November 16, 2016

Young Communists speak out at C-51 consultation meeting

Edited from People's Voice

Rebel Youth presents a speech by the Young Communist League of Quebec organizer Adrien Welsh, to a Montreal consultation convened by the Federal Liberal government. The government has started quietly convening public meetings on C-51, although they have repeatedly refused to get rid of this Harper era legislation. Stop C-51 rallies erupted across Canada in the Winter and Spring of 2015, demanding that the C-51 not pass, and when it was, that it be scrapped. C-51 remains the most serious assault on democratic rights, labour rights, and civil liberties in recent times.

Members of the committee, members of the public, and witnesses, I would like to start by invoking the memory of Pablo Picasso, in whose honour the room where we are meeting this evening is named. Pablo Picasso was a communist.
My name is Adrien Walsh and I am an organizer with the Ligue de la jeunesse communiste du Qu├ębec. As such, I am persuaded that my late comrade would be as offended as I am today. He would be offended by the fact that in a room bearing his name, we have to show identification to participate in a so-called public consultation, and, to testify, members of the public have to run an obstacle course, starting with finding out the place and date of the meeting, and ending with the conclusion of these remarks, unfortunately limited to three minutes, while others enjoy all the flexibility of the committee. It would seem appropriate, in a room bearing the name of Picasso, that people are spouting words like `democracy’, at the same time as they are trying to adjust the provisions of a bill that is worthy of the regimes that caused the atrocities which prompted that artist to produce Guernica.

I want to say clearly that I am fundamentally opposed to Bill C-51, which became the Anti-terrorism Act. No adjustment to make it more acceptable is possible. It must be immediately rejected and repealed, just as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS, must be.

The real danger comes not from these young and not-so-young people who are supposedly being radicalized – in fact, I would like someone to explain to me what that concept refers to – but rather from the radicalization of a government that is constantly more liberticidal and that, by creating a climate of hostility, would arm the enemies of freedom and democracy, whoever they may be.

In fact, this is the spiral in which France has been engaged in recent months. This is how, in that country, that is the supposed homeland of human rights and liberty, eight-year-old children have been placed in detention, arbitrarily, teachers have been turned into informers, and demonstrations have been brutally repressed.

In fact, that climate of fear is very effective for neutralizing people who propose social change as a long-term solution. That climate of hostility is also very practical when it comes to justifying wars on terrorism, in Syria or elsewhere.

So I will conclude by coming back to Picasso, who did not simply paint Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. He also painted doves for peace, and took part in the 1962 world congress of peace activists, which was the target of a bomb attack perpetrated not by foreign terrorists, but by `good Frenchmen’ who were denying the Algerians peace during that period.

Today, if our objective were truly to prevent any threat of radicalization, we would not be discussing Bill C-51 or so-called national security; rather, we would be planning the withdrawal of the Canadian troops in Syria and everywhere else outside our country. We would be discussing the steps to take so that the people of this country, whether they are Quebecers or Indigenous people, and of whatever religion, whether Muslim or Christian, would be represented by a government that reflects their values and not those of the corporations. Thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular stories