James Chumsa, candidate for the Communist Party of Canada, talks to potential voters at a candidates’ meet-and-greet prior to a debate at Vancouver Island University last Thursday. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Communist candidate on the ballot in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

VIU student James Chumsa running for Communist Party of Canada

Other parties’ socialist policies don’t go far enough for the Communist Party of Canada.

Last week, the party put forward James Chumsa as a federal election candidate in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

Communist Party leader Elizabeth Rowley was in Nanaimo last Thursday for Chumsa’s campaign launch. She said a lot of people are $200 away from serious financial trouble and said that reality, as well as problems like the climate crisis, are caused by capitalism.

“People are saying, ‘it’s not working for me, I can’t get ahead, I can barely keep my head above water, and maybe there’s something wrong with capitalism. Maybe I should be looking at something else,’” Rowley said.

The Communist Party wants universal dental care, long-term care, mental health care and pharmacare, as Rowley said expanding health care will be “cheaper in the long run.” The party wants taxpayer-funded childcare and post-secondary education, higher minimum wages and pensions, and a million new units of social housing over the next 10 years.

Regarding free tuition, Rowley said the current system relies on universities “absolutely milking” international students and students are ending up with “enormous” debts.

“We need a highly educated workforce in Canada to handle AI and tech changes and so on, so if we were to provide free post-secondary education to students who have the marks and the interest, if we were to eliminate existing student debt, if we were to pay students a stipend to cover their living cost while they’re studying, it’s a pretty good payday in terms of return on investment,” she said. “We’d have a very highly educated workforce and we’d have an educated population, unlike our friends to the south. People believe all kinds of crap because they don’t know any better.”

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates keep climate at forefront of first debate

The Communist Party wants to raise corporate taxes and greatly reduce defence spending.

“The Communist Party is a party that’s committed to peace and disarmament, reducing Canada’s military budget by 75 per cent and using that money to invest in public services such as housing, free education, better health care, free transit, stuff like that,” Chumsa said.

The recent VIU sociology grad is now a continuing student at the university and said while his first election campaign will be a “big learning experience,” he’s excited about trying to speak for his end of the political spectrum.

“The amount of far-right parties in the last election motivated me to run for the Communist Party, which is a party that is anti-fascist, anti-racist and for socialism,” Chumsa said.

Rowley said she thinks the best outcome of this general election would be a minority government in which neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives have a majority, to “prevent the worst parts of their platforms from being implemented” and allow the public and “progressive” parties to have more sway.

She said people like the Communist Party’s ideas, but are hesitant to vote for small parties in a first-past-the-post electoral system.

“Whether we elect them in this election or the next election, we are out to elect people,” Rowley said. “We also want to put these ideas, these policies, before the public.”

The general election is Oct. 21, with advance voting Oct. 11-14. Other Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates include Paul Manly, Green Party; John Hirst, Conservatives; Bob Chamberlin, NDP; Michelle Corfield, Liberals; Jennifer Clarke, People’s Party of Canada; Brian Marlatt, Progressive Canadian Party; and Geoff Stoneman, independent.

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates try to chart a path to victory

RELATED: Federal election campaign underway in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates question-and-answer



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Affordable seniors housing complex pitched for Nanaimo’s hospital district

Seafield Crescent complex would include two five-storey buildings

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Blockades violating people’s rights to move freely

Too many protesters clearly believe their rights supersede other citizens’ rights, says letter writer

Quarterway, Cilaire have the right touch in football playoffs

Nanaimo Elementary Teachers’ Physical Education Association organized leagues this past fall

Students projected to be in new wing of École Hammond Bay in two years

Project to expand north-end French immersion school to add 13 classrooms

Crimson Coast Dance Society salutes African dance during Black History Month

Dancers from Mozambique, Rwanda and Cameroon to give demonstrations and lessons

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Forestry convoy headed down Vancouver Island to legislature lawn

Rally to be held Tuesday in Victoria pushing for the protection of ‘working forests’

Woman charged after alleged fuel thefts, ramming of RCMP car in B.C. Interior

Suspect wanted for crimes allegedly committed in Kelowna, Salmon Arm and 100 Mile House

No dramatic shifts expected as B.C. government tables new budget today

Finance Minister Carole James has promised to stay the course when she tables the budget in the legislature

AFN national chief calls for calm on Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades

Hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural-gas pipeline

Federal, B.C. ministers seek meeting with Wet’suwet’en in hope of blockade solution

Coastal GasLink signed agreements with all 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route

Flight to evacuate Canadians from cruise ship ‘expected’ to depart Japan on Thursday

Canadians seeking to return to home by commercial means will be subject to the Quarantine Act

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

Most Read