The (Right) News Rundown
Federal NDP Leadership Candidate Showcase
- All members who join the party by August 17, 2017 are eligible to vote.
- The vote will be carried out via mail ballot and online ballot.
- The vote will be a preferential ranked ballot.
- The polls for the first ballot open on September 18th and close on October 1, 2017.
- If no candidate receives 50% + 1 of the vote on the first ballot the last place candidate is dropped and the second ballot opens on October 2, 2017.
- The second ballot continues until October 8, 2017 at that point the procedure will repeat for a third ballot if required beginning on October 9, 2017 and ending October 15, 2017.
- Once again if no candidate receives the required number of votes a fourth ballot will open on October 16, 2017 running through October 22, 2017.
- The final ballot if required will run from October 23 through October 29, 2017.
- First elected in the 2004 election for the riding of Timmins - James Bay and was the NDP Indigenous and Northern Affairs critic.
- Prior to entering public life he was a community activist and author. He has 7 published books including biographies and works of fiction.
- Policy wise Angus has a focus on housing as a right, indigenous children, climate change, and “the new working class”
- His housing policy focuses on a “National Low Income Housing Benefit” that addresses the problem of affordability without formal social housing. This policy plank requires an investment of $1.1b per year that would supposedly help house “nearly a million people affordably and securely.”
- The policy goes further and allocates $1b a year for new affordable housing working with the provinces and territories to build 10-15,000 new homes a year and fund them for 25 years.
- Unlike Caron and others, the climate policy that Angus puts out is limited. Charlie Angus calls for a national carbon budget, which is effectively a legislated cap on emissions nationwide, a National Carbon Budget Council that will advise the government on setting the carbon budget, a new crown corporation that would help drive sustainable development (i.e. energy infrastructure or public transit), and also eliminating subsidies directed at the oil and gas sector.
- Under Angus’ “Better Deal for the New Working Class” he vows to increase the federal minimum wage to $15/hr and index it to inflation. He also wants to increase EI benefits by decreasing the minimum number of hours required to 360.
- What is novel is that this plan will also look at women making $30,000 a year or less and will increase maternity benefit to 70% of their salary up to the maximum insurable earnings.
- The only candidate who is not an MP, Singh is a member of the Ontario legislature since 2011 as the MPP for Bramalea-Gore-Malton, in the Greater Toronto Area.
- He is the first turban-wearing Sikh to sit as a provincial legislator in Ontario, as well as the first to hold a deputy leader position in Canada. He has said that if he wins the leadership, he will run for MP in the 2019 election which CBC describes as being “reminiscent to Jack Layton” who won in 2003, and ran in the 2004 election.
- Before entering politics, Singh was a trial lawyer. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Western Ontario in 2001 and a Bachelor of Laws degree from York University's Osgoode Hall Law School in 2005. Singh stated that his background in criminal defence contributed to his decision to enter politics, particularly his work “advocating for the protection of rights entrenched in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”
- He is fluent in English, French, Hindi, Tamil and Punjabi.
- Like the other NDP candidates, Singh’s policies are based around a drastic shift in taxation, environmental policy, and social justice, with most of his efforts being put into climate change and the environment. His policy website reads like it was designed by a lawyer as well, with some translation needed to put it into everyday English. Some highlights include:
- A major emphasis on green infrastructure and climate change
- A nationalised public transit program
- Phasing out the coal industry by 2030, and retraining coal industry worker into “greener” industries
- A “Zero Emission Vehicle” strategy to increase affordability and availability of electric cars by taxing high emission vehicle owners and companies
- A “Green Building Compact” to make the building code more carbon neutral
- Like other candidates, a cancellation of all subsidies to natural resource companies, and to use “tax incentives and rebates on goods, services, and investments to help us collectively meet our climate goals”, as well as implementing a carbon tax
- Create an independent Climate Change Action officer of parliament mandated to report on emission reductions including targets required by the Paris Agreement.
- Probably Singh’s boldest environment plan is to harness Canada’s status as a “hydroelectricity superpower” to “connect the country through a national east-west renewable electricity supergrid that links the country’s vast renewable resources”
- On his website, Singh sings the praises of the climate change policies of the two NDP Premiers, BC’s Horgan and Alberta’s Notley: “It’s also no secret that there are those attempting to use the pipeline issue to drive a wedge between two of the NDP’s most admirable provincial leaders. Both Rachel Notley and John Horgan should be commended by Canadians.”
- Singh also pledges a “Canadians with Disabilities Guarantee”, which would provide those living with disabilities with a non-taxable living income. Singh also wants to combine Old Age Security into other seniors benefits, which would actually end up lower the amount of money that seniors would get from OAS.
- He also wants to increase the taxable benefit for low income full time workers, which would basically do the same as increasing the minimum wage.
- Singh also wants to cancel unpaid internships, and make temp workers into permanent workers after 6 months. This would impact tourism, agriculture and other temp based industries dramatically.
- Singh decries the Liberal Infrastructure bank, and pledges that “every public dollar is put to its best possible use” under the “Community Benefits Agreements” which would increase the say of local community organizations on local infrastructure projects.
- He also would immediately implement a $15 per hour minimum wage for federal employees, and have it keep pace with inflation
- Singh’s taxation plan produces wide sweeping changes.
- He wants to introduce new tax brackets for high incomes earners, including two new tax brackets for Canadians earning $350,000 and $500,000 respectively that are 2% and 4% higher than the existing marginal rate respectively
- Increase Capital Gains Tax from 50% to 75%
- A 40% estate tax on assets in surplus of $4 million dollars exempting primary residences
- Reverse the corporate tax cuts of the last 20 years and increase the Corporate Income Tax to 19.5% from 15%
- As we mentioned on Episode 25, the NDP leadership candidates were asked about the “Regina Manifesto” which was adopted by the CCF in 1933 and which piece of that vision should be brought into Canada today. The CCF was the precursor to the modern NDP. This document states, “No CCF Government will rest content until it has eradicated capitalism and put into operation the full programme of socialized planning which will lead to the establishment in Canada of the Cooperative Commonwealth.” Put simply this means that the current crop of NDP candidates feel that capitalism should be reigned back or limited in Canada.
- Singh in the July debate has advocated for income redistribution. He states, “people have wealth and they need to transfer that wealth to those living in poverty now.” He feels that wealth transfers are different than social programs and should play a place in Canada.
- Based on this, we can tell that Singh’s policies would change the economy of Canada and impact how companies would do business in Canada.
- First elected in the 2011 election for the riding of Rimouski-Neigette Témiscouata—Les Basques and was the NDP finance critic.
- Before running in the previous three federal elections (2004, 2006, 2008) he was an economic researcher for the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada
- Caron’s primary policy platform is rooted in his “Basic Income Action Team”. This means that he feels that the government should provide a “Basic Income for all Canadians” that covers food, shelter, and clothing.
- Caron also aims to pursue “climate justice” for Canada. Climate justice refers to our, “responsibility to act now to avert the catastrophic effects of climate change”
- Aside from increased funding to public transit this also includes a carbon tax much like the current federal government aims to implement except hitting the $50/tonne target in 2020 rather than the Liberal government’s target of 2022.
- This tax will increase to $100/tonne in 2025 and $150/tonne by 2030.
- Caron also wants to begin the phase out of fossil fuel powered cars with a target of having 50% of all vehicles be electric by 2041.
- Caron is also calling for a “Carbon Border Adjustment Tax” when put simply is a tariff on goods coming into Canada. He says revenues generated will be rebated to Canadian companies whose sales are harmed due to “less rigorous carbon tax schemes than our own.” What this ultimately does is increase the price of everything coming across our border and violates the very policies of our free trading partners.
- What’s more is that in addition to goods coming across the border Caron is willing to totally overhaul the National Energy Board (the board that makes energy decisions) to fit with his goal of a future for renewable energy. What this of course neglects is that the economy of western Canada is driven by the energy industry -- this is also good for eastern Canada as a project in Alberta has an economic flow down to Ontario and Quebec.
- When it comes to tax policy, Caron’s policies will drastically cool the Canadian economy. Caron wants to raise taxes on the middle class and transfer the Trudeau government’s middle class tax cut to those making under $45k a year. He wants an inheritance tax of 45% on assets over $5m and a wealth tax of 1% of net worth on the wealthiest 10% of the population. This affects personal investment choices and of course with that has an influence on where and how money is kept. The real point though is that he wants to increase the corporate tax rate from 15% to 19%. While still below the current American tax rate of 35% this will have a chilling effect on the economy.
- Finally, when it comes to democracy Caron has stated that the first Act of his government will be related to electoral reform. He will establish a mixed-member proportional system and Canadians will get to ratify the system after two election cycles under the new voting system.
- First elected in 2008 at the age of 26 as an MP for the riding of Churchill. Longest elected MP in the race, but also the youngest candidate, beating out Singh by 4 years
- Won the NDP nomination for Churchill in 2005 at just 23, came in 2nd place in the 2006 election.
- Also ran in the 2012 NDP leadership race, and was eliminated on the first ballot in 7th place
- Currently the NDP critic for Jobs, Employment and Workforce Development, has also been the critic for Post-Secondary and Youth, Rural and Community Development, and Status of Women.
- Daughter of former Manitoba provincial NDP cabinet minister Steve Ashton, who served in Gary Doer and Greg Selinger’s cabinet, and was an MLA for 35 years.
- In May 2017, Ashton announced that she was pregnant and expecting a child in November, possibly a few days after the NDP leadership election. She has stated that "Like millions of Canadian women I will carry on my work", and intends to continue with her leadership campaign.
- Ashton isn’t afraid to label herself a democratic socialist, and as leader of the NDP she vowed she would shift the NDP further to the left.
- Ashton has a very detailed website outlining her policies. As expected of an NDP candidate, most of her core planks highlight different social justice issues, and she uses that phrase quite liberally on her website. Some of her policies include:
- Justice for Indigenous Peoples - Ashton wishes to continue the work of the Truth and Reconciliation commission, and end economic discrimination against First Nations by providing better government services to reserves and providing better housing, drinking water, education, health care, and to help address the high rates of incarceration and suicide. One interesting, but likely costly idea she has is the creation of “urban reserves”: First Nations reserves near to population centers, but has no plan for how to fund this idea.
- Eliminating Tuition Fees and Strengthening Public Post-Secondary Education - Ashton wants to make post-secondary free for anyone wishing to partake, and helping eliminate student loan debt. She also wants to lower tuition fees on international students, which she refers to as “exploitation”, and to allow international students the same healthcare as Canadians, and to more easily apply for citizenship
- Racial Justice: Dignity and Respect - Ashton believes that our “criminal justice system upholds the oppression of racialized communities, while fostering Islamophobia, anti-black racism, and violence towards Indigenous peoples”, and that “This is a result of centuries of colonization and systemic racism in our institutions”. She plans to do this by drastically reforming the police and RCMP, and the border services, and by expanding rights to those convicted of a crime, as well as repealing the safe third country agreement for the United States “while it continues Islamophobic practises and directly oppresses folks who have entered the United States as a safe haven”
- Environmental Justice - Ashton wants to immediately implement practices that would help to combat climate change, which she feels is directly created by “Corporations and the neoliberal agenda”. In doing so, she wants to do this by heavily taxing industries in Canada, especially natural resource companies and manufacturing companies, and by implementing a carbon tax to help pay for green retrofits and “low carbon housing”. But don’t worry, she feels that “running a deficit today to finance the capital investments we need for a prosperous green future tomorrow will more than repay itself moving forward.”
- Ending Gender Violence and Discrimination - Ashton wishes to tackle this problem “with a strong feminist vision”, and by listening to “women and trans folk”
- Economic Justice - Ashton promises to bring “equality to the workplace”, create a living income policy that rises to keep up with the cost of living, raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy, reduce of corporate concentration in industries, invest in public and social ownership of key businesses, make pharmaceutical companies government owned and controlled. Or, to sum up: SOCIALISM. She also makes note that “even more [Canadian] jobs are being put on the line by political bullying from the likes of Donald Trump.”
- Fair Taxes for a Just Society - When it comes to taxation, Ashton does not do any half measures, and any, let alone all, of her plans would dramatically alter the Canadian economy and the way Canada does business. Ashton wants to create new tax brackets and more heavily tax not just the top 1%, but the top 5%, or as she refers to it as, any household making over 120,000 a year. She also wishes to treat capital gains as wage income, which would drastically alter the real estate market, the auto industry, and other high cost industry, and the stock market. As well, she plans to double the average corporation tax rate to 21%, and to tax banks on any profitable transaction. She also wants to eliminate any subsidies to natural resource companies and by creating a progressive wealth tax, an estate tax, half TFSA and RRSP contribution limits, and introduce a 0.5 Transaction tax on all purchase of stocks which she refers to as a “Robin Hood Tax on Bay Street”
- A Just Peace in the Middle East - Ashton’s website page on the Middle East is only a few sentences long, in comparison to her veritable essays on Climate Change and Economic Justice. How after doing a little digging, it’s easy to see why.
- Ashton supports the creation of the state of Palestine, which she calls “a just and equal peace for all in the Middle East” but has attended a rally in Montreal remembering the Nakba, an Arabic term criticising the creation of the modern state of Israel. Ashton also posted photos on her Facebook page showing her in front of posters depicting the likeness of Ahmad Sa’adat, the jailed leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which the Canadian government has labeled a terrorist organization.
- Ashton said, "It was also powerful to join many at a rally in solidarity with those on hunger strike in Palestine today. The NDP must be a voice for human rights, for peace and justice in the Middle East. I am inspired by all those who in our country are part of this struggle for justice."
- Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith Canada’s chief executive officer, said Ashton failed to say most of the hunger strikers had been imprisoned for committing terrorist attacks that killed Israeli civilians. He said Sa’adat "is a murderer" who served a 10-year sentence for assassinating Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi. "This is the leader of a listed terrorist organization, and here we have an MP seeking to lead her party — and possibly the country, too — promote a symbol of a banned terrorist group," he said. "It doesn’t get any worse than that."
- As Ashton herself says, “I have consistently spoken out for peace and justice in the Middle East, including for Palestinians...as someone who is completing a PhD in peace and conflict studies, it is clear to me that one must speak out in the face of injustice”
- Against Kinder Morgan - She justifies cancelling the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion in BC, which has already been approved by the federal government, because it would be “respecting the views of First Nations and British Columbians” as the new Green propped up BC NDP government “was formed because of common ground on key issues, particularly opposition to Kinder Morgan.” She forgets that British Columbians are actually deeply divided on this issue, and that the current government is just barely being propped up, and therefore does not have a clear mandate to meddle and reverse decisions already made.
- After reading all of these policies, it is clear to me that Niki Ashton would dramatically change Canada in her own socialist vision were she ever to get anywhere near to a position where she would be able to pass her own policy decisions. In my opinion, implementing her platform would not only put the government deeply into debt, but it would severely cripple the Canadian economy, and the purchasing power of everyday Canadians, all in the name of “justice” and “equality”
Word of the Week
1 just behavior or treatment: a concern for justice, peace, and genuine respect for people.
• the quality of being fair and reasonable: the justice of his case.
• the administration of the law or authority in maintaining this: a tragic miscarriage of justice.
• (Justice) the personification of justice, usually a blindfolded woman holding scales and a sword.
How to Find Us
Episode Title: Justice in the NDP Leadership Race
Teaser: A special Right Side episode! We profile the 4 federal NDP leadership candidates and policies that could majorly impact the Canadian economy. Also, a quick rundown of major headlines, including housing allowances, Trans Mountain, and Brad Wall retiring.
Recorded Date: August 12, 2017
Release Date: August 12, 2017
Edit Notes: None