Canadian YCL Congress held last weekend

The YCL-LJC held its Extraordinary Convention under the sign of combativeness and unity on August 22 and 23. The COVID19 pandemic had forced the YCL-LJC to postpone the 28th Central Convention initially scheduled for June 2019. However, the evolution and worsening of the crisis triggered by the COVID19 pandemic and the need to integrate a new generation of cadres into the leadership prompted the outgoing Central Committee to organize this extraordinary Convention.  

In his opening remarks, outgoing General Secretary Adrien Welsh underlined that this Convention comes “at the right time” as the ruling class prepares to make young people pay for a crisis for which they are not responsible. He insisted that the cause of this crisis is not the COVID19 pandemic, but the direct consequence of the capitalist system in crisis for a long time, a crisis for which Communists were always the only ones to warn about. 

Outgoing general secretary Adrien Welsh reads his speech over Zoom. The black and white photo shows Adrien sitting outside on a chair, with two screens in front of him.
Outgoing General Secretary Adrien Welsh in conversation with Central Organiser Rozh Emadi

“This crisis is multifaceted. The growing aggressiveness of imperialism and the danger of globalized war is the product of the crisis of capitalism, he adds. The environmental crisis, which takes root in the exploitation of the working class and of nature, is also the product of the crisis of capitalism. The crisis of bourgeois democracy, illustrated both by the rise of the extreme right here and elsewhere in the world and by the attacks against the various democratic rights (racism, chauvinism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, etc.) is also the product of the crisis of capitalism. Naturally, the current economic crisis and the possible Depression are its salient expression today.” 

The major part of the Convention was dedicated to the discussion of a draft political resolution which, in addition to analysing the current situation, proposes perspectives of struggles in which the young communists’ role is described as putting forward points of convergence capable of strengthening fightback. Among these is the struggle of young workers (unionized or not), an imperative given the current situation where two in five young people have either lost their jobs or have seen the majority of their working hours cut off. The fight for peace and international solidarity, for environmental justice, for the expansion of public services, the expansion of democratic rights in particular for women, 2ELGBTQ + people, people of color and for the national rights of Quebecers, Acadians, Métis, Aboriginals and Inuit are also part of it. War, oppression and the destruction of our environment are also part of the ruling class’ attacks to put the burden of the crisis on the youth and the popular masses. 

The delegates also adopted an ambitious but necessary action plan in which priority is given to strengthening the YCL-LJC and its press in order to be more visible and more able to intervene with youth movements. In line with the Action Plan, young communists agreed to run a campaign entitled “The youth will not pay for the crisis of capitalism”.

Liz Rowley, Leader of the Communist Party of Canada also greeted the Convention and stressed the importance that the YCL-LJC will have to play in the resistance against the coming attacks and assured the young comrades of the Communist Party’s ideological, political, and logistical support to the YCL-LJC. 

YCL activists in Toronto

The Convention elected a new Central Committee of 17 full members and 8 alternates which, in turn, elected a new Central Executive Committee of 5. Ivan Byard, outgoing Central Committee member and former Organiser of the Toronto club, was unanimously elected as incoming General Secretary. He succeeds Adrien Welsh, who, while remaining an effective member of the elected Central Committee, now assumes the responsibility of National Secretary of the Parti communiste du Québec after the passing away of comrade Pierre Fontaine last May. 

Finally, the Convention also celebrated the “graduation” of two long-standing cadre of the YCL-LJC: Marianne Breton-Fontaine and Drew Garvie. Drew served as the General Secretary of the YCL-LJC between 2014 and 2017 before becoming CPC Central Organizer and then Ontario Provincial Secretary. Marianne was a member of the Central Executive Committee until 2017 and serves now on the Central Committee of the CPC as well as the National Committee of the PCQ. 

Stronger politically and organizationally, ready to fight to win, the young communists concluded this extraordinary Convention to the sound of the Internationale and pledged to meet in the struggles. 

The above article was originally published in Rebel Youth , the magazine of the Canadian YCL. We at Challenge, hope to have an interview with incoming General Secretary, Ivan Byard, in the coming weeks.

Challenge News Desk