Wendell Fields, Candidate for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek in Federal Election 2011
Details page for this candidate.
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Candidate Details (top)
|Election||Federal Election 2011|
|Area||Hamilton East-Stoney Creek|
|Party||Communist Party of Canada (Marxist–Leninist)|
Responses to Questions (top)
|Question||Brief Response||Full Response|
|Do you support Vrancor's attempt to remove heritage protection from 150 Main Street West (the old Revenue Canada building)? Why or why not?||No||We support a process which allows Hamiltonians to collectively decide on this issue.|
|Will your party take steps to make sure the foreign purchase of Canadian companies does not cost Canadian jobs? If so, what will you do? If not, why not?||Yes||Changes to the Investment Canada Act (ICA) are urgently required. Discussion on these changes is important to the working class and its allies. Rules regarding foreign investment are a significant element in asserting Canada's sovereignty. Sovereignty centres on control over the economy, politics and way of life. Fulfilling Canada's sovereign duty towards foreign investment means in part exercising effective control over that investment throughout its entire lifespan.
The global monopolies invest in Canada to make money. They do not invest in Canada to develop the economy or enhance the well-being of Canadians. This is not a subjective critique; it is recognition of the objective world in which we live. Monopolies invest in Canada for their own benefit. The social responsibility of the government is to ensure that those investments benefit Canadians and their economy. The global monopolies are not going to ensure that their investments benefit Canadians; that is not their aim, in fact, the two "benefits" express contradictory aspects of a social relation. The responsibility of monopolies is to their owners of capital, to ensure the investment benefits those investors. This could be characterised as a narrow aim and benefit. The responsibility of the Canadian government is to the people and their society, to ensure the investment benefits Canadians, their economy and the general interests of society. This could be characterised as a broad aim and benefit. The two benefits are not necessarily mutually exclusive under current conditions, if that were the case, what would be the use of any foreign investment. The unity of the aspects within the social relation demands that arrangements be worked out for mutual benefit. The opposition of the aspects within the social relation demands that the social relation be resolved into a new condition that does not require foreign investment.
Reform of the ICA requires setting up a legal framework, an authority that allows the government to take up its social responsibility to guarantee that the investment benefits Canadians and their economy, that both the broad and narrow aims and benefits of foreign investment find some unity of purpose within a legal arrangement. Otherwise, the broad benefit of public right will be constantly overwhelmed by the narrow benefit of monopoly right because the dominance of power of the monopolies crushes everything in its path if not restricted through the legal will and authority of public right and an organised and effective Workers' Opposition.
Broad benefit of public right versus narrow benefit of monopoly right
The tendency under neoliberal globalisation is for governments not to act on behalf of their constituents to ensure that the sovereign country receives a broad benefit from foreign investment. Industry Minister Tony Clement made this perfectly clear when he said in Hamilton regarding the takeover of Stelco by U.S. Steel that once the three year period under the ICA finished, U.S. Steel was free to do whatever it wants with Stelco. A Cabinet Minister by law should not be allowed to say such a thing, as it denies the government's social responsibility to defend Canadians and their economy and ensure that the U.S. Steel foreign investment bestows a broad benefit on Canada in an arrangement with the narrow benefit of monopoly right.
The government is abrogating its social responsibility to uphold public right. A reform of the ICA should publicly force governments to uphold their social responsibility to ensure Canadians receive a broad benefit from foreign investment during its life within the country, which includes importantly its windup. Left to their own devices, global monopolies do not allow a broad benefit to accrue to the host country. Neoliberalism is very clear on this point: monopoly right and its narrow benefit to investors trump public right and its broad benefit to Canadians, their economy and society.
What are some of the features necessary for a sovereign Canada to receive a broad benefit from foreign investment at this time in history?
First, a sovereign country needs wages, benefits and pensions to be high enough to satisfy an established standard of living (a rising standard of living in developing countries) and to allow the local economy to function and successfully circulate goods and services. The workers' claim on what they produce or the service they provide comes into direct conflict with the claim of the global monopolies, which is generally taken out of the economy and distributed to its foreign investors. The conflict of claims on the added-value Canadians produce or make available from providing services underscores the necessity for public good faith negotiations between the collective of workers and the monopoly to find an acceptable arrangement that could be said to be mutually beneficial. If the monopolies use their position of dominance to force an arrangement that serves only
|Do you believe global oil production is at or near an historic peak? If so, what will your party do to prepare Canada for declining oil production? If not, why not?||Yes||Surely in a modern society like ours of the 21st century, we are capable of developing and using effectively other means of energy production. In fact, there are many alternative energy sources we have but they have been relegated to the back burner by the big oil monopolies and the governments at their service as they stand to lose too much if the world's dependence on oil is challenged. The MLPC calls for a new direction for the economy, one that is human-centered. There is no doubt that the kind of conscious planning that is required for a new and modern economy would include planning around sustainable energy sources. It would also include the development of a Canada energy policy that is truly sovereign and designed for the well-being of Canadians. Currently, Canadian energy resources are at the service of the U.S. Empire as part of the ongoing annexation of Canada into the United States of North American monopolies. This is unconscionable and a major obstacle for our efforts as Canadians to organize our society in a matter that serves our interests. In sum, the issue of oil production can only be sorted out by the Canadian people as part of the ongoing work to realize a new direction for the economy.|
|Do you believe parliamentary rule has been eroding in Canada? If so, what will you do to reverse it? If not, why not?||Yes||Our Parliament is in crisis. Please see responses above for information on the MLPC's program for democratic renewal.
|Please explain how the Prime Minister and cabinet are formed in the Canadian Parliamentary system.||Yes||Canada is a constitutional monarchy, whereby sovereignty is vested in the Queen. The Queen's representative, in the form of the Governor General appoints the Prime Minister who by convention is the leader of the Party with the most seats in the House of Commons. S/he also appoints the Cabinet, based on the selection of the Prime Minister.
The Constitution which vests sovereignty in the Queen absolutely while enshrining the rights of the people on a limited basis (i.e. within reasonable limits) is archaic and no longer capable of meeting the demands of the Canadian people for new and modern arrangements which enshrine rights on the basis of being human.
|Do you believe human activity is contributing to climate change? If so, what should we do about it? If not, why not?||Yes||Of course, human activity is contributing to climate change. The MLPC thinks all governments have a duty to protect the natural environment and make sure measures are taken so that it can flourish in the future as well. We have ample means at our disposal to make sure this is done but today governments do not recognize this duty, not even in words. The manner in which Canada played around with the Kyoto agreement makes a mockery of the very notion of social responsibility towards the environment.
The MLPC actively joins all those who are taking stands on environmental issues. At the same time, it seeks to make a contribution which it thinks is decisive which is to create the conditions so that Canadians are empowered to make their demands on these issues effective. Otherwise we are condemned in perpetuity to asking the gods of plague to save us from the plague. In other words, the most pressing issue when it comes to the environment, like everything else, is Who Decides? If Canadians were empowered, they would enact laws to protect the natural environment. Science and technology should be put in the service of both the natural and social environment. If the self-serving aims of the monopolies to make maximum profit off both society and the environment were not behind all decisions taken, nature could be made to serve the needs of society while it is protected and made to flourish in the future at the same time. A modern society such as Canada's with one quarter of the planet's fresh water can provide safe drinking water for all Canadians. Problems such as lack of safe water, pollution and clear-cutting can be solved if the profit motive is not the deciding factor.
The same applies to all conservation issues, problems of a safe food supply, genetic engineering, etc.
The fact remains that the plight of the environment and the concerns of Canadians are completely ignored by the so-called major political parties and the monopoly media. They pay lip service to concerns of collectives such as the farmers or fishers, the First Nations, environmental activists or residents in certain areas, to the extent they are considered significant as a vote bank. The system of party government will never put the claims of the environment on society at centre stage because its sole aim is to serve the "needs" of the rich. We think that this is the crucial thing that those concerned with the environment have to take a stand on if they are to build a bright future for the future generations.
|Do you support some form of proportional representation instead of first-past-the-post voting? If so, what will you do to promote it? If not, why not?||Yes||Rather than debating the best way in which to count votes in our current electoral system, the MLPC is working to realize our program for democratic renewal in a new way. The democratic crisis in Canada is evident in the fact that we live under constant threat of elections in this country and that when elections are held, Canadians do not see a viable alternative to the major parties of the rich which are considered illegitimate by the majority. For the MLPC, the issue is not about how the votes are counted (though certainly the first-past-the-post system is egregiously flawed) but rather how the right to elect and be elected can be truly upheld, in deed not just word. The crisis in our democratic system is not simply a matter of tweaking the process here or there; it is a more thoroughgoing crisis whose essence is the fact that the entire process marginalizes the polity at large while empowering the political parties of the rich who have a monopoly within the system and in governance overall.
In Canada, we are told that we have choice amongst the three major political parties, but all three parties represent a small variation on the same neo-liberal, monopoly-driven, war-mongering program. There is no choice in any of these choices! This is how a unanimous vote can pass in the Parliament, sending our military personnel to commit war crimes as Canada leads the NATO aggression on Libya. Not a single dissenting voice was heard within the Parliament. We went to war without even a modicum of discussion in a country where the majority of the people don't support these wars of aggression. There are countless other examples of how all the parties in Parliament are pushing the same agenda, working hand in hand against the interests and aspirations of the Canadian people they allege to represent. In this sense, the elections are obsolete; no matter who you vote for, the same program is implemented. Thus, the democratic crisis cannot be solved by stopping at reforming how the vote is counted. We have to sort out the problem of how and why there is no viable alternative within the elections to the major establishment parties with their practically identical programs.
The MLPC puts forward that Canada needs a new and modern constitution and, as part of that, democratic renewal to our electoral system. This program aims to vest sovereignty in the people and affirm the fundamental right of all to be part of decision-making on the affairs that affect them. We base this program on the principle that there can be no election without selection. To enable the people of Canada to exercise their sovereignty, this new and modern constitution must lay down as a fundamental principle that there can be:
* No Election Without Selection.
This means that unless the Canadian people can themselves directly nominate candidates and establish their programs, there is no election taking place worthy of the name.
Under the fundamental law that elected representatives and all institutions must be subordinate to the electorate, the constitution must also enshrine:
● The Right to an Informed Vote;
● The Right to Recall;
● The Right to Initiate Legislation.
These laws, once passed, must be turned into reality through the establishment of institutions which enable the electors to exercise their right to elect and to be elected, and facilitate their maximum participation in governance. A Canada-Wide Electoral Commission, as well as Electoral Committees in each constituency would be bodies to replace Elections Canada. The finances and facilities currently provided to Elections Canada and to Members of Parliament to operate their constituency offices would be reallocated to fund the functioning of the Canada-Wide Electoral Commission and Electoral Committees. The Members of Parliament would conduct their affairs through the Electoral Committees to which they would be subordinate.
The Canada-Wide Electoral Commission and the Electoral Committees would be entrusted with two key tasks: (1) Guaranteeing that all electors can exercise their right to elect and be elected; and (2) Ensuring that the elected representatives are subordinate to the electors and serve their interests. These bodies would involve a large number of people, especially in the task of ensuring the subordination of the elected to the electors.
The sum total of this process of renewal would do away with the cartel party system. It is a bold new approach; electors through their local committees would select candidates and their programs. The local committees would be a mechanism for Canadians in each riding to discuss with one another, be informed of what their elected officials are doing, to initiate legislation or recall officials. It is a way to ensure that Canadians can hold elected officials accountable and be part of decision-making in and out elections. Also, in this way the domination of the electoral system by the political parties would be ended as
|Will you always vote along party lines, or are you prepared to vote your conscience on a matter in which you disagree with your party's position?||No||We believe that people should vote based on the decision of their local constituents after a process of collective discussion to establish the line forward. Our program for democratic renewal aims to end the domination of the electoral system by the political parties.|
|Will your platform promote the growth of manufacturing jobs in Hamilton? If so, how? If not, why not?||Yes||The MLPC in Hamilton is at the fore-front of the work to oppose the nation-wrecking of the monopolies, and for manufacturing. We are part and parcel of the Canadians from coast to coast who are organizing and fighting on the basis Our Resources Stay Here! and Manufacturing Yes! - Nation-Wrecking No! Governments must do their duty and stop the rapacious monopolies like U.S. Steel, Vale Inco, Xstrata, BHP Billiton, Exxon Mobil and others who come to Canada and try to dictate to the Canadian people what is going to happen with their industries and resources.
The wrecking by global monopolies of the resource and manufacturing base of our economy has brought to the fore key questions for all of us. Who should profit from Canada's natural resources -- the people or global monopolies? Who should control the direction of the economy? What is the aim of the economy and Canadian society? Who decides?
Under neoliberal globalization, the resources which belong to the people and which are needed to build a society which recognizes the rights of all are being stripped away. Neoliberal globalization is destroying jobs, especially in the manufacturing sector, and reducing wages and benefits and the ability of retirees to live in dignity. Hamilton knows this scenario only too well, as USW 1005 members are still locked out by U.S. Steel, and we continue to lose the factories and jobs that made Hamilton a manufacturing town.
MLPC fights for public right, not the narrow selfish interests of domestic and foreign monopolies. These monopolies must be restricted so that they cannot simply do whatever they want to expand their empires at the expense of the workers who produce the wealth, Canada's socialized economy and social fabric. It is outrageous that these monopolies can mumble something about "rationalizing production, competition, production costs or inefficiencies" and then simply shut down plants, destroy entire industries as they have with forestry or ship raw resources and jobs south.
Public right must control the direction of the economy, not monopoly right. Public ownership of these resources where the people decide their use and development is required. This starts with workers organizing themselves so as to elect governments that permit the people to exercise control over the natural resources and social wealth for purposes of building a pro-social and self-reliant economy which enters into relations of mutual benefit with others.
At the very least, this requires that:
* Monopolies must not be permitted to shut down mines, mills, and entire industries, throwing workers onto the street and doing harm to the local and national economy;
* Resources must be upgraded, processed and manufactured in Canada and near their source.
* Wholesale prices must be publicly controlled, not left in the hands of the speculators and price-fixers.
* Monopolies who exploit natural resources must be held to agreements to provide a definite number of jobs at Canadian standard wages and working conditions, including pensions for retired workers.
* The public and governments have the right to decide on the claim of the owners of capital on their invested capital to ensure that the investment is of mutual benefit to both Canada and the investors and not one-sidedly to the narrow benefit of owners of capital and ripped out of the economy.
* The public and governments have the right to oversee and direct the impact of the project on the environment and to appropriate the needed funds from the monopolies to harmonize the project with the natural environment.
For Hamilton specifically, the MLPC has various proposals which are outlined in our daily online newspaper (at cpcml.ca) which can be searched through google or other internet search engines.
|Will you call for a full public inquiry into the 2010 G20? Why or why not?||Yes||The MLPC has time and time again denounced the state violence against the G20 demonstrators and called for a people's inquiry into what took place. This call was based on the direct experience of MLPC activists involved in G20 organizing and in the demonstrations last June. In Hamilton, MLPC candidates Lisa Nussey (Hamilton Centre), Jamilé Ghaddar (ADFW) and Wendell Fields (Hamilton East-Stoney Creek) were lead organizers of our city's participation in the week of actions that took place in Toronto while the illegitimate G20 met. Many other local MLPC activists and members were also very involved in this work. We were on the front-lines face to face with the 25,000 riot police under the control of the Integrated Security Unit, which in turn is run by Northern Command, which in turn is under the control of the U.S. military. We directly experienced the state attacks as we worked tirelessly in the lead up to the demonstrations, during the actions and afterwards to affirm the right to dissent of all Canadians.
Throughout these efforts, and since the brutal state repression of our legitimate right to dissent, the Hamilton MLPC and every level of the party (including provincially and nationally) has been demanding a full public inquiry into what took place. We have continued the organizing work, supporting those facing charges from G20 organizing, and continuing to provide information updates through our online daily newspaper.
In our view, the only legitimate inquiry would be a people's inquiry. There has been movement to do this and we are part of these efforts fully. We do not support the notion that the criminals investigate and pass judgement on themselves. As such, the various police-led inquiries that were announced on the heels of the G20 are fraudulent.
For further information on the MLPC's views and involvement in G20 organizing, please read our daily newspaper, The Marxist-Leninist Daily. We published many articles, reports and views on the G20. A few sample links can be found at the following: