Courtenay-Alberni candidate profile: Barbara Biley, Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada

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Health-care worker and long-time political activist Barbara Biley is the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada’s candidate for the Courtenay-Alberni riding in the 2021 federal election.

She joined the party as a student in the late 1960s and has been a candidate in elections since 1972. Biley said she campaigns to explain the Marxist-Leninist Party’s critiques of Canada’s electoral system and democratic institutions.

“The electors have no say over anything. You have no say over the candidates who are chosen — the party leaders choose the candidates. You have no say over what are the issues in the election — the media and the parties and those who pull their strings decide what the issues are,” she said.

The party’s platform calls for a constituent assembly where elected MPs are independent, instead of voting together as a party on issues. Biley said voters are frustrated with political parties that do not follow through on campaign promises once elected.

“We have no means to hold them to account, we have no means to recall, we have no means for the people themselves to discuss proposed solutions and work out solutions to problems,” she said, adding she would like to see Canadians have the ability to recall politicians who do not keep their campaign promises.

Biley said she would like to see more public participation and discussion about decisions being made by governments. She suggested new or proposed policies could be published in the media to inform people and encourage educated discussions. 

“There are means to involve people in discussion and decision-making. We have, through the pandemic, come up with all kinds of new ways to engage people through social media. There’s no lack of opportunities to discuss and inform,” Biley said. Unions, workplaces, churches and other social groups are all places the policies could be discussed, she added.

Biley said people are concerned about many issues, including the opioid crisis, housing, fish farms and forestry. She said people are also worried about Canada’s involvement in U.S.-led conflicts around the world and Canadian sovereignty.

Election Day is set for Sept. 20.

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