A Communist Manifesto for Canada

NationalPost.com – news
Apr. 14, 2011.   Miguel Figueroa, National Post

In the din of an election campaign, it’s hard for so-called “fringe parties” to make their voices heard. This week, the National Post gives smaller parties the chance to tell you what they’re all about -and why you might consider giving them your vote.

This federal election is a crucial campaign to block the objective of monopoly capital in Canada. From the oil barons in Alberta, to the bankers on Bay Street, to the transnationals in their tax havens, big business desperately wants to see the consolidation of Conservative political power in the form of a “stable” majority in Parliament.

Five years of misrule by Stephen Harper prove that a Tory majority would bring deeper involvement in U.S. wars, inaction on the economic crisis and the global environment, and new attacks on Canadian sovereignty, democracy, equality and living standards.

Leading up to May 2, workers, youth, pensioners, aboriginal peoples, racialized communities -in other words, the vast majority of Canadians -need to do everything possible to deny Harper and his cronies their coveted majority, and if possible drive them from the government benches entirely.

But preventing a Tory majority, or even defeating the Harper Conservatives, will not be enough. The real battle for fundamental change will be fought out across Canada, in the workplaces, in our communities and on the streets of our towns and cities.

The strategic orientation of the Communist party is to help bring together the many threads of popular and mass resistance into a strong and militant People’s Coalition of labour, social and national movements. Such a coalition must present a comprehensive alternative program that challenges corporate domination, putting the interests of working people and our environment ahead of the pursuit of profit.

The Communist platform is based on the key objectives of peace, jobs, sovereignty and democracy, and we propose a combination of emergency and long-term policy solutions. We are fielding 20 candidates across the country to put forward our “people’s agenda.” They will connect the current economic and social crisis with the basic structural injustice and irrationality of capitalism as a system, and make the case for a socialist Canada.

Among our platform proposals, the Communist party is calling for a federal strategy for full employment. This must include action to stop and reverse the loss of manufacturing jobs; a massive program to build new social and non-profit housing; expansion of health care, education and social programs; a major investment in urban mass transit; and a shorter work week with no loss in pay. All of these measures would help increase employment levels and raise living standards.

We call for progressive tax reforms that place the burden on corporations and the very wealthy. The corporate tax rate in particular should be raised to 30%, to help pay for the critical economic and social changes proposed in our platform.

Instead of basing crucial economic and political decisions on the interests and demands of big capital, the Communist platform argues for the rights of labour and working people. We would enshrine in the Constitution the right of workers to organize, strike and bargain collectively, and ban strike-breaking and scabbing. Labour laws must be extended to protect all domestic, agricultural and foreign workers.

Only the Communist party campaigns for public ownership and democratic control of energy, natural resources and the banks, a position that has wide support among Canadian working people. Such public ownership would also produce important revenues to help bring about transformative change.

We call for a foreign policy based on peace, disarmament and global environmental justice. Canada should slash military spending by 75%, and cancel the enormously expensive plans for new weapons systems such as the F-35 fighter jets. The military mission in Afghanistan must be ended immediately, and Canada must refuse to take part in imperialist military adventures such as the current NATO bombing of Libya.

Not least, we strongly demand improvements and guarantees to democratic, labour and equality rights. This is an issue that reveals the frightening agenda of the Harper Tories. As we saw with the outrageous police attacks on protesters and bystanders during the G20 Summit last year, this government is determined to weaken and even remove the civil liberties of Canadians, under the guise of its so-called “law and order” campaign.

The Communist party is the third-oldest political party in Canada, with a long and proud history in the forefront of working class and progressive struggles for peace, jobs, democracy, sovereignty and internationalism. We urge Canadians to view our full platform on our election website, Votecommunist.ca, and support us on May 2.

– Miguel Figueroa is the leader of the Communist Party of Canada.

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