Chantier Politique

January 31, 2019

English Edition, No. 2


In Memoriam
Richard Allard

July 29, 1947 – January 6, 2019

Premier Legault Presents His Vision of a Quebec Comprador Economy
Dignity of the Quebec Nation and Its People Under Attack

The New Year Begins with Workers' Resistance
ABI and Quebec Workers Mark First Anniversary
of ABI Aluminum Smelter Lockout

Crane Operators, Allies and Experts All Say
No! to Irresponsible New Regulations

Health Care Professionals Must Be Able to Work Safely
in Order to Provide Safe Care to the Population

- Julie Daignault

 
Tenants Speak Out
Quebec Government Must Improve Housing Conditions
and Prevent Abusive Rent Increases

- Serge Lachapelle
Social Housing Now!
- FRAPRU Press Release

News
Protestors Say No! to U.S. Coup Attempts Against Venezuela
Ninth Commemoration of Earthquake in Haiti
Montreal Women March in Defence of
Their Rights and The Rights of All


Announcements
Project for a New Constitution in Cuba --
Content and Consultation Process and Adoption

Demonstration: Social Housing Now!
10th Benefit for the League of Rights and Freedoms


In Memoriam

It is with great sadness that the Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ) informs you that our long-time comrade, Richard Allard, passed away on Sunday, January 6 at 5:52 am in Montreal. He died following a long fight with a hereditary and degenerative disease. We send our warmest thoughts to his partner Gaétane, his two children and loved ones.

Richard was from the town of Lévis, in the Quebec City area. He joined the ranks of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) in the early 1970s and was one of the 52 candidates it presented Canada-wide during the 1972 federal election, barely two years after its founding. Richard responded to the Party's call to break the monopoly of the rich over politics by presenting the independent politics of the working class on a mass scale. He ran as a candidate in the riding of Lévis. Richard was known for his work amongst community organizations, notably in defence of housing as a right. He contributed to the establishment of the first daycares in the Quebec City area. Richard was very involved in the work to organize unorganized public sector workers. He settled in Montreal with his family, where he worked for Gaz métropolitain for a number of years, and worked in several other trades, as is the lot of many workers.

Having fidelity to his convictions, Richard never ceased to support the Party's work in Quebec and in Canada, within the conditions of his sickness and the suffering he was made to endure. He took a particular interest in the role that the working class must play in leading the people in the struggle to end the brutal anti-social offensive of the rich and their governments, launched in the 1980s. During the last years of his life, he kept abreast of the Party's work, in particular its work amongst the youth, on national question and on issues of war and peace. Until the very end, Richard insisted on being kept informed of the Party's advances by reading its literature, or by having it read to him once his sight no longer allowed him to do so on his own. We salute his fidelity to the workers and the people, as well as both his own courage and that of his family throughout the trials of his illness.

A tribute will be rendered to him on the occasion of a commemorative event to be held on May 1, 2019, Day of International Working Class Unity and Struggle, as a symbol of his partisanship to the cause of the working class.


Premier Legault Presents His Vision of a Quebec Comprador Economy

Dignity of the Quebec Nation and
Its People Under Attack

From January 20-25, Premier François Legault made an official visit to Paris and then on to Davos to attend the World Economic Forum. In Paris, he met with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, President Emmanuel Macron and representatives of global private interests during a luncheon at the Paris Stock Exchange. The official theme of the Premier's visit to Paris and his participation in the Davos Forum was the economy and the search for private foreign investments.

In Paris, Premier Legault summarized his view:

"For me, France remains the gateway to Europe. For you, we often say that we Quebeckers, we are halfway: we are a little Latin -- we are not so Latin, we are very Latin -- but in North America, so American. It was not easy with Mr. Trump, but we managed to sign a new free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico. When you invest in Quebec, you have access to this whole market."

The political leader of Quebec characterizes the nation and its people not with their own economy, personality, dignity, thinking and aim but as a "little Latin," "so American" and facilitators of "access" to the U.S. and Mexico markets. Could it be that the thinking and outlook of the political elite have hit a wall, reflecting a Quebec economy that is ensnarled in supranational control and rivalries, and blocked from finding its own way in the world?

Premier Legault is following his predecessor Philippe Couillard in presenting Quebec as a privileged hub or conduit of trade between the Americas and Europe. With what one could describe as a comprador vision,[1] Quebec does not stand as a dignified independent economic force and people with relations with the big powers and others based on strength and possibilities for mutual benefit and cooperation. Instead, Quebec is put in the middle of the increasingly contentious competition between the United States and the European big powers. This makes Quebec and its economy a point of manipulation for the benefit of this or that foreign power and supranational oligopoly.

For example, Bombardier became a focus of the global inter-imperialist contradiction between Boeing headquartered in the United States and Airbus in France. Within the situation, the pressure mounted on Bombardier and its political representatives in Quebec and Canada to integrate more fully with one or the other big power at the expense or negation of pursuing an independent path.

With Legault's vision, to the south lies the U.S. empire and its war economy, and what he calls the benefits of the revised NAFTA (USMCA), which allows the big powers of Europe access through Quebec to the U.S. and Mexico. But embroiling Quebec in supranational rivalry of the oligopolies and inter-imperialist fights amongst the big and developing powers does nothing to develop an independent Quebec economy that can stand on its own. Why would Quebec want to become ensnared in disputes between the U.S. and Europe or between the U.S. and China for that matter? The big powers should sort out their relations amongst themselves without dragging Quebec and Canada into their disputes. Quebec should stand as a sane voice for cooperation and mutual benefit amongst all peoples in the world and a beacon for Canada.

One could say that Legault and the political elite's vision of the economy is caught in the colonial past. They cannot envision a Quebec economy as mature and developed on the basis of its own resources and people and serving to enhance their well-being while being independent of the demands, needs, pressure and fight for control of this or that oligopoly and big power. The backward outlook of the political elite represents a refusal to break with Quebec's colonial past be it the control of the nation by French, British and Anglo-Canadian colonialism or U.S. imperialism.

Why should Quebec want to become caught up in European and U.S.-based big power interests and conflicts of the oligopolies that operate through enslaving supranational free trade agreements, and in that way dishonour itself as some sort of obsequious facilitator? The big powers and their oligopolies give the superficial appearance of being invincible yet are always on the verge of exploding and breaking apart. Nothing good will come from being ensnared in either the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union and its squabbles for dominance or the revised NAFTA (USMCA) and the sharpening contradictions between rival imperialist factions in the U.S. that cannot sort out a single problem of their own and threaten to descend at any time into a raging armed civil war for power.

History has taught the Quebec nation and people that lining up behind this or that big power willingly or unwillingly does not lead to prosperity, build the nation or defend the people's rights. The people pay for the conflicts and wars of the big powers with periodic economic crises, constant insecurity in their living and working conditions and with the grave danger of another world war hanging over everyone's head.

Only from an independent position of internal strength can any economy and its political representatives develop trading and other relations with the world for mutual benefit without rancour. The time has come to break with the old comprador colonial mentality and strike out courageously in a dignified independent direction to build the new. One sensible foot forward would be to lead the economy on a path that utilizes the enormous actual and potential material and human productive power of Quebec and its working people to guarantee the well-being and the rights of all as the priority, and from that position of strength and stability exchange goods and services with others for mutual benefit in the cooperative spirit that we are all one humanity.

Note

1. Definition of comprador: a person who acts as an agent for foreign organizations engaged in investment, trade, or economic or political exploitation.

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The New Year Begins with Workers' Resistance

ABI and Quebec Workers Mark First
Anniversary of ABI Aluminum Smelter Lockout

Mass picket as Bécancour aluminum smelter workers mark one year anniversary of lockout.

Bécancour aluminum smelter workers, alongside Quebec workers, marked the first anniversary of the ABI lockout through militant actions in defence of locked out workers and the dignity of labour. Hundreds of workers hailing from various regions, including an important contingent of workers from Sanguenay-Lac-Saint Jean, formed picket lines and then demonstrated outside the constituency office of the local member of the National Assembly for Nicolet-Bécancour.

Demonstration outside the constituency office of the National Assembly member for
Nicolet-Bécancour.

They reiterated their two demands: that the Premier meet directly with company officials and demand that they return to the table to negotiate a collective agreement acceptable to the workers; that the government re-open its energy agreement with Alcoa by virtue of which the lockout is considered a "force majeure" that frees the Alcoa/Rio Tinto cartel from paying for the block of hydro-electricity reserved for it and from paying fines when that energy is not used. Workers are demanding that the clause be annulled. They point out that the agreement is one of the reasons why the company's owners not only refuse to negotiate with them, but are getting Quebeckers to pay for the lockout, while Hydro-Québec and Quebec are deprived of important revenue.

"There was little separation between the parties last January when the dispute broke out. The gap has widened since then and more than 1,000 families have suffered for an entire year due to the greed of a multinational," noted Clément Masse, President of United Steelworkers Local 9700 that represents the ABI workers, at the rally outside the constituency office. "We need the government to get out of its pseudo-neutrality and restore some balance to this process. ABI is abusing the process and keeping hundreds of families in a state of insecurity, with the complicit silence of the Quebec government."

Workers note that so-called government assistance in the negotiation process, such as with mediation, the mediation council and now the working group which the Minister of Labour is proposing to set up, is a figment of the government's imagination, as the cartel of company owners has the utmost contempt for such arrangements. On December 19, 2018, two days before the negotiation deadline set by the Minister of Labour, the company owners announced the shutdown of half of the pot lines still in operation at the smelter, demonstrating that they do not recognize that negotiation process. Restarting those pot lines is a long and costly process and anyone wanting to negotiate would not behave in such a manner.

The Minister's latest invention is the establishment of a working group which would use the ministry's resources as "support" for the parties to reach a negotiated settlement. The Minister did not explain how one supports a party which refuses to budge and only recognizes its own dictate.

Meanwhile, workers are exposing the difficulties they are experiencing, despite United Steelworkers union allocations and the extraordinary support, including financial, they are receiving from workers in Quebec, Canada and elsewhere. They are also reporting on the difficulties being created for the local economy, such as jobs being cut by suppliers, loss of revenue by merchants, and the Mayor of Bécancour noting that approximately 14 per cent of the municipality's budget comes from tax revenue provided by the plant. Workers face difficulties in maintaining their stand that they want to go back to work with their heads held high, through a successfully negotiated agreement acceptable to them. That stand is in everyone's interest, as without opposition to dictate and insistence on having a decisive say over decision-making, insecurity for workers and for all would be complete.

In that respect, ABI workers are intensifying their work to mobilize the organized support of workers in Quebec and Canada, as well as elsewhere. At the end of 2018, more than 300 union locals in Quebec, Canada, the U.S. and Australia were sending financial assistance to ABI workers in support of their struggle and that mobilization is being stepped up.

Workers are turning their attention towards ABI, as this struggle is everyone's struggle, for their rights as well as their dignity.




(Photos: United Steelworkers)

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Crane Operators, Allies and Experts All Say
No! to Irresponsible New Regulations


Crane operators demonstrate against changes to regulations on training, May 5, 2018.

Between December 17-19, 2018, three days of hearings were held by the committee set up by the Quebec government to look into the impact on health and safety of regulatory changes to the training of crane operators in Quebec.

The hearings, set up by the previous Couillard Liberal government, came as a result of the courageous actions by crane operators to oppose a new anti-worker regulation imposed by the Quebec Construction Commission (CCQ) and the Quebec government, which poses a threat to safety.

Following their many actions and denunciations, crane workers refused to show up for work during an entire week last June, demanding nothing less than the complete withdrawal of the new regulation. They did so because they saw it as a serious erosion, both in terms of quantity as well as quality, of the training formerly required by workers to become crane operators. The government, at the request of the CCQ, had abolished the obligatory 870 hours of training required for obtaining a Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS). The DVS is now optional, and new direct training of 150 hours has been introduced, now provided on site and under the responsibility of companies. The CCQ and the government have also created an 80-hour course for the operation of boom trucks with a maximum capacity of 30 tonnes, following which the worker who successfully completes the training becomes a qualified driver of such trucks. It is precisely that type of crane that overturns the most frequently and causes the most damage. Crane operators are facing repressive measures such as a decision by the Administrative Labour Tribunal declaring they participated in an illegal strike, while the CCQ continues to threaten to take action against them for the illegal strike as well as for intimidation. The courageous position of the crane operators has garnered the support of the vast majority of workers as well as the population and it is within that context that the committee was set up.

At the December hearings, those who intervened included the crane operators' union, which represents the vast majority of Quebec's crane operators; the crane operators' collective; construction unions; the school that provides the vocational training for crane operators; the union representing those who teach the training courses; crane businesses; construction companies; as well as crane operation health and safety experts. Intervenors were given 25 minutes to present their views, with their submissions being followed by a 30-minute exchange with committee members.

The great majority of intervenors were of the opinion that the new regulation has to be completely overhauled and that compulsory crane operator vocational training must be maintained. They opposed the new regulation as a violation of safety standards and in particular raised the need for the adequate training of crane operators, which is central to the safety of not only crane operators, but other workers and the public at large. They specifically referred back to the Canadian Standards Association's Z 150 standard that all Quebec crane workers are subject to. The standard specifies the safety requirements relating to mobile cranes to ensure the safety of workers and the public and serves as a guide to manufacturers and those who purchase cranes, as well as construction companies and governments and regulatory bodies, so that the safety standards established through the Z 150 code are respected.

Notably, the code specifies that mobile cranes must be operated exclusively by qualified persons and that the mandatory qualifications of crane operators must include the relevant training and experience for their proper operation, as well as overall knowledge of crane construction, along with sufficient knowledge of electricity and hydraulics. Those who intervened noted that the new regulation clearly does not uphold any of this.

Only two associations representing construction companies supported the new regulation. One of them was disingenuous indeed. It argued that it was better to have the new regulation and training in place than to have no regulation or training at all. It added that many construction companies purchase boom trucks and have them operated by unqualified and untrained workers, which is clearly illegal. It should be noted that the CCQ has taken no legal or other action to put an end to this illegal situation. The representatives of that association now claim that this will all be legal as there will be training, never mind that the workers do not consider it adequate or vocational, despite the fact that boom trucks are precisely those that overturn so easily and are used in zones where the public circulates most often.

Crane operators are determined to have their two demands met: that the new regulation be withdrawn and obligatory crane operator training be maintained and that a roundtable be created which includes all concerned parties, including teachers, to look into the problems linked to the crane operator sector and construction site safety.

The committee will now be holding in camera meetings with various parties and must submit its report to the Minister of Labour by February 28.

(Photos: FTQ Construction)

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Health Care Professionals Must Be Able
to Work Safely in Order to
Provide Safe Care to the Population

The FIQ-Union of Health Care Professionals of the Laurentians (FIQ-SPSL) represents all nurses, licensed practical nurses and respiratory therapists working at the Integrated Health Care and Social Services Centre (CISSS) in the Laurentians. The union is comprised of 4200 members.

In emergency rooms, as mentioned in a recent La Presse article, such as with the example of the Hospital of St-Eustache, the occupancy rate is really very high, at over 150 per cent capacity and at times as high as 178 per cent. The number of stretchers available is far from adequate. Some have been set up in between two others. There are patients lined up one behind the other in the hallways. We face a huge work overload, as many patients come to the emergency ward to receive treatment. Health care professionals are exhausted as a result of that overload. It's been a long time since the facilities were updated with regard to the region's demographics, both from the perspective of the population as a whole, which continues to increase, as well as from that of an aging population. The issues have been known for a very long time. The facilities are no longer adequately serving the population. Although there are projects for expansion, we've been meeting intensively for over a year now with our employer on that subject to repeatedly underscore the fact that winter brings with it its lot of problems regarding the need for adequate care. Change is slow in coming.

At present, we are constantly in a situation of having to do overtime. Nurses, licensed practical nurses and respiratory therapists are all doing overtime and unfortunately, much too regularly, mandatory overtime is being imposed. Although Minister McCann had said that compulsory overtime would be eliminated, it continues to exist. There is major fatigue amongst nurses, and a lot of concerns are being raised. It's becoming increasingly difficult to provide adequate care. Yet it's important to be able to work safely. It is now a common occurrence that nurses go into work not knowing when they will leave. This is something that we want to eliminate at the union level. We want all our members going in to work knowing when they will be finishing and we want the next shift's replacements already scheduled.

What we have at the national collective agreement level is a letter of agreement for a Quebec-wide review of the position structure, the elimination of overtime and, of course, to no longer have compulsory overtime. The letter of agreement is aimed at increasing the position structure, replacing it with one that will ensure the safe provision of services. The letter of agreement also includes provisions for the implementation of full-time position goals. It is one of our union's main struggles, to work with the employer to establish the number of positions necessary and sufficient position structure, along with self-sufficiency in the case of absences. This is what we are working on, to have the required number of nurses, licensed practical nurses and respiratory therapists to provide safe care everywhere. Here we are in 2019 and the letter of agreement signed in 2016 has yet to be implemented.

We also have professional-to-patient ratio projects, one of which has just begun in an emergency department in the Outaouais. Of course we hope to see results regarding emergency wards but there are also ratio projects in all sectors of activity, in long-term care centres (CHSLDs), in surgery, etc. We have some that are now in existence in our region and the positive effects are already being felt with regard to positions as well as personnel, care provided to the population, time spent with patients, etc. Our people end their working day knowing that the next shift is there to replace them. They've been able to spend more time with their patients, thereby reducing patient anxiety, the possibility of errors in the work, reducing patient falls and rekindling the feeling of having accomplished one's duties.

As for emergencies, for the immediate future, we need to increase the number of nurses' and licensed practical nurses' positions. To the extent possible, full-time positions must be added. Licensed practical nurse training must also be stepped up to allow them to lend a bigger hand in emergency departments. Infrastructure work must also be undertaken.

For us, it's important that health care professionals be there and be able to work safely so that they can provide safe care to the population. That's our big fight and we're waging it as much for health care professionals as for the population, so that the care provided is both adequate as well as humane. The two cannot be separated.

Julie Daignault is president of the FIQ-Union of Health Care Professionals of the Laurentians (FIQ--SPSL)

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Tenants Speak Out

Quebec Government Must Improve Housing Conditions and Prevent Abusive Rent Increases


Demonstration for right to housing, December 6, 2018

At a time when the rental housing crisis continues to grow, the Régie du logement (Rental Board) has just published its 2019 rent increase calculations. Here are its 2019 average rent increases:

- unheated dwelling: 0.5 per cent
- heated dwellings: by electricity 0.4 per cent; by gas 0.4 per cent; by heating oil 2.6 per cent.

Its figures do not reflect the rent increases suffered by tenants by a long shot. The most recent rental market report issued by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) notes that in the Quebec market, rents increased by 3.4 per cent between 2017 and 2018. The increase is higher than inflation, which stood at around one per cent. While the demand for family dwellings continues to rise, the average rent for three or more bedroom units has increased by 8.24 per cent.

Besides making drastic cuts in the Rental Board's functioning, various successive governments have continuously refused to provide pertinent information to tenants so that they can fully defend their rights. The figures speak for themselves: less than 0.2 per cent of all rents are set by the Rental Board each year.

The Quebec Network of Housing Committees and Tenants Associations (RCLALQ) is of the view that the Rental Board has been turned into a tenant eviction machine. Maxime Roy-Allard, its spokesperson, notes that: "We have everything but a real rent control system. The Rental Board is behaving as if landlords and tenants were on a level playing field, while in fact tenants are often apprehensive about refusing a rent increase out of fear of reprisals. The burden of control therefore rests completely on tenants' shoulders, which makes this a fundamentally unjust system."

Like RCLALQ, the Popular Action Front for Urban Redevelopment (FRAPRU) is concerned about the scarcity of rented units observed by the CMHC which, it feels, could result in a new outbreak of rent increases, a rise in cases of discrimination and in the number of homeless during the July 1st period, as experienced at the beginning of 2000. The CMHC estimates the general dwelling vacancy rate at 2.3 per cent, below the fixed 3 per cent equilibrium threshold. The rate drops to only 1.5 per cent for three or more bedroom units.

The two groups working in defence of housing as a right are urging Quebec to take action for improved housing conditions, as well as to prevent abusive rent increases. They are demanding the establishment of mandatory and universal rent control, as well as better protection against eviction. "Due to the critical shortage of affordable units, the Legault government must take significant measures, beginning with its first budget, by sufficiently financing the construction of social housing. It's the only way to prevent the situation from further deteriorating," notes FRAPRU spokesperson Véronique Laflamme.

What emerges from all this once again, is what housing rights activists have been pointing out for years, that the right to housing cannot be guaranteed by the private market. Real life has again proven them right. The Quebec Landlords Corporation (CORPIQ) has just invited its members to disregard the eventual decrease in school taxes promised by the new Legault government. Bill 3, An Act to establish a single school tax rate, presented in the National Assembly on December 6, 2018, is precisely aimed at dropping those rates. CORPIQ is pushing its arrogance even further by inviting its members to leave their dwellings empty for a year so that they can substantially increase their rents. Government silence on this is unacceptable. It must undertake a complete review of how the Rental Board functions so that it is rendered a tool in defence of tenants' rights.

Housing Is a Right!
All Out for Concrete Measures for the Full Guarantee of that Right!

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Social Housing Now!

While 244,120 tenant households have core housing needs, the vacancy rate for rental housing has begun to drop dangerously in most Quebec cities. If measures are not quickly taken, the poorest and most poorly housed may experience the serious consequences of a new housing shortage.

FRAPRU is demanding that the Quebec government invest the necessary funds into social housing so that tenants can improve their living conditions permanently and protect themselves from  a foreseeable lack of housing. Enough time has been lost! For over ten years now, the AccèsLogis program, the only program geared towards social housing, has not even been indexed to the cost of living. The result? The 12,500 social housing units promised in the past 10 years of budgets have not yet been built. Co-ops and non-profit organizations are not able to build them because the program is no longer adapted to the realities of construction.

During the election campaign, François  Legault's Coalition avenir Québec promised to deliver these homes during its first term. According to FRAPRU, it is far from enough. At this rate, it would take over 78 years to meet the most urgent needs!!

The Legault government has the means to do so much better. In 2017-2018, Quebec had a surplus of $2.6 billion; a further $4.5 billion surplus is expected in 2018-2019. According to FRAPRU, part of that money must be used to ensure that affordable social housing  meets the needs of the most disadvantaged.

The Quebec government must adjust its 2019-2020 budget to:

- Stop  underfunding AccèsLogis!
- Ensure social housing everywhere in Quebec, within a reasonable time frame!

Quebec must invest in AccèsLogis!

Some 50,000 cooperative housing, non-profit and social housing units are needed over the next five years.

On February 7, 2019, join FRAPRU members for a demonstration in Montreal. Rally at 11:00 am at Norman-Bethune Square (Guy-Concordia metro station). For more information, contact the Housing Committee in your area.

(Translated from the original French by Chantier politique.)

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News

Protestors Say No! to U.S. Coup
Attempts Against Venezuela

Over 150 people, activists, women, youth, solidarity groups and many others gathered on Sunday, January 27 at 1:00 pm at Phillips Square to express their strong opposition to the coup attempt by the U.S. government against Venezuela. The intense cold did not deter the protesters who are fully aware of the seriousness of the threats, intrigues and activities of the governments of the United States, Canada and others against Venezuela.

The many signs read: "Support the Venezuelan People, the Democratically Elected Government and Its President Maduro!"; "Yankee No! Maduro Si!"; "No to Canada's Participation in a Coup Against Venezuela"; "All Together with the Bolivarian Republic" and many others. Speakers took the floor in support of the Bolivarian government: Jooneed Khan, a retired journalist for La Presse, Christine Dandenault of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ), Claude Morin, a history teacher at the University of Montreal, Marie Boti, of Anti-Imperialist Women, and Yves Engler, a Montreal-based activist and author on Canadian foreign policy issues..

Jooneed Khan recalled the recent experience of people with regime change in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Haiti, and saluted the Venezuelan people and their determination. Christine Dandenault denounced the Liberal hypocrisy of the Trudeau government which, with its Lima Group, supported and recognized the nefarious individual who declared himself president. "The Trudeau government, which claims to defend the rule of law, is attacking the rule of law by participating in the organization of a coup d'état against Venezuela alongside the U.S. imperialists. This reveals the fraud and it must be denounced. It does not act in our name." Claude Morin illustrated from every angle the legitimacy of the presidential elections in Venezuela, the underhanded and mafia-style financing of the "opposition," and the U.S. designs on oil resources in Venezuela. "If the United States could seize these resources, they would own 26 per cent of the planet's resources to impose their prices and dictates," he said. Marie Boti, who was present during the presidential elections, spoke about the role of women in defence of their homeland, illustrating that they benefited the most from the pro-social changes implemented by the Bolivarian governments, as they were among the most oppressed. The speeches were interspersed with applause and chanting of "Maduro Si! Yankee No!"

Everyone militantly marched to the U.S. Consulate and then on to the entrance of the Guy Favreau Complex, a federal government building in Montreal. The people rallied around the necessity to say No! to the position of the Canadian government, No! to U.S. intrigues and aims and to fully support the people of Venezuela who are defending their sovereignty and their right to be. The event's organizer, the Quebec Movement for Peace,  informed everyone to be ready to participate in other rallies in the coming weeks.

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Ninth Commemoration of Earthquake in Haiti

On January 12, 2010 at 4:53 p.m. in Haiti, a terrible earthquake measuring 7 to 7.3 on the Richter scale hit the small country and caused over 300,000 deaths and as many injuries, leaving nearly a million and a half people homeless. Every year since, the memory of loved ones who disappeared and survivors has been honoured by the Haitian community.

At the call of Haiti House (Maison d’Haïti) in Montreal, dozens of people gathered on January 12 to mark the ninth anniversary of the tragedy. The evening's theme, "Ayiti toujou la!" (Haiti forever there) highlighted the resilience and resistance of the Haitian people. "Our will to live honourably, our determination for life always surprises," noted the evening's organizers. Through their creations, songs and poetry, artists paid a moving tribute to the Haitian community and its unwavering dedication towards the affirmation of life wherever they may be.


A minute of silence "to draw strength, courage and hope" was dedicated to the memory of the victims of the earthquake and to all those who have suffered as a result of that tragedy.

The people of Quebec are one with the Haitian community, with whom they have lived and worked as part of the Quebec nation since the 20th century. They are unwavering in their support of the Haitian people who, imbued with that same spirit as in 1804 -- when they proclaimed their independence -- continue their efforts to recover from the natural disaster and to affirm their right to control their country's destiny.

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Montreal Women March in Defence of
Their Rights and The Rights of All

On Saturday, January 19, in bitter cold temperatures, nearly 150 women gathered at Place Émilie-Gamelin in defence of women's rights and the rights of all and in support of the struggles of women worldwide. Their numerous placards reiterated their demands: Justice for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women! Not One More! No to War! Oppose the Antisocial Offensive, a source of violence against women! Resist!

The protest was held at the same time as the Third Women's March in Washington, DC. The first Women's March was organized on January 21, 2017 in the aftermath of the election of President Donald Trump and in rejection of his governance. Demonstrations also took place in more than 40 cities in Quebec and in Canada, as well as in several cities in the United States, France and around the world.

In their speeches, representatives of women's organizations denounced the continuing disappearance and murders of Indigenous women and hailed the struggles of the First Nations against the colonial state, the theft of their lands by the oil industry, and ecological destruction. Speaking of their own experience in working with advocacy groups working with abused, homeless and marginalized women, they demanded an end to violence against women here and around the world, improved access to and respect for  health care for women without discrimination, along with enhanced economic security and representation. The demonstrators, who were cheered on by passers-by, then walked along St-Catherine Street to Place des Arts, chanting their demands for a society fit for all human beings.


 

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Announcements

Project for a New Constitution in Cuba --
Content and Consultation Process and Adoption

Montreal
Presentation, Exchange and Discussion with Mara Bilbao Díaz,
Consul General of Cuba in Montreal  and Giuvel Orzco, Counselor-Deputy Head of Mission for the Embassy of Cuba in Canada

Sunday, February 17, 2019 - 2:00 p.m.
1360 Ontario Street East
(metro Papineau and bus 45 or metro Place des Arts and bus 125)
Organized by the Table de concertation de solidarité Québec-Cuba


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Demonstration:
Social Housing Now!

Montreal
Thursday February 7 -- 11:00 a.m.
Norman-Bethune
Square (Guy-Concordia metro)
Organized by FRAPRU
Facebook

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10th Benefit for the League of Rights and Freedoms

Montreal
Thursday February 7 -- 8:00 p.m.
Lion d'Or, 1676 Ontario Street East
(Papineau metro and 45 bus or Place des Arts metro and 125 bus)
Organized by the League of Rights and Freedoms

Facebook

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