We would like to thank the World Federation of Democratic Youth and our hosts, the Juventude Comunista Portuguesa, for organizing this important meeting. We meet on the eve of the JCP's 10th Congress to which we send warm fraternal greetings. We are confident our work today will strengthen the efforts of the WFDY in the European and North American region.
This year, 2014, marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of a social nightmare -- the First World War.
The Canadian government is launching a campaign to re-write history. To use this anniversary to celebrate militarism.
This is a horrible lie. The First World War saw close to 40 million civilian and military casualties.
Those who survived said: No! Never again!
The Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia helped end that war. The Soviet Union began to build a socialist society, based on peaceful cooperation.
Such history may seem dusty and old to some in our generation. But 100 years later it still frames our struggle, as the progressive youth grow more determined in our fight for the future, and we in WFDY advance the slogan of revolutionary social transformation.
Today our meeting comes at a critical juncture when we are again seriously considering the possibility of regional and global war.
In the context of the continued economic crisis of capitalism and the failure of the imperialists of either "force feeding" their economies through stimulus spending, or imposing austerity measures, the United States Obama administration, NATO and the European Union are again beating the drums of war -- with the full support of the Harper Conservative government in Canada.
We are here today from to say clearly to the youth of the world: No! This must not pass!
As the progressive youth in Canada --
No! We do not support the CIA-supported coup attempt in Venezuela.
No! We do not support pro-fascist "regime change" coup in the Ukraine.
We reject imperialism's bloody interference in Syria with proxy armies, and the continued US-supported occupation of Palestine by Apartheid Israel.
We oppose the continued provocation in Asia with the massive war games taking place on the Korean Peninsula.
The YCL-LJC Canada demands peace.
We demand a new foreign policy based on peace, disarmament and ecological sustainability. Canada must withdraw immediately from NATO.
We can not have another World War.
Dear comrades and friends,
We would like to especially draw to your attention the vicious campaign of disinformation conducted by right-wing forces in our country against Venezuela and the Ukraine.
In Venezuela, the Canadian government has changed it embassy staff to be lead by an expert in social media and "regime change."
News media in Canada presents the country as a "failed state." Canada's largest airline carrier, Air Canada, has suspended all flights to Caracas.
Shamefully, the Canadian Parliament effectively condemned unanimously the Bolivarian government, and supported the protests.
We are fighting with other progressive-minded youth to show that the response of the Venezuelan government remains completely valid today, and expose the coup attempt.
Venezuela has freely and democratically chosen an anti-imperialist and pro-people destiny.
In the Ukraine, the Canadian government has done everything in its power to support the illegitimate putsches in Kiev, offering it economic, technical and political support and sending several Canadian diplomatic missions to Ukraine.
The Harper Conservatives have launched a series of threats and brinkmanship targeted against Russia.
The opposition in the Canadian Parliament have also congratulated the Kiev coup leaders. The corporate media says nothing about the presence of pro-fascist forces in the coup.
This crisis has been stoked by the ongoing imperialist strategy of the U.S. and NATO to encircle Russia.
Their goal is to isolate Russia and China, neutralizing potential obstacles to the drive by transnational capital to exploit the resources and labour power of the entire planet.
We cannot allow this agenda to succeed.
Far too much is at stake for us to only make analysis. We propose to call for urgent mobilizations of progressive youth around the world. Now is the time to redouble our efforts for peace, such as a Global Day of Action against imperialist coups and war; for peace and solidarity.
An important item on the agenda of this meeting is beginning to evaluate the 18th World Festival of Youth and Students in Ecuador.
As an organization helping mobilize a one of the larger Preparatory Committees in CENA, we think this festival needs to be evaluated as a great success.
The festival had a strong reflection of the anti-imperialist movements taking power across Latin America, as well as other struggles like the Colombia Peace Process.
Political choice of Ecuador to host the festival was a good one. Importantly, the festival continued its anti-imperialist content.
At the same time, we think that the WFDY has an important responsibility to uphold and insist upon its long established procedures of dialogue and consensus-building when organizing the festival.
As we look forward to the next festival, we need to ensure the workshops, conferences and seminars have strong participation, with translation, and richer, constructive debate towards building the unity of the youth and student movement world-wide.
The inter-exchange meetings play an important role in this process and we think the must be included in the future.
The YCL-LJC spoke out strongly in favour of a behavioural code or anti-harassment declaration. Why not make this part of every festival, beginning at the First IPM? Our work on women's equality will only make the festival stronger, including better representation of women delegates, speakers and issues, and a women's crisis centre.
In closing we would like to make a few comments about the struggle of the youth and labour movement in Canada, which are new since we met last at the Festival.
In past months the federal Harper Conservative government has decided to eliminate home mail delivery, raise-up postal rates, and cut thousands of jobs at Canada Post.
These changes would make Canada the first country in the world to completely replace door‑to‑door delivery of urban mail with the “community mail boxes.”
The attack on Canada Post will only hurt the poor, the elderly, and people with disabilities. We see the attack on Canada Post as a central part of the overall agenda of big business to privatize public services and to attack the rights and interests of organized workers and are working to support the fight back to save our postal service.
The federal Harper Conservative government is also proposing new anti-democratic legislation about elections.
This is in the context of the ruling party committing major US-style voter fraud in the last election.
The new laws make it much easier to commit such fraud and get away with it!
They also will basically deny hundreds of thousands of voters the right to vote.
This is because of new restrictions of voter registration which will hurt Aboriginal peoples, youth and students, seniors and rural voters who are well-known to not always have proper identification.
The attack on the working class and the youth in Canada and the need for a stronger and more broad, coordinated and powerful fightback is an important theme of our 26th Central Convention, which is being held in Toronto from May 23-25th this year under the theme "With unity and militancy, the youth and students can strengthen the fightback."
Our convention comes at happy time when we are celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Young Communist League of Canada and ten years since our re-founding.
We would like to invite you all to come, or send greetings and solidarity.
Thank you for your attention.
Long live international solidarity!
Viva the JCP!
Viva the WFDY!