ANTIGONISH – St. Francis Xavier University history professor Chris Frazer says he’s running under the Communist Party of Canada (CPC) banner to give the disenfranchised in Central Nova an alternative to the more mainstream parties.
According to his Facebook page, “Chris is a LGBTQ2SIA activist, trade unionist and the Communist Party of Canada candidate for Central Nova…”
He has also been an adjunct faculty member at the University of Rhode Island, a lecturer at Harvard University and an organizer for the United Auto Workers (UAW). He’s been affiliated with the CPC since 1980. At StFX, where he has taught since 2004, he has a disciplinary specialty in the history of Latin American bandits, “as well as pirates,” he says.
Frazer is one of 26 party candidates in Canada, and one of only two in Nova Scotia; Katie Campbell is running in the Halifax riding. The Journal recently spoke with Frazer about his candidacy.
What are your top priorities, and why do you think your party is the best choice at this time?
“There are three things that we want to highlight. Address the crisis of climate change. Address the economic crisis – so things like joblessness, housing and employment income that are all associated with the third issue, which is the level of impoverishment that exists here in Central Nova. This is one of the most impoverished constituencies in the country.
“I do see a connection between all of them. Climate change is helping to drive the economic crisis and vice versa. And those twin issues are keeping a significant proportion of this constituency below the poverty line.
“I think that we’re putting forward a platform that will actually address the needs of the working-class people in this country. The other parties simply are not. They’re all campaigning from the right. They’re all tending to campaign with an eye towards austerity. So, it doesn’t matter what party you elect – NDP, Liberals, Conservatives, People’s Party, you’re going to see attacks on social programs. They want to give tax credits, rather than actually making affordable education. These programs are going to be under attack, regardless of which government comes into power, whether it's a minority, or a majority. It's just a question of whether or not it’s going to be better or worse.
“So, if you want a representative who’s actually going to fight for the real needs and interests of people in this constituency, that’s absolutely the Communist Party.”
What are you hearing from voters?
“Well, it depends on the conversation you want to have with your constituents. Most of the candidates are having five-minute talks at the doors, and that’s about it. All they ever get is a superficial reading of what’s really concerning people because most people don’t believe that they’re [the candidates] the slightest bit interested in addressing issues like rent control, or raising the minimum wage to $21, or any of that stuff.
“What people are really concerned about is what kind of planet we’re making for their kids. That’s the real issue. And I don’t hear any other party talking about that with any real substance.
“The second thing is, even if we have a livable planet, are my kids going to have a decent standard of living? And the answer in a lot of cases is no – no real jobs and no significant income. The cost of property in this constituency, and the taxes associated with it, make home ownership for the vast majority out of control.
“Why aren’t we building affordable public transportation in every community in this constituency? You’d put a hell of a lot of people to work. But nobody wants to talk about that because that means spending money on people to help them, rather than giving corporations the advantage by reducing spending and cutting taxes.
“That’s what I hear from people, literally: Corporations and rich people getting by, while they [working people] are getting screwed.”
Why are you running in this election?
“I think the system’s going to change. I grew up in a working-class family. I know what it’s like to be poor, and how hard it is to get out of that hole. I’ve had a couple of lucky breaks in my life. I see people who need help, and no one’s helping them. So that’s my own personal motive.
“I run for a party that has a platform I support, that has advocates for policies that will actually help people.”
Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal