Michael Charrois: Conservative agenda focuses on wrong priorities for Canada
Canada is a fourth world country—a microcosm of the global village where everyone gets along and cares for each other because we know that we’re all in this together.
Our caring society is symbolized by our public health care system where no one gets left behind; our pension support for seniors so they can retire with dignity; and public support of the arts which brings us together to celebrate values like community, family, and our common heritage.
The federal government has lots of money—Harper’s new sales tax, the HST, has seen to that. When it comes to allocating those dollars, it’s all a matter of priorities: do we invest in killing machines or healing machines? Do we give it away as tax breaks to big business, or do we invest our tax dollars into building communities and enhancing the lives of Canadians?
The New Democrats invented Canada’s cherished health care system, and we are the only ones who can be trusted to protect it. We’ll make sure it’s there when you need it.
The last five years under the Conservative agenda, driven by theology, we have seen a steady erosion of democracy in Parliament and in our streets. We have seen purges, and silencing of dissenting voices.
As crime rates drop Conservatives cancel the long form census because the facts don’t support their agenda. I’m a big fan of the scientific method and I think public policy should be determined by science and reason instead of fear.
The “War on Drugs” policy is a failure. It’s time to accept the facts and end cannabis prohibition (which should be treated like a health issue rather than a moral issue). It’s time to regulate the wild-west black market and introduce taxation. It’s time to take the money out of the hands of organized crime and put it to use for society. It’s time to make sure cannabis is available only to adults.
Like the linesman stepping between two hockey goons, we need to give the bully his coat back and put on the blue beret of the UN peacekeeper—an international role that Canada has been proud to play. We need to take our focus off those offensive (in both senses of the word) weapons, the fighter jets, and start thinking about defending our huge coastline. A shift of Defense Department focus from air to sea procurement would be good news for the shipyards in North Vancouver and would help us to retain our waterfront industrial lands.
When we look to our own riding we see the importance of arts and culture. We are home to well over 5,000 film industry professionals with a $50-million payroll from our film studios, hundreds of artists and tens of thousands of culture consumers. As a professional actor (Equity and UBCP) I will make sure everyone knows about the huge economic spin off of investing in the arts; that more people work in the arts in B.C. than the oil and forestry sectors combined; that the arts promote strong caring values; but most importantly, going to arts and cultural events is fun and who can argue with having more fun in life?
I urge you to check out the New Democrats’ platform to see all the sensible, affordable first steps that we advocate at www.ndp.ca. Canadians are looking for progressive policies and in British Columbia Jack Layton and the New Democrats are the only alternative to the Conservatives.
Michael Charrois is the NDP candidate for North Vancouver.