Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Communist Party candidate Johan Boyden, Toronto Centre
Friday, October 5, 2007
Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process? Why did you choose to run in this constituency?
- I live in St Jamestown and think that working people need a real choice in this election – a voice for a new direction that puts people’s needs ahead of corporate greed. I don’t claim to speak for everyone in the riding. For example, Rosedale, where some of the richest Canadians live.
- I’ll let you in on a secret: the Liberals are going to win this seat hands-down. So that is another reason we’re running here, because voters can cast their ballot what ever way they want. And if they want to send the clearest message to curb corporate rule, they can Vote Communist!
What prior political experience do you have? What skills and insight can you bring to office, from other non-political positions you may have held?
- I’ve worked in grocery stores and been an assistant shop steward. I was elected three times to my student union in university and have been on the boards of non-profit community organizations. I’ve been a community organizer and activist for about a decade, organizing campaigns to save public schools, for queer rights, for environmental protection, for peace and for higher minimum wages. I’m a fighter. Elect me and you’ll vote for somebody who is 26, full of energy, and is going to push back when big business puts on the heat.
Which of your competitors do you expect to pose the biggest challenge to your candidacy? Why? What makes you the most desirable of all candidates running in the riding?
- The Communists have the best policy. We’re calling for a C$15 dollar minimum wage, community control of police and prisons, to fix the school funding formulae with $20 billion, eliminate tuition fees, and to pay for it by raising corporate taxes.
- We’re a small party with big ideas. And at the debates it shows.
What do you feel are the three most important issues to voters in your riding? Are these the same top three issues that are most important to you? What would you do to address these issues?
- Affordable Housing – building 100,000 units of affordable housing; legislate real rent controls; roll back rents; enforce housing standards and by-laws
- Jobs – fair trade, not free trade; reduce the work week to 32 hours with no loss in pay; immediate action on the manufacturing jobs crisis; $15 minimum wage
- Education – affordable childcare at $7 a day; fix the funding formulae and phase-out Catholic schools; eliminate tuition fees
What should be the first order of business in the 39th Legislative Assembly?
- Progressive tax reform.
Are the property taxes in your riding at a fair level for the amount of services received in the municipality?
- No. We need to upload 100% of the Harris Download and eliminate market value assessment.
How can the province lead the way in stimulating job creation?
- By implementing our program:
- Fair trade, not free trade – protect Canadian jobs and sovereignty
- Say no to the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP)
- Emergency action to save Canadian manufacturing
- Enact a new Auto Pact – foreign investment must require Canadian made parts and assembly
- Build a Canadian car, machine tool industry, ship-building and agricultural implements industry
- Rebuild aging provincial and municipal infrastructure
- Reduce the work week to 32 hours with 40 hours take-home pay
- Restore and expand social programs; build affordable housing
- Introduce plant closure legislation with teeth
- Ensure environmentally sustainable development
What are your views on the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) referendum?
- I strongly support this proposal and our party has been calling for MMP for over 50 years. In this riding the Tory, Ms Taylor, is opposed although I have heard some waffling on ‘philosophical support.’ I think that the Liberal incumbent Mr. Smitherman’s support of MMP is questionable at best, since his cabinet imposed a 60% supermajority on MMP, but he is saying he supports MMP and it is on his flyer – this shows really the strong public support for MMP in Toronto-Centre. The Greens and NDP now also advocate for MMP which is good.
- On October 10th, most voters will get a government they didn’t vote for – a McGuinty Liberal Majority. That’s why we need MMP. It is more democratic. And it also promotes coalitions, which makes it easier to pressure the government.
Of the decisions made by Ontario's 38th Legislative Assembly, which was the most beneficial to your this electoral district? To the province as a whole? Which was least beneficial, or even harmful, to your this riding? To the province as a whole?
- The citizen’s assembly on electoral reform wast the most beneficial.
You are running as a candidate for the Communist Party. A lot of people say that Communism is a dead idea or fear that a Communist government would implement some sort of repressive dictatorship. What do you say to this?
- I would say read our programme and make your own mind up: www.votecommunist.ca
- The misrepresentations and outright lies about the Communists aren’t limited to us – they are slung against any progressive who rocks the boat.
The Communist Party is unlikely to win any seats in the election. Why did you decide to run for a small party rather than be involved with one of the major parties?
- We have elected three times in the past, and we will elect again – but not this election. It depends on the level of struggle. If the people are fighting for justice, the thunder of that movement will build the Communist vote as well.
- I work with people of all different political stripes and colours outside of elections. But only my party, the Communist Party, fights for peace, sovereignty, jobs, democracy, and socialism. That is why I’m a communist.
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