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simonvallee

PM election - NDP platform

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Preambule

The NDP is a party of equality, solidarity and freedom based on the principles of democratic socialism. Like a great American president once said, we believe that we cannot be content of our general quality of life as long as a portion of our population hungers, lives in poverty and suffers social, political and economical exclusion. Our platform is based on the one thing in this world from which all value comes from, without which everything would be worthless: the human being. Every step we take, every action we undertake must be made so that our fellow human beings be better off for it, everything else is secondary.

We shall strive to make sure that every Canadian's life is better at the end of these four years, that they may enjoy greater personal freedom and equality of rights. We shall strive so that no one is left behind, so that the environment in which we live be in better condition. We shall strive to develop the economy in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, making sure everyone reaps the benefits of the wealth they helped create. It is our believe these goals may best be achieved through democratic socialism, with a government that is a tool of all its citizens to speak for them and defend their interests, and not only a tool for those who've found a way in the corridors of power.

Abortion

Abortion is a sensible subject that generates much passion, but, in the end, it is not of the resort of society to decide for women what to do with their own bodies. Our responsibility is to support them in their difficult times and to help them, whatever their choice may finally be. This is why, under my leadership, abortion shall not be restricted and our government shall help organisms that inform and counsel women in their pregnancies so they may make the best choice. It is perhaps one of the most personal choices that ever may present itself to a human being, and the collectivity must not make it for them.

We will:

-Not oppose abortion or force our choice unto women

-Help organisms that inform and counsel women during pregnancies

Balanced Budget

In the past decades, our short-sighted government has accumulated much debts, though the intentions may have been good, this situation is not sustainable. The interests we pay on our debts weigh heavily upon us and endanger our social programs by forcing the government to levy more taxes than it should to guarantee the safe-keeping of our public services. However, we must never forget that beyond these numbers lie our reality and that cuts should not be made inconsiderably, on the contrary, we must seek to balance the budget while still maintaining our government as a force for the betterment of our lives.

This is why I swear to follow in our ex-leader Tommy Douglas' footsteps, to keep balanced budgets and reduced the debt from which few people profit, while still progressing in our quest for a better society. The most important element of this fiscality is to reduce the interests we pay on our debt.

We will:

-Deliver 4 years of balanced budgets

-Set up a comity to find out ways to lower our interests on the debt

Business Tax

For far too long, big companies who make millions, if not billions of profits, have used loopholes in our tax laws and fiscal paradises to escape paying their fair share of taxes. The clear result is that more fiscal weight rests upon ordinary Canadians than should be. This clearly must end, and we intend to use all the means available to us to insure that big companies pay what they should and to find ways to close down access to fiscal paradises in a global coalition against this theft.

At the other end of the ladder, we see too often small companies rooted in our communities that are caught in a tax system made for big firms with expert accountants. These companies are the true motor of our economy and we must make sure that they continue spearheading our economic growth. Not only are they more likely to innovate than their big brothers, but they are close enough to us that they don't forget that behind abstract concepts like "profits", "revenues" and "spendings", there are citizens who rely on them to feed their family. We shall also make sure that our government's intervention in the economy are not wasted in giving money to multinationals who don't need it, but towards companies, cooperatives and non-profit organizations who make our local economy strong.

We will:

-Close loopholes in our tax system

-Work towards blocking access to fiscal paradises

-Simplify and ease up taxation on small and starting businesses

-Concentrate our investments in local enterprises and cooperatives

Corruption

Faith in our public-institutions is at an all-time low. For too long our government has been misused by people who wanted to thank others for their "friendship". It's time to assure Canadians that their representatives are not corrupt and that those who are are hunted down and be held responsible for this betrayal of their trust. We will increase the number and power of checks in Ottawa.

We will:

-Establish an independant ethics commissioner

Education

Education is fundamental in our society and should be available for all, regardless of income. Everyone must have the same chance of getting high-quality education, so that they may have access to the jobs they want to do and which assure a high-level of income and great chances for employment. The best way to do so is to contribute to the reduction of tuition fees and to make sure that the students who graduate from our universities and colleges have as low a debt as possible. Getting an education is something we should encourage, we shouldn't punish people who decide to go to the university by making them pay when they are not in the position to meet the payments and to start their professional lifes with thousands of dollar of debt!

But the NDP recognizes that Education is in provincial jurisdiction and will respect it, we shall nevertheless insure that federal funding is available to reduce the tuition fees and to increase the quality of our schools. Provinces will have the right to administer the money as they want to, but they are going to be expected to lower tuition fees for their students.

We will:

-Transfer money for education to the provinces

-Not force federal gestion on this money to make sure that the administration of those funds is efficiently done by the governments who administrate Education.

Free Trade

There is a tendency in the world right now to liberalize exchanges. Though many economists say that freer markets mean a better global economy, we must be wary of free trade agreements. First of all, they are labyrinthine texts that private companies have been known to use to force governments to act not in their citizens' interests, therefore limiting our sovereignty. Some free trade agreements that are being negociated, if they are ever signed, would force our government to privatize many public services, including our education system and some sectors of our healthcare system. Secondly, despite good results in analytical terms, free trade has been known to lower the wages of workers of countries who signed the treaties.

However, closed economies are not much better, it is therefore important to take a new approach to free trade deals, we must negociate Fair Trade deals that would respect the sovereignty of all countries involved, workers' rights and environmental legislations. NAFTA has been used in the past as a wedge to force our government to bow down to corporate interest against the interests of our citizens and this must be stopped. Whole sections of NAFTA have to be renegociated to protect our government's right to protect its citizens, to protect our working conditions and our environment.

Negociations surrounding free trade agreements have often been veiled from the public eye, hidden in buildings closed to the public. The NDP says no more! Such negociations have so many impacts upon our countries that they must be transparent and open to public debate, and all deals must be approved by a majority of our representatives in Parliament.

We will

-Renegociate sections of NAFTA that have been used to put profit before people

-Refuse to sign any treaties that do not protect our sovereignty, workers' rights, human rights and the environment

-Fair Trade, not Free Trade

-Have transparent negociations so that all may know what's happening

-Have any trade agreements sanctionned by Parliament

Gun Registry

In our society, we must never forget that rights come with responsibilities, this is why many objects of our lifes are licensed and information on them are put in a registry. Such is the way with our cars, for example. Any tool that has a strong destructive potential must be regulated so that people may be held responsible for any misuse of them. Such must also be the way with guns. They are hunting tools and very useful, even sometimes necessary, for Canadians living in rural areas, and we must respect the rights of people to possess them. But there is no absolute right, and guns that can too easily be used for criminal activities (handguns, semi-automatic-large-capacity rifles, automatic weapons, etc...) must not be readily accessible.

For rifles, a simple registration doesn't intrude on anyone's rights. However, we can only deplore the complete waste due to insipid administration of the program. If elected, we shall launch an inquiry into the costs of the registry, one that appears to have been rushed as a populist vote-winning enterprise. If this is too much of a mess, we will cancel it and invite all concerned parties to a negociation table to find a way of making a registry that is actually useful and easy to implement.

We will:

-Launch an inquiry into the costs of the gun registry program

-Negociate changes to be brought to it with experts in the fields, police and those who contest it

Immigration

Canada has been built on immigration, and our strength comes from our open stance towards the world. We will continue to be a land for people seeking a better life and for refugees. Our doors must be open. In the past years, many immigrants have waited for years before knowing if their statute as immigrants had been accepted, and people who had started new lifes and had their sons and daughters born here have received notice to leave Canada as their application was refused. This is unacceptable.

We must also set up programs to help immigrants integrate their new society to diminish the exclusion of being a foreigner.

We will

-Make sure that the immigration process goes faster

-Cancel the expulsion notices on immigrants who have had to wait here for two years before receiving them

-Continue on Canada's reputation as a land open for immigrants

-Step up programs to integrate immigrants

Kyoto Protocol

A few years ago, after many negociations, most countries of the world recognized the necessity of reducing emission of the gasses responsible for global-warming. The objectives set up and the timetable of these negociations are what is called the Kyoto Protocol. It is vital that we take action now to reduce pollution, because the quality of our environment has a direct consequence on our health and our quality of life. The Kyoto Protocol forces us to do that while letting us decide how to apply it, it's important that we do.

The NDP will place our hopes on stricter environmental regulations, application of the polluter-payer principle where the more you pollute, the more you pay, on renewable energy sources, on programs to help people economize electricity and on plans to clean up contaminated grounds. Since the development of energy is often of provincial jurisdiction, we will create programs to allow provinces access to the money to develop renewable resources for energy and give tax incentives for greater savings.

We will:

-Create a program to help cash-strapped provinces invest on the development of their renewable energy sources

-Provide tax incentives for people wishing to take steps to increase energy-efficiency of their homes

-Make those who pollute more, pay more

-Impose a surtax on vehicles that pollute most and tax reductions on more environmental-friendly cars

-Apply the Kyoto Protocol ASAP

-Protect more of our natural territory

-Make stricter laws on the emission of pollution and increase checks

Military Funding and Intervention

We in the NDP recognize that these two issues are linked together. We can't simply increase our military funding in buying nifty gadgets that will never be used, we must first establish a new strategic plan concerning to what uses our army will be committed. In our modern post-Cold War world, there is no more need for a strong defensive force, no invasion of Canada is predictable in the near and not-so-near future. The purpose of our army now will rather be to fulfill our responsability towards peace and security in the world, and not our basic survival or our sovereignty. From a tool of aggression and of open warfare, our army must become a tool for peacemaking, peacekeeping and humanity.

Our men and women in uniform must be trained and equipped perfectly for their future missions, and this will require reform. We should de-commission most of our remaining Main Battle Tanks, ill-suited to international missions, in favor of lighter vehicles who can still hold its own against outdated irregular armed forces like we have been confronted to again and again. We have to switch priority of spending towards our air army to provide them with good helicopters and planes able to accomplish long-range transport successfully. Since there remains no serious naval threat in the world, our ships must also be smaller, quicker and require less weapons than before. Personal equipment is a must, there is no army without the men and women in uniform.

We will

-Establish a coherent new strategy adapted to the modern-world

-Make our army specialize into peacekeeping and humanitarian missions under the leadership of the UN

-Refuse to participate in the Anti-Ballistic shield as it is a waste of money that risk propulsing the world into a new arms-race

-Increase spending somewhat but mostly establish spending priority to make sure our soldiers are well-equipped for their likely mission

Personal Tax

Taxes are a tool, not a demon like some would have us believe. They allow our society to make sure we are safe, that we benefit all from public systems of great-quality and to redistribute wealth to make sure everyone has the means to live a good life. As much as we would want to reduce taxes, we realize that doing so would be irresponsible in our present condition. Not only have our public services suffered greatly under cuts made by previous governments, but our debt requires attention quickly also. So, for the moment, general tax cuts are irresponsible.

What we will do is insure that our system is as progressive as possible, taxing those who can pay rather than the middle-class or the poor. We shall not increase taxes significantly for anyone but rather cancel earlier tax cuts for the richest that were irresponsible and establish an inheritance tax like in the United States that will affect only the top 5% of the wealth. We will also remove the GST on all essential products. Targeted tax cuts for the poorest will not only be humanely the best thing to do, but it will motivate consumption which is at the basis of our economy, without which investments would be wasted. However, when our debt will be lowered, some of the economies on the interests will be directed towards tax-cuts.

We will

-Make taxation more progressive

-Cancel some tax cuts for the richest in the past years

-Establish an inheritance tax that affect only the 5% richest

-When we will lower the interests on our debts, we will make targeted income-tax cuts for the middle-class

Provincial Powers

For too long now the federal has centralized everything and put its nose in places it didn't belong. The result was that, while provinces were forced to cut services for their citizens, the federal swam in massive surpluses. Whenever re-investments were planned by the federal government, the unreasonable demands of the federal for a right to administrate separately sectors in provincial jurisdictions have caused money meant to help our services get better to sleep while the federal government duked it out with provinces. The NDP would not force confrontation but encourage cooperation by applying the principle that sectors in provincial jurisdiction must be administered only by the provinces themselves. Federal programs will not restrict the means the provinces use to reach the broad objectives of the programs. We will also rise the level of transfers to provinces.

We will also recognize the specificity of the nation of Québec and its right to self-determination. If they stay, it must be because they want to stay, Canada must never be a prison. We will give to the provincial government of Québec the full right to opt out of any federal programs in their jurisdiction. To other provinces, opting out will be an option after due negociations if there's really a dead-end and an fundamental opposition between the federal and them.

We will

-Increase transfers to provinces

-Take the federal out of the gestion of sectors under provincial jurisdiction, keeping only broad principles to be respected in programs

-Recognize the right to self-determination of the nation of Québec

-Give a right to Québec to opt out of federal programs and a conditional right to the other provinces

Public Health Care

Our universal health care is our pride, the ultimate symbol of our profund values. We must make sure that every Canadian, no matter the income, may access to high-quality health care without risking personal bankruptcy. The best way to do this is with a public system health care. However, these past years, following cuts to the system, a private system has established itself, stealing resources of our public system and artificially aggravating or even creating crises of lack of doctors, nurses and equipment in our public system. Since the public sector has widely been proven as the most efficient way of delivering health care and the only way of assuring that every dollar we spend on it goes toward healing our sick, we will reinforce the Canadian Law on Health Care to fight back the tide of privatization.

The federal government must also make sure that provinces have the financial resources to put their public systems back on their feet. We will therefore increase the federal contribution in health care to 25% like Romanow suggested and, if we can, go even further. Since every provincial system is unique, we will leave to the provincial administrations the responsibility of reforming their systems to make them more efficient, more accessible and of higher quality.

We will

-Increase the federal contribution to health care to 25%, more if our budget allows it

-Reinforce the Canadian Law of Health Care to stop the hemorragia of our public system towards the officious private one in order to re-incorporate loss resources into our public sector

-Leave health care gestion to provinces who are more apt to administarte the systems.

Same-Sex Marriage

Our society must recognize equal rights to all and fight against any sort of discrimination. Not recognizing homosexual unions was an oversight that has to be corrected. Homosexuals deserve as much respect as heterosexuals, and creating a "different" institution named something else that is in all other facets equal to marriage is an hypocrisy we can hardly afford when dealing with such basic human rights.

We will

-Redefine marriage to include homosexual couples

Senate Reform

The Senate is an old institution that is a waste of public money, we should follow in the footsteps of the provinces and abolish it. Rather than that, we will create a real democratic and parliamentary reform by making this election the last to use a First-Past-The-Post system to make sure every vote counts, that the composition of the Parliament represents the opinions of the people and that every opinion has a chance to be represented. We will also organize make our democracy more participatory by going out and doing public consulting of the public, of popular groups and of experts in all major reforms.

We will

-Abolish the Senate

-Institute some form of proportional representation

-Organize public consultations to increase citizen participation in decision-making processes

Terrorism

Terrorism can we compared to a weed, you can go out everyday and cut the part outside the earth, but if you don't remove the roots, it will always grow again. Fighting against terrorist organizations is a must, but this must be done with our secret service in collaboration with all other countries of the world. We must also be wary that, in our fight against them, we do not achieve their objectives by ceding to fear and limiting our rights because of them. That is what they want and that is what we must NOT do!

We especially have to find a way of eliminating the roots from which terrorist organizations take their strength. The desperate men who have nothing to lose and who answer their calls must be convinced towards another path. We must therefore make pressions with the rest of the world to push countries towards democratization and help those countries establish good social services and economies to make sure everyone in those countries have a chance to make their lifes better and to have their voices heard. Let's give them something to lose.

We will

-Participate to our fullest in global coalitions to herd out terrorist leaders and organizations

-Make diplomatic and economic pressures with the rest of the international community to push for democratic reforms

-Contribute to establishing social services who will keep populations out of despair in the world, taking away possible terrorist recruits

-Refuse to play the game of terrorists by sacrificing our rights by fear of them

US Relations

The Americans are our closest neighbors and we have had good relationships with them that we must pursue. However, there is no good relations when one leads and the other follows, we must establish our relationship on an equal-to-equal footing and never let our sovereignty lapse by not standing up when we disagree. Good friends tell their friends when they consider their actions unreasonable, bad friends simply shut up and follow. We must therefore never fear standing up to the US when we need to, and never fear joining with them when they are right. Sincerity and honesty, this is what we must base our relationship upon.

Unfortunately, the Bush Administration gave us a lot more reasons to stand up to the US than reasons to stand up WITH them. We shall not embark on reckless projects like the War in Iraq, nor with the Anti-Ballistic Shield, we shall fight the unacceptable tariffs and barriers they have set up against our softwood and our cattle. But we are ready to stand with them and help them in their fight to stop the genocide in Sudan and are ready to contribute even more to the reconstruction in Iraq if they agree to let the UN and the Iraqi government take control of it. We will also negociate to harmonize our borders for increased protection, but we shall not integrate them with theirs.

We will

-Contest illegal barriers and tariffs on our exportations

-Not join the Occupation in Iraq unless the UN and the local Iraqi government take the principal spot in the administration

-Not participate in the Anti-Ballistics Shield, which breaks decades of treaties on weapon control and is an inefficient and dangerous project

-Join with the US in their demands to stop the genocide in Sudan

-Negociate to harmonize border controls but not for integration of our territory

Phew, quite a long text to type.

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And oh by the way, so much for your "Hype" nonsense!

I won.

I'm your Vice President.

Deal with it.

[singsong voice] I'm not American [/singsong voice].

Just so its clear, on this whole "fraud" mini-scandal, my position is that there has been fraud, whether it began before SSVegeta's accusations or after it, the vote explosion for all sides afterwards leads me to believe that supporters on both side decided to respond to an impression, justified or not, of fraud by committing fraud themselves.

I also considered your "campaign" of having been vague and relying too much on hype and not substance. You merely continually said that you were against partisan politics, against both democrats and republicans, but your platform was extremely conservative, but it had not been discussed much.

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