The Metro posed four questions to all the candidates running for election in Winnipeg Centre. Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Lib) and Pat Martin (NDP) did not respond by press time. Here are the answers of Communist Party candidate Darrell Rankin.
Q: How will you address the need for affordable housing in Winnipeg Centre?
A: Our party’s platform is to build affordable housing to meet demand and as a job creation measure. The private housing industry is seriously failing the public. It only builds when it is profitable and charges unaffordable rents. More quality, affordable public housing would drive down rents for everyone.
I would expose who owns the land and work to curb speculation. We support a basic liveable income to ensure no one is housing challenged.
Q: How will you address the issues of the current transit system?
A: All ways to promote use of public and active transit need pursuing: more dedicated federal funds for transit infrastructure, rapid or not; blanket funding to eliminate fares, thereby promoting rider use; and dedicated funds for bike ways.
The Communist Party will boost core funding for capital and operating costs of public transit as an important measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the waste of valuable public resources spent to uphold the "car culture," effectively a subsidy to the global automaker monopolies.
Q: How will you make the downtown more attractive to families and businesses?
A: I would end super-profits in Manitoba of about $2.25 billion a year which are a byproduct of the jobs crisis and racism. I will demand affirmative action hiring to end racism (which reinforces poverty). Racism must no longer divide the struggle of workers for a better life.
Low wages and poverty stem from Manitoba’s sky-high jobless rate, about 8.3 per cent counting residents of reserves, now excluded from the labour survey. The Communist Party will ensure that the wealthy stop looking at Winnipeg Centre as a pool of desperate workers willing to work for any wage offered and that means building a united campaign for genuine job creation measures.
Q: What will you bring to the role of member of parliament for Winnipeg Centre?
A: I will unmask the pro-corporate and pro-war policies of the big business parties and any party that cozies up to big business, and that includes the NDP and at times the Greens.
I will offer real solutions to the jobs crisis such as a bill for a shorter work week with no loss in pay. I will not warm a seat in Ottawa, but be here checking the conditions of workers in factories and offices and the needs of people.
I will work to strengthen and involve more people in popular campaigns to improve wages, conditions, rights and political influence. When Parliament attacks democracy like in Bill C-51, we need to build democracy and action right across the country.