Candidate for Battlefords-Lloydminster  


Demanding Better

Conservative Party of Canada Platform 2004 Synopsis

Demand Better Accountability:

 We will direct the Auditor General to audit all federal granting programs and recommend changes to reduce waste and fraud

     A Conservative government  will ask the Auditor General to conduct, on an expedited basis, an audit of all federal grant and contribution programs and contracting policies. We will act on her recommendations. We will also increase funding for the internal audit functions. We will ensure that all granting programs are reviewed every five years on an ongoing basis.

     The Auditor General will be given the authority to examine the affairs of Crown Corporations and government-funded Foundations.

     Partisan advertising by government departments will be banned, and the Auditor General will be given the power to monitor and enforce the ban.

We will create an independent Ethics Commissioner appointed by Parliament, not by the Prime Minister

A Conservative government will bring in legislation creating an Office of the Ethics Commissioner with full investigative powers. The legislation will provide for the Commissioner to be appointed by Parliament with the consent of Opposition parties. We will extend this appointment process to other officers of Parliament, including:

The Auditor General

The Chief Electoral Officer

The Access to Information Commissioner

The Privacy Commissioner

We will end corporate and union political donations, and end forced taxpayer subsidies of political parties

     A Conservative government will amend election financing legislation to prohibit all corporate, union, or organization donations to political parties and candidates.

     We will eliminate the current per voter annual subsidy for federal political parties. Instead, we will include a check-off box on taxpayers’ T1 forms that will allow Canadians to direct a nominal amount towards the registered political party of their choice. This choice will not affect taxpayers’ refunds or amounts owing.

     We will revise election financing legislation to allow individual Canadians and organizations freedom of expression during election campaigns.

We will set federal elections on a fixed date every four years and examine other democratic reforms

     A Conservative government will pass legislation modeled on the BC and Ontario laws requiring fixed election dates every four years, except when a government loses the confidence of the House (in which case an election would be held immediately, and the subsequent election would be four years later on the date established in the legislation).

     A Conservative government will appoint non-partisan independent commissions to examine and report on best practices from other jurisdictions on methods of direct democracy and alternatives to the voting system.serv

We will ensure fairness in party nomination and leadership races

     A Conservative government will institute a system of voluntary voter registration for Canadians to register their party affiliation. This registration will be used as the basis for party nomination and leadership contests. Any costs will be offset by rationalizing the Elections Canada bureaucracy.

     A Conservative government will require that all candidates in a general election or by-election have the democratic approval of their local Electoral District Association.

We will hold elections to fill vacancies in the Senate

     A Conservative government will appoint only elected Senators to the Senate. A Conservative government will also propose further reforms to make the Senate an independent and democratic body for all regions.

We will increase the power of individual Members of Parliament

     A Conservative government will make all votes, except the budget and main estimates, “free votes” for ordinary Members of Parliament.

     A Conservative government will allow Parliament to review and ratify important appointments, such as Officers of Parliament, Supreme Court Justices, and heads of major Crown corporations and agencies.

     A Conservative government will increase the power of Parliament and Parliamentary Committees to review the spending estimates of Departments and hold Ministers to account.

We will give Parliament, not the Courts, the final decision on issues like marriage

     A Conservative will withdraw the current marriage reference case before the Supreme Court and hold a free vote in Parliament on the definition of marriage.

We will cooperate with the provinces and respect the principles of confederation

     A Conservative government will not establish any new cost-shared programs in areas of provincial jurisdiction unless it has the support of at least seven provinces having over 50% of the population. Provinces will be allowed to opt out of a federal cost-shared program with full compensation if they are providing a comparable provincial program.

     A Conservative government will support the new Council of the Federation established by the provinces, and will encourage the Council to share information and best practices in areas such as health care, education, job training, and social assistance.

     A Conservative government will renegotiate the Agreement on Internal Trade to end provincial exclusions, create a prompt and binding dispute settlement process, and allow greater mobility for workers. If voluntary agreement cannot be achieved, we will use the Constitution to ensure that trade among the provinces is at least as free as trade with the United States and Mexico under NAFTA.

Demand Better Economy:

We will reduce the federal tax rate on middle-income Canadians by more than 25 percent

     A Conservative government will raise thresholds for all tax brackets. We will phase out the 22 percent tax bracket on taxable income between $35K and $70K. All other brackets will be raised at one percent above the inflation rate. A taxpayer earning $50,000 per year will save about $1,000 per year on his or her taxes when the cut is fully implemented.

We will introduce a $2000 per child deduction to reduce the tax burden on families with children

     A Conservative government will introduce a $2000 per child deduction, phased in over four years.

We will reduce premiums to eliminate the annual surplus in the Employment Insurance account

     A Conservative government will reduce Employment Insurance premiums to eliminate the surplus in the Employment Insurance account and ensure that contributions are used to pay for EI benefits, not other expenditures.

We will invest in infrastructure by transferring at least 3 cents of the gas tax to the provinces

     A Conservative government will negotiate a transfer of at least 3 cents of federal fuel excise tax to the provinces through a national infrastructure agreement. It will phase out the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund and other federally run infrastructure programs, while retaining the Border Infrastructure Program. This will enhance federal infrastructure such as airports, ports, and the National Highway System.

We will introduce a new Registered Lifetime Savings Plan that allows Canadians to withdraw their money tax-free

     A Conservative government will allow Canadians to contribute up to $5000 per year to a Registered Lifetime Savings Plan.

We will control government spending and pay down the national debt

     A Conservative government will take a prudent approach to budgeting that keeps spending growth under control, and will introduce a legislated debt repayment plan that sets a target debt-to-GDP ratio.

We will cut wasteful corporate subsidies in order to reduce taxes for all businesses

     A Conservative government will immediately ask the Auditor General to review all granting programs – including grants and subsidies to businesses. Based on the results of this review we will seek to eliminate $4 billion per year in subsidies to business. As savings are generated, they will be redirected to reduce or eliminate taxes on business, including:

Elimination of the $12 Air Security Tax.

Elimination of the Capital Tax.

Reduction of Capital Gains Taxes.

Reduction of business tax rates for all businesses, including small business.

We will invest in research and development, especially medical and scientific research

    A Conservative government will encourage R&D through tax credits, elimination of the capital tax, a competitive intellectual property regime, and improved accessibility to private sector funds for small and medium sized enterprises. In partnership with universities and the private sector, we will promote the growth of innovation clusters across Canada.

     A Conservative government will uphold funding of innovation, technology, and research through independent granting councils. We will ensure that a competitive peer review process, with enhanced transparency and accountability, determines who receives grants through these councils, not political or regional considerations.

We will support Canada’s farmers, fishers, and forestry workers

     A Conservative government will:

Support the use of safety net programs to assist producers who are struggling against conditions outside of their control. We will provide enhanced support to agriculture and the agri-food industry, while acting consistently with our international trading obligations.

Give grain farmers the freedom to make their own marketing and transportation decisions and to voluntarily participate in producer organizations.

Ensure industries under the protection of supply management remain viable.

Support the goal of supply management to deliver a high-quality product to consumers for a fair price with a reasonable return to the producer.

Support rules-based trading systems like NAFTA and the WTO to promote free and fair trade, especially where the trading partners are unequal in size.

Secure the future of Canada’s lumber industry through free trade. We will support a temporary forest support program for workers displaced by the softwood lumber dispute, and loan guarantees to companies for cash requirements for the tariff liability associated with trade disputes with the United States.

Develop a fisheries managerial framework that gives provinces and territories more input and control over fisheries management in their region.

Extend the two hundred mile limit to the edge of the Continental Shelf, the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks, and the Flemish Cap in the North Atlantic, and increase enforcement efforts within the two hundred mile limit to protect our fish stocks from unsustainable harvesting practices of international fishers.

Invest more in fisheries science and research, especially relating to sustainable harvesting. We will transfer the policy and science branches of Fisheries and Oceans to the east and west coasts to better understand and respond to the concerns of fishers.

Ensure that intergenerational transfers of capital within a family are treated equitably under the tax system for farmers, foresters, and the fishing sector.

Demand Better Health Care:

We will work with the provinces to build on the 2003 Accord on Health Renewal

     A Conservative government will work with the provinces to implement the commitments of the 2003 Health Accord. We will seek to bring Alberta and Quebec into the Canada Health Council to make it truly representative of all Canadians.

We will provide stable long-term funding for health care

     A Conservative government led by Stephen Harper is committed to implementing the $36.8 billion in new funding committed under the Health Accord.

     A Conservative government is also prepared to negotiate with the provinces to achieve a greater longterm federal commitment to health care funding, provided that new funding is linked to achieving the broader health reform goals of the 2003 Accord. As part of those discussions, a Conservative government will propose that the federal government assume direct responsibility for the catastrophic drug plan in the Accord.

     A Conservative government will also revisit the equalization formula. We will move towards a ten-province standard that excludes non-renewable resource revenues from the equalization formula (helping the Atlantic provinces and Saskatchewan, in particular), and do so in a manner that ensures no provinces receiving equalization will receive less money during the transition to the new formula than the current formula provides.

We will hold the federal and provincial governments accountable for Health Accord promises

     A Conservative government will insist on accountability under the Health

Accord. We will:

Ensure that performance indicators on timely access, quality, sustainability, and health status and wellness are developed.

Provide Canadians with a list of common home care services eligible for coverage.

Report to Canadians on how provinces are planning to ensure that all Canadians have access to catastrophic drug coverage by 2005/06.

Work with the provinces through the Canada Health Council to monitor and report on waiting lists and explore ways of dealing with the problem.

Propose to the provinces a federal program for catastrophic drug coverage

We will respond more effectively to public health emergencies

      A Conservative government will:

Support the appointment of a Chief Public Health Officer and the creation of the Canada Public Health Agency.

Clearly define federal and provincial governments’ roles during public health crises.

Settle on a compensation formula for public health emergencies to avoid unseemly squabbles over money while patients are still at risk.

We will improve access to new drugs and natural health products

     A Conservative government will clear the drug approval backlog and bring drug approval waiting times in line with the U.S. average.

     A Conservative government will treat natural health products as “food style” rather than “drug style” products.

We will promote amateur sport and physical fitness

     A Conservative government will commit one percent of federal health funding to the funding of physical activity. This will increase support for the Canadian Olympic Agency and amateur athletes, as well as activities for school age children like the Awards of Excellence programs.

Demand Better Communities: Canada, Platform 2004 Synopsis

We will work with the provinces to reduce financial barriers to post-secondary education and training

     A Conservative government will increase the maximum student loan limits, broaden the definition of eligible expenses, and increase family income thresholds. We will also provide first-year tuition grants for students from low-income families. We will encourage families to save for their children’s education, through such measures as the Canada Learning Bond, increased Canada Education Savings Grants, and the Registered Lifetime Savings Program.

We will provide relief to Canadians on low and fixed incomes to help them meet rising utility, insurance, and gasoline prices

     A Conservative government will increase the size of the GST Tax Credit by 25 percent.

     A Conservative government will axe the Tax on Tax by removing the GST from the federal excise tax on gasoline.

     A Conservative government will eliminate the GST portion of gas prices above 85 cents.

We will expand tax credits for caregivers taking care of elderly, sick, or disabled relatives

     A Conservative government will double the size of the caregivers’ tax credit to cover $7,000 in allowable expenses.

We will improve recognition of foreign credentials and prior work

      A Conservative government will ensure speedier recognition of foreign credentials and prior work experience.

We will work to improve economic and social conditions for aboriginal Canadians

     A Conservative government will support the development of a property regime on reserves to allow individual property ownership that will encourage lending for private housing and businesses. A Conservative government will also create a matrimonial property code to protect spouses and children in cases of marriage breakdown.

     A Conservative government, in consultation with the provinces and aboriginals, will support the principle of allowing parents to choose which schooling they want for their children, with funding following the students.

We will become an environmental world leader by focusing on clean air, clean water, clean land, and clean energy

     A Conservative government will implement the commitments of Stephen Harper’s February 2004 paper,

“Towards a Cleaner Canada,” including:

Legislate caps on smog causing pollutants like Nitrogen Oxide (NOx), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). Negotiate power plant and smokestack emissions limits with the United States and border states. Investigate a cap-and-trade system that will allow firms to generate credits by reducing smog-causing pollutants.

Increase fines for first occurrences of ocean spills to $500,000 plus clean-up costs. Pass legislation providing that ships and their cargo can be seized and impounded until fines are paid. Extend funding for radar satellite surveillance on the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts.

Initiate an audit of federal contaminated waste sites to determine potential health risks and clean-up costs. Support spending $4 billion over ten years to clean up contaminated sites such as the Sydney tar ponds.

Allow businesses to deduct costs of brownfield remediation expenses, and take further measures recommended by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy to reduce the risks to the private sector of brownfield development.

Work with the provinces to develop a national strategy for alternative energy and energy conservation, including increasing the use of renewable energy sources, research and development into alternative energy and energy efficiency technology, and a long term study of Canada’s energy situation that considers the relative cost of energy sources, energy security, trade relations, and environmental conservation.

Redirect federal spending aimed at fulfilling the terms of the increasingly irrelevant Kyoto Protocol to concrete programs to ensure clean air, water, and land, and to promote energy conservation.

Demand Better Security:

We will protect our communities from crime by instituting truth in sentencing, tightening parole, and holding young offenders accountable

     A Conservative government will:

Ensure that conditional sentences (“house arrest”) shall not apply to serious crimes, such as violent and sexual assaults, weapons offences, and major drug trafficking.

Repeal section 745.6 of the Criminal Code – the so-called “Faint Hope Clause” that allows an offender serving a life sentence to apply for parole after only 15 years.

Establish a “dangerous offender” status for a third violent or sexual offence.

Enforce mandatory consecutive sentences (instead of concurrent sentences, as is usually the case) for multiple violent offences.

Replace statutory release (the law entitling a prisoner to parole after serving two-thirds of his sentence) with earned parole.

Forbid prisoners in federal institutions from voting in elections.

Require that violent or serious repeat offenders who are fourteen years or older be tried in adult court.

We will protect our children by eliminating legal loopholes for child pornography

     We will pass legislation that will adopt a zero tolerance policy for child porn, eliminating the so-called “public good” defence. We will prohibit conditional sentences for child sex offences, to ensure that all of those charged with these offences will serve prison time and be removed from the community.

We will fight crime by scrapping the firearms registry and redirecting the money to law enforcement

     A Conservative government led will repeal the wasteful long-gun registry legislation.

     A Conservative government will work with the provinces on cost-effective gun-control programs designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals while respecting the rights of law-abiding Canadians to own and use firearms responsibly. Measures will include:

Mandatory minimum penalties for the criminal use of firearms and their illegal possession.

Strict monitoring of high-risk individuals.

Crackdown on gun smuggling.

Safe storage laws.

Firearms safety training.

A licensing system for all those wishing to acquire and use firearms legally.

Putting more law enforcement officers on our streets.

A registry of convicted criminals who have been prohibited by the courts from owning firearms.

We will protect our national security by clearing the backlog of individuals who have been ordered deported but not removed

     A Conservative government will address the backlog of outstanding deportation orders, putting priority on individuals with criminal records or connections to terrorist organizations or organized crime. It will ensure that refugee claimants who arrive in Canada without proper documentation do not put Canadian security at risk.a, Platform 2004 Synopsis

We will build a more constructive partnership with our major allies and trading partners, and enhance the North American trade relationship

     A Conservative government will develop a strategic partnership with the United States to ensure that both security and trade issues are resolved in Canada’s best interest. It will:

Elevate the Canadian Ambassador to the United States so that the position holds cabinet rank and is a full member of the Cabinet committee on Canada/US relations.

Create a Secretary of State for Canada/US relations within the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Enhance our NAFTA relationship with the United States by moving towards harmonized tariffs, eliminating rules of origin, and moving beyond trade to pursue enhanced common labour, environmental, and security standards.

Vigorously defend the interests of our primary producers on issues like softwood lumber and BSE.

We will implement a Made in Canada foreign policy

     A Conservative government will develop a Made in Canada foreign policy that emphasizes our most important values – democracy and the rule of law, individual freedom and human rights, free markets and free trade, and compassion for the less fortunate.

     We will work closely with international organizations such as the United Nations and in concert with our most important military allies, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and NATO countries, to address international security threats from terrorism or rogue states.

     We will build on key regional relationships: trade and investment within NAFTA, the Asia-Pacific, and the Americas; support for trade and development in Africa, emphasizing free markets and the rule of law; and support for patent reform to allow low-cost generic drugs to be sold in Africa for the relief of AIDS and other epidemics.

We will give our Canadian Forces the equipment they need to do the difficult and demanding work we ask of them

     A Conservative government will:

Inject an immediate $1.2 billion per year into the military for equipment replacement, with a longerterm goal of moving toward the NATO European average as a percentage of GDP.

Gradually increase our Regular Force strength to at least 80,000, along with simultaneous increases in reserve personnel levels.

Regenerate our Land Forces through strengthened infantry battalion groups, the procurement of more survivable tanks, and increased army field strength and command capabilities.

Regenerate our Air Force through upgrades to the CF-18 fleet, new tactical and heavy-lift aircraft, and new maritime helicopters with enhanced multi-mission capabilities.

Regenerate our Maritime Force through the establishment of a single civilian coast guard agency, new multi-role combatants, and new hybrid carriers for helicopter support and strategic lift.

Increase the use of satellite surveillance and acquisition of a long-range unmanned air vehicle (UAV) for maritime surveillance.

Enhance Parliamentary oversight over defence policy and military equipment procurement.

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