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Joint Statement of the Central Executive Committee CPC,
National Executive Committee of the PCQ
In recent months, an ever-widening crisis emerged within the ranks of the leadership of the Parti communiste du Québec (PCQ), the Québec section of the Communist Party of Canada (CPC-PCC). Friction and squabbles between leading comrades grew in frequency and intensity. Groundless accusations were hurled, and even formal charges (laid under the Constitution) were made against some members. To outside observers, and even to some rank-and-file members, the growing fracas initially appeared as petty, personal antagonisms and disputes.
It soon became clear however that fundamental political and ideological differences were the driving force propelling the PCQ into deep crisis.
The Party’s position on the National Question and our strategic proposal for its resolution was a central aspect of the divisions which arose. A factional group, led by former PCQ leader André Parizeau, began a concerted campaign to change Party policy on these questions as decided in Convention and reflected in the standing Party Program.
The position of the CPC-PCC on the national question is well known: we reject the current chauvinist federal constitutional arrangement which denies the national status and rights of Aboriginal peoples and Québec, and we call for the recognition of the right of national self-determination, up to and including separation. At the same time, we recognize that the fragmentation of the Canadian state would create a very volatile, dangerous situation which would accelerate the drive by US imperialism to dominate and subordinate all nations in Canada, something which would not be in the class interests of the workers among Aboriginal Peoples, in Québec, or in the rest of Canada. For this reason, the CPC-PCC opposes both the constitutional status quo defended by the ruling class, and also the narrow nationalist “independantiste” option advanced by the bourgeois and petit-bourgeois-led nationalist movement in Québec, and proposes a third option instead – a new, democratic constitutional arrangement based on the equal and voluntary union of Aboriginal Peoples, Québec, and English-speaking Canada.
The Parizeau faction attempted to skew our policy on this vital question completely, transforming it into overt support for a nationalist line. But they could not fool a large section of the membership either in Québec or in the CPC-PCC generally.
The sharp differences over the Party’s position on the National Question were in turn part of a broader right opportunist trend which included fundamental differences of approach dealing with the PCQ’s alliance policy within the federated party Union des forces progressistes (UFP) of which the PCQ is a member; the Party’s electoral tactic; the Party’s militant trade union policy, editorial control over the party press La voix du peuple; collectivity within the PCQ leadership itself; and other matters.
When the attempts of the Parizeau group to unilaterally and undemocratically change party policy on these questions began to meet resistance, they strove to overcome opposition through administrative means, expelling leading members, wildly accusing the CPC-PCC Central Committee of national chauvinism, and trying to intimidate and silence others in the PCQ who disagreed with their political metamorphosis.
In fact, their attempt to use the National Question, and to throw up all sorts of other accusations against their opponents, was a cover to move decidedly to the right. To gain greater acceptance and currency for their positions, they used the paper La voix du peuple as their ‘cutting edge’ to take the PCQ in a reformist, liquidationist direction.
In the face of this factional activity, the Party was left with no other option than to take firm action against the right-opportunist trend represented by Parizeau, Pierre Klépock and their supporters. On June 18-19, 2005, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada endorsed a series of decisive actions taken by the Party’s Central Executive to protect the Québec section of the CPC. The CC meeting confirmed the expulsions of former PCQ leader André Parizeau, Pierre Klépock, and Kenneth Higham, and disciplinary actions against two other leading members of a factional group which had attempted to take control of the PCQ.
In the pursuit of their right opportunist, nationalist line, the Parizeau group had expelled the majority of the National Executive Committee of the PCQ, several of whom are also members of the Central Committee of the CPC. The CC overturned those expulsions, and restored these comrades to their elected positions. The CC also confirmed the decision of the CEC to set aside the decisions of the April PCQ Congress, during which almost half of the voting delegates walked out in protest against the illegal expulsions. This and other PCQ Congress decisions were taken after a badly flawed, undemocratic process. A number of the delegates supporting the Parizeau group had been recruited to the PCQ on the basis of their opposition to the Party’s line on the national question; one delegate was too young for membership in the Party, and others had been unable to find the Congress venue in part due to failure to provide adequate information to delegates.
The Central Committee rejected the baseless claims by the Parizeau group that the CPC-PCC has adopted a chauvinist and even “colonialist” policy towards Québec, abandoning its historic policies of combating great-nation chauvinism within English-speaking Canada. In fact, leading up to and during the Canadian Labour Congress convention held on June 13-17 in Montreal, the CPC-PCC was the only political organization which campaigned within the trade union movement in English-speaking Canada and among CLC delegates for a strong position in favour of defending the right of self-determination for the nation of Québec.
The leadership of the PCQ has moved quickly to rebuild the party and to renew its activity, starting on May 1, when the PCQ took part with its banners in the May Day demonstration in Montréal. The first edition of a new Party newspaper, Clarté, has now been published. Recruiting to the PCQ has begun again, and members who had been confused by charges and counter-charges during the inner-Party struggle are being contacted and renewing their memberships. The Party’s Marxist-Leninist political ideology and its internationalist line on the national question in Canada have been restored. The National Executive Committee of the PCQ is working in close cooperation with the Central Committee of the CPC-PCC to consolidate and rebuild the party and its press in Québec. The CPC-PCC is providing all possible assistance to achieve this task.
On June 14, the group of individuals led by A. Parizeau masquerading as “the National Committee of the PCQ” announced their intention to formalize their departure from the CPC-PCC. The CC declared that this group has no right to use the name of the PCQ, and demanded that all party property removed from the PCQ offices in Montreal be returned immediately to its rightful owners.
Finally, the Party agreed to circulate this information to all members and friends of the PCQ in Québec and across Canada, through the Party press, as well as to fraternal Communist and Workers’ Parties internationally.
The National leadership of the PCQ and the Central Committee of the CPC-PCC have full confidence that the impact of this harmful factional activity and the resulting crisis are now being overcome, and that the PCQ will quickly recover from the political damage wrought by the Parizeau group of renegades. We appeal to all genuine revolutionary-minded workers and activists, all those that respect and support the PCQ/CPC-PCC and its program, Canada’s Future is Socialism, to rally to the side of the Party and join its ranks.
National Executive Committee, Parti communiste du Québec
Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada/ Parti communiste du Canada
July 15, 2005