Communist Party of Canada (Marxist–Leninist)

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Not to be confused with Communist Party of Canada.
Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)
Parti communiste du Canada (marxiste-léniniste)
Leader Anna Di Carlo
President Sandra L. Smith
Founded March 31, 1970 (1970-03-31)
Headquarters 1867 Amherst Street,
Montreal, Quebec
H2L 3L7
Ideology Communism
Anti-Revisionism
Marxism–Leninism
Hoxhaism
Colours Red, Yellow
Website
www.mlpc.ca
Politics of Canada
Political parties
Elections

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) (CPC-ML) is a Canadian federal Marxist–Leninist political party.

The party is registered with Elections Canada as the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada. Elections Canada, the agency which oversees elections and political parties, claimed that, in order to avoid confusion among voters, it could not allow political parties to register with similar names. In this case, Elections Canada argues that allowing the party to use its preferred name could cause confusion with the Communist Party of Canada — a decision opposed by the CPC-ML.

History and ideology[edit]

Hardial Bains founded the Internationalists at the University of British Columbia on March 13, 1963.[1] Bains had sided with the People's Republic of China in the emerging Sino-Soviet split, a view contrary to that of the Communist Party of Canada, and on that basis decided to work towards the formation of an anti-revisionist Party in Canada.

The Internationalists were initially a Maoist student group but, as a result of their growth, they declared themselves a formal political party on March 31, 1970, and adopted the name "Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)".

The party first ran candidates for the House of Commons of Canada during the 1974 federal election but has had to run them as candidates of the "Marxist–Leninist Party of Canada" after Elections Canada ruled that the party's preferred name was too close to that of the Communist Party of Canada. However, the party continues to call itself the CPC-ML outside of its federal electoral activities.

The ideological trajectory of CPC-ML changed from Maoism and support for the People's Republic of China against what it saw as the revisionist (or Khrushchevite) Soviet Union, to later siding with Albania during the Sino-Albanian split that came two years after the death of Mao Zedong. CPC-ML reoriented itself as an anti-revisionist party upholding the legacy of Enver Hoxha and the Party of Labour of Albania until the collapse of the Communist Albania in 1992.

During the 1980s, the CPC-ML adopted a slogan of "We are our own models" and began to seek a new ideological approach. Because of differences in theory, the CPC and CPC-ML have never united as one party.

Current position[edit]

Today, the CPC-ML tends to be supportive of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's right to self-determination, although it does not promote Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong-il or Juche in the manner that it promoted Hoxha and Mao in previous years. However, it did issue a statement mourning the death of Kim Jong-il.[2] The CPC-ML has developed a more independent line since the collapse of the Soviet bloc, prior to which it had a very stridently anti-revisionist position, viewing the Soviet bloc as state capitalist.[citation needed] Bains visited Cuba several times in the 1990s which led him (and the CPC-ML) to reconsider his earlier views of Cuba as revisionist. The CPC-ML has become strongly supportive of Cuba and the Cuban Revolution and now has close relations with the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa and prints the English language edition of the Cuban Communist Party's newspaper, Granma, for Canadian distribution.

The CPC-ML was closely aligned with the Canadian Party for Renewal in 1993.

On January 1, 1995, the party put forward a broad program of work for the current period, which it has named the Historic Initiative. This was further elaborated during its Seventh Congress.

From 1997 to 2008, the party's leader was Bains' widow, Sandra L. Smith. Smith has never run as a candidate in a general election despite being the leader. In 2008, Anna Di Carlo became the leader of the party's electoral arm, the Marxist–Leninist Party of Canada[3] while Smith remains First Secretary of the CPC-ML itself and president of the MLPC.[4]

CPC-ML members are active in several trade unions, particularly the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and the United Steelworkers of America whose important Stelco local (Local 1005) in Hamilton, Ontario is led by Rolf Gerstenberger who is vice-president of the MLPC. Local 1005 is one of several USWA locals at Stelco. USWA officials rely on other Stelco local officials to act as official spokespeople for the union in its dealings with the company and the courts, effectively isolating Gerstenberger.[citation needed] However, Gerstenberger has received support from Carolyn Egan[citation needed] president of USWA Local 8300, based in Toronto, and of the Steelworkers Toronto Area Council.

CPC-ML has also been active in the movement against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In recent years the party has adopted its own "Contemporary Marxist–Leninist Thought". Its Eighth Party Congress was to be held in 2005 with the theme "Laying the Foundations for the Mass Communist Party",[5] but the congress was delayed due to the federal election.[6] The congress was held in September 2008.

The CPC-ML has a news-sheet, The Marxist–Leninist Daily, a youth wing, the Communist Youth Union of Canada (Marxist–Leninist), and operates the "Workers Centre" which helps educate and organize trade unionists through discussion groups, and a magazine, Worker's Forum. The party often conducts broader political activity under the name "People's Front" and uses that name for the British Columbia provincial wing of the party. (see People's Front (British Columbia)). In Ontario provincial elections, CPC-ML supporters have most recently run as Independent Renewal candidates.

Party leaders[edit]

Electoral results[edit]

The party has run candidates in Canadian federal elections since 1972, with the number of candidates in any one election ranging from as few as 51 and as many as 177. Most of its candidates have run in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. It was most prominent in the 1979 federal election and 1980 federal election, running under the slogan "Make the rich pay."

Its slogan in the 2004 federal election was "Annexation no! Sovereignty yes!"

Election # of candidates nominated # of seats won # of total votes  % of popular vote  % in ridings contested
1974
104
0
16,261
0.17%
 ?
1979
144
0
14,231
0.12%
 ?
1980
177
0
14,697
0.13%
 ?
1993
51
0
5,202
0.04%
0.22%
1997
65
0
11,468
0.09%
0.40%
2000
84
0
12,081
0.09%
0.32%
2004
76
0
9,065
0.07%
0.25%
2006
69
0
11,163
0.08%
0.26%
2008
59
0
8,747
0.06%
0.31%
2011
70
0
10,160
0.067%
0.28%

The party also nominated candidates in several by-elections:

  • September 8, 1980 - 0 elected
    • Hamilton West - 30 960 total votes - 120 votes received - 0.39%
  • February 13, 1995 - 0 elected
  • September 14, 1998 - 0 elected
    • Sherbrooke - 36 446 total votes - 72 votes received - 0.19%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]