Thursday, August 31, 2017

Leadership 2017 Platform Analysis - Niki Ashton

As I've noted previously, Niki Ashton's debate strategy doesn't often seem to involve discussing policy at length. And that's a shame, because she's done more than any other candidate to raise (and propose solutions to) a broad range of issues.

While Ashton has primarily emphasized her proposals for free tuition and social ownership, other parts of her platform which deserve further attention include:
- an immediate path to citizenship for migrant workers and temporary foreign workers, coupled with a plan to ensure that anybody who comes to Canada to live is similarly able to become a citizen;
- a reworking of prisons to improve the education and training available for offenders, while also providing labour protection for prison labourers;
- a jobs plan which explicitly aims toward sustainable full employment; 
- introducing a Financial Activities Tax aimed specifically at banking profits and bonuses, along with a "Robin Hood" tax on transactions which has been more extensively discussed elsewhere;
- including preventative dental care in the Canada Health Act (alongside plans for pharmacare and mental health).

Unfortunately, the lack of discussion of those proposals by either Ashton or her competitors has also left little scope to address either their respective priority, or any potential issues with them. And it's not clear that the current shape of the campaign will leave much time for clarification.

But Ashton deserves ample credit for developing a broad set of ideas which merit further discussion within the NDP no matter how members wind up voting in the leadership race. And anybody who hasn't heard as much policy detail as they'd like in the rest of the leadership campaign may want to give Ashton's policies a much closer look.

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