Communist Party of Canada (Marxist–Leninist)

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Not to be confused with Communist Party of Canada.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist–Leninist) (CPC-ML) is a Canadian federal Marxist–Leninist political party.

Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)
Parti communiste du Canada (marxiste-léniniste)
Active federal party
Leader Anna Di Carlo
President Sandra L. Smith
Founded March 31, 1970
Headquarters 1867 Amherst Street,
Montreal, Quebec
H2L 3L7
Ideology Communism
Colours Red, Yellow
Politics of Canada
Political parties

The party is registered with Elections Canada as the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada. Elections Canada, the agency which oversees elections and political parties, prohibited the party from using the Communist Party name to avoid confusion among voters.

History and ideology[edit]

The party has its roots in a split between Indo-Canadian Marxist student Hardial Bains and the Communist Party of Canada over the rupture in relations between China and the Soviet Union, known as the Sino-Soviet split. On March 13, 1963, Hardial Bains founded the Internationalists student group at the University of British Columbia to be an organization that championed anti-revisionism and called for a return to orthodox Marxist revolutionary theory.[1] Bains and the Internationalists were sympathetic to the People’s Republic of China in the Sino-Soviet split.

On March 31, 1970, the Internationalists declared themselves a formal political party on March 31, 1970, and adopted the name “Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)”. The party ran candidates for the House of Commons of Canada during the 1974 federal election under the name of the “Marxist–Leninist Party of Canada”. Elections Canada ruled that the party’s preferred name was too close to that of the Communist Party of Canada.

Two years after the death of Mao Zedong, the party abandoned Maoism during the Sino-Albanian split and backed the orthodox communist policies and anti-revisionism of Albanian leader Enver Hoxha and the Party of Labour of Albania until the collapse of Communist Albania in 1992.

During the 1980s, the CPC-ML adopted a slogan of “We are our own models” and began to seek a new ideological approach.

In 1997, Bains died and his wife, Sandra Smith, replaced him as the leader of the the Marxist-Leninist party. She became the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada when Ana Di Carlo replaced her as party leader.[2] Longtime party activist Ana Di Carlo replaced her as leader.[3]

Current leader Ana Di Carlo has called for democratic renewal of Canada’s economic, social and political life.[4] The party launched in January 2015 an online newsletter called Renewal Update to advance its agenda.[5]

Differences in theory have kept Canada’s two Communist parties CPC and CPC-ML from forming a united party.[6]

Current position[edit]

Today, the CPC-ML tends to be supportive of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea‘s right to self-determination, although it does not promote Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong-il orJuche in the manner that it promoted Hoxha and Mao in previous years. However, it did issue a statement mourning the death of Kim Jong-il.[7] The CPC-ML has developed a more independent line since the collapse of the Soviet bloc, prior to which it had a very stridently anti-revisionist position, viewing the Soviet bloc as state capitalist.[citation needed]Bains visited Cuba several times in the 1990s which led him (and the CPC-ML) to reconsider his earlier views of Cuba as revisionist. The CPC-ML has become strongly supportive of Cuba and the Cuban Revolution and now has close relations with the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa and prints the English language edition of the Cuban Communist Party‘s newspaper, Granma, for Canadian distribution.

The CPC-ML was closely aligned with the Canadian Party for Renewal in 1993.

On January 1, 1995, the party put forward a broad program of work for the current period, which it has named the Historic Initiative. This was further elaborated during its Seventh Congress.

From 1997 to 2008, the party’s leader was Bains’ widow, Sandra L. Smith. Smith has never run as a candidate in a general election despite being the leader. In 2008, Anna Di Carlo became the leader of the party’s electoral arm, the Marxist–Leninist Party of Canada[8] while Smith remains First Secretary of the CPC-ML itself and president of the MLPC.[9]

CPC-ML members are active in several trade unions, particularly the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and the United Steelworkers of America whose Stelco local (Local 1005) in Hamilton, Ontario was led by party vice-president Rolf Gerstenberger, until he retired on May 5, 2015. He was replaced by vice-president Gary Howe.[10] Local 1005 is one of several USWA locals at Stelco.

CPC-ML members have also been active in the movement against the wars in Iraq[11] and Afghanistan.[12]

In recent years the party has adopted its own “Contemporary Marxist–Leninist Thought”. Its Eighth Party Congress was to be held in 2005 with the theme “Laying the Foundations for the Mass Communist Party”,[13] but the congress was delayed because of the federal election.[14] The congress was held in September 2008.

The CPC-ML has a news-sheet, The Marxist–Leninist Daily, a youth wing, the Communist Youth Union of Canada (Marxist–Leninist), and operates the “Workers Centre” which helps educate and organize trade unionists through discussion groups, and a magazine, Worker’s Forum. The party often conducts broader political activity under the name “People’s Front” and uses that name for the British Columbia provincial wing of the party. (see People’s Front (British Columbia)). In Ontario provincial elections, CPC-ML supporters have most recently run as Independent Renewal candidates.

Party leaders[edit]

  • Hardial Bains (1970–1997)
  • Sandra L. Smith (1998–2008)
  • Anna Di Carlo (2008–present)

Electoral results[edit]

The party is running 70 candidates in Canada’s 2015 federal election. Its 12-plank party platform calls for rewriting the Canadian constitution, increasing social spending, repealing anti-terrorism legislation such as Bill C-51, withdrawal from free trade deals and military involvement abroad, establishing “nation-to-nation” relations with Aboriganal Peoples, and government action on climate change.[15]

The party has run candidates in Canadian federal elections since 1972, with the number of candidates in any one election ranging from as few as 51 and as many as 177. Most of its candidates have run in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. It was most prominent in the 1979 federal election and 1980 federal election, running under the slogan “Make the rich pay.”

Its slogan in the 2004 federal election was “Annexation no! Sovereignty yes!”

Election # of candidates nominated # of seats won # of total votes  % of popular vote
1974 104 0 16,261 0.17%
1979 144 0 14,231 0.12%
1980 177 0 14,697 0.13%
1993 51 0 5,202 0.04%
1997 65 0 11,468 [16] 0.09%
2000 84 0 12,068 [17] 0.09%
2004 76 0 8,696 [18] 0.06%
2006 69 0 8,980 [19] 0.06%
2008 59 0 8,565 [20] 0.06%
2011 70 0 9,925 [21] 0.07%
2015 70 0 9,105 [22] 0.05%

The party also nominated candidates in several by-elections:

  • September 8, 1980 – 0 elected
    • Hamilton West – 30 960 total votes – 120 votes received – 0.39%
  • February 13, 1995 – 0 elected
  • September 14, 1998 – 0 elected
    • Sherbrooke – 36 446 total votes – 72 votes received – 0.19%

2015 Election Platform[edit]

The party announced its 2015 election platform on its website, which addresses four themes: Economy & Trade, Constitutional Reform, Foreign Policy, and Climate Change. The one-page document does not provide any financial information on how the program might be financed.[23]

Economy & Trade

  • state control of industry
  • economic growth powered by manufacturing and natural resource sectors
  • an end to subsidies and tax cuts for wealthy Canadians and private corporations
  • increased social spending on childcare, recreation, education, healthcare, seniors care, and pensions
  • cancellation of all free trade deals that allow foreign businesses and corporations to exploit Canada’s national resources

National Constitutional Reform

  • Rewrite the Canadian constitution to eliminate colonial, imperialist, and racist elements
  • guarantee the rights of non-citizens and refugees
  • guarantee freedom of conscience rights in the Constitution
  • repeal Bill C-51 and other surveillance and counter-terrorism legislation to guarantee civil rights
  • guarantee Quebec’s right to self-determination, including the right to separate
  • establish nation-to-nation relations with Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples

Foreign Policy

  • immediate withdrawal from NATO, NORAD and any other military interventions abroad, such as those in Syria and Iraq
  • using diplomacy to end the displacement of people from their home countries
  • strict respect for national sovereignty
  • provide humanitarian aid to refugees and those affected by natural disasters

Climate Change

  • devolve responsibility for reducing harmful emissions such as greenhouse gases and pollution as well as environmental destruction to the workers’ organizations (unions, associations, cooperatives) in these industries

See also[edit]


  1. Jump up^ CPC(ML); 41st Anniversary of the Founding of The Internationalists
  2. Jump up^ Elections Meter
  3. Jump up^ Elections Meter
  4. Jump up^
  5. Jump up^ Renewal Update
  6. Jump up^ National Post
  7. Jump up^
  8. Jump up^
  9. Jump up^
  10. Jump up^
  11. Jump up^
  12. Jump up^
  13. Jump up^ Communist Party of Canada (Marxist–Leninist) Celebrates Its Achievements
  14. Jump up^ Call to Take Up the Practical Political Tasks Set for This Period
  15. Jump up^
  16. Jump up^ Elections Canada, Votes by Political Affiliation, 1997
  17. Jump up^ Elections Canada, Votes by Political Affiliation, 2000
  18. Jump up^ Elections Canada, Votes by Political Affiliation, 2004
  19. Jump up^ Elections Canada, Votes by Political Affiliation, 2006
  20. Jump up^ Elections Canada, Votes by Political Affiliation, 2008
  21. Jump up^ Elections Canada 2011 Results
  22. Jump up^ Elections Canada Results 2015
  23. Jump up^