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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Vote Selector Response

Thanks Liam, I am a bit bored after a hectic day thus far. Thus the curiosity at the Vote Selector's opinion as to my vote next Monday. As good a time as a statement of principles as any, then the verdict:

1. PRIVATE SECTOR ROLE IN HEALTH CARE DELIVERY:
Do you want your Prime Minister and his or her political party to initiate a federal ban on private for-profit provincial health clinics?

Is any party actually calling for this? I didn't even think the NDP were calling for an outright ban on for-profit clinics, just a ban on federal money supporting such clinics. So what option to pick? Somewhat oppose a ban. I don't think the health of Canadians should trump ideology. Show me what can work, but not above all costs. Innovations, that continue to protect universality of treatment and coverage, must be considered.

2. GST:Do you want your Prime Minister and his or her political party to reduce the Goods and Services Tax?

Somewhat oppose reducing GST. I am fine with keeping it stable, though would appreciate it if Liberals who crow about Martin's accomplishments in Finance would consider giving the GST some of the credit. Somewhat, because it could be reduced on some essentials.

3. MARIJUANA:Do you want your Prime Minister and his or her political party to legislate the decriminalization of marijuana?

Easy. Strongly support decriminalization.

4. GAS TAX:Thirty per cent of fuel costs in Canada stem from federal and provincial taxes and surcharges. Do you want your Prime Minister and his or her political party to immediately reduce or maintain current federal tax levels on gasoline?

Here I will go with Neither, since I somewhat support reducing the "taxing the tax" elements that increase the % as the prices rise. On the flip side, taxes provide incentives toward alternatives, an increasingly important environmental consideration going forward.

5. HANDGUN BAN:Do you want your Prime Minister and his or her political party to legislate a new handgun ban?

Strongly oppose handgun ban. The key word here is "legislate" a new handgun ban. Don't think it would make a jot of difference (isn't there something comprehensive in place?) and we have plenty of other legislative priorities. This idea is pure politics that I'm buying.

6. LOBBYISTS:Do you want your Prime Minister and his or her political party to legislate a five-year waiting period on people leaving government positions before becoming lobbyists?

Why not Strongly support five-year waiting period? Some may argue it is too long, but let's clean up the revolving door. That will keep politicians who lose from entering the walls of power through the back door, via patronage connections. Sounds overdue.

7. CONSTITUTION: Do you want your Prime Minister to amend the constitution to remove the federal use of the Notwithstanding clause?

It has never been used at the federal level, the stigma attached is already great enough, the sunset clause and future Parliaments can reverse any effects, and it might just act as an appropriate escape down the road. Needless to say, Strongly oppose removing the Notwithstanding clause.

8. SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Do you want your Prime Minister and his or her political party to revisit the same-sex marriage law in Canada and have a free vote in Parliament on this issue?

Another no brainer. Strongly oppose revisiting the same-sex marriage debate. The right side won.

9. PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION: Do you want your Prime Minister and his or her political party to introduce legislation that will work to create proportional representation in Canada?

Only Somewhat support proportional representation. As with many post-Clinton political questions, it depends on what you mean by "proportional representation". In theory, strongly. In practice, let's look at the model.

10. FIXED ELECTION DATES: Do you want your Prime Minister and his or her political party to support having fixed election dates?

Another idea whose time has come. Strongly support fixed election dates.

11. MORE NATIONAL HOLIDAYS: Do you want your Prime Minister and his or her political party to legislate more annual national holidays for Canadians?

Bizarre. I guess I have to say Strongly support creating new national holidays. March 17th baby!! :) T.F.I. Friday this year will be extra golden.

12. CHILD CARE: Do you want your Prime Minister and his or her political party to create a national early child care program or deliver a monthly cheque of $100 per child under six to cover costs?

Here's a tough one. I will go with Somewhat support an early child care program. I do - but this needs to be targeted particularly to parents who desperately need this support (single/poor). Yet I am wary of the Conservative argument that a one-size fits all solution of limited effect in rural areas and may discriminate against those who choose to stay at home. It is an issue I hope a Minority Parliament will sort through a viable compromise. [Full disclosure: my mom stayed home with her 3 children until we turned 6 and I am certainly better for it. She is a working professional who went back to university for a degree only a few years ago and surely doesn't regret her choice either]

13. SOFTWOOD LUMBER:Do you want your Prime Minister and his or her political party to tax Canadian energy exports to the U.S. in retaliation of the U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber?

Again, I feel I have qualify my position here - so put me down to as Neither. There simply has to be consequences to clear violations of NAFTA beyond talk, and our threats must be credible. I am not convinced that this particular moment is the optimum time, but I am not against the idea in principle.

14. MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCES: Do you want your Prime Minister and his or her political party to legislate mandatory minimum sentences for specified crimes?

I agree with Cotler in that mandatory minimums likely do little, and that said, it may be time for a new approach to increasing gun crime. Remember that these prevent consideration of the exceptions (ie. Robert Latimer). But, for guns, I'll Somewhat support introducing mandatory minimums.

15. MISSILE DEFENCE: Do you want your Prime Minister and his or her political party to support or oppose Canada's participation in the U.S. plan for a missile-defence shield?

We should remain open to the idea until a plan is on the table. What is the harm in doing nothing but postponing the decision, especially considering we know nothing of the details? We can always refuse to go along when we see what they want from us. That said, once it is on the table, I will almost certainly be opposed - so Somewhat oppose missile defence (but support at least respectable relations?)

16. ARCTIC SOVEREIGNTY: Do you want your Prime Minister and his or her political party to support the establishment of a deep-water port in Iqaluit to protect Canada's sovereignty?

Neither. Honestly, on this issue, I could really care less.

17. HOCKEY: Do you support a plan for Quebec to send its own hockey team, separate from Team Canada, to international competitions?

You want to see intense rivalry among federalist territories, sit yourself down in a Glasgow pub for Scotland-England. That said, this idea is ridiculous. Strongly oppose a separate Quebec hockey team.

18. KYOTO: Do you want your Prime Minister and his or her political party to implement the international Kyoto Accord aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions?

Somewhat support implementing the Kyoto Accord. I find myself souring on the issue, though, as the party that signed the agreement now champions it, after sitting on its hands for 8 years. It is flawed. We should be honest with ourselves and the world and our failure, but commit to the principles underlying the Accord. That does not include name-calling others who see a different path toward the same goal.


So now the interesting question. Where does the Vote Selector park these votes?

1. Jack Layton Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada (100%)
2. Paul Martin Leader of Liberal Party of Canada, Prime Minister of Canada (66%)
3. Stephen Harper Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada (61%)
4. Gilles Duceppe Leader of the Bloc Quebecois (52%)

Alexa's got my vote anyway, and the closeness of the Liberal v. CPC adequately reflects my non-fear over who actually leads the country. Not bad.

2 Comments:

Anonymous the sweez said...

Good god MacDuff!! What happened since we last debated politics in Moncton?

I always thought you were an irreversible dipper but you've proved me wrong. In fact your views are converging towards soft conservative terrain on issues such as health care delivery, Kyoto, etc.

Keep up the good work.

BTW - I'm writing this from the heartland of Canadian conservative thought. Now I'm trying to convince Shears to move from the Big Apple to the Oil Patch.

1:14 AM  
Blogger Jason Cherniak said...

Interesting.

I note, though, that this test is only based on rhetoric.

3:36 PM  

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