The 38th Central Convention of our Party follows a major political upheaval in the recent federal election, and a new escalation of the global economic crisis which emerged in 2007-08. Initially, the Canadian economy was buffered to some degree by exports of fossil fuels and other natural resources, and because Canada’s megabanks were somewhat less exposed to the collapse in value of leveraged (re-packaged) debt. Now, the dramatic collapse in energy prices and the Canadian dollar are causing new job losses and rapid increases in the cost of imported products. The working class is paying a heavy cost for the turmoil of the capitalist system.
The 2016 federal budget proposes to make good on the slew of Liberal election promises that resulted in a Liberal majority last fall. Fed up with the Tories, Canadians chose the Liberals as the preferred vehicle to drive the Tories out and move the country away from a decade of austerity, war and corruption, to the ‘sunny ways’ agenda of promised jobs, prosperity, democracy, and action on climate change.
Commentary by Darrell Rankin, leader of the CPC Manitoba
Manitobans will go to the polls on April 19 at a time of growing uncertainty and widespread impoverishment of workers.
Polls show that the New Democratic Party government is unpopular, in third place after the Tories and Liberals. The reason is not so hard to find. Working people have endured a slow decline in their prospects. The last election took place in 2011, soon after the 2008 economic crisis. Four years later, workers are less hopeful about a recovery, finding a good job, or retiring in dignity. Working people do not want more of the same. But the three main parties all uphold the interests of big business. They rely on more of the same. These parties emphasize different aspects of neoliberal economic orthodoxy designed to protect corporate profits, such as the size of government, tax policy, and balancing the budget.
Commentary by Naomi Rankin, leader of the Communist Party-Alberta
Visit the CP-Alberta election site at: www.communistparty-alberta.ca
It’s springtime and a whiff of change is in the air. For the first time in 44 years, the outcome of an Alberta provincial election is not a foregone conclusion. The Tory dynasty has survived in part by casting each new leader as a change, asking for and receiving a fresh start from the voters, setting aside the failed promises and accumulating scandals of the previous leader’s regime. Jim Prentice, recently elected as Tory leader and therefore premier, to replace the scandal-plagued Alison Redford, seems to have worn out his newness and freshness with remarkable speed. Some polls show the Tories behind the Wildrose and the surging NDP.
Of course, polls of decided voters don’t tell us what will be done by undecided voters. Loyal Conservatives who were polled may have claimed to support other parties as their only avenue to express frustration with their own party before finally voting as always. And a province gerrymandered to give disproportionate power to rural ridings, in addition to all the usual problems with the first-past-the-post system, could still give a substantial majority to the Conservatives even with a dwindling minority of the popular vote. An NDP sweep of Edmonton might be thwarted by the far-right Wildrose failing to run candidates in several key ridings, which could presumably give the combined Tory/Wildrose vote the majority.
Commentary by CP-Alberta: www.communistparty-alberta.ca
Alberta politics are heating up this spring, with a May 5 provincial election now underway. While pundits differ in their readings of the past year, it has been something of a rollercoaster ride for the two big right-wing parties, the Conservatives and Wildrose, allowing new space for the Liberals and especially the New Democrats. On the left, the Communist Party-Alberta is also gearing up to run two candidates asking the main social and ecological question facing the province: who owns and controls the oil and gas sector of Alberta’s economy?
Just three years ago, Alison Redford helped win another re-election victory for the Conservatives. In power without interruption since 1971, the party has a proven track record of fully supporting its friends in big business. But in the last few years a new right-wing challenger emerged in the form of the Wildrose Party, whose ranks include Western regionalists, Christian fundamentalists, homophobes, libertarians as well as other far-right voices.
The Tory dynasty has also seen the two major cities, Edmonton and Calgary, increase in population and change in social character through immigration and the weakening of ties to Alberta’s agricultural roots. This is reflected in the relative strength of Liberal support in corporate headquarter Calgary, and NDP support in the somewhat more industrial Edmonton.