Federal Election 2004 Platform of the Communist Party Stop the Corporate Destruction of Canada A clear choice faces Canadians in this election: either continue the pro-corporate policies of the Martin Liberals and the Conservative “opposition” – policies that serve the profit interests of Bay Street – or make a sharp break with the right- wing, neoliberal agenda and support policies that put working people first. Thanks to big business and their governments, the gap between the wealthy elite and working class Canadians has grown. The profits of the banks, insurance companies and oil giants are going through the roof, while living standards for most working people are slipping, job security is evaporating, over 11/2 million workers are jobless and almost one-fifth of our children live in poverty. The very future of the country is threatened, as NAFTA, the proposed FTAA and other "free trade" deals accelerate the U.S. domination of Canada. Moves to „harmonize‟ Canadian foreign, immigration, resource and military policies with the U.S. are further undermining what‟s left of our sovereignty. Meanwhile, the new “anti-terrorism” act, police violence against protesters, and unlawful harassment and deportations threaten the democratic rights of all Canadians. Not least, the aggressive actions of U.S. imperialism – under the cloak of fighting terrorism – are undermining peace and security around the world. From destabilizing governments and fomenting coups in Venezuela and Haiti, to launching full-scale, gruesome wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush Administration is plunging international affairs into chaos. Washington now threatens aggression against Iran, North Korea, Cuba and elsewhere. In the long run, it aims to dominate the entire globe through its space-based Star Wars program, which it is pressuring Canada and other countries endorse and join. It's time to turn Canada away from these destructive policies... time to put peace, people and nature before profits! The Liberal right-wing record During their decade in power, the federal Liberals have imposed neoliberal policies of free trade, privatization, cuts to social programs and corporate taxes, and deregulation, speeding Canada‟s integration into Fortress North America. They have gutted the linchpins of Canada‟s economy causing de- industrialization, hardship and the export of jobs. As a direct result of these pro- corporate policies, more and more people are compelled to work insecure, part- time low-wage jobs. Workers facing dropping living standards are forced to put in longer hours to make ends meet. Our healthcare system is grossly under-funded and is being privatized, despite the findings of the Romanow Commission. Tuition has skyrocketed, and our colleges and universities are in danger of becoming U.S.-style corporate-run preserves of the rich. Poverty, homelessness and food banks have grown due to the ruthless slashing of social assistance and housing programs. And billions of dollars have been stolen from the unemployed and their families, who are denied benefits through changes to the EI system. Now the Liberals are trying to win another majority under their new leader Paul Martin by presenting themselves as the „moderate centre‟. Nothing could be further from the truth – the Martin government represents an even further shift to the Right. As finance minister, Martin was the main architect of this anti-people offensive during the Chrétien years. The recent budget makes clear that the Martin government will continue tight fiscal policies, slashing funding and privatizing services, paying down the debt while increasing military spending, and cutting corporate taxes – all to the benefit of its wealthy friends and benefactors. Thanks to the continual undermining of our sovereignty through NAFTA, Canada is now even more firmly under the domination of the transnationals. Foreign, mainly U.S. ownership of the economy is growing by leaps and bounds. Paul Martin and the Liberals are shameless promoters of the corporate globalization agenda. The ‘new’ Conservatives? Out of the frying pan, into the fire! Stephen Harper‟s Conservatives claim to be the only alternative to another Liberal majority. But their one-note song about government scandals and corruption cannot conceal the fact that „new‟ Conservatives represent the same corporate interests as the Liberals. They only differ from Martin and the Liberals in terms of degree – the Tories want an even sharper turn to the right. They are unabashedly pro-war and pro-integration within the U.S. empire. They would speed up the destruction of our public, universal health and education services, replacing them with a "two-tier", for-profit system of hospitals and schools. They would completely sell out Canada's labour and environmental standards in the global trade agreements. And the Tories, with the backing of some religious fundamentalists, would step up the reactionary attack on women‟s reproductive and equality rights, on the right to same-sex marriage, on the rights of immigrants, and Aboriginal peoples, and on labour and democratic rights in general. Canadians in their majority reject the reactionary, pro-corporate and pro-war policies of the Tories/Alliance, but because they have now regrouped into a single party, the Conservatives pose a serious threat. Bottom line? The drive by both the Martin Liberals and the Harper Conservatives to take Canada further to the political Right must be blocked! Resistance is growing! The most exciting political change in recent years is the upsurge in mass resistance to war, neoliberalism and corporate power. Workers, young people, women, seniors, environmental and social activists – all have taken to the streets in record numbers to defend public healthcare, education and other programs, to oppose racism and discrimination, and to prevent war and environmental destruction. Workplace struggles are also on the increase, as unionized workers fend off attacks on their rights, wages and benefits from profit-hungry employers and reactionary governments alike. Another world is possible! Another Canada is possible! These lofty goals will only be realized by building up the labour and people‟s movements united around a genuine alternative program that places power in the hands of the people, not the transnational corporations. In this election, we can advance this process by electing a large bloc of progressive MPs, including Communists, who could work together with the people‟s movements in support of policies for jobs, equality, social justice, democratic rights, Canadian sovereignty, and peace. This would advance the interests of working people. Your vote can blunt the drive to the Right inside Parliament, and stimulate the fight for a people's agenda outside Parliament – key steps in building a broad People's Coalition, bringing together labour and all other movements and forces opposed to neoliberalism, corporate „globalization‟, and imperialist aggression and war. Why Vote Communist? Why choose to vote Communist? Because it is the best, clearest way to send a message in this election that you categorically reject corporate domination, globalization and war, and that you want Canada to move boldly in a new, progressive direction. The Communist Party is running candidates all across the country on a radical platform for a comprehensive "People's Alternative" for Canada. Your vote for a Communist candidate is a step towards making the voice of working people heard in Parliament! When you go to the polls, help make a difference. On federal election day, get off the treadmill of right-wing politics. Vote for fundamental change. Put People‟s needs first, not profits and greed – vote Communist! About the Communist Party Communist Party members are active right across the country in struggles for peace, democratic rights and social justice. Communists have a decades-long history of fighting for working people. The Communist Party was also the first political party in Canada to recognize and fight for Quebec‟s national right to self- determination, and for the national rights of Aboriginal peoples, and advance a comprehensive set of proposals aimed at finding a just and democratic solution to these national questions. We believe that capitalism, by its very nature, generates and intensifies mass unemployment and poverty, racism, gender inequality and oppression, environmental collapse, and war. Communists are working to build a broad, united and effective fightback today, to help advance the struggle for more far-reaching changes in the years ahead. Our long-term goal is social emancipation and genuine people's power: a socialist Canada, where the main industries and resources will be socially owned and democratically controlled. By directing Canada's economic development, working people can achieve real economic and social gains, build an equitable and genuinely democratic society, defend our sovereignty, and promote peace and development around the world, and protect the natural environment. Learn more about the Communist Party and its program “Canada’s Future is Socialism!”. Visit http://www.communist-party.ca/pdf/party_program.pdf ************ A New Direction: A People's Alternative for Canada! Strengthen Canadian sovereignty – build a better country Canadian sovereignty is under threat as never before. In order to defend our sovereignty, and guarantee the democratic right of the peoples of Canada to truly be masters of our own destiny, we need to strike out in a new direction based on policies that place the needs and concerns of working people first, not the narrow profit interests of big business. This will require a comprehensive plan for economic and social development and an independent foreign policy of peace which would… Reject the corporate "globalization" agenda Curb the domination of U.S. and other transnational corporations over key sectors of the domestic economy, and block moves toward "deep integration" of Canada into "Fortress America". Pull Canada out of NAFTA, and say “NO” to the Free Trade Area of the Americas and all other corporate-driven trade and investment deals. Diversify fair and mutually beneficial multilateral trade based on respect for the economic, social and cultural sovereignty of all countries. Reverse the de-industrialization of Canada Canada needs a strong steel and automobile industry – cornerstones of Canada‟s wealth-producing economic base. Legislate tariffs and duties to protect jobs. Government assistance to large corporations must be tied to clear production and job requirements and the right to seize corporate assets for non- fulfilment. Bring in foreign exchange controls and block foreign takeovers. Restrict capital flight and „runaway plants‟ by forcing large corporations to show „just cause‟ in public tribunals; legislate a 2-year notice of mass layoffs and increase employer-paid severance pay and retraining, and change bankruptcy laws to ensure that workers‟ wages and pensions are protected first, not last. Develop environmentally sound primary industries, manufacturing, and housing. Canada needs a shipbuilding industry, a merchant marine, and machine tool, agricultural implement and appliance industries to build the country and to create good jobs for ourselves and our children. Increase the „value-added‟ component of resource exports to secure jobs and investment. Create well-paid jobs and raise living standards Legislate a 32-hour work week with no loss in take-home pay and no loss in service to the public; ban compulsory overtime, raise statutory paid vacations to four weeks. Lower the voluntary pension age to 60 and substantially increase public pensions. Guarantee benefits for part-time, home-based and contract workers. Raise the federal minimum wage to $12/hour. Stop the theft of the Employment Insurance fund, and set benefits at 90% of previous earnings to cover all unemployed for the duration of unemployment. Rebuild social programs and public infrastructure. Spend at least 1% of the federal budget on social and non-profit housing. Enact a fair wage policy and full pay equity for women workers Promote worker-run cooperatives. Stop privatization - extend public ownership & democratic control No to privatization and contracting-out of health, education and other public services. Reverse the privatization of Air Canada, PetroCanada and CN Rail. Oppose the privatization and deregulation of electricity – defend public ownership and democratic control of power! Stop the corporate plunder of energy and natural resources, including forestry, fisheries, oil & gas, and mineral wealth. Cap energy prices, especially for home heating. Prevent the privatization and export of Canada‟s water! Put the banking and insurance system under public ownership and democratic control. Restore funding for the CBC, the arts and Canadian culture. Defend Medicare – expand social programs Commit to major reinvestment in social services. Substantially increase and re- establish tied funding to provinces for health, education, social housing and welfare, and enhance all-Canada standards, while ensuring that Quebec retains control and administration of its own programs. Maintain equalization payments to provinces. Block provincial attacks on Medicare; enforce the Canada Health Act and implement the Romanow recommendations. Scrap the Drug Patent Act (which guarantees mega-profits for the big pharmaceuticals, and high costs for health care), and introduce universal eye-, pharma- and denti-care. Stop the "war on drugs"; treat addiction as a medical problem, not a criminal act. Establish universally accessible, quality, non-profit childcare with Canada-wide standards – no more delays! Stop the war against the poor, ban "workfare" and introduce a universal minimum liveable income. Protect and expand the public pension system to become the primary system of pensions for all workers. Tax the greedy, not the needy Legislate a truly progressive tax system, based on ability to pay! Increase the corporate tax rate to 19%, and tax all capital gains, both realized and unrealized. Substantially increase taxes on resource extraction. End tax loopholes and shelters; collect deferred corporate taxes and tax the speculators. Impose a special "windfall profit tax" on large oil and other resource companies. Jail terms for corporate tax evaders! Eliminate taxes on incomes under $35,000/yr. Scrap the regressive GST. Impose wealth and inheritance taxes on estates over $700,000. An independent foreign policy of peace, global disarmament and social justice No Canadian participation in US military aggression. No to the US Missile Defence "Star Wars" plan. Get out of the NATO and NORAD military alliances. Demand immediate withdrawal of the US and UK from Iraq, and free elections supervised by the United Nations and other international bodies. Pull Canadian troops out of Afghanistan. Reject policies of "humanitarian" intervention, “regime change” and "pre-emptive” aggression and respect international law. Reduce the military budget by 50%, converting military to civilian jobs. Support the global abolition of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. Strengthen our historic friendship and trade with Cuba and expand relations with other developing countries. Support a just peace in the Middle East based on an immediate and total withdrawal of Israel from all occupied territories and the formation of an independent Palestinian state. Cancel Third World debt. Justice for Aboriginal peoples and Quebec For a new, democratic constitution based on an equal and voluntary partnership of the Aboriginal peoples, Quebec, and English-speaking Canada; convene a Constituent Assembly. Abolish the Senate. Recognize the national rights of Quebec and Aboriginal peoples to self-determination. Remove vestiges of colonialism from all federal legislation; act now for a just settlement of Aboriginal treaty claims. Take emergency action to improve living conditions, health and housing of Aboriginal peoples. Full equality for women Close the wage gap – legislate full pay and employment equity for working women. Protect women's reproductive rights; provide publicly funded, accessible, quality abortion services in every province and territory. End violence against women. Guarantee adequate funding for crisis centres and transition houses. Protect women‟s right to EI maternity coverage; expand parental benefits to 52 weeks. Fund equality-seeking women‟s groups. A future for youth Increase federal support for education at all levels; rollback and eliminate tuition fees for post-secondary education. Shift from loans to grants for student assistance. Guarantee the rights of youth to training and apprenticeship programs. Build better schools and colleges, not more prisons and "boot camps." Lower the voting age to 16 years. For a Charter of Youth Rights (see http://ycl.communist-party.ca/charter.htm) Fight racism and discrimination Oppose all forms of racism and scapegoating by the Canadian state and the big corporations. Strengthen and enforce employment equity programs for Aboriginal peoples, people of colour, and people with disabilities. No one is illegal; reverse cuts to legal aid and stop deportations of immigrants and refugees. End the racist immigration quota system which discriminate against those from developing countries. End discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered persons; guarantee the marriage and adoption rights of all, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Promote the rights of people with disabilities for equal access to social, medical and educational facilities and services. Strengthen laws and enforcement against hate crimes and neo-fascist groups, and prosecute war criminals living in Canada. Expand democratic rights Repeal C-36 and other so-called "anti-terror" legislation, and ban "racial profiling" used against Arabs, Muslims and other minorities. Defend the right to free speech and dissent. Stop government spying, police violence and the use of the courts as tools of repression against strikers and protesters. Strengthen parliamentary oversight of the armed forces and civilian control of the RCMP. Fair elections – proportional representation Enact a new electoral system that reflects voter wishes, combining the election of individual MPs with proportional representation, and the right to recall MPs. Guarantee equal treatment for all political parties, including access to media coverage under the Broadcast Act, so that voters can make informed choices. Scrap the „permanent voters list in favour of comprehensive enumerations before every election. Rescind legislation (C-3) that allows for deregistration of parties on political grounds. Ban computerized voting systems. Remove restrictions on the right of unions to donate to political parties. A Bill of Rights for Labour Enshrine in the constitution the right of workers to organize, strike and bargain collectively, and to take collective political action. Ban strike-breaking and scabbing. Strengthen labour standards; block anti-labour "right-to-work" laws. Place farm workers under federal jurisdiction with full labour standards and the right to organize and bargain collectively. Make May 1 a statutory federal holiday. A new financial deal for cities Give constitutional status and wealth taxing powers to municipalities now! Return 50% of gas and road user taxes to cities. Fund 25% of capital costs of municipal transit. Rebuild crumbling municipal and provincial infrastructure. Reverse downloading. Re-establish the Municipal Loan Fund for low-interest loans to cities. Support family farms and defend Canada’s food sovereignty Ensure Canada‟s food sovereignty through subsidies that genuinely benefit family farms, lower rail freight rates, and curb the power of the ago-industrial monopolies. Establish price controls to reduce the cost of farm inputs; expand or re-establish single-desk selling for more crops and livestock through the Wheat Board and similar marketing agencies. Increase food safety inspections; establish price controls on staple foods, including in Northern and remote communities. Impose strict environmental controls on all “factory” farms and ban in-ocean fish farming and deep-sea draggers. Support organic farming; regulate the use of antibiotics, fertilizers, pesticides, manure use and other potentially harmful agricultural practices. Save the environment Put nature before profits. Enforce stronger penalties on polluters. Make Canada a world leader in reduction of ozone-depleting gases and hydrocarbons. Phase out nuclear power, and reduce reliance on fossil fuel consumption – meet Kyoto targets as first step. Reduce environmental impact and loss of economic sovereignty caused by reliance on north-south hydro grids – expand shared power flows among provinces, moving toward an East-West power grid. Increase funding for alternative power research, expand energy conservation and use of alternative power sources. Promote and fund public transportation and mass transit. Ban destructive forestry practices, such as clear-cutting. Require labelling of all genetically-modified food products. Create jobs through protection and cleanup of the environment.