Answer the following questions to see who you should vote for in the 2019 Saint John--Rothesay House of Commons election.
“Defund the police” is a slogan that supports divesting funds from police departments and reallocating them to non-policing forms of public safety and community support, such as social services, youth services, housing, education, healthcare and other community resources.
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.
Militarization of police refers to the use of military equipment and tactics by law enforcement officers. This includes the use of armored vehicles, assault rifles, flashbang grenades, sniper rifles, and SWAT teams. Proponents argue that this equipment increases officers’ safety and enables them to better protect the public and other first responders. Opponents argue that police forces which received military equipment were more likely to have violent encounters with the public.
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.
Prison overcrowding is a social phenomenon occurring when the demand for space in prisons in a jurisdiction exceeds the capacity for prisoners.The issues associated with prison overcrowding are not new, and have been brewing for many years. During the United States’ War on Drugs, the states were left responsible for solving the prison overcrowding issue with a limited amount of money. Moreover, federal prison populations may increase if states adhere to federal policies, such as mandatory minimum sentences. On the other hand, the Justice Department provides billions of dollars a year for state and local law enforcement to ensure they follow the policies set forth by the federal government concerning U.S. prisons. Prison overcrowding has affected some states more than others, but overall, the risks of overcrowding are substantial and there are solutions to this problem.
Private prisons are incarceration centers that are run by a for-profit company instead of a government agency. The companies that operate private prisons are paid a per-diem or monthly rate for each prisoner they keep in their facilities. In Canada there are currently no private prisons. Opponents of private prisons argue that incarceration is a social responsibility and that entrusting it to for-profit companies is inhumane. Proponents argue that prisons run by private companies are consistently more cost effective than those run by government agencies.
Since 1999, the executions of drug smugglers have become more common in Indonesia, Iran, China and Pakistan. In March 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump proposed executing drug traffickers to fight his country’s opioid epidemic. 32 countries impose the death penalty for drug smuggling. Seven of these countries (China, Indonesia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore) routinely execute drug offenders. Asia and the Middle East’s tough approach contrasts with many Western countries who have legalized cannabis in recent years (selling cannabis in Saudi Arabia is punished by beheading).
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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.
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.
In March 2018, President Donald Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports after directing US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to investigate the national security impact of steel and aluminum imports into the United States. The tariffs came into effect for Canada and Mexico on June 1, 2018.
Decentralized Finance (commonly referred to as DeFi) is a blockchain based and cryptographically secure form of finance. Inspired after the financial crisis of 2008, DeFi does not rely on central financial intermediaries such as brokerages, exchanges, or banks to offer traditional financial instruments, and instead utilizes smart contracts on blockchains, the most common being Ethereum. DeFi platforms allow people to verify any transfer of ownership, lend or borrow funds from others, speculate on price movements on a range of assets using derivatives, trade cryptocurrencies, insure against risks, and earn interest in savings-like accounts. Proponents argue that decentralized protocols have already revolutionized the security and efficiency of many existing industries and the financial industry is long overdue. Opponents argue that the anonymity of decentralized protocols make it easier for criminals to transfer funds. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-O3r2YMWJ4" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-O3r2YMWJ4></a>
Countries including Ireland, Scotland, Japan, and Sweden are experimenting with a four-day workweek, which requires employers to provide overtime pay to employees working more than 32 hours per week.
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.
In 2017, The Canadian government announced that it would allocate C$40 billion (US$31.6 billion) to a national housing plan to alleviate the severe lack of affordable housing. This includes building 100,000 affordable housing units, repairing another 300,000 social units that already exist and reducing homelessness by 50%.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to place a two-year ban on foreign homebuyers if re-elected, in a bid to address housing affordability in Canada. The nation's housing market has soared during the coronavirus pandemic, up 16 percent year-over-year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). The Liberal Party is one of three major parties focused on this central issue.
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.
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.
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.
At the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development 178 countries voted to adopt Agenda 21. Agenda 21 is non-binding action plan that sets climate sustainability and poverty. guidelines for national, state and local governments. Proponents argue that the agenda’s guidelines will encourage federal and local governments to protect the environment and combat poverty. Opponents argue that global organizations should not make rules for local governments and these rules are unnecessary because they are impossible to enforce.
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
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.
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
The amount of sewage and wastewater Canada discharges into its waterways is increasing. This is despite regulations introduced in 2012 to curb the problem. Concern is growing among those who fear for the health of Canadians and the environment. Each year, Canada discharges 200 billion liters of raw sewage into its waterways, rivers and oceans.
In November 2018 the online e-commerce company Amazon announced it would be building a second headquarters in New York City and Arlington, VA. The announcement came a year after the company announced it would accept proposals from any North American city who wanted to host the headquarters. Amazon said the company could invest over $5 billion and the offices would create up to 50,000 high paying jobs. More than 200 cities applied and offered Amazon millions of dollars in economic incentives and tax breaks. For the New York City headquarters the city and state governments gave Amazon $2.8 billion in tax credits and construction grants. For the Arlington, VA headquarters the city and state governments gave Amazon $500 million in tax breaks. Opponents argue that governments should spend the tax revenue on public projects instead and that the federal government should pass laws banning tax incentives. The European Union has strict laws which prevent member cities from bidding against each other with state aid (tax incentives) in an effort to lure private companies. Proponents argue that the jobs and tax revenue created by the companies eventually offset the cost of any awarded incentives.
The transportation sector is the main contributor of greenhouse gases. One initiative towards mitigating these gases is sustainable transportation, with significant reductions in emissions in this sector.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In April 2021 the legislature of the U.S. State of Arkansas introduced a bill that prohibited doctors from providing gender-transition treatments to people under 18 years old. The bill would make it a felony for doctors to administer puberty blockers, hormones and gender-reaffirming surgery to anyone under the age of 18. Opponents of the bill argue that it is an assault on transgender rights and that transition treatments are a private matter that should be decided between parents, their children and doctors. Supporters of the bill argue that children are too young to make the decision to receive gender transition treatment and only adults over the age of 18 should be allowed to do so.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Privatization is the process of transferring governmental control and ownership of a service or industry to a privately owned business.
In 2018, officials in the U.S. city of Philadelphia city proposed opening a “safe haven” in an effort to combat the city's heroin epidemic. In 2016 64,070 people died in the U.S. from drug overdoses - a 21% increase from 2015. 3/4 of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. are caused by the opioid class of drugs which includes prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl. To combat the epidemic cities including Vancouver, BC and Sydney, AUS opened safe havens where addicts can inject drugs under the supervision of medical professionals. The safe havens reduce the overdose death rate by insuring the addicted patients are given drugs that are not contaminated or poisoned. Since 2001 5,900 people have overdosed at a safe haven in Sydney, Australia but no one has died. Proponents argue that the safe havens are the only proven solution to lower the overdose fatality rate and prevent the spread of diseases like HIV-AIDS. Opponents argue that safe havens may encourage illegal drug use and re-direct funding from traditional treatment centers.
The World Health Organization was founded in 1948 and is a specialized agency of the United Nations whose main objective is “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.” The organization provides technical assistance to countries, sets international health standards and guidelines, and collects data on global health issues through the World Health Survey. The WHO has led global public health efforts including the development of an Ebola Vaccine and the near-eradication of polio and smallpox. The organization is run by a decision-making body composed of representatives from 194 countries. It is funded by voluntary contributions from member countries and private donors. In 2018 and 2019 the WHO had a $5 billion budget and the leading contributors were the United States (15%) , the EU (11%) and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation (9%). Supporters of the WHO argue that cutting funding will hamper the international fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and sap the U.S. of global influence.