Answer the following questions to see how your political beliefs match your political parties and candidates.
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
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 2011 there were 1,053,945 Muslims in Canada or about 3.2% of the population, making them the second largest religion after Christianity.
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.
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.
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.
Multiple citizenship, also called dual citizenship is a person's citizenship status, in which a person is concurrently regarded as a citizen of more than one state under the laws of those states. There is no international convention which determines the nationality or citizen status of a person, which is defined exclusively by national laws, which vary and can be inconsistent with each other. Some countries do not permit dual citizenship. Most countries that permit dual citizenship still may not recognize the other citizenship of its nationals within its own territory, for example, in relation to entry into the country, national service, duty to vote, etc.
The Canadian Citizenship test contains 20 questions which must be completed in 30 minutes or less. To pass the test applicants must answer 15 questions correctly. 80% of test takers currently pass the test.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
In 2014, the EU passed legislation that capped bankers' bonuses at 100% of their pay or 200% with shareholder approval. There are currently no caps on banker's pay in Canada. Proponents of the cap say that it will reduce incentives for bankers to take excessive risk similar to what led to the 2008 financial crisis. Opponents say that any cap on bankers' pay will push up non-bonus pay and cause bank's costs to rise.
A government pension is a fund into which a sum of money is added during the period in which a person is employed by the government. When the government employee retires they are able to receive periodic payments from the fund in order to support themselves. As the birth rate continues to fall and the life expectancy rises governments worldwide are predicting funding shortfalls for pensioners. In 2016 the government proposed raising the CPP benefit to $17,478 from $13,000.
The 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.
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 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.
In the first 4 months of 2015 Transport Canada issued 1,600 permits for commercial drones. In contrast, the U.S.’s Federal Aviation Administration issued only 69. Over 110 companies in Canada now provide commercial drone services, which are regularly used by the movie and television industry, oil and gas companies, forestry companies and farmers.
In 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The UN. is an organization of governments founded in 1945 after World War II. The organization’s objectives include promoting peace and security, protecting human rights and the environment and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict. Recent U.N. interventions include the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009 and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Canada joined the U.N. in 1948 as a founding member nation. Canada is the eighth largest financial contributor to the UN and contributes $81 million annually.
In January 2015, the Canadian government introduced Bill C-51 which would give police and spy agencies more power to detain terror suspects. Provisions to the bill include expanding police powers that would allow them to preventively detain or restrict terror suspects, ban the “promotion of terrorism”, allow the public safety minister to add people to Canada’s “no-fly list”, and enhance the powers of Canada’s spy agency CSIS. Proponents argue that law enforcement and intelligence agencies need more power to combat terrorism in the wake of the attacks on two Canadian soldiers in October and the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris. Opponents argue the bill’s powers to limit “threats to the security of Canada” are too broad and may allow the government to shut down legitimate dissenters and protest groups who do not go through official channels.
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.
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.
Privatization is the process of transferring governmental control and ownership of a service or industry to a privately owned business.