Antiwar activist and journalist Kimball Cariou is in the closing days of his third consecutive federal election campaign as the Communist party candidate in Vancouver Kingsway.
“It’s my third time in Vancouver Kingsway,” he told the Straight today (April 29). “I think it’s the most successful in terms of the number of people that we’ve met, the amount of material we’ve gotten out postering and so on. We had a very positive response at the one all-candidates forum that I was at.”
“What that means in terms of votes is another matter of course. Quite often people say they agree absolutely with us but they’re going to vote for somebody else to defeat the Conservatives. And that’s okay.”
“For us the main point of the campaign is to defeat [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper and do what we can to move the public debate into areas that will weaken the Conservatives and strengthen the more progressive political forces in Canada.”
For the May 2, 2011 election, Cariou said the economy is a top issue as the gap increases between the rich and poor in Canada.
“People’s living standards are falling by and large or stuck. They see that there’s high unemployment and poverty at a time when the rich are getting fabulously richer in this country. People feel that very keenly as a terrible injustice that such a situation should happen in one of the wealthiest countries in the world,” he said.
Cariou said the federal government’s economic priority should be creating well-paying jobs.
He said there should be a national minimum wage of at least $16 per hour, an expansion of social programs, and military spending should be redirected toward building low-income housing.
In last two federal elections, Cariou has earned less than one percent of the vote in Vancouver Kingsway, a riding held by NDP candidate Don Davies. Cariou received 291 votes in 2008 and 162 votes in 2006.
He said the Communist party always strives to increase its share of the vote.
“We think it’s very important in terms of putting pressure on the other parties that if the vote for the Communists goes up those parties will pay attention because they know very well that for every person that votes for us there’s 50 or 100 more that think along the same lines. So they’re very powerful votes in that sense,” he said.
But he added: “Are we at the stage yet where it’s a large enough critical mass that it will begin to affect parties like the NDP? Probably not quite.”