Communist Party campaigning in five ridings
PV Vancouver Bureau
BC Premier John Horgan’s snap election is a cynical attempt to reap political advantage from momentarily favourable polling numbers. By calling the vote a year ahead of schedule, the premier scuttled his own confidence and supply agreement with the Green Party. Holding an early and unnecessary election during the rising second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic places partisan interests ahead of the health and safety of British Columbians. Even some NDP members and constituency associations have expressed shock at this hasty gamble.
The people of British Columbia deserve better. In this campaign, the Communist Party of BC urges voters to demand fundamental social change. Electing even one Communist to the legislature would transform the political terrain. A higher vote for Communist candidates can send a powerful message that working class and poor voters, Indigenous people, environmentalists – all those who reject the capitalist mantra of unending profits – refuse to be taken for granted.
Our world today faces an impending environmental catastrophe, a huge gap between rich and poor, and unending imperialist wars and “regime change.” As capitalism staggers from crisis to crisis, far-right forces are promoting a tidal wave of racism, fascist violence, police brutality, scapegoating of immigrants, misogyny, homophobia and transphobia. Whenever the emergency measures to help people survive the pandemic come to an end, we know that the working class will be hit by demands to pay the cost for bailing out the business sector.
This is no time to retreat in the face of the corporate attack, or to respond with empty words, half-promises and timid policies. This is a time to unite for truly radical change. From that perspective, the NDP’s record in office fell far short of its supporters’ hopes in 2017.
It is true that after 16 years of brutal austerity attacks under the BC Liberals, the NDP government and their Green partners invested in childcare and housing, increased social assistance and disability rates, and raised the minimum wage. Communists have always been part of the movements which fight to win such reforms. But under the NDP, none of these measures went far enough to address the real needs of British Columbians. The economic crisis sparked by the pandemic has left even more people unemployed, homeless, and deeper in debt and poverty. And as COVID-19 case numbers here rise to among the highest in Canada, the government cannot honestly take credit for a successful coronavirus strategy. In fact, new outbreaks in public schools show that it has not made the health and safety of students and teachers a top priority.
The NDP claims that it lacks the revenue base to make more rapid progress on homelessness, health care, public education and childcare. But Premier Horgan and his cabinet never considered cancelling the former Liberal government’s multi-billion dollar tax cuts for the corporations and upper-income earners. The rich got richer under Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark, and this has not changed.
Other NDP policies also call for sharp criticism. Instead of decisive steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions, they continued construction of the Site C dam – a project which is billions over budget, violates Indigenous treaty rights and provides cheap power for the LNG fossil fuel sector. The NDP gave huge tax breaks for the planned LNG terminal at Kitimat and, last winter, the premier supported sending in the RCMP against land defenders resisting the Coastal GasLink pipeline across unceded Wet’suwet’en territories. Bill 41 promised to fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People but, in reality, the NDP backs resource extraction and export megaprojects. These are not the actions of a government which supports the life and death struggle of the people for climate justice.
On October 24, we strongly urge British Columbians to reject the corporate, right-wing Liberals. With all its shortcomings, the de facto NDP-Green coalition of the last three years had to heed public pressure on some key issues. But in a capitalist society such as Canada today, such pro-people reforms will be under constant threat from corporate interests. By failing to challenge the source of corporate power, Horgan’s NDP has not earned the trust of the working class. It does not deserve our votes, especially in ridings where Communists are on the ballot. To those who argue that an NDP majority is in the best interests of working people, we reply that such a government might well shift further to the right, not to the left.
That’s why the Communist Party campaigns for policies that weaken corporate power, protect the environment, and defend the interests of the working class and Indigenous peoples. Only socialism – based on democratic public ownership of the economy and the political power of the working class – can offer a genuine solution to the complex problems confronting British Columbia and, indeed, our country and our world.
Langford-Juan de Fuca – Tyson Strandlund
Oak Bay-Gordon Head – Florian Castle
Surrey-Whalley – Ryan Abbott
Vancouver Hastings – Kimball Cariou
Victoria-Swan Lake – Walt Parsons