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.
At a time of such sensitivity for the world in general – and the Middle East in particular – the US and its strategic allies, including Israel, are attempting to create the conditions for war against Iran. Following on the heels of NATO’s recent attack on Libya and the current crisis in Syria, Iran appears to be the next target for regime change in the region. In the past few weeks Israel has suggested that it may bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. While this in itself is directly provocative, it is also part of Israel’s effort to build pressure on the US and the international community to isolate Iran.
Despite such provocations, the majority of people internationally continue to actively reject war, militarism, aggression, and colonialism; and they are demanding peace, sovereignty and solidarity.
Recent developments in Canada need to be analyzed within this global context. The election in May of the Conservative majority government is the single most important political event since our Extraordinary Renewal Convention in 2008, one which radically alters the country’s political landscape. The Harper government is the most reactionary government in Canada’s history. This fact alone is noteworthy, but what makes the electoral result even more significant is that virtually all sectors of capital in Canada supported the Conservatives, marking that party and its reactionary policies the chosen vehicle, at the federal level at least, for capital to attempt to find a way out of the deepening economic crisis. This is a change from the previous several years, when differing interests between the various sectors of capital meant that the Conservatives and the Liberals each received a similar amount of support from their respective bases in the ruling class, but articulated different policies in certain areas.
During the previous seven years of minority government, and even during the preceding Liberal majority governments, the peace movement had some ability to work with progressives within the opposition parties to expose the aggressive, militaristic and integrationist policies of the government and, to a limited extent, block some of the more extreme aspects of those policies. Key examples of this are the massive protests in 2003 that forced the government to reject direct military involvement in the invasion of Iraq and to maintain distance from that war and occupation; sustained public education and lobbying that has continued to deter Canadian participation in Ballistic Missile Defence and the weaponization of space; and the campaign to expose Canada’s complicity in the torture of Afghan detainees, which was so effective that the Harper government needed to prorogue Parliament in order to remain in power.
However, with the Harper Tories now holding majorities in both the House of Commons and the Senate, the ability to confront the corporate war agenda in the parliamentary arena has been severely diminished. This is particularly troublesome in light of the NDP’s endorsement of Harper’s military spending levels and of NATO’s aggression against Libya, with the latter campaign being opposed in Parliament only by Elizabeth May of the Green Party. While it remains vitally important to maintain and expand work with progressives in government, the focus for peace and progressive forces must now shift decisively to the extra-parliamentary struggle.
Such a shift will require an attendant reorientation in tactics, to build a strong and effective mass movement against the policies of imperialism in Canada and, through that work, to assert the peace agenda on Parliament. This requires clarifying the dynamics of imperialism in Canada and identifying tactics that can build the broadest possible movement to most effectively confront those forces.
The Canadian Peace Congress stands for peace, disarmament and genuine global security, the integrity and sovereignty of states, economic development and social justice, human rights and cultural heritage, and ecological preservation. Ourrole is:
- To become the leading anti-imperialist voice and centre for peace in Canada;
- To actively organize anti-imperialist forces in Canada into an effective movement which will confront the forces of militarism and war;
- To unite and work with other fraternal anti-imperialist organizations internationally led by the World Peace Council against neo-colonialism and war;
- To work with all peace, progressive, and democratic forces in order to unify, broaden and strengthen the movement for peace.
Foreign Policy and War Under the Harper Conservatives
During their minority government, the Harper Conservatives made several changes in policy that clearly indicate the trajectory of Canadian capital with respect to international issues. Paramount among these is the foreign policy orientation that is reflected in the war in Afghanistan. While Canada’s participation in this aggression was initiated under the Liberal government, it is under the Conservative government that it matured and assumed a central focus in international policy.
For a long time, the advanced sections of the peace movement have understood that the war in Afghanistan was never a localized conflict – it has been, from the beginning, part of a regional campaign that includes the war against Iraq and Israel’s role in the Middle East. Clearly, the war in Afghanistan is a key component in the drive by the United States (and its Canadian, British and NATO allies) to recolonize a huge, resource-rich area of the world. It is also about encircling China and establishing a large, US military presence near Russia and India. Canada’s involvement in the war is consistent with these objectives, as is Canadian foreign policy generally.
Beyond these objectives, however, the war in Afghanistan has an even deeper significance for the Canadian peace movement: it represents the practical arena in which a new direction/orientation in foreign policy is being tested and clarified. Key elements to this policy shift include:
A deliberate and dramatic shift away from UN-oriented multilateralism toward an “ad-hoc” multilateralism, represented by makeshift “coalitions of the willing” that amount to little more than gangster politics on a global scale;
A heightened emphasis on NATO and identifying a new role for that military alliance, as projected in NATO’s new Strategic Concept;
A rejection of longstanding government policies in favour of Palestinian self-determination, and a sharp turn toward pro-Zionist positions throughout the Middle East region;
A more aggressive posture in foreign policy, with greater emphasis placed on military action, sanctions, terror lists, etc., instead of on development, diplomacy, cooperation, and peace;
More frequent unilateral expressions of Canada’s imperialist interests, different from but still in combination with the continuation of the longstanding policy of using US and NATO policy as cover;
Increased and comprehensive efforts to identify, justify and promote new pretexts for imperialist aggression.
A more brash statement of Canadian economic interests being key to foreign policy developments.
These policy shifts are at play in Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan, and they reverberate through key aspects of Canadian international and military policy under the Harper Conservatives. Perhaps the clearest example of how foreign policy has developed in light of the war in Afghanistan is the Conservatives’ half-trillion dollar Canada First Defence Strategy (CFDS), the government’s blueprint for defence and foreign policy. As the Canadian Peace Congress noted at our 2008 convention, CFDS emerged directly from the experience in Afghanistan and represents an enormous reorientation in Canadian foreign policy with profound implications for domestic policy:
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.”
CFDS elevates commitments to NATO, NORAD, NORTHCOM, the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) and the Civil Assistance Plan, the latter permitting US troops on Canadian soil in the event of a “civil emergency”, above all other Canadian international obligations and treaties. As such CFDS actually weakens Canadian sovereignty by subordinating Canadian defence policy to the global military strategy of the US and NATO.
Fear mongering about alleged threats to Canadian security is the method used by the Conservative government to justify massive transfers of public finances, without Parliamentary approval, to foreign and domestic defence contractors to stimulate a speculative expansion of the economy. This is what is meant by the “military partnership with Canadian industry”.
CFDS is profoundly undemocratic and was implemented without seeking Parliamentary approval and commits $492 billion over 20 years on top of the $5.3 billion already allocated in 2006 approaching 2.2% of GDP all to guarantee the profits of defence contractors and investors. The Canadian government policy of the rapid militarization of the economy is the only job creation project the Government has to offer youth, the unemployed and the underemployed. CFDS cannot be implemented without sacrificing the needs of public health care, pensions, child care, senior’s needs, low cost housing and the peaceful development of the country.
Since winning a majority, the Conservatives have moved quickly and aggressively to implement new imperialist policies. In addition to continuing their previous policies of increasing military spending, pursuing the war in Afghanistan, promoting deeper integration of military and foreign policy with the United States and NATO, and an aggressively pro-Zionist policy toward the Middle East, the new Conservative government has:
- Enthusiastically promoted and participated in the imperialist attack on Libya, with a shameful vote of support by the government that had only one member opposing and 307 (including the entire NDP caucus) supporting;
- Announced its intention to secure rights to build military bases in other countries around the world;
- Indicated it will pursue a policy of militarization in the Arctic, combined with the development of shipping routes and resource extraction industries in that region;
- Overseen espionage projects by military intelligence against aboriginal peoples and organizations in Canada;
- Announced the introduction of severe austerity measures – combined with massive military spending increases – that will eliminate thousands of jobs and reduce or eliminate social programs for millions of Canadian people, and accelerate the shift of taxation from corporations and the wealthy, onto working people;
- Intensified its campaign against trade union rights by interfering in high-profile labour disputes in both the private and public sectors, including taking the extraordinary step of legislating workers back to work and imposing a contract settlement that was worse than the terms the employer had proposed.
Changing Role of NATO: The Visible Fist of Imperialism
Many of the recent shifts in Canada’s international policy have their roots in the geopolitical and economic changes that took place two decades ago. The deep economic recession of the early 1990’s, exacerbated by increased capitalist trade liberalization beginning in the 1980’s, generated a comprehensive restructuring of the economy in which some entire sectors were decimated and some new sectors of Canadian capital emerged and grew. Globally, the process of trade liberalization and sweeping technological developments meant huge changes to economies around the world – sparking extensive discourse about how to reorient in order to identify and exploit new global opportunities.
Alongside these economic changes, the central geopolitical development at this time was the sudden, unexpected end of the Cold War. Huge areas of the world were now viewed as “opened up” to Western capitalism, whose member states were jockeying for the best and biggest slices of the pie. The result was a dramatic and dangerous sharpening of inter-imperialist rivalries. It also meant the sudden loss of NATO’s raison d’etre.
For over four decades, NATO had served as a key mechanism for imperialist aggression and expansion, with its roots as an anti-Soviet institution that was dominated by the military-industrial complex of the United States. With the end of the Cold War, NATO embarked on a long effort to redefine itself and legitimize its continued existence; each time with increasingly tragic and violent conclusions. Since 1991, NATO has been the key participant in the bombardment and forced division of Yugoslavia, numerous reactionary coups and countless bloody regimes and dictatorships. The military alliance has played a central, aggressive and illegal role in the war in Afghanistan and, more recently, in Libya.
As the Canadian Peace Congress noted in 2009, Afghanistan was a key moment in the search for a new international role for NATO:
NATO’s ongoing war against Afghanistan is the current “theatre of operations” for the new strategic concept, and it clearly exposes the intent of U.S. imperialism and its NATO and EU allies to perpetuate in the 21st century the cycle of wars of aggression, militarization and economic crisis that characterized the 20th century. Afghanistan represents two significant and troublesome “firsts” for the alliance: it is the first time NATO has undertaken a mission outside of the North Atlantic arena, and it was the first time that the alliance’s “mutual defence” clause had been invoked. Both of these developments were nothing less than desperate attempts to secure a role for NATO in the world.
Part of NATO’s new role in the world includes the drive to deeply integrate itself with the United Nations, further weakening both that organization and the institutions of international law. As NATO, and imperialism generally, seek new pretexts for interference and war, it has tried to distort the UN and its institutions in order to provide much needed moral and political cover for what is, in fact, illegal aggression. At the same time, however, peace-loving forces of the world trying to push the route of diplomacy and take advantage of the available channels in the UN for negotiations between states. This struggle at the UN is reflective of the struggle globally.
Canada’s contribution to NATO’s search for a new role in the world has been shameful. In addition to supporting and participating in the aggressions against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Libya, Canada was a central player in facilitating the 2002 transfer of command of the Afghanistan mission from the United Nations to NATO. The Harper government’s repeated extensions of Canadian involvement in the Afghanistan war, and its commitment of Canadian warships and fighter planes to the invasion of Libya are part of an effort to expand and prolong NATO’s active presence around the world.
The sweeping changes in Canadian foreign policy and the search for a new role for NATO are intimately related. For the peace movement, it is important to understand why the Canadian state, under successive Liberal and Conservative governments, has been so committed to both projects.
A key moment in the political discussion about Canada’s role in the “post-Soviet” world is represented by the 1999 Symposium of the Conference of Defence Associations. The CDA is an old and extremely influential advocacy group, whose membership is made up of over 50 military organizations in Canada. It is large, well-connected and well-financed, with part of its funding coming from the Department of National Defence – it is clear that when CDA speaks, DND listens.
The 1999 symposium was focused on changing strategic assessment within the context of the massive geopolitical changes mentioned above. Specifically, the symposium identified the following strategic issues:
the pressing need for reorientation in Canadian foreign policy (military and economic) in light of the end of the Cold War;
the rise of China as a political and economic world power, a rise characterized as “the most serious challenge to Western interests in the Pacific”;
the importance of retaining and developing NATO as a counter-balance to changing geopolitics that challenge Western interests;
the destabilization of the Central Asian states as a strategic and economic opportunity, and specific opportunities for Canada in the vast energy reserves of the Central Asian region;
the necessity for Canada to integrate military and economic issues within foreign policy discussions, in order to exert global influence and reap economic benefit;
the government of Iraq – characterized as a “rogue state” – as a barrier to securing Western interests in the Central Asian region.
Virtually every one of the above concerns has assumed a central place in Canadian foreign policy over the past ten years. While these policies have been advanced most aggressively by the Harper Conservatives, they have been a key preoccupation of successive federal governments for over two decades; they do not represent the political direction of individual governments, so much as of the capitalist state in general. In the current context of deepening capitalist crisis – in particular one that has severely weakened Canada’s largest trading partner, the United States – these policy changes have been accelerated.
The key conduit for Canada to pursue this imperialist agenda is NATO – it is the visible fist of imperialism. Canada’s participation in NATO and its complicity with the alliance’s policy of aggression and domination has directly drawn the country into recent wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Libya. NATO’s strategic view of the Middle East and the role that the state of Israel plays in that vision has undoubtedly been a factor in the dramatic changes in Canada’s foreign policy toward Palestine, which is now nothing more than embarrassing parroting of U.S. policy and, in some public positions, has even appeared more aggressive that U.S. positions. Beyond that, these ventures and the spectre of future ones are used to both justify huge increases in Canadian military spending and to prescribe the type and direction of military development.
Membership in NATO requires an abdication of Canadian sovereignty in the areas of military and foreign policy, and it necessarily means that a growing amount of domestic legislation is subject to the policies of the military alliance. Through membership in NATO, Canada is committed to helping to pay for the maintenance of NATO’s nuclear armaments around the world and to developing and contributing to NATO’s nuclear policy. Through NATO’s nuclear sharing program and its longstanding nuclear first-strike policy Canada is brought into the group of nuclear weapons states, despite the fact that Canada is officially a nuclear weapons free state and that a majority of Canadians favour nuclear disarmament.
Since NATO is overwhelmingly a tool for US imperialism – which not only directs the alliance but also uses it as a method for internationalizing its own massive military budget – Canada’s participation deepens the submersion of foreign and military policy into that of the US. Given Canada’s economic dependence upon the United States, this impacts directly on Canadian government policies toward resource and industrial development in Canada. At present, while workers and their communities in Canada are devastated by soaring and long-term unemployment, aggravated by the dismantling and export of the value-added manufacturing sector, the country’s economy is narrowly directed toward aggressive resource extraction and its wholesale export to the United States. Canada’s resources – oil, gas, hydroelectric power, water, minerals and lumber – are increasingly exploited and controlled by US corporations, to the benefit of the US war machine and a handful of the very wealthy.
The side effects of this combined international-economic policy include ongoing wars and occupations around the world, impoverishment and displacement of Canadian workers, and continuation of the internal colonial and genocidal policies toward Aboriginal nations. While these policies are not specific to NATO countries they are related to and bolstered by Canada’s participation in NATO, which is clearly not only a threat to world peace but is an increasingly dangerous and self-destructive policy for Canada.
Canada’s withdrawal from NATO is a necessary first step to securing an independent foreign policy of peace, disarmament and international cooperation for Canada. This has been the policy of the Canadian Peace Congress since 1949. An increasing number of peace and progressive organizations are coming to the same conclusion, providing the base for a large campaign against Canada’s membership in NATO and for the complete dissolution of the military alliance.
Strengthening the Peace Movement Through Anti-Imperialist Solidarity
Clearly, Canadian imperialism is an active participant in an aggressive assault on sovereignty, living conditions, and social and democratic rights of people all around the world. It has a comprehensive program, closely combining foreign and domestic policies, around which the key sectors of capital have found a consensus. Alongside these developments, there are many recent examples of the Canadian people mobilizing against policies of imperialism in our country. The G8 and G20 meetings in Canada last year were met with huge protests, despite a massive police and military presence. The subsequent mass arrest and detention of protestors prompted broad and determined mobilizations for government and police accountability. Many cities across the country have held large and militant demonstrations against austerity plans, and the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US has been echoed by similar militant actions in several Canadian areas.
One key role of the anti-imperialist and peace movement is working to draw these forces together and providing them with a clear analysis and tactical proposals that can focus the people’s energy and anger against capitalism’s militaristic agenda. We need to reflect the scope of imperialist policies in our own struggle by exposing the links between austerity measures and militarism, between capitalist crisis and the drive to war, between imperialist expansion and the erosion of sovereignty and democracy. Our ability to advance the work for peace is dependent upon the extent to which we are able to build active and dynamic links with other sections of progressive struggle – including labour, students, aboriginal peoples, women, environmentalist – and strengthen a coherent anti-imperialist voice within the ongoing campaigns against war and militarism.
There is a direct connection between the strength of the anti-imperialist movement and the strength of the peace movement as a whole. This became apparent, in a negative way, during NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999. As a result of ideological softness among the broad peace movement, the imperialist camp, including Canada, was able to play sections of the people’s movements against one another and obscure the real basis of the conflict: smashing the infrastructure of the last socialist-oriented state in Europe and forcibly reorienting the Yugoslav economy toward Western neoliberalism, and the attendant inter-imperialist rivalry over who would gain the spoils of victory. Ironically, the real basis for the war was also the basis for mass unity against NATO’s aggression.
Unfortunately, however, during the late 1990’s the Canadian Peace Congress had fallen into a period of very low activity and nearly disappeared altogether. This meant that we were much less able to promote either a clear political and tactical position for the broader peace movement, or broad unity in action of the movement as a whole. Consequently, without diminishing the very real and sustained efforts that were made by specific organizations and communities, the outcry over NATO’s aggression was brief, small and fractured.
The re-emergence of the Canadian Peace Congress in 2006 brought the organized anti-imperialist voice back into the Canadian peace movement, and the current situationallows us to develop a much stronger anti-imperialist alliance of forces. Although still growing in strength and influence, the Congress has quickly managed to inject a strong anti-imperialist analysis into the discourse of the peace movement in Canada. Our principled positions for nuclear disarmament, against US harassment of DPR Korea, for renewed protests against the occupation of Afghanistan, and opposing NATO aggression against Libya, Syria and Iran have been echoed by several other peace and solidarity organizations. Our work to expose the “Responsibility to Protect” as yet another pretext for imperialist interference has helped to reduce support for R2P and marginalize its advocates.
Through its engagement with the peace and progressive movements, the Canadian Peace Congress is developing an independent political life of its own, which is indispensable to the task of uniting the whole peace movement of our country in the struggle to defeat the small circle of finance capitalist war makers and arms profiteers. It was this understanding that led the Congress, under the slogan that “Peace is Everybody’s Business”, to work with others to unite the many elements of the Canadian peace movement in 1985 under the umbrella of the Canadian Peace Alliance, which remains the country’s largest umbrella peace group. The Canadian Peace Congress continues to work with the CPA, the World Peace Forum and other peace groups, promoting coordinated joint actions. Through these efforts, we will eventually place our country among the front ranks of the majority of humankind that struggle for peace.
The Congress’ ability to fulfil its role as the leading anti-imperialist voice in the Canadian peace movement is related to and strengthened by its participation and solidarity with the World Peace Council and its international fraternal organizations. The WPC Assembly in 2008 united nearly 130 organizations from 75 countries for an intensive and comprehensive discussion of the dynamics of imperialism and the struggle for peace worldwide. That event, and our ongoing work as members of the WPC Executive Committee, has proven invaluable as we develop, test and clarify our positions and tactics. As such, our efforts to deepen the strength, reach and voice of the Congress work hand-in-hand with our efforts to strengthen the WPC internationally. Building for the next World Peace Assembly, in 2012 in Nepal, will be an important continuation of that work.
Building the Canadian Peace Congress
Since our 2008 Convention, we have accomplished many tasks. Chief among them was the successful organization of the Second Trilateral Peace Conference of the WPC, involving the peace committees from Canada, the United States and Mexico with participation from Cuba and the WPC President, Socorro Gomes. The Trilateral Conference was important in that it increased our understanding of the dynamics of imperialism in North America, and helped to expand the profile of the Peace Congress among progressive organizations in Canada. Efforts to organize the Third Trilateral Conference have already begun, and this will be a critical step toward building coordinated action by the anti-imperialist peace forces throughout the continent.
Our communications, while sporadic at times, have generally improved over this period. Our web site continues to provide excellent updates from the WPC and its member organizations, and be the main vehicle for statements and news from the Congress. The Peace Congress Executive issued statements on the crisis in Korea, aggression against Libya and Syria, NATO, Canadian foreign bases, and Harper’s prorogation of Parliament – all of which were widely distributed and sparked excellent debates within the peace movement. We have recently begun to develop our presence in social media, including Facebook, and produced an internet-based video as part of our federal election work. We need to build upon this solid beginning and commit to producing a regular newsletter that could be distributed in both print and electronic forms.
While modest, the Congress has experienced some growth since 2008. We have a new peace council in St. Catharines, new affiliated organizations and several new contacts, some of whom are interested in forming peace councils. Soon after our convention we should develop a plan for building local councils, including resource materials and an organizing tour by the President. Growth includes quantitative and qualitative dimensions, and we need to consider strategies that can contribute to both.
Related to this, there has recently been some progress in rebuilding the Quebec Peace Council. The Congress President has had discussions with peace activists in Quebec, some of whom are here at our convention, as a step in their efforts to re-found the QPC. This is a very welcome development. Historically, the QPC has been a separate organization from the CPCon, and affiliated directly to the WPC, but with a deep level of cooperation and communication between the two organizations. As the rebuilding progresses, we will work to ensure that this relationship is also rebuilt and strengthened.
The Congress has stable finances, but they are too modest for our needs. Due to cost, the Executive Committee was unable to consistently meet through teleconference and had to conduct most of its work through email. This is not a good situation, as it lends itself to sporadic communications and does not help us to build collectivity at the executive level. We have recently secured a very inexpensive teleconference room, and we are confident that this should make for a very big improvement in the work of the executive. The incoming Executive Committee must develop a fundraising plan, which should include a regular financial appeal, fundraising events, and materials for sale. Fundraising needs to be considered from a perspective that attends to the needs of the local councils, the Congress, and the WPC. This will be particularly important as we approach the World Peace Assembly in 2012, which will be and important event but very expensive.
On behalf of the Congress, the President participated in WPC Executive Committee meetings in Damascus and Havana, a WPC Secretariat meeting in Brussels, and the International “Disarm Now!” conference during the UN’s NPT Review meeting in New York. Through these meetings, we have been able to initiate a network against militarization of the Arctic, involving WPC member organizations that border on the Arctic. While we should continue our participation in international meetings, we need to also increase our official attendance at conferences and forums in Canada.
At the 2008 Convention, we discussed a bold campaign to oppose Canada’s participation in military alliances, with NATO being the focus. While we did some anti-NATO work, this campaign did not materialize in a coherent manner. We need to elevate the importance of public campaigning as a key vehicle for influencing public opinion, engaging other peace and progressive forces, and building the Congress.
We should also devote some thought and discussion to the task of writing, compiling and recording a history of the Canadian Peace Congress. Currently, our archives reside at McMaster University and the fonds includes archival material from local peace councils. A careful and comprehensive effort to write the Congress history can provide a valuable resource for our ongoing work in Canada and internationally through the World Peace Council.
Coming out of this convention, we should focus on seven major campaign areas:
Continue and expand our campaign against NATO, demanding Canada’s withdrawal and the military alliance’s dissolution, including the development of a cross-Canada anti-NATO tour and participation in the “Retire NATO” activities in Chicago in May 2012;
Continue our opposition to Canada’s active involvement in wars in Afghanistan, Haiti and Libya, working to immediately withdraw Canadian military and to end those conflicts, and to build opposition to aggression and war against Syria and Iran;
Continue and expand our campaign against military spending in Canada, which is at its highest levels since before World War 2 and continuing to rise, with special emphasis on engaging the trade union movement and on pressuring the NDP;
Develop a new campaign to oppose the development of Canadian military bases in foreign countries, to link this with the WPC campaign against foreign military bases, and to relate this issue to that of Canadian resource industries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean;
Develop a new campaign to oppose militarization of the Arctic and make it an international zone of peace, as described in our 2008 Convention Document, and to encourage cooperation and joint campaigning on this issue among WPC members organizations in circumpolar countries;
Work toward the Third Trilateral Peace Conference, between the peace committees in Canada, the United States and Mexico and with participation of the Cuban Movement for Peace, to be held in Cuba in 2012;
Develop a new campaign to end nuclear weapons and strengthen Canada’s commitment to a policy of no nuclear weapons, including opposition to building nuclear subs through the recently-awarded shipbuilding contracts to the Irvings;
Produce and distribute a regular, cross-country peace publication.
Slowly but surely, the anti-imperialist peace movement is growing in Canada, both in size and in influence. As this continues, we are better able to confront the policies of imperialism in Canada and promote a Peace Program for Canada. In this effort, we are propelled by the objectives and values we articulated at the 2008 Convention:
Peace is the objective condition necessary for the existence of human life and given today’s arsenals of nuclear weapons capable of destroying civilization, the existence of all life.
Peace and the survival of the planet are conditional upon the ability to overturn aggressive imperialism by the organized political and social actions of the vast majority of humankind.
The forces of peace and human progress in all continents declare that hunger, disease, poverty, lack of education and unemployment and abuse of the environment can never be solved by militarism, wars of aggression and occupation that perpetuate the dominance of a few powerful imperialist states over all of humanity.
The basic necessities of life and human happiness can only be achieved in a society that eradicates all of the causes of war.
Adopted by the Convention of the Canadian Peace Congress, November 25-26, 2011