Saturday, October 17, 2015

On expert opinions

Following up on this week's column, let's highlight exactly how the NDP compares to its major national competitors, the Libs and Cons, in the eyes of the experts and civil society groups who know what matters most in assessing progressive policies.

I'll include all of the analyses I've linked in previous posts including the full list from the Income Security Advisory Centre, as well as a few other prominent progressive organizations and/or rankings which have shown up in the news. But please do let me know of any which should be added for the sake of completeness - and note that while I've omitted a few listed by ISAC to the extent they seem to fall short of differentiating explicitly or implicitly between the parties' platforms, I haven't left any out based on their conclusions.

Since comments on parties' platforms tend to take a few different forms, I'll divide the post into two parts: one dealing with explicit rankings or grades where parties can be compared quantitatively, and ones with commentary where there's some room for qualitative judgment.

Starting with the former, here are the areas where the organizations I've examined have assessed progressive priorities with some effort to quantify or rank them. (Note that there are some sub-topics where the NDP ranks second, but the list is based on adding up or averaging all grades for all topics.)

Climate change: Keith Stewart (Greenpeace)
Environment: David Suzuki Foundation
Health care: College of Family Physicians of Canada
Budget policy: David Macdonald (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives)
Internet freedom: Open Media
Free expression: Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
First Nations policy: Assembly of First Nations
Housing: FRAPRU, Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (tie)
General policy: Canadian Association of Social Workers (PDF)
Physician-assisted dying: Dying With Dignity Canada (tie)
[October 19 Update - Added:
Democratic Reform: Democracy Watch (tie)]

As for the number of organizations rating any other party first overall, the total is: zero.

[October 19 Update: We have our first exception, with the NDP ranked narrowly behind the Libs under...
Urban Issues: Council for Canadian Urbanism]

In the latter category which includes both organizations' analysis of platforms and implied preferences based on their summary of platforms in specific areas, we have:

Child care: Lynell Anderson and Iglika Ivanova (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives), Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada
Climate change: Erin Flanagan (Pembina Institute), ecojustice 
Community health: Canadian Association of Community Health Centres
Employment Insurance: Good Jobs For All Coalition (PDF)
Health care: Canadian Health Coalition, Ontario Health Coalition
Pharmacare: Campaign for National Drug Coverage
Tax fairness: Dennis Howlett (Canadians for Tax Fairness)
[October 18 Update:
Municipal policy: Federation of Canadian Municipalities]
[October 19 Update:
Disability policy: Council of Canadians with Disabilities]
And again, the total number of organizations generally finding another party's platform to be more desirable than the NDP's is: nil.

Now, I'm sure there are some organizations whose didn't find their way onto the lists and sources I've looked at. And again, I'll be happy to update this post for any more which deserve to be included.

But the overall theme looks to be abundantly clear: the people working hardest on progressive policy are effectively unanimous in preferring the NDP to any major alternative. And voters wanting to see progressive change - not to mention anybody following the Libs' supposed interest in consultation and evidence-based policy - should look to the people who know the issues best, rather than being swayed by the bloviations of the Libs in claiming to define what is and isn't progressive.

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