During the federal election I decided to go online and read the platforms of the various parties to figure out who to vote for. Going in I had a pretty strong idea that the Conservatives were completely unpalatable and their platform absolutely backed that up - I voted Liberal based on their platform which looked to be by far the most responsible and realistic one. My candidate won (as always, I live in a riding that always goes Liberal) but the Conservatives won overall anyway despite the massive power of my vote.
Now we have provincial elections coming up and I figured I would use the same tactic. I don't think it is a perfect system but I think going by what a party commits to doing in writing and in public is a decent way to decide. I read the Liberal plan and it seemed good but decidedly short on hard plans to get our deficit down or eliminated. They commit to a 2017 timeframe but the plans to get there aren't well spelled out. There is lots of extra spending but at least I do approve of the spending - medical care, education and green energy are their big talking points and I think those are things that are worth paying extra taxes to have. They specifically say they want to keep taxes the same by and large which at least is something resembling a plan to fix the deficit.
Next I went to the Conservative website and found it really interesting. First off as soon as I started looking at their details a chat window popped up and Joseph indicated that he was happy to discuss the Conservative plan with me. Unsurprisingly he wasn't actually much help as he mostly just copy-pasted Conservative bullet points into the chat window but it is an interesting technique to use for sure. After reading their fiscal policies I came to the conclusion that the Conservatives intend to spend more money, lower taxes and get rid of the deficit. This doesn't add up somehow! They also claim to be planning on zero deficit by 2017 but their plan to get there involves axing a few small government programs and a magical 2% reduction in spending every year with no loss of services. The trick is that you can't lower revenues, increase expenses and magically have more money, even if you invoke the mighty magic of Efficiency.
Efficiency, by the way, is politician code for "I don't have any idea how to make the numbers work so I will just wave my magic wand and tada, free money!" Any time any politician's budget includes the idea of gaining money from nowhere under the guise of Efficiency you need to immediately discount everything they say about money or finance. Maybe they are clueless, maybe they are lying, no way to know.
The other fascinating thing I noticed is how hard all parties evoke the Family justification. The Liberals talk about policies benefiting Families but the Conservatives beat that drum so hard it hurts my ears. Everything is talk about how hardworking Families are hurt by high taxes and how Families shouldn't have to pay public servants and how hard Liberal policies have been on Families. Funny they never mention hardships for single people.
Why exactly are they focused on convincing people that they are pro Family? Some kind of 'breeders are good' agenda that seems to come from the Catholic Church and their 'MOAR Catholic babies' policies? Maybe just trying to tap into people's positive emotions towards anyone related to them? I figure that everybody is just using it in the same way that beer companies use the word Cold. It makes no damn sense logically but the marketing people are sure that it works. I might dismiss my religious conspiracy theories on this one if it wasn't so obvious that the Conservatives were so much more hardcore into pro Family policy than the other parties.
I left the NDP to last. They were about the same as the Liberals in terms of Family usage but they actually had something the other parties lacked: A real budget listing the exact costs of their promises and the extra revenues they intended to create with new taxes. Unsurprisingly they intend to get lots of extra money by increasing corporate taxation and capping public sector pay for the top earners. I support both of those things, especially because Ontario currently has much lower corporate taxes than the rest of North America anyway. Some of the NDP promises are a little sketchy though, like protectionist rules governing placement of mining processing. I don't like protectionist tariffs and rules since they make everyone poorer.
At the moment I don't know which way I will go, NDP or Liberal. The Conservative 'tough on crime' stuff as well as their fiscal dreamland has put me off them for certain. I don't particularly love the plans for either the NDP or the Liberals but some combination of the two of them would be good. Maybe somebody else who reads here can give me a good reason to go one way or the other.