On October 14th, around 200 peace activists marched in downtown Montréal to oppose Canada’s participation in NATO and Trudeau’s pro-war agenda, in a global context where US and NATO’s actions lead the world closer to the bringe of globalised war everyday.
Organised by the newly created Mouvement Québécois pour la Paix, the march reached out to different progressive activists and also cultural personalities from Québec. It benefited from the endorsment or participation of Dominique Daignault, President of the Montreal CSN Labour Council, Yvon Deschamps, famous humorist, Roméo Saganash, Cree activist and member of parliament from the NDP, Mario Beaulieu, President of the Bloc Québécois and Amir Khadir, member of National Assembly from Québec Solidaire amongst others.
This march was the first public and official event organised by the Mouvement québécois pour la paix, a broad coalition of peace activist and peace-loving organisations. It was officially created last June after several months of discussions that reached a consensual basis of unity articulated mainly around the opposition to NATO and for Canada’s withdrawal of this imperialist and terrorist organisation as well as the total withdrawal from NORAD. This is a key demand that no other Québec peace organisation have yet identified as a priority or even endorsed.
The MQP also calls for solidarity with peoples victims of wars of aggression, for their rights to self-determination without foreign interference (starting with the Indigenous Nations at home), the dismantlement of Canada and Québec’s industrial and military complex, promotion of integral and universal disarmament starting with nuclear, biological and chemical disarmament, the withdrawal of all Canadian soldiers in duty in foreign countries and for massive transfer from Canada’s military budget towards more social programmes.
The founding of the MQP responds to a concern of different Québec peace activists who were concerned about the need to mobilise peace-loving forces with with a breadth similar to the one that forced, in 2003, Canada’s government to refuse participation to the US invasion of Iraq. Groups that participated since the begining to the formation of this coalition include Women of Diverse Origins, Artistes pour la paix, the Parti communiste du Qubec and the Ligue de la jeunesse communiste, retired journalist and specialist of international issues Jooneed Khan and community activist Dimitri Roussopoulos.
Considering that today’s main obstacle in the mobilisation of peace forces is the rhetoric around so-called “humanitarian interventions” and the “Responsibility to Protect” or R2P, this march, although modest, was able to bring progressive people and groups of different orientations together to assert that the main threat to peace, the main obstacle to a just and lasting peace in the world still is US and NATO imperialism and their allies, including Canada.
MQP’s view is that the best contribution Canada could make in this situation is to withdraw from NATO and NORAD now, to massively cut its military budget and adopt an independent foreign policy based on the principles of International Law, which include the absolute respect of sovereignty and mutual respect, on peace and sustainable development.