Should Canada accept refugees from Syria?

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. 

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Should Canada maintain a presence at the United Nations?

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.

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Do you support Bill C-51, which expands local police and intelligence agencies’ authority to prevent terrorism?

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.

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Should Canada increase or decrease foreign aid spending?

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Should the government increase or decrease military spending?

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. 

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Should the government attempt to influence foreign elections?

Foreign electoral interventions are attempts by governments, covertly or overtly, to influence elections in another country. A 2016 study by Dov H. Levin concluded that the country intervening in most foreign elections was the United States with 81 interventions, followed by Russia (including the former Soviet Union) with 36 interventions from 1946 to 2000. In July 2018 U.S. Representative Ro Khanna introduced an amendment that would have prevented U.S. intelligence agencies from receiving funding that could be used to interfere in the elections of foreign governments. The amendment would ban U.S. agencies from “hacking foreign political parties; engaging in the hacking or manipulation of foreign electoral systems; or sponsoring or promoting media outside the United States that favors one candidate or party over another.” Proponents of election interference helps keep hostile leaders and political parties out of power. Opponents argue that the amendment would send a message to other foreign countries that the U.S. does not interfere in election and set a global gold standard for preventing election interference. Opponents argue that election interference helps keep hostile leaders and political parties out of power.

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Should every 18 year old citizen be required to provide at least one year of military service?

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.

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Should the government enact a stricter immigration policy?

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Should Muslim immigrants be banned from entering the country until the government improves its ability to screen out potential terrorists?

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.

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Should immigrants be deported if they commit a serious crime?

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.

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Should immigrants be required to learn English?

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Should Canada increase or decrease the amount of temporary work visas given to high-skilled immigrant workers?

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.

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Should immigrants to Canada be allowed to hold dual citizenship status?

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.

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Should sanctuary cities receive federal funding?

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.

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Should the government increase or decrease the amount of temporary foreign workers allowed into Canada?

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Should immigrants be required to pass a citizenship test to demonstrate a basic understanding of our country’s language, history, and government?

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.

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Should there be a temporary ban on all immigration into Canada?

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Should postsecondary education be a provincial or federal responsibility?

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Do you support independent schools?

Independent schools are taxpayer funded K-12 schools that are managed by private companies. In 1994 Alberta became the first province to allow independent schools. There are 23 independent schools in Alberta and it remains the only province which enables them.

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Should the federal government put a cap on university tuition rates?

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Should the government subsidize home buyers who make less than $120K per year?

In September 2019 the government introduced a plan where prospective home buyers can finance 5-10% of their mortgage via a shared equity program administered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Households who make $120K or less and put down 5% will qualify for the program which will cost an estimated $1.25 billion.

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Should the government impose a 1% tax on real estate owned by non-residents?

In 2019 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proposed a 1% tax on resident non-Canadians. The proposal’s goal is to prevent foreign buyers from driving up the cost of real estate for residents. British Columbia currently levies a 2% speculation tax and Ontario levies a 15% tax. Opponents argue that the current spike in real estate prices is due to the strong domestic economy instead of investments from foreigners.

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Are you in favor of decriminalizing drug use?

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Should there be more restrictions on the current process of purchasing a gun?

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.

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Should Canadian aboriginals receive more government funds?

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Do you support a national daycare policy?

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Should government workers be allowed to strike?

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In order to reduce energy costs, should the government nationalize or privatize the energy sector?

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Should it be illegal to burn the Canadian flag?

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.

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Should the government increase funding to the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)?

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Should the government reinstate the long form mandatory census?

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.

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Should social media companies ban political advertising?

In October 2019 Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that his social media company would ban all political advertising. He stated that political messages on the platform should reach users through the recommendation of other users – not through paid reach. Proponents argue that social media companies don’t have the tools to stop the spread of false information since their advertising platforms aren’t moderated by human beings. Opponents argue that the ban will disenfranchise candidates and campaigns who rely on social media for grassroots organizing and fundraising.

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Should the federal government elect or abolish the Senate?

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Should the government allow digital publishers to place locks on their content (MP3s, etc)?

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Should the government increase funding to the CSA (Canadian Standards Association)?

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.

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Should the government be able to monitor phone calls and emails?

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Should teachers be allowed to carry guns at school?

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Should the government regulate social media sites, as a means to prevent fake news and misinformation?

In January 2018 Germany passed the NetzDG law which required platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to take down perceived illegal content within 24 hours or seven days, depending on the charge, or risk a fine of €50 million ($60 million) fines. In July 2018 representatives from Facebook, Google and Twitter denied to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary committee that they censor content for political reasons. During the hearing Republican members of Congress criticized the social media companies for politically motivated practices in removing some content, a charge the companies rejected. In April 2018 the European Union issued a series of proposals that would crack down on “online misinformation and fake news.” In June 2018 President Emmanuel Macron of France proposed a law which would give French authorities the power to immediately halt “the publication of information deemed to be false ahead of elections.”

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Should internet service providers be allowed to speed up access to popular websites (that pay higher rates) at the expense of slowing down access to less popular websites (that pay lower rates)?

Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers should treat all data on the internet equally.

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Should the government pass laws which protect whistleblowers?

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What is your stance on abortion?

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.

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Do you support the legalization of same sex marriage?

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.

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Should gay couples have the same adoption rights as straight couples?

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.

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Should transgender athletes be allowed to compete in athletic events?

In 2016 the International Olympic committee ruled that transgender athletes can compete in the Olympics without undergoing sex reassignment surgery. In 2018 the International Association of Athletics Federations, track’s governing body, ruled that women who have more than 5 nano-mols per liter of testosterone in their blood—like South African sprinter and Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya—must either compete against men, or take medication to reduce their natural testosterone levels. The IAAF stated that women in the five-plus category have a “difference of sexual development.” The ruling cited a 2017 study by French researchers as proof that female athletes with testosterone closer to men do better in certain events: 400 meters, 800 meters, 1,500 meters, and the mile. "Our evidence and data show that testosterone, either naturally produced or artificially inserted into the body, provides significant performance advantages in female athletes," said IAAF President Sebastian Coe in a statement.

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Should women be allowed to wear a Niqāb, or face veil, to civic ceremonies?

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.

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Should businesses be required to have women on their board of directors?

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.

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Should “gender identity” be added to anti-discrimination laws?

Gender identity is defined as a personal conception of oneself as male, female, both, or neither. In 2014, President Obama signed an executive order barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity among federal contractors. The order covered employers who perform federal work and protected an estimated 20 percent of American workers. Opponents included religious groups, who argued that the order would prevent them from receiving federal money or contracts if they could not meet the new guidelines because of their beliefs. Proponents argue that the order was necessary to protect millions of LGBT people whose rights were threatened after the Supreme Court ruled in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores case. In that ruling, the court said that family-run corporations with religious objections could be exempted from providing employees with insurance coverage for contraception.

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Do you support the death penalty?

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.

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Should hate speech be protected by freedom of speech laws?

Hate speech is defined as public speech that expresses hate or encourages violence towards a person or group based on something such as race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.

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Should the military allow women to serve in combat roles?

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.

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Should terminally ill patients be allowed to end their lives via assisted suicide?

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.

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Do you support the use of nuclear energy?

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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Should Canada raise taxes on the rich?

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.

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Should the government raise the federal minimum wage?

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.

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Should the government make cuts to public spending in order to reduce the national debt?

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.

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Should Canada raise or lower the tax rate for corporations?

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.

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Should the federal government subsidize universal child care?

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Do you support a universal basic income program?

A Universal Basic Income program is social security program where all citizens of a country receive a regular, unconditional sum of money from the government. The funding for Universal Basic Income comes from taxation and government owned entities including income from endowments, real estate and natural resources. Several countries, including Finland, India and Brazil, have experimented with a UBI system but have not implemented a permanent program. The longest running UBI system in the world is the Alaska Permanent Fund in the U.S. state of Alaska. In the Alaska Permanent Fund each individual and family receives a monthly sum that is funded by dividends from the state’s oil revenues. Proponents of UBI argue that it will reduce or eliminate poverty by providing everyone with a basic income to cover housing and food. Opponents argue that a UBI would be detrimental to economies by encouraging people to either work less or drop out of the workforce entirely.

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Should welfare recipients be tested for drugs?

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.

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Do you believe labor unions help or hurt the economy?

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.

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Should there be fewer or more restrictions on current welfare benefits?

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.

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Should pension payments be increased for retired government workers?

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.

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Should old age pensions be increased?

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Should Canadian citizens be allowed to save or invest their money in offshore bank accounts?

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.

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Should the employee contribution rate for the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) be raised above its current 4.49% rate?

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.

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Should bankers’ bonuses be capped at 100% of their pay?

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.

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Should the government use economic stimulus to aid the country during times of recession?

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.

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Should the government provide tax incentives to private companies to keep jobs within the country?

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Should the government classify Bitcoin as a legal currency?

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.

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Should the government break up Amazon, Facebook and Google?

In 2019 the European Union and U.S. Democratic Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren issued proposals that would regulate Facebook, Google and Amazon. Senator Warren proposed that the U.S. government should designate tech companies who have global revenue of over $25 billion as “platform utilities" and break them up into smaller companies. Senator Warren argues that the companies have “bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else.” Lawmakers in the European Union proposed a set of rules which include a blacklist of unfair trading practices, requirements that companies set up an internal system to handle complaints and allow businesses to group together to sue platforms. Opponents argue that these companies have benefited consumers by providing free online tools and bring more competition into commerce. Opponents also point out that history has shown that dominance in technology is a revolving door and that many companies (including IBM in the 1980’s) have cycled through it with little to no help from the government.

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Should there be more or less privatization of hospital and healthcare services?

Privatization is the process of transferring governmental control and ownership of a service or industry to a privately owned business.

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Should the federal government increase spending on healthcare?

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Should preventative dental care be covered under Canada’s universal healthcare plan?

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