The two Canadian Leaders’ Debates, held this past Wednesday and Thursday (in French and English, respectively), were a riot. Commentary on the specifics are being extensively covered elsewhere, but it was refreshing how much substantive discussion there was in comparison to the U.S. Presidential (and Vice Presidential) debates. The seated conversational format was brilliant. Though I wish Stéphane Dion was stronger in the English debate, I thought he ultimately came out on top in both of them (perhaps as a result of low initial expectations). And Elizabeth May justified the spot at the “roundish” table that she had fought so hard for. Well done.
The actual plans discussed during the debate prompted me to examine and record my own priorities for a Canada Plan. This is the beginning of an evolving list, and I hope to return to this list to discuss the line items in more detail.
- More changes and support for health care, to better implement the recommendations of the Romanow report and remove the justification for increased privatization.
- Responsible emissions policies (such as a carbon tax, and cap-and-trade system). A cap system is the best way to harness private industry to help drive emissions down rapidly.
- Better investments in Canadian education, research, and intellectual property, as well as the necessary investments and tools to help turn our great ideas into sustainable commercial successes (instead of being sold off to foreign entities).
- Political reform, to help the voting outcome in a general election better reflect the true policy desires of the country. Splitting the “centre-left” vote among 4 parties has not helped the goals that a majority of the population believes in.
- Taking a position of global leadership on issues and values important to us, such as infrastructure building, supporting the democratic process in turbulent parts of the world, supporting multilateral organizations, and reversing climate change.
- Developing closer economic partnerships with entities like the EU through free trade agreements – we currently have all of our economic eggs in the American basket, and need a more “diversified portfolio”.
- More support for slowly transitioning Canada away from a heavily natural-resource-based economy, by showcasing our capabilities in IP, manufacturing, and high-skill industries.
- Competing with the world with less protectionism, based on the merits of our ideas, capabilities, and resources.