The May 14 B.C. election comes at a time of capitalist crisis and “austerity” across the planet. Corporate profits are breaking records, while wages and pensions are slashed. The gap between the ultra rich and working people keeps getting wider. Social and equality gains won by decades of struggle are being rolled back. Billions suffer poverty, hunger, and disease, while the U.S. and its NATO allies waste a trillion dollars a year on militarism and war. Climate change is devastating the environment, while governments block serious action to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Here in British Columbia, the “best place on Earth”—which was stolen from indigenous peoples and then looted in the mad rush to exploit workers for corporate profits—the story is the same.
Gordon Campbell’s tax cuts shifted billions from the public treasury into the bank accounts of the wealthy. After spending $6 billion to host the Olympics, B.C. still has the second highest child poverty rate in Canada. More than 200,000 workers are jobless, schools and day cares keep closing, housing costs are astronomical, and thousands remain homeless. The salmon fishery is in crisis, raw log exports have skyrocketed, and “fracking”, tar sands pipelines, and tankers pose grave environmental dangers. In short, the B.C. Liberals have been a three-term disaster.
Working people in B.C. face a crucial choice: keep waging defensive battles, or unite and fight back! Our collective resistance against capitalism, militarism, racism, and environmental destruction continues every day, in workplaces, schools, and neighbourhoods, from the big cities to island communities, the Interior and the North. On May 14, we have another chance to resist, this time at the ballot box. We can’t let the Liberals and their corporate friends back into office again.
Many voters see the NDP as the only vehicle to change British Columbia, since Adrian Dix has taken up some important issues and demands. But the NDP deliberately plays down popular expectations, warning us not to demand big changes.
Electing an NDP government is not enough to reverse the right-wing policies imposed by Campbell and Christy Clark and it won’t stop the capitalist assault on workers, indigenous peoples, women, students, seniors, and the environment. We need to build a much broader struggle for a “people’s alternative” to corporate greed.
A vote for a Communist candidate is not “wasted”; it’s the most powerful statement you can make on election day. Electing even one Communist would give all working people a strong voice in the legislature. A larger Communist vote will help set the stage for bigger popular struggles, no matter which party governs in Victoria. The Communist party fights for human and planetary survival against the threat of capitalist destruction. We call for socialism, a society in which the economy is owned and democratically controlled by the people, not by private capitalists, in a world where exploitation, hunger, injustice, and war have been replaced by human freedom, equality, peace, and genuine environmental sustainability.
In this election, candidates for the Communist Party of B.C. are campaigning on a platform for radical change. We would:
• Restore pre-2001 tax rates on the wealthy and the corporations, which would add $2 billion annually to provincial revenues.
• Adopt Labour Code amendments to protect and enhance the rights to organize, bargain collectively, and strike.
• Block “fracking” and tar sands pipelines.
• End raw log exports.
• Purchase 1,000 new transit buses and institute a $1 single-zone fare for the Lower Mainland.
• Halt the “run of the rivers” giveaway to private interests.
• Stop P3 projects and privatization in the health, education, and transportation sectors.
• Scrap the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement, and demand Canada’s withdrawal from the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union, the Trans Pacific Partnership, NAFTA, and other globalization agreements.
• Build 5,000 new social housing units annually.
• Restore $250 million annually to the public school system across B.C.
• Raise social assistance rates by 50 percent.
• Increase the minimum wage to $18 per hour.
• Roll back postsecondary tuition fees, and expand apprenticeship programs.
• Abolish MSP premiums and other health-care user fees.
• Legislate full recognition of aboriginal title to unceded territories.
• Enact a democratic “mixed member” proportional representation electoral system.
• Guarantee full Labour Code protections for agricultural labourers, migrant workers, and temporary foreign workers.
• Direct all school boards to adopt policies to protect LGBTQ students and staff.
Candidates for the Communist Party of B.C. include Peter Marcus (Vancouver-Mount Pleasant), George Gidora (Delta North), Kimball Cariou (North Vancouver-Lonsdale), and John Shaw (Victoria-Beacon Hill).