Michael Charrois: Conservative agenda focuses on wrong priorities for Canada

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      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.



      Harper pleads for a majority

      Apr 25, 2011 at 7:35pm

      Because you can't expect his unethical government to not get bounced from parliament when he is in office. It isn't like Canadians can expect anything different. Harper pleads for a majority tells Canadians
      if they don't to expect to find his government bounched from parliament again. Are Canadians going to keep their government honest or are they going to reward Harper for his dishonesty and lack of accountability at the polls? I used to think honesty was the most important quality but apparently keeping them fooled will also do. What a joke.

      Ken Lawson

      Apr 25, 2011 at 8:54pm

      But I do not like Arts and Culture, maybe you do but I prefer sports, do you think you could write something you know something about in Canada Michael

      Steve Y

      Apr 25, 2011 at 11:07pm

      Sigh... I'm voting for NDP this election but thank god this douchebag isn't in my riding. Harper's HST is giving the federal government lots of money? Too bad that's 100% BS, but don't let the facts distract you. Also more money for seniors? Uh, we don't have the money to pay seniors already, where are we going to get more? Tax the young you say? No thanks!

      Rolf Auer

      Apr 26, 2011 at 2:23am

      Check out The Harper Record (pdf, CCPA), Feb. 2006-Sept. 2008. Terrific record of Tory snafus. Please vote! Rolf Auer

      Barney Fife

      Apr 26, 2011 at 9:15am

      Harper's Sales Tax.

      Thomas Nicolson

      Apr 28, 2011 at 7:26am

      This kind of column is so full of misinformation that only the misinformed and uneducated will be duped by this avenue of thought. The main problem with the electorate in Canada is their lack of knowledge about the Canadian constitution which outlines provincial federal responsibilities. I will credit the NDP with bringing important issues to the table however this is federal election not a provincial election where most of their issues are to be dealt. The federal leavers with respects to social issues such as health or primarily financial. To that point only 25% of provincial health budgets are supplied by the federal government which has provided sustained funding increases of 6% annually for the past 7 years under both the Liberals and Conservatives. Childcare is also a provincial area...Quebec has proven that.

      On the HST, there are no additional revenues being received by the federal government. Additional revenues go to the provinces and the only additional revenues come from the services that were not taxed by PST (PROVINCIAL Sales Tax) prior to harmonization. It would seem to me that Mr. Charrios would be content with additional provincial revenues to help offset the cost of provincial responsibilities of which he champions.

      As for democracy, last time I checked we still have the right to vote and all this nonsense that the current government is anti democratic is pure opposition spin because they can't have things their own way. There is nothing in our constitution that says governing is a consensus and if the opposition doesn't like government proposals they can vote them down on those principals in a minority situation. Which I might add they did not do over 5 years. To that point they didn't even have the guts to vote on the latest budget which was received positively for the most part, instead they chose to abuse Parliament with very questionable contempt charges. If anyone followed the committees with respects the these charges, they would have seen they were about as fair as a kangaroo court. Their decisions were pre-written before having heard any testimony. The opposition was determined to bring the government down but didn't have the guts to do it on something concrete like a vote of confidence with respects to the budget. The rulings of the Speaker on these issues in my opinion were partisan and are a blight on his otherwise fairly unbiased tenure as speaker.

      One final note on Arts and Culture, if you actually did some research you with find that the arts and culture budgets have actually increased under this government not decreased. The problem here is the only thing that ever gets reported is when a change is made when a program is cut because it is under used or ineffective. It is never mentioned however that these funds are not actually cut but reallocated to more effective arts programs. Its time people actually do some research as the department budgets are all public record.
      I could keep on going but whats the point unless people actually get engaged and inform themselves from sources other than the media or people Like Michael Charrois who only speaks with NDP rhetoric and misinformation. Its no wonder people are tired of politics.