Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Results of the 42nd Federal Election: The Electoral Coup and the Necessity for Democratic Renewal to Empower the People

Source: The Marxist-Leninist Weekly  -- Oct 28, 2015

The 42nd Parliament of Canada elected on October 19 is comprised of 338 members, 30 more than in the 41st Parliament elected in 2011. The majority Liberal government has 184 seats. Its leader, Justin Trudeau will be Prime Minister of the new government. The Liberals held 36 seats when Parliament was dissolved on August 2.

The Conservative Party has 99 seats and will form the Official Opposition. Their majority at the end of the 41st Parliament consisted of 162 seats. The New Democratic Party elected 44 Members of Parliament, down from 95 at the end of the last Parliament where it sat as the Official Opposition. The Bloc Québécois elected 10 MPs, up from two before Parliament dissolved. The Green Party elected one MP, its leader Elizabeth May.

The turnout of registered voters was 17,559,353 of 25,638,379 registered electors (68.49 per cent). By comparison, 2,838,773 more Canadians cast a ballot in this election than in the 2011 election.

The Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada (MLPC) wrote in Renewal Update on the eve of the election:

"This election is all about how the ruling caste in Canada framed the choices and pushed for them. It is going for a Liberal majority. There is no doubt about that. It will be status quo on all the major portfolios with the expectation that the removal of the overt extremism of the Harper government will return everything to 'normal' whereby the rulers govern and the ruled are kept in check."

Following the election, the MLPC continues to hold this opinion. The MLPC intervened in this election as part of its work of mobilizing the working people to take up the work of becoming a political force in their own right so that they cannot be vulnerable to the depoliticization of the polity which the ruling circles are imposing. The aim of the monopolies on the political front is to have the electorate treated as niche markets just as they are on every front. The ruling class formulates the choices and the aim of an election campaign is to get the one which it thinks is the most suitable chosen. It was the method used to choose the Liberal leader in 2013.

The MLPC raised the need to provide Canada with an aim which defends the rights of the people. It also raised the need to renew the democratic process to empower the people. Our appeal to the working class, women and youth was to find a way of intervening in the election which kept the initiative in their hands and this could be done by voting their conscience, voting in a manner that made a statement that they oppose the neo-liberal anti-social offensive.

Now that the election is over, we hear the refrain that everyone should forget about politics and get on with their lives, or that the role of the working class and people now is to put extra-parliamentary pressure on the MPs and especially on the Liberal Party and "hold their feet to the fire." In this and other ways the people are to remain spectators of those who wield the political power.

The Liberals' promises indicate the new arrangements the ruling circles require in various spheres of life. The need emerges to study what they are and make sure the working people are able to defend their interests within the situation. Canadians cannot afford to harbour liberal illusions that the rights of all will be defended without their participation. To just say that the Liberals will maintain the same direction as the Conservatives but change their methods to "sunny ways" will not do. The situation today and the situation when Laurier was brought to power at the time of the Boer War and subsequently World War I are not similar, let alone the same. Analysis should always start from the present. References to the past are for purposes of providing a guide to action in the present which opens a path to progress. The pressure on thinking is such that one does not see what is there but what one thinks is there. It is this veil which imposes ignorance which must be lifted.

Canadians' desire for change is profound. They want the questions of the direction of the economy and the country, its sovereignty, questions of war and peace and all related matters dealt with in a manner which favours the people of this country and the peoples of the world. This points to the importance of not succumbing to the pressure that they should be spectators of what the Liberals decide to do and that their role is simply to hold the Liberals to their promises. The working class and people need to work out stands which ensure that Canadians are armed with a nation-building project of their own and which favour peace in the world.

For this reason the MLPC is organizing get-togethers across the country at places of work, in educational institutions, in neighbourhoods and amongst seniors to discuss the election results and the measures the new government takes.

What the Election of a Liberal Majority Is All About

In this election, the MLPC found that what bothered the people the most was the party system which keeps them marginalized so that they cannot control the decisions which affect their lives. They are not directly organized politically but are supposed to choose a political party to form the government with which they either have no connection or know virtually nothing about.

The people see an election as the one and only time they are to participate in taking a decision -- be the decision-makers so to speak. But the party system makes sure their participation in politics is reduced to that of spectators and voting cattle.

In this regard, the election of a majority Liberal government does not extinguish the desire of people nationwide for change. Two days before the election estimates and polls said 70 per cent of Canadians wanted a change from the Harper Conservative government and its neo-liberal direction. The program of the political and economic elite was how to control the change so that the working people do not occupy the space for change with their striving for a pro-social direction of the economy, politics and country. This is what the election of a Liberal majority is all about.

The electoral process has been adapted in such a manner that it enshrines a cartel party system which makes sure the people are marginalized. The controlled change of the ruling capitalist elite involved changing the cartel party in power without changing the direction of the economy or the content of foreign relations. This means that the framework of whatever the Liberals propose has to be looked at from the reference point of the aim it sets for the economy and foreign relations and whether this aim serves the needs of the people and the country and contributes to peaceful relations internationally.

The electoral process that brings parties to power is meant to manipulate and overwhelm the people's desire for a change from the neo-liberal direction. The electoral coup which created a Liberal majority has the main aim of consolidating the present neo-liberal direction of the economy and all things based on it. It is the latest one in a string of regional Liberal coups, such as the one in BC with the Clark Liberals, Ontario with the Wynne Liberals and the Couillard Liberals in Quebec. So too in the Atlantic provinces Liberal takeovers have been engineered systematically in the past few years. Those Liberal governments while promising change have pursued the neo-liberal direction without fail. The only blip on the radar was in Alberta where very specific circumstances prevailed and the working class mobilized itself to elect into government the Notley NDP.

The ruling elite fashioned the federal Trudeau Liberal coup in spite of significant competition for power within their ranks. The changing of the guard means lucrative positions will go to different party insiders. Changing of the cartel party in power also means that federal contracts and corporate subsidies will have to be negotiated with possibly different insiders gaining greater power and influence.

Trudeau has said a Liberal government will spend heavily on infrastructure, which means sorting out where the money will come from and lucrative contracts for private companies that have the necessary links. The ruling elite have turned governments into centres of private interests doling out public funds and power to those with close connections.

The overwhelming consideration for the current party-dominated electoral process is to mobilize the people to provide their desire for change with a program which brings it about. Curtailing people's empowerment allows monopoly right and narrow private interests to prevail over public right and the public interest.

Participation in politics essentially means participating in solving the problems facing the country. The ruling capitalist elite do not want to lose control over politics. They have developed the electoral system into one that reduces people's participation in politics to the choosing of a cartel political party that will control politics and deal with the country's affairs in ways that favour certain monopolies and their private interests.

The ruling class uses the party-dominated electoral process to make sure the people cannot go for their own empowerment and to hand over political control to this or that cartel political party. The party-dominated electoral system concentrates on this aim. The selection of candidates for the cartel parties serves this purpose. The promotion of the election as a contest amongst the cartel parties for power does as well. The incessant media coverage of the cartel parties, their leaders, and polling as to which party is ahead reinforces the view of politics as a contest amongst the cartel parties similar to a sporting event.

The policy objectives of the cartel parties are meant to strengthen the concept that a particular party will solve the country's problems. This allows cartel parties the leeway to do whatever the ruling elite want once in power with a mandate to govern while it reinforces the spectator role given to the people.

In this and other ways, the role of a modern political party is to mobilize and activate the human factor/social consciousness to participate directly in politics on a consistent basis to replace the party-dominated electoral system.

The Necessity for Democratic Renewal and the 
Independent Politics of the Working Class

The Liberal electoral coup proves once again the necessity for democratic renewal. The electoral coup will bring about changes which favour the ruling class and open avenues that the working people can occupy as they strengthen their independent politics and movement for people's empowerment. Resistance to neo-liberalism will expose the Trudeau Liberals as imposters of change but that is not an aim. The aim can only be to open society's path to progress to provide the rights of the people with a guarantee. The party in power has changed but opposition to the neo-liberal austerity agenda will soon pose the fundamental issue of how to keep fighting for the New.

The election showed the deep desire of Canadians for a pro-social change in the direction of the economy and country. The Liberal electoral coup will not extinguish that aspiration for change. The electoral coup has once again demonstrated the necessity for democratic renewal and especially for the working class to develop its independent politics. Only with its own thinking, theory, and practical politics can the working class overcome the manoeuvres of the ruling elite and bring into being democratic renewal, political empowerment of the people and a consistent pro-social direction for the economy and country with the power to restrict monopoly right and humanize the natural and social environment.

Our Future Lies in the Defence of the Rights of All!
All Out for the Renewal of the Political Process!