Archive for the 'Communist Party' Category

Just how big is Quebec’s shift away from the right wing? Pretty big

Given the recent provincial by-election results in the province of Quebec, bloggers and politicians everywhere have been talking about the results and their implications.

As with any event, it helps to actually review what happened and then, based on this, generate an analysis.  If we do it the other way around, we risk being like a Conservative cabinet minister who, during a Question Period session shortly after the by-elections, tried to ridicule Gilles Duccepe by saying that the by-elections were a huge victory federalists and a huge defeat for the PQ.  (I don’t remember which Tory cabinet minister it was who said it, but I remember being shocked when I heard it).

In fact, contrary to the Tories’ contention, both the by-election results and the recent provincial polling results show a rather different story.

First, the by-election results.

Simply put, the Tories’ closest provincial ally, the ADQ, witnessed a staggering collapse.  This is rather significant since the far-right ADQ is lead by Mario Dumont, a man who attracted the attention of the international press in 2007 and who was (appropriately, in my opinion) called “Canada’s Le Pen” by the U.K.-based newspaper The Independent (source).

In the three by-election ridings, the ADQ’s support collapsed to just over 1/3 of their formerly mighty self.  Now, even though none of these ridings were strong ADQ ridings, nothing I think could have prepared political observers for just how spectacular of a collapse the ADQ made.  For instance, in my riding (Hull), the ADQ dropped from being the 3rd place party to being dead last among the 5 main provincial parties with both the Greens and Québec solidaire (which is an amalgamation of left-wing provincial parties including the Quebec Communist Party) finishing above them.  In fact, only the tiny Parti indépendantiste did worse then the ADQ in my riding.

Turning to the province-wide provincial polling results since the last provincial election, we see an equally bleak picture for ‘Canada’s Le Pen’ and the far-right ADQ.

Following the last provincial election, the ADQ had actually improved over their provincial results and were polling as the #1 provincial party with seemingly prohibitive odds of forming the next provincial government, either minority or majority.

As you can see, Quebec’s repudiation of far right politics since that time, clearly extends beyond merely the three ridings which had by-elections earlier this month.

Now that it seems as though the Québecois are well on their way to throwing out their version of Le Pen and become once again a beacon to progressives throughout Canada, maybe Canadians can learn from this and get to work on throwing out their version of George W. Bush.

Communist Party of Canada leader to speak in Ottawa tomorrow

While I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the Communist Party, I did nevertheless have an opportunity two years ago to hear Miguel Figueroa, leader of the Communist Party of Canada, speak at an event and I was thoroughly impressed. Thus, I was very pleased to learn that Figueroa (and possibly some others) will be talking and taking questions at Carleton University in Ottawa tomorrow, Monday January 28.

The event starts at 7pm in room 134 Unicentre at Carleton University. I’m going to be in attendance, so if any Ottawa comrades, bloggers or people who are quasi-left wing, even if not officially identifying as Marxist or Communist, wish to hear a very affable and likable speaker talk and/or would like to meet with me in person, please feel free to come on out.

My (limited) impression of Figueroa and Stu Ryan (perennial Communist Party candidate in Ottawa Centre who I imagine will also be attending) is that they are definitely not anything like those who used to run the CPC which everyone on the far left used to love to hate.

Hope to see some of you there!

War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength

My god, Orwell was prophetic.

Here’s the latest capitalist Orwellian doublethink, this time via Saskboy.

“Get your vote out Ontario. Mixed Member Proportional is on the ballot today, so even if you don’t like any of the parties (which would bewilder me, since Green is an option ;-) you can still vote in the referendum for MMP. Who doesn’t want a more representative democracy? (Amusing answer: Fascists, Authoritarians, Dictators, Communists, Jason Cherniak, James WDIKGrit, Saskatchewan NDP, most Americans, and political hacks.) “

I understand that not everybody is going to be a communist or a Marxist.  Heck, I even appreciate that probably a significant portion of this blog’s readership don’t actively identify as either communist or Marxist.  But c’mon, let’s at least have an ounce of honesty here!

This is my response to Saskboy via his blog.

“Communists don’t want more democracy? Wow, that’s news to me! I was under the impression that we advocated radically expanding democracy both within the current spheres of politics, but also into economic spheres (i.e. to ensure democratic control of the economy as opposed to elite control).

Silly me, all this time I’ve actually been opposing democracy when I’ve been meaning to expand it.

I also thought that I voted FOR MMP less than 1 hour ago in the Ontario election, but I guess since you say that we’re opposed to it, then I must be wrong.

Oops, wrong again. The Communist Party’s candidates say they support MMP and encouraged others to vote for it.  see here

Also, if you’re interested, you can also see here, here and here (votecommunist.ca) for more proof that the Communist Party not only supports MMP, but actually supports a MORE vigorously proportional version of proportional representation.

But kudos to Saskboy for not letting those pesky and inconvenient “facts” get in the way of his red-baiting.

I guess that supporting MMP actually means opposing MMP.

I guess that supporting a radical expansion of democratic rights means opposing democracy.

And, I guess that War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength.

The difference between the NDP and the Communist Party…

This is a great interview with Stuart Ryan, a candidate for the Ontario Provincial election in Ottawa-Centre.

To me, this interview just drives home the point that Ryan and his comrades can truly inspire with bold policies (ex. 50% reduction in tuition immediately, $20 billion for public secular schools and giving municipalities the power to tax corporations) whereas the NDP has lost its ability to dream, let alone inspire.

If you haven’t voted yet today, read this interview before you vote. It may not necessarily change your vote, but it will at the very least inspire you — and that’s not nothing.

~~~

Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process? Why did you choose to run in this constituency?

I have been involved in the political process for over 40 years, in terms of organizing over political issues such as opposing the Wars in Vietnam and now the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I see the elections, if that is what you mean as the political process, as a way to express our political views to the electorate so that they can pass judgement and see that the various issues we raise are related in that the capitalist system and the neo-liberal agenda take away the rights of workers, woman, aboriginals and people in general.
I run in Ottawa Centre because I have lived in the riding since 1979 and I know the issues that concern the people who live in the riding. It has a progressive history and is open to socialist ideas.

What prior political experience do you have? What skills and insight can you bring to office, from other non-political positions you may have held?

I have run for office in my Steelworker union in Windsor in the 1970s and in my Autoworker union now. I work for a CUPE union at Carleton University in Ottawa. I think I can bring my organizing skills in the labour movement, the anti-war movement and in the Central American solidarity movement to Queen’s Park and in building a base within Ottawa Centre to fight for a people’s agenda.

Which of your competitors do you expect to pose the biggest challenge to your candidacy? Why? What makes you the most desirable of all candidates running in the riding?

I think the biggest challenge to my candidacy is the feeling that people feel they have to vote NDP in order to win the riding, or to prevent a victory by the Liberal or Conservative party. This is a product of the first-past-the-post-voting system. I have had many people say that our ideas are good, and that I have been a good campaigner, but because they feel voting for the Communist Party might jeopardise the NDP. I think I would be the most desirable candidate because we have the best policies and that I would work very hard to make sure they are pushed for in the legislature.

What do you feel are the three most important issues to voters in your riding? Are these the same top three issues that are most important to you? What would you do to address these issues?

The three biggest issues in this riding are the crisis in public education; the increasing debtload of students because of tuition hikes; and the inability of municipal government to fund the social services downloaded by the Harris government form the province to the cities in 1997. They are my most important issues.
Re public education: Our Party will commit to spending $20 billion for a quality public secular school system in French and English for primary and secondary education.
We would commit to a comparable investment in public post-secondary education while reducing tuition by 50% now, and then eliminate it when the funding is adequate to provide the education for all who qualify for post-secondary education.
We would give municipalities secure funding through provincial grants and the ability to tax corporations. This would wean them off the property tax, which we would reduce by 75%, along with the scrapping of the market value assessment taxation scheme. We would give 50% of the gas tax for mass transit such as the O-train in Ottawa that would travel both east and west and north and south. We would upload to the province the funding of health, education, transit and welfare.

What should be the first order of business in the 39th Legislative Assembly?

The first order of business schould be the drafting of the legislation to implement Mixed Member Proportional Representation, following its victory in the October 10 referendum.

Are the property taxes in your riding at a fair level for the amount of services received in the municipality?

The property tax situation in the province is in chaos. Home owners are seeing property taxes increase as the value in their neighbourhoods go up while the property tax of businesses are diminished by a comparable amount. The net increase in revenue to the municipality coming from the residential tax increases is zero. Outraged taxpayers are blaming the municipal officials and are taking it out by voting for right-wing candidates who promise not to raise taxes (In Ottawa the slogan was “zero means zero”. The same candidate is now the mayor, and is backing a two per cent increase and campaigning to have the municipal financing system revamped.
The property tax system discriminates against tenants as they pay for the extra taxes landlords pay through higher rents.

How can the province lead the way in stimulating job creation?

The province should take action to save the manufacturing jobs leaving the province by insisting that raw materials be processed in Ontario rather being shipped raw out of the country. It should pass legislation to establish public tribunals so that corporations who are closing profitable factories, such as Hershey’s in Smith Falls and GM in Oshawa would have to justify their closing. Failure to do so would lead to the province taking over the closed business. Our Party would invest in mass transit and produce 100,000 units of social housing.

What are your views on the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) referendum?

I support MMP and will be voting for it. No longer will we have to choose between the lesser of two evils, and end up with the same mess. The last two governments in Ontario are proof positive of the problem. You will be able to vote for what you believe in and see it relected in the legislature.

Of the decisions made by Ontario’s 38th Legislative Assembly, which was the most beneficial to your this electoral district? To the province as a whole? Which was least beneficial, or even harmful, to your this riding? To the province as a whole?

The only thing that was good for Ottawa Centre was the tuition freeze for two years. That was negated by the new tuition scheme that will raise tuition 25-35% over four years.

You are running as a candidate for the Communist Party. A lot of people say that Communism is a dead idea or fear that a Communist government would implement some sort of repressive dictatorship. What do you say to this?

Communism is not a dead idea; we see revolutionary parties win in Venezuela and trying to bring socialism in by democratic means. This was tried in Chile in the 1970s but was overthrown by the CIA and the Chilean military. What will succeed is that the working class and its allies will demand socialism; it was the insistence of the Venezuelan people that stopped the coup against Hugo Chavez in 2002. The system that they will bring will be democratic, as it will be the will of the people that it be so.

The Communist Party is unlikely to win any seats in the election. Why did you decide to run for a small party rather than be involved with one of the major parties?

This is a good question, but if you want to bring about real change, you must be part of a party that calls for it. Our Party calls for socialism, public ownership of the means of production under democratic control. Working for a party like the NDP and the Greens would make you feel that you might get things done, but those parties will disappoint you – look at the record of the Bob Rae NDP government in Ontario that opened public sector collective agreements to attack benefits in order to save $2 billion from its deficit.

(original text from wikinews. Available here.)

~~~

If there’s a Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) in your riding, consider voting for a party that actually stands for substantive changes the capitalist system rather than merely slightly tinkering with it. Consider voting Communist!

Fight Exploitation.
Fight Inequality.
Fight Capitalism.


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