The Western Socialist
Vol. 28 - No. 221
No. 3, 1961
It has been reported in these columns that the SPC is running a candidate in the forthcoming Saanich-Esquimalt federal by-election. The election date is May 29 and it appears that the election will be well contested: the Conservative, Liberal, Social Credit parties and the New Party all having named candidates.
"Grapevine," a journal published at Sooke, in the election area, has been questioning the candidates on matters currently to the fore. The issues of April 11 and 18, containing the first three of these questions and answers, are on hand. Answers are provided by all the candidates except the Conservative who had not been heard from. Those who think there is something new or "socialistic" about the New Party ought to be interested in the statements of its candidate as compared with the statements of our candidate. These are reproduced below.
"Question: What does your party propose to do about Nuclear Arms for Canada?
"Answer by Glen Hamilton, New Party: Canada should refuse unconditionally to accept nuclear weapons. The danger of nuclear war will be infinitely increased if these weapons are spread to countries which do not now possess them. The present Canadian Government is spending a quarter of a billion dollars on weapons which are useless without nuclear warheads. In our opinion Canada's role in defense should be the maintenance of conventional forces alerted for instant action at the call of the United Nations, to keep the peace in the same way our forces are now doing in the Gaza Strip.
"Answer by Don Poirier, Socialist Party of Canada: Oppose. Our party maintains that nuclear weapons are inseparable from war; and that war, due to competition for markets, trade routes and resources, is inseparable from world capitalism. The threat of war will remain until society owns and democratically controls the means of production and distribution. In addition, there is no working class interest involved in modern wars.
"Question: What does your party think about the advisability of recognizing China?
"Answer by Glen Hamilton, New Party: We should recognize China immediately. Problems are not solved by pretending that they do not exist.
"Answer by Don Poirier, Socialist Party of Canada: Not much. It is not important. There is no essential feature of capitalism missing in China. There is a full-scale state and private property economy operating with money investment and wage-labor in production, with, of course, the profit motive. We of the Socialist Party hold that it makes no fundamental difference to the workers of Canada whether China is recognized by Canada or not.
"Question: What steps does your party propose to take to improve the unemployment situation in Canada? Has your party any plans for preventing this too-frequent recurrence of crippling unemployment?
"Answer by Glen Hamilton, New Party: A crash program of public works is necessary to solve the immediate unemployment problem: schools, hospitals, fish hatcheries, etc. On a long term basis, public planning and democratic control of investment and production is necessary to meet the threat of communist competition, foreign control of our economy, and the post-war challenge of automation. Recurring depressions have proved that private industry by itself cannot maintain a stable economy. Government must play a positive role to ensure that job opportunities are available to all Canadians.
"Answer by Don Poirier, Socialist Party of Canada: We plan to place the productive facilities into the hands of all society so that instead of the majority selling their energies for a wage and being victimized by the same laws that govern the movement of lumber and wheat, all shall receive according to their needs while producing according to their ability. There will be no exchange because selling is done for profit and involves class ownership. Production for sale results eventually in periodic over-expansion of capital and too many commodities in relation to available markets with its inevitable unemployment. This can he 'solved' temporarily by a world war which destroys colossal amounts of wealth, thereby creating new demand or a new boom, then another depression. The SPC, in combination with socialist parties in other countries, is the only entity which can solve this problem permanently, for the foregoing reasons."