Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Know Them - Here Are The Tory Promises

Hopefully this post will serve as a tool to help keep our Government accountable. Thanks to Politics Watch and the Toronto Star, I've been able to list Harper's top five priorities - clean up government, cut taxes, get tough on crime, decrease health-care wait times and address the fiscal imbalance. I have also listed five other priorities not so high up on the totem pole that Harper should/will have to address. Hope this helps.

Top Five Priorities

1. Federal Accountability Act

A summary can be found here and the whole thing, here.

Harper has promised the first bill he will table will be an act to clean up Government. This is a wide-ranging bill that deals with a number of key areas in politics and makes 52 specific changes.

2. GST

The Tories are promising to reduce the GST from seven to five per cent over the course of their mandate. They have promised an immediate one per cent cut. That cut will likely be part of a budget bill and would be a confidence vote.

3. Crackdown on Crime

The conservatives have promised the following:

  • 1 000 more RCMP positions
  • Work with the Provinces and municipalities to hire 2 500 more police officers
  • Crackdown on firearm smuggling
  • Strengthen border security
  • Impose mandatory minimum sentences for firearms crimes

4. Choice in Childcare Allowance

The Tories are proposing giving families a new $1 200 per year Choice in Child Care Allowance for each child under six and have already made changes that will see cheques flowing to families beginning on July 1. However, they plan to cancel Liberal child-care commitments at the end of this year and that is being met by resistance from the Opposition Parties and the Provinces.

5. Patient Wait Times Guarantee

The Conservatives are proposing a plan to work with the Provinces to develop a Patient Wait Times Guarantee to ensure that all Canadians receive essential medical treatment within clinically acceptable waiting times.

Other Priorities

Fiscal Imbalance

Harper also plans to meet the Premiers to deal with what is known as the fiscal imbalance. Harper's promise to address this issue helped his campaign gain strength in Quebec. It is not clear if he will be able to make any serious changes before the summer break, but if he does the Bloc has already said they would support the Tories on this.

Gay Marriage

Harper said he will deal soon with the gay marriage issue. He has promised to introduce a motion in the House to revisit the Government's bill legalizing gay marriage. That will be a free vote. Most of the 125 Tories are opposed to gay marriage and 26 of the Liberals who voted against the Government in the summer were re-elected. The vote will be close but many expect it will not pass.

The Military

Harper's first international trip, purposefully, was to visit the Canadian mission in Afghanistan. He did this to send a powerful message to the Defense Department and the troops, but also to Canadians. It is one of the safest issues on which Harper can get the country talking about the thorny old issues of identity politics, since it's easier to talk about the Canadian vision when it's up against a clear foreign enemy.

Senate Reform

Of all the "other" issues on the Harper agenda, this may have been the one that landed on his to-do list by accident. By appointing an unelected party backroom official to the Senate and his Cabinet - Michael Fortier, the Public Works Minister - Harper created himself a democratic problem he must hurry to fix.

Canada-U.S. Relations

American Ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, has welcomed a "fresh start" in Canada-U.S. relations and predicts the long-standing softwood lumber dispute to be resolved in a year. While the stubborn softwood lumber dispute has been simmering since ethe 1980s, Wilkins said there's now an awareness at the entry level in Washington and Ottawa that it is an "irritant" that must be resolved. Harper will need to produce results.


At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harper has rolled fiscal imbalance up into the health care issue - see the PM's website.

Wonder why?

You are framing these issues the way the Tories want you to. They win when this happens..... you are forced to think of their elephant (per Lakoff).

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Pedro said...

Hmmm... interesting. Can you elaborate?

At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Please don't adjust your post for curiouslitykilledthecat.

Your posts are fair and the reason why I read yours is because of that.

The last thing we want is empty spin. Harper may be rolling fiscal imbalance into healthcare, but I've seen that your posts were based on facts from the media.

Don't change that. This post was meant to be neutral. And it was.

At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harper unlike any liberal leader will keep his five core promises.Enjoy the party while it lasts.


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