Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015
The refugee issue has become a major factor in the federal election, after the tragic deaths of young Alan Kurdi and his brother and mother. But the so-called “refugee crisis” is the predictable result of western imperialist policies of internal intervention and wars in the Middle East, central Asia and North Africa.
Millions have died as a result of the military debacles from Iraq to Afghanistan to Libya and now Syria. Homes, cities and economic infrastructure have been demolished across huge areas, and now over 50 million people have been displaced.
Canada has been an important player in most of these US-led military campaigns of the last two decades, and our country therefore bears considerable responsibility for the deaths of Alan Kurdi and many others. Recent reports indicate that Canada has sent over $700 million in arms to anti-government forces in Syria since 2011, which is more than all the EU countries combined in that period.
The Communist Party of Canada has strongly opposed these imperialist policies, and we demand an end to the deadly strategy of militarization and war-making. Canada must withdraw from the NATO alliance, and end all participation in foreign wars and so-called “humanitarian military interventions.” Now that the death and destruction across these regions has left tens of millions of people homeless, unemployed and displaced, Canada must open its doors to accept refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and other countries. To help make this possible, we call for a 75% cut in Canada’s bloated $20 billion-plus annual military budget, and use these funds to support refugees and to provide urgently needed humanitarian aid to the victims of war.
Earlier this week, at a rally in front outside the campaign office of Ontario Conservative MP Rick Dykstra, St. Catharines Communist candidate Saleh Waziruddin said,
“The tragic deaths in the Kurdi family have exposed the Conservative lies about refugees and migrants. The Conservatives are trying to wash their hands of responsibility, saying they only got an application from the uncle, but the aunt wrote a letter to them about the whole family and got no response. The Harper government’s barriers to sponsoring refugees made it impossible for the aunt to bring the whole family. The truth is that the Harper government is hurting migrants and refugees, not helping them.
“Canadians are coming forward to help refugees, but are being blocked by the policies Stephen Harper imposed,” says Waziruddin. “The Conservatives cut refugee healthcare, not because they want to save money, but to appeal to racist sentiments among some voters. Canada has an international treaty obligation to help refugees, and me must make the government accept its responsibility.”
Instead, PM Stephen Harper wants to increase Canada’s military involvement, fuelling the crisis by escalating the bombing and violence in Syria and Iraq, and spreading the lie that refugees pose a terrorist threat to Canada. Mr. Harper must be defeated, and Canada must adopt the only humanitarian option, by opening our doors to the refugees of 21st century wars and environment catastrophes, and stop its involvement in the wars and aggression that has produced this crisis and many others.
In this campaign, the Communist Party of Canada calls for a democratic immigration policy: stop criminalizing refugees; give priority to refugees not to capitalist investors; abolish the racist quota system and two-tier citizenship; create a clear and accessible path to permanent residency and citizenship for all foreign and migrant workers in Canada.
Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada