Thursday, 5 April 2012

Progressive Conservative Election Platform

The PC platform, like many election platforms, promises some generous policies. The PC website presents a huge list of reforms. Major areas of reform include healthcare, education, and community focused initiatives. This platform uses both social welfare spending, as well as liberalization of regulations, to meet their policy goals.

To meet healthcare demands, the conservatives plan on opening 140 family care clinics. This initiative will aim to provide better access to health care for both rural and urban areas. However, the cost of these clinics is not as openly discussed, and could prove to comprise the PC position. Especially, for a government who, like the Wildrose party, promises to have balanced budgets. 

However, for many Albertans who cringe at the idea of public expenditures, the PCs offer non-expenditure solutions for healthcare challenges. The most prominent being the relaxing of regulations on a pharmacist’s role. The conservatives plan to allow pharmacists to refill prescriptions by their own accord, taking pressure off doctors in the rest of the medical systems. Allowing doctors to only focus on diagnosis and initial prescriptions could allow Albertans faster access to their medicine and less barriers to refilling those prescriptions. This is an inexpensive way to increase healthcare quality in the province.

Education also has a huge spending area for the PCs. They plan to build 50 new schools, as well as renovate another 70, within four years. The price tag combined for both new buildings and renovations will be approximately $2.4 billion. These improvements will be made to both rural and urban centers. The PC’s see the new schools as a necessary investment because the student population in Alberta is projected to grow by nearly 100,000. They also plan to develop an online resource for parents to extend the education process into the home. This might change the education system to be similar to both German and Japanese systems, where a larger emphasis on education is reinforced at home, lessening the costs of improving education on the government.

Finally, the PC’s are focused on a number of community based initiatives. For example, the PCs want to continue increasing the funding for Alberta libraries. Also $1 million commitment to community based anti-crime initiatives. Furthermore, there will be increased funding for Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH). There are even more announcements of what PCs are offering Albertans on their website.

There are a lot of expensive items being offered by the conservatives. The PCs want to make a significant tax dollar investment. Can they do all this while balancing the budget? Whether the PCs get the opportunity to do so, will be up to Albertans this election.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

"Danielle Dollars" and the Wildrose's pledges

Alberta is no stranger to political parties trying to buy votes. Former Progressive Conservative Premier Ralph Klein once “shared” the provinces oil revenue with Albertan citizens. This political move increased the sales of I pods and other consumer electronics across the province.

Once again Albertans could be looking at getting a little bonus from the government. Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith has promised to give Albertans a similar energy dividend of about $300. These “Danielle dollars” are being heavily criticized by other parties, especially the current P.C government.
Retiring Medicine Hat PC MLA Rob Renner argues that there are other expenditures that need to be looked after before giving Albertans cheques. He said, “Until you can actually have the money in the bank, people are satisfied you have met the needs that are required, then you shouldn’t be talking about sending them back [cheques].”

Alison Redford, when refereeing to the dividends, said, “it is another daily announcement that just doesn’t add up.” The Wildrose party similar to the Progressive conservatives want a balanced budget. However, can the Wildrose achieve a balanced budget as well as the promised  to increase the heritage fund to $200 billion dollars in twenty years? Furthermore, can Wildrose do this while sharing Alberta’s resource wealth with Albertans by just giving them cheques? Share your opinion on “Danielle dollars” and the Wildrose pledges. 

Monday, 2 April 2012

Alberta Politics heating up after decades of stagnation.

What is going to happen to Alberta’s political landscape this election? The Progressive Conservatives stand only to lose this election, while every other party has an opportunity to make significant gains. Some projections predict the Wildrose party will unseat the conservatives this election. The polls place the Wildrose support as high as 37.3 percent with the conservatives trailing by less 4 points with 33.7 percent.

 Will a new conservative dynasty be established in Alberta, or will Alberta become a two party province. Will the era of majorities end? Even if the right holds it control Alberta, at least there is a chance to see some great political debate between the PC’s and the Wildrose.

However, there is another possibility. With votes on the right split, the left has chance to capitalize this election and make some significant gains. The New Democrats are running in all ridings. Will the orange wave hit Alberta? Linda Duncan put an orange stain on Steven Harper’s attempt to paint this province blue. However, if the provincial NDP want to win they will need to mobilize younger demographics, which is a major of the political challenge not just in Canada, but any Western democracy.

Though both the Liberals and Alberta party may not be running candidates in all ridings, they have the opportunity to become major players in Alberta politics by potentially working with the NDP on many issues. However, I think the Alberta party has a lot of potential to shape politics in this province. If a conservative minority is formed they, either Wildrose or PC, will most likely not want work with each other, the NDP, or the Liberals. The Alberta Party might be the only support a minority government could work with to stave off another election.

Every party needs every vote they can get. So your vote matters more now than in any other time in Alberta.
The next posts will discuss policy and platforms of the Parties running.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Immigration backlog wipeout

The Government of Canada has decided, with a change in immigration policy, it is necessary to cancel the current back log of immigration applications.  Over 280,000 applications are being overturned to make room for new applicants. The New Immigration policy will focus on the economic needs of Canada. As a result, the government offices of Citizen and Immigration Canada will need to refund $130 million in fees to those affected.

  Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said in defense of the backlog wipe out, Having to process applications that are as many as eight years out of date reduces our ability to focus on new applicants with skills and talents that our economy needs today.”

However, opponents to the backlog wipe out are worried of how it may affect Canada’s image abroad and the long term consequences associated. Dan Bohbot, head of the Quebec Immigration Lawyers Association, stated “People really will not trust the process of immigration in Canada and that's going to affect our reputation and it's going to affect maybe the quality of immigrants wanting to come here in the first place,”
What is your opinion? Do you think it was fair for these people who have been waiting for so long to get into this country to be turned away, or do you think it was a necessary move to not just benefit Canada but also give a better opportunity to potential new Canadians?

Friday, 30 March 2012

Your Tax Dollars and The New Budget

The Conservative government presented is new budget March 29, 2012. The budget contains some noteworthy items. Most widely talked about is the elimination of the penny, which should save $11million years. However, there are more serious issues brought up in this budget. Unfortunately, there are some major cuts to come to public services over the next three years.   $115 million hit to the CBC; a $319 million cut to the Canadian International Development Agency; and $165 million to aboriginal affairs. However, it will not just be regular Canadian citizens experiencing the cuts. Government workers are taking significant hit. they will be paying more into their pensions, and our diplomats over seas will moving into smaller residence to save money. This budget even put forth the requirement of the Governor General to pay taxes on his $130,000 plus Salary. Controversially, the Member of Parliament pension package has remained untouched. Please read this 
The Star article on the budget for more information on what your government is deciding to spend your tax dollars on.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Legalization of Marijuana

Recently during a Q&A at the University of Alberta, interim Liberal leader Bob Rae was asked his position on legalizing marijuana. He said he believed in decriminalizing marijuana because criminal prohibition has not helped the issue of drug abuse or drug related crime. Prohibition of alcohol  actually led to the rise of crime syndicates in the united states, such as that of Al Capone. Supporters of legalization state that it will take profits out of the hands of criminals and place it in the national budgets. Whats your opinion?

Monday, 26 March 2012

Alberta Election Called

How are the people of Alberta going to vote on April 23? How will the Conservatives fair against the Wild Rose? Can the Liberals or NDP make any gains with the Right split?  What is your opinion? What the issues that are going to matter to you this election? answer these questions and add any important issues about the election to the comments. People out side Alberta wage in your concerns and hopes as well. Alberta is a driving force in our economy. However, it oil sands cause many issues with in our foreign policy. Tell us who you are going to vote for and why. Advertise and advocate for your candidate on this site.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

NDP has a new leader.

Thomas Mulcair is the new leader of the NDP. He is a well educated individual, having taught law at the university level. He also has notable experience working in the bureaucracy. As a public servant he has worked at Legislative Affairs branch of the Justice Ministry, and later in the Legal Affairs Directorate of the Conseil de la langue fran├žaise. As a politician, Mulcair has been elected provincially, and has served as Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks under the Charest government. Further more, He was Jack Layton's deputy Leader. However, Mulcair is also noted for making what some would call blunder. He made a controversial comment about the pictures of Osama Bin Laden's corpse that has been Criticized. Please share opinions of Thomas Mulcair and his future as the new leader of the NDP.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Thoughts about Kony 2012?

What is every ones thoughts on the Kony 2012 campaign. Invisible Children, the group responsible for video and campaign, has come under a lot of criticism. However, does issues with the group destroy the importance of raising awareness? Even if Joseph Kony is not an imminent threat, does that eclipse the fact that  he is now famous and people are aware of human rights issues such as child soldiers? Discuss the validity of the campaign and the importance of its message?

Friday, 23 March 2012

Future of the NDP, without Jack Layton

After a historic victory in the 2011 federal election, the the New Democratic Party of Canada seemed unstoppable. Tragically, Jack Layton the who led the party to victory died. The loss of Jack Layton did not just hurt the NDP, but all of Canadian politics as well. He was one of the well though of and loved politicians in recent Canadian history. He will be sorely missed.

 Today the party will pick the person who will take Jack Layton's place as leader of the party. Do you think who ever wins can fill the large hole left? For those who support the NDP who are you voting for? Comment on your choice if you have one?
follow the race at

Thursday, 22 March 2012

What does it mean to you to be a Canadian Citizen

People often discuss their rights as citizens. Very few people discuss their responsibility as a Canadian Citizen. Is our relationship among each just the exchange of taxes for services facilitated by the government or is the something more. Do we have a responsibility to ensure the quality of our country? Is there something wrong with Canadian citizenship? Could declining voter turnout be the cause, no the result, of questionable politicians and disappointing policy?  This is an issue not just in Canada but all the western world. There people around the globe who wish they could have the democratic rights that we have. Do you think we have lived up to our responsibility as citizens.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Post-Seconday Education: public failure, possible private solution

The University of Alberta has suffered from inconsistent funding from the government; and the faculty of arts has suffered the most as a result(10 faculty positions). One student from the political science department running for the position of art councilor advocated for corporate/private sponsorship to help the arts; similar to how the faculty of engineering which has not experienced felt the cuts, due to their private sponsors.

Faculty of Arts councillors are running on various platforms many require money, of which arts does not have. The reason other faculties have money is they provide a service to the community that people want to buy and do not have to be forced into. Government only has so much funds that they force people to pay. I am trying to show that Arts Students are leaders and can provide a valuable service to the community outside of the government realm. 
 -- Ken Shanks Undergraduate at the University of Alberta.Candidate for Arts councilor

Is it wrong for the Arts faculties of universities to take corporate sponsorship or is this the only way they can survive rough economic times. Can government step up to plate. Would this take universities away from the public good and realign them to private interests? Please discuss this issue.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Accountability and Robocalls

In 2006, one of Steven Harper's major initiatives was to increase government accountability. One of his first moves was to put in place the Accountability Act. Is this past of accountability completely being undermined by Conservative electoral politics. I want to hear from both sides.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

New Crime Bill

The Conservative government has passed Bill-C10. Bill-C10 makes several amendments to the criminal code. These amendments enacts minimum sentences and doubles the duration of maximum sentences. For example, for growing marijuana a person can now be incarcerated for up to 14 years instead of the old maximum of 7 years. For more information please read this CBC article and discuss this issue.