Canadian election November
Following hard on the American elections, Canadians will go to the polls on November 27. In many countries, the working class and its allies have obvious choices at the ballot box. That's the case where Communist parties and other left-wing forces are strong enough to elect candidates and challenge for political power. More democratic electoral systems, such as proportional representation, allow working people to vote for Communists and other progressive parties without fearing their vote will be wasted. But Canada's backward first-past-the-post system pushes people to vote for the lesser of evils. This absurd form of democracy gives an overwhelming advantage to the parties with corporate backing and favourable media coverage. "The attempt by Canada's Prime Minister Jean Chritien to claim that Canadians have a choice between two sets of values and two visions of Canada is a cheap deception to mislead Canadians about the real issues", said Communist Party of Canada (CPC) leader Miguel Figueroa. "On fundamental questions facing working people in this country, there are no essential differences between the federal Liberals and their main contenders on the right, the Canadian Alliance under Stockwell Day. "Both share the same pro-corporate, anti-working class vision. Both support tax cuts for the rich, at the expense of the social services like Medicare and public education. And both promote the policies of capitalist globalisation, and the subordination of Canada to the interests of US imperialism. "Instead, this election must be used to strengthen the forces which aim to break the corporate monopoly on Canadian politics. Your vote for one of the fifty-plus Communist candidates is the clearest possible demand for policies that put people and the environment ahead of corporate greed. The platform of the Green Party contains important progressive demands, and despite the New Democracy Party's (NDP) continued shift to the right, many left-leaning NDP candidates are worthy of support. "Lesser evil" dilemma "In the long run, the best way out of the lesser evil election dilemma is to build a powerful, united movement based on the organised working class and other sections of society whose interests are under attack by the Liberal/Alliance/Tory gang. "The more votes for candidates and parties committed to such an approach, the sooner such a People's Coalition can become a reality. "By running in over 50 ridings [electorates], we will regain our official party registration which was stripped from us in 1993", Figueroa said. "Even more important, we will take our analysis and People's Alternative to Canadians in many more parts of our country". [Note: The Communist Party of Canada faced legislation deliberately designed to exclude smaller parties from participating in elections by declaring that only those parties which nominated 50 or more candidates would receive registration. Attempts were also made to illegalise the Party and strip it of its building and other assets.] "Despite our small size and limited resources, we are confident that we can make a real impact with our campaign, despite the wall of silence thrown up by the mainstream corporate-owned press against the CPC and all of the smaller, alternative parties", concluded Miguel Figueroa. Anti-globalisation movement The election is being marked by the rise of the anti-corporate- globalisation movement. Reflecting the fears of millions of people about the direction of world politics, this movement is helping to expose the major parties of big business, the Liberals and the Canadian Alliance. Medicare There will be demonstrations across Canada in support of medicare which will target the responsibility of corporations for privatising health care. Organisers of the World March of Women are trying to set up a TV leaders' debate in Toronto for all parties. The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) is making available the positions of all political parties without endorsing any, while highlighting the regressive policies of the Alliance. The CFS campaign encourages its members to vote, to reverse the traditionally low participation rate of youth. Canada's Peace Alliance will survey parties on peace issues and publish a questionnaire for candidates. The questionnaire gives information on military spending, sanctions against Iraq, abolition of nuclear weapons, and NATO's illegal attack on Yugoslavia. The National Farmers' Union (NFU) will try to get political parties to discuss the farm crisis that has deepened under the Liberal government. All the major parties blame foreign farm subsidies for declining incomes, but an NFU study proves the source of the crisis is agri-business monopoly pricing on farm inputs. The 150,000 member Public Service Alliance of Canada pledged at its May convention to help stop the Canadian Alliance from taking power. The union is identifying key public sector issues, and may support candidates through its regional committees.
* * *People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Visit the Communist Party's website at: http://www.acp-cpa.ca