If so, you’d be very, very wrong. Unlike the health and safety or social and democratic policy packages, there’s almost nothing remotely contentious up for debate as far as the party’s economic platform goes. Sure, there’s a not-so-veiled attempt to neuter labour unions here, a sneak attack on Big Patent Owner there, but overall, I’d predict that the debate over these resolutions is going to be a snoozer – which actually works out for delegates, since all three packages are scheduled to be debated at the same time, but in different rooms, Friday morning from 8:30 til noon.
Anyway, for what it’s worth, here are the resolutions that ITQ will be watching from afar:
(A quick reminder – the indented text above each proposed resolution is from the 2005 Policy Declaration, which is available here; text in bold would be added to the current PD, while text that has been struck out would be deleted, and ITQ’s comments will be italicized and in bold.)
16. Fiscal Imbalance
A Conservative Government will fix, in collaboration with the provinces, the problem of fiscal imbalance by increasing the amounts allocated to provincial transfers, by reducing taxes, or by transferring tax points to the provinces.
Preventing Fiscal Imbalance
Proposed by: Kelowna-Lake Country
16. Preventing Fiscal
The Conservative Party believes the federal government should reduce federal taxes to create fiscal room for the provinces and territories, and thereby preclude any reoccurrence of the fiscal imbalance.
A Conservative Government will fix, in collaboration with the provinces, the problem of
fiscal imbalance by increasing the amounts allocated to provincial transfers, by reducing taxes, or by transferring tax points to the provinces.
ITQ: Notice how this resolution would quietly remove the option of transferring tax points to the provinces as a means of preventing the fiscal imbalance, shifting the burden entirely onto the federal government’s ability to reduce taxes.
24. Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights
A Conservative Government will implement a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights to ensure that taxpayers are treated fairly, and will create an independent Office of Taxpayer Protection, which would act as an ombudsman for Canada Revenue Agency complaints.
Tax Code Simplification
PROPOSED BY PRINCE GEORGE PEACE RIVER
A Conservative Government will implement a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights to ensure that taxpayers are treated fairly, and will create an independent Office of Taxpayer Protection, which would act as an ombudsman for Canada Revenue Agency complaints. The Conservative Party favours a simplification of the federal tax code, to reduce the complexity of tax calculations for ordinary Canadians.
ITQ: Hey, whatever happened with that Taxpayer’s (sic) Bill of Rights? Did that happen, and I’ve forgotten, or is it still on the to-do list? Maybe that’s one of those nonpartisan issues on which the parties can cooperate during the fall session.
i) The Conservative Party supports the right of workers to organize democratically, to bargain collectively and to strike peacefully.
ii) A Conservative Government will work with unions and employers in areas of federal jurisdiction to develop a dispute settlement
mechanism to minimize or avoid work disruption.
PROPOSED BY OTTAWA WEST-NEPEAN
i) The Conservative Party supports the right of workers to organize democratically, to bargain collectively and to strike peacefully while respecting private property and the decision of fellow workers not to
ITQ: It’s going to be interesting to see how the British Columbian delegates respond to this proposal. I remember at a Reform policy convention a few years back (okay, I guess it would be more than a few if there was still a Reform Party) a similar anti-union measure was resoundingly rejected by West Coast delegates who pointed out, entirely reasonably, that they were competing directly with the NDP for the blue collar/union vote.
34. Intellectual Property – Patent Legislation
The Conservative Party will create a process to allow the patent holder to restore time lost on 20 year patent protection due to delays in government approvals.
PROPOSED BY BRANDON SOURIS
ITQ: Wow – a bold move by Brandon Souris, even if it is likely to go down as soon as it hits the floor. Ten out of ten for style, minus several million for Do You Seriously Think This Would Fly in Quebec and Ontario? Ever heard of a little outfit called Rx and D?
96. Agriculture Principles
The Conservative Party views the agriculture industry to be a key strategic economic sector of Canada. We recognize that various regions of Canada and sectors of the industry hold competitive advantages in agricultural production. National agriculture policy will reflect our belief that one size does not fit all. Agriculture policy must be developed only in consultation with the agricultural producers. Our farmers today are business operators, and to dictate policy which might have an adverse effect on this business community would have negative
consequences and go against Conservative Party principles. Balancing financial responsibility with support programs that actually work is a major priority of this party.
iv) Rural Economy. As the agricultural base of the rural economy has declined, so too has infrastructure in small communities. To preserve the social fabric of rural Canada, a Conservative Government will encourage diversity and responsible development in small towns and villages by encouraging innovation in the development of small businesses that keep these communities alive.
PROPOSED BY CYPRESS HILLS GRASSLANDS
v) Research and Development. To ensure a competitive agricultural economy for Canadian producers, the Conservative Party believes the government should support innovative, unbiased research relating to varietal improvements, pest management, and beneficial management practices.
ITQ: Now this resolution the patent medicine folks might actually like – the biotechcentric contingent with a profitable sideline in pesticides, that is, like Monsanto. Hey, is “varietal improvement” a less attention-grabbing way of saying “genetically modified”?
i) A Conservative Government will work cooperatively with the provinces and territories in all regions of the country to put emphasis on protecting and enhancing all stocks. This must be done in order to meet t
he needs of Canadians rather than reducing the harvesting and processing efforts to fit declining and mismanaged fisheries.
ii) A Conservative Government will take a leadership role in international dealings with other fishing countries in order to assure cooperative management of common stocks and end fishing abuses, including foreign overfishing. We will not hesitate to take custodial management of
the stocks on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks and the Flemish Cap. We recognize that fish is a renewable resource which can be rebuilt and sustained through a proper investment in science and management.
iii) A Conservative Government would invest significantly in increasing our scientific knowledge base and make firm and fair decisions based on facts, with a regulatory and enforcement regime that has the ability to carry out the necessary function. Responsibility must come from participating regions where more decision making must be located so that wild stocks, as well as aquaculture, can be managed appropriately.
iv) A Conservative Government would ensure that the current capital gains deferral available to farmers and woodlot owners when capital property is transferred to a child is extended for the commercial fishery.
v) A Conservative Government will adopt, with any interested coastal province or territory, a system of increased provincial management over fisheries through a system of joint management and joint fisheries councils modelled on the system proposed by unanimous resolution of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly in May 2003 and as detailed in the government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s white paper on the subject as released in 2003.
vi) A Conservative Government will continue to support the Canadian Sealing Industry by working to eliminate unfair international trade bans on Canadian seal products.
Marine Protected Areas
PROPOSED BY CAUCUS MEMBER(S)
vii) A Conservative Government supports the establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in order to protect and enhance habitat and fish stocks for future generations.
ITQ: Aw, caucus. You guys got so few resolutions through National Council’s selection process this time that I figured I should highlight the rare example that slipped through to the final package. Also, couldn’t this conflict with the Drill Baby Drill resolution on the table over in the health and safety debate room?