BY: AIDAN MACNAB
This was the longest election campaign in over 100 years and as far as Canadians can tell, they have three options tomorrow: NDP, Conservative, or Liberal. But the truth is we have a much more diverse set of options than it seems.
There are 23 registered, federal parties and these largely unheard of political entities span a much broader range of political philosophies and ideals than the three traditional choices.
Do you want to be a Senator? The Rhinoceros Party promises to institute a senate lottery game, where all Canadians are eligible to win a seat.
The United Party of Canada wants to stimulate the economy and help Canadians from relying so much on credit by doling out an annual salary to every Canadian. They estimate that this would generate tax revenue from increased spending, allow the feds to axe Social Transfer Equalization payments and halve the General Equalization payments, saving the federal government almost $3 billion.
If marijuana legalization is your sole motivation for voting Liberal, perhaps the Marijuana Party is a better option. They ran eight candidates in this election. Their mission is ending prohibition, increasing access to medical marijuana, freeing all prisoners charged of marijuana-related offences, and providing restitution for the cannabis they had seized.
If you’re really down with the revolution and didn’t just buy that Che Guevara shirt because you’re into Rage Against the Machine, we have not one, but two communist parties for you to choose from: The Communist Party of Canada and the Marxist Leninist Party of Canada (MLPC).
Steve Rutchinski and Philip Fernandez are MLPC candidates running in Toronto. They both have been involved in political organizing since the mid ’70s and believe that what we call our democratic system really isn’t democratic at all.
“[Our] main thrust is to fight for political renewal in this country,” says Fernandez.
The parliament and democratic institutions in this country have been taken over by a small, parasitic elite and it’s blocking Canadian society from making progress, he says.
They reject the party system, feeling that it shackles MPs and even MLAs from truly representing the will of their constituents. The three main parties uphold the status quo and do not sufficiently respond to the desires of the Canadian public.
“The outcome of an election is not an expression of the public will,” says Rutchinski.
They are in favour of a more organic approach. Instead of candidates being chosen by a party and presented to a riding, the communities should nominate candidates on their own who are not beholden to party objectives. Right now, they say decision-making power rests with the tiny elite with membership to the political parties. A reversal of the system would bring the power to the people.
“When you do electoral work, you can sense an enormous desire for change.” says Fernandez. “Canadians want a foreign policy based on peace… would like to have an economy that serves the interests of the people.”
Rutchinski ran food co-ops in BC prior to his political activism. Frustration over the way Canadian food production and sale is monopolized led him to the MLPC. There, he says he found that what he observed wasn’t an anomaly, but the nature of the Canadian economy.
“The working class produces all the wealth in this country,” says Fernandez. “[But] are completely marginalized.”
Fernandez’ political orientation comes out of his passion for human rights. He came to the MLPC while it was organizing during the 1970s green paper on immigration, which expressed the sentiment that South Asian and Caribbean immigrants were not sufficiently assimilate-able, and Canada may be better off without them.
The present political moment shows how little Canada has changed. The Conservative government gloats about setting up programs for Canadians to snitch on the “barbaric cultural practices,” of their neighbours and makes a national issue out of the two women in the history of Canadian citizenship ceremonies that have worn a Niqab. This racist rhetoric seems to resonate with many voters, so perhaps Canadians really haven’t progressed all that much. Whether it’s due to a parasitic elite or an ever-present racism is up for debate.
Luckily for us, though ever present, the racism in Canada is not severe enough to afford the National Synergist Party of Canada to become the 24th registered party.
Though active in Toronto, Clayton Elmy’s self-described fascist political movement has not yet been able to meet the 300-member threshold to run in the election. They would like to take part, despite not believing in elections.
“We are against democracy,” says Elmy at an anti-Islam protest earlier this fall.
Niqabs would not be an issue for a Canada under National Synergist rule, “Our party platform says no Muslims on Canadian soil,” he says.
He also describes his group as “generally anti-Semitic,” and believes in sovereignty for Aboriginal peoples and Quebec. Not that he would throw his hat in with their respective struggles, he is an ethno-nationalist, meaning he and his party believe that races need to stick together and stay apart.
They would have North America divided up into autonomous ethno-states, region by region. They tie the need for this racial secession to the collapse of the global economy, which is inevitable given the West’s addiction to economic growth, bolstered by immigration by people who are “substantially different,” says Elmy.
The race mixing and perpetually growing population bent on over-consumption driven by rapidly depleting natural resources like oil, is a recipe for total societal collapse. The National Synergists hope to make their utopia in the fall-out.
It may feel like a throwaway vote to spend your franchise on the Christian Heritage Party, the Rhinoceros party, the Pirate party, or even the Green Party, so maybe this narrow field is all we have to hope for. But if we effectively have only three parties, at least that’s one more than the US.