Liz Rowley, Leader of the Communist Party of Canada (CPC) will be giving public talks in St. John’s on Friday December 2nd at Broken Books and on Monday December 5th at Memorial University.
Rowley’s talks will address the Communist Party’s position on Dwight Ball’s austerity budget as well as the opposition to the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.
Rowley was invited by the St. John’s branch of the CPC, the Sally and Chuck Davis Club, which formed in 2015. The club is named after two American activists who migrated to Newfoundland during the cold war to avoid anti-communist persecution.
Club organizer, Sean Burton, explains that the widespread protests in response to the provincial government’s most recent budget inspired the club to invite Rowley to St. John’s.
Rowley’s first talk will focus on alternatives to austerity, outlining how investing in job creation, mass construction of affordable housing, public healthcare and education can actually benefit a province in a precarious economic situation.
Her second talk will discuss the Indigenous-led resistance to the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project and its relevance to the national rights of Labrador Innu, Inuit, and Metis.
Burton says most of the mainstream conversation about Muskrat Falls characterizes the project as a failure because of its economic ramifications, however it is also important to talk about the project’s impact on the rights Innu, Inuit, and Meti.
“Our party has always been firmly supportive of national rights for aboriginal Canadians, we want them to have actual control of their political destinies. I can’t say exactly what that would look like in a future Canada but there would be a new constitution for Canada that would have those rights explicitly enshrined in it,” Burton explained.
Burton says the Liberal budget released this spring motivated lots people in the province to become politically active. He hopes that this new culture of resistance will continue to gain momentum and eventually lead to the formation of a coalition.
“…any significant steps toward radical change would have to be through some form of broad coalition of democratically-minded people, anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist, not just our party but many different groups throughout society coming together, “ Burton says.
Burton doesn’t believe this kind of coalition could form out of any of the mainstream political parties. Burton says there needs to be unity among people who want an alternative, they need to have a clear agenda and they cannot rely on existing political channels.
“It is our hope that Liz’s visit will galvanize those who are looking for alternatives…” Burton says.