Thursday, September 27, 2007

Let's play a game

Just to continue on in the same theme of my previous post, let's see if anybody out there can provide an example of progressive social or economic policy -Deeds not words - by a federal Liberal government that wasn't forced on them by the courts or a minority government position - in say, the last 25 years. You know what? Forget the time-line, if you've got something that's thirty or forty or fifty years old, lets hear it. That will tell us something too.


Anyone at all?


Cliff said...

Almost 24 hours with nothing but the sound of crickets...

Matthew The Astrologer said...

I got nothin', and I LOOKED!

rob said...

Cliff - Good point. The only ones that I can think of off the top of my head are the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Medicare, Canada's founding role with the United Nations, ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, the Kelowna accord, the creation of the Supreme Court of Canada, establishment of a Department of Labour, public pensions, unemployment insurance, first woman in the Senate, first woman to head a senate standing committee, an extensive social security program, a re-establishment plan for the benefit of servicemen, the establishment of the Industrial Development Bank to provide credit for small business, the National Housing Act, the Farm Improvement Loans Act, old age pension legislation without a means test, old age assistance, allowances for the blind, extension of health grants, enactment of the Disabled Persons Act, the appointment of the Royal Commission on the Arts Letters and Sciences, the establishment of a municipal loan fund and an Atlantic provinces capital assistance fund, expansion of welfare services, the Old Age Security Act, the Canada Pension Plan, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, the Canada Assistance Plan, Official Languages Act, Multiculturalism policy, the Department of Regional Economic Expansion, the Anti-Inflation Board, introduction of the spouse’s allowance under the Old Age Security Act, the Canada Works scheme, the Young Canada Works Program, the Human Rights Act, the abolishment of capital punishment, the televising of all the proceedings of the House of Commons, the creation of a national oil company, the Canadian Home Insulation Program, the 6 & 5 program, appointment of the first woman Speaker of the House of Commons, the appointment of the first woman justice on the Supreme Court of Canada, the peace initiative for arms control and disarmament, the appointment of the first female Governor General, restoring funding for literacy programs, the creation of a prenatal nutrition program, the Child Tax Benefit, a National AIDS Strategy, an aboriginal healing fund, the Canada Millenium Scholarship Foundation, the $500-million cultural investment agenda under the Department of Canadian Heritage called “Tomorrow Starts Today”, being the first country to sign and ratify the Ottawa Convention – the Convention on the prohibition of the use and transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines, our instrumental role in establishing the International Criminal Court, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the forgivement of the debts of some of the most heavily indebted countries, the decision not to participate in the U.S.-led war in Iraq, the Species at Risk Act, the Canada National Parks Act, the amendment to the patent act and the food and drugs act to give many developing countries easier access to pharmaceutical products needed to combat HIV/AIDS and other public health problems, Project Green, a $5 billion investment to begin the creation of a national system of quality Early Learning and Child Care, and the $5 billion investment to preserve the natural environment and to address climate change, the $2.7 billion increase in the Guaranteed Income Supplement, the $3.4 billion in increased international assistance, legislation to speed up the provision of low-cost AIDS/HIV medication to African countries, and a comprehensive charter for Canada’s veterans.

Cliff said...

Thanks for a bunch of examples from minority governments with a few forced on the government by court rulings and others that were almost purely cosmetic.

Are you trying to make my point for me?

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


Would you mind doing a point-by-point? I'm pleading an immigrant's ignorance, here--I only started paying attention to Canadian politics in 1993--and I'd really appreciate it.

Cliff said...

Right off the top his second example - and there was a reason for it being at the top wasn't there? - was Medicare. Invented by the CCF and a requirement for their support for the minority Pearson government.

Kelowna Accord - Minority government and purely theoretical as they only got around to it when they were about to lose an election, so too little too late.

Ratifying the Kyoto Accord is really a rather breath-taking example as the same Liberal government went on to ignore it utterly and let emissions sky-rocket.

Pensions: Minority government. Original under Mackenzie King's minority, updated under Pearson's minority. Indexed to the cost of living under Trudeau's minority.

Government loans for university students: Minority government.

The Canada Assistance Plan: Minority government.

Creation of PetroCanada: Minority government.

The example of Unemployment Insurance is also breathtakingly ballsy, as it was the Liberals who gutted and looted it.

Keeping us out of Iraq: Minority government, with an overwhelming majority of Canadians telling them they'd pay at the ballot box if they got us into it. So they bent over Bush on star wars and policing Afghanistan to make up for it.

There's more, in fact you'd have a easier, quicker time of counting the examples Rob presented that weren't forced on the governments that brought them forward.

How about promising a child care plan for twelve years before bringing it up in the panicky dying days of a doomed minority?

Cliff said...

As rob corrected me elsewhere, it was a majority under Chretien that rejected Bush's invitation to his Mesopotamian quagmire. Credit where credit is due.

Too bad the Libs then went on to sign up for Star Wars and policing Afghanistan for the Americans so they could give Iraq more attention...

rob said...

I was under the impression that I was to disclude legislation that was forced upon Liberals during minority governments. I didn't realize that if a Liberal government ever accomplishes something in a minority situation, then ipso facto it was forced upon them.

The reason I didn't realize this, of course, is because it is a ridiculous assertion.

Cliff said...

ReeeEEEaly? A ridiculous assertion?

So years of do-nothing, or do-as-little-as-possible if you prefer, Liberal majority's blandly forgetful of their progressive campaign promises don't constitute evidence of precisely that?


But hey I can understand why it took twelve years of promising a child care plan and over a decade of unassailable majority before it actually got rolled out in the desperate dying days of a fragile minority, Canadians probably have wasted any savings they got from it on beer and popcorn right?

Same with Medicare, Pensions, Student Loans, the CAD right? Just coincidence that it took minority's to get every single one of them.

It's this kind of respect for the intelligence of the Canadian public that has placed the Liberal Party of Canada in it's current position. Please feel free go on operating under the same assumptions and sliding further and further into irrelevancy.

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