By Kristy Koehler, October 4 2019—
The Gauntlet interviewed the Calgary Confederation candidates. In the interest of fairness, all candidates were asked the same set of questions. No follow-up questions were asked and the inquiries were open-ended, allowing the candidate to speak freely on the issues and address the question as they saw fit. The intention is for those in Calgary Confederation to get to know the candidates in their riding.
Meet Kevan Hunter, running for the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada.
The Gauntlet: What qualifies you to represent the constituents of Calgary Confederation?
Kevan Hunter: My experience working in public education. My experience working as a teacher for 12 years gives me firsthand knowledge of a lot of the problems and the issues that are facing people in the city of Calgary and across the country?
G: What attracted you to the Marxist-Leninist Party?
KH: Many things, one of which is that we take a stand against war and occupation in favour of making Canada a zone for peace. They’re a political party which has always been outspoken on the questions of war and peace. They’ve always been critical of Canada’s role in NATO internationally — for example, our present alliance with Trump to go after the sovereignty of Venezuela.
G: With the Marxist-Leninist Party being known as a left-leaning party, what would attract voters from the opposite end of the political spectrum?
KH: We don’t really see things in terms of left-wing and right-wing. We think that left and right is a way that Canadians are divided. You’re supposed to either be in favour of social programs or in favour of lower taxes and you’re supposed to be either for or against a pipeline, for or against a carbon tax. Left and right has been a way to divide Canadians and it’s preventing them from coming together to really discuss how things pose themselves and to come up with a common understanding of what the problems are and what the solutions might be.
G: What are your plans to make education more affordable?
KH: We think that education can be made free and universal, up to and including post-secondary. When you recognize that something is a right, then you’re duty-bound to provide it with a guarantee. You don’t say ‘Oh, we’ll respect rights if we have the money.’ Once you recognize that its a right, you find a way. Secondly, by requiring that the huge monopolies that depend on an educated workforce need to pay for the value that the university is creating, that they’re benefitting from.
G: What is your plan for job creation so that when students graduate, they have employment?
KH: For our party, workers are not a cost of production to be minimized. The workers are the ones that create the wealth. From the perspective of the owners of capital, the worker is a liability, but that’s not our perspective. If we change the direction of the economy it can be geared towards meeting the needs of the people instead of maximizing profit, then the question of job creation is an easy one to solve.
G: What are your thoughts on Alberta’s oil and gas industry?
KH: We stand with the workers of this province who want to have environmentally- and socially- responsible jobs.
We’re not anti-pipeline or pro-pipeline. We think that the energy industry, like all others, needs to become more socially- and environmentally-responsible. That’s a matter of giving the workers control over the basic econ decisions that affect their lives and restricting the right of monopolies to make maximum profit.
G: What are your thoughts on the climate crisis?
KH: The climate issue is incredibly serious. It’s a global issue and people are speaking out on it every day in different ways. You see when you look at the climate strike marches, the striving of the people for solutions to the problem and the main one is control — we’re not the decision-makers and that’s what’s holding us back. The people aren’t the decision-makers and that’s what’s holding us back from finding a solution.
G: What are your plans for affordable housing in your riding?
KH: Housing is a right and it’s an issue that’s facing the entire country. So, we definitely think that housing is a right and something that needs to be addressed.
G: What are your thoughts on freedom of speech? Do we have a freedom of speech problem in this country?
KH: Our party takes the issue of freedom of speech very seriously. It is a very dangerous situation which is created when the state is given the power to determine what is and is not legitimate political expression. Of particular concern right now is the way the Kenney government in Alberta is targeting environmentalists who are using their powers of speech, and suggesting that they are agents of a foreign power.
G: Where do you stand on issues of national defence?
KH: Canada should withdraw from NATO — it’s an aggressive military alliance. We respect the right of all nations to self-determination, every people should be able to chart their own future, free from interference. That includes the right of the Venezuelan to determine their own affairs, the right of the Palestinian people to determine their own affairs and to have an independent nation-state, just to give a couple of examples.
We would make Canada a zone for peace. The first question that needs to be addressed when it comes to veterans is we’ve been opposing Canada’s involvement in wars of aggression. We were strong opponents of the war in Afghanistan, so we would support troops by bringing them home, by not creating more veterans, by withdrawing our participation in wars of aggression and then for those veterans that are here, it comes down to recognizing their right to health care — for veterans and all Canadians, and the right to economic livelihood for all Canadians, including veterans.
G: Why should students vote for you?
KH: A vote for the Marxist-Leninist Party is a vote that says ‘We need political empowerment in this country.’ It’s a vote that says that the democratic system needs to change in order to give people control over their lives.
Editors note: This article has been updated to include the candidate’s response on freedom of speech
Editors Note: Libertarian candidate Tim Moen and NDP candidate Gurcharan Singh Sidhu have yet to respond to an interview request.