Fringe party gets its message out

With the federal election less than two weeks away, many constituents in the Toronto area do not realize that there are more electoral options outside of the ‘big four’ parties.

A number of other fringe parties are running in the election around the city.  Catherine Holliday is one of these other candidates. She is running in the riding of Don Valley West as a member of the Communist Party of Canada (CPC).

Holliday moved to Canada in 1964 from England and has been involved in the CPC since the 1980’s.  The CPC has been a party in Canada since 1921.

“I got involved during the Canadian peace movements in the late 80’s”, Holliday said. “It was during the end of the Cold War with all of the nuclear disarmament issues going on around the world.”

Holliday, running in the election for the second time (she ran in 2006 in the Etobicoke-Lakeshore riding) was asked by the party to take part in this election.

The switch occurred to get the name of the party out to different people in the city. This led her to take part in door-to-door canvassing as well as time handing out pamphlets at the East York Town Centre.

“There is such a big disparity of income in the riding that we just generally focus on the working class areas,” Holliday said. “A lot of the people that we do talk to though don’t have a vote because they are new immigrants, so we are just getting our name out there for the next time.”

Holliday highlights two issues she believes are important for her, the party and this election; the war (in Afghanistgan)  and money.

“The first item on the agenda focuses on ending Canada’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan.  Also, a change in the economy, meaning less dependency on American investment,” Holliday said.

And if the CPC were to gain a seat in Ottawa?

“We would look to have a total turn around of all policies.  We would look for trading partners in Latin America and loosen all ties with America,” Holliday said. “The people of this country create the wealth but they don’t get the benefits of the money.  Just look at the transit system or the health care.”

Holliday says that even though the party does not have a lot of support and is not looked upon in the best light, due to the oppression of many people by the communist regimes of old soviet Russia, that people have generally been good to her.

“Some people get angry with us because there is a preconceived notion that communism is a bad thing,” Holliday said. “But most people take the pamphlet and say good luck.”

Most of all Holliday appreciates the chance to be able to speak with all members of the community and be placed on the same platform as the other candidates in the riding.

“It is nice to get to have a voice,” she said.