Election issues for “Ordinary Canadians”

Given there is no such thing as an “Ordinary Canadian,” in that we are a culturally and geographically diverse country, this blog will touch on election issues that are—or should be!—important to most if not all people by highlighting key party platforms for Western Canada.

Hopefully this site will assist you in making an informed vote!

Information was collected from:
http://www.conservative.ca
http://www.liberal.ca/pdf/platform/2008lp_action_plan_e.pdf
http://www.ndp.ca/greenagenda
http://www.greenparty.ca/

Feel free to comment, address changes or suggest additions.

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Published in: on October 9, 2008 at 8:39 pm  Comments (2)  

Arts and Culture

Conservative:

  • Cut funding to the arts
  • Commit to French language TV; increase funding for French TV5 by $25 million over the next 5 years

Liberal:

  • Double funding for Canadian Council for the Arts
  • Support Canadian content
  • Income averaging to artists

NDP:

  • Reverse efforts to legislate censorship (e.g., Bill C-10)
  • Reverse government cuts to arts and culture programs
  • Better rules around Canadian content
  • Strength public broadcasting
  • New copyright-reform legislation must address compensation for artists and consult with stakeholders

Green:

  • Increase funding to all Canadian arts and culture organizations
  • Establish base arts and culture funding as a percentage of the federal budget
  • Stable funding for CBC Radio
  • Increase CRTC bandwidth
  • Eliminate current legislation before Senate that would give politically appointed censors the right to deprive films of the right to a tax credit if their content is deemed to be “unfit” (In such a context, some of Canada’s most internationally celebrated filmmakers, such as David Cronenberg, would have been stymied)
  • Income-tax relief to artists
  • Change the Canada Revenue Act to allow artists to benefit from a tax averaging plan
Published in: on October 10, 2008 at 7:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Defense

Conservative:

  • Total spending for 2008 budget $288 million
  • Increase northern surveillance by Canadian forces
  • Increase border security
  • Electronic passport
  • $1.3 billion for Afghanistan over 10 years
  • A stronger North American Partnership – $29 million over the next 2 years

Liberal:

  • Keep Canada out of US Missile Defense Shield
  • Rebuild diplomatic relationship between Canada and China
  • Withdraw from Afghanistan by 2011
  • Support services for Canadian soldiers returning home

NDP:

  • ?

Green:

  • Realign defense spending to increase Canada’s capacity to deliver disaster assistance
  • Decrease contribution to NATO war efforts
  • Play a lead role in establishing a UN Rapid Response Force, with an emphasis on peacekeeping
  • Advance UN Convention on Rights of the Child and ensure its principles are at the core of Canadian foreign policy
  • Shift for a Department of Defence to a Department of Peace
  • Oppose Canada’s exploitation of public institutions to develop military technology
  • Oppose the militarization of space
  • Advocate that responses to terrorism be carried out within a framework consistent with international law; terrorism must be fought with the traditional tools of criminal investigation and prosecution

—————

Discussion:

“Before You Vote – 15 Important Numbers To Ponder” by Edmonton Project Ploughshares:

  • Number of UN troops from all nations deployed in peacekeeping missions: 100,000
  • Number of Canadian troops deployed in UN peacekeeping missions in 2006: 59
  • Number of Canadian troops fi ghting in Afghanistan: 2,300
  • Rank of Canada among countries as a global peacekeeper in 2007: 55th
  • Rank of Canada in 1998: 8th
  • Ratio of Canadian money spent on warfare versus development in Afghanistan: 9 to 1
  • Amount in billions planned to be spent over the next 20 years on Canada’s defence strategy: 490
  • Amount in billions needed to meet the UN’s global Millennium Development Goals for one year: 49
  • Last time Canada ranked among the top fi ve donors in providing overseas development assistance: 1978
  • Percentage of Canada’s gross national income devoted to overseas development assistance in 1978: 0.57
  • Percentage Canada devoted to overseas development assistance in 2007: 0.3
  • UN target: 0.7
  • Percentage of income Afghans spend on food: 60
  • Percentage increase in the cost of wheat since April 2007 in Afghanistan: 60
  • Where Canadians rank the increasing gap between rich and poor in terms of world issues: 1st
Published in: on October 10, 2008 at 7:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Crime

Conservative:

  • Law to crack down on street racing
  • Crack down on money laundering
  • Invest $16.1 million to protect youth at risk
  • $64 million anti-drug strategy
  • Arm border guards
  • $1.4 billion to strengthen national security and protect against terrorism
  • 1,000 new RCMP and 2,500 more municipal police
  • Tougher sentences; limit house arrests in favour of jail time
  • Introduce new laws to protect children from sexual predators by increasing the age of protection from 14 to 16
  • Introduce new laws to help police crack down on drug-impaired driving

Liberal:

  • Address root cause of crime
  • Additional resources to RCMP
  • $40 million gun-violence and gang-prevention fund
  • Ban military assault rifles, while ensuring rifles with a legitimate purpose are not prohibited

NDP:

  • Four year minimum sentence for illegal possession, importation and sale of restricted weapons
  • Support reverse-onus legislation for bail on all gun-related crimes
  • Improvements to witness-protection programs
  • Try young offenders as adults

Green:

  • Getting tough on crime means getting tough on poverty
  • Restorative justice programs for non-violent offenders
  • Increase penalties for domestic violence
  • Restore merit as the criteria for selection of judges where not one political viewpoint is dominant
  • Focus on education and meaningful work for offenders so that they might pay part of the costs of their crime and housing in jail
Published in: on October 10, 2008 at 7:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Aboriginal and First Nations

Conservative:

  • ?

Liberal:

  • Violence prevention strategy for aboriginal peoples
  • Reopen status of women offices
  • Restore the Kelowna Accord: $5 billion to improve health, education and housing
  • Enhance aboriginal languages initiative

NDP:

  • Ensure communities have infrastructure, housing and water services equal to those enjoyed by other Canadians
  • Support Aboriginal health initiatives
  • Ensure speedy compensation for survivors of residential schools abuse
  • Ensure inherent right to self-governance
  • Develop community economies
  • Create approaches to justice that heal – including youth-focused crime prevention and systems of restorative justice that also support victims of crime
  • Emphasize education and training

Green:

  • Honor Canada’s fiduciary responsibilities for treaty and Aboriginal rights including inherent rights of self-government
  • Address governance issues
  • Promote Aboriginal culture
  • Implement the recommendations of the 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, thereby embarking on true nation-to-nation negotiations on a full range of outstanding legal issues and land claims
  • Negotiate and legislate primary hunting, fishing, trapping and logging rights for Aboriginal Peoples on traditional lands, especially lands under federal jurisdiction, subject to standards of sustainable harvesting
  • Assist the delivery of health care, education and other services in a way that incorporates traditional practices, recognizing the role of extended families and elders
  • Address the unique issues surrounding the treatment of Aboriginals in the Canadian justice system
  • Establish a federal-provincial task force to address and investigate the disappearance of Aboriginal women
Published in: on October 10, 2008 at 7:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Education

Conservative:

  • Textbook tax credit of $10 per month (but must earn over $20,000/year; most students earn ~$5,000/year)

Liberal:

  • $3 billion for new recreation and sports facilities
  • Increase support for indirect costs of university-based research by 50%
  • Fund interdisciplinary research
  • Education endowment fund – 200,000 bursaries of $3,500 and 100,000 bursaries of $4,000 per year

NDP:

  • Lower tuition costs through a Post Secondary Education Act that commits to reliable federal funding
  • Restore needs-based grants to students from low-income families
  • Reform Canada Student Loans
  • Launch national training strategy to expand vocational training

Green:

  • Reduce post-secondary tuition
  • Boost participation in cooperative education programs and apprenticeships
  • Needs-based grants program to reduce student debt
  • Public funding into research and development
Published in: on October 10, 2008 at 7:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Poverty

Conservative:

  • ?

Liberal:

  • Guaranteed family supplement to help Canada’s 500,000 poorest families with children
  • Increase seniors’ supplement by $600 per year and $800 per year for couples

NDP:

  • Pass Poverty Elimination Act to eliminate poverty in Canada by 2020
  • Establish minimum wage of $10 per hour

Green:

  • Eliminate taxes for those below the poverty line
  • Allow income-assistance recipients to keep 100% of their income to encourage people to get back into the job market
  • Free transit passes for those on income assistance
  • Increase guaranteed income supplement to seniors by 25%
  • Top-income support to single parents on welfare who are attending school or are in job-training programs
  • Augment Gross Domestic Product measure-of-progress with “Genuine Progress Indicators”
  • Increase number of full-time positions and quality of life by reducing the standard workweek to 35 hours

—————

Links:

Published in: on October 10, 2008 at 7:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Affordable Housing

Conservative:

  • 5-year extension of Canada’s national housing and homelessness programs that were introduced almost a decade ago
  • $387.9 million per year for 5 years to fund 1,250 new homes per year countrywide

Liberal:

  • Support affordable housing (not much mentioned in the Action Plan for the 21st Century)

NDP:

  • Non-profit cooperative homes
  • Funding supportive housing for people with special needs
  • Funding to expand federal housing-rehabilitation program to maintain and retrofit substandard homes
  • Funding to extend federal homelessness programs to ensure services and transitional housing are available across Canada

Green:

  • Subsidize affordable homes (20,000 new and 10,000 rehabilitated homes)
  • Rent supplements for 40,000 low-income households per year, for 10 years
  • Subsidize private developers to include a percentage of affordable housing units in their housing projects
  • Dedicate funding to the cooperative housing sector
  • Extend provisions in the Income Tax Act to offer tax incentives to build affordable, energy-efficient, multi-unit rental housing and to include tax credits for gifts of real estate to community land trusts to provide affordable housing

—————

Discussion:

  • Canada is the only G8 country without a National Housing Strategy
  • One in four Canadian households pays 30+% of its income on housing
  • Shelter is the biggest expense for low-, moderate- and middle-income households
  • In the early 1980s, 10 out of every 100 new homes in Canada were truly affordable; by 2007, less than 1 in 100 new homes were truly affordable
  • More than 300,000 Canadians experience homelessness annually; the number of shelter beds jumped by 22% in one year to 26,872 in 2007
  • Federal housing investments of $2 billion in 2008 are at their lowest since 2002; per-capita, 2008 federal housing investments are at their lowest in two decades

—————

Links:

Published in: on October 10, 2008 at 7:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Child Care

Conservative:

  • $250 million per year to create more childcare spaces
  • $100 per month child tax credit

Liberal:

  • Up to $1 billion to achieve high quality childcare
  • Increase funding of early education programs

NDP:

  • Enact the NDP Early Learning and Child Care Act
  • Create 150,000 new childcare spaces rising to 220,000 spaces in the 4th year
  • Children’s nutrition initiative – providing healthy meals to school-age children

Green:

  • Urge reforms to tax and labour policies in ways that will increase the opportunity for Canadians to spend more time with family
  • Promote an integrated program of supports, tax cuts and awareness to enable more time for children, family, and community, for the betterment of our society
Published in: on October 10, 2008 at 7:01 pm  Comments (1)  

Health Care

Conservative:

  • Plan to reduce patient wait times by increasing funding for new training spaces to address the shortage of doctors and nurses
  • National cancer strategy
  • $400 million for electronic health record system

Liberal:

  • Incentives for rural healthcare workers
  • Doctors and nurses fund – increase training and remove licensing bottlenecks for new healthcare professionals
  • Ensure catastrophic drug coverage
  • Reopen status of women offices

NDP:

  • Reduce wait times by training and hiring 50% more doctors and nurses
  • Improve and defend medicare – stop privatization
  • Affordable prescription medication
  • Expansion of drug and alcohol prevention programs
  • Expand use of nurse practitioners and multidisciplinary clinics
  • Expand home care to reduce pressure on families who are providing care
  • Ensure that women have the right to safe therapeutic abortion services

Green:

  • Promote holistic (physical, mental and social) health. Current public healthcare model tends to only treat symptoms/diseases
  • Health care must be non-profit
  • Use the full force of the Canada Health Act to oppose a two-tier system
  • Provide funds to train more doctors and nurses
  • Expand provincial healthcare to cover alternative therapies such as massage and chiropractic
  • Improve access to midwifery services across Canada
  • Initiate a public inquiry into the rising cost of prescription drugs
  • Commission a cost-benefit analysis of introducing a crown corporation to bulk- purchase and -dispense generic drugs.
  • Promote a broad-based active living program
Published in: on October 9, 2008 at 10:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Environment

Conservative:

  • Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 and air emissions by half by 2015
  • Support the development of nuclear power
  • Cut federal climate change programs
  • Is working on clean air regulations
  • Transit tax credit approx $16 per month

Liberal:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020
  • Introduce carbon tax with a “cap and trade” system
  • Financial support to Canadians making green/energy-efficient home retrofits
  • Pass national air-quality standards to reduce pollutants
  • National Water Strategy to keep waterways clean
  • Toxic substances reduction strategy
  • Add 50 million for a “food safety-net”

NDP:

  • Long- and medium-term greenhouse-gas-emission-reduction targets: to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, and to 25% below 1990 levels by 2020, consistent with Kyoto.
  • Make big polluters pay with the “cap and trade” carbon pricing system
  • Invest in Canadian production of low emission cars
  • $3 billion “Green Collar Jobs” plan
  • Mandatory vehicle emission standards
  • Federal support for pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths

Green:

  • Reduce smog precursors under the existing Canadian Environmental Protection Act by strengthening regulations
  • Against nuclear power
  • Support current Federal Water Policy that opposes bulk water exports; will pass legislation to prohibit bulk water exports
  • Provide funding for “Water and Waste Treatment Facilities Municipal Super-fund” to enable replacement of chlorination systems with ozonation, ultraviolet sterilization, sand filtration and other safe water purification systems

—————

Links:

Published in: on October 9, 2008 at 10:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sovereignty

Conservative:

  • Increase resource development in Canada’s Arctic

Liberal:

  • Secure Canada’s claim to the Arctic
  • Complete the mapping of the seabed by 2013
  • Find ways to mitigate effects of climate change in the north
  • Believe that the “Security and Prosperity Partnership” is not advancing Canadians interests. http://www.liberal.ca/pdf/docs/SPP_ENG.pdf

NDP:

  • Halt the stealthy takeover of Canada by the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), and bring this corporate agenda to the public’s attention
  • Defeat the Colombia free trade agreement in Canada and the U.S.

Green:

  • Ask the United Nations to rule on the sovereignty of waters between our islands, and the sovereignty of the land off the Yukon coast, including the validity of oil and gas leases issued by the United States for land near the Yukon
  • Registration of foreign ships using Northwest Passage
  • Take a closer look at continental integration: http://www.greenparty.ca/en/policy/documents/deeper_look_spp
  • Review the Security and Prosperity Partnership pushing Canada, the U.S. and Mexico toward a North American Union
  • Commitment to “fair trade” above “free trade”

—————

Discussion:

For more information on the “Security and Prosperity Partnership”, an agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico that further integrates militaries, security, trade, economies, and regulatory and foreign policies: www.SPP.gov

Published in: on October 9, 2008 at 10:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Economy

Conservative:

  • No tax increase
  • Move forward with industry tax cuts
  • No carbon tax

Liberal:

  • Dividends on pollution taxes to reduce income tax
  • Make tax credits refundable so that low income people and families can benefit
  • “Clean infrastructure” investment – water and sewage treatment ($10 billion) and public transit ($8 billion)

NDP:

  • Financial institutions properly capitalized
  • Full risk disclosure; don’t substitute flawed ranking systems for risk management
  • Function with due care and prudence expected from the custodians of working families
  • Tighten tax administration so that taxes owed are paid
  • Eliminate outdated tax incentives and loopholes

Green:

  • Remove corporate subsidies
  • Reduce income tax
  • Reduce payroll tax
  • Introduce carbon tax

—————
Discussion:

  1. Tax credits only assist people with money to spend. Tax credits do not benefit low income families. Tax credits do not benefit all Canadians.
  2. Natural resources are owned by all Canadians and are held in trust by the federal government.  Royalties are a fee to the government for the right to develop the resource.
  3. Carbon taxes have been implemented internationally as a means to reduce carbon emissions and put money into environmental programs.
  4. Some tax is inevitable. Who do you want to pay more in taxes: you or industry?
Published in: on October 9, 2008 at 8:48 pm  Leave a Comment