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Thinking outside of the Red / Blue box

Reccesoldier

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I already posted this on another Canadian politics site I belong to but the people there seemed more inclined to political partisanship than actually thinking along a completely different track, so I thought I'd bring it here and see what Army.ca pundits could do with it.

Stricken with too much time on my hands, a fertile imagination and no federal party which truly reflects my ideals I began to wonder what would my ideal party look like? What would be the policies? How would I tackle the problems facing the federal government in the most general way?

Well I began to write this and realized that for one person to come up with a party platform was kind of like mental masturbation, it felt good but really didn’t accomplish anything else. With no give and take I’m unable to measure the validity of my suggestions and left only to look to myself for good ideas. Though I believe I do have a few.

So now I’m bringing my ideas here for the good people of this site and those of a similar and perhaps not so similar a political persuasion to assist me in this little mental activity.

I welcome all constructive criticism you have, but please let’s try to keep this purely in the realm of the possible. Let us also not stray too far into conspiracy or turn this into another platform in which to attack the current political parties in this country.

Feel free to add a section of your own if you think I’ve missed something important.

I hope this hypothetical exercise can lead us all to realize just how close we may be on the issues of the day.

Without further ado, I give you the…

National Progressive Party:

Socially progressive, fiscally conservative, unabashedly Canadian.

Policy/Platform Debates

Foreign Affairs
1 Strengthen and aggressively defend Canada’s claims of northern sovereignty over the Northwest Passage.
2 Work with Denmark and the USA to establish and recognize Canada’s arctic borders.
3 Continue to honour our treaty commitments to NATO, NORAD and the UN.
4 Establish a Canadian center for democratic assistance, to foster liberal democratic ideals in emerging/transitioning states.
5 Proactively assist or guide emerging, transitioning and failing states.
6 Utilize NGO’s to deliver foreign aid to states who’s governments are, or are suspected, of diverting such funds to their own ends
7 Deliver on the promised 0.7% of GDP for foreign aid.
8 Promote and foster Canadian trade and industry abroad

National Defence
1 Establish binding force levels for the Canadian Forces (75,000) and Reserves (50,000)
2 Organize the Army into 1 Heavy Mechanized Brigade Group (Stationed in Wainwright Alta), 2 Light Mechanized Brigade Groups (Stationed in Gagetown NB and Valcartier PQ) and 1 Airmobile/Airborne Expeditionary Force (Stationed in Petawawa On.)
3 Reorganize the Army into permanently formed Battle Groups within these 4 brigades while maintaining Regimental titles, traditions and heritage.
4 Establish two permanent Northern Battle Groups located in Whitehorse and Iqualuit
5 Honour the commitment to purchase heavy lift aircraft and ships for the Airforce and Navy.
6 Investigate the feasibility of using armed ocean going hovercraft for ice breaking and patrolling the Canadian Arctic.
7 Investigate the practicality and utility of Ballistic Missile Defence

Trade
1 Work with the Council of the Federation to eliminate all trade barriers between provinces.
2 Actively and aggressively seek free trade opportunities outside of NAFTA.
3 Work with our NAFTA partners to streamline and fix the dispute resolution system.
4 Institute limits of foreign ownership and control of sensitive National Resources/Industries.
5 Establish the Canadian Defence Industry as a protected industry requiring not less than 50% Canadian content for all defence procurement.

Immigration and Asylum
1 Institute a national immigration policy that recognizes and rewards not only professional credentials but skilled and unskilled trade’s qualifications of immigrants as well.
2 Reserve the right to settle immigrants in regions which require their expertise or skills and require them to remain in that area for a period of not less than 3 years.
3 Institute a no tolerance policy toward any immigrant who is convicted of a federal, violent or drug offence in Canada before gaining citizenship, requiring immediate deportation from Canada to his/her homeland without appeal.
4 Make fraudulent asylum claimants subject to immediate deportation.
5 Fast track citizenship for immigrants who serve for a minimum of 5 years in the Canadian Forces.
6 Require extended families of immigrants to be assessed for immigration on an as required basis.

Health Care
1 Investigate alternate delivery of medical services and infrastructure within the universally accessible publicly funded system.
2 Guarantee federal assistance to the provinces on a per capita basis to assist with universal public healthcare.
3 Guarantee Health Care monies allocated to the provinces are spent on public health care.

Education
1 Work together with all the Provinces to create a single Canada wide education standard.
2 Work with the Provinces to institute Canadian civics instruction at the high school level.
3 Work with the Provinces to ensure access to official second language education.
4 Work in conjunction with public and private sectors to create a Federal Scholarship Plan.
o Guaranteed entry and paid tuition to University for all Students in a University entry level program that achieve a minimum average of 80% in grades 9 through 12.
o Guaranteed entry and paid tuition to College for all Students in a College/Technical School entry level program that achieve a minimum average of 80% in grades 9 through 12.
o Continuation of the Federal Scholarship would be guaranteed for all students who achieve a 75% average during each full time University or College year.

Law and Order
1 Harmonize the age of maturity. All persons legally an adult at 16. Work with provinces to harmonize the age of consent.
2 Toughen sentences for violent crime, crime involving the use of a weapon, crimes against children, the elderly and infirm.
3 Regulate, tax and legalize Marijuana similarly to Alcohol.
4 Regulate, tax and legalize prostitution in designated areas.
5 Uphold the current marriage definition.
6 Require all Justices of the peace hired from now on to perform all legal marriages.
7 Grandfather current JP’s with conscientious objections to SSM but guarantee citizens access to the service where conscientious objectors currently practice.
8 Affirm that Canadian Law as the only recognized law in Canada.

Abortion
1 Respect a woman’s right to choose but place a reasonable time limit (4 weeks from discovery of the pregnancy?) after which abortion can no longer be carried out unless required for medical reasons.

Democratic Reform
1 Voting age reduced to 16.
2 Investigate Proportional Representation in conjunction with the Council of the Federation and a Citizens Caucus and commit to a system of proportional representation within 3 years.
3 Appoint only democratically elected Senators, Assist the provinces with the cost of senatorial elections.
4 Make voting in Federal elections mandatory.
5 Include on all federal ballots a “none-of-the-above” selection
6 Cease all governmental assistance to news agencies
7 Prescribe limits on Federal advertising immediately prior to an election or during a minority government parliament.

Culture
1 Continue to respect Canada’s Multicultural mosaic.
2 Continue to support official bilingualism.
3 Cease government funding of all community associations and cultural centers.
4 Continue to support Canadian art, literature and entertainment.

Environment
1 Set incremental (3 year) environmental objectives to bring Canada into compliance with the Kyoto Protocol by 2021.
2 Utilize federal powers to legislate compliance with environmental objectives.
3 Resolve to never buy environmental pollution credits from the developing world

Welfare
1 Institute federally and provincially funded skills retraining and enhancement programs to enable persons to achieve financial independence of government subsidies.
2 Eliminate welfare fraud
3 Limit the length of time an able-bodied person can receive welfare benefits.
4 Institute workfare programs in conjunction with the provinces directed toward works for the public good for those able bodied persons unwilling to undergo retraining or skills enhancement.

Provincial Federal relations
1 Work with the Provinces through the Council of the Federation not as the director of the process but as an interested third party and honest broker
2 Treat all provinces equally
3 Invite provincial authorities (in a limited capacity) to join federal government authorities at international conferences, meetings or symposiums in which a significant segment of the provinces revenue, industry or culture is affected by the negotiations or outcome of negotiations.

Monetary Policy
1 Investigate the economic effects of placing a substantial reserve requirement on all banks including the Bank of Canada in order to reign in paper credit transactions.
 

a_majoor

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Sounds like a laundry list of the "best of" policy proposals from all the various parties, including some I recognize from the Reform Party.

My question to you is this: what is the philosophical underpinning of this National Progressive Party? Once the underlying philosophy is identified, than many policy proposals will seem to fall in place, while others will haver to be struck as beinmg opposed to your philosophy. The divide between the LPC and CPC [positions on child care are based on philosophy, the Liberals believe that central regulation makes people's lives better, while the CPC belives people can make thier own choices on the basis of enlightened self interest.
 

Reccesoldier

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a_majoor said:
Sounds like a laundry list of the "best of" policy proposals from all the various parties, including some I recognize from the Reform Party.

My question to you is this: what is the philosophical underpinning of this National Progressive Party? Once the underlying philosophy is identified, than many policy proposals will seem to fall in place, while others will haver to be struck as beinmg opposed to your philosophy. The divide between the LPC and CPC [positions on child care are based on philosophy, the Liberals believe that central regulation makes people's lives better, while the CPC belives people can make thier own choices on the basis of enlightened self interest.

The line "Socially progressive, fiscally conservative, unabashedly Canadian." isn't just a placeholder. ;D  Think of the philosophy as rational Libertarianism, that is to say Libertarianism with all the wishy washy dreaming on how people/government aught to be organized and act removed. We are who we are and the system is what it is, change may come to that reality but it will be slow and incremental.  Any change has to be couched in the language and reality of today not dreams and wishes.

As far as the "best of" policies, well why not?  That is the overriding idea, to take the best of the spectrum of political dialog and craft a truly centrist platform.  There is no need for people to have to choose right or left, the devil you know or the one you don't.  That is the politics of division and as such is a inefficient and inefective way to implement change or run a nation. 

 

DBA

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Without an articulated philosophical position your up a creak when explaining your actions when policies conflict with each other and tradeoffs need to be made. An example would "Cease government funding of all community associations and cultural centers" while saying you also "respect Canada’s Multicultural mosaic."
 

Reccesoldier

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DBA said:
Without an articulated philosophical position your up a creak when explaining your actions when policies conflict with each other and tradeoffs need to be made. An example would "Cease government funding of all community associations and cultural centers" while saying you also "respect Canada’s Multicultural mosaic."

I would obviously disagree. 

It is not the job of government to ensure that a culture survives, that is the job of those who consider themselves to be a part of it.  Respect for Canada's cultural reality does not mean that Government must put this diversity on the payroll.  There are so many other more worthy programs and practices that we as a people could demand of our government.  It's a question of priorities, would you rather see fewer homeless in downtown west-side Vancouver or help fund a Punjabi Dance troop in Delta? Wherein lies the just society? Where do the rational and caring ideals of Canadians lead us?
 

George Wallace

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Reccesoldier, you are Correct.

Just like any Lobby Group, like NAC for instance, if they can not attract enough attention, interest and funding on their own, then why should the Government be their 'Cash Cow'?  Let them die a natural death.  Don't prolong it.  If a culture is dying, it is dying for a reason.  No need to fund it to prolong it.  What we are doing is funding cultures that are loosing their 'being' and in turn killing the dominant culture which needs and gets NO FUNDING.  This is where "Official Multi-Culturalism" is failing us.  (A point being covered in another Topic.)
 

Reccesoldier

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George Wallace said:
Reccesoldier, you are Correct.

What we are doing is funding cultures that are loosing their 'being' and in turn killing the dominant culture which needs and gets NO FUNDING.  This is where "Official Multi-Culturalism" is failing us.  (A point being covered in another Topic.)

I don't think that these cultures are loosing their being, I think that they are falling into the trap of subsidization.  The people in these groups are forgetting that part of being and belonging to a culture is to work for the maintenance of it yourself.  That is where the pride and pleasure in ones heritage is, the asserting of your own being, not in having a government assert it for you.

As for our current official multicultural experiment I do not think that it is killing the dominant culture (whatever that happens to be today) because the dominant culture in Canada today is what we have, and is what we have always had.  It is bounded by modernity in all its forms, it is not English, French, European, Asian or American but a polyglot of all of them and none of them.  It's hip-hop and rock, classic and contemporary.  The dominant culture is right there beside the Canadian identity, undefined, and in my opinion blessedly so.
 

DBA

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Reccesoldier said:
I would obviously disagree. 

It is not the job of government to ensure that a culture survives, that is the job of those who consider themselves to be a part of it.   Respect for Canada's cultural reality does not mean that Government must put this diversity on the payroll.  There are so many other more worthy programs and practices that we as a people could demand of our government.  It's a question of priorities, would you rather see fewer homeless in downtown west-side Vancouver or help fund a Punjabi Dance troop in Delta? Wherein lies the just society? Where do the rational and caring ideals of Canadians lead us?

I think we aren't talking about the same thing, I was responding along a_major's line of thinking not going over specific policy points. My example was to show that bullet policy points don't allways make sense without an underlying reasoning.
 

Reccesoldier

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DBA said:
I think we aren't talking about the same thing, I was responding along a_major's line of thinking not going over specific policy points. My example was to show that bullet policy points don't allways make sense without an underlying reasoning.

I understand.

To tell the truth I have been considering a_majoors question in greater depth than my initial response indicates.  Like all good questions it is a hard one to answer. :)

None of the political philosophies currently in use  fit.  Conservatism holds too strongly to the status quo and too often tries to dictate the morality of the majority to all.  Todays liberalism seems to seek to divest the individual of responsibility and bathes in self-incrimination for the wrongs and missteps of long dead generations.  Libertarianism reeks of childish selfishness and ignores any individual responsibility for the greater good. Socialism reduces individual initiative and determination to common property and creates a society where hard work ends up giving the lazy the right to castigate the rest for their diligence. 

But all of the above have at least something to offer.  Conservatism's strength is also its weakness, the status quo fights the tendency for fools to rush in so to speak.  Liberalism gives us the ideal of the just society to which I referred earlier, libertarianism is the ideology of individuality and innovation without which no society can survive.  Socialism tries to show that the sum of the parts can be greater than the whole.

So where does all this leave us?  My answer is Neopolity. 

NEOPOLITY =
Neo- a prefix, derived from Greek that connotes a "new" or recent form of something, or a revival in a modern form.
Polity - Aristotle described a polity as rule by the many, who are neither wealthy nor poor, in the interests of the whole community. He believed it to be the ideal form of government.

So a Neopolitist would believe in rule by and in the interest of all, hold ultimate respect for individual liberty but recognize at the same time that the whole of society is more important than the individual.  The Neopolitist knows that programs, policies, practices and law must be weighed against individual liberty but that that freedom is itself weighed against not only the harm it may cause another individual but the harm it could do to society as a whole.  The Neopolitist believes in hard work and has every expectation that his hard work will benefit himself primarily.  On the other hand he knows that everyone should have the opportunity to succeed based on their own hard work regardless of any social factor, or accident of birth. 

Neopolity is the "best of", isn't that what all ideologies should be?

 

a_majoor

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Reccesoldier said:
NEOPOLITY =
Neo- a prefix, derived from Greek that connotes a "new" or recent form of something, or a revival in a modern form.
Polity - Aristotle described a polity as rule by the many, who are neither wealthy nor poor, in the interests of the whole community. He believed it to be the ideal form of government.

So a Neopolitist would believe in rule by and in the interest of all, hold ultimate respect for individual liberty but recognize at the same time that the whole of society is more important than the individual.  The Neopolitist knows that programs, policies, practices and law must be weighed against individual liberty but that that freedom is itself weighed against not only the harm it may cause another individual but the harm it could do to society as a whole.  The Neopolitist believes in hard work and has every expectation that his hard work will benefit himself primarily.  On the other hand he knows that everyone should have the opportunity to succeed based on their own hard work regardless of any social factor, or accident of birth.  

Neopolity is the "best of", isn't that what all ideologies should be?

The problem with the "Society is more important than the individual" is it inverts the order of things, society is created by the actions and interactions of individuals operating in close proximity (notice I did not say "together").

An example can bee seen in the Regimental system. Although the organization of the battalions of The RCR are very similar, no one could possibly say that 1 RCR and 3 RCR are identical outfits, even though they are not only part of the same regiment, but even just down the road from each other. The attitudes and mindsets are very different, and there is a certain amount of self selection as well, people who like that kind of environment created by those kinds of individuals can choose to go to the appropriate battalion when they are able to do so.

Socialists of all stripes would behave like the Prussian King who felt the soldiers were drones who should "fear their officers more than the enemy"; clearly the organization (i.e their Regiment in the Prussian Army) took precedence over their own individual desires in that case.

Since "society" can be arbitrarily defined (the recent "Quebecois are a nation within a united Canada" flap being a perfect case in point; who are the Quebecois?), any system which places the group over the individual is clearly going in the wrong direction insofar as protecting and upholding the individual is concerned. Who after all is defining "society" and what is important to that "society"?
 

Reccesoldier

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a_majoor said:
The problem with the "Society is more important than the individual" is it inverts the order of things, society is created by the actions and interactions of individuals operating in close proximity (notice I did not say "together").

An example can bee seen in the Regimental system. Although the organization of the battalions of The RCR are very similar, no one could possibly say that 1 RCR and 3 RCR are identical outfits, even though they are not only part of the same regiment, but even just down the road from each other. The attitudes and mindsets are very different, and there is a certain amount of self selection as well, people who like that kind of environment created by those kinds of individuals can choose to go to the appropriate battalion when they are able to do so.

Socialists of all stripes would behave like the Prussian King who felt the soldiers were drones who should "fear their officers more than the enemy"; clearly the organization (i.e their Regiment in the Prussian Army) took precedence over their own individual desires in that case.

Since "society" can be arbitrarily defined (the recent "Quebecois are a nation within a united Canada" flap being a perfect case in point; who are the Quebecois?), any system which places the group over the individual is clearly going in the wrong direction insofar as protecting and upholding the individual is concerned. Who after all is defining "society" and what is important to that "society"?

I think you are being intentionally obtuse in your argument here.  :-\ 

Take a look around you, we individuals within society already agree that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  Don’t believe me? Go ahead and scream “Fire” in a crowded theater and see if our society doesn’t act in the interest of the individuals within it and make you pay for your antics. 

Of course our societies are not all the same, each individual belongs to a myriad of “societies” within this country.  From the most basic society of family, to gender, race, ideology, heritage, city, province and yes, even nation. 

Of all the obscure societies I’ve named “nation” is possibly the most obscure.  But it does exist and we all, more or less, agree with the caveats that we as a society have placed over and above the rights of individuals.  Were it not so this country would be a libertarians wet dream.

As to who is defining the society well, I would have thought you knew the answer to that one… Our elected governments attempt to, but in reality we all are every time we vote, or write an MP or letter to the editor or create a blog, post on a public website forum or even talk to another person.
 
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