Windsor

'It's not really about winning' say fringe party candidates about upcoming federal election

Candidates from Canada's lesser-known political groups continue to fight for votes, while addressing different issues they say major parties don't focus on.

There are 21 registered political parties, according to Elections Canada

Margaret Villamizar is the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada candidate for Windsor West. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

Candidates from some of Canada's lesser-known political groups continue to fight for votes in the upcoming Oct. 21 election, while addressing issues they say major parties don't focus on.

The Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada (MLPC), for example, is a communist party calling for a democratic renewal, according to Laura Chesnik, who's running as the party's candidate in the Windsor-Tecumseh riding. 

"It's not really about winning," said Chesnik, "No, it's more about making sure that people are fully informed and putting forward our party's platform."

"The Marxist-Leninist Party is not vying for power, to come to power, to win power," said Margaret Villamizar, the Marxist-Leninist party candidate in Windsor West.

Laura Chesnik is running in the Windsor-Tecumseh riding for the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

According to Villamizar, the MLPC's goal is to bring power back to the people, calling for a true democracy where individual citizens have decision-making ability. 

"Our party is the only one that brings that message," she said. 

'We're going to stay here,' says Marijuana Party candidate

The Marijuana Party, as their name suggests, is fighting for the complete legalization and decriminalization of cannabis.

Paul Coulbeck, a Marijuna Party candidate running in the Chatham-Kent-Leamington riding, said his party is often treated as a joke, but added that they're "very serious" about other issues, including climate change and unemployment.

Although cannabis was legalized by the Liberal Party in 2018, Coulbeck said it's still necessary for his party to run in the federal election.

"We're going to have to stay here to make sure it's stays legalized," he said. 

Disappointing to lose

When asked how they feel about potentially losing in the upcoming election, reactions were mixed from both MLPC and Marijuana Party candidates.

Coulbeck said it's disappointing, attributing some of the loss to a lack of voter turnout.

"If you don't like the government, become the government," said Coulbeck, "The reason the government is the way it is is because you're not taking control of it."

"Get out and vote!" 

The Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada has been a registered political body since 1974. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

Chesnik and Villamizar, on the other hand, said they aren't discouraged about losing.

"Everyday we're fighting on different issues ... [that] often get sidelined when it comes to elections" said Chesnik. "I'm putting issues on the agenda that wouldn't otherwise be on the agenda."

"I know very well the system is the problem," Villamizar said.

According to Villamizar, Canada's current political system doesn't truly function for citizens.

"It's not a ... representative democracy that functions for the people," she said. "It doesn't provide for a free and fair vote based on the way manipulations take place. So, it doesn't surprise us [that] we don't win."

By continuing to run, the candidates said they hope more people find out about their parties.

They also hope their ideas resonate with voters, which in turn can encourage more people to vote for lesser-known political groups.

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