Canadian lawmaker Michael Cooper has a personal connection to the horrors of communism: His maternal grandparents escaped Soviet-occupied Lithuania, and his great grandparents died in the gulags of Siberia.
That’s why the St. Albert–Edmonton member of Parliament says he felt compelled to speak out in the House of Commons against a communist rally held on May 1 on the grounds of the Alberta legislature.
Disturbing to see people protesting with the Communist hammer and sickle in front of the Legislature.
This is the symbol of totalitarian regimes that murdered tens of millions of innocent people. Alberta is the home to many refugees who fled this violent, oppressive ideology. https://t.co/YciQn8F764
“One might say well, this is just a small fringe group, but the fact is that this is an incredibly dangerous ideology that has resulted in more bloodshed around the world than any other ideology,” Cooper said in a phone interview. “It’s a movement, an ideology that has led to the deaths of more than 100 million people.”
On May 2, Cooper said in a statement in the House of Commons that the “disturbing pro-communist rally” should “shock the conscience of all Canadians of goodwill,” and that “the promotion of this evil and murderous ideology must be condemned unreservedly.”
“The legacy of communism includes mass violence, oppression, the dislocation of hundreds of millions, and the deaths of more than 100 million people. Its legacy is an ocean of blood,” he said.
— Michael Cooper, MP (@Cooper4SAE) May 3, 2019
Cooper wasn’t the only politician speaking out against the protest. Alberta’s new premier, Jason Kenney, also tweeted about the rally, saying he found it disturbing to see people protesting with the “communist hammer and sickle” in front of the Alberta legislature.
“This is the symbol of totalitarian regimes that murdered tens of millions of innocent people. Alberta is home to many refugees who fled this violent, oppressive ideology,” Kenney said.
According to Stéphane Courtois’s “The Black Book of Communism,” communist regimes are responsible for close to 100 million deaths: 65 million in China, 20 million in the Soviet Union, 2 million in North Korea, 2 million in Cambodia, 1.7 million in Ethiopia, 1.5 million in Afghanistan, 1 million in Vietnam, 1 million in Eastern Europe, 0.15 million in Latin America (mainly Cuba), and 10,000 due to “the international communist movement and communist parties not in power.”
The Epoch Times special series “How the Spectre of Communism Is Ruling Our World” states that communist regimes force the general population into obedience by killing their victims “openly and deliberately.”
“In just one century, since the rise of the first communist regime in Russia, the evil spectre of communism has murdered more people in the nations under its rule than the combined death toll of both world wars,” the series states.
The remaining officially communist countries in the world today are China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, and Laos.
According to another special series by The Epoch Times, “Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party,” which focuses more specifically on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the “primary belief” of the communist party is “struggle,” which is used as a tool to gain and maintain political control.
“For instance, a famous quote from Mao—‘With 800 million people, how can it work without struggle?’—reveals the logic of ‘survival of the fittest,’” the series says. “Repetitive use of force is an important means for the CCP to maintain its rule in China.”
The series adds that the goal of using force is to create terror, so that people become afraid and submit to the terror, and “gradually become enslaved under the CCP’s control.”
Cooper says the fact that there are still communist countries in the world suppressing human rights, and the fact that such pro-communist rallies are being held in Canada and other parts of the world, demonstrate that “while in Canada communism is a fringe movement, it hasn’t been completely stomped out, and it must not be allowed to gain any momentum.”
He says Canada is a free country and people are free to hold rallies, but if they do, “they need to be called out, and they should be made a little bit uncomfortable.”
“It’s important to unequivocally condemn [communism’s] promotion,” Cooper says.