The Way I See ItThe Outcome of the 40th Federal Election
October 15, 2008
Don Currie – Chair CPS

The economic depression underway in Canada resulting from a decade of imperialist war and global plunder was confined for several years to manufacturing and resource sector workers. All of that has changed. The capitalist crisis initially confined to the working class, now extends into the strata of middle and upper middle class income. The integration of millions in the web of private investment and debt financing tied to banking capital has devalued all personal and small business property, earnings and savings, causing fear and anxiety throughout the whole population. A general crisis of the system is unfolding with no end in sight.
This stark economic reality swept all other issues off the table in the 40th federal election. The party programs presented to voters on October 14th proclaimed quite clearly what class economic interests MP’s are pledged to uphold in the 40th Parliament as the crisis deepens. That is a positive outcome of the election, that class interests have been more clearly defined. The Harper Conservatives have made it plain where they stand as once again they take up the reins of power.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper mobilized the classes of urban and rural wealth and privilege with a promise that as Canada slips into depression he will defend their economic interests above all others. Finance Minister Flaherty reinforced that promise by returning from the G7 crisis management conference on the eve of the election and immediately gifting the banks with $25 billion of people’s money.
These crass Conservative moves were well understood by wealthy and parasitical elites in all provinces and everything in their power was done, with the help of CanWest Global, CTV and mindless radio right-wing talk shows, to give Harper a majority. Convinced that a Harper Government would not shrink from any abuse of Parliament or the public treasury to defend their interests, the wealthy quietly went to work in the political and social networks of upper class privilege. The result was no majority, but the Harper Conservatives head back to the 40th Parliament with an additional 16 seats and a strengthened right wing minority. Only the unity and resolve of the BQ voters of Quebec and the ABC (Anybody But the Conservatives) Maritime vote and some critical working class support for the NDP, prevented a Harper majority.
Stephane Dion’s flirtation with befuddled and frightened professional and intellectual classes promoting environmental concerns over all other basic issues of peace and the economy resulted in a deflated Liberal presence in Parliament. Worst of all for the so-called big tent Liberals, Bay Street and the wealthy turned their backs. What Dion failed to grasp was, that in a serious economic crisis, finance capital demands class allegiance not equivocation. Dion failed the test, has been punished and will be replaced. The Liberals are poised to regroup and move further to the right.
The working class, bearing the brunt of the depression, faced limited options in the election. Mass unemployment in the manufacturing sector, basic industry and resource sector and now, the downturn unfolding in the energy sector, was vigorously exposed and denounced by the NDP. The result was the NDP became organized labour’s default party in constituencies hard hit by economic decline. Its popular vote remained static but in key constituencies in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta the left and the labour movement rallied and delivered some important victories for the NDP.
It is sobering to observe that nothing resonated at a visceral level with working class voters. All parties expressed more concern for the perpetuation of the profit system in a global crisis than jobs and security of employment and income for working people. That accounts for 59% turnout at the polls, the lowest in history.
Wide spread disillusionment and detachment from working class politics, especially among the youth has been reinforced by the post election speeches of all of the leaders, including the NDP pledging to work together in the 40th Parliament to save the system. Around what class program?
It is not the task of the working class and its political parties, to offer to save the system that robs it of a future. What is required in the 40th Parliament is a massive looming presence of a clear working class based economic program backed by the organized labour movement and all of the progressive movements of the people that defends the interests of the 17 million Canadians who must labour to live ahead of all considerations of the profit interests of a small elite of wealth and privilege.
This is the time to begin to mobilize that struggle. On the opening day of Parliament not a single MP should be left in doubt as to where the organized labour, peace and democratic movements of the people stand as an economic crisis threatens the well being of millions.
The message is simple. Canadians will not tolerate another repeat of the Dirty Thirties. Everything is at hand to avoid that disaster in the 21st Century and protect the young generation from what their grandparents suffered in the years of the Great Depression.
That is the challenge before the left.
Left Turn Canada!