Wednesday, April 10, 2013

#mtlqc13 Priority Resolutions - Social Policy

Not surprisingly, the social policy resolutions up for discussion this weekend include a wide range of issues - and I'll avoid highlighting the resolutions dealing with either familiar topics of discussion like gun control, marijuana decriminalization/legalization and housing.

Instead, I'll point out three resolutions which look to deserve particular attention:
3-39-13
Resolution on the Impact of Economic, Social, and Environmental Factors on Individual Health Care Submitted by the Quebec Section
BE IT RESOLVED that the following clauses be added to Subsection 3.1(r) of the Policy Book:
• Acknowledging that economic, social, and environmental factors impact individual, public, and community health and must be considered as social determinants of health; and
• Taking economic, social, and environmental factors into account when drafting economic, social, and environmental policy.
It shouldn't come as much surprise that I'd consider it a major plus to include some recognition of the social determinants of health as part of the NDP's official party policy. And while I'd like to see the wording strengthened and the issue promoted from a sub-point to a major theme in the longer term, this resolution offers a valuable starting point.
3-47-13
Resolution on Federal Funding for University Research Submitted by Hull-Aylmer
BE IT RESOLVED THAT a new clause be added to Subsection 3.2 of the Policy Book:
Ensuring that federal funding for university research is allocated primarily on a basis of public and/or scientific interest rather than commercialization potential or the interests of private business.
The federal government's influence over Canadian universities is of course restrained by provincial jurisdiction. But this resolution offers a means of expanding both the range of academic study carried out in Canada, and the public benefits we can expect to see flowing from federal research money.
3-52-13
Resolution on Guaranteed Annual Income Submitted by Fundy Royal
WHEREAS experiments with systems for Guaranteed Annual Income have shown positive results in terms of health and happiness, and economic stimulation, and
WHEREAS many low income Canadians are now forced to wait until the age of 65 (or 67) before they can afford to live with a minimal level of dignity, and (sic)
BE IT RESOLVED that the following clause be added to Section 3.4 of the Policy Book:
3.4
Fighting Poverty
New Democrats believe in:
e) supporting the implementation of a Guaranteed Annual Income system.
I'll note that a number of other resolutions - some higher in the current resolution list - also mention a guaranteed annual income. But those tend to fall short on one or both of two of my criteria by either focusing on small studies rather than broad principles, or failing to include the concept within the NDP's policy book.

I take it as implied that support for a guaranteed annual income or any other policy includes a desire to ensure its effective implementation, and think the NDP would be well served featuring a guaranteed annual income as part of its long-term policy menu. And so, I'd ideally want to see the Fundy Royal resolution (with the extra "and" deleted) moved to the top of the list.

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