As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads rapidly around the globe, claiming many thousands of lives in its path, Canadians
Goa, India 26-28 November 2014
The Executive Committee of the WPC took place in the Indian city of Goa from 26-28 November 2014. The meeting, hosted by the All India Peace and Solidarity Organisation (AIPSO), concluded after discussions on the threats to peace in different parts of the world with the following statement:
The World Peace Council, in its 65th year of struggle, salutes the peace loving forces of the world and calls upon them to fight together with the WPC and its member organizations, against imperialism and its brutal wars, for Peace.
The WPC identifies today the enemy of peace in the world to be imperialism in all its forms of expression, ideologically, politically, militarily and economically. Despite the economic crisis the military expenditure last year (2013), according to SIPRI, has reached worldwide in 2013 the $1,474 trillion, which constitute the 2,4 % of the global GDP. We underline that 37 % of this sum is spent by the USA alone and that altogether the military spending of the USA, NATO and its allies constitute the vast majority of world spending. The WPC demands the drastic cuts in the military budgets and the respective dedication to social welfare.
We Must Still Work “To End All War”
A Peoples’ Response to the Centenary of the First World War
The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in human history, a tragedy that killed 17 million people, including 67,000 Canadians. It was described as “the war to end all war.”
A century later, the peace and progressive movements in Canada mark this anniversary by reminding ourselves that the “Great War” did not end all war. Today, the military potential to destroy lives and a liveable environment is at a terrifying level and continues to rise.
Everyday, all over the world, people suffer from armed conflict, military build-up, occupation, acts of intimidation and aggression, proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, and countless acts of violence in communities and homes.
We declare that the end of all war will be achieved by the elimination of policies of military supremacy, first use of nuclear weapons, preemptive war and permanent war – the doctrines of imperialism. The end of war will be achieved by comprehensive and mutual disarmament. Peace cannot be achieved through provocation and aggression.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War One, the “war to end all war”. We expect the Harper Conservative government and the Canadian military to mark this event by unleashing a full, frontal assault of narrow nationalist, militaristic propaganda. This will be carefully engineered to try to generate support for recent and ongoing military campaigns – the coup d’etat in Libya, the occupation of Afghanistan, the provocation against the government of Ukraine, the imperialist intervention in Syria – as well as for increased military spending, deeper participation in NATO and other aspects of Harper’s aggressive foreign policy.
In contrast to this, the Canadian Peace Congress is initiating a cross-Canada campaign to facilitate of 100-day peace-oriented forum for commemorations of the centenary of WWI.
The “To End All War” campaign has four main objectives:
Canadian Peace Alliance Statement on Federal Budget 2013
The Leaky Department of National Defence
March 21, 2013
For the third year in a row, a document has been “leaked” to the press warning of cuts to military spending just as the federal budget is due to be released.
The reality is the Conservatives have overseen billions in additional spending on the Canadian forces. When they came into office in 2006, spending on the military was $15 billion. Even with the proposed reductions, they are due to spend roughly $19 billion each year.
That extra $4 billion is enough to provide free post-secondary tuition for all Canadian students. It would also be enough to provide adequate housing for all Canadians living on the streets or to hire almost 40,000 nurses. Harper wants to fund war instead.
Dave McKee, President of the Canadian Peace Congress and a member of the Executive Committee of the World Peace Council, is currently on tour in Ontario. He is meeting with people across the province, to discuss the impact that NATO membership has on Canada’s foreign and domestic policies. Dave presents the case that Canada needs to withdraw from NATO, in order to develop an independent foreign policy that is based on peace, international cooperation and solidarity.
This tour is part of a larger Canadian Peace Congress Campaign Against NATO, and is a continuation of a very successful tour of Western Canada last year.
Dear sisters, brothers, comrades and friends,
It is my pleasure to bring you solidarity greetings from the Canadian Peace Congress. We want to thank and congratulate our host, the Nepal Peace and Solidarity Council, for preparing this Assembly and allowing all of the peace and anti-imperialist forces of the world to gather for this important meeting. We also salute the people of Nepal, whose continued progressive struggle has brought about the change from a monarchy to the Federal Democratic Republic, along with many other important social and political developments in recent years.
As well, we want to thank the General Secretary and President of the WPC, for their committed and excellent leadership over the past 4 years since our last assembly in Caracas, and the Greek Peace Committee for continuing to provide the Executive Secretariat and headquarters.
This Assembly of the World Peace Council convenes at a critical moment for peace and progressive forces worldwide. Since our last Assembly in 2008, the global capitalist crisis has continued and deepened, and competition for resources, markets, influence and profits has grown much more fierce and desperate. In an effort to overcome the crisis and avoid economic collapse, capitalist countries are attacking the social, economic and political gains won by the working class over many decades of struggle.
Fighter Jet Program Also Used For Nuclear Weapons Development
Opposition to the Harper government’s proposal to purchase 65 F-35 fighter jets has been consistent and growing. Most of it is focused on the related issues of costs and corruption that are associated with the procurement. This is critically important – military spending should always be conducted in an open and transparent manner, and it must be justified in the context of broader public spending. In an era of high unemployment, deep cuts to social programs and harsh austerity programs that target working people, Harper’s intention of spending billions of dollars on fighter jets is thoroughly offensive, and it needs to be confronted and opposed by the largest possible mobilization of people.
The F-35 program is driven by the United States military and its NATO allies. In 1997, Canada signed onto the Joint Strike Fighter program, which was developed as a vehicle for the United States to capture international funding for a replacement jet fighter. Canada’s initial investment in 1997 was $10 million. In 2001 the JSF contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin, who developed what is now known as the F-35. By 2010, the international procurement process was underway and Stephen Harper announced that Canada would purchase 65 fighter jets, through an untendered purchase.
Main Political Report
Dear Sisters, Brothers and Friends,
This meeting of the Canadian Peace Congress convenes at a critical moment for peace and progressive forces worldwide. As the global, systemic economic crisis continues and deepens, competition for resources, markets, influence and profits has grown much more fierce and desperate. Capitalist governments have moved quickly to attack social and labour rights and impose severe austerity measures that will impoverish and marginalize masses of working people, at the same time that they are prosecuting wars and increasing military budgets. In response, popular resistance to these reactionary policies is building and spreading – from the progressive uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, to the anti-austerity movements in Greece and throughout Europe, to the “Occupy” protests in North America.
Alongside this resistance, imperialism has become much more aggressive, as witnessed by NATO’s violent regime change in Libya. While expansion and violence are constant features of imperialism, the current sharpening economic crisis has compelled capitalists to increasingly pursue military-based solutions. In part, this is related to the massive profits that can be quickly derived from a military economy. Beyond that, this increased aggressiveness also has the aim of co-opting and coercing popular movements, establishing new intelligence bases in strategic regions of the world, facilitating blockades and direct military involvement in foreign countries, and seeking out new pretexts for interference and war.
The Special Extraordinary Renewal Convention of the Canadian Peace Congress in Winnipeg Manitoba October 25th 2008 convenes at a moment when Canadian membership in NATO embroils Canada’s armed forces and commits public wealth to US instigated imperialist wars of aggression and occupation.
We declare our confidence in the deeply held beliefs of the Canadian people who uphold and support a foreign policy of peace and disarmament and express our support and solidarity for all of the progressive forces of peace and anti-imperialist solidarity that oppose aggressive US imperialism and its NATO-EU allies that foment wars and brutal occupations, revive the arms race and destabilize international relations and the global economy.
US imperialism and its NATO and EU allies seek to perpetuate in the 21st century the cycle of wars of aggression, militarization and economic crisis that characterized the 20th century resulting in two world wars, the use of nuclear weapons against civilian populations, the seizure of global resources and markets, the dismemberment of nations and the exploitation and impoverishment, including mass starvation of entire people’s.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Canada First Defence Strategy (CFDS) is in fact the foreign policy doctrine of the minority Conservative Government. CFDS is the manifesto of the most aggressive, chauvinistic and reactionary circles of Canadian finance capital seeking with a bigger military budget to strengthen its influence at the imperialist round tables in Washington and Brussels.
Prime Minister Harper flaunts military power as the sine qua non of Canadian diplomacy in international affairs. CFDS promotes the growth, modernization and combat readiness of the Canadian military and its interoperability with US military forces for one main reason, to commit Canada to current and future US-NATO wars, interventions and occupations as the first principle of Canadian government foreign policy. CFDS boasts of the experience gained by Canadian forces in Afghanistan as a “military that can operate far from home on a sustained basis”. According to Prime Minister Harper the ability to wage war is the path that will return Canada to the international stage as a “credible and influential country.”