Monday, October 12, 2015

#elxn42 Platform Review - NDP

I've pointed out before that Tom Mulcair's practice - both in pursuing the NDP's leadership and in leading the party - has been to continue largely with the party's existing policy base.

In keeping with that principle, the NDP's platform doesn't contain many surprises for anybody who's kept a reasonably close eye on the party's activity over the past few years. But there are certainly a few points worth highlighting - particularly to the extent they contrast against the plans of the Cons and Libs.

Some of the more noteworthy promises which haven't received much notice so far include the following:
  • in addition to delivering the funding and pharmacare program promised throughout the campaign, resuming federal enforcement of the Canada Health Act (p. 1, 33);
  • expanding parental leave, including by providing specific leave for a second parent (p. 7);
  • not only reforming the temporary foreign worker program, but also ensuring that temporary foreign workers have a path to citizenship (p. 19);
  • modifying Employment Insurance eligibility rules to take into account the changing nature of work (p. 20);
  • cracking down on both unpaid internships and two-tier employment contracts (p. 26); and
  • deferring government appointment powers to board jointly selected by the government and Official Opposition (p. 56).
What's particularly worth noting, however, is the difference between the NDP position and the Libs' in areas where there's broad agreement about the need for action of some kind.

Anybody who watched the debates may be familiar with the distinction in the parties' positions on climate change - with the NDP wanting to commit to a target which can then be the subject of future planning, while the Libs talk about wanting to take action while declining to be pinned down as to what can or should be done. But the same distinction arises in other areas as well, particularly the ones which are likely to be of the most concern to progressive voters.

Both the NDP and the Libs promise some specific actions to combat poverty among children and seniors. But the Libs stop there, while the NDP pairs its immediate steps with an ultimate poverty target of zero and a commitment to establish a council and interim targets along the way (p. 28).

And both the NDP and the Libs promise to work on child care plans. But the NDP has targets as to how many spaces should be created and at what cost (p. 6-7), while the Libs leave for later any decision as to what a "framework" might look like.

To some extent, that distinction fits with one of the Libs' campaign messages: the NDP is indeed willing to ensure that federal money and authority is used to achieve specific outcomes. But it's left to progressive voters to decide whether they prefer a government which knows what it wants to accomplish and orients discussion with the provinces and other parties toward that end - or whether they're prepared to settle for one which doesn't see the need to decide.

[Edit: fixed wording.]

1 comment:

  1. The Liberals have decided. But what they have decided they keep to themselves otherwise few people would be fooled into voting for them. So they end up sweet-talking the electorate to get what they want. (Prince Charming is the master of saying sweet nothings to voters -- probably has a lot of experience at that kind of thing...)

    So after you add up all the broken promises and the sweet nothings that become actual nothings, voters are left with a party in power that campaigned left and decided to govern right with no reason for betraying voters other than being in the pockets of plutocrats. When these politicians move onto the private sector they are lavishly rewarded for selling Canadians down the river.

    If Canada was a democracy instead of a two-horse race, these corrupt narcissistic POS would not be able to get away with it. Of course, these politicians enacting electoral reform would like drug dealers warning customers of the perils of drug addiction. Not exactly at the top of their to-do list. (Want to know what IS at the top of their to-do list? Give them absolute power and find out -- after the election.)