BAYAN Canada Statement at the CANSEC* in Ottawa

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Wilma Delo, the Chair of Bayan Canada, delivered a statement at the CANSEC in Ottawa. (Photo credit: Bayan Canada)

Shut Down CANSEC!

Message of BAYAN CANADA

Parliament Hill, Ottawa

May 29, 2024

A militant greeting to all of us who are here today !I am Wilma Delo Bayan, Chairperson of Canada and an indigenous  woman from the Cordillera, Philippines.

BAYAN CANADA strongly condemns and calls for an end to all  kinds of military investment and trade that promote war and the killing of people. Only the ruling class and the imperialists love doing these to advance and protect their own interests.s love doing those to advance and protect their own interests.

In January of this year, the Canada and the Philippines signed an agreement providing aid to modernize the Philippine military and to strengthen relations for defense cooperation and war. Celebrating 75 years of Phil-Canada relations for the Canadian state means ensuring and securing their interests like the Oceana Gold – a Canadian mining venture facing protests from the Indigenous communities in the Cordillera.

The fascist state’s response to people’s resistance in the region was the indiscriminate bombing in the communities of Abra and Kalinga, causing disruption of their livelihood and threatening their safety. A similar situation happens in Negros, Cagayan and other areas tagged by the military as rebel strongholds.

At the Shut Down CANSEC! rally, May 29, Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

And then there is the controversy over the West Philippine Sea wherein the US, China and Canada trample on Philippine sovereignty.

How many more EDCAs (Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement) and VFAs (Visiting Forces Agreement) are going to be signed? Already around the Phils, the US has built nine (9) bases or EDCA sites to protect the people, they say.  Or is it to protect the mining, corporate and landed interests of the ruling class with their imperialist cohorts?

The war machines do not give PEACE to the people. In the Phils, the Balikatan or joint military exercises with foreign (mainly US) troops is no different from US troops supporting Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza, in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraqi. This is what the VFA is all about in its 25 years of existence in the Philippines.

The US is an imperialist monster bent on imposing its will on the oppressed nations and peoples of the world.

Now, more than ever, the oppressed people from  Palestine to the Philippines and elsewhere in the world are determined to fight this monster.

BAYAN and various progressive groups have waged a consistent opposition to the VFA throughout its 25-year existence. We have called for the abrogation of the VFA and all unequal military agreements including the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and the EDCA. Our perpetual dependence on the US has made us backward and underdeveloped. The benefits from these agreements are grossly one-sided – in favor of the US imperialist agenda of becoming a Pacific power. There is no other just option but to scrap these agreements.

The presence of the US military through the VFA  will never be benevolent, and that results in  major social costs such as human rights violations, environmental destruction (Tubbataha incident) and increasing prostitution.

The world has seen what US militarism has done in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Vietnam and in the US proxy war in Ukraine. The US is provoking more conflict here in Asia through its rivalry with China. Anywhere the US is involved, there is always war and conflict.

The VFA has taught us that Philippine sovereignty can only be upheld by Filipinos, not by any foreign government, and that our national interests are not identical with that of  US imperialist interests. There is no mutual benefit nor mutual interests between an imperialist superpower and its neo-colony.

Now more than ever, oppressed peoples from Palestine to the Philippines, must stand up to stop the US war machine.

Junk the VFA and the EDCA. uphold Philippine national sovereignty and fight for genuine freedom against US imperialism!

End the War machines for trade and investor arms fairs such as CANSEC!

Fund socialized healthcare, education, food production and security, people’s housing and decent jobs!

Blaze the people’s  struggle for national democracy!

Long live international Solidarity!

#shutdowncansec

(*CANSEC, which has been held annually in Ottawa since 1998, is Canada’s global defense and security trade exhibition. The Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI), the national industry representative of hundreds of Canadian defense, security, and cybersecurity companies, hosts it.)###