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Sunday, April 10, 2011

First Nations-Arts & Culture-Safe Food-Family Farm-Police-Immigration-Disabled Action Plan-Women's Equality

5.1 Building a New Relationship with First Nations

  • We will build a new partnership on a nation-to-nation basis with First Nations, Inuit and Métis people across the country to restore a central element of social justice in Canada and reconcile the hopes of Aboriginal people with those of all Canadians;
  • We will establish this new partnership by forging a new relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, fostering economic opportunity and lasting prosperity, ending the discrimination still faced by Aboriginal people in Canada and supporting the process of healing the harms of past injustices. We will begin by:
    • Increasing access to capital for aboriginal business development so that First Nations, Inuit and Métis people can fully participate in the Canadian economy;
    • Improving physical infrastructure such as housing, drinking water facilities, roads and other essential services;
    • Removing the punitive 2 per cent funding cap on Indian and Northern Affairs Canada transfers to aboriginal communities;
    • Addressing the education deficit with a $1 billion per year investment over the next four years, inspired by Shannen’s Dream.

5.2 Ensuring Canada’s Arts and Culture Thrive

  • We will promote the production and broadcast of Canadian content on Canadian television and in Canadian theatres, and will strongly support Canada’s performing arts, cultural institutions, and creators.

5.3 Building Home-grown Film and TV Production

  • We will ensure Canadian TV and telecom networks remain Canadian-owned by maintaining effective regulations on foreign ownership;
  • We will re-focus the mandate of the CRTC to promote and protect Canadian cultural industries;
  • We will provide sustained funding for the Canada Media Fund and Telefilm Canada, enhance federal film incentives and develop a targeted strategy for the promotion of domestic films in Canada;
  • We will set license requirements for broadcasters based on clear, binding and enforced performance standards for broadcasters, including increased Canadian drama.

5.4 Investing in our Shared Cultural Heritage

  • We will increase public funding for the Canada Council and implement tax averaging for artists and cultural workers;
  • We will explore the creation of a new international arts touring fund to replace the now-defunct Trade Routes and PromArt programs;
  • We will implement a matching grant for Canadian museums, historic buildings and heritage lighthouses;
  • We will introduce tax incentives to ensure the restoration and preservation of historic buildings;
  • We will strengthen public broadcasting with long-term stable funding for CBC, Radio-Canada and other public broadcasters, including capacity to deliver superior regional production and internet services;
  • We will reform the CRTC and also ensure it better reflects Quebec’s cultural and linguistic reality and that of the francophone community;
  • We will develop a digital on-line culture service to broaden access to Canadian content.

5.5 Ensuring Your Family’s Food is Safe

  • We will introduce a Canadian Food Strategy that will combine health goals, environmental goals, food quality objectives, local and organic choices for consumers across the country;
  • We will increase food safety by hiring 200 new food inspectors for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency;
  • We will strengthen the Canada Food Inspection Agency’s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to food borne illness outbreaks and ensure imported foods meet the same environmental and health standards that apply to food produced in Canada;
  • We will enact legislation to require proper labeling of food with information on its origin, its nutritional value and whether it is genetically modified or not.

5.6 Protecting the Family Farm

  • We will work with provinces to provide easily accessible business risk management programs for farmers that cost less;
  • We will review railway freight tariffs that have been gouging Canadian farmers across the country;
  • We will work to ensure the sustainability of Canada’s agriculture by encouraging young farmers to take up farming and by supporting current farmers with enhanced skill training, mentorship programs and ensuring that arable land is more widely available;
  • We will work with provinces to streamline and make more accessible business risk management programs by cutting accounting fees;
  • We will support the Canadian Wheat Board as the single desk marketer for Canadian wheat and barley.

5.7 Hiring More Police to Protect Your Community

  • We will keep our communities safe from crime by investing in a balanced, effective approach based on prevention, policing, and prosecution;
  • We will ensure that communities have the resources they need to invest in crime prevention programs, particularly those targeting youth, by increasing federal support to crime prevention initiatives from $65 million to $100 million per year;
  • We will work with the provinces, territories, and First Nations communities to provide stable, multi-year funding to eventually put at least 2,500 new police officers on the streets, and keep them there permanently;
  • We will give parents, teachers and police more tools to protect our children by making gang recruiting illegal, and establishing a comprehensive Correctional Anti-Gang Strategy to ensure that prisons do not serve as “crime schools” to train gang-involved offenders;
  • We will create new, stand-alone offences for home invasions and carjackings;
  • We will enact, the so-called “Lucky Moose” bill – a law that would allow citizens to detain criminals within “a reasonable amount of time” after a crime is committed;
  • We will ensure that appropriate care, treatment, and interventions are available for mentally ill offenders in prison, as recommended by the Correctional Investigator of Canada.

5.8 Recognizing Local Heroes

  • We will support a volunteer firefighters’ tax credit for those who perform 200 hours a year or more service on behalf of their communities;
  • We will establish a Hero’s Benefit to recognize the contributions of firefighters and police officers who die in the line of duty. The fund will pay a benefit of $300,000 to the families of fallen firefighters and officers.

5.9 Fast-Tracking Immigration and Family Reunification

  • We will move towards a fair, efficient, transparent and accountable immigration system and end the restrictive immigration measures based on secretive, arbitrary decisions by cabinet ministers;
  • Accordingly, we will bring forward measures to:
    • Accelerate and streamline the recognition of foreign credentials, overseas degrees and previous employment experience in conjunction with provinces and licensing authorities;
    • Increase resources to reduce the huge and unacceptable backlogs in processing immigration applications, with an emphasis on speeding up family reunification;
    • Implement the NDP’s Once in a Lifetime Act to allow Canadians a one-time opportunity to sponsor a relative who is not a member of the family class to come to Canada;
    • Fast-track family class sponsorship from disaster areas;
    • Reinstate federal funding for the settlement of new Canadians cut by Stephen Harper. Funding will assist with literacy, community integration and orientation, including bridging, mentorship, English and French as a second language programs and resource centres;
    • Ensure that tough laws against crooked immigration consultants are enforced;
    • Develop credible, accountable procedures and appeal processes for visitors seeking visas to enter Canada for important family events.

5.10 Strengthening Canada’s Official Languages

  • We will protect and foster Canadians’ right to live and grow in the official language of their choice;
  • We will work with linguistic minorities across Canada to ensure programs and regulations under the Official Languages Act meet the real needs of communities;
  • We will restore the Court Challenges Program;
  • We will ensure that the right of Canadians to have their case heard in the official language of their choice at all levels of the judiciary includes the Supreme Court, in accord with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

5.11 An Action Plan for the Rights of the Disabled

  • We will implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by:
    • Supporting the development of a National Action Plan to Implement the CRPD, including mechanisms for collaboration, monitoring and reporting progress, and strategies for achieving such priorities of the disability community as disability supports, poverty alleviation, labour market participation, and access and inclusion;
    • Holding Parliamentary hearings on the CRPD to hear from the disability community and other key witnesses and creating a high-level panel with representation from national disability organizations to map the way forward;
    • Ending Canada’s reservation on Article 12 (equal recognition before the law).

5.12 Moving Forward on Women’s Equality

  • We will reverse Stephen Harper’s attacks on pay equity and immediately implement the recommendations of the 2004 Pay Equity Task Force to establish a pro-active pay equity regime enshrined in law;
  • We will work with provinces and territories to expand access to shelter and transition houses to support women fleeing violence;
  • We will support a coordinated federal response to violence against Aboriginal women, led by Aboriginal communities, and including the ongoing funding of Aboriginal women’s organizations;
  • We will improve Employment Insurance qualification criteria to ensure that those receiving parental leave benefits see no change in their eligibility for Employment Insurance benefits;
  • We will provide a more flexible and generous Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefit to permit family members to take up to six months leave from work to tend to relatives near the end of their lives, up from the current six weeks;
  • We will introduce a new Caregiver Benefit, modelled after the Child Tax Benefit, to assist low and middle-income families in tackling the costs of everyday needs while caring for elderly or dependant family members. Eligible family members will include children, spouses, parents and other family members, and will be able to receive up to $1500 per year;
  • We will make Status of Women Canada a full ministry responsible for advancing women’s rights, including a mandate for advocacy and research in line with Canada’s international obligations;
  • We will support the work of the new UN Women’s Agency;
  • We will restore funding to women’s programs and organizations cut by Stephen Harper, including the Court Challenges Program;
  • We will re-affirm women’s rights to safe, accessible abortion services.

5.13 Promoting Equality Rights in Canada

  • We will ensure that gender identity and gender expression are included as prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act, amend the hate crimes and sentencing provisions of the Criminal Code to ensure we are providing explicit protection for transgender and transsexual Canadians from discrimination in all areas of federal jurisdiction;
  • We will support gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans-gender and transsexual equality internationally, as per the Montreal and Yogyakarta Principles on Human Rights;
  • We will work with affected multicultural communities to appropriately redress historical issues arising from governmental actions, including options such as recognition of wrongdoing, official apologies, and compensation.

5.14 Ensuring all Canadians Have Access to Broadband and a Robust Digital Economy

  • We will apply the proceeds from the advanced wireless spectrum auction to ensure all Canadians, no matter where they live, will have quality high-speed broadband internet access;
  • We will expect the major internet carriers to contribute financially to this goal;
  • We will rescind the 2006 Conservative industry-oriented directive to the CRTC and direct the regulator to stand up for the public interest, not just the major telecommunications companies;
  • We will enshrine “net neutrality” in law, end price gouging and “net throttling,” with clear rules for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), enforced by the CRTC;
  • We will prohibit all forms of usage-based billing (UBB) by Internet Service Providers (ISPs);
  • We will introduce a bill on copyright reform to ensure that Canada complies with its international treaty obligations, while balancing consumers’ and creators’ rights.

5.15 Restoring the Long-Form Census

  • We will restore the long-form census.

5.16 Fair Treatment for the Provinces

  • We will compensate Quebec on the same basis as other provinces for having harmonized its sales tax with the federal GST – for a total amount of $2.2 billion;
  • In the case of the HST implementation being democratically rejected in a B.C. referendum, we will not penalize the province by making it repay the $1.6 billion transfer already invested in health and education.

  • Abbotsford NDP Candidate David Murray with Ed Broadbent at Halifax convention 2009
    NDP Platform: Leadership in Canada
    email :
    twitter: davidmurray4ndp 
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