Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)

Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)
|- style="vertical-align: top; text-align: left;"
Political ideology Communism
International alignment Solidarity Network
Colours Red, Yellow
Seats 0 House, 0 Senate

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) (CPC-ML) is a Canadian federal Marxist-Leninist political party. It is not to be confused with the Communist Party of Canada.

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

Hardial Bains founded the Internationalists at the University of British Columbia on March 13 1963. 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 Canadian House of Commons 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

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. 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 and equivalent to the western bloc. Bains visited Cuba several times in the 1990s which led him (and the CPC-ML) to revise 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.

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.

Since 1997, the party's leader has been Bains' widow, Sandra L. Smith. Smith has never run as a candidate in a general election despite being the party's leader.

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, a party member. 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. However, Gerstenberger has received support from Carolyn Egan 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.

The party, if elected, would establish a Citizen's Committee for Democratic Renewal, or CCDR, that would nominate candidates for federal office. This would remove the process from the control of each political party's riding association, and establish what they see as a more equitable approach to the issue of democracy.

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" , but the congress was delayed due to the Federal Election 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 also 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.

Electoral activity

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 run in
16 261
14 231
14 697
5 202
11 468
12 081
9 065
11 163

The party also nominated candidates in several by-elections:

See also

External links


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