No. 17September 8, 2021
With 12 days to election day, exclusionary “leaders’ debates” will be held tonight and tomorrow night at the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa. The Liberal Party’s Justin Trudeau is vying with the Conservative Party’s Erin O’Toole to lead the next government.
Will attempts to divide the polity by soliciting opposition to so-called anti-vaxxers or support for decreed measures which would have people fired who, for reasons of their own, oppose wearing masks or getting vaccinated, turn things in favour of one cartel party or another? Will violent protests throwing gravel and other things at Trudeau and interference in the election from various quarters manage to make Trudeau look like a saviour or a devil and turn things around in favour of one cartel party or another?
Will attempts at Quebec bashing and the manipulation of the values people espouse succeed in dividing the polity in Quebec to achieve a Liberal victory there? Who will claim to represent Ontario or any other province and region of the country?
Experience shows that no matter which cartel party is brought to power, in the name of high ideals, it has to represent the concerns of the rich minority to reap the spoils of robbing the state treasury, resources and labour of Canadians. All the while, it has to maintain the illusion that the democracy is the rule of the majority even as it pays the rich with impunity and the people have no role to play in decision-making at any level.
The corrupt financial oligarchy is mired in ruthless competition within its own ranks to dominate resources, markets, sources of cheap labour and zones of influence in favour of this or that narrow private interest. The oligarchs are pushed to do whatever it takes to control any situation. Within this, they are pushing forward, as a better fit, those leaders who wreck without the pretense of being pro-social or who they can push as being nation-builders. All of them claim to represent the popular will as they slash and burn whatever arrangements stand in the way of controlling the situation in their favour.
No matter what the cartel parties and monopoly controlled media declare are the “issues” in the “leaders’ debates,” no matter who they declare to be the “winner” of the exclusionary debates which are taking place, or how many photo ops or media promos they mount, it is to no avail. The people are organizing in defence of the rights of all. They know that the treachery of the cartel parties is based on more sell-out and more appeasement of U.S. Homeland Security and the U.S. war machine in the name of a fictional national interest, security and prosperity.
Canadians are in no mood to listen to such things. The Labour Day parades showed across the country that it is the working people who are taking in hand the matters of concern to the polity. This is the only way forward. The MLPC calls on all working people to bring in a minority government which will be more hard pressed to act with impunity against them.
In this election and the 2019 Federal Election, prospective candidates did not have to come up with a $1,000 deposit to register. Also, for the first time a witness to the nomination signatures for candidates did not have to appear at the Returning Office and candidates were able to obtain nomination signatures through emails and faxes.
This is thanks to Kieran Szuchewycz who launched a successful 2017 Charter Challenge after he was not able to have the witnesses to his nominations appear at the returning office in the 2015 federal election and the Returning Officer refused to process his nomination even though he had the signatures and his $1,000 deposit.
Thanks to his effort, the registration fee was ruled unconstitutional. The requirement for 100 nomination signatures was not struck down, but the court ruling led Elections Canada to alter the process to allow electronic signatures and the witness did not have to appear.
The Liberal Government argued in court that the deposit served to deter “frivolous” candidates. Presiding Alberta Justice Inglis countered: “many non-frivolous candidates might be prevented from participating due to limited financial means, and a frivolous candidate might easily be able to meet the deposit requirement.”
After the ruling, Kieran sent a letter to the parties without representation in the House of Commons, stating, ” [T]his wealth test, first introduced in the Dominions Elections Act of 1874, is now a thing of the past. No longer will candidates need to prove they have $1,000 dollars hanging around to exercise their Charter right to stand for election.” He expressed his hope that the dropping of the registration fee would enable more candidates to run and “provide the diversity of choice and vision our country desperately needs.”
“In a time when democracy appears to be receding,” he wrote, “and we feel we have no say in the direction of this country, small parties and small people must stand up for what they believe in and offer a fresh alternative to the well-connected careerists, dishonest politicians, and the wealthy elite who dominate the political establishment. I think you will agree that it is only through the increased political participation of ordinary Canadians that our political system can be reclaimed.”
Kieran continues to build opposition to Canada’s unfair and obsolete electoral law. In this election he is behind the project to have many candidates in the riding of St. Boniface—St. Vital (Winnipeg) provide an option to vote for electoral reform. To mobilize people to join in the action, Kieran offered to organize the nomination signature collection and is serving as the official agent for all fourteen candidates.
In the Manitoba riding of St. Boniface — St. Vital, (Winnipeg) fourteen candidates have united to highlight their demand for electoral reform and remind electors about the Trudeau Liberal betrayal of its 2015 election promise to end the first-past-the-post method of counting votes.
The fourteen include Sébastien CoRhino, leader of the Parti Rhinoceros Party and 13 independents. All told there will be 21 candidates on the ballot, including those standing for the Conservatives, Greens, Liberals, NDP, Peoples’ Party, Veterans Coalition Party and a 14th independent.
The initiative was launched by Kieran Szuchewycz and his brother Tom and was successful in capturing national media attention. In a CBC report, Sébastien says, “We have a big problem in our democracy. We have two political parties that have been the government of Canada for 150 years. It’s very easy for the Conservatives and the Liberals to elect MPs, and it’s very hard for other parties.”
Referring to the 2017 Parliamentary Electoral Reform Committee recommendation for proportional representation, Sebastien stated, The Liberals “just took the report and threw it in the garbage.”
He added that St. Boniface–St. Vital is a good riding for the action because of the historic government betrayal of the Métis after Manitoba entered confederation.
The CBC report also quotes Minister of Northern Affairs Dan Vandal, the riding’s Liberal incumbent candidate who was elected in 2015. Incapable of seriously addressing the Liberal abandonment of its electoral reform promise, he told the CBC, “[The Rhinos] are not a serious party. They’re a fringe party and for some reason or another they think this is amusing.”
According to him, “They’re making a point nobody understands.”
Far from not understanding, all fourteen candidates in St. Boniface — St. Vital have made history by having “the longest federal ballot seen in this country’s 150 year history.”
Read what the organizers of longest ballot Tomas and Kieran Szuchewycz have to say.
Canadians have not forgotten that Justin Trudeau broke his promise to make the 2015 election the last first-past-the-post (FPTP) election. Canadians remain unsatisfied with the archaic and out-of-touch political system which Justin Trudeau and Erin O’Toole call a democracy. An opportunity every few years to vote for the lesser evil is a far cry from what Canadians deserve. Our democracy is one that is designed to keep the voices of ordinary people out and concentrate power in the hands of a few. People feel disillusioned with voting for those that don’t represent them. Instead of accepting apathy and alienation, we decided to do the opposite; and engaged directly with our democracy to make ourselves heard. We now are happy to celebrate our success in creating the longest federal ballot seen in this country’s 150 year history.
We mobilized ordinary Canadians from all walks of life and from a diverse range of political opinions to stand in a single riding at the heart of the country, St. Boniface-St. Vital Winnipeg. We collected nearly 1600 individual nomination signatures from local residents who were excited to see regular people stand up for a better democracy.
Section 3 of the Charter explicitly grants every Canadian the right to stand for election; there is no reason why we should accept our lot just as voters. We can do more. We believe a democracy in which everyday Canadians have a bigger voice will forever remain a distant dream until we start to exercise our democratic rights to their fullest extent and stand up with our own voices against the politicians who seek to speak on our behalf.
Some will call the longest ballot frivolous, inappropriate, or just ballot clutter. We must disagree. There is nothing inappropriate about having regular Canadians exercising their charter rights and engaging directly in politics. The rules and model of our democracy is determined by the winners of the last election; this is neither fair nor democratic. We have shown what a few people can accomplish, and we will continue to work hard to bear pressure on the administrative and conceptual limits of our electoral system until the widespread calls for democratic reform are answered.
Towards a better democracy,
Organizers of the Longest Ballot Tomas & Kieran Szuchewycz
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