Canadian Federal Elections: Their Platforms

by Hugh

The federal election is about a week away, and I have no idea what any of the federal parties stand for. The media has done a terrible job; the politicians have done a terrible job.

For you: A brief outline of all the parties’ platforms

So, Web guy that I am I went to the websites of all the parties to find out what they had to say for themselves, and below you will find an extraction of the main policies of each party, along with my evaluation of the clarity of presentation on their policies on their websites, based solely on what is on their platform page. I have not followed links, or delved further into their sites, PDFs (ug), or other such nonsense.

NOTE 1: If it is not on your platform page, you are asking too much of your readers. In fact: why aren’t your platforms on your front page?
NOTE 2: I am not making political assessments of the platforms (I’ll leave that to you), but rather making a neutralish comment on the clarity and ease of access of political messages on party websites.

Conservative Party of Canada

“The platform provides Canadians with a prudent low-tax plan to protect and create jobs by completing our recovery from the global economic recession.”

Conservative Priorities [link]

(Note: priorities were listed as is)

1. Creating jobs through training, trade and low taxes.
2. Supporting families through our Family Tax Cut and more support for seniors and caregivers.
3. Eliminating the deficit by 2014-2015 by controlling spending and cutting waste.
4. Making our streets safe – through new laws to protect children and the elderly.
5. Standing on guard for Canada – by investing in the development of Canada’s North, cracking down on human smuggling and strengthening the Canadian Armed Forces.

Conservative score:

* Clarity of priorities: +1
* Design of website: 0 for ugly design (but not -1, because info is accessible, site is clear)
* Open data format of priorities: +1 (yay! plain text!)
* Inspiration of message: 0 (Conservatives: actually, not terrible, but I want a vision of the future please)

Conservatives Total: +2 (max = +4, min = -4)
Qualitative assessment: Technocratic tax cutters & spending cutters.

Liberal Party of Canada

“Our platform objective: to make equal opportunity a reality for every Canadian.”

Liberal Priorities [link]

(Note: I had to extract this information from a long letter from Ignatieff.)

1. We will invest in quality, affordable child care for every young family that needs it.
2. We will help every family with the costs of college or university
3. We will help families take time off from work to look after sick loved ones at home.
4. We’ll strengthen universally accessible health care for all
5. We’ll build on the Canada Pension Plan so everyone can retire in security and dignity.
6. We’ll have a new tax credit to help with the up-front costs of renovations to make your home more energy-efficient.
7. We will promote Canadian success overseas and stand up for the proud ideal that a citizen of Canada is truly a citizen of the world.

Liberal score:
* Clarity of priorities: -1 [a) you don’t even list them, I had to do it for you, b) what do any of these objectives/priorities mean?]
* Design of website: -1 for design (it’s pretty, but you have no idea what message you want to convey)
* Open data format of priorities: 0 (buried in text )
* Inspiration of message: -1 (Liberals: Do you even know what you stand for? Or what you are offering Canada?)

Liberals Total: -3 (max = +4, min = -4)
Qualitative assessment: Mushy policy by committee.

NDP

“Today I’m releasing my affordable plan to get Ottawa working for your family – one practical step at a time.”

NDP Priorities [link]

(Note: I had to extract these priorities from a .gif image (!))

1. Hire More Doctors and Nurses: We’ll start training more doctors and nurses
2. Strengthen Your Pension: double your public pension
3. Kick Start Job Creation: 2% corporate tax cut, plus tax credits for hiring in Canada
4. Help Out Your Family Budget: Cap credit card fees at prime +5, remove federal sales tax on home heating, and help consumers control home heating.

NDP’s Score:
* Clarity of priorities: +1
* Design of website: +1 for nice design (though you are never going to elect a government with orange & green)
* Open data format of priorities: -1 (WTF, a priorities gif?)
* Inspiration of message: 0 (NDP: what is your vision of the future of Canada?)

NDP Total: +1 (max = +4, min = -4)
Qualitative assessment: Spend more money on health & pensions.

Green Party of Canada

“If you are looking for a serious, realistic and sensible option to the old line parties and old school politics, read this platform.”

Green Priorities [link]

(Note: these priorities were extracted from a vague introduction letter from Elizabeth May)

1. A vision for a modern, smart economy
2. Deficit reduction
3. Creation of new jobs that won’t be gone tomorrow
4. Reduction in pollution in energy generation
4. Healthy communities, eating safe and healthy food, and enjoying a life-giving, healthy natural world.

Green score:
* Clarity of priorities: -1 (generalities, though if you dig into the site things get more specific)
* Design of website: +1 for nice, relatively clear design
* Open data format of priorities: -1 (PDF? and link through to each individual policy plank? Can I get a clear statement on one page please)
* Inspiration of message: +1 (Greens: You’ve got the most ambitious vision for the country, which is good, but you need to communicate it more clearly).

Green total: 0 (Max = +4, Min = -4).
Qualitative assessment: Utopian vision.

Bloc Quebecois

N/A … Platform is contained in a PDF and a link to a flash PDF reader. Hence the Bloc has not put their platform on the Internet.

Bloc total: -4 (Max = +4, Min = -4).
Qualitative assessment: Please use the Internet.

Summary

The scores of the parties, in order of clarity of message on their websites is as follows:
* Conservative Party of Canada: +2
* NDP: +1
* Greens: 0
* Liberal Party of Canada: -3
* Bloc: -4

I will follow-up with my own policy platform shortly.