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A Little Lesson on Socialism, and How It's Not What You Think

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Posted on : 12:12 PM | By : Nic | In :

This is probably my one post that is even remotely related to the election. I often have people in my family pushing American political propaganda on me since I tend to be a fence-sitter when it comes to politics (i.e. I have a difficult time picking a side when my conspiracy-theory loving self likes to think everyone is part of Big Brother, lol).  One thing that I have noticed from all sides is that there is a lot of finger pointing that so-and-so is socialist or communist.  I'm not sure if people know what those terms mean.  Also, it may interest my American friends what our major political parties are here in Canada, and which ones got seats in Parliament in our recent federal election.


In my city, the top six major parties were the the Conservative Party, National Democratic Party, the Green Party, the Liberal Party, the Christian Heritage Party, and the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada.  Besides the obvious fact that there is a Communist party, you may wonder why there is both a Democratic party and a Liberal party?  The National Democratic Party is also known as the Socialist party, because it is.  The Liberal party is more similar to the Democratic party in the US.  The beauty of having so many parties is that the Prime Minister right now may have more seats from his party than any other party, but all those other parties combined create a majority that outweighs him.  A Prime Minister with a minority government can only compromise and work together with everyone else. 

The only parties that actually got seats in the House of Commons were the Conservatives, Liberals, Quebecois, NDP, and a couple of independents. So in American terms, it's like having Republicans, Democrats, Alaskan Separatists, and Socialists all having to be in the same Congress.

So, Canadians laugh when either of the candidates are labeled 'socialist' because it's clear that the accuser doesn't really know what that means.

Socialism, by definition, is "a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole."  In British Columbia, insurance, ferry system, power companies, and even some liquor stores are all 'Crown Corporations' or owned by the Province.  Federally, the Crown owns Canada Post, CBC, AirCanada, and ViaRail.  Strangely, the Crown-owned television station seems to have the most unbiased news. Not to mention the socialized medicine and our baby bonus, a check that comes every month simply for having children.  Even though this appears very socialist by American standards, even Canadian Conservatives advocate and understand the importance of Crown companies for medical care, transportation, power and other human rights.

I get the feeling that when people throw around the word 'socialist', they are really thinking fascist.  Mussolini and Nazism are fascist.  By the dictionary definition, fascism is "an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization." My dictionary adds: "Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group, a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach." A demagogue is "a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument."

In a two party system, like America has, it is very easy to compare because the parties are continuing to appear more and more opposite of each other.  Which one is using rhetoric that implicates the supremacy of one ethnic group?  Which one appeals to prejudice rather than using a rational argument?


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