police investigation of a journalist or search of his/her premises. While this seems to protect the journalist’s rights by taking such decisions out of the hands of lesser court judges, it still officially grants the state the right to criminalize a journalist for protecting his/her sources. Decency and professional standards stand in contradiction.

2. The Supreme Court has decided unanimously, that the records concerned with the abuse of native Americans at Canada’s residential schools, 38,000 accounts, will be destroyed.2 Individuals will have fifteen years to retrieve the records of their abuse. The destruction of records deprives the future of the truth. Without history the lessons may have to be learned all over again. Canada’s government wanted to archive the documents for historical record: analysis of church and government’s roles in the abuse of First Peoples remains incomplete.

3. In Ottawa a plaque at Canada’s new Holocaust Memorial Monument has been removed in response to protests that the text didn’t specifically deal with Jews. The text read: “The National Holocaust Monument commemorates the millions of men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust and honours the survivors who persevered and were able to make their way to Canada after one of the darkest chapters in history. The monument recognizes the contribution these survivors have made to Canada and serves as a reminder that we must be vigilant in standing guard against hate, intolerance and discrimination.” However the monument is shaped as a Star of David, during the Holocaust an emblem which applied only to the Jewish people.3 The monument also specifies the experience of Europe’s Jewish communities on the interior walls.4 Text of the replacement plaque has not been released.

In addition to Jewish peoples and depending on the region of Europe, millions of people who weren’t Jews were rounded up and killed, Roma, Poles, Russians, Serbs, Non-Aryans, communists, nationalists, dissidents, homosexuals, handicapped, old people, sick people, prisoners, prisoners of war, resistance fighters died in labour camps, concentration camps, by injection, gas chanbers, on scaffolds, in the fields of resistance, at mass graves or through starvation and disease. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau inaugurated the monument on September 27th, 2017, but was publicly chided for not specifying Jews in his speech, and for the lack of specific reference in this particular plaque.

Historical note: Edwin Black in his book, War against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Attempt to Create a Master Race,  relies less on the concept of the Holocaust as a war against the Jews, than on the Nazi’s attempt to create a genetically ‘superior’ race. Since the early 1920’s German eugenics research and resulting programs were heavily funded by the U.S.’s Rockfeller Foundation. Nazi programs of “racial hygiene” paralleled the rising anti-Semitism of the laws. In 1933 Reich Statute Part I, No 86, the Law for the Prevention of Defective Progeny was a mass sterilization law for those considered feebleminded, schizophrenic, manic depressive, and those with chorea, epilepsy, physical deformities, deafness, inherited blindness5 While the Rockefeller Foundation didn’t officially approve of the Reich’s policies in eugenics it continued to fund German eugenics mightily. If one considers the Holocaust a war on  Jews rather than a war of racial hygiene for the purity of a Nordic master race, then one needn’t investigate the wealthy and powerful sources of the crime, or reject the human sacrifices of eugenics.

4. As an alternative to re-writing history the perception managers have the option of not letting history occur – if it counters business interests. And Canadian courts have the option of placing publication bans or gag orders on what the public is allowed to know about what happens in legal proceedings. In Vancouver under the Conservative Harper government, environmental groups mobilizing to understand and counter the claims of large corporations to place pipelines across native lands, were infiltrated by government/police agencies. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association is taking the government to court6 for allegedly spying on environmentalists of Lead Now, Stand Earth, the Dogwood Initiative and Sierra Club of B.C.; government spying criminalizes groups and people attempting to contribute to National Energy Board hearings on pipeline approval. Objections were initially raised before the Security Intelligence Review Committee (the watchdog committee for the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency) which rejected the case and forbid the environmentalists from publicly revealing evidence about the review. The environmentalists’ lawyer sees the gag order as a violation of freedom of expression. The Review Committee has used its authority as a tool of oppression. The gag order doesn’t benefit the people but CSIS protected corporate interests, and currently these are under some pressure.

In what the Mayor of Montreal Denis Coderre finds a victory for the people, TransCanada has cancelled the 15.7 billion dollar Energy East pipeline.7 Its destruction of the environment will simply not occur. An estimated 236 million tons of carbon will not pollute the atmosphere. TransCanada also cancelled its Eastern Mainline pipeline. Reliant on freedom of expression and information sharing, grassroots mobilization across Canada has won an initial victory.

5. Information on the case of Alexandre Bissonnette remains tightly controlled and slightly…awry (“At the suspect’s court appearance on February 21, 2017, the judge ordered a publication ban”). There’s restricted release of any police evidence or the results and extent of any investigations into Quebec City’s Mosque murder of six Muslim worshippers this past January 29th. On October 2nd another charge was laid against the single suspect, Alexandre Bissonnette, for an additional attempted murder.8 So there are now six charges of “attempted murder with a restricted weapon” and the six charges of first-degree murder remain. To avoid time limits before the case is nullified, with the judge’s warning, the CBC assures us the Crown is passing over holding a preliminary inquiry, to simply proceed with the indictment. The CBC reports that the Mosque’s Muslim community still wants to know why Alexandre Bissonnette hasn’t, logically, incurred terrorism charges. The Crown Prosecutor has replied that murder is the most serious crime in Canadian law. This doesn’t really address a public understanding that charges of terrorism increase the terms of prison time at sentencing. So Canadians are denied the privilege of understanding the prosecutor’s compassion for this only suspect in a rather complicated and thorough murder of six Muslims at worship. The case goes to trial in court, December 11th.

6. The Huffington Post notes that Canada leads the United States in the number of corrupt companies blacklisted by the World Bank.9 We remember that this is the same World Bank which forced “austerity” on Greece in an attempt to sway the country to a more profitable fascism. The World Bank is not considered morally or ethically “fussy.” But #1 in the world Canada has 117 companies (mostly SNC-Lavalin-related) which the World Bank considers too corrupt for even them to do business with, while 2nd in the world U.S. has only 46 companies which are actually named. A difficulty with economic corruption is that it translates into the infrastructures of entire populations. For instance, one of Canada’s SNC-Lavalin companies is Candu Energy, famous for designing nuclear reactors.

7. An article by Tony Seed reveals that Canada’s Defence Cooperation Agreement with the Ukraine, not only allows expanded arms sales to a fascist government of the Ukraine but allows increased sales to Saudi Arabia by Canadian companies; i.e., Pratt & Whitney Canada, Esterline GMC Electronics.10 Saudi Arabia is currently bombing a poverty stricken Yemen where a million cases of cholera are expected before November. According to Democracy Now!:11 “The ongoing U.S.-backed, Saudi-led bombing campaign has destroyed Yemen’s health, water and sanitation systems…”.  An ongoing but ignored genocide warning continues for the people of Yemen.12

Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and former International Minister of Trade, Chrystia Freeland, currently negotiating the NAFTA agreement for Canada, has found it difficult to resist Canada’s anti-Russian, pro-U.S. policy in the Ukraine which blends easily with her own beginnings as a journalist for a Canadian Ukrainian nationalist newspaper (See “The Tactical Use of the Ukraine“). Supplying Saudi Arabia with weapons at this point should be considered a crime against humanity of major proportions and not concern simply the Canadian weapons suppliers but their government facilitators. Which leads us to the purpose of lies, of perception management, of suppressing news, of hiding the truth from the people. If capable of perceiving the damages they cause, surely the people would object.

  1. Gloria Galloway,”Ottawa passes legislation to protect journalists’ anonymous sources from police,” The Globe and Mail, October 4, 2017.
  2. Kathleen Harris, “Indigenous residential school records can be destroyed, Supreme Court rules,” CBC News, October 06, 2017.
  3. Senator Linda Frum in “Conservative MP wants answers after National Holocaust Monument flub,” CTV News, October 5, 2017.
  4. Bruce Campion-Smith. “National Holocaust Monument plaque pulled after panel omits mention of Jews,” thestar.com.
  5. War against the Weak, p.299.
  6. Mike De Souza and Carl Meyer, “Trudeau government taken to court over alleged spying during Harper years,” National Observer, October 4th 2017.
  7. Jake Johnson, “Huge ‘People Over Pipeline’ Victory as TransCanada Forced to Kill Energy East,” Common Dreams, October 5, 2017.
  8. Catou MacKinnon, “Crown charges Quebec City mosque shooter with attempted murder of attack witnesses,” CBC News, October 2, 2017.
  9. “World Bank’s Corrupt Companies Blacklist Dominated By Canada,” September 18, 2013, The Huffington Post.
  10. Tony Seed. “Background on Canada-Ukraine defence agreement: A ‘rich, mutually beneficial’ arms trade,” June 11, 2017, Tony Seed’s Weblog.
  11. “Yemen: ICRC Warns of New Outbreaks as Cholera Cases Near 1 Million,” October 03, 2017.
  12. Nightslantern.ca has carried genocide warnings for the people of Yemen since 2015 here. See 2015; 2016; 2017.

The “Ugly Canadian” is on the March: Trudeau is its New Face

The “Ugly Canadian” is on the march but now with a much prettier face at the helm. Across the planet Canadian mining companies are in conflict with local communities and usually have the Trudeau government’s support.

A slew of disputes have arisen at Canadian run mines in recent weeks:

Last week in northern central Mexico, community members blockaded the main access road to Goldcorp’s Penasquito mine. They are protesting against the Vancouver-based company for using and contaminating their water without providing alternative sources.

In Northern Ireland two weeks ago, police forced activists out of a Cookstown hotel after they tried to confront representatives from Dalradian Resources. Community groups worry the Toronto firm’s proposed gold and silver mine will damage the Owenkillew River Special Area of Conservation.

Last weekend, an Argentinian senator denounced Blue Sky Uranium’s exploration in the Patagonia region. Magdalena Odarda said residents living near the planned mine fear the Vancouver company’s operations will harm their health.

On Wednesday more than 40 US congresspeople (as well as the state’s Governor) criticized the removal of restrictions on mining in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region, home to half the world’s sockeye salmon production. In May Northern Dynasty CEO Thomas Collier met the new head of the US Environmental Protection Agency to ask for the lifting of restrictions on its Pebble Mine, which is expected to destroy the region’s salmon fishery. In a bid to gain government permission to move forward on the project, the Vancouver firm appointed a former chief of staff at the US Department of the Interior as its new CEO.

At the end of September hundreds of families were displaced by the Filipino Army to make way for a mine jointly run by Australian and Canadian firms MRL Gold and Egerton Gold. The community in the Batangas Province was blocking a project expected to harm marine biodiversity.

In eastern Madagascar farmers are in a dispute with DNI Metals over compensation for lands damaged by the Toronto firm.

In August another person was allegedly killed by Acacia (Barrick Gold) security at its North Mara mine in Tanzania.

Last week Barrick Gold agreed to pay $20 million to a Chilean a group after a year-long arbitration. The Toronto company had reneged on a $60 million 20-year agreement to compensate communities affected by its Pascua Lama gold, silver and copper project.

In mid-September Eldorado Gold threatened to suspend its operations in Halkidiki, Greece, if the central government didn’t immediately approve permits for its operations. With the local Mayor and most of the community opposed to the mine, the social-democratic Syriza government was investigating whether a flawed technical study by the Vancouver company was a breach of its contract.

And in Guatemala, Indigenous protestors continue to blockade Tahoe Resources’ Escobal silver mine despite a mid-September court decision in the company’s favour. Fearing for their water, health and land, eight municipalities in the area have voted against the Vancouver firm’s project.

The Liberals have largely maintained Stephen Harper’s aggressive support for Canada’s massive international mining industry. Last month Canada’s Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne backed El Dorado, denouncing the Greek government’s “troublesome” permit delays. Canada’s Ambassador to Madagascar, Sandra McCadell, appears to have backed DNI Metals during a meeting with that country’s mining minister.

As I detailed previously, the Trudeau government recently threw diplomatic weight behind Canada’s most controversial mining company in the country where it has committed its worst abuses. Amidst dozens of deaths at Barrick Gold’s North Mara mine in Tanzania and an escalating battle over the company’s unpaid royalties/tax, Canada’s High Commissioner Ian Myles organised a meeting between Barrick Executive Chairman John Thornton and President John Magufuli. After the meeting Myles applauded Barrick’s commitment to “the highest standards, fairness and respect for laws and corporate social responsibility.”

Two years into their mandate the Trudeau regime has yet to follow through on their repeated promises to rein in Canada’s controversial international mining sector. Despite this commitment, they have adopted no measures to restrict public support for Canadian mining companies responsible for significant abuses abroad.

The ‘Ugly Canadian’ is running roughshod across the globe and pretty boy Justin is its new face.

Canada to Guinea Refugees: We want your bauxite but we don’t want you

If you take a nation’s mineral resources do you have a moral responsibility to also accept its people?

On Sunday about 40 people rallied outside a Montreal Metro station against deportations to Guinea. The protesters called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to live up to his “Welcome to Canada” rhetoric and allow asylum seekers from the small West African nation to stay.

After a de-facto amnesty on deportations between 2013 and 2016, requests for asylum by Guineans have been refused en masse since December. According to the Refugee and Immigration Board, 10 Guineans in Canada have had their asylum rejected since June 30. Sixty-three claimants from the impoverished country are currently pending.

Rally organizers cited corporate Canada’s exploitation of the mineral rich nation as a rationale for why asylum seekers should be allowed to stay. Certainly, in a number of ways, this country has contributed to the impoverishment that drives Guineans to seek a better life elsewhere.

A handful of Canadian mining companies operate in the small West African nation and to strengthen their hand Ottawa signed a Foreign Investment and Protection Agreement with Guinea in 2015. At least two Canadian resource companies have engendered significant conflict and controversy in Guinea.

Those living near SEMAFO’s Kiniero mine, reported Guinée News in 2014, felt “the Canadian company brought more misfortune than benefits.” In 2008 the military killed three in a bid to drive away small-scale miners from its mine in southeast Guinea. BBC Monitoring Africa reported “the soldiers shot a woman at close range, burned a baby and in the panic another woman and her baby fell into a gold mining pit and a man fell fatally from his motor while running away from the rangers.”  Blaming the Montréal-based company for the killings, locals damaged its equipment.

In September 2011 protests flared again over the company’s failure to hire local young people and the dissolution of a committee that spent community development monies. Demonstrators attacked SEMAFO’s facilities, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.  Some also targeted a bus carrying company employees, prompting the authorities to evacuate all expatriate staff to Bamako in neighbouring Mali.

In 2014 the Guinean government’s Comité Technique de Revue des Titres et Conventions Miniers concluded that the Montréal firm evaded $9.6 million in tax. The Comité Technique also found that the company failed “to produce detailed feasibility studies” and was not “in compliance with new measures in the 2011 mining code.”  The Comité Technique recommended that SEMAFO be fined and stripped of its mining rights in the country. Later that year SEMAFO sold the Kiniero mine.

Canadian mining interest in the country dates back to the colonial period. In 1916 Montreal-based Alcan started exploring in Guinea and a dozen years later began operating through a French subsidiary. In 1938 Alcan opened a bauxite mine on the Island of Tamara in the Isles de Los. (In 1904 London gave the island — and some other African territory — to France in exchange for its relinquishment of fishing rights in Newfoundland, which included the right to dry cod on land.) To construct a wharf on this island just off the coast of Conakry the Canadian company turned to the colonial penal system with most of the 170 workmen pressed into service from the local penitentiary.

Fifteen years later Alcan opened a modern plant on the island to supply its smelters in Québec. Les Mines et la Recherche Minière en Afrique Occidentale Française describes the island just off the Guinea coast as “a Canadian enclave” at the beginning of production in 1951. Alcan employed some 1,200 workers to build the site with the African labourers paid 5,000 Fr. ($20 Canadian) a month.

In 1953 the director of mines for French West Africa granted Alcan exclusive prospecting rights over 2,000 square kilometres of territory in Western Guinea. The company discovered one of the richest bauxite deposits in the world in the Boké region. During a 1956 visit to France’s West African colonies Canada’s ambassador to France, Jean Désy, inspected the nascent Boké site.

After Guinea’s 1958 independence the Boké project became highly contentious. In January 1961 much of the workforce went on a weeklong strike to demand the dismissal of a dozen white managers. Later that year the mine was nationalized. In Negotiating the Bauxite/Aluminium Sector under Narrowing Constraints Bonnie K. Campbell notes, “in November 1961, the government took possession of the Kassa and Boké sites because of the failure of the private firm, Les Bauxites du Midi (a 100% subsidiary of Alcan) to observe its agreement to transform locally bauxite to alumina by 1964.” When the government voided its contract, Alcan illegally secreted out company files from Guinea.

Alcan (now Rio Tinto Alcan) maintains a presence in the country with the largest known bauxite reserves in the world. While Guinea has extracted significant quantities of the mineral, it has almost all been refined into aluminum elsewhere.

Conversely, bauxite isn’t mined in Canada, but this country has long been among the leading producers of the valuable metal. Dependent on cheap electricity from dams built on indigenous land, Québec aluminum smelters have refined significant amounts of Guinean bauxite. The divide between bauxite/aluminum and its extraction/production has traditionally reflected an extremely hierarchical world economy — shaped by the transatlantic slave trade, European colonialism, structural adjustment, etc. — in which the poor provide the minerals and those at the top carry out the value-added production.

The exploitation of Guinean resources in this fashion has quite clearly benefited Canadian corporations and created jobs in this country rather than in the place where the bauxite originated.

Therefore the answer to the question posed at the beginning of this article is yes. Ottawa’s role in shaping the hierarchical international economic system and corporate Canada’s extraction of Guinean resources should be factors considered in assessing every Guinean’s request for asylum in this country.

The Myth of Canada’s “Benevolent” Foreign Policy

A house built on an imaginary foundation may be a “dream home” but it can never be lived in. The same holds true in politics.

One need not mythologize Canadian foreign policy history to oppose the Trudeau government’s egregious position on nuclear arms. In fact, ‘benevolent Canada’ dogma weakens the critical consciousness needed to reject the policies of our foreign policy establishment.

In “Canada abandons proud history as ‘nuclear nag’ when most needed” prominent leftist author Linda McQuaig writes:

There have been impressive moments in our history when Canada, under previous Liberal governments, asserted itself as a feisty middle power by supporting, even occasionally leading, the push to get nuclear disarmament onto the global agenda.

Nonsense! If one were to rank the world’s 200 countries in order of their contribution to the nuclear arms race Canada would fall just behind the nine nuclear armed states.

Uranium from Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories was used in the only two nuclear bombs ever dropped on a human population. In Northern approaches: Canada and the search for peace James Eayrs notes, “the maiming of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a byproduct of Canadian uranium.”

Canada spent millions of dollars (tens of millions in today’s money) to help research the bombs’ development. Immediately after successfully developing the technology, the US submitted its proposal to drop the bomb on Japan to the tri-state World War II Combined Policy Committee meeting, which included powerful Canadian minister C.D. Howe and a British official. Though there is no record of his comments at the July 4, 1945 meeting, apparently Howe supported the US proposal. Reflecting the racism in Canadian governing circles, in his (uncensored) diary King wrote:

It is fortunate that the use of the bomb should have been upon the Japanese rather than upon the white races of Europe.

Only a few years after the first one was built Ottawa allowed the US to station nuclear weapons in Canada. According to John Clearwater in Canadian Nuclear Weapons: The Untold Story of Canada’s Cold War Arsenal, the first “nuclear weapons came to Canada as early as September 1950, when the USAF [US Air Force] temporarily stationed eleven ‘Fat Man’- style atomic bombs at Goose Bay Newfoundland.”

Canadian territory has also been used to test US nuclear weapons. Beginning in 1952 Ottawa agreed to let the US Strategic Air Command use Canadian air space for training flights of nuclear-armed aircraft. At the same time, reports Ron Finch in Exporting Danger: a history of the Canadian nuclear energy export programme, the US Atomic Energy Commission conducted military tests in Canada to circumvent oversight by American “watchdog committees.” As part of the agreement Ottawa committed to prevent any investigation into the military aspects of nuclear research in Canada.

Canadian Forces also carried nukes on foreign-stationed aircraft. At the height of Canadian nuclear deployments in the late 1960s the government had between 250 and 450 atomic bombs at its disposal in Europe. Based in Germany, the CF-104 Starfighter, for instance, operated without a gun and carried nothing but a thermal nuclear weapon.

During the past 70 years Canada has often been the world’s largest producer of uranium. According to Finch, by 1959 Canada had sold $1.5 billion worth of uranium to the US bomb program (uranium was then Canada’s fourth biggest export). Ottawa has sold at least 29 nuclear reactors to foreign countries, which have often been financed with aid dollars. In the 1950s, for instance, Atomic Energy Canada Limited received large sums of money through the Colombo Aid Plan to help India set up a nuclear reactor.

Canada provided the reactor (called Cyrus) that India used to develop the bomb. Canada proceeded with its nuclear commitment to India despite signals from New Delhi that it was going to detonate a nuclear device. In The Politics of CANDU Exports Duane Bratt writes, “the Indians chose to use Cyrus for their supply of plutonium and not one of their other reactors, because Cyrus was not governed by any nuclear safeguards.”

On the diplomatic front, Ottawa has long supported its allies’ nuclear weapons. In August 1948 Canada voted against a UN call to ban nuclear weapons and in December 1954 voted to allow NATO forces to accept tactical nuclear weapons through the alliance’s policy called MC 48, The Most Effective Pattern of NATO Military Strength for the Next Few Years. According to Canada and UN Peacekeeping: Cold War by Other Means, 1945-1970, external minister Lester Pearson “was integral to the process by which MC 48 was accepted by NATO.”

In his 2006 book Just Dummies“: Cruise Missile Testing in Canada Clearwater writes, “the record clearly shows that Canada refuses to support any resolution that specifies immediate action on a comprehensive approach to ridding the world of nuclear weapons.” Since then the Harper/Trudeau regimes’ have not changed direction. The Harper government opposed a variety of initiatives to curtail nuclear weapons and, as McQuaig points out, the Trudeau government recently boycotted a UN effort to sign a treaty, supported by two thirds of 192 member states, to rid the world of nuclear weapons and prohibit the creation of new ones.

But, it’s not only nuclear policy. The Trudeau government’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia, attacks on Venezuela’s elected government, support for Rwanda’s brutal dictatorship, empowerment of international investors, indifference to mining companies abuses, military deployment on Russia’s border, support for Israel’s illegal occupation etc. reflect this country’s longstanding corporate-military-Western centric foreign policy. While Harper’s foreign policy was disastrous on many fronts, it was a previous Liberal government that instigated violence in Afghanistan and the most flagrant Canadian crime of this century by planning, executing and consolidating the overthrow of democracy in Haiti.

Leftists need to stop seeking to ingratiate themselves with the liberal end of the foreign policy establishment by exaggerating rare historical moments when Ottawa apparently did right. Power relations — not morality — determine international policy and the ‘benevolent Canada’ myth obscures the corporate and geostrategic interests that overwhelmingly drive policy. Progressive writers should focus on developing the critical consciousness needed to reign in the foreign policy establishment.

Only the truth will set us free to make this country a force for good in the world.

Canada: Supporting Barrick Gold’s Exploitation of Mineral Resources in Tanzania

Will the Canadian government continue to support Barrick Gold’s exploitation of mineral resources in Tanzania no matter what abuses the company commits?

Would the Trudeau government stop backing the Toronto-based firm if it bilked the impoverished nation out of $10 billion? Or, what if one thousand people were raped and seriously injured by Barrick security? Would Ottawa withdraw its support if one hundred Tanzanians were killed at its mines?

Barrick’s African subsidiary, Acacia Mining, is embroiled in a major political conflict in the east African nation. With growing evidence of its failure to pay royalties and tax, Acacia has been condemned by the president, had its exports restricted and slapped with a massive tax bill.

In May a government panel concluded that Acacia significantly under-reported the percentage of gold and copper in mineral sand concentrates it exported. The next month a government commission concluded that foreign mining firms’ failure to declare revenues had cost Tanzania $100 billion. According to the research, from 1998 to March 2017 the Tanzanian government lost between 68.6 trillion and 108.5 trillion shillings in revenue from mineral concentrates.

The controversy over Barrick’s exports led President John Magufuli to fire the minister of mining and the board of the Minerals Audit Agency. Tanzania’s parliament has also voted to review mining contracts and to block companies from pursuing the country in international trade tribunals.

While the political battle over royalty payments grows, human rights violations continue unabated at Barrick’s North Mara mine. A recent MiningWatch fact-finding mission discovered that “new cases have come to light of serious un-remedied harm related to encounters between victims and mine security and police who guard the mine under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the companies involved and the Tanzanian Police Force. New cases documented in June 2017 include: loss of limbs, loss of eyesight, broken bones, internal injuries, children hit by flying blast rocks, and by teargas grenades thrown by mine security as they chase so-called intruders into the nearby villages. As in past years, villagers reported severe debilitating beatings, commonly with gun butts and wooden batons. Some are seriously wounded by teargas ‘bombs,’ or by so-called rubber bullets. Others are shot, including from behind. As in past years there were a number of deaths.”

At least 22 people have been killed and 69 injured near or at the North Mara mine since 2014. Most of the victims were impoverished villagers who scratch rocks for tiny bits of gold and who often mined these territories prior to Barrick’s arrival. An early 2016 government report found security and police paid by Barrick had killed 65 people and injured 270 at North Mara since 2006. Tanzanian human rights groups estimate as many 300 mine-related deaths and the Financial Times reports that not a single police officer or security guard working for the company has been killed on duty.

Amidst the violence at North Mara and an escalating battle over unpaid tax, Canada’s High Commissioner set up a meeting between Barrick Executive Chairman John Thornton and President Magufuli. After accompanying Barrick’s head to the encounter in Dar es Salaam Ian Myles told the press:

Canada is very proud that it expects all its companies to respect the highest standards, fairness and respect for laws and corporate social responsibility. We know that Barrick is very much committed to those values.

Appointed by Trudeau last year, Myles – whose “passion for international development began” when he was 17, according to a University of Toronto profile – took a page out of Stephen Harper’s playbook. During a 2007 trip to Chile the former prime minister responded to protests against various ecological and human rights abuses at the firm’s Pascua Lama project by saying: “Barrick follows Canadian standards of corporate social responsibility.”

A Tanzania Business Ethics columnist was not happy with the High Commissioner’s intervention. In response, Samantha Cole wrote:

It is so insulting that these Canadians and British still think they can trick us with their fancy nonsense ‘spin’ politics and dishonesty. What values is Barrick committed to? Have our nation not witnessed with our own eyes killings? rape? arson and burning our homes? destruction to our environment? poison in our water? corruption? fraud? hundreds of legal cases with local Tanzanian companies who are abused, bullied and suffer? and the list goes on. What ‘values’ is Ambassador Myles boasting about? How dishonest and unethical to stand there and lie about values. He should rather say NOTHING because every country where Barrick operates has a long, long list of illegal activities and crimes.

Disregarding its election promise, the Trudeau government is openly throwing this country’s diplomatic weight behind Canada’s most controversial mining company in the country where it has committed its worst abuses. When asked about Canada’s massive international mining industry during the election the party responded:

The Liberal Party of Canada shares Canadians’ concerns about the actions of some Canadian mining companies operating overseas and has long been fighting for transparency, accountability and sustainability in the mining sector.

The Liberals’ statement included explicit support for An Act Respecting Corporate Accountability for Mining, Oil and Gas Corporations in Developing Countries, which would have withheld some diplomatic and financial support from companies found responsible for significant abuses abroad. Similarly, the Liberals released a letter about the mining sector during the 2015 election that noted, “a Liberal government will set up an independent ombudsman office to advice Canadian companies, consider complaints made against them and investigate those complaints where it is deemed warranted.”

Nearly two years into their mandate the Trudeau regime has yet to follow through on any of their promises to rein in Canada’s controversial international mining sector. In fact, the Liberals have largely continued Harper’s aggressive support for mining companies.

If they are prepared to openly back Barrick in Tanzania one wonders what exactly a firm would have to do to lose Trudeau’s support?