TODAY I HAVE the second in a series of posts from candidates seeking the votes of constituents in the Kamloops-South Thompson riding, in the May provincial general election.
Today’s comments come from a candidate for the Communist Party. And let me say right from the outset, I did have reservations about even offering the opportunity for a Communist Party candidate to participate. I personally do not believe in communism, however if I believe, as strongly as I do in democracy, do I have the right to stifle free speech … and the thoughts and opinions of others?
No, I think not.
So today, meet Beat Klossner, candidate for the Communist Party. I think like me, you will find answers to the questions I posed to him to be very interesting, and enlightening, given perceived notions that I had.
Beat will be asking for your vote in the May provincial general election. Here are some of the reasons he believes he is the best candidate.
What personal skills, knowledge, and background do you have that will make you the best candidate for the people of Kamloops-South Thompson to consider in casting a ballot for you?
I was born and raised in Switzerland and am a certified Baker/Pastry Chef/Chef. I immigrated to Canada in 1989. I am married, with one daughter (journalist in Berlin ,Germany). I have spent almost 40 years working as Baker/Chef and have therefore a great insite on the struggles of workers. I know out of personal experience how wages have been declining, work has become precarious and the social safety net and services have been gutted.
I’m not a professional politician as the other candidates are. Instead I have a great insight on what the effects of policies are on the ground level. At the same time Politics have always been a passion of mine and studying this subject all my life I have become well read and educated on all types of political systems. I have come to the conclusion that things are not going well and that there is a much better way to do things.
We are always being told that politics is to complicated and difficult for a regular person to understand. I profoundly disagree with that. It is a scheme to keep the “peasants” out of politics. I’m going to prove that things don’t have to be the way they are. And of course it just makes absolute sense to have a worker as Candidate for the Workers Party!
If elected as the MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson in next May’s provincial election, what would be your top priorities for the riding?
I will be a constant thorn in the side of the established parties. I’m not afraid to ask the uncomfortable questions that Professional Politics is trying to avoid. I will be a constant advocate for needed structural change, and will bring new and bold ideas into the political arena. The main stream Parties have become more and more conservative over the last couple of decades and there is now little difference between them.
I see my role as building a truly left movement in the Kamloops area, uniting the progressive groups that do amazing work in our area and then expand this to the Province as the only true progressive movement.
How would you seek input, from constituents, on issues important to the riding. How would that affect how you vote in the legislature?
I simply talk to everybody. I get my input from the regular people on the street as well as out of the Business / Politics sections of the paper. I can read between the lines, and have a very good feel on what really is going on and the effects it has on the people. My vote will always be based on the Common Good. Although it might not be what some people like to see, it will be what is needed to benefit society as a whole, not some short term or special interests.
A $20 minimum wage, strengthening the Labour standards and strictly enforcing it – Not just opposition to the Ajax Mine, but a call for the nationalization of the resources industry for the benefit of all and not just shareholders – 100,000 public housing units over 4 years to deal with the housing crises – Ending funding to Private / Religious schools and a substantial increase in funding to the public education system – a 50% raise in Social Assistance and Disability Rates – Expand Energy Conservation – oppose Site “C” dam – block Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan pipelines – massive investment in public transit and renewable energy – raise corporate tax rates to 2001 levels, which will create $ 2,5 billion in new revenue etc. are just a few thing from our Platform.
Many provinces have multiple parties represented in their legislatures. B.C., however, for decades, has been locked into a two-party system. What negatives, and positives, do you see for the people of B.C. with the system as it currently is?
Growing up in Europe I’m used to a wide range of parties and views represented in the legislature. The “first past the post” system is only beneficial to the BC Liberals and the BCNDP. They are very comfortable with this system as they get to run the place for about a decade before trading up with each other. It keeps any new ideas and different opinions out of the legislature. It also means that the policies of the ruling party and the opposition party are based on populism, as above everything else the goal is to get elected again. This leads to populist governments which never tackle the structural problems of our society.
I see absolutely no positives on the two-party system. To remedy this we will push for a change to the MMP (Mixed Member Proportional) Election System.
Politics in B.C. has become very adversarial. Do you believe there is a way this can be reduced? If “Yes,” what would be the benefits to the way we are governed?
The “First Past the Post” system leads to a majority Government and an official opposition Party. The overriding purpose of the BC Liberals and the opposition BC NDP is a contest for power, with the BC Greens trying to get a piece of the pie as well. So our political system has become a popularity contest, which overrules everything else.
Strategic voting makes this situation worse. The main stream parties are waiting to the last minute with their platforms, trying to gauge where the wind is blowing from. This leads to non-committal, meaningless, empty phrases that are sold as policies. Strategic voting leads to the lowest standard of government and is always a disappointment for the voters.
We need a wider selection of parties which will lead to minority governments that will have to work with others in order to get things done. In comparison to the other parties, the Communist Party platform is clear and straight forward. Things are not going well and structural change is desperately needed. We are committed to that.
If there was a way it did not bring down the government, do you believe there should be more free votes in the legislature, so that elected officials on the government side, could vote the will of constituents (even if it is in conflict with the will of the government)?
In the system as it is today not even a government minister really has much say. The minister will do what he is told by the party. Never mind the back-benchers which are only there as cheering / booing section, and to vote according to instructions. As long as we have majority Governments this will not change.
A wider variety of parties will greatly improve this situation. We will bring new and bold ideas to the Legislature and be able to stir things up. The will of the constituents is important of course. I understand my duty as an MLA is first and foremost the well being of the Province as a whole, and its citizens and residents, not just my riding.
While the well-being of the Constituents may not necessarily be beneficial to the Province as a whole, an improvement to the well being of the Province as a whole will be a benefit to the constituents as well. It is essential to keep the big picture in mind. More “free” votes in the Legislature would certainly make things much more interesting and honest.
Which political figure(s), whether local, provincial, or federal, has impacted you the most, or who you believe has impacted Canadians the most?
Tommy Douglas as the founder of our healthcare system is definitely a great influence. He made something “Impossible” happen and was absolutely dedicated to the well being of the public. Strangely enough as far as I know there is not a single square or street named in his honour.
Albert “Ginger” Goodwin a highly prominent labour leader in BC, died under highly controversial circumstances on July 27th 1918.His death inspired the 1918 Vancouver General Strike. In 1989, the mountain where Goodwin was shot was named “Mount Ginger Goodwin”. A section of Vancouver Island Highway 19 that passes through Cumberland was briefly named Ginger Goodwin Way in the 1990s. On Labour Day, 2001, the signs were quietly removed by the newly elected BC Liberal government. The signs’ removal indicates the continuing controversy over Goodwin’s death and legacy.
Closing thoughts, comments, ideas??
I think we are all aware that things are not going well under the current capitalist system. Public services have been privatized for years, user fees have become common place. Food Banks and Shelters have become the norm, precarious labour the “New Normal” and Governments understands its role now as middle man and enabler for the Corporate Class. This is unacceptable for the Communist party.
The main stream political Parties, BC Liberals, BC NDP BC Greens have no solutions to offer, and are keeping busy rearranging the deck chairs and arguing who gets to sit where on the bus.
The challenges we face today, be it the Environment, Labour, Inequality, a world governed by Plutocracy and Corpocracy, demands structural changes, not Band Aid solutions.
The Communist Party , a party of principals , with a clear vision, still here after 95 years of adversity and struggle. You will not find a more dedicated, capable principled Group of people anywhere.
There you have it, reasons why Beat Klossner feels he is the best candidate to represent the residents of Kamloops South Thompson, when we vote this May. I’m interested in your thoughts and comments — please feel free to post them here.
That’s it for now, although still to come will be Donovan Cavers for the Green Party and Todd Stone for the BC Liberals.
And one final thing today — register to vote. You can get ready to vote by registering or updating your voter information now. It’s easy to do online, or by phone:
Register online at https://eregister.electionsbc.gov.bc.ca/ovr/welcome.aspx
Register by phone by calling 1-800-661-8683.
In Kamloops, I’m Alan Forseth.
Alan Forseth is a Kamloops resident and former member of the Reform Party of Canada, the B.C. Reform Party and the B.C. Conservative Party. His blog is My Thoughts on Politics and More.