Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist)

Defence of sea rights

We can’t depend on the bourgeoisie

First Published: The Forge, Vol. 1, No. 7, March 25, 1976
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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According to recent news, Canada is planning to unilaterally declare a 200 mile fishing zone as of January 1. This will happen if the World Law of the Seas Conference does not reach common agreement.

In order to better guarantee the application of any decision on this issue, bilateral agreements have been signed with Norway, France, Spain, Portugal and Poland, all second world countries. These agreements recognize Canada’s rights over the 200-mile zone.

There’s still one country which is holding back from signing an agreement. Guess who?... of course it’s the Soviet Union, the superpower which lurks off our coasts like a shark, devouring all our fish.

In general, it’s a good move on Canada’s part. For a long time now, the East coast fishermen have been expecting Canada to take firmer positions.

But this poses one question in particular. Is Canada ready to defend these agreements militarily? One look at the Atlantic fleet would lead us to say no. Canada has only 12 helicopter-carrying destroyers and 3 submarines for a zone that extends from Greenland to the southern tip of Nova Scotia. Add a few squadrons of Argus reconnaissance planes (long-range capacity) and Tracker planes (medium-range capacity) and that’s all there is.

The bourgeoisie has decided to update its equipment. But even if material is important, the experience of other countries has shown us that the decisive factor is the people.

Iceland gives us an eloquent example of defence of the 200-mile fishing zone. This small country of 200,000 people, even without a military fleet, is able to hold back a sea power like Great Britain in the current “cod war”. Why? Because the Icelandic people are clearly determined to defend their rights.

Maritime fishermen have also shown their determination to defend their rights, especially against Soviet pillage.

The Soviet Union continues to plunder Canada’s coastal waters despite its “commitments” and “promises” to respect fishing quotas.

Statistics released by Ottawa show that the social-imperialists exceeded the quota set on capelin by 100 percent off the northern Grand Banks and by 50 percent on the southern Grand Banks. While the government hesitated over what to do about the invasion and pillage of this superpower. Canadian fishermen didn’t stand around idly. Several times over the past few years, they have shot at the Russian fishing boats and sabotaged their nets. It didn’t take them long to learn how to talk to these pirates.

The recent statements made by R. Cashin of the Fishermen’s Union leave no doubt: the Maritime fishermen are still just as determined.

One cannot say as much for the bourgeoisie, which doesn’t show itself at all ready to defend the interests of the large masses of people to the end against the pillage of the superpowers. And it is even less ready to prepare them for a new world conflict.

It can make some correct decisions which we must support – like increasing the defence potential of the country, extending Canada’s jurisdiction to 200 sea miles. But only the Canadian proletariat is determined to defend the interests of the people to the end. It is an essential task of the revolutionary and conscious proletariat to prepare the mages to defend themselves against pillage and aggression.