Apart from Canadians, most North Americans, know precious little of the Canadian "Far North". Canadians number about 20 million, whereas Americans number some 200 million souls. The Canadian people are periodically forced to look closely at their next door giant. The recent history of Canada is in large part the struggle of its capitalist class to find their world stage. Starting out as colonists, they suffered the indignities of a true colonial bourgeoisie.
But they were always better off than the other colonies and were effectively granted self-governing status early on. But they were aught between the mills of the British and the USA giants. Since they only industrialised late, the leading imperialists had already divided up the world. They became effectively junior partners in imperialism. Whenever they tried to push out independently, they were slapped back into their junior position.
We sketch the long history of un-neighbourly relations between the capitalist classes of the USA and Canada ending with the latest episode in this saga. Caught in the middle of this saga, the peoples of the two states have not had a class perspective. Given only a sanitised history, how could they have seen their fraternal links, and common interests?
CANADA-ONE FEDERAL STATE, TWO NATIONS
Firstly, it should be understood that Canada is a multi-national state, more correctly a "Bi-National" state. The two nations are English Anglo-Canada and French-Quebecois Canada. Initially in pre-imperialist days, Canada was a colony, contested bitterly by the warring nations of Britain and France. After France's General Montcalm was defeated ny Britain's General Wolfe in the Battle of Abraham Heights in Quebec City, in 1759, Canada became the sole possession of the British. Of course, the original natives of Canada had long been forcibly removed from contention. Canada was then mainly inhabited by the French. But the Treaty of Paris ceded Canada to Britain. The subsequent American War of Independence put paid to the British dream of being the ruler of all North America. Now the most loyal members of the British empire in North America streamed upwards, North of the 49th Parallel :
The anxiety in the British Government of a repeat of the American Revolution, led to the Durham Commission under Lord Durham, or 'Radical Jack.' He obtained this sobriquet for his part in the Reform Bill in Britain. Lord Durham's comments are pertinent to the discussion of Quebec being a separate nation. This emissary of imperialism said :
The analysis of Canada as a bi-national state is one that most Francophone Quebecois would endorse. It can also be derived by reference to Stalin's criteria of a nation as being :
Map: Not on web edition.
To date, the stated intention of the Anglo Canadian Capitalist class was to retain a single Canadian Federation, encompassing the two nations. The two nations are not spoken of as being so. To disguise the fact, the demagoguery used invokes at least two "distinct societies". The new nature of Canadian immigration has helped the Anglo Capitalist classes to blur the real distinctions of Two Nations. This latter reality, has been conveniently blurred into the trendy phrase "Multi-culturalism".
As for the Quebecois national capitalists, they have been somewhat divided on the issue of separation. The last major attempt at a serious challenge to the Federal status quo was offered by the Rene Levesque Parti Quebecois Government of November, 1976. But, first a subsequent Quebec wide Referendum on French separation failed after heavy media manipulation by the Federal Liberal party. Then, under the pressure of the gun man incident, where Corporal Denis Lortie, shot his way into the Quebec Assembly in 1984; the Parti Quebecois was pilloried as having unleashed "violent" strains into Canada.
This attempt at separation was thus effectively destroyed by the Liberal party of Canada, under the leadership then of Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Following that set-back, until recently the Quebecois capitalist class has been relatively content as a subservient capitalist class within the Canadian Federation.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN CONFEDERATION AND CANADIAN INDUSTRY
Having recognised that Canada is in reality a Bi-National state, we return to the overall development of the Canadian capitalist class.
We left at the time of Lord Durham. Of course, Canada had been treated as a traditional colony marked by extraction of resources. By 1857, the Hudson's Bay Company alone had pulled Pounds Sterling 20,000,000 out of Canada (3). Mainly, the raw trade extraction of surplus profit was in the fish and fur trade; later it was to include timber, wheat and finally in the 20th Century-energy. The phrase "hewers of wood and drawers of water" epitomises Canada's position as a resource rich but industry poor (relatively speaking) state. This was one of the two dilemmas that prevented the Canadian bourgeoisie gaining their full "place in the sun". The other was their late entry into the imperialist dance.
After the Reforms of Lord Durham were put into effect by one Charles Poulett Thompson, or Lord Sydenham, a wealthy businessman from Manchester. He inaugurated the Union Government and faced down the Canadian reformers such as Louis H. Lafontaine and Francis Hincks.
By the time of Sydenham's death, his successor Sir Charles Bagehot was forced to put aside his instructions from the Colonial Secretary of Sir Robert Peel's British Conservative government. Lord Stanley as Colonial Secretary instructed Bagehot to delay "responsible government".
In effect this was a recognition of self-government.
Finally after the Fall of the Corn Laws in Britain and the dropping of the Acts of trade and Navigation (1849), imperial preference for trade with Britain was temporarily ended.
The Whigs had wanted to repeal the Corn Laws and introduce Free Trade in order to help the British Industrial Revolution against the dying sighs of the British landowners. Having called for Free Trade, they allowed colonial governments to control their duties. To the horror of British manufacturers, Canada promptly raised them. Though the British Government tried to intervene, they were firmly resisted by the Canadian Finance Minister A.T.Galt. He was a leading spokesman for the Anglo Business community and said :
The next period marked a half way house situation. But it lasted a long time, up to the Second World War in fact. During this period, leading colonists sometimes tilted to the USA, and sometimes retreated towards their former allegiance to the British. The Conservative party (Tories) tended to be more consistently pro-British than the Reformers who tended to be more nationalistic. These latter tended to see some advantages to the USA in preference to Britain.
AMERICAN VERSUS BRITISH LINKS OF THE CANADIAN COMPRADORS
A Reciprocity Trade Treaty was signed with the US in 1854. Exports doubled to the USA from British North America. The Maritimes, not yet part of Canada, also shared in the prosperity. As the Maritimes (now Canadian East coast), grew rich through timber, they exploited markets in both the USA and Great Britain. It became imperative to link it with British North America concretely, otherwise it would slip to the Americans.
This was one main function of the great Canadian Railway era. Apart from this, it was a fantastic source of profit. It created an East-West link, to combat the potential of a North South link. As it grew, it fostered industry in its wake.
But the American Civil War led to further strains in the relationship. The Reciprocity Treaty was annulled by the USA.
Under the pressure of fear of US invasion from the fall out of the Civil War, ferment grew. The Reform voices grew, and developed a movement of ultra-democracy, based on Jacksonian direct elections to executive posts. These formed a party known as the Clear Grits.
In response the Conservative Party still mainly pro-Great Britain, found a new leader in John A. Macdonald, in 1854. He shrewdly gave in to some reforms, conceded a measure of power to the French Conservatives led by George-Ettiene Cartier, and finally he ensured that the Maritimes would become part of a new Canadian Confederation. The French Conservatives were happy to have an alternative to the reform and anti-cleric minded Rouges, led by a "fiery rationalist lawyer" A.A.Dorion. Macdonald had established that the French would work within a Federation with the English, and allowed French into the Houses of Parliament. The net result was to defuse for a time the legitimate grievances of the French which tended to separation.
Macdonald's proposal of union was agreeable to the Maritimers and Britain. This directly led to the British North American Act of 1867. This allowed a Confederation of all but Newfoundland, who entered the confederation only in 1949 after a Referendum. The so called "National policy" of John MacDonald, had prevented a rupture of Canada with Great Britain.
As John Rose, a knowledgeable MP said, on his return from negotiations on the Oregon Treaty :
But Canadian industry and its potential imperialists suffered from two disadvantages. They were firstly too late on the scene. The world had been basically carved up already by the first finance capitalist imperialists. Secondly, like any colony, they faced enormous disadvantages in capital accumulation in building their industry. They had under their control primarily a resource rich country. The growing nationalists were to find restrictions increasingly in their way.
The tension grew between the pro-British capitalists (really by now compradors) led by the Tory Robert Borden; and the nationalists led by the Liberal Sir Wilfred Laurier. Laurier refused as Prime Minister in 1896, to set up a permanent Imperial Council with powers to set Empire tariff :
A more or less subservient comprador bourgeoisie had been fostered by British imperialism. Inevitably, a national bourgeois did develop. But they were weak. Accordingly this position of being a junior partner; never allowed the national Canadian bourgeoisie, full development. But the peculiar half way house of this Junior Partnership, did spell some benefits. This distinguishes Canada from classic colonies. For example, Canada has long been effectively self-governing. This was generally sufficient to defer a "national" struggle. Other Junior Partners in imperialism treated similarly, were other members of the former "White" Commonwealth run by the British imperialists. These included New Zealand and Australia also.
WHO SHALL BE BIG BROTHER-GREAT BRITAIN OR THE USA ?
After the take over of the British position as the major imperialist nation, the USA maintained as far as possible the old status quo. But the national capitalist class began a cautious muscle flexing. The junior status did not mean that the Canadian nationalists have been unable to present a challenge to their senior imperialist brother.
The Canadian capitalists had managed to build up some industry. The strategy they had adopted was enormous State subsidies (particulary to eth railways) that provided a cushion for the capitalist class as a whole to develop. But having arrived at the capitalist dance late, they could not storm the party. They had to wait as demure wall flowers until they were asked to dance.
From now on, in the era of finance capital and imperialism, Canadian capitalism took on the roles allowed it by the dominant international imperialisms. In fact, the underlying history of Canadian modern day capitalism, is that it has always been a Junior Partner of the big Imperialisms. Links of the Canadian compradors, now tended to become more established with USA imperialisms, rather than with British imperialists.
The basic strategy adopted by the Canadian capitalist class, was to wherever possible struggle for independent positions. But if forced to retreat, they would try to use British Imperialism as a crutch, to fend off USA imperialism. British imperialism was itself weaker, and did not pose as great a threat to the weak national capitalists of Canada, as did the hungry and close USA imperialists.
In general at this stage, the Liberal Party espoused a nationalist viewpoint. But this was always weak, given the objective weak position of Canadian capital. Depending on the relative strengths of their bargaining position, they would in retreat become pro-Britain rather than pro-USA.
The Conservative Party was in general anti-USA,and pro-Britain. Since Macdonald's day no consistent voice for nationalism was heard.
The Reform agenda passed to the New Democratic party (a social democratic party). But though the NDP became a pro-Canadian nationalist force on the whole, it was always tied to the policy makers of the Liberals.
The Halibut Treaty in 1923, allowed the Canadian to treat with the US over a Canada-USA Fisheries Accord, without the interference of the British Crown. The Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King put up a vigourous fight against Britain to win this right to carry out Canada's own diplomacy without the British veto. Various flip-flops were turned over the next years over the next years, including the Smoot-Hawley Protection Tariffs of 1930 These protective tariffs were a bar to Canadian goods entering the USA, particularly wheat, and were a "virtual declaration of economic war" aimed at Canada (10).
The Canadians retaliated under the Liberal administration, again led by Mackenzie King. But this represented a reversal of face for Mackenzie King and the Liberals; who had themselves always preached "freer trade". The Conservative R.B.Bennett had always "sworn to protect, protect, protect." (11).
After the Tories used this episode to get back into power, they attempted to reverse the tide of time. Bennett (later Viscount Bennett in the British House of Lords) used the 1932 Ottawa Agreement on Imperial Preference to re-attach Canada to the British purse strings. But the inevitable trend favoured the USA to become the patron of those Canadian capitalists looking for a master continued. The most consistently pro-comprador, party- the Tories saw that times had changed. Bennett began to swing Canada back to the USA.
Now Mackenzie King, back in power from 1935 established freer trade links with the USA. In the 1935 Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, Canada gave the USA Most Favoured Nation status. This did not yet breach the Ottawa Imperial Preference Agreement. King as a realist knew he had to accommodate the USA, yet he wanted still some degree of manoeuvrability. As Granatstein and Hillmer put it :
The Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, led to an increasing bilateral trade. US exports to Canada went from $303 million in 1935 to $487 million in 1938; and exports from Canada to the USA in 1935 were $304 million and in 1938 were $423 million (13). Though the Americans wished to erode the Imperial Preference, the Canadian capitalist class put up a spirited fight on trade. But this was a short lived victory, as the balance of forces was to change drastically.
With the Second World War, this toying between British and USA imperialism was interrupted. In the middle of the toying, the Canadian capitalists had been able to find a spot by shrewdly playing one off against the other. The War did finally lead to USA hegemony. But still the British were not going to yield easily. Nor were the Canadians going to relinquish their precious little "independence". The Canadian capitalists continued to try and play their Two Card Trick. Though as time went on, it would become more and more difficult.
Canada was in hock to the USA, in a rapidly growing deficit. Moreover, Canada was loaning Britain almost $2 billion just to buy Canadian goods. That forced Ottawa to loan further from the USA, and to suggest closing the border to USA goods. The USA offered a quid pro quo- End Imperial Preference and join their General Agreement on tariffs and trade (GATT). After agreement on this a further needed loan was arranged.
A closer tie with the USA than with Britain, was probably inevitable given the realities of poor industrial development; the proximity of the USA; and finally the inability of the Canadian capitalists to take a truly independent stand.
The map shows some of the realities of the situation. In addition to the geographical proximity, more than 80% of the small Canadian population lives in a strip of 100 miles next to the US-Canadian border. The cultural distinctness of the Canadian state was moreover continually under threat partly due to the English language allowing cultural penetration.
But yet even now, when faced by the prospect of a Free Trade Association with the USA at that stage, Mackenzie King drew back. The USA then became embroiled in the Korean war and did not take a further attack on Canada for a while.
MAKING THE INDEPENDENT PLAY
Canada under John Diefenbaker, the Tory Prime Minister from 1956, took an overtly anti-USA line. He again moved Canada back to the British sphere. The USA torpedoed Diefenbaker by publicly refuting his incorrect assertions on the defence policy. Canada had accepted nuclear missile from the USA and had prevaricated about this. The Liberals under Lester Pearson came to power in 1963.
Pearson, tried to dispense with the game of shilly-shallying with the two imperialist Big Brothers. He immediately set Walter Gordon into the finance ministry. Gordon had been chair of the 1955 Royal Commission which had fingered US investment into Canada as a major concern, leading to "Eventual absorbtion" (14). A nationalist attempt was then made to tax at a rate of 30% all sales on shares in Canadian companies to non-residents; and the 15% withholding tax on dividends to non-residents was revised to favour shareholders in companies that retained substantial Canadian ownership. Howls of protest from business resulted. Even the Governor of the Bank of Canada warned of "massive attempts at liquidation" of American investment. Gordon was forced to recant the takeover tax. Immediately afterwards, the USA itself created an interest equalization tax aimed at foreign outflow of gold and capital.
Nonetheless the Pearson administration stood its ground in some ways. They criticised the USA imperialist war of aggression in Vietnam, which severely upset the US President L.B.Johnson. But it was the Canadian capitalists' support for another USA inspired foreign intervention that got Canada some financial crumbs by way of the Auto Pact. The service that Canada provided was to participate in the imperialist plot to partition Cyprus. A grateful Johnson telephones Person and reportedly said :
But before that occurred, a little more water had to flow under the bridge. The biggest and perhaps most successful attempt of the Canadian national capitalist class to exert its independent role came under the leadership of Pierre Elliot Trudeau in the Liberal administration of 1968. The national capitalists made their play when the powerful number one USA imperialists faltered.
As discussed in Alliance 3, the weakened USA was forced to end the convertibility of the dollar into gold. Moreover President Nixon retreated from the "free" market place and imposed a 10 % surcharge on all dutiable imports. This was called together in Tokyo, the "Nixon shokku". Canadian business had of course a lot to lose by this surcharge. Trudeau argued :
During the oil and gas debates of the 1970's, huge energy reserves were found in the Arctic and the West of Canada. This entered the equation of the battles in the Middle East over the control of oil. The USA had artificially created a so called energy crisis (See Alliance 2- The Gulf War and the National liberation struggles in the Middle East). Under the New Energy Policy (NEP) of 1980, the Finance Minister Allan MacEachen proposed that by 1990 there would be at least 50 % ownership of all oil and gas companies in Canada. It was :
By 1980, when Ronald Reagan came to the US presidency, the American capitalist class had managed to force a retraction. The NEP was largely blocked. Pipelines from the North were blocked on grounds of environmental safety, and Hibernia oil drilling in the Atlantic off Newfoundland was abandoned. FIRA was never enacted rigorously.
The Canadians had thrown in the towel. After this massive defeat suffered by the capitalists of Canada, it became clear it them that in the newly so called globalized economy, that the Canadians could definitely no longer go it alone. They decided to once and for all, get well and truly into bed with their elephantine neighbour next door.
SHAKING OFF A NATIONAL HERITAGE
But a Canadian ethos-even national identity; people and indeed a single Bi-National state had come into being. It was necessary for all this to be shaken up. The capitalists class having decided to go into the USA, wanted to disillusion the die-hard nationalists in the people of Canada. They had a welfare system; a social security system; a seemingly functioning health care system; cities that were not yet murderous gun ranges; a stronger labour organisation; a social democratic tradition; and a way of life distinctly less brutalised than the people of the USA. The Canadian people were hardly going to give this up easily. They had to be disillusioned. Their faith in a separate way of life had to be profoundly shaken.
Now "Free Trade" became the dominant note. Previous discussions on Free Trade had been a code for penetration of the USA into Canadian market. Now however this was facilitated by a much clearer comprador relationship. This was because the old pro-British forces were spent and had switched horses. The pro-British compradors had changed formally now to become pro-USA compradors. They were led by Brian Mulroney, a particularly great reactionary toady to American imperialism. In the election of 1984, after Trudeau's resignation, a poor candidate was selected for the Liberals, John Turner. His dismal showing allowed the Tories to enter with a stated agenda - Free Trade.
Mulroney rapidly changed moved Canada South; he got firmly onto the USA band wagon. Despite his cut throat slashing of the "welfare state"; the people were conned into voting him into power for two terms. No effective opposition was presented to challenge him. The Second term election became essentially a referendum on Free Trade with the USA. Despite clear indications that Free Trade would decimate business in Canada and prompt further unemployment as industries went South of the border, the electorate were manipulated. The Liberals and the New Democratic Party, despite signals from the rank and file labour, sabotaged the struggle. They did this by the simple expedient of not organising a comprehensive well run anti-Free Trade Coalition.
Not facing any serious effective opposition, the Mulroney forces after election forced through Free Trade. The dire consequences already predicted were seen to be truly occurring. However one further set of tasks were left to be performed by Mulroney.
This was to rupture the relative harmony that had been present in the functioning of the state between French Quebecois and Anglo-Canadians. This would allow the possible disintegration of the Canadian state leading ultimately to a wholesale absorbtion into the USA. This was the function of the so called Constitutional Crisis which engulfed Canada over the last two years.
The British North American Act of 1867 formed Canada's Constitution, and was renamed the Constitution Act. This established the House of Commons and the Senate, the powers of each, the provincial powers, the Federal powers, legislation etc. In 1982 there were two amending acts. The Canada Act transferred to Canada the power to amend the Constitution from the British House of Parliament. This is known as the "patriation" of the Constitution.
The Second amending act was the Canadian Charter of rights and Freedoms of 1982, which entrenched in the Constitution protection of individual rights and freedoms of religion, assembly, association and the press.
But the Constitution Act of 1982, had not been signed
by the Quebec Premier at the time, Rene Levesque. He refused on the grounds
that the Act did not adequately protect the French interests. Manifestly,
this refusal had NOT impeded Government in any way since 1982. But it was
made the pretext of a new constitutional move. This was the Meech lake
Accord. By this means, Quebec would be included into the Constitution.
When in 1987, the Quebec Government under Liberal Robert Bourassa;
was asked to agree, it presented five pre-conditions. These aimed at preserving and extending Quebec's privileges :
3. The Tories and the capitalists could not lose either
way. The actual Accord itself contained some very retrogressive and troubling
clauses which the Conservative Government knew would be exposed. If Meech
despite all odds passed; then the job of disintegration of Canada would
have been done. If it did not pass, the process would thoroughly alienate
Canadians, facilitating a later attempt at disintegration :
i) The Federal link was being dissolved into a provincial power. This did put no restrictions on welfare protection etc. The Federal programs including Health were subject purely to Provincial specification.
ii) An effective veto was placed on any changes in the future on the Constitution, for any of the provinces as unanimous approval was required.
iii) Any attempts at Senate Reform (a hot bed of patronage and corruption) was likely never to occur.
iv) The Yukon and Northwest Territories were basically ignored as posing any constitutional weight.
After this, with much heavy sighs, and wringing of hands, the Charlottetown Accord was similarly and tortuously launched. Again it was launched in order to fail. This time after a Referendum, during the process of which deliberate obfuscation of the real issues bored and disillusioned the masses of Canadians who tried to understand the issue. A national rejection of the Accord at the Polls, allowed the growth of further regional parties. Particulary in the West with the openly pro-fascist Reform Party. In addition the much depressed Parti Quebecois had a resurgence under the Bloc Quebecois and the Parti Quebecois working together. The Bloc Quebecois was led by Lucien Bouchard, a former lieutenant of Mulroney's whose spectacular departure (under supposed acrimony over the future of Quebec) from Cabinet signalled the new strategy of the ruling classes of Canada.
ELECTIONS OF 1993 -CHANGE OF GUARD
The strategy was very simple. It consisted of fostering regionalism, to begin the process of dissolving Canada, to place free trade in a situation where it could not be reversed, and ultimately to join the USA. The bogey of Quebec had been given a high profile by the Constitutional shenanigans, and the stench of corruption under Mulroney added to the rising social tensions of unemployment and rising poverty, ensured that "virginally pure" parties would do well.
In carrying out its mission, the Mulroney Government had performed its task. But it had alienated the Canadian people to an extraordinary degree. The cynicism of the electorate was virulent against the Tories. The ruling class now had a degree of unanimity on the issue of the USA. The Liberals had signalled that they were in line. Accordingly, the capitalist class had every reason to facilitate the Liberal take over of the reins of Government. An arrogant elitist clone of Mulroney, one Kim Campbell was made leader of the Tory Party. To ensure her campaign would fail, it was at key times sabotaged. For instance, her handlers allowed her to say that elections were not the times that the electorate could be informed about serious policy decisions abut welfare and health.
This allowed the Liberals to sweep into power again.
What then are the class allegiances of the current main parties in Canada? Undoubtedly, they all represent capital.
The Conservative party represents that section of Canadian capitalists whose interests have until now been mainly linked to USA capital. They have been in the main representing finance capital. They have been strong proponents of the reduction of inflation wing identified internationally with Mrs Thatcher and the Ronald Reagan. (See Alliance Three).
The Liberal party represents that section of capital whose interests have until now been mainly linked to Canadian owned business. They have been representing both finance and industrial capital of Canada. They have now become accommodated to the policy of future linkage with the USA.
The New Democratic Party represents the social democratic face of the Canadian capitalist class. Their approach is designed to divert the most advanced section of the working people, into objectively support for Canadian owned finance and industrial capital. They have been critical in the implementation of a harsh and brutal attack on the living standards of the Canadian people. They have been in several provinces responsible for implementing cost cuts, regressive labour laws, and savage lay offs - that the Tories and Liberals would not have been allowed to get away with. Consequently, they are seriously discredited with the rank and file. The tactics of the labour lieutenants of Capital such as Bob White of the Trades Union Congress, is to hint at closer ties with the Liberals.
The Parti Quebecois has always been the representative of the Quebec national capitalists class. The Bloc Quebecois has been the vehicle by which the Anglo capitalist class signalled to the old Quebecois that they had some use for Quebec nationalism.
Finally, mirroring the fissiparous tendency in Quebec, is the Reform Party of Western Canada. These newcomers to the political stage are representatives of the confused petty bourgeois, and appeal to the most chauvinistic section. They are dangerously full of open fascists and have signalled big business their willingness to "play their part", if Business calls.
It is abundantly clear there is no representative of the workers and the petty bourgeoisie.
ADVICE FROM A FRIEND
Friends are meant to advise each other. What advice does the doyennes of the financial oligarchy of Canada give its chums? What does the Financial Post advise the Liberal party? In an editorial following the Liberal victory, Diane Francis editor gives a 5 point programme (13.11.93).
Essentially she asks for more of the same tricks that
Mulroney performed : Control the money supply; control debt; "Iron out
a National Debt Discipline Agreement with the provinces to slash deficits
across the board nationally by at least a third. Use transfer payments
as punishment for provinces that spend like sailors."; "announce a massive
privatisation scheme involving the sale of Crown lands, Crown corporations,
exploration rights...etc"; and the final point : "Embark on an ambitious
devolution scheme that would mothball any unessential federal department.
Ottawa should only manage the economy, foreign policy, internal security,
and Crown lands and act as a coordination force among the provinces." This
is apparently a very different Canada from the past.
WE REJECT FRANCIS' VISION.
THE CAPITALIST WAY FORWARD
What is the game plan of the North American capitalists - US and Canadians? To harmonise the future North American Free Trade Association state that is coming into being, some fundamental changes are needed.
Firstly, the trade union movement in the Canadian state must be severely weakened. This aim has been achieved by the social democratic collaboration. The NDP bears the major blame for this, along with the trade union bureaucrats. At the same time, the party structure in the North will have to bear some similarity to that in the USA. The destruction of the NDP, and its subsumption into the Liberal Party will likely be bruited. Bob White has shown the way (See Globe and Mail: 26.11.93 p.A4).
Secondly, the social welfare state of Canada must be levelled down to a more slim and hard version. This has happened and is further progressing now. But, simultaneously, the USA has to obtain a slightly better social cushion than they have had hitherto. The American people are getting too restive, to ensure safety of the capitalist class. The Clinton administration have recognised this, and begun the first steps to a partial rectification of this. It must be said that the Health Care reforms are poorly conceived. But they are a step forward. Thus the plan will be to level down in Canada and level up in the USA.
Thirdly, North American Free Trade Association has to proceed. the hypocrisy underlying this has been explored in Alliance 3. it only should be reiterated that this is a fundamental strategy now for the USA imperialists to regain their superiority as an imperialist power. Indeed, it is critical to their survival as imperialists, as markets shrink all over the world.
In this overall context, fighting for the vestiges of Canadian independence is progressive. Basically anything that empowers the USA state imperialism is dangerous for the workers of the world, including the USA and Canadian workers. But Marxist-Leninists have to couple this with a clear explanation that "independence" for Canada is a shibboleth. Only the socialist revolution in Canada can effect meaningful progressive change.
OUR SLOGANS MUST BE :
BUILD THE MARXIST-LENINIST PARTY;
DOWN WITH SO CALLED "FREE TRADE";
DOWN WITH AN IMPERIALIST NORTH AMERICAN BLOC;
FORWARD TO THE SOCIALIST REVOLUTION.
1.A.L.Morton,"Peoples' History of Canada." New York, 1974, p.470.
2.K.McNaught,"Pelican History of Canada",Harmondsworth,1982, p.94
3.G. Myers"A history of Canadian Wealth", Toronto, 1975, p.46
4.K.Mcnaught, Ibid, p. 110
5. McNaught, Ibid, p. 109.
6. J.L.Granatstein and N.Hillmer. "For Better or Worse. Canada and the USA to 1990", Toronto, 1991. p.xv.
7. McNaught, Ibid, p. 132.
8. McNaught Ibid, p. 206.
9. McNaught, ibid, p.215.
10. J.L.Granatstein and N.Hillmer:ibid p.94
11. J.L.Granatstein Ibid, p.96.
12. J.L.Granatstein Ibid, p.113.
13. J.L.Granatstein Ibid, p.110.
14. J.L.Granatstein Ibid, p. 221.
15. J.L.Granatstein Ibid, p.224
16. J.L.Granatstein Ibid, p.224
17.J.L.Granatstein Ibid, p. 247
18. James Laxer, "Oil and Gas. Ottawa the Provinces and the Petroleum Industry". Toronto, 1983. p. 74.
19. Marjorie Montgomery Bowker "The Meech Lake Accord.
What it will mean to you and to Canada." Hull, Quebec, 1990. p.17.