kingston & the islands' NDP Blog

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.


Blogger max said...

Canadians are incapable of asking anyone raeally tough questions. I asked you plenty and not a single answer yet.
You are a hypocrite.

1:15 p.m.

Blogger max said...

ok here's a tough question fo the NDP.
The police ROUTINELY seize the bank records of drug dealers.
Cand you explain to me why your party refuses to run on a platform of SEIZING the bank records of both the banks and all those implicated in the sponsorship scandal and FINDING OUR MONEY and SENDING THOSE CROOKS TO JAIL?

1:44 p.m.

Blogger max said...

Here's another tough question for which you will not answer:
Where does the NDP get it's money? Which corporations fund the NDP?What deals have been made with the corporations? What will the NDP do to end the corporate dictatorship?
Will the NDP prevent the corporations from controlling the media? Will the NDP create conditions so that there can be truly free speech from the people not from the corporations and the truth about corporate control can be explained and revealed in detail for everyone to know?

2:52 p.m.

Blogger Natalka said...

Hi Max,

I thought I was pretty clear that the NDP doesn't support a lot of the policies you recommend.

For your detailed questions on why the national platform is what it is, please contact the federal NDP party. Here is a place where you can contact them directly:

I can't speak for the entire NDP party. I'm one volunteer in the campaign for one riding, the campaign to elect Rob Hutchison. Rob is a great guy who has been active in the community for 15 years. He actually founded Kingston's independent (non-corporate) newspaper, PIC Press.

Please pass your questions about why the NDP platform doesn't include certain things on to the federal party, at the URL I listed above.

I also don't know the names of all the donors to the NDP. I can tell you, though, that of the major parties, the NDP receives by far the least proportion of number of donations from corporations. Unions and individuals are much bigger contributors to the NDP than corporations... something that's not true for the Liberals or Conservatives.

1:48 a.m.

Blogger Jacob said...

Well, the Greens certainly have less corporate donations (i.e. none).

And denegrating them by refusing to call them a "major" party is a little odd because how the NDP bristles when the Libs/Tories say the same thing about them.

11:29 p.m.

Blogger Jacob said...

I think you've been a real trooper and are doing a great job on this blog contending with the slings and arrows of passers-by.

4:18 a.m.

Blogger Natalka said...

Hi Jacob,

Thanks for the kind words! I really appreciate it.

A lot of people think the Greens don't accept corporate donations, but that's actually not true. In the 2000 race, if you look at the number of donations made to each group, about 3% of Green donations (33) came from businesses or corporations. That's almost identical to the NDP. About 3% of donations to the NDP (366) also came from businesses/corporations. I got this data from the Elections Canada site: Contributions by party. I couldn't find the 2004 data on their site, guess they haven't put it up yet.

I didn't intend to slight the Greens. However, I can't honestly say that I do think of them as a "major party." I don't say this to be dismissive of the Greens. I'm just being honest about my opinion.

I don't think of the Greens as a quote-unquote "major party" because they consistently poll at, and get, 5% or less of the vote, and because the Greens have never formed a federal or provincial government in Canada, or even held a seat in Parliament.

The NDP have had their ups and downs, but they have formed several provincial governments, and in this election have been polling at around 3x the Greens' level. Over the course of my lifetime, I don't remember the NDP ever having less than 2 or 3 seats in Parliament, and they have usually held more; the Greens have never held any.

This isn't to say that I don't take the Greens seriously. I do believe the Greens are a "serious" party, and they're certainly more of a "federal" party than the BQ. I applaud the Greens' successful efforts at getting a candidate in every riding. But I don't think the Greens have really hit "major party" status yet.

Sometimes I wish that the NDP and Greens could band together the way the PC's and CA's did. If we added our votes together, we'd have 20-30% of the vote, enough to rival the PCs and Liberals in Parliament. But of course, neither party would want their ideals subsumed in the other's... we're close, but not the same. If we didn't have this first-past-the-post system, we'd have the Parliament memebers to make an ideal coalition. Not sure where the Greens are on electoral reform, but it's a prominent plank in the NDP platform.

2:29 p.m.

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1:39 p.m.


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