Thursday, September 12, 2013

Not just flag-waving on new issues, but detailed policy proposals needed from NDP

Conservatives must face student debt crisis
Tuition rates expected to climb 13 per cent over next four years
OTTAWA – The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a study today that should sound the alarm for education policymakers around the country. The CCPA finds that tuition rates will climb an average of 13 per cent over the next four years, making access to post-secondary education even more difficult for young Canadians. 
Already, Canadian students have an average of $28,000 of federal debt alone when they graduate, according to Statistics Canada. Already, they meet a youth unemployment rate of 14.1 per cent - twice that of the nation-wide average. And now, they face ever higher debt loads that force post-secondary education out of reach for some young Canadians. 
“Young Canadians are saddled with lifelong debt sentences” said NDP critic for Post-Secondary Education Dan Harris (Scarborough Southwest).   “This problem isn’t going away – it’s getting worse. New Democrats call on the government to work with the provinces and territories to reduce the costs of post-secondary education and to tackle, head on, the problems of affordability and student debt.”
This piece is taken from the NDP website, September 12, 2013.
While it adequately points to a real issue, it fails to outline the NDP approach to the issue.
I want to support the party in its pursuit of social democracy, social justice, and enhanced access to post-secondary education for as many Canadian students whose aspirations and abilities warrant such access. And I also want to see the party express detailed, sustainable and supportable positions, for issues such as this one.
Politics has changed. The electorate is no longer merely satisfied with generalized hand-wringing about an approaching storm. The NDP can be much more than a weather-vane of upcoming disparities. It can and must also be a compass in the storm, pointing out, not only "calling on the government to work with the provinces to reduce the costs of post-secondary education, and tackle head-on the problems of affordability and student debt," but also then outlining a detailed leadership prospectus, as an example of how the NDP would proposed to make such moves were it to form the next government.
There is a clear and glaring emptiness from the Liberal party, as the leader has promised not to introduce any policy proposals until the election is called and the Conservatives own the national media with their pompous and disingenuous responses to all questions posed by national reporters on all subject. Answers like "We are the government that is going to get this right!" on any question ranging from steps to protect the environment to purchases of new helicopters for the military are so hallow, and so insulting because they are so vacuous that anyone listening, without walking out of the room upon hearing such pablum, has to be merely a core conservative or deaf in both ears.
The NDP is alive, awake, and based on sound social democratic principles, many of which have fallen into disrepair over the last two decades.
Re-educating those who were once familiar with and espoused such principles, in their applied form, and education new voters to the power and the impact of those principles, once again under the caveat that they fit with other pressing and projected revenues, costs and the kind of statements that an NDP government would offer if and when it assumed power.
Of course, the finer details of the existing financial statements of the government are not and will not be available to the NDP until after they win an election as the governing party. However, within the constraints of that full disclosure, the party and its leader can and should offer more than mere flag waving on the issues its presents to its web readers.
The intelligence of the party and its leader are not in question; the credibility of the party and its leader are not in doubt. And the promise of a new social democratic government looms like a new sunrise on the Canadian political horizon....waiting for the artists (policy think-tank) to paint that picture with real paint, real colours and real perspective for the Canadian electorate....
And to do so at a national retreat/convention would be even more appropriate.

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