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Dear Comrades and Friends

Contrary to everything being said by Prime Minister Harper the current economic and political crisis will not go away.  The crisis is permanent. War and depression is now a permanent feature of Canadian political and economic reality. It is with us and will remain with us, if not in the present form in some other until the present government is defeated and the country rejects the Harper Doctrine.  Nothing that is being done by the Conservative Government will alleviate the  suffering and poverty, the indignities imposed on the native people of Canada, the neglect of the youth, the oppression of women, the abandonment of the needs of our children, the decay of our socially necessary health and education systems, the criminal excesses of a small circle of wealth and privilege living parasitically off the labour and productivity of workers and farmers, is the real criminality in our so-called civil society (and there is not a damn thing that is “civil” about it).

While the media focuses attention on trivia and a myriad of issues everywhere around the globe except Canada and what confronts our people, what is left of bourgeois democracy (see below re Bill 60)[i] is being aggressively undermined by stealth by the most reactionary and cunning right wing forces ever to hold power in our country - the Harper Conservatives. It is deliberate and done to serve  a separate interest -  – a cabal of militarists, finance capitalists and private investors dominating the energy sector of the economy.

The failure of the left democratic forces, including the leadership of the Communist Party of Canada, to identify this danger when it first arose in 2005 and to unite to defeat it has allowed the Harper Conservatives to retain power and implement the agenda of monopoly capital with virtual impunity.  This reality now poses the additional threat that in the next federal election, probably in the spring, Harper may be returned to power - and with a majority. That would constitute the most serious threat to the welfare of our people ever to arise since the end of WW2.

Rightwing extremists are united around the Harper Conservatives, frightened by the crisis and who support all of the laws both secret and public that are poised to suppress all movements of protest.  That is a certainty.  On the other hand a defeat for Harper would swing the country away from the threat of open corporate dictat and encourage the progressive forces to unite and fight for democracy and its vital economic interests in new and better conditions.

Complacency among left progressives, some who scoffed in 2005 and 2006, at the idea that Harper could win electorally, will permit that to happen again.  Imperialist war and capitalist economic crisis combine to threaten the vital political and economic interests of all Canadian workers.  Lack of political focus and agreement within the left progressive forces on what constitutes the main danger to the Canadian working class and farmers at this historical juncture is the main problem of electoral politics.  This will remain the primary impediment to defeating Harper into the spring unless it can be overcome around a national program of progressive unification.   

The necessity of the “left” and in the first place the Communists to seize upon, develop and articulate the main link in Canadian working class politics today is essential to defending and advancing the crucial political and economic interests of the Canadian working class. It is the fundamental link in the fight for socialism in Canada.

The main link that can move the entire political process forward is a clearly articulated and unambiguous revolutionary working class program to confront US-Canadian corporate power and its stranglehold on Parliament, the State, the military and the economy. That task must be the main theme of the upcoming 36th Convention of the Communist Party of Canada (CPC).  From the convention an appeal that reaches out to all of organized labour and the democratic forces of our country with a plan to unite electorally to defeat Harper, and decisively, will be influential within labour and garner widespread appeal with Canadian workers. That is a concentration task and if it is solved, the organizational tactics to achieve it can be worked out.

Being busy with popular projects and favourite causes, running off in all directions, agitating one another about issues others articulate, sometimes better and more effectively than we, is not the role of Communists,  That is not what Communists and those who look to them for leadership expect or do.  Communists have the scientific theory and the revolutionary prestige, the experience and the responsibility to stay calm among “brush fires” that flare up all around us.  We are expected and obliged to identify the main political and economic dangers for the working class.  We are trained to seize upon the most important links with political struggle and unite our forces.  It is demanded that we act as we are required to do, as a real revolutionary vanguard - and stick with it.

That takes some theoretical effort.  The theoretical work of the Communists at this time is abysmally poor and inadequate to the task at hand – defeating the Harper Conservatives.  In fact, even to talk about the need to elevate the theoretical level of the revolutionary left is disparaged.  According to this view, the Communists have settled all matters of theory and there is nothing left to do but wait for workers and farmers to realize it and in the mean time to “roll up our sleeves” and fulfill membership quotas. Such a poverty stricken view is the main obstacle to the Communists moving to the centre of working class politics.

A low level of theoretical work accords theoretical dominance to CCPA Monitor, Canadian Dimensions, The Lakeland Institute, the Rideau Institute, and such oracles as Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Jim Laxer, Cy Gonick, Ian Angus, Messers Leo Panitsch, Murray Dobbin and Sam Gindin et al cleverly facile and prodigious of output, organizing another teach-in for their adoring fans who buy their books and subscribe to their publications.

To take issue with their theories is viewed as condemnation of the manifestly obvious useful role they play, and have always played; to expose and describe the crisis of capitalism. 

Because of the failure of the Communists to produce even one critical research paper on any of the contemporary issues of the class struggle; labour policy, peace policy, women’s issues, youth policy, the environmental issues, energy, transportation, national unity,  regional politics, modern Quebec, Canadian foreign policy, foreign and domestic investment, the root causes of the Parliamentary crisis, Canadian agriculture – and the list goes on, the aforementioned theoreticians and publicists dominate.

A call to examine their theories is viewed as a kind of heresy, opposing “unity of purpose”.  The argument goes: “they after all have the ear of the media, they are the popularisers of what we all agree is the ‘common good’ not exactly what we would say, but not so bad, so we will circulate their material, since in the main they have it -all figured out…”

No they don’t have it all figured out.  They have it partially figured out and turn away from the real problem that inhibits progress in our time, the issue of overthrowing capitalism and replacing it with socialism.  That is not a goal of the aforementioned august theoreticians.  If it was they would quickly be denied access to the media.

To have it partially figured out is good enough for those who are uncomfortable with capitalism in crisis but not so uncomfortable as to join the struggle to overthrow it.  There is something even more basic than that to consider.  Together these well intentioned social activists have by default the theoretical inside track with organized labour and the farm movement and the radicalized youth and left intelligentsia.  To say otherwise is to deny reality.

That fact poses a serious question for advancing the cause of socialism in Canada.  If these radical intellectuals are right why do we need a Communist Party?  Obviously another more successful set of ideas has entered the struggle for ideology. It is best to let them play the gadfly role they are so good at.  It is a role that makes corporate power annoyed and uncomfortable but does not threaten it.  Our role then, as Communists, will be to join with them in building coalitions that they will dominate and lead until everyone realizes that the Communists have the real answer.

What then for the ideology of Communism now?  Apparently we will wait patiently on the sidelines until workers turn to us for the real answer.  If this observation is too harsh, untrue and an unjust criticism of the CPC leadership then please explain why we supporters of the CPC wait in vain to read a serious polemic by Miguel Figueroa, Sam Hammond, Dan Goldstick, Kimball Cariou or any of the provincial leaders of the CPC taking issue with the theories of the radicalized left intelligentsia who have made such deep inroads into organized labour and dominate the thinking of its leadership?  To be mute is to agree.

Moreover, where is the vehicle for such polemical work?  Who is being asked to study the work of these oracles and subject it to severe Marxist analysis?  It is not being done because there lingers in the CPC, dating from another time, the theory, unsubstantiated by any reference to Leninism that it is wrong in principle to attack theoretically those with whom there is the possibility of uniting in action.  The inability and refusal of the present and past leaderships of the CPC to confront and resolve this apparent contradiction of strategy paralyzes serious creative theoretical work and is at the root of the lingering revisionism in the Communist Party of Canada.

We have been down that road many times, turning over Marxism to neo-Marxists and it does not work. The revisionists invited us to do it in 1956-57 with their invitation to transform the CPC into a party acceptable to social democracy. They were rebuffed. We were invited to do it again in the late sixties with the rise of the so-called “New Left”, and the “Waffle Movement” that capitivated some young Communists and led them out of the CPC. The rise of the student movement in the 1970’s and the flooding of the left with a variety of neo-Trotskyite and anarchist ideas infected the radicalized youth elevating the student movement to the role of “leader of the mass movements.” Some leading communists advocated “tolerance” for the phenomena. It occurred again in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s with the counter-revolutionary overthrow of the Soviet Union and European socialism under the banner of reforming socialism resulting in the dissolution of Communist led peace, youth and women’s movements that were merged and blended into acceptable coalitions of radicalized middle class forces. Now there is the beginning of a slow return to a more sober realization that revolutionary ideas also need revolutionary organizations. And that isn’t easy.

Where to start?  It is to reassert that there is only one valid revolutionary theory.  That theory is historical and dialectical materialism in philosophy, science and the theory of class struggle as articulated by Marx, Engels and Lenin.  It is manifest in the generalized experience of the socialist system of states in the struggle for socialism and in the first place the historical experience of the Soviet Union - the first worker’s state. The KKE is the most advanced in this work and what they are saying merits attention and study.  Incidentally they are a mass party in Greece having elected a bloc in both the Greek and EU Parliaments and are moving forward from strength to strength.

Canadian Communists have let slip their dominance in the realm of the struggle of revolutionary ideas.  We need a discussion as to how to reassert that position.  Where to begin?  It begins with organizing a discussion based on what the advanced forces of the International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties (IMCWP) have said at its recent meeting in Delhi; that we are in the period of advanced imperialist development, beyond which there is only socialism.  There is no other task in the realm of the battle of ideas that is more important.  To restore Communist theoretical dominance on the left is now a premier task for all of us.

That proposal must not be allowed to be vulgarized and demeaned by suggesting that its advocates call for a “revolution now.”  The charge that such a view advocates “stage jumping” or ignoring the revolutionary process and other such trite off the cuff responses is balderdash and utter nonsense designed to remove the focus from the weak theoretical level of the CPC leadership.  To say so is to put Marxism on hold and in the interim allow social radicalism to assume the position of theoretical oracles of the future.  Let’s talk about the bitter truth of such a view.

The social radicals have not created the movements within which they play an inordinate role.  Nor can they point to a single country where their theories have succeeded and won socialism. The struggles emerging globally and that touch every country are objective with deep roots in the capitalist economy.  The politics of that struggle is about the interpretation of those roots in each country and what is the new economy that is required to solve the problems of joblessness, poverty, lack of housing, health, education and seniors must be.

We Communists assert that exposure of the affects of the capitalist crisis on the working class is not enough and inadequate for the struggles ahead.  Description of the crisis is insufficient.  We assert that revolutions are inevitable and are victorious because the people out of their own experiences embrace the ideas of Marxism in its Leninist form when it is brought by Communists into the struggles in which workers are engaged that help solve the problems they confront. 

What is the dividing line between “radicals” and Communists?  It has to do with our understanding of historical materialist development of politics and the economy, both nationally and globally.  It is revolutionary science applied to the understanding of the past and present development of society and the best projection of the future.  It has to do with differing understandings about the development of productive forces in the modern era.[ii]

I have an archive full of theories by radical theorists, explaining how global capitalism during neo-liberalism had transcended its own contradictions and was now invincible.  All the progressive forces could do they argued, was to organize social forums, condemn capitalism, evolve theories that would enable the more enlightened corporate power to reform itself since to defeat it was neither possible nor desirable and there was something for all in bargaining for a better deal with what is after all an omnipotent imperialist system. 

After the last two years of global depression such “theories” have been thoroughly debunked but not expunged from the thinking of leftists.  There is still the lingering hope that if we play our cards cleverly we can mitigate our misery.  We are “all in this together” was the mantra.  Right on cue, Bill Gates, George Soros, Al Gore, Barrack Obama, and host of followers emerge to spread the new gospel.  It is mass marketed everywhere including the public school system.

There is a now a dominant trend in the environmental movement that holds such a view.  That is what the radical environmental theoreticians are busily doing all over again, searching for the new theories that will maintain them at the forefront of theoretical dominance over the environmental movement as the contradictions affecting billions of poor and poverty stricken outstrip their old pet theories.  These theories are now even taken up by enlightened corporations that are all onboard in the fight to save the planet.

The question that remains unanswered and around which the most avid environmentalist falters, is to convincingly answer the simple question posed by hundreds of millions of workers who labour in the offending polluting sectors of the economy, (incidentally constituting the majority of workers), WHAT ABOUT MY JOB?  The environmentalists have not convincingly answered that question and neither have the Canadian Communists, which is unacceptable for a working class party.

What is the dividing line between revolutionary Marxism and liberal and social democratic radicalism?  There is no disagreement between us on how machines, resources and people come together to produce.  The rub is how we understand who owns the means of production and the results of the labour of those who produce the goods society requires.  Bourgeois radicalism believes in perpetuating private ownership of the means of production and the goods it produces now, because it is not timely to say otherwise.  Even some Communists hold such a view.

Those who do hold such views have not studied deeply, even as to what it is that their own program says.  Where is it stated in the Program of the Communist Party of Canada that socialism is not on the agenda as Bill Kashtan asserted in another time and that Sam Webb asserts today?

What is mean by saying socialism is on the agenda? What is meant is that capitalism has passed from its progressive formative stage and has entered the last stage of its development where all of the prerequisites for socialism have been created and are overripe. That is not the same thing as saying there is a revolutionary situation. That is a vulgarization.

Socialism is historically on the agenda and that fact must inform all of the program, strategy and tactics of the Communists now. Advocacy of the seizure of the  means of the production is the most profound form of democracy and the only way the economy can be made to work for workers and their families. The issue is to talk about it or remain silent about it “because socialism is not on the agenda.”.

Communists believe and advocate and struggle for the public ownership of the means of production now.  Modern bourgeois government concedes power to the banking and corporate elites and is an instrument of their interests.  That must change.

We Communist call for such power to be in the hands of the people.  Instead of a dictatorship of corporate power over the state we advocate a dictatorship of the majority of working people over the state to ensure monopoly capital is kept out of power forever.  That is what corporations have in mind for us workers, to keep us out of power forever.  Marx called that type of workers’ power, the dictatorship of the proletariat and in modern times the most profound and only genuine form that economic democracy can take.

Will our fellow workers understand that concept?  Not if it isn’t presented to them they won’t?  How is it to be presented?  It is to be presented in the context of Canadian reality as an answer to the problems those who must labour to live confront now.  It is an acceptable idea and will be considered by every Canadian worker once it is understood as the answer to their problems.

Who else is speaking to the workers with a proposal to answer their problems?  Once the idea is grasped it will be fought for because it is profoundly democratic in the sense that all Canadians understand democracy, as necessary for the welfare of the majority.  Canadians are ready for a new type of governance. The fact that it is expressed negatively in a mass retreat in disgust from politics in general That  is a problem for us. To turn disillusionment with capitalist parties into support for labour can only occur if the issue of new type of politics and a new type of power is discussed.

Let us proceed to some basics.  Harper is touting Canada as an energy superpower on behalf of the US-Canadian energy giants who brought him to power.  This fact was missed by the leadership of the CPC.  It was never the main plank in the program of the CPC.  The CPC never agreed with the CPS that Harper was first of all and agent of the major foreign mainly US oil and gas interests and their interests are considered as the primary interest in the Canadian economy. .

The current CPC leadership without a shred of self criticism has limped back into the scene on the energy question, with a weak and flawed “Peoples’ Energy Plan”, hoping it will be forgotten how they dropped the ball at the outset.  And all this in spite of the CPC’s long and meritorious and pioneering record on that issue going back decades. As the Communists have always asserted from the outset, the energy sector must be nationalized and brought under public control and run in the interests of Canada and its economy and then, and only then will surpluses be exported.  In the first place that is a task of the Communists of Alberta who must find the way to go over the heads of the environmentalists and talk directly to the workers who work in the industry and who through their own experience are learning that private ownership neither protects their jobs nor the environment.  That is a tough sell, requiring some in depth theoretical and tactical thinking. 

There is deep misunderstanding on the energy question within the ranks of the CPC membership.  It is manifested in the Party’s position on the energy and environmental question by its leading members. A statement pulled from the shelf, dusted off and presented as theoretical work doesn’t cut it.  That takes serious work, study and collective discussion to convince the membership of its correctness.  It will bring the Communists into a sharp polemic with their environmentalist friends. That is the way unity is built by convincing potential allies we are right.

What do the Communists say about expanding the manufacturing sector?  Another big question demanding a lot of work!  If energy were publicly owned that is part of the solution.  Markets must be found outside of the G8 is another partial solution and those markets can be found in the new progressive countries of South America and Asia that are developing new forms of non-capitalist economic development that challenge US imperialist interference and finance capitalist dominance.

Expanding the home market is another.  There is no contradiction between Canada’s history as a great trading nation and exporter of products to the world and the urgency of the need to expand the home market.  The Communist Party is called upon to outline in detail, its vision of Canada as a great manufacturing country of self-sufficiency in all things possible, based on the secondary manufacturing of our abundant resources here, before they are sold for a fast buck.  There is no other path for our country if we wish to preserve and expand the great achievements of the Canadian people in science, technology, manufacturing and industrial enterprise.

Breaking with NAFTA is a partial solution but must be accompanied with a proposal to restructure Canadian-US trading relations.  Big problem!  We in CPS do not agree with the NDP that SPP is defunct.  A lot of reactionary legislation and integrationist planning is still on the books and being pursued as policy. It needs discussion.

That is an issue that also needs to be discussed with our American friends who might be encouraged to pull their heads out of the Obama dream and look at the whole world for a moment and abandon some of their pet theories about North American development.  Do they even consider it?  They will discover if they do, that they have become dependent on Canadian energy without the approval of Canadian workers.  They have another responsibility to cease taking it for granted; a big problem for us and for them if it is not discussed.  The Communist Party of the USA runs the risk of siding with its own ruling class against the interests of Canadian workers if that matter is not confronted.

What about transportation; east west or north south?  Pretty basic but where is the Communist answer?  Has it been discussed?  What is the Communist Party’s transportation policy?  We had a transportation policy years ago, authored by Bill Beeching at the behest of the CEC.  Where is it?  If it can’t be found another one needs to be created and worked on with the assistance of those members who work in that industry.

Why is a transportation policy so important now?   Because millions of Canadians are being affected by the changes underway in the transportation sector, not just those who work there, by the corporate restructuring of the entire system to serve US needs.  Pipeline corridors are being built to Rupert part of the west coast Cascadia boondoggle.  Huge changes in rail transportation are taking place in Regina, Edmonton and the Irving’s are reorganizing energy exports in New Brunswick.  Churchill Manitoba has been sold out to private interests for a pittance.  The St. Lawrence Seaway is under utilized and air transport is in perpetual crisis and the needs of small communities abandoned.

Why not speak of it?  All over the country there are investor plans to ship our gas and oil life blood to the US as cheap energy for an anticipated expansion in that country, deliberately forestalling the recovery in Canada and Harper is helping them do it.  Our entire hydro electric system is being gradually absorbed into the US grid.

What about mining?  That is a big well kept secret.  What are the Communists saying to the CLC about Sudbury and the plans to destroy the jobs of most of the workers in the nickel industry?  Not as another “me too” protest “we feel your pain” but as a proposal for a public takeover of all of the mining in this country and run it for the common good.  Can the Communists in Ontario consider a sally to Queens Park to deliver their proposals for a takeover of the entire industry and circulate that to all of organized labour?  Too radical?  Tell that to the workers in Sudbury.  Are they ready for that idea?  Ask them.

What about the banks?  Can Canada develop without capital?  The takeover of Canadian industrial assets and basic resources historically has been done largely with the assistance of Canadian banks.  The banks have been complicit in the sell-out of the country and it continues to this day.

Canadian banks must be nationalized and the capital they control, all of it representing the unpaid labour time of generations of Canadian workers, and used for investment in nation building.  Will millions of workers with the largest credit card debt in our history support such a democratic proposal?  Advocate it and see?

What about militarism.  There is majority opposition in the country to the war in Afghanistan and its enormous cost to the federal treasury.  Is it a big step to convince workers and their families who don’t have adequate health care and who want peace that Canada must withdraw from NATO and US dominated alliances that get us into these wars in the first place.  We can’t have guns and butter…An old but valid assertion.

Is this and over simplification of the economic and political reality of today?   We don’t think so.  These things are being said to make the point that “socialism is on the agenda” if we present the demands that invite it.  That is the difference between being doctrinaire and being politically savvy.  It is the essence of the matter that needs to be considered and that is a real revolutionary process that demands theoretical work of a much higher level than is presently the case and that takes time and effort and concentration but without which we will remain among the “also-rans”.

What do the Communists have at their disposal that no other political party has?  The Communists have a profound scientific theory that forms the context of everything we attempt to do and that we rely on to elaborate all of our practical work.

We Communists, since Lenin wrote Imperialism, assert, and with authority, that we are living in the era of the last and final stage of capitalism, defined as imperialism, moribund, parasitical, decaying, dependent for development on intense competition for declining resources and markets, intensified exploitation of labour, wars of aggression and the tyranny of private capital as the main means of sustaining dominance and power.  The resistance to imperialist oppression constitutes the main arena of struggle in our time.  Imperialism is adjusting its approach but not its purpose as the Obama phenomena proves.

The struggle for people’s democratic power over the state is now an urgent question and workers sense it everywhere.  The masses of working people are rapidly shedding illusions, not as august “Marxists” imagined but in new ways as life is dictating.

That is what happened in Copenhagen Denmark during the environment summit.  A leap has occurred in the understanding of the masses about the environmental crisis, irresolvable under the leadership of imperialist states, guided by corporate power.  There is a gradual but unmistakable rejection of the old order.  A realization that a new and different power is required is gaining ground.  The matter of power is out there and now is the time for Communists and committed militants to start talking about “what kind of power” we have in mind.

How is that to be done?  First we decide where we are at historically and then as Lenin advised find the “approaches to the revolution” based on what the workers themselves confront.  What the working class of Canada confronts is the impossibility of achieving a single economic victory unless the question of corporate power is addressed and confronted in each and every immediate struggle.

The strikers in Sudbury understand that but not the leadership of the CLC.  That is what Tim Buck was speaking about 85 years ago when he addressed the need for a program of action for the trade union minority in his now legendary “Steps to Power” pamphlet that undertook to convince militant rank and file trade unionists to move beyond “striking a bargain” with the boss to confronting the corporate power that is the real enemy. 

That is the discussion responsible Communist leadership needs to organize now and that discussion must be made public and organized around a Marxist Leninist theoretical pole by those responsible for the theoretical work of the CPC.  That would attract all genuine militants.  It must start and concentrate and not depart from an analysis of what the Canadian reality is at this time.

In the final analysis that requires of us to present a vision of our country as a socialist state, free of US domination and control, using people’s power over government and the state that enables our people to take control of all of our rich natural resources, of every sector of the finance and industry and reorganize it on the basis of planning the economy for one purpose - the common good.

We Communist state that our internationalism is best expressed in defeating our own capitalist class and that means a relentless attack on governments that act primarily as an instrument of corporate power.  That calls for labour to lead the nation and place its own interests at the top of the federal agenda.

Surely that is fundamental in our understanding of Marxism.  The leadership of the CPC does not do that well, and to be frank, rarely at all.  The leadership of the CPC has abandoned the field of federal politics to others.  When will the leader of the CPC enter the federal debate?  Why the silence?  Why is he not taking on Harper, Ignatieff every week in Peoples’ Voice (PV) or ensuring that someone else does?

PV must stop telling us in lurid headlines how terrible capitalism is which we all know and start condemning, exposing, and making proposals for the defeat of the corporate cabal that is dismantling our country bit by bit.  A complete rethinking of the role of the Communist press is required.  It must cease being a lament and start being what Lenin intended - a tribune and organizer of the struggle.  It must consistently report on the Communist viewpoint of politics and hail those forces that agree with us rather than celebrating those pitifully few instances when radicals deign to acknowledge our existence.

It is beyond understanding.  Every leader around the world is in the thick of it except Canada. Where are the blogs, the media savvy events, the press releases, the meetings, even when they are small, that discuss the emerging Canadian reality.  This can’t go on if the CPC expects to be taken seriously.  Such neglect deserves the most severe criticism starting at the highest levels of Party leadership.

As an example; if the Communists have candidates in mind for the next election, now is the time for them to emerge and start speaking to the issues in whatever form we can.  Now is the time for Provincial leaders to speak out weekly on the crisis of federal-provincial relations and the needs of the people in every province and region of the country.  No it is not easy, it is damn tough and difficult and the turn can’t be made simply because we want to make it.  But the discussion on what are the means to do it must be joined and soon.  If the leadership and membership is satisfied with the way things are, we can only disagree…it is not good enough.  It does not measure up to the needs of our people and our class.

We in CPS are not among those who believe that criticism is a one way street.  If we are wrong, say so.  Let us all get off our respective theoretical high horses and get down to what needs to be done, bring Marxism back into the main stream of class struggle of Canada.

Don Currie

Chair, Canadians for Peace and Socialism 

Left Turn Canada!



On November 27, Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson tabled legislation that would transform designated U.S. police and security agents into peace officers equal to the RCMP “in every part of Canada” during joint maritime border operations. As if holding the RCMP accountable for its officers’ actions isn’t hard enough, nothing in the new legislation should make Canadians feel comfortable that any complaints against U.S. agents operating on Canadian territory will be dealt with swiftly or fairly.

Bill C-60, the Keeping Canadians Safe (Protecting Borders) Act, is being sold by Van Loan and Nicholson as a way to “strengthen cooperative bilateral policing efforts to stem the flow of cross-border criminal activity in shared waterways and further protect community safety and security in Canada.” It is the legislative face of a cross-border “Shiprider” agreement dreamed up by past governments under the now defunct Security and Prosperity Partnership and signed this May by Van Loan and U.S. Homeland Security czar Janet Napolitano.


The productive forces are the means of production plus the people that act with and on those means