THE Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada congratulates all the candidates, supporters and friends of the Party for their participation in the 2011 General Federal Election on its platform. In this election, the MLPC candidates held their own in terms of votes and made headway in raising the independent politics of the working class, refusing to allow the ruling circles free rein to silence the voice of the working people. They raised the most important question facing the Canadian polity — that of who decides. Everywhere they went they pointed out that the problems facing the country will be resolved in favour of the people only when the working class and people take their own independent stands. This will guarantee that they, not the rich, become the decision-makers and that the crisis is resolved in their favour not that of the rich.
The MLPC also congratulates the candidates of all the small parties and the independent candidates who refused to be cowed down by the unfair playing field of the Canadian electoral system and undemocratic monopolized media. We sincerely sympathize with the majority of Canadians who did not want Harper to form a majority government.
In his victory speech on the evening of May 2, Prime Minister Harper claimed that the election results have given rise to “strong, stable, national majority Conservative government.” He also said that the vote represented an “endorsement” of his party, implying that the anti-social, anti-democratic actions of the Harper minority government have been sanctioned by the voters. Already Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is threatening to “update” the budget.
Preliminary election results belie Harper’s claim to represent the majority of Canadians, the euphoria of the monopoly media about the Conservative sweep, NDP wave, especially over Quebec, and Harper’s suggestion that Canadians have given their stamp of approval to what his government has done.
Initial figures show a voter turn-out of 14,720,580 out of 23,971,740 registered electors or 61.4 per cent. This is up by less than 3 points from the 2008 election turn-out of 58.9 per cent. Over 9,251,160 Canadians who were eligible to vote refused to cast a ballot, 38.6 per cent of them.
Harper’s Conservatives received 5,832,401 votes, representing 24.3 per cent of the eligible voters, translating into 167 seats. Even the Conservative 39.6 per cent share of the votes cast does not warrant a claim to represent the majority. Voters who cast their ballots for candidates other than those of the Conservative Party totalled 8,888,179, representing 60.4 per cent of the cast ballots or 37 per cent of the eligible voters.
A Harper majority government to push the anti-social offensive puts the issue on the agenda without equivocation: the working class must elaborate its own independent politics and constitute a national opposition which can effectively block the anti-social offensive. On the horizon is the brutal implementation of the pro-war, annexationist, nation-wrecking agenda of “stability” for which the ruling class needs a Harper majority. There were hopes that the Conservatives would be held to account by the NDP in a minority government. The mood was sombre once the Conservative majority was declared. Not just workers in manufacturing and resource extraction but also postal workers, health care workers, government employees, retired workers, teachers, all were acutely conscious of what a Harper majority means – stepped up attacks on the rights of workers, smashing health care and the postal service, abject submission to the demands of the monopolies through the free trade agreements, sellout of resources, etc. But this is not what Layton said in his victory speech. He claimed Canadians could trust him to defend these things. It is not how the working people understand the results.
They understand that now, once again, Layton’s NDP has played the cat’s paw for the Harper Conservatives. By “splitting the vote” they made it possible for the Conservatives to win in sufficient ridings to give Harper his majority, decimate the Liberals and declare Quebec is not interested in new constitutional arrangements and that Canada is divided not between the Old which is passing away and the New which is striving to come into being but between “left” and “right.”
The election confirms that the workers must advance the cause of constituting themselves the nation and vesting sovereignty in the people so that they can exercise control over the direction of the economy and the society upon which they depend and which is duty-bound to provide for them. A new political process is required so that the problems facing the country can be resolved in a manner which favours the peoples of Canada, Quebec and the First Nations.
The Harper majority government, holding 167 seats, and the new configuration in Parliament with the New Democratic Party forming the Official Opposition with 102 seats poses a new challenge in which the workers must analyze the space which exists for change and occupy it. The MLPC opposes the creation of euphoria over the so-called NDP surge as some are doing. It also sees no cause for pessimism, which would mean that the working people would abdicate their responsibility to change the situation.
The first step is to participate in discussing the significance of these election results and analyzing what is the space for change so as to occupy it. The divide in Canada is not between a right-wing Conservative Party and a left-wing NDP. The divide is between the forces of the Old which represent the striving of the monopolies to have unfettered access to all the wealth Canadians and Quebecois produce and their resources and includes those who are propping them up pretending to represent a civil society which no longer exists, and the forces of the New striving to empower themselves so as to open society’s path for progress.
Starting today the MLPC website (www.mlpc.ca) is at the disposal of all those who wish to contribute to the discussion on the significance of the electoral results. The candidates of the MLPC are also holding meetings to gather the views and concerns of the people and offer their own and make plans to further elaborate this work. For information email: email@example.com.