The most useful flowchart

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I saw this linked on Reddit as “This is quite possibly the simplest and most Zen flowchart I’ve ever seen”, and I like it:

Red, Orange or Green

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It’s tough deciding where to put my vote on the “left” and it’s not getting any easier this election.

Let’s take a look at my choices:

Liberals

The traditional “safe” left-leaning vote, although there’s been a lot of talk recently about them having moved too far to the right.  Their platform doesn’t have a lot of pizazz, at least on the surface, but that’s also not necessarily a bad thing.  Given their past track record, I think they would make incremental improvements on some issues I care about, like environment/climate change, health care, education, etc, but it won’t be a whole lot.  Importantly, I do believe they’d be good for the budget and economy, and wouldn’t over-spend.

NDP

I’ll admit I’ve always had a somewhat negative opinion of the NDP.  I’d classify myself as “liberal” (left-leaning) on most matters, but at least economically I’m much more of a pragmatist.  The NDP has always had the reputation of the irresponsible spenders on big social programs, and honestly, after taking a look at their current platform, I’d have to say that’s not too far off the mark.  Here are the items in their platform that I can eyeball and classify as likely “new big ticket items” for the government:

  • Doubling pension benefits
  • Increase in the Guaranteed Income Supplement
  • National child care program
  • Post-secondary education transfers and benefits
  • Home heating tax rebates and energy retrofit rebates
  • Increase in child tax benefit
  • Extending employment insurance
  • Reducing small business taxes
  • New business tax credits
  • Lots of new “infrastructure” projects
  • Improvements to the health care system, such as training more doctors and nurses
  • Expanding public transit
  • Hiring more police and other new community safety investments

Here are a few items I can think of that will have a questionable effect on the economy, so it’s yet unknown whether it would increase or decrease government revenues:

  • A national minimum wage
  • Carbon cap-and-trade system

Looking at those lists, there are items for everyone to love.  There isn’t really anything I personally wouldn’t like.  My next thought is “holy crap, how are you going to pay for all of that?”  Of the 15 items above, if you took just 2 or 3 of them you could build a compelling platform, so why push a platform that obviously (to me) can’t be achieved?  I know they don’t figure on becoming the government, so maybe they just listed everything they like, but if so that’s very disingenuous.  Let’s compare their platform with the Greens.

Green

At least on national polls, it looks like Green support is down to about 5 or 6% from about the 10% they got in the last election.  I read their platform last election and I was surprised at how reasonable it was.  Their economic models and assumptions don’t seem overly optimistic, at least on the surface, and they cost everything out.  Here’s the Green 2011 platform budget.  I won’t list out the new expenditures here, like I did for the NDP, because the Green budget conveniently lists them all, plus all budget reductions from elsewhere, and all itemized over the next 3 years too.

Summary

As many Canadians are, I’m torn between voting for who I really want to win versus who I think can win and achieve at least some of my interests.  Since a Conservative won my riding by only 17 votes in the last election, strategic voting is more on my mind than it’s ever been before.  But, honestly, I would feel kind of guilty voting purely strategically.  I don’t think it’s wrong at all, but I guess I’m in more of a politically idealist mood lately.  Since in Canada we have a unified conservative party but a fractured liberal side, I think the liberal parties need to cooperate and not be scared of the word “coalition”.  I don’t see anything wrong with a coalition, but if the parties are afraid of it then they should know they’ll have to merge.

Some sanity prevails in case of the murderer given “access to the community”

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I noted recently that A murderer should not be allowed “access to the community” 2 years into his sentence and it seems like a lot of people came to their senses:
Rally in Coquitlam over Schoenborn.  Even the murderer had some sanity: Schoenborn withdraws escorted day leaves application.

There is something wrong with our legal system here.  As I said previously, I agree that mentally ill people should receive appropriate treatment when they commit a crime that was heavily influenced by their illness.  However, I find this case offensive on two fronts.  First, I’m not quite sure I agree with finding someone “not criminally responsible” for something as severe as murdering 3 children.  I can’t forsee any circumstance where I’d feel comfortable with such a person being out “in the community”.  Second, there absolutely has to be some spectrum of severity for cases where someone is found “not criminally responsible”.  There is an enormous difference between a case where a sick person isn’t able to control their anger during an argument and attacks someone, but upon receiving proper treatment is able to function normally, versus someone who murders their own 3 kids.  There’s always a risk of “re-offending”, and it’s somewhat reasonable to accept that risk for a fist-fight, but definitely not when it’s murdering children.

Why health care is not a normal industry

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Patients Are Not Consumers – this is true for so many reasons, not the least of which being that the country who already has a more “consumer-focused” medical industry has incredibly inflated costs and below average outcomes.  It’s not consumer-oriented in reality, it’s insurance-company-oriented, and the consumers get shafted.

A murderer should not be allowed “access to the community” 2 years into his sentence

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What?  Child killer Schoenborn granted chance at escorted access to community.  Really?  What?

I’m all for people receiving proper treatment when found guilty but “not criminally responsible”, but after murdering 3 kids in cold blood (his own kids, no less) I’m appalled that such a person would ever have “access to the community” again in their life.

Don’t promise me money – promise me competence

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I’m frustrated at the focus during this election campaign; not that it’s any different than usual.  Most of the message has been what new money each party is willing to offer us.  For example: Key election campaign promises so far from the federal parties.

We’re in an uncertain global economic climate and our government is holding lots of debt, and taking on new debt fast.  I don’t want more debt, which is what any new money promise brings.  I want fiscal responsibility, and remember that the best recent example we have of fiscal responsibility was the Chretien government.  But, the Liberals seem to be promising even more money than the NDP, at least that’s the impression from that article above.