Communist Party of Canada

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Communist Party of Canada

Parti communiste du Canada
AbbreviationCPC (English)
PCC (French)
LeaderLiz Rowley[1]
Founded28 May 1921
NewspaperPeople's Voice
Youth wingYoung Communist League of Canada
Political orientationMarxism-Leninism
International affiliationInternational Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties

The Communist Party of Canada (CPC) is a Marxist–Leninist party in Canada.

Political positions

The CPC advocates for Canada's withdrawal from NATO and NORAD. It also supports self-determination for Quebec and the Indigenous Peoples in Canada,[2][3] though it avoids any mention of settler colonialism in its messaging.[original research]

The CPC also advocates for a two state solution in Palestine as the "only immediate hope" to end the genocide of Palestinians, and has avoided making any statement advocating for the dissolution of the Zionist Entity[4], and have indeed framed the issues of Israel as being the fault of its government, ignoring the material basis for its support amongst Israelis in settler colonialism.[5] The party also claims to support Palestinian resistance fighters, while calling their main resistance organization, Hamas, a "reactionary organization" and implying they commit terrorist acts.[6]



The Communist Party of Canada was founded in May 1921 near Guelph, Ontario. Its first congress was held illegally in a barn.[2]

Great Depression

During the Great Depression, the CPC founded the Trade Union Education League. Because the right-wing unions refused to strike, 90% of strikes in the 1930s were led by communists. In 1931, General Secretary Tim Buck was arrested. 1,200 Canadians fought in the Spanish Civil War as part of the Mackenzie–Papineau Battalion.[2]

Second World War

The CPC initially opposed Canadian involvement in the Second World War but changed its position in 1941 after the invasion of the Soviet Union. In 1940, Dorise Nielsen from Saskatchewan became the first communist in the Canadian parliament.[2]


After the fall of socialism in Eastern Europe and the overthrow of the Soviet Union, the CPC took a revisionist line under General Secretary George Hewison. The party briefly abandoned revolutionary socialism for social democracy but reaffirmed Marxism–Leninism at the 30th party congress in 1992.[2]

In 1993, Brian Mulroney's Conservative government passed amendments to the Elections Act which stripped parties of their registered status if they failed to field 50 or more candidates in the 1993 election, raised the required deposit to nominate a candidate from $200 to $1000, forcing parties to have at least $50 000 in order to avoid being deregistered, and if a party was not able to field 50 candidates, either due to a lack of candidates or funds, they would be deregistered and forced to liquidate all their assets and pay off all outstanding bills. This practically amounted to shutting down the party. Consequently, the CPC was basically forced to shut down, though did not formally disband and would spend the next 13 years fighting the amendments in court, eventually getting the sections of the law struck down in 2001 and a $65 000 settlement for damages caused, though the Federal government did not admit any wrongdoing and the CPC said this figure was very modest.[7]


Any resident of Canada who is at least 16 years old may join the party. Party members pay an initiation fee of $1 as well as monthly dues, which range from $1 to $45 depending on income of the member.[8]


National level

Party conventions are held at least once every three years. The convention elects the Central Committee and can amend the party program and constitution. Party members who have been in good standing for at least a year may be delegates to the convention. The convention also elects an Audit Committee and Appeals Committee of three members each, who are on the Central Committee but cannot vote.[8]

Provincial level

Provinces with multiple clubs hold a Provincial Convention at least once every three years. The Provincial Convention elects a Provincial Committee, which meets at least twice a year. Party members must have been in good standing for at least two years to be eligible for the Provincial Committee.[8]

Local level

The lowest level of party organization is the club, which consists of at least three members. Areas or cities with multiple clubs hold a Regional Convention once every two years, which elect a Regional Committee. Regional committee members must have been party members in good standing for at least a year.[8]


More recently, the CPC was the focus of a mishandled sexual abuse scandal, over which many members resigned. The Central Committee largely ignored this, instead chosing to put out a state about "slanderous attacks" on social media being made against them.[9][10]


  1. "Communist Party elects first woman leader" (2016-02-16). Communist Party of Canada. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2023-06-14.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "A short history of the Communist Party of Canada" (1996). Communist Party of Canada. Archived from the original on 2021-11-12. Retrieved 2022-06-19.
  3. "Program of the Communist Party of Canada Chapter 4: The Canadian State, the Nations and Peoples of Canada, and the Crisis of Democracy" (2023-05). Communist Party of Canada. Retrieved 2023-06-14.
  4. “The only immediate hope for peace is the creation of a Palestinian state, as set out in UN resolutions 242 and others, based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital, and including the right to return.”

    Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada (2024-03-01). "Reaction, genocide, environmental catastrophe – and growing resistance" Communist Party of Canada. Retrieved 2024-03-17.
  5. “Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu bears full responsibility, and for which the people of Gaza and Israel are paying with their lives.

    The Israeli government, and its Zionist, expansionist aims has rejected a peaceful and democratic solution which would include the immediate creation of a Palestinian state comprised of the land occupied by Israel since 1967, including the West Bank and Gaza, with the capital in East Jerusalem, and including the right of return of Palestinians in exile, as set out in numerous UN resolutions, including resolution 242.”

    Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada (2023-10-10). "End Zionist expansionism and genocide" Communist Party of Canada. Retrieved 2024-03-17.
  6. “While Israel carries out massacres, imperialist governments use the pretext that Hamas fired the first shots on October 7th. They use this as an opportunity to label any action, demonstration, or organization in solidarity with Palestine as supporting terrorism, as if Palestinian solidarity is represented by a single organization. Those who once claimed that Nelson Mandela and the ANC were terrorists are the same ones who prevent various solidarity demonstrations with Palestine and trade unionists, progressives, and students here and elsewhere in the world.

    As Communists, we have no illusions about the political agenda or the origins of Hamas, let alone its historical ties to Israel. However, we refuse to reduce Palestinian resistance to this reactionary organization. Also, it must be clearly stated that there is no fair comparison of the crimes of Hamas with those of the Israeli army, which has carried out massacres of Palestinians since 1948, starting with the Deir Yassin massacre and the Plan Dalet.”

    Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada (2023-11-09). "Israel as the standard bearer of Western imperialism" Communist Party of Canada. Retrieved 2024-03-17.
  7. "The Figueroa v. A-G of Canada case: The Communist Party’s legal Challenge to Anti-Democratic Aspects of the Canada Elections Act". Communist Party of Canada. Retrieved 2023-06-02.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 39th Convention (2019). Party Constitution. Communist Party of Canada.
  9. Scott Martin (2022-06-26). "I have resigned from the Communist Party of Canada" Retrieved 2024-03-17.
  10. Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada (2022-07-29). "On the Recent Social Media Attacks on the Communist Party" Communist Party of Canada.