First Published: The Forge, Vol. 5, No. 1, January 11, 1980
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The Workers Communist Party (ML) across the country will present thirty candidates in various ridings in the upcoming federal elections February 18. The decision to take part in the elections was taken at a special plenary session of the Party’s Central Committee held shortly after the fall of the Clark government on December 12.
Our Party’s participation in the elections will allow us to popularize the WCP’s basic stand and give many working people the opportunity to support a genuine working-class alternative to the capitalist parties like the Liberals, the Conservatives, and the NDP.
The fall of the Clark government and the calling of the second election within a year are symptomatic of the acute political and economic crisis that grips our country. Neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals before them have been able to solve the deteriorating economic situation. Today Canada is slipping into a recession with unemployment and inflation continuing to worsen.
The bourgeoisie remains divided over how best to deal with the crisis. And the infighting has been intense between the monopoly groups of various regions over who is to reap the greatest profits from the oil pricing policy.
Meanwhile only six months remain before the referendum on Quebec’s future.
For Canadian working people the situation is becoming ever more difficult. Layoffs in the B.C. wood industry and in the Ontario auto plants, higher prices for gasoline and heating oil, inflated interest rates that make owning a home practically impossible, cutbacks in social services and the erosion of medicare – all these have become realities of life for the working people today.
Each of the big bourgeois parties claims it can solve the country’s problems. But who can believe that the Tories, who would double oil prices in the next few years, or the Liberals, who brought in wage controls, or the NDP, whose provincial government in Saskatchewan just smashed the SGEA strike, can have any solution to the problems of Canadian workers?
Our Party, the WCP, can provide an alternative. A vote for the WCP is a vote in support of workers’ rights. It is a vote to support a Party that is opposed to capitalist exploitation and oppression. It’ is a gesture to support a Party that is pledged to fight for a socialist Canada where the working class will rule.
WCP candidates will be running in each of the major regions across the country. We have chosen to concentrate our campaign in ridings with a high proportion of working people and where our party has already been active in the local factories and communities.
Unlike the bourgeois parties, with their millionaire candidates like Tory Finance Minister John Crosbie and Trudeau, our Party’s candidates are working men and women who have been active in struggles over the past years and know the problems of working people.
In Moncton, New Brunswick, well-known Acadian activist Raymond Leger will be a Party candidate. In Montreal’s Maisonneuve riding, hospital worker and CNTU union militant Robert Cote will be running. In Montreal St. Jacques the candidate will be daycare movement activist Raymonde Lebreux; in Rimouski Regine Valois an activist in the unemployed committee; in Toronto, the East Indian immigrant worker Khurshed Wadud; in Regina, SGEA worker David Lampert.
These are the type of candidates who will represent the WCP in the upcoming battle. In ridings where there is no WCP candidate we urge voters to refuse to support the capitalist parties and to spoil their ballot.
For our Party the election period will be an occasion to criticize the capitalist parties and defend our option of socialism.
We will expose the Liberals and the Conservatives as the traditional parties of the Canadian ruling class. As for the NDP, with its pro-worker image, in fact it seeks only to reform the system, content to defend the capitalists’ profits so long as they aren’t “excessive.”
On the major questions of this election we will defend the working-class point of view:
– On the energy question we will show how the policies of successive Liberal and Conservative governments their protection of the enormous profits made by the oil giants, and their capitulation to U.S. imperialism – are at the source of today’s high oil prices and Canada’s dependence on imported crude.
– On the economy we will explain why the present crisis is a direct result of the capitalist system itself and why workers must take up the fight to defend their standard of living and their hard-won rights.
– On the national question we will condemn the chauvinist stand of all the bourgeois parties and defend Quebec’s right to determine its own future, as well as the just struggles being waged by all the oppressed nationalities across the country.
Throughout our campaign, WCP candidates will stress that socialism is the only solution for the working people of Canada. It is only by ending the system which a handful of parasites benefit from that the working class will emancipate itself from exploitation once and for all.
Our aim is not just to collect votes. Above all it is to popularize our viewpoint, draw working people into the fight for socialism and rally workers to our ranks.
For our Party is not just an electoral machine like the capitalist parties, which only come around once every so often, making promises they will never keep in order to win workers votes.
Our Party is a party of militant workers that is based in the factories and communities and stands with the workers and peoples of the oppressed nationalities in their daily battle against exploitation. While our Party will wage the most active possible campaign, we do not believe that the working class can take power through the ballot box. Capitalists like Desmarais and Conrad Black will never peacefully abandon their power and riches – the experience of the international workers movement has shown this time and again.
The capitalists maintain their power through reactionary violence, and the working class can only overthrow them and seize power with its own revolutionary action.
We will expose the fraud of bourgeois democracy through out our campaign, and call on the workers to intensify the class struggle and reject the demagogy and false promises of the capitalist parties.
We call upon all members, supporters and friends of the WCP to go all out to support the WCP’s candates in this election campaign.
We urge all workers and peoples of the oppressed nationalities to vote for our candidates, to help build our Party as an alternative to the capitalist parties and to join with us in the fight to put an end to capitalism and to build a socialist Canada.
Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the WCP(ML)