Deciding on my vote

I’ve decided to blog my thought process for my vote.  Partly because I’m self-absorbed and think everyone’s entitled to my opinion.  But mostly because I find it easier to think things through if I write them while I’m thinking them – I lose track less easily that way.

I’m currently at Stage 2 (see below) of my decision-making.  As I type this, I’ve just finished watching the debate The 519 hosted (Xtra.ca broadcast the debate on the web and archived it).  I’ve of course been following the whole election from here in Sydney, Australia over the web.  Most of what I’m writing here is off the top of my head.

Before I start into any of this, and before anyone starts coming up with ways to belittle me for even considering minor candidates, or whatever other excuses people will come up with for disrespecting the voting process, I’ll say this: my vote won’t count.  Not because I’m voting from abroad.  But because my last physical address in Canada was in Toronto Centre, where the Liberals have won handily for almost two decades, and it would take tens of thousands of votes to change that.  If I were in a swing riding, as much as I abhor the thought and wish we’d fix our electoral system to solve this problem, I might actually vote for a candidate who stands a chance of winning (though I would still not vote for a candidate I oppose to oust another I oppose, that’s just silly).  But I’m voting in good ol’ safe-seat Toronto Centre, where Bob Rae will be the returning MP come May 2nd no matter how I cast my vote.

So, I plan to vote my conscience.  Even if it means voting for the most obscure of candidates (and we get plenty of those in Toronto Centre – sadly the most interesting have vanished from the web), and even if I’m the only one who votes for that person.

Stage 1 – Elimination

Toronto Centre has 8 candidates in this election – a slightly different mix from the 8 in the last election.  In a riding with so many candidates, it’s not practical to look in depth at everything they all have to offer.  I say this only because you can always easily eliminate a few based on their history or party affiliation.

The candidates are:

Judi Falardeau – Libertarian Party of Canada

I may have wide political interests, but Libertarianism is not one of them. Next.

Philip Fernandez – Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada

I’d consider myself left-wing. I’d consider Marxism-Leninism to be left-wing.  But this guy ran in the last election, and I distinctly remember eliminating him early on last time too (based on his performance at the one debate I was able to attend), so he’s gone (sorry!).

Catherine Holliday – Communist Party of Canada

I came very close to voting Communist in the last election.  I really liked the candidate (a different person), until he told everyone to vote for himself or any of (a list of candidates who weren’t Conservative or Liberal).  I prefer to vote for people who actually want to get elected, which I assume to be true until disproven.  Either way, I know nothing about Catherine, so have no reason to assume she doesn’t want to get elected.  I’ll short-list her.

Ellen Michelson – Green Party of Canada

I actually voted for Ellen in the last election.  I’ve met her in person a couple of times, and we chat on facebook every once in a while – she’s intelligent, engaged, very involved in the community, and just an all around great person.  Very easy to add to the short-list.

Kevin Moore – Conservative Party of Canada

Um, no.

Hon. Bob Rae (Incumbent) – Liberal Party of Canada

Current MP, former Premier of Ontario when he was in the NDP, yadda yadda yadda.  The last couple of elections I’ve ruled the Liberals out right away, partly out of frustration with the MP I had in St. Catharines (Walt Lastewka, a blue Liberal if ever there was one), and partly out of annoyance at the fact that the party drags its heels on everything.  I generally hold the view that the Liberals are populists in the least positive sense of that word — they do whatever they think will get them elected.  That might be a good political strategy, but the lack of actual principles (and the fact that their principles are subject to the latest opinion polls rather than anything that can actually be narrowed down easily) really puts me off.  That said, as Liberals go, Bob is a relatively progressive one, and I respect that he never takes the seat for granted (like his Liberal predecessors and colleagues often do).  He also performed well at the 519 debate, even if that was only because the host didn’t let anyone else talk.  He’s on the list for now.

Susan Wallace – New Democratic Party

I was a member of the NDP until around the time of the last election.  Amongst the reasons I allowed my membership to lapse was the fact that Susan was, in my view, unfairly denied the nomination to the Toronto Centre race.  I sat beside her at that nomination meeting (not actually knowing who she was at the time), and in our brief conversations, along with the speeches and debates she’s participated in, I’ve come to respect her values and her views on many of the issues that are important.  I’ve heard the occasional grumbling from people who are still in the party that some dislike her, but I’ve yet to actually hear any legitimate complaints.  Had she run in the last election instead of the candidate that ultimately did win the Toronto centre nomination, I might very well have voted for her.  So, another easy short-list, anyway.

Bahman Yazdanfar – Independent

I’m always willing to give independents a chance. And while he had some interesting ideas at the 519 debate (which only he, Rae, Wallace, and Michelson participated in), most of his platform seems to revolve around some flawed economic understanding of the country’s financing, and he’s apparently a recurring independent candidate in the Toronto area — he most recently ran in Beaches-East York and I’m not really sure why he’s running in Toronto Centre this time, even after hearing his bit in the debate.  So, no.

Stage 2 – Platforms

This leaves:

  • Judi Falardeau – Libertarian Party of Canada
  • Philip Fernandez – Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada
  • Catherine Holliday – Communist Party of Canada
  • Ellen Michelson – Green Party of Canada
  • Kevin Moore – Conservative Party of Canada
  • Hon. Bob Rae (Incumbent) – Liberal Party of Canada
  • Susan Wallace – New Democratic Party
  • Bahman Yazdanfar – Independent

I can work with four.  At this stage I’ve decided these individuals would all be acceptable as an MP, if one were to ignore all of their politics, excepting the Communist candidate who I know nothing about.  Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to find anything on her other than a brief bio on the party’s website.  But she seems likable enough.  I’m all for anti-racism, anti-poverty, and social justice.

Next, then, is the platform.  I usually like to see what the individual candidates have to say.  Certainly this does affect my decision, and I’ve glanced at all of their campaign pages, none of which say anything I wouldn’t expect them to say.  Knowing what I do know about each of these candidates, though, it’s unlikely any would stray drastically from their party’s general platform.  This is especially true of Michelson and Rae as they are both in their respective parties’ shadow cabinets.  It’s also important to consider the candidates’ historical records, which I’ll touch on briefly below.

For this, I’m going back to my earlier post: Election Wishlist.  These are the things I wanted from the platforms right after the election was called.  Now the platforms are out, I can actually consider if my wants are met by any of the candidates.  When I put together this post, I actually took some time to consider what was really important to me in the election, regardless of party politics and my general perceptions of Canadian politics as they stand.  I think using this might give me some perspective on what the parties actually have in their platforms, rather than what I always perceive of them.  I’ve also added a subtle reference to HST, because some parties are making an issue out of it, and it’s really annoying.

With that, then:

Communist Party of Canada (Catherine Holliday)

The Communist Party platform is concise, I like that.  On the issues I ranked as important:

Environment / Climate Change – The Communist party supports nationalising energy and natural resource extraction, but then reducing the price on energy sold domestically – I like the first part, but not the second, as it will not encourage domestic energy-use reduction.  I do like their proposal to shut down tar sands extraction within 5 years, providing sustainable jobs for those affected, and to oppose further oil and gas pipelines and shale gas extraction.  Their actual environmental platform seems to consist entirely of “adopt[ing] emergency legislation to slash greenhouse gas emissions,” though they do support government-funded public transit (with no fares), vehicle emission controls, and high-speed rail. And they oppose (rather strongly) biofuels, clear-cutting, in-ocean fish farming, deep-sea draggers, and “industrial development in parks,” whatever that may be.  Despite the vagueness of their GHG promises, I can get behind most of this.

Electoral reform – the system – They support Mixed-Member proportional representation (MMP), which was proposed in Ontario in 2007 and failed.  I don’t oppose MMP, but also don’t think it’s necessarily the best system.  They also want to reinstate union donations to political parties, which I oppose, and to lower the voting age to 16, which I support.

Electoral reform – process (including overseas voters) – The only thing the Communist Party seems to have to say about this is conducting comprehensive enumeration before each election — which could actually help things, though might be impractical (certainly for those overseas).

G20 inquiry – They don’t explicitly reference this, but, of course, they’re the Communist Party so they really don’t have to.  I think their “security state” section says it all: “Defend the right to free speech and dissent, including criticism of the Israeli state’s apartheid policies. Stop government spying, police violence and agents provocateurs, and the use of the courts to repress civil and democratic rights. Strengthen parliamentary oversight of the armed forces and civilian control of the RCMP and CSIS; strengthen and enforce punishments for police wrong-doing. Ban the use of tasers.”

Higher, or at least not lower, corporate taxes – They want to DOUBLE the corporate tax rate. Big win.  They also want to “collect deferred corporate taxes” which shows a huge lack of understanding of basic accounting and tax concepts (deferred taxes are, essentially, a notional figure corporations report on their financial statements for timing differences between their financial statement and taxable income. For example, they might depreciate something at one rate where the government depreciates it at another. “Collecting deferred corporate taxes” doesn’t even make any conceptual sense). Big fail.

Balance budget – Strangely, the platform says nothing about this.  But after cutting military spending by 75% and nationalising the oil companies, I can imagine this might actually happen, even if it’s by accident.

…without disadvantaging singles [addition: or undoing the HST] – The Communist Party supports the abandonment of all sales taxes. I can get behind this — eliminating sales taxes is fine, I’m just opposed to de-integrating the existing sales taxes. However, the federal government wouldn’t be able to get rid of provincial sales taxes, so I’m not sure how they intend to accomplish this practically.

Reintroducing/passing AIDS drugs and trans rights bills – They don’t explicitly mention either of these, but they believe in eliminating drug patents and nationalising pharmaceutical research which would have a similar (if not better) result to the AIDS drugs bills, and they want to “Ban all discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Candidate background – I’ve searched again and can still find nothing on her, other than the fact that she’s run twice before, both times in different ridings. I’m not really sure why.

Green Party of Canada (Ellen Michelson)

The Green Party platform is in a PDF that is far too large to view in your browser – download it instead.

Environment / Climate Change – The Greens want to end draggers and nuclear/fossil fuel subsidies, while supporting a “sustainable” forest industry.  They support a “revenue-neutral carbon pricing architecture” (read: carbon tax that doesn’t actually give the government any more money).  There’s surprisingly not much more in the platform about the environment — but the rest of their site has countless other policies which make a lot of sense.  They pretty well win in this category by default.

Electoral reform – the system – The Greens want to “Hold a national discussion on the health of our democracy, address the growing and undemocratic power of the PMO and explore the options for a more meaningful electoral system.” For a party that stands to gain the most from a better electoral system, this is surprisingly indecisive.  They would like to “Consider proportional representation,” which I support, but “consider” doesn’t actually mean they’d do it.  Their lengthier “Vision Green” document doesn’t go much further, other than to demand a public inquiry into the system and chastise the Senate for abusing its powers.  One page buried on their site is a little more committed to PR.

Electoral reform – process (including overseas voters) – Um, nothing.

G20 inquiry – The Non-Violence values page (also not in the platform) doesn’t mention much that applies here, but they have publicly called for an inquiry (immediately after the G20, as well as this week suggesting the police abuses are the real story, not the costs – something I respect greatly).

Higher, or at least not lower, corporate taxes – While their platform says they will cancel currently-planned cuts, they’ve been in the media saying they want to increase corporate taxes — so I’m not clear which of these two they support, but both work.

Balance budget – They want to “avoid structural deficits.”  Their platform includes a very detailed budget (well, detailed for a party platform), in which they bring the annual deficit to $5.5B by 2013-14, at which point our national debt will be $610B.  I like that the numbers are going in the right direction. But given our almost $600B debt today, $5B improvements aren’t really enough.  I hate to say it, but we need much more drastic changes than this!

…without disadvantaging singles [addition: or undoing the HST] – The Greens were the first mainstream(ish) party to propose income-splitting, which I strongly oppose, and they’re campaigning even harder on it now.  I can’t find anything more recent, but they actually seem to support the HST, and understand that it was not implemented as well as it could be but should be improved, not undone.

Reintroducing/passing AIDS drugs and trans rights bills – They support the trans rights bill, as well as C-393.

Candidate background – Besides everything I mentioned above, I rather like that Ellen is a member of the Raging Grannies, who are just plain cool.

Liberal Party of Canada (Bob Rae)

The Liberal Party platform is a full 98 pages long.  No one can accuse them of being short on details.  Except most of the document is graphics.

Environment / Climate Change – Their environmental platform section starts with the green renovation tax credit. I’m all for retrofitting, and think it’s essential, but I don’t know if that’s really the place to start a platform.  They do, however, want a national clean energy partnership (to make the provinces work together on getting clean energy on a shared grid), and to establish more marine protection areas (though the word ‘economy’ comes up a lot under the bit about oceans).  Of course, they also want to continue oil sands development (minus the tax breaks) with “cleaner” technology that doesn’t exist yet – while cancelling Arctic oil exploration (a minor concession?).  They support cap and trade, which is just not useful at all.  I do, however, support the idea of a national food strategy, which they’ve worked into their platform.

Electoral reform – the system – They rant at length about the sad state of our democracy in the platform, but other than changing the format of Question Period, have virtually no real reform proposals.  Bob Rae himself proposed MMP for Ontario before the referendum on it, but this failed in large part due to his party providing virtually no funding to the information campaign, and people not knowing what they were voting on.

Electoral reform – process (including overseas voters) – they support online voting, and have a skeleton of  plan to implement in! Big win!

G20 inquiry – The platform mentions nothing about policing or domestic rights in this respect. It mentions the G20 countless times, but all in the context of Harper fucking it up financially — nothing of the police abuses, and nothing supporting an inquiry.  Remember, this is the party responsible for PepperGate.  At the 519 debate, Rae said only that the federal government should be held to account, with no response whatsoever to the demand for an actual inquiry.

Higher, or at least not lower, corporate taxes – They explicitly plan to cancel “the Harper government’s corporate income tax cuts” for 2011 and 2012 (of course, they don’t mention that the Liberals were the ones to cut them by about 3% last decade).

Balance budget – The Liberals plan to “reduc[e] the deficit to one percent of GDP within two years,” down from 3.6% in 2009-10 (which was $33.7B, so they’d bring it down to $9.36B – a smaller deficit than the Greens propose in the same time period, but still not small enough).  What’s confusing, though, is the “balance sheet” at the end of their platform suggests that all of their Sources of Funds will be equal to their Uses of Funds — so I’m not sure where they’re expecting the deficit reductions to come from (wishes and dreams?)

…without disadvantaging singles [addition: or undoing the HST] – The platform doesn’t mention sales tax at all – but I suspect they’d go with the status quo, given their Ontario counterparts are such strong supporters of it.  There doesn’t seem to be much proposed for personal taxes, other than a long list of random tax credits, many of which are only useful to couples or people with children.

Reintroducing/passing AIDS drugs and trans rights bills – At the 519’s debate, Rae committed to reintroducing and supporting both these bills, though neither is mentioned in the platform (interestingly, the word “gender” is not mentioned in the platform even once).

Candidate background – Bob Rae is the reason people in Ontario still have a hate-on for the NDP. And yet now that he’s a Liberal, no one seems to mind him. It still completely boggles me how this is even possible.  He and his party have a history of saying one thing to get elected and doing something different in power.  But the thing that actually bugs me is that he’s important in the Liberal Party – he could very well be the leader if Ignatieff steps down.  This means that not much of his time is dedicated to the riding.  And that’s a real problem.

New Democratic Party of Canada (Susan Wallace)

The NDP platform is much more digestible in size.

Environment / Climate Change – The NDP also support cap-and-trade, which as pointed out above, I disagree with.  They do, however, have specific plans for the proceeds of auctioning emissions permits, by investing these funds into green tech, energy conservation, public transit, renewable energy, and transitioning workers to the green economy.  They plan to “cut subsidies to non-renewable energy,” which I assume means the tarsands but they’re not really specific.  They would take these subsidies and redirect them to green energy sector credits – which I like.  They also want to improve impact assessments and regulation to protect the environment – which is a practical measure I can get behind.  Of course, they also intend to put the government further in debt by issuing “Green bonds” which will be used to fund things like R&D.  I do appreciate the plan for a National Public Transit Strategy.

Electoral reform – the system – They “will propose a new, more democratic voting system that preserves the connection between MPs and their constituents, while ensuring parties and represented in Parliament in better proportion to how Canadians voted.”  [emphasis mine] They just aren’t proposing it in their platform, apparently.  They also want to abolish the senate altogether. I really dislike this idea.  I like the idea of a sober second thought, but I want it to be elected.  I think having two houses can also be helpful to strike a balance between geography and proportional representation.  I really think complete abolition is senseless.  And, as Bob Rae points out – it’s not really something the federal government can do unilaterally.

Electoral reform – process (including overseas voters) – I see nothing in the platform.

G20 inquiry – The platform doesn’t refer to this — though they do promise more police officers, and to empower vigilante groups by expanding the room for citizens’ arrests.  They have, however, been calling for an inquiry for quite a while.

Higher, or at least not lower, corporate taxes – Not that I really want to punish small businesses — but the NDP is actually proposing a cut in the small business corporate tax rate.  I just read this a second, while typing, and had to read it again.  Sigh.  They also want to provide businesses with a Job Creation Tax Credit (which sounds good, but sounds like a corporate hand-out to me), as well as extending the mineral exploration tax credit (so we can mine more things?).  And, finally, they will “keep Canada’s corporate tax rate competitive by ensuring that our combined federal/provincial Corporate Income Tax rate is always below the United States’ federal corporate tax rate.”  (WHAT?!) … Granted, the largest corporations already pay lower taxes in Canada than they do in the US — the top bracket in the US is about 35% where Nova Scotia & PEI pay about 32.5% for 2011 (this was 34% in 2010, and combined rates were in the high 30s in the mid-2000s)… but in theory, this means that the NDP might actually support tax cuts.  What happens if the Republicans win the next federal election in the US, and cut corporate taxes by 5%? I guess that means corporate taxes go down 5% in Canada??? REALLY?!  This is seriously enough, on its own, to make me not vote NDP. Like, this actually makes me angry, which is more than I can say for anything else I’ve typed so far in what is now a far too long post.  Moving on…

Balance budget – They don’t have numbers to support it, but they commit to balance the budget within 4 years.  Works for me.

…without disadvantaging singles [addition: or undoing the HST] – Despite the party broadly opposing HST, the platform merely says they would not penalise BC if their voters turn down HST in the referendum.

Reintroducing/passing AIDS drugs and trans rights bills – They actually explicitly mention the gender identity bill, as well as the generic drugs bill, in their platform. Score.

Candidate background – I don’t have much to add beyond what I wrote above on this one!

One thing that I hadn’t previously considered was employment standards.  Both the Communists and the Greens support a shorter work week to encourage full employment — which does make some sense to me.  This of course has to be matched with higher hourly wages to make up for this (the Communists explicitly refer to this, the Greens do not), but I certainly support more people working less and spending more leisure time. If I’d been in their riding, I would have voted for the Work Less Party when they were around.

Finally, something that frustrated me about the NDP last time, and frustrates me still, is that they don’t realise the impacts of some of their financial proposals.  Capping credit card rates at prime+5%, as they’ve proposed, means that fewer people will be eligible for credit cards – those that will not be eligible will be the poorest people, those that the NDP always claims to support.  While I definitely support encouraging people not to overspend, and think excessive credit card debt should somehow be limited, credit cards are so important in our society, especially given internet transactions.  They can also be a useful short-term financing tool — with the 19% interest rates a great incentive to pay them off sooner. They’re not great — but if you’re out of a job because you’ve been laid off for 6 weeks, it’s better than starving.  When I was in my last year of university, I funding the last three months of school with a credit card, knowing I had a job at the other end and I’d be able to pay it off.  It was that, or not paying the rent, since I’d exhausted my savings and both government and private student debt.

Stage 3 – Decision

I’m a numbers person, and I like pictures, so I made a table where I ranked them all. Yes, I’m a nerd.  (I had this all bright and colour-coded in Word, but it seems to paste colourlessly… sad.)  The left-most column is ranked highest, with the right-most one ranked lowest.

Environment

Green

Communist

NDP

Liberal

Electoral reform – system*

Green

NDP

Communist

Liberal

Electoral reform – process

Liberal

Communist

NDP / Green

G20

Communist

Green

NDP

Liberal

Corporate taxes

Communist

Green

Liberal

NDP

Balance budget

NDP

Liberal

Communist

Green

Budget caveats (singles, HST)

Liberal

NDP

Communist

Green

AIDS/Trans bills

NDP

Green

Communist

Liberal

Candidate / other (financial literacy, work week)

Green

Liberal

NDP

Communist

*I feel the need to clarify this one.  The Liberal Party was an easy fourth since they have no real stance on this, and the Communists third because I don’t think MMP is the way to go.  The Greens and NDP both have vague electoral reform discussions in their platforms, but I’ve chosen Green over NDP in this category because I very strongly oppose abolishing the Senate, and I also think the Greens (having so much to gain) are the most likely to make electoral reform their biggest priority if they were to ever end up in Parliament.

Last election, it was a decision between Green and NDP for me.  This time, I’ve tried to keep an open mind, but have ended up somewhere in the same area.  Keeping in mind that the first two items in this table were the most important issues to me, it seems my decision would be easy.  It frustrates me, though, that my first choice on the environment and democratic reform would be my last choice on the budget and taxation issues.

Of course, the reality is that no candidate or party is strong on all the things I’ve prioritised this election.  I guess I’m reluctantly voting Green.

Stage 4 – Time

I like to make up my mind at least a few days before I vote, to allow some time to process it (and often to solicit feedback).  I have until the day after Easter Tuesday to vote, and may wait until then, or may vote sometime next week if I’m able.  Either way, this decision isn’t final. I’ll be sure to tweet a photo of my completed ballot before I drop it at the Consulate though 🙂

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19 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dan F on 2011/04/17 at 2:03 am

    Can I make a suggestion?
    Next time you’re back in Canada, join one of the parties and attend a policy conference. You seem to seem to have a firm grasp of policy and would no doubt make a valuable contribution that would extend beyond your single vote per election. I can’t speak for the other parties, but I attended the last Liberal policy conference, introduced a policy recommendation and got to vote on all the others; many of which made it into the platform. It seemed like a very open and transparent process to anyone willing to participate. Bring a few friends, and you might even significantly affect the outcome, and if its the Liberal platform you would have a real impact on a party that will govern Canada (if not in this election, certainly at some point in the future).
    While I respect much of what the Greens and NDP stand for, the reality is that they will never for the government. If I want to see the policies that I believe in actually come to pass, there is really only one option.

    Reply

    • I’m not interested in politics because I want power. While I would love it if the rest of the country all got together and agreed with me, that’s not realistic. If I were to join a party (again) exclusively for the purpose of deciding on behalf of everyone else, I would feel dishonest. I was in a party that I believed in (and am coming to believe in less as time goes on) because I believed in it, not because I believed I could change it. And certainly not because I wanted everyone to do things my way.

      I’d much prefer to convince the electorate than convince the politicians. Convincing the politicians may lead to making changes that I like, but that’s no good if the population doesn’t support it. It will only serve to further distance the people from the government, and Canada already suffers so much of that.

      Reply

      • I’m not big on political parties – no strong loyalties here. That’s why I’d make a terrible political candidate 😉

        I did join the BCNDP for the purpose of participating in their leadership convention. I like a lot of things some of those candidates have to say but I roll my eyes every time the HST comes up. And federally I just see parties as a means to an end. Under the current system I have tended to vote strategically, but I can also respect that you prefer to always vote honestly. Because really, that’s what our system *should* encourage, right?

        Reply

      • Posted by Dan F on 2011/04/17 at 3:09 am

        Ultimately its a democracy (hopefully it stays that way) and if you make changes that the population doesn’t like, the party doesn’t get elected! At least with your ideas in a major party’s platform, you can get them out there and into the national conversation, so you have the opportunity to persuade a large number of people.

        Reply

  2. This is a mesmerizing dissection of the decision-making process, one which I will follow very closely. You say you will decide tomorrow so I hope you post your final, at the ballot-box decision. I’m grateful for the nice description you gave of me, though I’m embarrassed to say I don’t remember you at that fateful 08 nomination meeting. I am, however, thrilled to have been chosen unanimously at the 09 Nomination and am now giving it all I have in Toronto Centre.

    If it’s of interest to you at this late date, I’m running on a platform of ‘more affordable housing’ in Toronto Centre and focusing on issues affecting our youth and our seniors. These seem to be really top of mind here in TC and our proposals are really hitting a chord with voters. And, we are running the most youth-oriented campaign anywhere, I would venture to say. With incredible support from local youth groups like the Esplanade Community Group, we have a very strong presence riding-wide.

    Good luck with your decision and all the best,

    Susan Wallace
    NDP Federal Candidate
    Toronto Centre

    Reply

    • Thank you for commenting Susan, I do appreciate it! And no worries about not remembering me – we only chatted very briefly and I only remembered you because you were also at the front of the room! (Though the memory was solidified with your strong performance at the 2008 Toronto Centre debate you subbed in at).

      Sounds like the campaign is going well and I wish you all the best — if I stick with my decision (which is likely at this stage) it will not be a reflection on you but on the national platform. That said, I look forward to increased NDP presence in the house – I hope the next week or so holds together to accomplish that!

      Reply

  3. I do remember that debate, it was at the Isabel Bader theatre on U of T campus. It was my first chance to go head to head with Mr. Rae and stood me in good stead for our many encounters during this campaign.

    The campaign is going very well in Toronto Centre and, dare I say, elsewhere across the country. There has been heavy voter turnout at the advance polls so that bodes well. Clearly this was not an “unnecessary” election as has been portrayed by the Conservatives.

    Did I miss it above, or have you not taken a look at the Green and Conservatives proposals on income splitting? I thought that would bear some consideration for you. It’s something I and the NDP are firmly against and something that, finally, clearly distinguishes us from the Green Party. It was much discussed at the Xtra debate at the 519 and if you are interested, you can watch that whole debate on the Xtra site.

    You may have already voted when you read this! Do let us know which way you went.

    And lastly, yes, I too hope to see an increased NDP presence not just in the house but here in Toronto Centre. I’m in it for the long haul and much of the work we do now is building to the future.

    Best again,
    Susan.

    Reply

    • I did look at the income splitting proposals — and did watch the Xtra/519 debate (that was mentioned briefly at the beginning of the post). I disagree strongly with income splitting, and wrote a whole blog entry about it so I dismissed it fairly quickly here. I disagreed with it last election too, and it was the one big thing that made me almost not vote Green in the last election.

      But when I look at it on the whole, I would much rather have carbon tax + higher corporate taxes + income splitting than cap-and-trade + static-or-lower corporate taxes + no income splitting. I don’t like either outcome, but unfortunately I can’t have everything my way! 🙂

      I actually will drop my vote off at the Consulate on Wednesday, but I’m planning to do all the paperwork to do it (it’s onerous) later today so will post then.

      Reply

  4. Oh, I must have missed that. I’ll go check it out. Glad you got to see the debate. It was a lot of fun, way more than the more dour Cabbagetown debate a couple of days ago. Rosedale is next on Tuesday and finally St. James Town on Saturday. There will be plenty of discussion about the new North St. James Town development (not a single unit of affordable housing…)

    A final word on corporate taxes. The NDP platform does include an increase in the corporate tax level to 19%, back to where it was before Martin got his hands on it. But, yes, still below the 21% it was prior to that. And the break for small businesses is one I actually agree with: small businesses are the ones that create local jobs, so coupled with the hiring grant of up to $4,500 per new position created, I would hope to see a lot of gainful employment being created right here, instead of shipped out of country.

    Thanks for being such a great ex-pat and taking the time to vote. It’s really appreciated.

    Reply

    • Where is the increase to 19% in the platform? This would contradict the statement of “We will keep Canada’s corporate tax rate competitive by ensuring that our combined federal/provincial Corporate Income Tax rate is always below the United States’ federal corporate tax rate.” The US federal rate for corporations is around 35% (depending on the bracket — it can also be lower – http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1120.pdf). If the federal corporate tax rate were to be 19%, the combined federal/provincial Corporate Income Tax rate in PEI and Nova Scotia would then be 19% + 16% = 35%, which is not below the US federal rate. (source: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/bsnss/tpcs/crprtns/rts-eng.html)

      Am I missing something?

      Reply

    • Oh I see — not in the main platform itself but buried in the costing. That says 19.5% – which would give PEI & NS a combined 35.5% rate, higher than the US federal rate of 35%. Something doesn’t add up.

      Reply

  5. The costing document was released with the party platform at the Toronto Campaign launch so I don’t think “buried” is quite accurate, nor is anyone shying away from talking about it, which is drawing considerable ire from both the Liberals and the Conservatives. As to the figures, I can’t speak to what US tax rates are as I’m not knowledgeable on those, do they perhaps vary state to state? I know when I lived in California, I paid the highest personal income taxes I have anywhere ever, and my employer still had to spend $500 per month on my behalf to buy my medical insurance (with its 25% deductible!) So that’s just personal income taxes…

    Reply

  6. OK, I’ll take your word for it 🙂 the only other thing I can imagine is if Obama increased corporate taxes in the last round of increases? I’m sure the NDP would have been called out on this before now if it really was off the mark. Maybe now that the other parties are on the attack, this will come up and we will get an answer. Have you seen the two new attack ads from the Conservatives and Liberals? They just started airing today and are pretty vicious. Apparently, according to the Libs, all the ndp candidates are inexperienced but Jack is a career politician who can’t be trusted. Oh well, onward and upward.

    Reply

  7. […] to impress me as an engaged candidate in Toronto Centre for responding to my blog on voting.  She pointed out an error in my review of the NDP platform on corporate taxes – and inadvertently pointed out an error in the internal consistency of […]

    Reply

  8. For anyone who’s still following – watch as I demonstrate the many envelopes of the special ballot! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oAIM9fNaOA&feature=autofb

    Closer photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sweetone/5652672765/in/photostream/

    Reply

  9. […] Party of Ontario – I have voted Green in the last two federal elections.  I was giving them serious consideration – they do […]

    Reply

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