It's been a while since my last post, but with the provincial election on the way, it's time to weigh in on the platforms of the various parties, and see who the blog endorses.
First up, the governing party: the NDP. Here's their plan.
Followed by the opposition: the PC's. Here's their plan.
Finally, the perpetual also-rans: the Liberals. Here's their plan.
Right off the bat, the Liberals have an advantage. Their platform is coordinated in one .pdf document. I normally hate .pdf files, but I do like having everything in one convenient document, rather than spread across multiple .html files, or, for some absurd reason, multiple .pdf files. It is 2011, surely these parties can hire someone with enough web design sense to let me see the entire platform without having to load a half dozen pages. We all have broadband now.
Now that the petty rant is over let's get to the meat. I'm going to go over what I see as the highlights (and lowlights) of the plans by topics of my choice.
The NDP spends a few paragraphs bragging about their fiscal irresponsibility and slagging the PC's. On the other hand, they do promise to end the small business tax, a surprisingly wise move from them.
The PC's predictably slag the NDP's economic performance. They promise to reduce red tape by 20% and establish a more transparent procedure for creating regulations, which is a fantastic promise. They promise a decrease in income taxes and a permanent Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit (yawn).
The Liberals promise to reduce marginal tax rates. Outside of their platform, they promise to eliminate the payroll tax.
For some reason, the "conservative" party is offering less tax cuts than the other parties. Anyway, this goes to the Liberals. Eliminating the payroll tax is simply smart policy.
The NDP has promised deficits until 2014, and rewrote balanced budget legislation to allow them to do so.
For some reason, the PC's think it is smart to be even more fiscally irresponsible and promise to have deficits until 2018, blaming the NDP for lying about Manitoba's fiscal problems. Given the lies the NDP has spread about the bipole costs, I'm willing to believe the PC's on that, but still, a conservative party should at least pretend to be more fiscally responsible than the social democrats. At least they make vague promises to try to end our have-not status (an admirable goal, but there's no substance to the promise). They also promise the ever-popular reduce "waste and mismanagement".
While not in their actual platform document, the Liberals vaguely promise to "act fiscally responsible."
Sadly, that vague promise is the most fiscally responsible of the 3 plans; it beast 8 years of deficits or rewriting the law to spend irresponsibly, then bragging about it. So I guess, fiscal responsibility goes to the Liberals. (sigh...)
As far as I can tell, the NDP do not mention their obstinate idiocy on this subject in their platform (embarrassment, perhaps?), preferring instead to lie about the PC's planning to privatize Hydro, despite there being a law that they cannot do so without a plebiscite. Although, I guess it is possible for the PC's could simply do what the NDP and simply rewrite the laws constraining their ideological impulses.
The PC's predictably promise to move it down the East Side. A good plan.
The Liberals have the intriguing under-the-lake plan. If John Ryan's figures are correct and it could come in at under $2-billion, I'd support this plan. That the Liberal platform said they would only do this if it was "feasible and affordable" makes it even better.
The NDP lose on the Bipole. The PC's and Liberals tie, because the PC's plans are known to be possible, while the Liberal's plan while theoretically better is untested.
My position on the Bipole has already been posted.
New West Partnership
The NDP do not seem to mention their refusal to enter the New West Partnership. The PC's promise to enter the partnership in their platform. The Liberals do not seem to mention it in their platform, but they promise to join elsewhere. To be fair to the NDP, it seems that they changed their mind on their initial refusal and have been exploring the partnership, but that's a little too bit, a little too late.
PC's and Liberals tie.
Law and Order
PC's: Gang database, more police, fugitive lists and bounties, and more prosecutors. Typical tough on crime stuff, I like it.
NDP: More police, more prosecutors, some community programs. A solid plan.
Liberals: More use of police Cadets, an FASD
Why bother? They all promise more money, more doctors, more nurses, less hallway medicine, etc., etc. The specifics of the more doesn't matter, it's all more or less the same track with difference emphasis. None are promising any underlying reforms and nothing will change. The demand for free health care will continue to grow, and so will the costs, and there will be no real improvement in service.
The NDP promise 6500 new spaces and 1000 new nursery spaces.
The PC's offer a child care tax benefit.
The Liberals offer more spaces and the integration of some child care into public schools.
The PC's have the best plan. The government should not be subsidizing the lifestyle choices of those choosing to work over those where a parent stays home.
All three parties support freezing tuition at inflation. The Liberals and NDP promise to expend the education rebate program. The NDP promise to increase spending on post-secondary education by 5% a year.
No one wins on post-secondary education, as a tuition freeze is a horrible policy. The PC's do slightly less worse, because they don't promise to expand the useless rebate program.
The Liberals and NDP offer a bunch of relatively meaningless fluff on education. The only seemingly important thing here is the Liberal plan provide affordable broadband to everybody, not sure what I think about that.
The PC's don't seem to mention education, except to say they will put police officers in schools. They mention some happy sounding progressive-babble about "counseling" and "relationships", but police in schools. This is Canada. Why the hell do we want or need police in our schools? This plans reeks of police state. I simply can not vote for a party advocating police officers in schools.
Anyway, I think the Liberals win the blog's endorsement (sigh...). Ending the payroll tax is a great idea, the NDP are sticking with the West Side route despite all the evidence that it is a wasteful idea, and the PC's want to put police in schools (police in schools!!!) and spend 8 years in deficit.
I have never voted Liberal before, but I guess I will have to swallow my bile, hold my nose, and vote, (then probably try to drink away the feeling of uncleanliness and corruption) the other options are horrible.
The only consolation I have is that this is the provincial party. If this was the federal Liberals, well, I have all the disdain any Westerner has had for the party since the abomination that was the Trudeau years, and I probably would refuse to vote if the Liberals were were the best option. Even so, this is going to be one hard election day.
Sadly, the Freedom Party doesn't seem to exist anymore, because after reading these platforms I really wish I had a third (fourth party, I guess would be more accurate?) to dump my vote on.