Saturday, February 16, 2008

it's time to get serious

Although the platforms of the NDP, Liberal, and P"C" parties appear to disagree with Professor Mintz' belief that "As first order of business, Canadian and provincial governments should reduce corporate income taxes" (since I can't find it ANYWHERE in their orders of business, never mind first), it doesn't seem likely that the candidates for those parties will be jumping at the chance to take on Mintz. It doesn't serve Albertans well to hear only one side of an argument, so I've looked around elsewhere on the web for some opposition.

But before we get to that, let's ask ourselves why candidates aren't talking about policy. It seems to me that they are too busy supporting positions like "affordable housing" that nobody opposes. Or perhaps you, dear reader, support UNaffordable housing! How does announcing positions like that help inform the public policy debate? Would it be more respectful of the other candidates if I came across less challenging and said similar uncontroversial things like "I will celebrate community heroes"? Arguably, no, because for a position like that to be relevant to the question of who to elect I would have to be implying that the other candidates would NOT be doing that. OF COURSE whoever is MLA will try to identify local role models and encourage youth to "buy in" to our community so that they feel they have a stake in a crime-free, positive community and so on and so forth. That's an MLA's job, at least in my view, and the extent to which the MLA is working in the community will be more a function of his or her work ethic than his or her political platform. What distinguishes us as candidates is what you can expect of our committee work not our ribbon cutting.

The real question is what are we going to do to improve things like access to healthcare or affordable housing. Introduce rent controls? For which buildings and why? What about new residents to the riding? What about all the other costs of living? Is spending more on healthcare the only solution to that question? How about exploring more innovative methods of healthcare delivery, like my party's plan to run a pilot in a smaller health district where, as part of a universal coverage plan, funding would follow the patient instead of being modeled after the per capita funding currently in place today. Healthcare providers would then get paid for the services they give to their customers. My point is simply that it is time to get serious about this issues and we do that by considering the details.

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