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Communist candidate in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke touts benefits of party for today’s dilemmas

Tyson Strandland – a descendant of Louie Riel – says membership has increased 50% in the last year
Tyson Strandlund, a masters student at UVic, has put down his name as the Communist candidate for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke. (Courtesy of Tyson Standlund)

Tyson Strandlund, the Communist Party candidate for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, said that growing support for his party shows Canadians’ desire for the upcoming federal election to result in greater advocacy for the working class and the dismemberment of colonial systems.

The candidate from Metchosin is currently defending a thesis at the University of Victoria on the role of the Soviet Union’s role in decolonization throughout the last century.

Since joining the Communist Party of Canada in 2012, Strandlund’s restarted Victoria’s Young Communist League and has run both provincially and federally as the local Communist candidate. Strundland – a member of the Metis Nation and descendent of Manitoba founder Louis Riel – said two perspectives taken from his undergraduate degree at Camosun encouraged his interest in Communist politics.

READ MORE ABOUT YOUR RIDING: Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke

The first spoke to an appreciation for the environment Strandlund said naturally came from growing up on the west coast. “I was studying environmental tech … we had all this information (to say) these are things we can do to help the environment. I thought we needed more scientists at the time,” Strandlund said. “That’s not the problem.”

Considering the interests of traditional politics in industries that contribute to climate change, “there’s no political ability under capitalism to fix (the environment),” Strandlund said. “There’s no political will to fix it.”

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The second was his study of the Soviet constitution. The foreign charter from 1936 includes rights “that we don’t have here in Canada today,” Strundand said. They include the guaranteed right to a well-paying job, medical care, and most importantly in the Canadian context, Strundland said, the equality of self-determination between nations, such as those that existed in Canada before European contact.

“A lot of people in Canada, and outside of Canada, get the impression that this country is one nation – in fact, it’s many nations trapped unequally inside the Canadian state,” he said. Additionally, equality of nations should extend to Canada’s foreign policy. Canada owns 75 per cent of mines across the world, which Stundland said represents a continuing colonial mission in the modern day.

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Having any of the Communist candidates win an MP seat in Parliament would be “a good start” for his party, Strundland said. He said membership in Victoria has risen 50 per cent in the last year.

But ultimately, social reform for the benefit of the working-class begins outside of the parliamentary system of power, he said. “It involves mass labour movements and goals, a broad coalition of people across the country, striking … working with some more progressive members of the NDP and maybe even a couple of Liberals,” he said. “Getting elected is one measure of victory.”

MORE ELECTION COVERAGE: Canada Election 2021

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