Political Wish List

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My husband and I had an interesting conversation with the liberal canvassers that came to our door last Saturday (I know, I know. Over a week ago. Not exactly timely of me, but what can you do?).  First of all they knocked on the door and asked if the liberals can count on our vote in the coming election, which I found quite a brazen question. I mean, we had only just met them. Of course, we said no, I don’t think so. But then we kept them for a chat.
And what was said? Nothing at all. A lot of the questions I asked either don’t fall under federal jurisdiction or the poor volunteer canvassers didn’t know the answer. So I thought it would be useful for me to outline my political wish list.
Environment
  • Higher taxes for polluting industries 
  • Tax incentives for green-friendly, local initiatives (although this might fall in the provincial or maybe even municipal jurisdiction)
  • Investment in alternative energy sources
  • Investment in light rail (as well as making it affordable)
  • Tax breaks for home retro-fitting

 
 

Health Care
  • More family doctors!!!! 
This one really upsets me. I know that health care comes under the jurisdiction of the province, but something has to be done. Finding a family doctor who knows you and your family, who you can call when your kid has an ear infection, who can help in a preventative way with lifestyle issues, etc. seems vital and ultimately less costly then the band-aid system we have right now.
In that vein, why not make sure that alternative help practitioners are nationally regulated and funded by medicare? They could be the first line of family health care, the people that help you stay healthy. What would be ideal would be some sort of complimentary practice between a naturopath and a family doctor. Just as midwifery in BC works closely with the medical community, naturopaths and family doctors could work closely to ensure comprehensive care. There would be more invested in preventative health care and in the end would prove less costly than the system we have now.
I think.
I also think that more has to be done to integrate our New Canadians who have medical training in other countries and are not allowed to practice. I know a lot of the platforms include some money to forgive student loans for doctors and nurses who are willing to practice in rural areas for a few years, but what about all those doctors driving taxis?
Education
 I would like someone to put the money where their mouth is. If we are to have a working school system, I think we need to adopt a Finnish model where teaching is a respected, well-paid and coveted job. Where the training process is longer and they are given more freedom in the classroom.
If a public school system is going to work – and,yes, I do realise that education falls under the provincial jurisdiction, however I know there is Federal money allotted to each province – it has to attract dedicated professionals, passionate about their work who will not let the system stagnate, or fall into a two-tiered system (which is what we have here in Quebec- actually two-tiered is not doing it any justice. It is more like an educational onion.)
I also think that Post-secondary schooling needs to be more affordable. Once again, I think we should look to Finland as our model, where they believe that it is vital if a country is going to call themselves a knowledge economy to ensure that everyone gets the best education possible.  
Internet and Copyright
I agree with most of the NDP’s platform on this issue. Crap like price gauging , net throttling and usage-based billing really chaps my craw, not to mention the fact that if the internet is to remain an open, democratic resource outside the control of the major telecommunications companies (anyone remember what happened in Egypt?) it has to remain neutral. The law is overdue.
5.14 Ensuring all canadians have access to broadband and a robust digital Economy

• We will apply the proceeds from the advanced wireless spectrum auction to ensure all Canadians, no matter where they live, will have quality high-speed broadband internet access;

• We will expect the major internet carriers to contribute financially to this goal;

• We will rescind the 2006 Conservative industry-oriented directive to the CRTC and direct the regulator to stand up for the public interest, not just the major telecommunications companies;

• We will enshrine “net neutrality” in law, end price gouging and “net throttling,” with clear rules for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), enforced by the CRTC;

• We will prohibit all forms of usage-based billing (UBB) by Internet Service Providers (ISPs);

• We will introduce a bill on copyright reform to ensure that Canada complies with its international treaty obligations, while balancing consumers’ and creators’ rights.

 
Culture
Not a whole lot to say here except for the obvious: my husband is an artist. More funding for the arts would be helpful to us. 
Canada
WTF? How did we become such douche bags in the eyes of the world?   Oh yeah. Stephen Harper. He’s taken an international reputation as generally nice people who like to do things like keep the peace and support the environment (of course, like any reputation, somewhat undeserved and flawed, but still) and degraded it to the status of the inbred redneck cousin who crushes beer cans with his head then throws the can in the middle of the street where he then proceeds to piss on it.
Not good. Make it better.
In Conclusion
In conclusion, I just found this. A dude named Jeff Hughes has put together an easy to use table to compare the platforms of the three major political parties. Thank you very much Mr. Hughes! (but next time could you include the Green Party?)
I also just re-watched the movie 9 to 5 with Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. In this wonderful satire of the sexist working environment of the early 80s, they hogtie their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” of a boss and proceed to make some awesome changes in their work environment: they create an in-house day care centre. They implement flexible work hours and job share programs. They pretty up the place and increase work efficiency by 20%. 
Hmmm. Give you any ideas?
What is on your political wishlist? 
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3 Responses to Political Wish List

  1. Alice Zorn says:

    Excellent list. You kick ass.

  2. I dunno if Stephen Harper can really take credit for giving Canada a bad reputation. The more I learn about Canadian history, the more horrified I am.

    But to answer your question: I wish that people would stop talking about strategic voting. It's a bullshit concept. Also, I wish that EVERYONE would get paid stat holiday pay. EVERYONE.

    And I wish that someone would make a table comparing the platforms of ALL political parties. I am unclear on how funding is provided for political parties — does the Canadian govt only give money to the big 3? The big 4? Or to all?

  3. Good question. So I looked it up. good ol' wikipedia said that there are three ways they are subsidized. The most democratic is the per-vote subsidy where, “For each registered federal political party that received at least 2% of all valid votes the last general election or at least 5% of the valid votes in the electoral districts in which it had a candidate, the per-vote subsidy, also referred to as the “government allowance”, gives the party an inflation-indexed subsidy each year of $2.04 per vote received in the last election.” Then there is the the subsidy of political contributions which, if I understand right, means that if you donate to a party you can get a tax credit. (But I am not sure about this- there were a lot of numbers and it was confusing). Third, there is the electoral expense reimbursement where a party that has achieved at least 2% overall support can get 50% of their election expenses reimbursed. Which means that the more a party spend the more they get reimbursed. The wikipedia article gives tables describing how each registered political party has benefited from each of the three ways of funding. Here is the URL:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_political_financing_in_Canada#Per-vote_subsidy
    Hope this helps…

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