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For almost 40 years of activism and campaigning, and as leader of the Communist Party of Canada since 1992, Miguel Figueroa has been a champion for socialism and a better future for the working people of Canada.
Soon after becoming Party leader, he led an historic legal victory for democracy in Canada, spear-heading a legal and political battle against anti-democratic aspects of the Canada Elections Act. Sections of this Act unfairly discriminated against smaller political parties in Canada. Figueroa v. Attorney-General of Canada resulted in the courts declaring several sections of the Elections Act unconstitutional, including a precedent-setting judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada in June 2003 which struck down the 50-candidate rule as the threshold for federal party registration in Canada.
Miguel was elected Party leader at a critical point in the history of the Communist Party of Canada immediately following the crisis and overturning of socialism in the Soviet Union and other countries and on the heels of a serious internal crisis within the Canadian party itself. As part of a new collective leadership, he worked to help clarify the revolutionary orientation of the Communist Party and its ideological identity based on Marxism-Leninism.
The first several years of his leadership saw the consolidation and rebuilding of the Communist Party across the country — launching People’s Voice and Clarté, the Party’s English and French-language press, The Spark! its ideological journal, as well as clubs and committees, the Party’s Quebec component, and its youth organization, the Young Communist League. The Party has also continued it dynamic role in the labour, peace, environmental, aboriginal, women’s, student, immigrant and other people’s movements.
Miguel participated in the elaboration of the Party’s new political program, Canada’s Future is Socialism!, a process which began in the mid-1990s and culminated in the adoption of the final version at the 33rd Central Convention held in February 2001. The Party Program boldly proposes a road to a new society based on solidarity, equality and emancipation.
Miguel is also chair of the international commission of the Party. He has represented the CPC at meetings around the world, including Greece, India, Brazil, China, Vietnam, South Africa, Cuba, Venezuela and the United States. On behalf of the Party he has advocated for efforts to build greater cooperation, political cohesion, and unity of action among Communist and workers’ parties to deal with the growing dangers of imperialism and urgent problems of peace, solidarity and protection of the global environment.
Before moving to Ontario in the early 90s, Miguel was active in many causes across the country. He grew up around Montreal and, since joining the CPC in 1977, worked first as Greater Vancouver party organizer from 1978-85, and Atlantic Party leader (based in Halifax) from 1986-92. He has been active in various mass movements like peace and disarmament, international solidarity, and trade union organizing. In Vancouver, he helped organize demonstrations which brought scores of thousands onto the streets, marching for nuclear disarmament. While in Halifax, he chaired the Union Organizing Drive Committee which ultimately brought over 800 part-time sessional professors and teaching assistants at Dalhousie University into CUPE.
Elected leader in December 1992 at the 30th Party Convention, Miguel has been re-elected to that office ever since. Miguel has a school-age daughter, and resides in Toronto.