Answer the following questions to see how your political beliefs match your political parties and candidates.
Abortion is a medical procedure resulting in the termination of a human pregnancy and death of a fetus. Abortion in Canada is legal at any point in a woman's pregnancy for any reason, and is governed by the Canada Health Act. Canada is one of only a few nations in the world with no legal restrictions on abortion.
On June 26, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the denial of marriage licenses violated the Due Process and the Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The ruling made same sex marriage legal in all 50 U.S. States.
LGBT adoption is the adoption of children by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. This may be in the form of a joint adoption by a same-sex couple, adoption by one partner of a same-sex couple of the other's biological child (step-child adoption) and adoption by a single LGBT person. Joint adoption by same-sex couples is legal in 25 countries. Opponents of LGBT adoption question whether same-sex couples have the ability to be adequate parents while other opponents question whether natural law implies that children of adoption possess a natural right to be raised by heterosexual parents. Since constitutions and statutes usually fail to address the adoption rights of LGBT persons, judicial decisions often determine whether they can serve as parents either individually or as couples.
Assisted suicide, or euthanasia, is the practice of ending a life prematurely in order to end pain and suffering. Active euthanasia (intentionally killing a person to relieve pain) was legalized in February 2015 after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a woman who suffered from ALS.
In December 2014, the German government announced a new rule which would require German companies to fill 30% of their board seats with women. The 2013 Catalyst Census found that 20.8% of board seats in corporate Canada are held by women. This is less than the UK (22.8%) and Australia (23.6%). In 2014 the Boards of Directors Modernization Act was introduced to the Canadian Senate. It would require the boards of directors of public companies, state-owned enterprises, and certain financial institutions would have to comprise at least 40% women and 40% men. In 2016 the measure had not been acted on. In Norway 35.5% of boards contain women directors which is the highest percentage in the world.
Canadian officers say women warriors proved as effective as men in front-line combat roles in Ottawa's most recent big military engagement, in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2011. But Canada has struggled to fill combat jobs with women, and those who do join can feel isolated as a result. And like Cpl. Moman, many of the women who volunteered for these jobs got the impression that their senior officers used them only sparingly in combat. Proponents argue that it will help the military retain more women, who tend to leave the services permanently when they have children. Opponents argue that allowing women to serve in these roles would limit the military's ability to fight in combat situations.
Capital punishment or the death penalty is a legal process whereby a person is put to death as a punishment for a crime. Canada abolished capital punishment in 1976.
Several Western countries including France, Spain and Canada have proposed laws which would ban Muslim women from wearing a Niqab in public spaces. A niqab is a cloth that covers the face and is worn by some Muslim women in public areas. In 2015 the Canadian Supreme Court overturned a Ottawa’s request to ban niqab’s when women were taking citizenship oaths. Proponents argue that the ban infringes on individual rights and prevents people from expressing their religious beliefs. Opponents argue that face-coverings prevent the clear identification of a person, which is both a security risk, and a social hindrance within a society which relies on facial recognition and expression in communication.
In March 2017, the U.S. government notified nine airlines that operate direct flights from the Middle East and Africa that personal electronics larger than cellphones would be banned on all direct flights entering the U.S. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security stated that the ban would affect 10 airports that it determined did not have adequate baggage security screening in place. The ban requires passengers to put all electronics larger than cell phones including laptops, cameras and e-readers in checked luggage. Passengers will still be able to fly with the items if they are stowed in their carry on luggage. Opponents argue that the ban discriminates against Muslim airline passengers and could pave the way for future restrictions against them. Proponents argue that the ban only affects 10 airports and will encourage them to expand screening of all checked baggage.
Global warming, or climate change, is an increase in the earth's atmospheric temperature since the late nineteenth century. In politics, the debate over global warming is centered on whether this increase in temperature is due to greenhouse gas emissions or is the result of a natural pattern in the earth's temperature.
Genetically modified foods (or GM foods) are foods produced from organisms that have had specific changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering. Canada is the third largest producer of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the world. It is one of the largest producers of GM canola oil and other GM crops include maize, soybean, and beet. In Canada, GMOs used either as food or animal feed must be approved before entering the market. The approval process is based on numerous regulations that are enforced by Health Canada for foods, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for seeds and livestock feed, and Environment Canada "for new substances intended for environmental release." Approvals for GMOs are required for both locally produced and imported products. As of 2012, over eighty-one genetically modified foods had been approved by CFIA
In 2016, France became the first country to ban the sale of plastic disposable products that contain less than 50% of biodegradable material and in 2017, India passed a law banning all plastic disposable plastic products.
Fracking is the process of extracting oil or natural gas from shale rock. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which fractures the rock and allows the oil or gas to flow out to a well. While fracking has significantly boosted oil production, there are environmental concerns that the process is contaminating groundwater. Fracking has been widely used by petroleum in Canada since the 1960s. Critics of fracking say it pollutes underground water supplies with chemicals, releases methane gas into the atmosphere, and can cause seismic activity. Proponents of fracking say it will drop oil and gas prices in Spain and lead to energy independence.
The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project is a $6.5 billion proposal to construct twin pipeline from Bruderheim, Alberta, to Kitimat, British Columbia. <a target="_blank" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enbridge_Northern_Gateway_Pipelines">Learn more</a> or
The federal minimum wage is the lowest wage at which employers may pay their employees. The Liberal government eliminated Canada's federal minimum wage in 1996. Each province and territory now sets their own minimum wage which range from $10.50 per hour to 12.50 per hour.
Australia currently has a progressive tax system whereby high income earners pay a higher percentage of tax than low income tax. A more progressive income tax system has been proposed as a tool towards reducing wealth inequality.
The Liberals' inaugural budget contains a $29.4-billion deficit for 2016 which is 10.2% of government spending. Proponents of spending argue that it is a great time for the government is going to borrow money, since interest rates are at 50 year lows. Opponents argue that the spending could get out of control and the debt could easily reach $100 billion a year by 2020.
5 U.S. states have passed laws requiring welfare recipients to be tested for drugs. Canada does not currently test welfare recipients for drugs. Proponents argue that testing will prevent public funds from being used to subsidize drugs habits and help get treatment for those that are addicted to drugs. Opponents argue that it is a waste of money since the tests will cost more money than they save.
Canada currently levies a 15% - 26% tax on all businesses and each province levies an additional 11% - 16% tax rate. The average corporate tax rate worldwide is 22.6%. Opponents of argue that raising the rate will discourage foreign investment and hurt the economy. Proponents argue that the profits corporations generate should be taxed just like citizen's taxes.
The North American Free Trade Agreement is an agreement that was created to lower trade restrictions between Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
In 2015 the percentage of workers in Canada who belong to a trade union increased .1% to 30%. Canada's unionized workforce has actually grown in recent years. Today, the CBC reports that about 4.56 million workers are members of unions up more than 800,000 since 1997. Unions expansion has been outstripped by the non-unionized workforce, which grew by about 2.5 million over the same period.
In 2011 the level of public spending on the welfare state by the British Government accounted for £113.1 billion, or 16% of government. By 2020 welfare spending will rise to 1/3rd of all spending making it the largest expense followed by housing benefit, council tax benefit, benefits to the unemployed, and benefits to people with low incomes.
An economic stimulus is a monetary or fiscal policy enacted by governments with the intent of stabilizing their economies during a fiscal crisis. The policies include an increase in government spending on infrastructure, tax cuts and lowering interest rates. In 2016 Justin Trudeau proposed a stimulus package which he claims will raise GDP by 0.5 per cent and create 100,000 jobs.
An offshore (or foreign) bank account is a bank account you have outside of your country of residence. The benefits of an offshore bank account include tax reduction, privacy, currency diversification, asset protection from lawsuits, and reducing your political risk. In April 2016, Wikileaks released 11.5 million confidential documents, known as the Panama Papers, which provided detailed information on 214,000 offshore companies serviced by the Panamanian Law Firm, Mossack Fonesca. The document exposed how world leaders and wealthy individuals hide money in secret offshore tax shelters. The release of the documents renewed proposals for laws banning the use of offshore accounts and tax havens. Proponents of the of the ban argue they should be outlawed because they have a long history of being vehicles for tax evasion, money laundering, illicit arms dealing and funding terrorism. Opponents of the ban argue that punitive regulations will make it harder for American companies to compete and will further discourage businesses from locating and investing in the United States.
In 2015, Canadian pension funds stood at 89% of estimated liability for providing pension benefits to plan members, a six percentage point drop from 95% in 2014. Economists blame long-term interest rates for the decline although strong gains by U.S. and global equities in 2014 helped to offset some of the impact. Proponents of the tax argue that pension-funding liabilities are currently stronger than the 2012 low-water mark of 66%. Opponents argue that taxing pensions is unfair to the elderly and will drain pensions of funds needed to support future generations of retired workers.
Income splitting allows a high earning spouse to transfer up to $50k of income to the lower earning spouse, so it’s taxed at a lower bracket.
In 2014, the EU passed legislation that capped bankers' bonuses at 100% of their pay or 200% with shareholder approval. There are currently no caps on banker's pay in Canada. Proponents of the cap say that it will reduce incentives for bankers to take excessive risk similar to what led to the 2008 financial crisis. Opponents say that any cap on bankers' pay will push up non-bonus pay and cause bank's costs to rise.
A government pension is a fund into which a sum of money is added during the period in which a person is employed by the government. When the government employee retires they are able to receive periodic payments from the fund in order to support themselves. As the birth rate continues to fall and the life expectancy rises governments worldwide are predicting funding shortfalls for pensioners. In 2016 the government proposed raising the CPP benefit to $17,478 from $13,000.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade deal that would make it easier for Canadian companies to sell their goods and services in the U.S., Mexico, Australia and eight other Pacific Rim countries. The deal will benefit Canadian service companies who will be able to open up operations in Asian and South American countries. Opponents argue that this bill will incentivize Canadian companies to move service and manufacturing jobs overseas. Proponents argue that it would make Canadian companies more successful at selling their goods and services in Pacific Rim countries, leading to a stronger economy, more jobs and higher incomes for Canadian workers.
Bitcoin is a type of digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank. Bitcoins are stored in a digital wallet, which is like a virtual bank account that allows users to send or receive bitcoins and pay for goods or services. Bitcoin is anonymous, meaning that, while transactions are recorded in a public log, the names of buyers and sellers are never revealed.
The Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) is public program that requires all employed Canadians to contribute a percentage of their earnings, with their employer matching the amount, to a nationally administered pension plan. Currently, the employee contribution rate is set at 4.95% up to a maximum of $2,356.
The 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings caused several states and cities to pass strict gun control measures. In response, state lawmakers in gun friendly states in the South and West passed bills that would strengthen Stand Your Ground laws and allow weapons in most public places. In 2014, 21 states passed laws that expanded the rights of gun owners allowing them to possess firearms in churches, bars, schools and college campuses. The federal government has not passed any gun control measures since the 1994 Brady Bill and 42 states now allow the possession of assault rifles. In the U.S. two-thirds of all gun deaths are suicides and in 2010 there were 19,000 firearm suicides and 11,000 firearm homicides.
In 1997 the Conservative government passed a 'three strikes' policy which imposed a minimum sentence of seven years for those convicted for a third time of drug trafficking involving class A drugs. Soon after, the Labour party passed legislation that enabled Judges to reduce the sentences in cases they find to be unjust.
Flag desecration is any act that is carried out with the intention of damaging or destroying a national flag in public. This is commonly done in an effort to make a political statement against a nation or its policies. Some nations have acts that ban flag desecration while others have laws that protect the right to destroy a flag as a part of free speech. Some of these laws distinguish between a national flag and those of other countries.
Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers should treat all data on the internet equally.
In 2011 the Conservative government announced that due to privacy concerns the long form census would no longer be mandatory. It would be replaced by a short form census that would only collect basic demographic data.Opponents of the census include civil liberty advocates who argue that the long form census is too invasive and violates people’s privacy. Proponents of reinstating the census voluntary survey argue that without the mandatory long form census it’s harder to track trends in income inequality, immigrant outcomes in the jobs market, labour shortages and demographic shifts.
The CSA Group (formerly the Canadian Standards Association), is a not-for-profit standards organization whose primary activities are producing technical standards that are intended to address the needs of a group of affected adopters. Among the fifty-seven different areas of specialization are climate change, business management and safety and performance standards, including those for electrical and electronic equipment, industrial equipment, boilers and pressure vessels, compressed gas handling appliances, environmental protection, and construction materials.
Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001 to people who suffer from AIDS, epilepsy, cancer and other terminal illnesses. In 2014 doctors were given the ability to prescribe marijuana to any patient who they deemed required it. In 2016 the Liberal party announced they would be proposing legislation in 2017 to legalize the use of recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 18.
Privatization is the process of transferring governmental control and ownership of a service or industry to a privately owned business.
In most countries, suffrage, the right to vote, is generally limited to citizens of the country. Some countries, however, extend limited voting rights to resident non-citizens.
In the U.S. a citizen may give $2,700 per election to a federal candidate, $5,000 per year to a PAC, $10,000 per year to a State or local party committee and $33,400 per year to a national party. Citizens and corporations may give unlimited amounts to a Super PAC. A Super PAC is freed from traditional campaign finance laws as long as it does not fund a candidate or campaign or coordinate directly with a campaign how to spend donations.
Currently, Canada's electoral system is based on a "first past the post" system. The candidate with the most votes in a riding wins a seat in the House of Commons and represents that riding as its Member of Parliament. The Governor General asks the Members of Parliament to form a government, which is normally the party whose candidates have won the most seats; that party's leader generally becomes Prime Minister. An absolute majority of the electorate is not needed, and is rarely achieved. As a result, power has been held by either of two parties for most of Canada's history. The party whose candidates win the second largest number of seats becomes the Official Opposition.
The U.S. constitution does not prevent convicted felons from holding the office of the President or a seat in the Senate or House of Representatives. States may prevent convicted felons candidates from holding statewide and local offices.
A tax return is a document which states how much income an individual or entity reported to the government. In Canada these documents are considered private and are not released to the public. The Canadian Elections Commissioner does not require individuals running for public offices to release them. In Sweden, Norway and Finland citizen’s and candidate’s tax records are considered public information and are published on the internet.
In 2010 the Conservative government introduced a crime bill which would kill the so-called faint hope clause that allows some people serving life sentences to apply for parole after 15 years (instead of the usual 25 common for first-degree murder and other life sentence convictions). Opponents of the crime bill argue that extended prison sentences are cruel and will cost the government tens of millions of dollars per year.Proponents argue that 15 years is too short of a prison term for people serving life sentences.
Felony disenfranchisement is the exclusion from voting of people otherwise eligible to vote due to conviction of a criminal offense, usually restricted to the more serious class of crimes deemed felonies. Prisoners and those convicted of felonies have full voting rights in Canada.
From January 1 to February 29, 2016 the Canadian government accepted 26,000 refugees from Europe. In March 2016 the Canadian government pledged to take in an additional 10,00 refugees. The Liberal government won election in October 2015 pledging to bring in more Syrian refugees more quickly than the previous Conservative government.
Military Service is currently not required in Canada. Mandatory military service, or National Service, has occurred twice in modern Canada. The first period was implemented during the outbreak World War I in 1917 and the second during the beginning of World War II in 1944.
The UN. is an organization of governments founded in 1945 after World War II. The organization’s objectives include promoting peace and security, protecting human rights and the environment and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict. Recent U.N. interventions include the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009 and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Canada joined the U.N. in 1948 as a founding member nation. Canada is the eighth largest financial contributor to the UN and contributes $81 million annually.
In January 2015, the Canadian government introduced Bill C-51 which would give police and spy agencies more power to detain terror suspects. Provisions to the bill include expanding police powers that would allow them to preventively detain or restrict terror suspects, ban the “promotion of terrorism”, allow the public safety minister to add people to Canada’s “no-fly list”, and enhance the powers of Canada’s spy agency CSIS. Proponents argue that law enforcement and intelligence agencies need more power to combat terrorism in the wake of the attacks on two Canadian soldiers in October and the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris. Opponents argue the bill’s powers to limit “threats to the security of Canada” are too broad and may allow the government to shut down legitimate dissenters and protest groups who do not go through official channels.
In January of 2016, North Korea announced that it detonated its first hydrogen bomb. CBS News reported that the U.S. intelligence community is skeptical that North Korea used a thermonuclear device. The blast was in single-digit kilotons, and a thermonuclear device is measured in megatons. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has been more ambitious than his father in the pursuit of long-range missiles and nuclear weapons, even in the face of warnings from China. Proponents of military strikes argue that North Korea crossed a line with its latest test and must be stopped at all costs. Opponents argue that North Korea repeatedly lies about its missile capabilities and that the we should let other countries in the region, such as China and South Korea, address this issue.
Canada’s defense budget is currently $20 billion a year which is less than 1% of its GDP. This is much less than the $600 billion a year the U.S. spends and the $6.5 billion a year the UK spends. Only 5 other countries of the 28 in NATO spend less. To join NATO each member country pledged to spend at least 2% of their GDP on military spending and defense and defend each other against threats from any non-member country. In a July 2016 U.S. Presidential nominee Donald Trump suggested that the United States would not defend NATO member countries who had failed to increase their military budgets to above 2% of Gross Domestic Product. France, Turkey, Germany, Canada, and Italy are countries that are currently spending less than 2% of their GDP on military defense.
In October 2016, allied forces joined with the Iraqi military to launch an offensive against ISIS forces in the Iraqi city of Mosul. After ISIS took control of the city in 2014 allied forces and the Iraqi military have launched three separate offensives aimed at recapturing the city. The first two offensives, the Anbar Campaign and the Mosul offensive were unsuccessful in their attempts to purge ISIS forces from the city. The current offensive, the Battle of Mosul, was launched in October 2016 and has continued into the spring of 2017. In March 2017 a US coalition airstrike killed 200 innocent civilians in the city. Humanitarian organizations in Mosul estimate that at least 600,000 civilians are trapped in the city. Opponents of the offensive argue that in order to prevent the deaths of more innocent civilians allied and Iraqi forces should abandon the campaign. Proponents argue that letting ISIS control a major Iraqi city will bring instability to the Middle East and allied forces must use defeat ISIS at all costs.
In January 2015 Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canadian soldiers would continue their “robust” mission in Iraq against the Islamic State. When the troops were first dispatched into Iraq in September 2014 their original mission was to “direct airstrikes.” 4 months later military briefings revealed that Canadian soldiers recently came under attack by Islamic State extremists and returned fire. Opponents argue that the conflict in Iraq is a civil war and Canadian lives should not be put at risk. Proponents argue that ISIS is at risk of gaining power in Iraq and Canadian military involvement is necessary to promote regional stability.
The Syrian Civil war began in the spring of 2011 after nationwide protests against the government of President Bashar al-Assad resulted in armed conflict. After rebels seized control of several major cities, ISIS forces moved in and took over control of many regions of northern Syria. The government of Assad responded by carrying out airstrikes resulting in over 70,000 civilian deaths. Proponents of overthrowing Assad argue that he is a brutal dictator who must be removed from power before he carries out any more atrocities on innocent Syrian civilians. Opponents of regime change, including President Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, argue that removing Assad will result in a power vacuum that will destabilize the Middle East.
In March 2015, Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi was removed from office during a civil war with the Shiite Houthis movement. The Houthis were led by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh who was removed from power during the 2011 Arab Spring. Neighboring Sunni Saudi Arabia viewed President Hadi’s removal as a threat and responded by conducting airstrikes against the Houthi’s in Yemen. Saudi Arabia’s allies, including the U.S., U.K. and Egypt, suspected Iran was behind the Houthi uprising and responded by providing military aid to the Saudi armed forces. The United Nations declared the airstrikes a violation federal law after several hundred civilians were killed in the first month of the airstrikes . Proponents of the intervention, including Secretary of State John Kerry, claim that the Houthis are being supported by Iran and U.S. intervention is necessary to maintain the balance of power in the region. Critics argue that the U.S. should not be involved in a conflict which has killed hundreds of innocent civilians.
In the first 4 months of 2015 Transport Canada issued 1,600 permits for commercial drones. In contrast, the U.S.’s Federal Aviation Administration issued only 69. Over 110 companies in Canada now provide commercial drone services, which are regularly used by the movie and television industry, oil and gas companies, forestry companies and farmers.
In 2015 the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the Establishing Mandatory Minimums for Illegal Reentry Act of 2015 (Kate’s Law.) The law was introduced after San Francisco 32 year old San Francisco resident Kathryn Steinle was shot and killed by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez on July 1, 2015. Lopez-Sanchez was an illegal immigrant from Mexico who had been deported on five separate occasions since 1991 and been charged with seven felony convictions. Since 1991 Lopez-Sanchez had been charged with seven felony convictions and deported five times by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Although Lopez-Sanchez had several outstanding warrants in 2015 authorities were unable to deport him due to San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy which prevents law enforcement officials from questioning a resident’s immigration status. Proponents of sanctuary city laws argue that they enable illegal immigrants to report crimes without the fear of being reported. Opponents argue that sanctuary city laws provide encourage illegal immigration and prevent law enforcement authorities from detaining and deporting criminals.
In 2011 there were 1,053,945 Muslims in Canada or about 3.2% of the population, making them the second largest religion after Christianity.
Multiple citizenship, also called dual citizenship is a person's citizenship status, in which a person is concurrently regarded as a citizen of more than one state under the laws of those states. There is no international convention which determines the nationality or citizen status of a person, which is defined exclusively by national laws, which vary and can be inconsistent with each other. Some countries do not permit dual citizenship. Most countries that permit dual citizenship still may not recognize the other citizenship of its nationals within its own territory, for example, in relation to entry into the country, national service, duty to vote, etc.
The Canadian Citizenship test contains 20 questions which must be completed in 30 minutes or less. To pass the test applicants must answer 15 questions correctly. 80% of test takers currently pass the test.
Skilled temporary work visas are usually given to foreign scientists, engineers, programmers, architects, executives, and other positions or fields where demand outpaces supply. Most businesses argue that hiring skilled foreign workers allows them to competitively fill positions which are in high demand. Opponents argue that skilled immigrants decrease middle class wages and job tenure.
A sanctuary city is a city that adopts local policies designed to not prosecute people solely for being an undocumented individual in the country in which they are currently living.
Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reactions that release energy to generate heat, which most frequently is then used in steam turbines to produce electricity in a nuclear power station. About 15% of Canada's electricity comes from nuclear power, with 19 reactors mostly in Ontario providing 13.5 GWe of power capacity. Proponents argue that nuclear energy is now safe and emits much less carbon emissions than coal plants. Opponents argue that recent nuclear disasters in Japan prove that nuclear power is far from safe.
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The above questions were selected because they give a broad sample of the most divisive issues being discussed this year in politics. We continue to add new issues on a weekly basis.
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