[Sust-mar] Coalition Canada

IBS ibs_pei at yahoo.com
Sun Nov 30 16:08:50 EST 2008

Like many Canadians, I was appalled to hear the political posturing and lack of sound economic planning proposed by the federal Conservatives. When I read the news that the opposition party’s are planning to form a coalition government I felt proud to be a Canadian and grateful to live in a country where the political system can displace the government, without a violent coup.

The Conservative government is clearly attempting to abuse its privileged position of power.
However, I am stunned that the opposition parties are allowing issues of campaign financing, stock holder investments and corporate bailouts,  to appear as the major issues for planning to defeat the government with a coalition.
Admittedly, these are important issues. The solutions are complex, concerning issues that the general public does not fully understand and probably does not give much thought. The public issues that opposition parties should be coalescing around are the Conservatives attempt to:
1) Sell crown assets in an attempt to avoid a deficit budget,
2) Abolish the right for public employees to strike,
3) Eliminate pay equity, and
4) Avoid an economic stimulus package for small and medium sized business.

The reversal of campaign finance reforms  is an important issue which threatens our democratic system.  However, if this is truly the main concern, then the opposition parties are likely to buckle now that Harper has acquiesced to this demand. And if they do, may the NDP & Liberal parties fade into the abyss; competing for future recognition with the Greens.
By the time the opportunity for a vote comes on December 8, the Conservatives will probably use every trick they can think of and spend millions of dollars to sway public sentiment. Meanwhile the media will raise the specter of division within the Liberal Party.
What the opposition should be doing right now, in coordination with the necessary backroom scuffle, is creating hundreds of blogs on the Internet, broadcasting interviews on Youtube, buying air time on television to explain their unified position and, without fail, holding town hall meetings in every riding where the opposition parties hold a seat.

The coalition response should be:
1) Commitment to preserve crown assets and invest in them (i.e. CBC, Agriculture Research Stations, Grain Board, and others) as a vehicle for economic revitalization.
2) Recognizing the right to strike as an essential component to fair labour practices and collective bargaining,
3) An unquestionable, and clear commitment to social justice, human rights and pay equity for all Canadians, 
4) An economic stimulus package that uses taxpayers money, not as a bailout, but as an investment with an equity position that also requires corporations to make the social, and environmental adaptations necessary for doing business in the 21st century.
More importantly, a coalition economic stimulus plan should recognize small business as the  most innovative and creative  jobs-maker for Canadians. The economic revival plan should not be solely about mega infrastructure projects. It should be equally focused on a green economy spearheaded by small business with major initiatives in energy conservation, sustainable agriculture, research and technology, and arts and education.

The repeat election of a minority government clearly demonstrates that Canadians lack confidence in an alliance with the Conservatives. The public reaction to their proposed reforms justifies their defeat with a coalition which received nearly 70% of the combined vote.  Unfortunately, the polls also indicate that the public questions whether a Liberal led coalition can get it right. It will be an interesting week to see if they can sell their case.

 Phil Ferraro and Nancy Willis
Institute for Bioregional Studies Ltd.
114 Upper Prince Street, Charlottetown 
Prince Edward Island Canada  C1A 4S3
"Restoring Community, Protecting the Land and Informing the Earth’s Stewards"


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