Billions in state funds for transportation corridors to serve US-dominated empire-building

Federal government marches further into dead end of nation-wrecking. The working class is determined to affirm its right to build the new! Report from WORKERS’ FORUM

Transport Canada has announced another $2.1 billion of state funds for the Trade and Transportation Corridors Initiative to serve the global oligopolies and their control of the Canadian and international economy.[1]

A Ministry press release on July 4 states the Trade and Transportation Corridors Initiative is “[to] build stronger, more efficient transportation corridors to international markets…. Canadian businesses will be able to better compete, grow and create even more jobs well into the future.”

The aim of the financial oligarchy is not to “create jobs” or support “Canadian businesses.” The aim is to maximize their returns on investments and defend and expand their empires through crushing their competitors and exploiting the resources and work-time of Canadians. Using state funds, infrastructure and police power to serve their narrow private aim and objectives has become standard practice within the imperialist system of states.

Transport Canada says the program is meant “to support Canadian business and spur job creation…. Canada is marking a long history of trade and recognizing the major role that transportation has played in growing our economy and supporting Canada’s middle-class.”

The early building of the east/west railway, ports in the Maritimes and later in BC, along with a Canadian steamship line, state-owned Air Canada serving most Canadian cities, and highways and bridges connecting far-flung population centres and resource producing regions were features of a nation-building project in part to block the expansionist continentalism of U.S. imperialism. That nineteenth and twentieth century nation-building is dead and replaced with U.S.-led global empire building with Canada integrated into a U.S.-dominated Fortress North America. The global oligopolies have seized control of Canada’s human and material resources, especially in the basic sectors of raw material extraction, energy, manufacturing, finance, retail services, culture and the military. The Canadian economy has been subsumed into U.S.-dominated private global empires and the free trade agreements, military alliances and other international arrangements of the U.S. imperialists as they strive for world hegemony.

Trudeau and other governments since Mulroney have embroiled Canada into a worldwide array of military and economic arrangements including trade and transport corridors serving the global private oligopolies operating within the U.S.-dominated imperialist system of states. This retrogressive direction has absolutely nothing to do with nation-building to guarantee the well-being of the people or affirm their right to decide their future, control their economy, and solve its problems for the benefit of all.

The Transport Canada announcement ignores the economic context in which these state funds are being disbursed. According to its press release, the main problem facing the Canadian economy appears to be congestion in the transportation of goods from Canada to world markets, including the dominant U.S. market, and vice versa. If the transportation corridors are improved, Transport Canada implies the problems of the economy will vanish.

The implication is not borne out with facts. The announcement was made at about the same time Employment and Social Development Canada revealed an increasing number of EI claimants are receiving five additional weeks of benefits in 15 regions of the country where unemployment has exploded over the last two years. The program to extend EI eligibility, while still far below the actual needs, temporarily untied the EI purse strings propelled by a rise in unemployment in several regions. The expected number of 235,000 unemployed receiving the five weeks of additional EI benefits turned out to be 317,261 unemployed workers.

Much of the increased unemployment and extended benefits are in resource extraction regions badly hit with the decline in both demand and global market prices for Canada’s natural resource commodities. Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador heavily depend on exports and the employment and value workers create in harvesting natural resources. The problem for Alberta and most regions in Canada is internal, in the sense that exports overshadow the domestic economy, its self-reliance, vitality and ability to stand on its own. Control over the economy and those features that affect people’s lives directly is impossible in a situation where the necessity to export is dominant and control over prices and external demand is not possible.

Congestion within the freight transport corridors is not the problem. The internal domestic economy is the problem because it is out of the control of Canadians, in particular the actual producers. Canadians are not able to manage the modern socialized productive forces because they have no control. The productive capacity of the modern economy of industrial mass production is enormous but it has to be brought under the control and scientific management of the actual producers with an aim to serve them, the common good and general interests of society.

Canadians do not even determine something as basic as the market price of what they produce so that it meets the price of production. Canadians have no control over how much they manufacture of this or that commodity, even basic essential ones such as steel, so that internal production conforms to the apparent internal demand allowing some stability and security in the sector. Canadians do not control their banking system and are even losing control of public services and social programs as they are sold off to global investors eager to exploit every aspect of the economy and have already-produced value pour into their private coffers.

June 11, 2007: Opening demonstration of unions and youth against Atlantica (renamed Atlantic Gateway) conference, Halifax, NS, sponsored by the Irvings

Canadians literally are at the mercy of the international financial oligarchy and its private empires. They control the basic sectors. Their empires serve their narrow private aim and needs to expand their wealth and defend their class privilege denying Canadians what is theirs by right. The oligarchs compete to defend and expand their private empires in a system that can only be described as anarchy leading to crises, violence and war. The problem worsens with the increasing concentration of the social wealth that workers produce in the hands of global oligopolies and multi-billionaires who use it and state power to serve their narrow private interests.

The media report that Transport Minister Marc Garneau at the luncheon speech, where he made the announcement of the allocation of state funds, slavishly said the Canadian government is willing to pay the entire bill with respect to the U.S. border corridors, just as Canada is now paying the bill for the new Gordie Howe International Bridge linking Detroit and Windsor.

Dedicated to the class privilege of the oligarchs and their aim for ever greater power and social wealth, government representatives seem incapable of presenting the reality as it exists. Their imperialist outlook and thinking does not conceive of a society which take up social responsibility or changes the direction of the economy.

Minister Garneau does not consider it a problem that Canada, as a dominated trading nation:

  • does not own or control its basic economic sectors or have any sovereign say in economic development;
  • does not determine and control the market prices of its produced natural resources or any of its main commodities for that matter;
  • does not have any arrangement for exports or imports with sovereign nations that meets a modern criteria of justice, stability, mutual benefit and development, and sovereign control outside of and in opposition to the control of private global empires;
  • is entangled in global arrangements such as the World Trade Organization and free trade agreements that put economic decisions in the hands of those who own and control vast social wealth and have the single-minded aim to increase their wealth, power and class privilege through exploiting the resources and working class of Canada and other countries;
  • attracts those global individuals and entities to make money by putting at their disposal Canada’s resources and educated, trained and healthy working class and by providing infrastructure including transportation corridors and police state measures to restrict workers from affirming their rights; and
  • is at the mercy of the world market dominated by the oligopolies and is not able to protect itself against the inevitable cyclical economic crises within the imperialist system of states dominated by the U.S. empire, be it a generalized economic crises such as in 2008, or the current sectoral crisis of market prices of energy and other resources, which have fallen below their prices of production.

Across the country, workers are opposing the denial of reality and pragmatic ambitions of the Canadian government to serve the strivings of the global oligopolies at all costs to the detriment of the well-being and security of Canadians and their economy. The need is becoming more and more obvious for the working class to assume its social responsibility to change the direction of the economy to make it work without crises for the benefit of all. In this regard, advanced workers are building the independent press of the working class such as Workers’ Forum and taking up embarking on campaigns such as those led by Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada which emphasize the need for the mass political and ideological mobilization of the people to build the new.

The working class does not expect the ruling imperialist elite to lift a finger to assist in a modern nation-building project to vest sovereignty in the people and defend the rights of all. The ruling elite have done everything to wreck nation-building and are doing everything to block, disorganize and deprive the working class of its own independent outlook and institutions and fundamental right to build the new. Workers are determined to deprive the ruling elite of their power to deprive workers of what is theirs by right, the right to build the new!

Endnotes

1. A Ministry news release on July 4, outlined the spending in broad terms:

Two billion dollars over 11 years for a “merit-based National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF) … to strengthen Canada’s trade infrastructure, including ports, waterways, airports, roads, bridges, border crossings, rail networks and the interconnectivity between them.”

Fifty million dollars over five years, “[to] stay on top of new disruptive transportation technologies in order to update rules and regulations for UAVs (drones) and connected and automated vehicles.”

Fifty million dollars over 11 years, “[to] launch a Trade and Transportation Information System, to be implemented by a new Canadian Centre on Transportation Data, to have access to high-quality, timely and accessible information on our transportation system.”

Related Reading on this website

Maritime strategy of the Quebec Liberals: Serving the interests of the United States of North American monopolies

 

 

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1 Comment

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One response to “Billions in state funds for transportation corridors to serve US-dominated empire-building

  1. LM

    An excellent and important article Tony.

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