Canada has ended its active role in the destructive and illegal bombing of Syria. This shows that public opposition to the airstrikes, along with the Syrian people’s resistance to both terrorism and “regime change” have affected Canadian government policy.
But Canada is continuing to assist the bombing campaign through reconnaissance and refuelling. The Trudeau government’s plan to expand Operation IMPACT, by tripling the number of advisers and assistants to the Iraqi Kurdish forces, is really a way to increase Canada’s “boots on the ground.” It also plays into the strategy of fragmenting Iraq into several smaller states.
The escalation will embroil Canada in another prolonged, dangerous and destructive war. Canadians must demand that Trudeau end all Canadian military involvement in the Middle East!
Canada must withdraw from Syria, oppose Turkey’s aggression
The Canadian Peace Congress is alarmed that NATO countries are escalating their aggression against Syria, and calls for the immediate and full withdrawal of all Canadian military from the region. Furthermore, Canada must condemn and oppose Turkey’s military action against Syrian government forces who are fighting terrorist organizations in Syria. The current surge in intervention by NATO countries will only deepen the suffering of the Syrian people, prolong the war that has already claimed 260,000 lives, and increase the risk of an expanded regional conflict.
It is shameful that, despite a grandiose pledge to withdraw Canadian fighter jets, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau actually increased the number of airstrikes against Syria. The US-led airstrikes were deliberately coupled with renewed material and organizational support to anti-government groups in Syria. Justin Trudeau’s statement that Canada will increase its troop presence for “training purposes” is completely in line with this agenda, and needs to be stopped.
The Canadian Peace Congress opposes any renewal, under any pretext, of imperialism’s war in Iraq. The Congress further calls, again, for Canada to reverse the process of military integration with the United States military, and for Canada to withdraw from NATO. These are concrete steps by which Canada can avoid being dragged into causing another humanitarian catastrophe, and instead assume a foreign policy of peace.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has led the calls for a new imperialist intervention in Iraq, using the argument that Western interests – and even the territory of Britain itself – are threatened by developments within Iraq. This argument is perverse. It is the Britain, the United States and Canada, directly and through NATO, who repeatedly invade and occupy one country after another – imperialism is the main threat to peace in the world. Blair and others are parroting the same thoroughly discredited arguments they used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq. No weapons of mass destruction were found after that murderous invasion, and this alone should serve as a reminder that imperialism’s true interests are not peace, democracy and security. Imperialism’s real interest is the division and re-division of the world, with war and aggression as tools to control the world’s resources in violation of the sovereignty and basic rights of the peoples of the world.
The Canadian Peace Congress condemns the ongoing foreign interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela, as part of their plan to destabilize the country and provoke “regime change.” The Congress calls upon all peace and progressive forces in Canada to express their solidarity with the Venezuelan people, who have the right to determine the path of their social and economic development, free from foreign provocation.
The violent attacks against the Venezuelan people and their democratically elected government began on February 10, involving masked demonstrators armed with Molotov cocktails, rocks and even sniper rifles. The leader of the right-wing Popular Will Party, Leopoldo Lopez, incited these events. Lopez is a member of one of the wealthiest families in Venezuela, and participated directly in the failed coup attempt in 2002. Since the election of Nicholas Maduro to succeed Hugo Chavez as president, Lopez and other wealthy oligarchs have worked with foreign powers to destabilize the country through economic sabotage and, now, through a widespread campaign of violence.
The Canadian Government Must Support Peace and Self-Determination, Not War and Occupation!
The Executive Council of the Canadian Peace Congress (CPCon) condemns the recent and escalating aggression by Israel against the Palestinian territory of Gaza. The Congress declares its solidarity with the people of Palestine, and reiterates its support for an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
We condemn the hypocritical and war-mongering position of the Harper Conservative government, who immediately stated its support for Israel’s aggression. Despite efforts to cloak Israel’s attacks with the language of “self-defense” and “anti-terrorism”, the reality is that the current aggression is part of a long history of provocation, aggression, truce violations, political assassinations, collective punishment and other criminal actions by Israel against the Palestinian people. We call upon the Canadian government to reverse its support for the aggressive actions of Israel, and to press the Netanyhu government for an immediate ceasefire and to open genuine peace negotiations.
The Canadian government is called upon to act for peace, not promote war
The Canadian Peace Congress condemns the ongoing foreign intervention in Syria and the escalating drive to war against Iran, and calls for the immediate withdrawal of all Canadian, NATO and foreign mercenary forces from the region. We further call upon the Conservative government of Stephen Harper to restore and normalize its diplomatic relations with Syria and Iran, and to re-orient Canadian foreign policy toward peace, international cooperation and solidarity.
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.
No to Austerity and Repression!
The Canadian Peace Congress condemns the repressive anti-protest law of the Charest government, Bill 78, and extends its full solidarity with the Quebec student strike.
By subjecting the right to protest to police permission and control, Bill 78 attacks the main vehicle for mobilization to stop the mounting imperialist wars and military spending of the Canadian government under Stephen Harper. The same police repression which uses rubber bullets, sound bombs, and mass arrests and detention against peaceful students was also used against anti-G20 protests in Toronto in 2010, and could be used next against the peace movement and other progressive forces. The student strike in Quebec has been winning broad support, including from the labour movement, to defeat this repression and prevent it from advancing to even further stages.
Bill 78 and the accompanying police violence are part of a deliberate and accelerating growth of militarism in Canada, a policy emanating from the Harper Conservatives in Ottawa and echoed by many provincial and municipal governments. These developments represent the interests of corporate Canada, who promote an increasingly aggressive foreign policy for Canada. The main vehicle for this international role is NATO, through which Canada participated in the wars on Afghanistan and Libya, and is driving toward new wars on Syria and Iran.
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.
Contribution of Canadian Peace Congress to World Peace Council European Region and Secretariat Meeting in Brussels, October 17-18, 2011
First, I want to thank the Greek Peace Committee and Comrade Angourakis of the KKE for hosting and organizing this meeting, and for making it possible for Canada to participate. We have had another excellent report from each of the President and the General Secretary, and the discussion yesterday and today has been rich and rewarding. We always find these international meetings to be enormously helpful to our work in Canada against imperialism and for peace, and this encounter is particular important to us as we approach some key tasks in the coming months.