Manitoba's 40th general election will take place on Tuesday, October 4, 2011.
Voters will be going to the polls to elect their Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). This election has put the spot light on many contentious and substantial issues for voters to consider.
Members of your local chapter of the Council of Canadians have combined their knowledge, resources and connections to give you a progressive perspective on some of the most important decisions our future MLAs will have to make.
Your feedback and participation is crucial._____________________________________
Provincial Crime Priority - Prevention or Punishment
There are many potentially successful programs already in place in Manitoba and there’s room for many more. If we truly want to reduce our crime rate, we need to put our tax dollars into proven crime prevention strategies; but with the popular, ill-informed push to hire more police, build more prisons and fill them with more prisoners serving longer sentences, our elected representatives will be in danger of once again letting political considerations dominate as they address crime in Manitoba.
... read the full blog
When the Harper government put in motion their plan to scrap the single desk, not-for-profit wheat board in favour of a multitude of competing private businesses, farmers spoke out strongly against that decision. In the recent plebiscite, over 40,000 farmers (62%) voted to keep the single desk CWB in place.
The Harper government is ignoring farmers’ choice.
... read the full blog
Manitoba's Political "Environment"
All-Candidates Panel on the Environment held on September 14th at the Unitarian Church on Wellington Crescent.
NDP is preventing hog manure from entering our waterways, expanding on clean hydro and wind energy, expanding protected areas including the Boreal Forest, requiring the City of Winnipeg to upgrade the North End sewage treatment plant.
The Liberals will introduce a green energy plan, support composting programs, save our lakes by reducing or eliminating phosphorous, protect the Boreal forest, create a plan to meet Kyoto targets with a focus on agriculture, transportation and energy efficiency, assist farmers to shift to organic production.
The Green Party will cancel Bipole III and shift to renewable energy with an emphasis on building a post-petroleum local economy, free public transit, no nuclear storage or transport in Manitoba, compost program, rebuilding wetlands and a GMO-free Manitoba. Included in their platform are sections on “Ecological Litteracy” and “Protecting Living Systems.”
The Progressive Conservatives have a scant environmental platform. They have one press release outlining a brief plan to address Lake Winnipeg including a goal of reducing phosphorous inputs by 20% by the year 2020. This, coupled with the PC pro free-trade stance will severely restrict our local decision-making on how our natural resources are used and protected.
Experts Support an Intact Boreal Forest
Four years ago the NDP decided to build the new transmission line to ensure energy security for Manitoba and to facilitate increased export sales of energy to the United States. They chose the west side route to protect the Boreal Forest on the east side of Lake Winnipeg (which would support a bid to designate the Boreal Forest as a UNESCO World Heritage site), while respecting First Nations' rights and considering long term sustainable development of the province. This Manitoba election, the Progressive Conservative party has tried to frame the west side construction of BiPole III as wrong. They claim that because the east side would be a shorter distance it would be cheaper, and therefore better.
Who's Defending the Local Economy in EU Trade Deal?
The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union (EU) is currently being negotiated behind closed doors by the Harper government, provincial representatives, and the EU. The European Union is demanding the inclusion of an open procurement policy across all levels of government jurisdiction. This would result in both provinces and municipalities being effectively banned from applying any preferences in public contracting or procurement. Local and provincial governments could not purchase local goods, hire local companies, or sign contracts that had any considerations other than price. Infrastructure projects would no longer be an investment in local job creation as any corporation could sue a government that hired a local company that did not offer the lowest price.
Parties need to stand up for Democracy and Jobs
Given that the next provincial government elected will be representing Manitobans at the bargaining table with the EU voters should know where the parties stand on the CETA. The Progressive Conservatives’ platform promises that they “will join national, international and regional trade agreements” but they also state that they “will formulate pro-trade policies for Manitoba that will benefit local businesses and jobs.” The PC platform doesn’t mention the CETA by name but the PC’s cannot have it both ways, either they are honest when they write in their platform that they “recognize the tremendous level of services provided by local governments and respect the leadership and input demonstrated by elected municipal officials” or they sign on to the CETA with its open procurement policy and prevent municipal governments from hiring local companies.
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New View on New West
So far, Manitoba has stayed out of the interprovincial New West Trade agreement. This agreement puts trade panels in authority over our governments, who can be fined for not abiding by the trade panel decisions. A provincial government under the New West cannot set policy to support or encourage provincial business or to prefer a bid for reasons of locality. Expert trade lawyer Steve Shrybman has published a report showing how agreements of this kind threaten our public services and serve to further deregulate provincial policies that protect communities and the environment. This is the same regional trade agreement that the conservative party promises to join, and that would preclude them carrying out their other promise about benefiting local businesses and jobs.
Voters' choice for on-line Manitoba Election Info
As each election passes more voter resources become available on-line. The upcoming provincial general election has generated sites chock full of a variety of useful information and even some fun interactive tools.
The Elections Manitoba's official website
The citizen-created, volunteer-run ManitobaElection.ca
The University of Manitoba's Understanding the Manitoba Elections
Understanding the Manitoba Elections on You Tube
The Winnipeg Free Press' Democracy Project
The CBC's Manitoba Votes 2011
CTV Winnipeg's Your Vote
BONUS: Whack an Issue
Please remember to come out to vote on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 4th or check out the advanced voting for even more convenience.