Demonstration in Quebec City, April 5, 2018, against upcoming G7 summit in La Malbaie. Banner reads: “The G7 Does Not Represent Us.”
The 44th G7 Summit is hosted by Canada. It will take place June 8 and 9 in the luxury hotel Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu in La Malbaie in the Charlevoix region of Quebec. It is preceded by ministerial meetings.
La Malbaie is a small town of 8,000 people about 150 kilometres north-east of Quebec City. The Summit area has been secured behind a $3.8 million, three-metre high, 3.7-kilometre long fence anchored in cement posts sunk half a metre into the ground. A temporary prison will be set up near the arena in Clermont, a neighbouring municipality, at a cost of $1 million, according to local radio station CIHO. The budget for the G7 events will be more than $600 million with $259 million to be allocated to the RCMP alone for security, over $35 million to National Defence, $99 million to Public Safety Canada, $2 million to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and $1 million to the Canada Border Services Agency.
In this way, at this G7 Summit, as at the 2010 G8 Summit in Huntsville Ontario and G20 Summit in Toronto that followed, the media and police are attempting to create fear and uncertainty about protests so as to demobilize the people and justify suppression of rights in the name of increased security. This is despite the fact that it is the anti-social, anti-national neo-liberal policies of the G7 countries that wreak destruction on the world through economic and military aggression.
Click map to enlarge.
Bell’s cellular network has been enhanced in the region to meet the needs of the organization of the Summit. Fibre optics has appeared in La Malbaie, providing a faster internet connection.
The RCMP has confirmed that a so-called free speech area will be located in “a vacant lot” beside the Museum of Charlevoix, almost two kilometres from the hotel where the G7 will be meeting. Meanwhile, to divert attention from what the G7 stands for and Canadians’ opposition to the neo-liberal anti-social offensive these summits promote, media accounts are raising the spectre of violent confrontations. The organizations involved in the opposition action emphasize their intent to speak out against the G7 and to provide information about alternatives to its agenda.
The exclusion of the people from decision-making permeates the official G7 agenda. The reality belies the words of Prime Minister Trudeau who says the Summit is all about “finding real, concrete solutions to promote gender equality, women’s empowerment, clean energy, and economic growth that works for everyone.” According to Trudeau, “As G7 partners, we share a responsibility to ensure that all citizens benefit from our global economy, and that we leave a healthier, more peaceful, and more secure world for our children and grandchildren.” What it shows is that as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer as a result of supranational neo-liberal pay-the-rich schemes, Canada and other G7 countries attempt to divert attention from this with talk of a predicted “economic upswing” and the like. Moreover, the antics of U.S. President Donald Trump on the eve of the Summit, imposing tariffs “on national security grounds” on steel and aluminum imported to the U.S. from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, puts his agenda at centre stage, not that of Trudeau.
“The trade wars are hijacking a summit that was initially seen as an opportunity to tout the successes of the global economic upswing, and severely testing the resiliency of the Western economic alliance represented by the G7. The IMF projects the world economy will grow this year and next at its fastest pace since 2011,” Bloomberg News writes. Now Trump’s agenda diverts from the diversion to favour the oligopolies in the U.S. imperialist sphere of influence.
Whichever agenda sets the tone for the G7 meeting does not change the fact that it is unacceptable that the few nations that comprise the G7 decide the fate of the world’s peoples. Even a cursory review of the Summit website underscores the retrogressive modus operandi of such international summits to disempower the world’s peoples and ensure their agendas and demands are blocked, starting with the fact the meetings will be held behind the backs of the people. The anti-social and anti-national decisions made to the detriment of the peoples will be vigorously condemned and the peoples of the world will continue striving to turn things around in their favour.
All Out to Oppose the G7!
No to the Neo-Liberal Anti-Social Offensive, Retrogression and War!
1 The Council of Canadians argues that “all of Canada should be considered a ‘free speech zone’ and that it’s a violation of democratic rights for people who want to protest on key issues of our day to be kept out of sight of leaders making decisions about their lives (notably, G7 decisions about climate change that affects us all).”
The Council informs that as of May 9, 23,097 people had signed its petition against the presence of U.S. President Donald Trump in Canada to attend the G7 Summit.
Several civil society groups are calling on organizations and the public to mobilize to oppose the policies of the leaders of the seven richest countries on the planet. The activities initiated include rallies and people’s education activities in Charlevoix; a march against the G7 and for the opening of all borders at Parc des Braves in Quebec City on Thursday, June 7 at 6 pm; more actions on Friday, June 8 starting at 7:30 am and on Saturday, June 9 a march, an alternative forum and a show, all in the Quebec City area. The forum is taking place from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm on Saturday, June 9, in the park of the Fountaine de Tourny in front of the National Assembly. The demonstration is scheduled to start at 3:00 pm from this location.
“We are calling on everyone to participate in this mobilization with the aim of expressing a vision of economic and social development that respects people and the planet. We want to present the people with an alternative to the system advocated by the representatives of the richest countries,” said Christian Page, representative of the Coalition for an Alternative Forum to the G7.
“The G7 is part of the problem in fostering the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of an increasingly small economic elite. While the leaders strut in front of the cameras, the real problems that the states should address are put aside and it is the people who suffer,” said Marie-Ève Duchesne, spokesperson for several Quebec City groups mobilizing against the G7.
The coalition is highlighting the negative impacts of neo-liberal policies which they say have been accentuated with the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president. “What Trump is proposing is to establish a new phase of the neo-liberal offensive. Its policy is based on more exploitation of fossil fuels, more commercial warfare and less regulation for business. And the Trudeau government’s positions are not a valid alternative to Trump’s on this front,” says Page.
“Our demands are clear. We must tackle the climate crisis and the loss of biodiversity, fight against the hoarding of wealth and achieve social justice, ban tax havens and prosecute businesses and individuals who use them, fight against exclusion of racialized populations and for the eradication of racist and extreme-right trends, in addition to recognizing the right to self-determination of Indigenous peoples,” says Duchesne.
2 The Trudeau Government’s main themes for the G7 meeting are said to be:
– investing in growth that works;
– preparing for jobs for the future;
– advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment;
– working together on climate change, oceans and clean energy; and
– building a more peaceful and secure world.
To see the reactionary and hypocritical positions on these and related matters on the Summit website: click here.
Source: TML Weekly, June 2, 2018 – No. 21