Part 4 in a series of comments on issues of importance to me that helped me draw my conclusion about voting intention. As a political Christian realist, I’m considering the two parties most likely to form government.
The foundation article for this analysis is Marking Your X With Neighbourly Love published at Convivium. The first personal blog was Decision 2021: Candidate Character and International Religious Freedom. The second is Decision 2021: Indigenous Relations/Reconciliation. Third was Decision 2021: Constitutional and Parliamentary Respect.
This will be the final blog in this series. Like the previous blog, it will briefly touch on several issues.
Before I get into the party platforms, I’ll touch on the issue reintroduced by Mr. Trudeau today (Saturday), electoral reform.
Politics is an intellectual game that’s played on an emotional field. Solutions to serve people morph into platforms to pursue power. Mr. Trudeau has mastered the emotional field. Trudeau is quick to morph solutions―including those not in his platform, recycled from his previous platforms―in the pursuit of political power.
Trudeau promised electoral reform in 2015, then rejected the proportional representation proposal from the parliamentary committee he established. Polls now suggest his party could be headed for a second minority government. So, Trudeau is noting his willingness to move from first-past-the-post to a ranked ballot. Why? As I noted in Pierre’s Vision Begot a Justin Society, “His preferred option was ranked ballots, on which Conservative and NDP voters could reasonably be anticipated to list Liberal as their second choice on the way to 50% +1 in each electoral district.” Watch for a try at ranked ballots if he is re-elected.
Is there a province or territory that is not in need of healthcare upgrading? The pandemic has put a spotlight on weaknesses in Canadians’ healthcare system.
The Conservative platform commits to restore 6% increases in annual healthcare funding that were trimmed to 3% by the Trudeau government. This includes expanding private delivery of universal public services (your family doctor, most medical imaging, and specialty surgical clinics are private). In addition, there’s a funding commitment for mental health strategies, including development of 1,000 residential drug treatment beds and 50 recovery centres.
The Liberals promise $6 billion to end wait lists, $3.2 billion to hire 7,500 more physicians, nurses, and nurse practitioners, and $5 billion to provide “Mental Health Care, For Everyone.” The money would definitely help, but the platforms outlines send-money-to-the-provinces-and-let-them-work-out-the-details-then-blame-premiers-if-they-fall-short-of-Trudeau-commitments promises that join a six-year record of similar pledges that have fallen short.
Mr. O’Toole adds other important healthcare-related commitments:
- Conscience protection for healthcare workers. Healthcare professionals don’t offer every healthcare service. So why are some being threatened with discipline if they refuse to provide select services? It makes sense to build on the professionals we have rather than work to replace those who will retire or move elsewhere if forced to provide medical services to which they conscientiously object.
- Increased funding and commitment to palliative care, including palliative care facilities that do not offer medical assistance in dying (MAiD). The foundation of Canada’s palliative care network is faith-based facilities that for religious reasons will not offer MAiD; a reason their patients chose a faith-based care home. If we’re serious about palliative care being the preferred medical option, it needs to be funded.
- A commitment to implement conversion therapy legislation with a definition that delineates non-coercive conversations are legal. That’s what millions of Canadians asked for through submissions from representative religious, psychological, and LGBT groups and individuals but the Trudeau government was unwilling to provide in its draft legislation.
The Conservative platform commits to developing a national strategy to support adoption. The Liberal platform commits to removing charitable status from Crisis Pregnancy Centres that include adoption as an alternative to abortion in their support of pregnant women; support offered before and after birth or abortion.
The Liberal platform commits to $10-a-day daycare modeled on the Quebec program. Quebec has a waiting list of over 50,000 families. It will be up to the provinces to deliver on logistics of the promise.
The Conservative platform commits to facilitating family choice in childcare, designed to provide most benefit to those earning under $30,000 a year, up to 75% of childcare costs, and diminishing percentages for middle income earning families. Key here is the family decides on childcare―private or public daycare, early childhood learning centre, family members, day shift or night shift, etc.
To address homelessness issues, the Conservative platform commits to restoration of the Housing First initiative to benefit homeless persons and to develop a strategy with veterans groups to address veteran homelessness. The Liberal platform commits to add homeless veterans to the rapid housing initiative.
The Conservatives also outline a detailed strategy for affordable housing nationwide, including: a 2 year ban on foreign purchases (providing incentives to instead invest in building affordable rental housing); building 1,000,000 new homes over the next 3 years; leveraging federal infrastructure money to encourage building of affordable housing and Indigenous housing.
The Liberal Party committed to addressing the housing crisis in 2015 and introduced the National Housing Strategy in 2017. In 2021 they have committed to $2 billion for Indigenous housing to be developed in conjunction with Indigenous leaders, ban foreign purchases for 2 years (which they voted against in June), and appoint a Federal Housing Advocate to work toward ending homelessness and implementing other commitments valued at $4.7 billion, including construction of 100,000 middle class homes and 20,000 units of affordable rental housing, as well as a new rent-to-own program and reducing the cost of mortgage insurance. The promise made six years ago resulted in $72 billion in expenditures on housing initiatives that have not influenced affordability in the housing market.
The Conservative Party has committed to work with provinces on revising the carbon tax and to fund the infrastructure to put an end to raw sewage dumping by cities.
The Liberal Party claims it has the best plan to address environmental concerns, but per person greenhouse gas emissions declining under the previous government have increased under the current government. Higher targets have not resulted in better performance. The carbon tax has contributed to current inflation rates, the highest since 2003. In addition, the Trudeau government has continued to authorize the dumping of raw sewage by cities, extending the timeline for correction until 2040.
I’m not suggesting the Liberals don’t have reasonable plans in their platform. But I return to where I started in the first blog, they have the disadvantage of a six-year track record of falling short on most of the issues addressed in this series. We might not see a change in government on September 20, but I’m convinced Canada would benefit from just such a change.