Every time we hear the word “communist” or “communism” we get a flash of historical imagery. Lenin. Lots of red. Dictatorship (a la Ceaucescu) and grand displays of military prowess with soldiers and war machines marching through snow-kissed streets of Moscow.
The reality however is much less dramatic – and quite local. In fact, the Communist Part of Canada has its own electoral candidate for the Sooke-Esquimalt-Saanich riding.
Tyson Strandlund is a 23-year-old University of Victoria history student. He doesn’t wear much red, and he doesn’t drive a red-flagged Scud launcher through the street, especially if it’s snowing.
He says the role of his candidacy is to provide an alternative for those who may not like any of their current four voting options, be it the Conservatives, Liberals, NDP or Greens, as well as having a different Canada.
“It’s not with any joy that I say the Communist party is the only party that is not a pro-capitalist party, but it is only party that actually suggests taking power away from the corporations in terms of nationalizing our major industries,” he said.
“These banks and insurance companies that we pay so much interest on, these profits should go to public coffers, not private hands.”
Strandlund also calls for pulling out of trade agreements “that undermine our serenity,” pointing towards the likes of NAFTA, CETA and the recently-signed TPP. He says the CPC would also look to scrap Bill C-51.
Born and raised in Metchosin, Strandlund said he wasn’t always into politics, but became increasingly more involved over time, having grown frustrated with “ many injustices and destruction of the environment at the hands of corporations.
“We’re at a crisis right now in terms of the economy, of the environment, Canadians are working harder and harder, I witnessed that in my own family, just to pay the bills, meanwhile, corporations are making record-breaking profits,” he said.
The CPC’s central agenda also revolves around full employment, and $20 per hour minimum wage. Strandlund’s own push also involves free education and affordable housing for students.
“We need the banks to offer student grants, not student loans,” he said. “Students are as much a part the workforce as everybody else, so raising the minimum wage is a big part of that.”