Political Platforms Review

Let’s just put aside the fact that politicians are really obsolete and analyze them for their policies. The system is a joke but as long as we are using it we can still analyze it.

It’s unfortunate that many people will base their vote on who they think is a better person instead of evaluating the platforms of the parties. Policies are more important than personalities in politics…usually.
Anyways here I attempt to summarize the platforms of all the major parties showing Pros and Cons.

NDP

PROS
– Create a new national holiday in February
– Re-establish the National Minimum Wage at $10 an hour
– Reverse corporate tax breaks and close loopholes
– End tax breaks for the tar sands and the oil and gas industry
– Cap interest rates on credit cards to 5%
– End the use and circulation of the Canadian penny, cutting government costs and giving more convenience for shoppers
– Mandatory labeling of farmed fish and genetically engineered food , as is already done in Australia, Europe, and parts of Asia
-Implement “net neutrality” ensuring equal internet access for all
-Ban the use of Terminator seeds and protect every farmer’s right to choose , save , and control their seeds
-Support the UN moratorium on high-seas drag nets
-Promote closed tank technologies for aquaculture operations and enforce higher environmental standards
-Reaffirm and enforce the oil tanker moratorium on BC’s inland coast
-Restrict raw log exports to ensure that jobs come first
– Children’s Nutrition Initiative to support and expand provincial and local programs that provide healthy meals to school children
-Enforce a strict ban on direct-to consumer drug advertising
– Canada-wide prescription drug plan phasing in coverage for all citizens beginning with catastrophic drug costs
– reduce costs for drugs with bulk-purchasing
– invest in Canadian production of low-emission cars with aggressive incentives for manufacturers of zero-emission vehicles
– halt tar sands development until environmental concerns are addressed , and protected areas are set aside
– Introduce Canada Environment Action bonds to invest in renewable energy and better infrastructure
–  Establish a Canadian Renewable Energy Agency to develop and support and shift to clean energy with a target of 35% of Canada’s energy by 2020
– Increase support for rail transport
– ban bulk fresh water imports by law
– abolish the Senate, pending a referendum voted on by all Canadians
– Withdraw troops from Afghanistan
– reform voting with proportional representation

CONS
– Renegotiating NAFTA instead of opting out completely using the six-month clause and rewriting a new agreement

– no mention of the SPP and putting that to a referendum

– no real mention of nationalising our oil
– no mention of decriminalizing marijuana although this is their position apparently

– no mention of eliminating fractional reserve banking and money as debt

LIBERALS- a whopping 76 pages

http://www.liberal.ca/pdf/platform/2008lp_action_plan_e.pdf

PROS

– cutting income taxes for low and middle-income Canadians

– renewable energy tax credits

– Green Bonds as an investment for people to invest in sustainable infrastructure

– forgiving student debt for doctors

– $250 million of new funding to fight the pine beetle in BC

– more arts and video production funding

CONS

– no mention of withdrawal from Afghanistan before 2011

– no mention of renegotiating NAFTA

– more tax cuts for corporations with a target of 14%, an outrage considering that the average Canadian pays more than that and does not have access to teams of lawyers and offshore bank accounts to end up paying no tax which is what many corporations do

-10 year $70 billion plan for updating key infrastructure falls short of needed investment

– no mention of eliminating fractional reserve banking and money as debt

– goal of 15% of electricity from renewables by 2020 falls short of what is needed

CONSERVATIVES

??? platform can’t be found on their website, however we have a nice picture of Steve Harper in the infamous sweater with his family, what a phony….

UPDATE Oct 7th Platform released -44pages light on details

-interesting to note that a large portion of the platform consists of cuddly pictures of Mr. Harper instead of actual policies

PROS

– deregulating the airline sector (meaningless because air travel is non-profitable, heavily polluting, and inefficient as a means of mass transport anyways with peak oil marching onward)

CONS

– more war

– deregulating the uranium mining sector (terrible idea , letting foreigners control an industry which has a terrible environmental footprint when many Canadians want a moratorium of mining this resource)

– “A re-elected Conservative Government led by Stephen Harper will work to eliminate barriers that restrict or impair trade, investment or labour mobility between provinces and territories by 2010… We hope to see further progress, but are prepared to intervene by exercising federal authority if barriers to trade, investment and mobility remain by 2010.”  (translation: money is king , provincial environmental concerns are an afterthought and the fed will strip power from provinces to keep dollars flowing)

-Tax cut and spend government: The Conservatives have come up with a neo-conservative platform that will cut taxes so deeply that government revenue will drop to the point where Canada will either have to spend itself into a deficit, or a eliminate a massive amount of social spending. This is especially true if we are to pay for the drastically increased military spending Harper proposes.

– Give western grain farmers the freedom to make their own marketing and transportation decisions. Western grain farmers should be able to participate voluntarily in the Canadian Wheat Board.  (translation : reduce the power of the Wheat Board and let the small guys go under trying to compete on the open market against big agri-business giants)

-Destroy the federation: Harper’s fiscal policy plays right into his desire to see more federal powers devolved to the provinces. He has long been a proponent of greater decentralization, which is ironic given that Canada is one of the most decentralized democratic nations in the world. But given Harper’s fanatical dislike of the federal government, and his desire to shrink it down to the point it cannot interfere in the lives of Canadians, I think the Conservatives will significantly weaken Canada as a country.

GREENS – 8 page overview plus 160 page comprehensive plan

PROS

– eliminate income tax for those making under $20,000

– forgive half of student debt to those who complete their degree

– mandatory labeling of GMO food

– reform voting with proportional representation

– supports ethical purchasing instead of lowest price wins

– supports net neutrality

– supports scrapping the SPP and NAFTA

– withdraw troops from Afghanistan no later than February 2009

– supports global nuclear disarmament

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