2011 Platform

FEDERAL ELECTION PLATFORM

FOR PEACE, JOBS, SOVEREIGNTY AND DEMOCRACY

People’s needs, not corporate greed

Five years of misrule by Stephen Harper prove that a Tory majority would bring deeper involvement in U.S. wars, inaction on the economic crisis and living standards, and on the global environment, as well as new attacks on Canadian sovereignty, and on democratic, labour and equality rights. We need policies for people’s needs, not corporate greed. To win real economic and social development, and an independent foreign policy of peace and disarmament, dump the Tories and fight to achieve these goals!

Full employment and shorter work week

Make full employment a top priority, and lift the general wages of workers, the real value of which have fallen over the past 25 years by about $100/week. Raise the minimum wage to $16/hour; ban “two-tier wages” for new hires. Legislate a 32-hour work week with no loss in take-home pay and no loss in service to the public. Ban compulsory overtime, and legislate minimum four weeks annual paid vacations. Guarantee benefits for part-time, home-based and contract workers. Dedicate the entire EI fund to jobless workers – set EI benefits at 90% of previous earnings for the duration of unemployment. Put massive investments into rebuilding social programs, public infrastructure, and affordable housing. Enact a fair wage policy and full pay and employment equity for women workers.

Keep industrial jobs in Canada

The sell-out of manufacturing and secondary industry has been a disaster for Canada’s economy and sovereignty. Foreign ownership and plant shutdowns are destroying auto and steel, the heart of a strong value-added manufacturing sector. Adopt urgent measures to expand employment, raise wages and increase purchasing power, such as publicly-owned steel, auto and mining industries, a Canadian car, a merchant marine, and stronger machine tool, ship-building, agricultural implement and household appliance industries.

Limit and reduce foreign ownership. Use tariff, currency exchange and other trade controls, plus legislation with teeth including fines or public takeover, to protect jobs and prevent plant closures. Legislate a two-year notice of layoffs. Stop corporate giveaways. Increase employer-paid severance pay and retraining, and strengthen bankruptcy laws to guarantee protection for wages and pensions.

Tax the greedy, not the needy

Enact progressive tax reform based on ability to pay! Double the corporate tax rate, and impose taxes on 100% of capital gains. End tax loopholes and shelters; collect deferred corporate taxes and jail corporate tax evaders. Eliminate taxes on incomes under $35,000/yr. Abolish the regressive HST and provincial sales taxes. Impose wealth and inheritance taxes on estates over $750,000.

Nationalize energy and natural resources

Adopt a People’s Energy Plan, including public ownership and democratic control of all energy and natural resource extraction, production and distribution. Lower energy prices, especially for home heating, by restoring ‘two-price’ system (lower prices for domestic energy; higher price for energy exports) and enact a 100% tax on the windfall profits of the oil monopolies. Stop and reverse the privatization, deregulation and break-up of public energy utilities. Freeze and reduce energy exports. Expand shared power flows among provinces through an East-West power and energy grid. Block new development of the Alberta tar sands, and close these operations within five years, with jobs guaranteed for workers in more sustainable industries at equivalent wages. Compensate the Aboriginal peoples and communities affected by the tar sands. No to the Enbridge and Mackenzie Valley pipelines, and to oil and gas exploration and shipping on the west coast. Put a moratorium on the exploration and development of shale gas resources in Quebec.

Public ownership & democratic control

Keep public assets and services out of the hands of profiteers. Reverse the privatization and contracting-out of health, education and other public services. Stop P3s (Public-Private Partnerships). Put the banking and insurance system under public ownership and democratic control. Reverse the privatization of Air Canada, PetroCanada and CN Rail. Ban exports of fresh water. Restore funding for the CBC, the arts and Canadian culture. Halt attempts to privatize Canada Post services.

Peace and Disarmament

Adopt an independent Canadian foreign policy of peace and disarmament. Canada out of Afghanistan NOW, not in 2014! No military intervention in Libya! Demand immediate NATO withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, and oppose any new military aggression. No war with Iran or North Korea! Respect international law – reject imperialist policies of “regime change” and nuclear first-strike. Oppose the weaponization of space and militarization of the Arctic. Support the global abolition of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction; get out of the NATO and NORAD military alliances. Make Canada a ‘safe haven’ for war resisters – no deportations! Scrap the F-35 and warship purchases – reduce the military budget by 75%. Convert military to civilian jobs – end military exports from Canada. Strengthen our historic friendship and trade with Cuba and expand relations with developing countries. Oppose Israeli apartheid – support a just peace in the Middle East based on total withdrawal of Israel from all occupied territories, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and the formation of an independent, viable Palestinian state. Cancel Third World debts.

Defend Medicare

No U.S.-style two-tiered health care! Strengthen and enforce the Canada Health Act; block provincial privatisation attacks on Medicare, and commit to a major reinvestment in the system. Halt and reverse the spread of private, for-profit clinics. Scrap the Drug Patent Act (which guarantees mega-profits for the big drug companies, and high costs for health care), and build a publicly-owned pharmaceutical sector. Expand Medicare to include eye, dental, pharmacare and long-term care. Stop the “war on drugs”; treat addiction as a medical problem, not a criminal act.

Expand universal social programs – end poverty

Act to combat poverty, especially among Aboriginal peoples, new immigrants, women, youth, seniors and persons with disabilities. Ban “workfare” and introduce a liveable guaranteed, annual income. Protect and expand the universal public pension system, including substantially higher CPP benefits. Enact early voluntary retirement at the age of 60. Re-establish and expand funding to provinces earmarked for health, education, social housing and welfare, and enhance all-Canada standards, while ensuring that Quebec retains control and administration of its own programs. Maintain equalization payments to provinces, and expand dedicated transfers for health, education, childcare, and social assistance.

Global environmental justice – act on climate change

Adopt emergency legislation to slash greenhouse gas emissions, and support reparations to countries affected by capitalist-driven climate change. Invest heavily to create jobs through renewable energy and conservation programs, and phase out coal-fired plants and terminate reliance on nuclear energy. Substantially expand urban mass transit, and eliminate fares by subsidizing the $3 billion in annual fare collections. Legislate stringent vehicle emission controls. Fund high-speed rail as a better alternative to highways and airlines. Ban “biofuels” derived from feed grains. Impose heavy fines and jail terms against polluters and destructive corporate practices, such as clear-cutting, in-ocean fish farming, and deep-sea draggers. Ban industrial development in parks.

Get out of NAFTA – Sovereignty, not capitalist “globalization”

Abrogate NAFTA and the ‘free trade’ deal with Colombia. Get out of the “Security and Prosperity Partnership”, the “Canada-European Union Trade Agreement” and other moves toward “deep integration” with the USA and EU. Cancel the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) which supersedes local government powers. Stop and reverse the expansion of U.S. and other transnational control over key sectors of the domestic economy.

Housing is a basic human right!

Take emergency action by investing at least 1% of annual federal and provincial budgets for a massive program of new social, cooperative and non-profit housing. Establish federal-provincial-municipal land banks. Ban evictions, mortgage foreclosures and utility cut-offs due to unemployment.

End “security state” laws

Repeal the Anti-Terrorism Act, and abolish secret detention without trial, “national security” certificates and the “no-fly list”. Rescind the new “border security declaration” which includes sharing information with the US Department of Homeland Security, and allows U.S. troops to enter Canada during “emergencies.” Ban “racial profiling” by the state. 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. Demand immediate release of child soldier Omar Khadr from Guantanamo Bay.

Justice for Aboriginal peoples and Quebec

Recognize the national rights of Aboriginal peoples and Quebec to self-determination, up to and including secession. Draft and adopt a new, democratic constitution based on an equal and voluntary partnership of the Aboriginal peoples, Quebec, and English-speaking Canada. Rescind the “Clarity” Act. Abolish the Senate. Remove vestiges of colonialism from all federal legislation; act now for just settlement of land claims, including natural resource-sharing agreements, without extinguishment of inherent Aboriginal title. Take emergency action to improve living conditions, employment, health and housing of Aboriginal peoples, and immediately end the racist and discriminatory cap on educational and health funding for treaty First Nations.

Full equality for women

Reverse the Harper attacks on women’s equality programs. Close the wage gap – legislate full pay and employment equity. Guarantee accessible and publicly funded abortion and reproductive rights services in every province and territory. Establish a publicly financed and administered system of universal, quality, affordable childcare with Canada-wide standards. Increase wages for child care workers. Protect women’s right to EI maternity coverage; expand parental benefits to 52 weeks. Fund equality-seeking women’s groups. End violence against women and provide adequate funding for crisis centres and transition houses. Restore funding to the Sisters In Spirit initiative on the thousands of missing and murdered Aboriginal women across Canada.

A future for youth – Education for all!

Increase federal support for universal, quality public education at all levels; rollback and eliminate tuition fees for post-secondary education. Stop the drive to ‘corporatize’ education, and protect free speech on campuses. Shift from loans to grants for student assistance. Significantly increase funding and access to training and apprenticeship programs. Build better schools and colleges, not more prisons and “boot camps.” Reject attempts to criminalize youth; restore the age of consent to 14.

Guarantee equality

Oppose all forms of racism and discrimination. Strengthen and enforce affirmative action and employment equity programs for Aboriginal peoples, racialized communities and persons with disabilities. Ban all discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Guarantee the rights of Aboriginal peoples and people with disabilities for equal access to social, medical and educational facilities and services. Strengthen laws and enforcement against hate crimes and neo-fascist groups, and prosecute war criminals living in Canada.

A Democratic Immigration Policy

No one is illegal; stop deportations of immigrants and refugees, and reverse cuts to legal aid. Repeal Bill C-50 and end the racist quota system which discriminates against immigrants from developing countries. Defeat Bill C-49, which criminalizes refugees entering Canada. Full redress for Chinese head-tax payers and their families. Scrap the “Live-in Caregiver” Program, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program.

Make every vote count

Enact mixed-member proportional representation and the right to recall MPs. Guarantee equal treatment for all registered political parties. Amend the Broadcast Act to give equal time to all parties, so that voters can make informed choices. Lower the voting age to 16. Conduct comprehensive enumeration before every election. Remove restrictions on the right of unions to donate to political parties; enforce the ban on corporate donations. Members of Parliament to receive the average workers’ wages and benefits.

A Bill of Rights for Labour

Enshrine in the constitution the right of workers to organize, strike and bargain collectively, and to take collective political action. Ban strike-breaking and scabbing. Strengthen labour standards; block anti-labour “right-to-work” laws. Place farm workers, domestic workers, and migrant workers under federal jurisdiction with full labour standards and the right to organize and bargain collectively. Make May 1 a statutory federal holiday.

A new deal for cities

Give constitutional status and wealth taxing powers to municipalities. Return 50% of gas and road user taxes to cities. Increase core funding for capital and operating costs of expanded mass urban transit. Rebuild crumbling municipal and provincial infrastructure. Reverse “downloading” which forces cities to pay for social programs. Re-establish low-interest loans to cities and towns.

Support family farms – defend Canada’s food sovereignty

Ensure Canada’s food sovereignty through policies that benefit family farms and fishers, including income supports – no more bankruptcies! Save the Canadian Wheat Board – expand or re-establish single-desk selling for more crops and livestock. Reduce rail freight rates and curb the agro-industrial monopolies; set price controls to reduce the cost of farm inputs. Increase food safety inspections. Set price controls on staple foods for Northern communities. Support organic farming; reduce the use of antibiotics, fertilizers, pesticides, and other potentially harmful farm inputs, and ban “terminator” seeds in Canada. Require labelling of genetically-modified food products, and reduce the scale of the GMO food system.