April 26, 2011
CANADA'S COMMUNISTS DEMAND "ENVIRONMENT, NOT PROFITS".April 16-30, 2011 Volume 19 - Number 8
In this election, the Communist Party of Canada has advanced a wide-ranging set of proposals designed to protect the environment. The major opposition parties and the Greens base their policies on "market-based" tinkering with the "real costs" of human economic activities. But the Communist Party argues that capitalism itself, a system based on the extraction of maximum profits, is inherently a threat to human survival. The goal of the Communist Party is public ownership of key industries and resources, which would allow for democratic control and economic planning to protect the interests of working people and the environment.
In recent years, the corporate-backed Harper Tories have made Canada a key opponent of serious measures to tackle the deepening global climate crisis. The Communist Party demands emergency action on this issue, as well as support for reparations to countries affected by capitalist-driven climate change.
The Communist platform calls for legislation to slash greenhouse gas emissions, including a phase-out of coal‑fired plants. Rejecting the claim that such measures will "kill jobs," the Communist platform urges investments to create jobs through renewable energy and conservation programs. This would include more stringent vehicle emission controls, expanded urban mass transit, and the eliminate of fares by subsidizing fare collections. The Communists call for funding high‑speed rail lines, and the development of a fuel-efficient Canadian car.
Radical change is advocated in the Communist platform, aiming to remove the private profit motive as the driving force behind economic decision-making. The platform renews the Party's call to adopt a People's Energy Plan, including public ownership and democratic control of all energy and natural resource extraction, production and distribution.
In the short term, the Communists call for a 100% tax on the windfall profits of the oil monopolies, and to "stop and reverse the privatization, deregulation and break‑up of public energy utilities."
The Communists urge a freeze and reduction of energy exports to the U.S., and instead propose to expand shared power flows among provinces through an East‑West power grid. The Party opposes any new development of the Alberta tar sands, and calls to close these operations within five years. Jobs should be guaranteed for workers in more sustainable industries at equivalent wages, and compensation provided for Aboriginal peoples and communities affected by the tar sands. The Party opposes the Enbridge and Mackenzie Valley pipelines, and oil and gas exploration and shipping on the west coast. It calls for a moratorium on the development of shale gas resources in Quebec.
To protect working people hard-hit by declining incomes, the Communist Party supports restoration of the "two price" system, with higher prices for energy exports, and lower prices for domestic uses, especially home heating.
On other environmental issues, the Communist platform includes a ban on "biofuels" derived from feed grains; heavy fines and jail terms against polluters and destructive corporate practices, such as clear-cutting, in‑ocean fish farming, and deep‑sea draggers; and no industrial development in parks.
The Communist Party also calls for action such as income supports to defend family farms and protect Canada's food sovereignty. The Party's platform urges stronger action to support organic farming: reduce the use of antibiotics, fertilizers, and pesticides, a ban on "terminator" seeds, and mandatory labelling of genetically‑modified food products.
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