Tag Archives: cdnpoli

Time to Vote

The election is 10 days away. Advance voting starts today. You know what you need to do. Get out and vote.

After much deliberation, I’ll be voting NDP. I considered voting Green to really reinforce the idea that climate change is the most important issue facing Canada right now. Both the Greens and NDP have great platforms and are aligned on a lot of issues.

The biggest difference is the leader. I’ve been really impressed with Jagmeet Singh. He puts up with a lot of racist crap, but he’s still filled with optimism. I haven’t seen a federal leader with so much personality, conviction, and compassion since Jack Layton. Elizabeth May is a great environmental champion, but I don’t see her having the energy and charisma to bring people onside to tackle the problems we’re facing. Jagmeet Singh can.

Jagmeet and Me
And I got a Singh selfie before he became super popular

Looking beyond the party leaders, I’ve also considered policy and my local candidate. On the policy side, CBC, Macleans, and Gen Squeeze have good summaries of the party platforms. Personally, my top 3 priorities are climate change, housing affordability, and health care.

Climate Change and the Environment

The Greens have the most ambitious plan, the Liberals the most achievable. The NDP is in between on both measures. All three parties have commited to banning single use plastics. Check out CBC for a comprehensive comparison of each parties climate commitments.

Liberal Party
😇 Introduced a federal price on carbon
😡 Bought a pipeline for $4.5 billion
🌲 Plan to plant 2 billion trees

New Democratic Party (NDP)
😀 Expanding the carbon tax to industrial emitters
😍 Ending fossil fuel subsidies
😁 $15 billion for retrofitting buildings

Green Party
😍 Most ambitious carbon targets (60% reduction by 2030)
😁 Halt all new fossil fuel development projects
🌲 Plan to plant 10 billion trees

Conservative Party
🤢 Plan to scrap the carbon tax

People’s Party of Canada (PPC)
🤮Think climate change is a hoax

Housing Affordability

Housing affordability is a hot topic, especially with millennials in Vancouver and Toronto. The federal government has a role to play in building affordable housing and purpose built rental, and ensuring speculation from foreign wealth isn’t distorting our housing markets.

Liberal Party
🙂 1% Foreign Buyers Tax
🙂 100,000 affordable housing units
😒 Useless First-time Home Buyer Incentive (at least in Vancouver)

New Democratic Party (NDP)
😄 15% Foreign Buyers Tax
🙂 500,000 affordable housing units
😖 Reintroducing CMHC-insured 30 year mortgages

Green Party
😐 25,000 affordable housing units
😀 Tax incentives for building purpose-built rental housing
🤔 Get rid of the first-time home buyer grant

Conservative Party
😖 Reintroducing CMHC-insured 30 year mortgages

Health Care

Last election, health care wasn’t that important to me. But now I have an adventurous, asthmatic child and work for a health software company.

Liberal Party
😴 Will continue to study pharmacare

New Democratic Party (NDP)
😍 Universal pharmacare
😀 Basic dental for families earning < $90,000 (first step toward universal dentalcare)

Green Party
😍 Universal pharmacare
🙂 Dental care for families earning < $30,000

Conservative Party
🤥 Promises not to cut any health spending

People’s Party of Canada (PPC)
😲 Give provinces full responsibility for health care
🤪 Cut all federal funding

Local Candidates

In my riding of Vancouver Centre, the NDP candidate Breen Ouellette was endorsed as one of the 35 environmental champions in Canada committed to bringing in a Green New Deal. I highly recommend checkout out this list (and LeadNow’s battleground champions) to see if anyone in your riding has been nominated. It’s a stellar crew.

The NDP has some great candidates in this election, and they reflect the diversity of Canada. 49% are women, 25% are from racialized communities, and 12% are from the LGBTQ community. You can really see the NDP’s commitment to fight inequality and racism comes from the top. Jagmeet Singh has been tremendous this campaign dealing with racist hecklers, responding the the Trudeau blackface incidents, and standing up for first nations access to clean drinking water.

By comparison, the Green Party is unfortunately still very white. Their candidates are 42% women but only 5% are visible minorities.

Strategic Voting

In a close race between the Liberals and Conservatives, you may feel tempted to vote strategically. Don’t. For two reasons.

  1. The Liberals lied about proportional representation last time. They don’t deserve another strategic vote.
  2. If we end up in a minority government situation (highly likely), we need as many NDP and Green MPs as possible to push the Liberals to act on important issues like climate change, pharmacare, and electoral reform.
  3. If you’re debating between the NDP and Greens, I’d recommend choosing the party with the platform that speaks to you or the local candidate you like the best. If you still can’t decide, you can look at polling data and riding level predictions form sites like 338canada.com but beware that riding level predictions are often garbage.

Vancouver Addendum

In Vancouver Centre, it’s an easy choice for me to vote NDP. In some of the other Vancouver ridings there are candidates from other parties that I might vote for.

In Vancouver East it’s a toss-up between Jenny Kwan (NDP), the incumbent MP who’s been a vocal environmental advocate and Bridget Burns (Green), who runs the Vegan Night Market.

In Vancouver Granville, it’s an easy choice to vote for Jody Wilson-Raybould (Independent) – former Liberal Justice minister who was kicked out by Justin Trudeau for standing up for judicial independence in the SNC-Lavalin affair.

In Vancouver Kingsway, it’s a toss-up between the incumbent MP Don Davies (NDP), who’s been a tireless advocate for pharmacare and dental care and Tamara Taggart (Liberal), who has really involved in local politics since retiring from broadcasting, advocating for rental housing and removing lead from school drinking water.

In Vancouver South, I’d be tempted to vote for Harjit Sajjan, the Liberal incumbent. He’s been a good Defence Minister and he’s running against Wai Young (Conservative) who used to represent the riding and is a toxic, anti-cyclist troll.

Wayne Easter and Meat Politics

cow

As evidence continues to mount that eating meat and dairy is not only detrimental to the planet but also to human health, politicians in Canada are stubbornly committed to supporting the animal agriculture industry.

Take the recent tweets of Wayne Easter, MP for Malpeque, PEI & member of Liberal Government of Canada, who proudly tweeted about his meeting with cattle lobbyists.

When he was questioned about the environmental and health impacts of animal agriculture, he responded with: “have a T-bone steak. It will make you feel better”.

https://twitter.com/WayneEaster/status/758744760068648960

Which offended many people and as the outrage mounted he tried the “I’m not racist, I have black friends” defence.

Before claiming that it was hard working farmers and their families that were being attacked, which is ridiculous as all of the replies to his tweets were respectful and focussed on public policy.

Unfortunately the questions that Canadians were asking still remain unanswered. I wonder if anyone in the Liberal Government can explain:

  • Why we subsidize animal agriculture when it is increasingly obvious it is not healthy for humans or the planet?
  • Why does the Canada food guide still have sections “Milk and Alternatives” and “Meat and Alternatives”. If it was based on the best science, it would look like the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate, which has a section for “Healthy Protein” and it recommends limiting milk consumption.
  • How will Canada meet its climate change commitments made in Paris (to limit global warming to 1.5 C) without reducing the amount of animal products that Canada produces and consumes?

harvard_healthy_plate

Good Bye Harper; Hello Trudeau

Trudeau Bat Flip - Chronicle Herald Editorial
Mission accomplished. Stephen Harper is gone. Now it is time to repair the damage he’s done to this country.

Waking up this morning, I’m feeling relief that the Conservatives have been reduced to under 100 seats and Stephen Harper is no longer Prime Minister, but I’m disappointed that the NDP and Greens didn’t do better. It was clear in the last few weeks that the Liberals had the momentum and voters latched on to the hope that they could defeat the Conservatives. Unfortunately, that enthusiasm for change meant that some good NDP incumbents lost. The most tragic defeat was Megan Leslie in Halifax, whose passion and knowledge of environmental issues rivals Elizabeth May. That’s a huge loss.

Canadian Election Results 2015
After last night’s election results, it is time to finally declare that strategic voting is a miserable failure and the real problem is our voting system. LeadNow got the election result it wanted (the Conservatives lost) but not by looking at polling data and giving recommendations in each riding. Their nuanced local strategy was overwhelmed by the national numbers as progressive voters flocked to the Liberals for change, regardless of the local polling data. Ironically, the message on the LeadNow website is: “In 2011, a majority of people voted for a change in government, but our broken voting system gave the Harper Conservatives 100% of the power with just 39% of the vote.” The result in 2015, 39% of voters have given the Liberals 100% of the power. Is that any better?

I didn’t vote Liberal, but not because I disagree with their platform. The Liberal, NDP, and Green platforms are very similar and I like them all. I didn’t vote Liberal because I worry that they don’t have the courage to follow through with their promises. I hope Justin Trudeau proves me wrong, and it is up to progressive voters to ensure he does. I’ll be specifically watching to see that they follow through with these three promises:

Electoral Reform – The Liberals have promised that “2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system”, with an an all-party Parliamentary committee recommending a replacement by May 2017. Following through on this will forever change the Canadian political landscape, for the better.

Climate Change Action – The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris is only 6 weeks away. The Liberals pledges here will be an indication on how seriously they take climate change.

Marijuana Legalization – I’ve never smoked pot and probably never will, even if it is legal. That said, legalizing and taxing marijuana is smart, bold policy and I hope the Liberals follow through.

Why I’m Voting NDP

Untitled

Advance polls open this weekend and I’m ready to cast my ballot for the NDP. There’s a number of reasons why.

  1. I hate strategic voting – it encourages the media to focus on polls instead of platforms and politicians to take boring, centrist positions. I want to be able to vote Green because I agree with their ideas without fear I’m wasting my vote. The NDP is committed to bringing in proportional representation before the next election, which will ensure the Conservatives never again get a majority with 38% of the vote.
  2. Climate change action – next to the Green Party, the NDP has the best environmental platform. With MPs like Tom Mulcair, Megan Leslie, Nathan Cullen, and Linda Duncan, you won’t find a more dedicated core of environmentalists in any other party. I trust them to take action more than the Liberals, who have a horribly vague plan and a history of not delivering. They signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 but did nothing to reduce GHG emissions. I want real action.
  3. Progressive policies – I like the NDPs promises to fund public transit, affordable childcare, a national pharmacare program, and interest-free student loans.
  4. Principled leadership – You can count on the NDP to make the right choice even when it’s not popular. They opposed Bill C-51 when it was still popular, and they’ve rallied against the Conservatives racist policies targeting Muslims, even though it appear to be hurting them in the polls. I appreciate a leader who stands up for what he believes in.
  5. Great local candidate – The NDP candidate in Vancouver Centre is former Parks Board trustee Constance Barnes. She’s an avid cyclist and passionate about urban issues. My current MP is Hedy Fry, who I can’t stand.
  6. I want real change – If Canada ever had a chance to break out of the Liberal-Conservative cycle and try something new, this election is it.

There are a few things I like about the Liberal platform. I agree with increased infrastructure funding, especially for public transit. I agree that marijuana should be legalized. And the Liberals have committed to bringing in electoral reform, although they’re vague on the details and I wouldn’t be surprised if they renege on that promise if they win. I just don’t trust the Liberals to deliver, and it bothers me that Justin Trudeau is leader solely because of who is father was. That’s how George W. Bush became President, and we know how that turned out.

The NDP and Affordability


I like Tom Mulcair. I think he’d make an excellent Prime Minister. He’s got the smarts and experience to undo the damage that Harper has caused over the past 10 years. And if the alternative is Justin Trudeau, there’s no question who I’d rather have in power.

But I just can’t get behind the recent push to make life more affordable for Canadians. I’m sure everyone wants more spending money, but making gas cheaper and giving wider access to low-interest credit cards are horrible ideas. The NDP has been one of the strongest voices in Ottawa advocating for better public transit. Why isn’t that part of an affordability solution? The easiest way to save money on gas is not to drive.

I love the NDP’s focus on sustainable development, generational inequality, and abolishing the Senate. But the ideas for making life more affordable stink.

Data Nerd: 30 Years of Canadian Elections Charted

XKCD created a fascinating chart of the history of the US Congress. I thought it would be interesting to do something similar for Canada, but our multi-party system and separatist political parties makes it a lot more difficult. I was able to gather the results from all the federal and provincial elections in the past 31 years (my lifetime plus a bonus year), and there are some interesting trends and patterns.


– The Liberals are sometimes called “Canada’s Natural Governing Party”, but in the past 31 years, the Conservatives have been in charge of 46% of the governments (172 combined years). By comparison, the Liberals have governed 30% of the time, the NDP 18%, and other governments (many Conservative-leaning) 6% of the time.

– The NDP have never governed federally, buy have been in control of at least one government every year since 1982. In fact, the NDP have been in government somewhere in Canada as far back as 1969, when Ed Schreyer was elected in Manitoba. Most of those governments have been in Western Canada, with the exception of Ontario in the early 90’s and Nova Scotia today.

– 1984 was the height of Conservative governance in Canada. Brian Mulroney won the largest majority government in Canadian history, 8 provinces had Progressive Conservative governments (9 if you count the Social Credit government in BC), and the Liberals weren’t in power in a single province. That might explain Stephen Harper’s tendency toward Orwellian policies.

– Alberta is the only province with a political dynasty/monoculture. Every other province saw 3-5 changes in governments in the past 30 years.


– Although governments tend to cycle through political parties, support for conservative parties has stayed relatively constant in terms of total votes cast (federal and provincial) – between 7.5 million and 11 million votes. Support for the Liberals and NDP has a very strong inverse correlation (-0.85), meaning they are likely pulling support from the same voters. Combined support for the two parties has been pretty constant over the past 30 years – between 11.5 million and 14.5 million total votes.
Continue reading Data Nerd: 30 Years of Canadian Elections Charted