Monday, September 08, 2008

Vote Shopping In Canuckistan, part 1

I'm gonna fight 'em all
A nation army couldn't hold me back
They're gonna rip it off
Taking their time right behind my back
--White Stripes
I've decided that I need to make an informed decision regarding the upcoming election, so I'm going to analyze the issues based on the party websites:

1. Green Party
2. Liberal Party
3. NDP
4. Conservatives
5. Bloc Quebecois

The first issue I want to address is foreign policy - What we are going to do to defend ourselves from a more aggressive Russia, the coming onslaught of international interference in the Northwest Passage, and defending our interests against our friends and neighbours alike. Yes, the US included.

Today, I'm reviewing the Green Party...


1. Green Party The Greens have a policy document here, which states:

Green Party MPs will work to:

199. Declare Canada a military nuclear-free zone and abstain from participating in
the development or usage of space-based weapons.

200. Work to establish a standing international peacekeeping force under UN control.
201. Create an International Affairs and Comprehensive Security Agency to
coordinate activities between Foreign Affairs, National Defense and CIDA.

202. Create a Rapid Response Force with a mandate for peacekeeping and
environmental restoration in both international crisis situations and domestic
catastrophes like floods, earthquakes, storms and fires and ensure that this
Force has the training and the means to deliver its support.

203. Deliver humanitarian aid and assistance effectively and efficiently.

204. Provide security for international aid and development groups on the ground
as well as assist international aid agencies and local authorities in implem
enting environmental protection and restoration measures.

205. Propose a reform of the UN Security Council, eliminating vetoes and
expanding membership.

206. Support the provision of royalty-free and low-cost AIDS medicines for Africa,
Asia and South America.

207. Work with other nations to eliminate unsustainable fishing in international
waters and create a system of marine sanctuaries. Press for custodial
management of fish stocks on the Grand Banks.

208. Increase foreign aid spending to 0.5 per cent of GDP by 2010, and meet
Canada's commitment to spend at least 0.7 per cent by 2015.

209. Work to increase the influence of the International Court of Justice.

210. Advocate a viable and secure state for Palestine and a secure state for Israel.

211. Actively engage with the Chinese government to advance a federal model
"Middle Path" approach, to the Tibet issue.

212. Initiate a review of Canada's current international security alliances.

213. Promote and support the international missions of the United Nations.

214. Erase debts with emerging countries that have been in default for over ten

I am interested in how the Greens might "eliminate vetoes" at the UN.

"Initiate a review of Canada's current international security alliances." is code for "let's get out of NATO" which a non-starter and doesn't merit debate/intelligent discussion.

I was looking for something more relevant and conclusive in terms of Afghanistan, Darfur, Russian aggression, perhaps a statement on Georgia or the geo-political realities that Canada needs to deal with.

...Ok, so here's their stance on trade:

215. Renegotiate our multilateral trade agreements, such as NAFTA and the
upcoming FTAA, to include fair trade tariffs that work to protect human rights
and our ecosystems, as well as terminate investor-state dispute mechanisms
that erode Canada's sovereignty and environmental laws.

216. Propose a reform of the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank, placing these
institutions under the authority of the UN general assembly, and shift the
direction of international trade away from "free trade" to "fair trade" focusing
on the global protection of human rights, labour standards, cultural diversity,
and ecosystems.
On #215, this is a fairly ridiculous point as far as terminating investor-state dispute mechanisms. I can understand that this might seem pertinent as the US was using this as a hammer at NAFTA during the log dispute, but this also protects us in other states as well. What if Bombardier's trains were seized by the Chinese government and their contracts cancelled? How would Montreal feel to have Bombardier be put out of business without recourse?

These dispute mechanisms exist for a reason, and pulling out doesn't always make sense.

The next point is about as equally bogus. I think that many people and nations think the WTO, IMF and World Bank are flawed, including myself, but can you imagine what would happen at the UN if finance/business decisions were made in by the most gridlocked political organ on earth?

I hope you don't need that emergency loan, Tanzania...How long will it take?....oh as long as that border dispute between Israel and Palestine...

This reads like the feel-good policy manual of a university student union.

I like stating that we will work to deliver humanitarian aid more efficiently, but I also like hearing about the tactics, not pie-in-sky strategic goals.

As I think I've pointed out, these policy points are unrealistic and irrelevant to the realities of governing.

Green Party - Your foreign policy sucks. Big Time.

Grade: D

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