Answer the following questions to see how your political beliefs match your political parties and candidates.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The North American Free Trade Agreement is an agreement that was created to lower trade restrictions between Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
A tariff is a tax on imports or exports between countries.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In July 2017, 43 U.S. Senators proposed a law that would make it a crime for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel. The bill would levy large fines and prison time for businesses and individuals who don’t buy from Israeli companies operating in occupied Palestinian territories, and who make statements, including social media posts, saying that they are doing so in order to boycott. The international boycott of Israel was launched in 2006 by Palestinian NGO’s to protest Israel’s “occupation and colonization of Arab lands.” Supporting the boycott is considered a “civil wrong” in Israel and has been officially condemned by the governments of Australia, France and the U.K. Proponents of the law argue it could cause severe economic harm to, Israel which is an important ally of the western nations in the Middle East. Opponents of the law argue that it is a suppression of free speech and citizens should be able to protest and boycott any foreign country.
In October 2019 the U.S. House of Representatives passed a series of bills supporting protesters in Hong Kong who have a called for democratic reforms in the City. In March 2019 a series of protests began in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) after the government there introduced the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill. The Fugitive Offenders bill established a mechanism for transfers of fugitives from Hong Kong to Mainland China, Macau and Taiwan. The bill was proposed in response to the 2018 murder of Poon Hiu-wing in Taiwan. After the murder her boyfriend, Chan Tong-kai, left Taiwan and traveled to Hong Kong where he told police that he killed Poon. Taiwanese police were unable to extradite Tong-kai and charge him with the murder because the Taiwanese police did not have an extradition agreement in place with Hong Kong. Opponents of the bill argued that it would allow the mainland Chinese government to extradite citizens in Hong Kong - effectively putting them under Chinese law. Opponents also argues that the Chinese criminal process does not have an independent judiciary, fair public trials and lack of access to legal representation. On September 4, 2019, after 13 weeks of protests, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam promised to withdraw the bill.
Privatization is the process of transferring governmental control and ownership of a service or industry to a privately owned business.
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.
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.
Single-payer healthcare is a system where every citizen pays the government to provide core healthcare services for all residents. Under this system the government may provide the care themselves or pay a private healthcare provider to do so. In a single-payer system all residents receive healthcare regardless of age, income or health status. Countries with single-payer healthcare systems include the U.K., Canada, Taiwan, Israel, France, Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.
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 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.