kingston & the islands' NDP Blog

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Special general meeting tonight!

WHERE:

Ongwanada - 191 Portsmouth Ave. [map]

WHEN:

Thursday, April 27th at 7:00 P. M. (Registration 6:30)

WHAT:

This September, the federal NDP is having a policy convention in Quebec City. Our riding has the opportunity to propose resolutions for this conference, and we can send up to 5 delegates + 1 youth delegate.

On Thursday, June 8th, we are having a special meeting to pick resolutions and delegates for the federal convention. This meeting will be closed to new (other) business. Everyone is welcome! Come to propose and vote on resolutions, and to vote for our delegates at the convention.

More information...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Special General Meeting - June 8th

This September, the federal NDP is having a policy convention in Quebec City. Our riding has the opportunity to propose resolutions for this conference, and we can send up to 5 delegates + 1 youth delegate. On Thursday, June 8th, we are having a special general meeting to pick resolutions and delegates for the federal convention. This meeting will be closed to new business. Everyone is welcome! Come to propose and vote on resolutions, and to vote for our delegates at the NDP's convention. In addition, the Province of Ontario has changed the provincial riding boundaries. This means that every Ontario NDP riding will be dissolved by the province, and must be re-founded. We will be doing this at the June 8th meeting as well. We will also take this opportunity to take up a minor amendment to the our Federal Riding Association constitution. For more information... http://www.ndpkingston.org/federal/june8.htm

Saturday, April 29, 2006

We're back!

K-NDP served as Rob's election blog during the 2006 campaign. Now that the election is over, this site is going to be the blog for the Kingston & the Islands NDP Riding Association in general.

Speaking of the election - THANK YOU to everyone who worked on Rob's campaign. We once again ran a strong local campaign that put the values and programs that we believe in before the public. We presented a positive, energetic and creative campaign - and we got results! In 2004, we doubled our vote. In 2006, we increased our vote by another 3000 votes and are now at 19-20%.

Thanks to your efforts, we ran an effective campaign that addressed the issues that people really care about, and we built the party by attracting new people. Thank You for all your help and support.

Pictures from the final election night party are up here.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Election day party

Come join Rob and the rest of the campaign team on election night. We'll be at the Queen's Inn, 125 Brock St., starting at 8:30 PM, this Monday night. You're invited!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Canadians ask Harper some tough questions

Right now, Stephen Harper is on The National with Peter Mansbridge, answering questions sent in and brought to the studio by ordinary Canadians. There've been some tough questions with telling answers, and I'll post updates at the end of the program. Tune in if you can! Update (11:30 pm): My favorite exchange: A young father in the audience asked how Harper's $100/month per child would help with child care, when daycare costs at least $600/month per child. Before he could answer, Harper first had to clarify that the $100/month was only for children under six, and will actually be taxed. (So, it's not even $100/month and won't help with after-school care.) Then, he pointed out that the Liberals (and NDP, though he didn't mention us) had a child care plan that could provide daycare for every child who needed it, and yet cost less than the CPC's $100/month. Um -- yes, and that's a point for the Conservative plan? Other good questions -- (Note: quotes are not verbatim.)
  • You've talked a lot about creating a "strong and growing Canada," but you've proposed devolving a lot of power to the provinces. How is this going to create a strong Canada?
  • For the last 16 years, both Liberal and Conservative governments have acknowledged that climate change is a problem.... How would you deal with Canada's committments to the new plan negotiated in Montreal? Would you actually create incentives to ensure Canadians comply, and encourage alternative energy? You've been quoted as saying you'd scrap Kyoto.
I was astounded by Harper's answer on Kyoto. He flat-out said that "We are not able to achieve Kyoto targets in Canada. That's just a fact, and I'm sorry we lost a decade finding it out." He talked about cutting emissions and trying for a different accord after he throws out Kyoto. But there is an international scientific consensus that the Kyoto targets are not too stringent -- quite the opposite, they are not low enough to forestall global warming. If Mr. Harper's convinced that Canada can't even make the Kyoto targets, then any "new accord" or "provincial targets" will be even more inadequate than Kyoto's levels were. Kyoto was always seen as "a step in the right direction." Mr Harper wants to take that step back. It's unbelievable that Stephen Harper's given up on Kyoto when Canada's record of even trying to cut emissions is so dismal. We have made no real efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption. Our biggest domestic efficiency program is focused on getting homeowners to see if their attics need more insulation. There's been no attempt to set higher fuel efficiency standards; no gasohol program; no significant investment in alternative energy; no incentives for utilities to explore renewables. What's "just a fact" is that Canada is "not able to achieve Kyoto targets" with zero effort -- and that's how much effort Harper has just shown he's willing to put in.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Media watch

Jack Layton was just on CBC's The National with Peter Mansbridge, answering questions from members of the public. As usual, he did a good job of presenting the NDP as the viable third alternative. As Jack says in this letter to Canadians, "There is a better choice in this election. It’s the NDP." Unfortunately, the NDP's existence seems to have been lost on the Globe and Mail, which wrote the most hesitant possible endorsement of the Conservatives on the following grounds: (1) It's time for a change. (2) The Liberals are too comfy with corruption. (3) Did we mention it's time for a change? and Harper isn't as scary in 2006 as he was in 2004. That's literally the best argument the Globe can come up with for supporting Harper. Even then they don't seem to certain about it. They finish by consoling themseves with the thought that surely, a governing party could never go against the wishes of the people: "Political parties are in the business of currying public favour; a governing party, even an unnatural one, will not stray too far, too frequently, from the social consensus. The dynamic of democratic change keeps competitors for power within reasonable bounds. So it will be for Mr. Harper and his Conservatives." Uh -- no. Apparently the Globe hasn't taken a look at America lately. The neoconservatives there have implemented policies, under cover of secrecy and lies, that are pretty far from the democratic consensus. And no, I'm not saying that Harper is Bush or that he's going to invade other countries, torture children and spy on our citizens. But to look at the US is to realize that just because a party is main-stream is no guarantee that its policies will be mainstream. The Globe is fooling itself here. It's a real shame that the Globe hasn't heard of the NDP. The Globe wants change, but they "worry about [Harper's] seeming indifference to the need for a strong central government in a country so replete with runaway centrifugal forces." Want to elect someone who believes in a strong central government? That's what the NDP's all about. The Globe "worr[ies] about [Harper] teaming up with the Bloc Québécois to weaken the federal government's tax-raising capacity and its advocacy of national programs." Guess what -- the NDP are fiercely nationalist and have no intention of cutting taxes for the wealthy to skint social programs. They "worry that [Harper] might have to strike retrograde compromises with social conservatives in the party's midst." Meaning, they're worried about the strong support for anti-abortion and anti-gay laws in the former Alliance party. Again, not a concern with the NDP. And finally, they "worry that he may prove heavy-handed in wielding the considerable powers of a prime minister." The Globe and Mail is worried Harper will turn into an autocrat. And yet they still endorse him? What a shame, what a terrible shame that they haven't heard of the NDP and Jack Layton. It is time for change, and thank the electoral stars that there is another option besides Harper and the CPC. There's Jack Layton, Rob Hutchison, and the values that we in the NDP stand for. As an aside, even the Conservatives are telling people that if they do get a majority, it will still be okay because there will be lots of Liberals around to moderate them. What does it say about a prospective government when it needs to reassure voters that it won't be the only ones governing? (Thanks to Sinister Thoughts for the link.)

Liberals "expose" the Conservative capital gains tax cut

More on the Conservatives' proposed capital gains tax cut I posted about on Saturday. The Liberals have put a huge graphic on their front page about how they're "exposing" the Conservative capital gains cut. According to their article on the tax cut, the Conservatives have grossly misstated the cost of the cut. Quote: They said it would cost the federal government $150 million a year, which is only 7 per cent of the federal government’s revenue from the capital gains tax on individuals. The true cost would likely be about $1.7 billion a year to the federal treasury. To quote Revenue Minister John McCallum: "I cannot think of a tax cut that is more skewed to the rich than this one.... Any competent financial planner can find half a dozen ways to ensure you never pay. This promise comes close to a de facto elimination of the capital gains tax for individuals.” The Liberals' analysis of this cut also predicts that the bulk of the lost revenue from this tax cut "will go to the 140,000 Canadians who earn more than $100,000 a year and report capital gains... That is only 0.6 of one percent of the 23 million people who file taxes in this country.” Harper would also roll back the recent tax cuts for low- and middle-income Canadians.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Conservatives on health care: No New Funding

Health care still hasn't recovered from Paul Martin's 1995 cuts. The NDP's platform outlines the damage that's been done to our national health care system under the Liberals:
  • Between 1998 and 2002, out-of-pocket spending on basic health care by Canadians increased by almost 28%.
  • Individual Canadians spent an estimated $17 billion out-of-pocket on their health care needs in 2002 alone.
  • In addition, in the same year, private insurers paid another $17.5 billion to cover insured health care costs.
  • The public share (70%) of Canada’s overall health care spending ranks us below countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and France.
The Conservatives say they're against privatization and will act to protect our health care system, but will they put our money where their mouth is? The short answer, from their platform, is No:
  • Maintain the currently projected growth rates for transfers to persons such as elderly benefits and Employment Insurance, and transfers to other levels of government for health, social programs, equalization, and municipal infrastructure.
In other words: No new federal money for health care. That means that elsewhere in the platform, when the Conservatives say things like:
  • We will work with the provinces and territories to increase the numbers of, and expand educational programs for doctors, nurses, and other health professionals.
Whatever "work with the provinces" means, it doesn't mean "provide additional funding." The Conservatives have promised to reduce wait times and to increase the number of doctors and nurses without spending an additional dime. The reality? Provinces will have to cut other programs, or other health services, in order to increase the number of health professionals and reduce wait times -- or we simply won't get more doctors and nurses, or shorter waiting lists.