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January 23, 2010

Put Parliament Back to Work: Throw Out the Harper War Criminals! by Dave McKee President, Canadian Peace Congress 22 January 2010






For the second year in a row, the minority Harper government is proroguing Parliament to avoid a crisis of confidence. Last year, the issue was outrage over the Conservatives' economic update, which sought to solve the economic crisis on the backs of working people. This time, the issue is the ongoing scrutiny into allegations of Canada's involvement in the torture of Afghan detainees.

The Canadian Peace Congress adds its voice to those of the labour movement, hundreds of progressive social and community organizations, and millions of Canadians who condemn this suspension of democracy as a move by the Conservatives to continue the war in Afghanistan, to avoid real solutions to the economic crisis and climate change, and to body-check Richard Colvin's explosive allegations that Canada and NATO have committed war crimes. We join in the call for ongoing and escalating protests against the Harper government, with a view to unifying all progressive forces into a movement that can throw out the minority Conservatives at the earliest opportunity.

The unjust, imperialist war in Afghanistan must be ended now – Canadian soldiers must be brought home immediately. The cost of the war currently tops $1.5 billion per year. Military spending in Canada is at its highest level since the Second World War, over $21 billion per year, and the Harper government wants to increase it even more. Harper's Canada First Defence Strategy commits the Canadian people to paying for 25 years of annual increases in military spending, to the tune of half a trillion dollars. These funds are needed – and available – to pay for Canada's eroding infrastructure and social service. They are needed for increases in EI and CPP levels, that can guarantee working people a dignified life through an economic crisis that they did not create.

Parliament must hold an immediate and full public inquiry into the allegations of Canadian participation in torture in Afghanistan. Torture is a war crime. If these allegations are found to be true – which seem likely – the government ministers and military leaders involved must be brought to trial.

As we stated during the prorogue in December 2008:

“The Canadian Peace Congress considers that an economic program to protect Canadians from the economic crisis will be successful if it also includes measures to reverse and reduce the Conservative policy of militarization of the economy. Militarism is an impediment, not a stimulus, to the economic expansion and job creation that can only come from public investment in infrastructure, public housing, public transit, environmental projects, justice for Aboriginal peoples, child care, public education, anti-poverty measures, and capital investments in peaceful production.”

This is a crucial moment. The labour movement and its allies, including the peace movement, must work to build a united, growing mass mobilization and action against the Harper Conservatives. A new and better world is needed.

Canadian Peace Congress Executive Council
January 22, 2010

About the Canadian Peace Congress:
The Canadian Peace Congress was formed in 1949 as an organization of Canadian people that works for world peace and disarmament. We maintain that peace, not militarism and war, is the guarantor of democracy, human rights, and social and economic justice. The Congress is affiliated to the World Peace Council and is a founding member of the Canadian Peace Alliance.

For more information on the Canadian Peace Congress, or to join, please contact:

Dave McKee
President, Canadian Peace Congress
dmckee@canadianpeacecongress.ca

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