Tuesday, April 09, 2013

#mtlqc13 Priority Resolutions - Economy

Following up on my earlier post, let's start taking a look at a few of the resolutions which I hope to see discussed and passed at this weekend's federal NDP convention in Montreal.

In addition to the criteria mentioned in my earlier post, I also won't spend too much time highlighting resolutions which already close enough to the front of the line to be likely to pass (or which largely duplicate such resolutions). Instead, I'll focus on resolutions which will need to be promoted in the order of precedence to have a chance of being discussed and passed.

For those not familiar with the convention process, amendments to the resolutions submitted as well as the order of discussion for the plenary sessions will be determined at Friday morning's resolution panels. Unfortunately, I personally won't be arriving at the convention until that afternoon - and I'll encourage readers who will be around for the Friday morning resolution panels to discuss how to move the resolutions forward.

Without any further ado, here are the two resolutions I'd like to see promoted out of the first resolution panel (Innovating and Prospering in the New Energy Economy):
Resolution on Consumers’ Rights Submitted by Winnipeg Centre
WHEREAS the public good is threatened when the independence of inspection agencies are compromised; and
WHEREAS the responsibility for ensuring that all industries in Canada are properly regulated rightfully rests with the government not the private sector;
Therefore be it resolved that the following clause be added to Section 1.13 of the policy book:
1.13 New Democrats believe in:
k. Ending self-regulation in all industries and ensuring that government inspection agencies are robust, scientific and independent of political and market influence.
Since I've written a recent enough column on much the same subject, I won't go into a lot of detail on the importance of an independent public service which avoids industry capture. But the above resolution nicely captures the concern about non-regulation and self-regulation - while neatly distinguishing the NDP from its main federal competitors who are all too happy to let industry write its own rules.
Resolution on Progressive and Fair Taxation Submitted by Halifax
Changes to read:
1.7 Progressive and fair taxation
New Democrats believe in:
a. A progressive tax system.
b. A tax system that is robust enough to support expanded, effective public services and programs.
c. Taxing capital gains and stock options at the same rate as salaries or wages.
d. An aggressive response to tax evasion, including the use of tax havens.
e. Converting deductions from taxable income to tax credits to simplify the tax system and make it more progressive.
f. Making tax credits refundable to assist very low income Canadians
g. Ensuring that profitable corporations pay a fair share of taxes.
h. Restoring estate taxes on estates over $1 million as an element of a progressive tax system.
i. Targeting tax reductions to help low and modest income Canadians.
j. Introducing a Financial Transactions (Tobin) Tax
k. Eliminating Tax Free Savings Accounts as a means of tax avoidance
A number of other resolutions (including some higher in the current priority list) deal with some of the issues included in this complete rewrite of the NDP's existing tax policy. But none comes close to hitting all the points included in the Halifax resolution - which commits the NDP to a highly progressive set of tax policies while leaving open the question of which ones to pursue immediately. And so I'd prefer to see this resolution passed in Montreal, with future discussion to be based on the above principles.

I'll note that the panel including these resolutions also features a number of issues surrounding labour, privatization and industrial policy - and I fully expect there to be strong advocates wanting to see those dealt with as well. But ideally, we'd see the above resolutions make it to the front of the line.


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