149th Anniversary of Confederation: Give Canada a modern constitution and definition of rights

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July 1 marks the 149th anniversary of Confederation, the date on which the British North America Act, 1867 went into effect and united four separate colonies of the British Empire in North America into a Dominion of Canada. This included the all-unsurrendered Quebec nation and the Indigenous nations on the territory, which have been subject to the worst attacks and Divide and Rule from the Anglo-Canadian state to this day.

The British North America Act, 1867 remains the constitutional framework for Canada despite all the changes which have come about in life since that time, be it Canada gaining its formal independence, the extension of the franchise and other privileges from white men of property to other citizens, the development of a socialized industrial base, and a powerful, educated working class hailing from every corner of the world taking its place across the land.

This itself requires serious thought. After nearly 150 years, two world wars and the end of the bipolar division of the world the constitution and the definition of rights flowing from it needs to be brought on par with the needs of the times. Far from recognizing this, the government has launched a program for the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017 to “celebrate our common values, our achievements, our majestic environment and our place in the world.” They say it is “also an opportunity for Canadians to get involved in their community.” The official themes declared by the government are “diversity and inclusion, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, environment and youth.”

Along with these themes the 150th anniversary of Confederation will be used by the government to highlight what it calls strength in diversity. What does it mean? A private group called Celebrations Ottawa Inc. has been given $210 million in government funding and responsibility for organizing the official events. Through this organization the government will “invest strategically in activities that support the vision for the 150th anniversary and encourage the direct participation of Canadians,” the government says. Those who support “the vision” as espoused by the state institutions of 1867 will receive official support.

Who decided this vision? What about the activities of those who have another vision? The government has declared that to share the vision they espouse is to uphold what they define as Canadian values, and that having a different vision from the government is not part of Canadians’ “common values.” But if the right to conscience is not considered a “common value,” then on what basis are citizenship rights being defined today? The right of human beings to be must be the very basis of the definition of rights in the 21st century.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) has begun a year-long program to involve Canadians, Quebeckers, citizens and residents from all walks in life in the work for democratic renewal, and to modernize the Constitution based on the principle that rights belong to us by virtue of being human and the need for a free and equal union between Quebec, the Indigenous nations and the rest of Canada.

CPC(M-L) emphasizes that this is an historic task, not a matter of a policy choice. It is required so that the working people who produce all the wealth can take the centre stage of history and carry out the changes required to overcome the problems facing the society in the sphere of the economy and the natural and social environment.

See also: A Modern Constitution Is a Historic Necessity

To be kept informed about the activities and writings of CPC(M-L) in the coming year, email: office@cpcml.ca

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