34 Fresh Green Directions For A Canada That Works. Together. (August 2015)

A vote for the Green Party in 2015 is a vote for a fresh approach and a new beginning for Canada: One Canada for all Canadians

  1. Root-and-branch tax reform: Redesign our tax system for a 21st-century economy and assure adequate revenues for our pressing collective priorities. Eliminate the exemptions, special cases, and tax breaks for favoured interests that have vastly increased the income tax system’s complexity and benefited those who need them least. Raise corporate tax rates from 15% to 19% by 2019 (and reduce the small business rate from 11% to 9%), and eliminate tax havens. Ensure the tax system helps, not hinders, Canadians making the transition from welfare to work. In general, tax income less, and consumption more.
  2. Establish a Guaranteed Liveable Income: Transform the jumble of federal and provincial tax, transfer and other measures into a GLI. As an immediate first step, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
  3. Establish a permanent independent Canadian Commission on Fiscal Transfers: Inject consistency and accountability into the equalization and transfer payments system. Achieve vital goals in such areas as affordable, accessible housing, child care and post-secondary education.
  4. Protect retirement security: Expand CPP/QPP – the most efficient, portable and equitable way to enlarge retirement savings nationwide, that accommodates the long-term interests of younger Canadians in a secure and affordable retirement system. Take immediate steps to ensure pensioners are well protected in the event of a company’s bankruptcy.
  5. A disability benefit system that makes sense: Streamline the mishmash of seven different disability-related programs (including CPP, EI, WC, and tax credits). Consider a national disability insurance scheme. Ensure our veterans have secure pensions and disability support.
  6. Promote training and further education: Fund two years of training or further education after high school, and put in measures to help eliminate student debt when entering the work force.
  7. EI and training that works for workers: Overhaul EI to serve the needs of today’s workers who are frequently in part-time and non-standard contract work. Provide effective apprenticeships and training for all who need it.
  8. A prescription for healthier health care: Develop and maintain national standards for health care services. Establish a federally-led Pharmacare program that will slash pharmaceutical costs through bulk-buying. Protect and promote our single payer universal health care system.
  9. Strengthen the Canadian economic union – Lower barriers, build bridges: End the mess of barriers to productive economic activity across provincial borders, which hinder employment and business opportunities for Canadians. (We still have more internal barriers province-to-province than the 28-member EU). Ensure universal recognition and portability of all educational/training certifications and credentials across Canada.
  10. Get serious about climate change: Take the lead in coordinating a national climate change plan, and at the Paris global climate change negotiations in December 2015. Put a price on carbon (through a carbon fee and dividend), invest in green infrastructure, do more to save energy in our homes, businesses and vehicles, and implement a comprehensive adaptation strategy.
  11. A digital economy strategy: Provide universal, affordable access to computers and high-speed Internet, with the federal government leading a focused collaborative effort with the provinces and private sector. Invest in networks and digital infrastructure to promote greater openness and access, and establish legal frameworks to provide more effective privacy protection. Ensure tougher enforcement of Canada’s net neutrality rules.
  12. Get our trade priorities right: Ensure fair trade and investment deals are transparent, based on the principle of reciprocity. Aim for tangible economic gains, including the creation of quality jobs, that do not undermine domestic laws, especially those concerning the environment and labour. Renegotiate any existing trade investor-state agreements that fail to meet these goals, and establish clear guidelines for future negotiations.
  13. Eliminate the infrastructure deficit: Create a Canadian Infrastructure Bank to provide more robust and innovative financing and investment partnerships, to ensure that we have safer bridges, better roads, clean water, affordable housing, efficient public transportation, and broadband access.
  14. Sustainability first: Grow jobs and prosperity in new sectors – such as clean-tech and green-tech – and secure substantial investment in basic and applied science. Insist that corporations pay for pollution and finance the cleanup legacy projects up front.
  15. Expand Canada’s scientific capacity: Support our scientists and scientific inquiry. Restore the principle of evidence-based decision-making. Establish effective, efficient environmental regulatory infrastructure.
  16. A national electricity grid: Build a more integrated national electricity market to reduce economic and environmental inefficiencies.
  17. Meet the productivity challenge: Move Canada away from an export economy based on large volumes of low-value exports – whether raw logs or raw bitumen – towards an economy that generates higher value-added exports.
  18. Give Canadian entrepreneurs an early hand: Facilitate increased access to early-stage financing for Canadian entrepreneurs, to jump-start good ideas and technology from the drawing board and the lab bench into the market, which will help create jobs.
  19. Support the family farm and farmer: Establish food security goals and support healthy local food for all Canadian families. Ensure Canadians living in our far north have access to affordable food. Rethink our corporate export agri-business model.
  20. Promote the arts and culture sector: Diversify and expand this sector as much for its significant commercial potential as its cultural importance. Restructure a CBC that is distinctly public and distinctly Canadian.
  21. Strengthen Canada’s global role: Increase our contribution and influence in global forums by strengthening our diplomatic skills and talent. Take the lead in global climate negotiations starting with the December 2015 COP21 meeting in Paris.
  22. Protect people worldwide: Take the lead with our allies to strengthen human security across the globe. Expand our peacekeeping capabilities. Use innovative means to address our complex world in which most violence occurs outside of formal conflict. Participate in effective international measures to end mass poverty, and encourage fundamental reforms to global governance structures.
  23. Overhaul our immigration and refugee protection system: Immigration is about welcoming new citizens, not meeting short-term employment needs.
  24. Better emergency preparedness and public safety at home: Invest in earthquake and tsunami response plans and procedures to bring Canadian disaster readiness up to world-class standards. Strengthen search and rescue capacity. Improve national regulations and oversight for everything from food safety to transportation safety – whether by ship, rail, road or pipeline. Strengthen the powers of the Canadian Medical Officer of Health to manage a national pandemic and other emergencies.
  25. Build a justice system that protects Canadians and the fundamentals of a free and democratic society: Repeal C-51, the new anti-terrorism legislation. Amend sentencing laws after seeking recommendations from an independent Law Reform Commission. Implement an independent transparent judicial appointments process.
  26. Strengthen environmental stewardship for Canada and the world: Improve regulation of air quality and toxins. Improve protection of national parks and marine protected areas. Better enforce and protect our species at risk.
  27. Create a Council of Canadian Governments: Chaired by the federal government, the Council will regularly bring together the provinces and territories, the municipal order of government, and Indigenous leadership to collaborate constructively on finding real solutions for the problems that concern all Canadians.
  28. Justice and Reconciliation for Indigenous Peoples: Negotiate comprehensive Indigenous self-governance arrangements and bury the Indian Act once and for all. Support a speedy move to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and build a framework for consultation in accordance with UNDRIP principles.
  29. Electoral reform: Replace the first-past-the-post system with a form of proportional representation within the first year of the next Parliament, after public consultation by an all-party committee.
  30. Overhaul the “Fair” Elections Act: Establish mechanisms that increase voter participation, not suppress it, and ensure greater fairness and accountability in election financing. Make the Commissioner of Canada Elections responsible for investigating campaign irregularities, reporting directly to Parliament.
  31. Eliminate the abuse of power by the Prime Minister’s Office: Immediately dismantle the tightly-run communications regime and the staff who operate the all-powerful command-and-control network. Remove all government advertising contracts, including government websites and paid media messages, from the control of political operatives. Overhaul the Accountability, Conflict of Interest, Privacy and Access to Information legislation.
  32. Revamp or replace the secretive Board of Internal Economy : Establish an independent agency, created by Parliament, to oversee and regulate MPs’ expenses and business costs. Modeled on the United Kingdom’s Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, its operations will be conducted with openness and transparency.
  33. Curtail patronage at all levels through the use of an independent Public Appointments Commission: Eliminate executive control over selection of members of boards and commissions, deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers, judicial and quasi-judicial positions.
  34. Restore the long-form census: Ensure parliament has all the necessary and accurate information to guide appropriate and effective actions on behalf of all Canadians and the Canadian national interest.