A lively rally organized by No Harbour for War was held in Halifax on November 23 at Peace and Freedom Park, across from the Westin Hotel, site of the annual war conference, the Halifax International Security Forum (HISF). This marks the 11th year that peace activists in Halifax have come out to firmly reject their city being used as the venue for this war conference. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: November 2019
By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR
(November 27) – The December 3-4 summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in London resembles a family reunion after the acrimony over the issue of military spending by America’s European allies.
The trend is up for defence spending across European Allies and Canada. Over $100 billion is expected to be added to the member states’ defence budgets by end-2020.
More importantly, the trend at the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting at Brussels on November 19-20, in the run-up to the London summit, showed that despite growing differences within the alliance, member states closed ranks around three priority items in the US global agenda — escalation of the aggressive policy toward Russia, militarisation of space and countering China’s rise. Continue reading
Warmest greetings from Halifax to all those protesting against NATO and the Halifax International Security Forum in Toronto and Windsor, Ontario. We salute all those across the land from coast to coast who are engaged in discussing this dangerous event and what to do. The cause of peace, one of the highest ideals of humanity, is a noble endeavour. Every day we see reaction on the offensive everywhere in the world. We wish you the greatest success. Continue reading
By TONY SEED
(November 23) – On November 22, the opening day of the 11th annual Halifax International Security Forum (HISF), “a new year-long initiative focused on China” was announced by HISF President Peter Van Praagh via press release. Continue reading
Over 3,000 Canadian National Railway workers on Strike
At 12:01 am Eastern Standard Time on November 19, about 3,200 Canadian National Railway conductors, trainpersons and yard workers went on strike, mainly over issues of workers’ health and safety, which are also issues of public health and safety. The workers are members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC).
In a press release dated November 16, the TCRC explained:), which served the legally required 72-hour strike notice during the evening of November 15. The TCRC reports that it was unable to reach a deal with CN, as the company remains unwilling to address the workers’ concerns.
The labour contract of these workers expired on July 23. The monopoly media are reporting that talks are ongoing with CN at this time.
In a press release dated November 16, the TCRC explained:
“CN currently requires TCRC members to operate trains alone from outside of the locomotive, hanging on to moving trains with one hand while operating a remotely controlled locomotive with the other. Railroaders are expected to do this in rain and in freezing temperatures, sometimes for distances of up to about 17 miles.
“The union’s demands to cease these dangerous practices have fallen on deaf ears and the company has refused to come to a satisfactory agreement at the negotiations table to adjust their operating practices in the interest of safety.
“The company also wants to make it more difficult to take time off and make employees work longer hours, in an attempt to get more work done with fewer people and to reduce staffing levels.
“‘Fatigue has been recognized by the Transportation Safety Board as a major safety problem in this industry. Too many railroaders are operating trains when they should be resting,’ explained the president of the TCRC, Lyndon Isaak. ‘For the safety of all Canadians, we cannot allow CN to make it even harder for our members to get the rest they need.’
“Moreover, CN is demanding that the union accept a lifetime cap on prescription drug coverage which would be tantamount to denying workers — and their families — proper treatment for some forms of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and other diseases.
“Wages are not a major sticking point in these negotiations.”
These are long-standing concerns of the rail workers, for which they have been presenting demands that remain unaddressed by the rail monopolies and the federal government.
Already, the monopoly media are playing their dirty role of paving the way for the Trudeau government to pass back-to-work legislation so that the just struggle of the workers is criminalized and the burning issues they are raising are once again swept under the rug, while workers and the public are placed at great risk. Just 12 hours after the CN workers went on strike, the Kenney government in Alberta called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to immediately recall Parliament and enact back-to-work legislation (Parliament is not scheduled to convene until December 5). In calling for the criminalization of the striking workers and the important issues they are raising, the Kenney government shamefully invoked the failure to build pipelines, saying this puts extra pressure on CN to transport oil by rail, and also claimed to be defending farmers, saying they need to transport their crops and are already facing problems with bad weather and the trade dispute with China.
This must not be permitted to happen. All workers and the public at large must express their support for the just demand of the CN workers for a negotiated contract that addresses their concerns and demands.
Via Rail, Ports Toronto, Halifax International Security Forum and General Dynamics Land Systems (US manufacturers of the LAVs being shipped to Saudi Arabia for its war of aggression against Yemen through the port of Saint John) are all corporate sponsors of the NATO Association of Canada. Why is this?
Troops and war material must be transported to Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Asia. Continue reading
By TONY SEED
The Sunday November 24 session of the Halifax International Security Forum (HISF) is on “Security Solutions, Women’s Contributions,” with the speakers depicted in this screenshot:
By TONY SEED in the The Nova Scotia Advocate
The U.S.-based Halifax International Security Forum (HISF), known to the anti-war movement as the Halifax War Conference, returns to our city for the 11th year in a row from November 22 to 24.
For the 11th straight year, Haligonians will be opposing it, with two events Saturday, November 23rd: a rally at 1:00 p.m. at Halifax Peace & Freedom Park (formerly Cornwallis Park), Hollis and South Streets followed by a meeting and panel discussion at the Dalhousie University Student Union Building at 6:30 p.m., concerning the HISF and Obama’s visit to Halifax on November 13. This meeting will feature Margaret Kimberly, Senior Editor of Black Agenda Report. 
“This is an important opportunity for everyone to speak in their own name against war preparations and any role for Canada in aggression and war,” says Allan Bezanson, an organizer of the Halifax events from the No Harbour for War group, c-sponsor along with Halifax Peace Council, Global Afrikan Congress and others.
Haligonians have long declared that our city is ‘No Harbour for War!’ and should not provide a venue for warmongers and war criminals, and their handmaidens, to plan further aggression against the peoples of the world. Nor do we accept that the Canadian government should be funding this U.S.-based organization with tens of millions of dollars.
“This forum has simply stolen the name of our city. It has no organic connection whatsoever with Halifax except it is staged here. That is why we say, not in our name.”
The HISF does not reflect the desire of Haligonians for friendly relations with other countries, as epitomized by the recent conference hosted at Dalhousie, “The Cuban Revolution at 60” that highlighted Nova Scotia’s friendship with Cuba for over 100 years.
Some 300 participants from 75 countries – a dramatic expansion from 17 countries in the first 2009 HISF – will be taking part in this war conference, sponsored by NATO. One of the organizers very much in the headlines is Kurt Volker, the hawkish U.S. special representative to Ukraine, a participant in the HISF since 2009 and member of its agenda working group since 2012. 
At the 2018 HISF the Department of National Defence was represented by 25 participants from the Army, Navy and Air Force and military colleges – along with the Canadian Security Intelligence Network, Global Affairs, Veterans Affairs and MPs. Defence minister Harjit Sajjan declared that “Canada is punching above its weight” in its participation in NATO. He echoed the U.S. demand that “Russian aggression” become the chief security concern for Canada and NATO.
Of the 34 sessions, 28 are secret and held behind closed doors where everything is discussed and decided behind the backs of the Canadian people. Only six are “on the record” with video streaming and CPAC broadcasts for propaganda purposes. The HISF is aimed at pushing the foreign and military policy of Canadaand other NATO bloc members to be more aggressive and to disinform Canadian people, and is thus increasingly being condemned across Canada, not just in Halifax.
Opposition in Ontario
Rallies are being held this year in Ontario. In Toronto, the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace and the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) are uniting to protest at the NATO Association of Canada headquarters, 49 Yonge Street in the heart of the central business district.
Philip Fernandez of CPC(M-L) and an educator says, “The HISF is a matter not only for Haligonians but for all Canadians. The notion of security promoted by HISF is intrinsically linked to NATO and its aggressive agenda and demand for Canada to increase military spending by tens of billions of dollars.
“It is part of further integrating Canada into US Homeland Security, putting its people, lands, seas and harbours such as Halifax at the disposal of US imperialist aims. It is also linked to NATO’s political apparatus (of which the Canadian chapter is the NATO Association of Canada), which is pushing an agenda that opposition to NATO constitutes ‘foreign interference’ in Canadian affairs.” [[ii]]
“We are saying NO! to this war conference and staking our claim on Canada as a Zone for Peace!,” he affirms.
The Windsor Peace Coalition (WPC) is also raising its banner against the HISF at its weekly pickets held every Saturday from 11 to 12 p.m. in the border city.
Margaret Villamizar, spokesperson of the WPC and a foreign affairs analyst and journalist, says they are “posting information about the HISF and the demonstrations taking place against it on our Facebook Group, indicating that our picket this week will emphasize the need to get Canada out of the US war machine, so the holding of this secretive US /NATO war conference in Canada paid for out of public funds becomes a thing of the past.”
The WPC has been holding weekly pickets since 2007. “We have been quite persistent and as a result have a definite standing in the community.” It works together with Women in Black, who have their own weekly action and whose numbers include retired teachers and nurses, some well into their 80s.
Tamara Lorincz, a well known Halifax environmental and anti-war activist now doing a Ph.d in Ontario, has been leading the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace in monthly protests at the NATO branch headquarters as well as the Toronto offices of foreign minister Chrystia Freeland. She participated in organizing the inaugural protest against the first security forum in 2009.
Speaking on behalf of the women’s group at two public forums on foreign policy in Toronto and Windsor during the recent election organized by CPC(M-L), she gave spirited presentations entitled “Canada’s Role in NATO Must Be Ended and NATO Dismantled.” A former NDP candidate in Halifax West (finishing second to Liberal Geoff Regan), she argues that all the political parties sitting in parliament are pro-NATO. This is dangerous for Canadians and goes against their will.
The details of Canada’s military spending surprised many in attendance as to its extent. The Trudeau Liberals have worked to keep people in the dark all the while committing more than $500 billion for defence spending over the next 20 years, escalating the integration of the armed forces with the U.S. and deploying troops and warships to the Baltics, Poland, Ukraine, Iraq, Palestine, Mali, the Caribbean and Asia. The government places great importance on attracting youth from a very young age to identify with and join the military; the cadet program is the single largest youth program in the country. These billions being spent for war and destruction of the planet could be better used to serve human needs, she pointed out.
Opposition against NATO is unfolding on a national and international scale. For example, demonstrations have taken place yearly at the HISF dating back to the 60th anniversary of NATO in 2009. Internationally, actions took place in Washington DC at the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting on the occasion of its 70th anniversary and in other Canadian and American cities this past April. Actions will be held on December 3rd In Toronto and London to protest the NATO 70th anniversary events taking place in Britain which Trudeau is attending.
The propaganda about NATO being a successful organization is a lie since all its interventions have been failures. Tamara emphasized the importance of stepping up the organizing against NATO and its “We Are NATO” campaign. Everyone should be active in working for peace and against war, and the peace movement should take an active stand against NATO and for it to be dismantled.
 Margaret Kimberley of the Black Agenda Report will speak on her experience in organizing the anti-war movement in the USA. Other panelists, including Isaac Saney and El Jones, will speak on issues arising from the security forum, the previous week’s Obama visit and his legacy of drone warfare, the need to dismantle NATO and the need to develop a vibrant anti-war movement in Nova Scotia.
 In an October 24 press release, HISF President Peter Van Praagh stated that this year’s conference will “highlight the need for a coordinated strategic response among democratic allies to the challenge posed by China, the increasingly urgent problem of climate change, the security of our democratic systems from foreign interference, international law and order, inclusive security, and how the world is responding to American leadership.”
The press release indicates that the HISF is considered a platform where the U.S. will issue its dictate.
“As is customary, the conference features a delegation from the United States Congress, as well as leaders in the United States military and wider security community. Internationally, joining them from more than 75 countries are ministers, experts, chiefs of defense staff, and top media personalities.”