February 6, 2014

Part 3 of 4: Canada -- a country of many nations

Taken from Canada's Future is Socialism, The programme of the CPC.

In this excerpt:

  • The Metis nation;
  • Aboriginal peoples;
  • The policy of genocide;
  • Acute poverty and oppression;
  • For immediate achievement of national rights

The Metis nation

The Metis nation emerged in the period of merchant capitalism in the 18th century based on the fur trade and was mainly situated along the rivers flowing into Hudson Bay. The assertion of national rights by the Metis in the rebellions of 1869-70 and 1885 was brutally crushed by the dominant English-speaking ruling class, who were backed by the expansionary industrial capitalism of Ontario and Quebec.

Nevertheless, the resistance of the Metis led to the establishment of the province of Manitoba and helped keep alive the spirit of resistance against all national privileges in Canada today.

Aboriginal peoples

The Aboriginal peoples had been in Canada for thousands of years when the first white settlers arrived. Prior to European settlement, the social organization of many Aboriginal communities was progressing – depending on the development of the productive capacities of each community – from smaller, dispersed and relatively isolated tribes into more complex, organized and technologically advanced societies.

But European colonization and subjugation of the Aboriginal peoples interrupted and arrested this nation-building process.

The policy of genocide

Colonization and capitalist industrialization in Canada developed at the expense of its original inhabitants. The resistance of the Aboriginal peoples to colonial encroachment was brutally crushed. A policy of genocide was adopted by the state, which continues today in economic, social and cultural forms.

There was the extermination of the Beothuk in Newfoundland, the scalp bounty on the Mi’kmaq in the Maritimes, the enslavement of some and the deliberate starvation and infection of others with deadly diseases, their forced relocation onto remote and impoverished reserves, the abduction of their children and consignment to residential schools where many were sexually assaulted, and brutalized for speaking their own language, and the organized suppression of their culture, including the banning of the communal Potlatch.

Such is the record of Canadian history.

Presently, Aboriginal peoples have the highest rates of suicide, infant mortality, impoverishment, and incarceration in Canada, with a life expectancy of less than 50 years.

Deprived of their human rights, their equality rights, and their inherent rights to land and self-government, Aboriginal peoples continue to be victims of state sponsored policies of genocide.

Acute poverty and oppression

Even today, the state, acting on behalf of finance capital, refuses to recognize the status and national rights of Aboriginal peoples. This has produced acute poverty and oppression on the reserves and other areas inhabited by the Aboriginal peoples.

Denied an adequate land base, acceptable living standards, the ability to live in their traditional manner, or the opportunity to mount successful cooperative commercial operations where they live, Aboriginal people for many years have migrated to urban areas where they face high unemployment, discrimination and the further destruction of their cultural identity.

Immediate achievement of national rights

The Communist Party struggles for immediate redress of historic injustices to Aboriginal peoples. This must include preferential treatment in the provision of housing, health care, education, and job creation, as a priority. Furthermore, immediate achievement of national rights, just and early settlement of land claims and self-government will help to improve the prospect for the fuller development of several Aboriginal peoples as nations, a process that the Communist Party fully supports.

The CPC also supports the struggle of those nations such as the Cree in Northern Quebec who are seeking full recognition of their right of self-determination.

Today, there is a renewed spirit of insurgency among the Aboriginal peoples. There is increasing unity between various Aboriginal peoples in their individual and particular struggles against the capitalist state. The Communist Party supports the increasing unity of the Aboriginal peoples in their just struggle.

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