Though this accounting is long it is well worth taking the time to read it and I believe it needs to be published as widely as possible consequently I’m taking opportunity to publish it here. Thank you for your time and interest and Happy New Year!
Achievements of the Liberal Team under Stéphane Dion in 2007
• December 3, 2007, the anniversary of Stéphane Dion¹s first year as Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.
• Throughout the year, Stéphane Dion laid out a progressive agenda for a richer, fairer greener Canada.
A Richer Canada: Liberal Commitments to Canada¹s Economy
• Building on our history of sound fiscal policies, the Liberal Opposition led the debate on the economic agenda, ahead of the government:
o We highlighted the challenges facing the manufacturing sector, touring factories, meeting with industry leaders and pressuring the government to take action;
o We fought for and won the restoration of summer employment program funding;
o We were the first to call for a review of the Canada Investment Act to address industry-driven concerns about potential hollowing-out of the economy;
o We pressured the government into backtracking from its disastrous interest deductibility plan for Canadian companies investing abroad;
o We called for corporate income tax reductions, deeper than previously scheduled, to give Canada a new tax advantage to replace our lost currency advantage. The government adopted our proposal;
o We demanded a real free trade agreement with South Korea that addresses the pervasive non-tariff barriers on Canadian-made cars. The government conceded that more work needs to be done to give our auto-makers opportunities to export and compete; and
o In February, following Stephen Harper¹s broken promise not to tax income trusts, Liberals proposed an alternative policy, which experts believe would put an end to income trust tax leakage and restore at least two-thirds of lost value.
• The Liberal team has a plan to move Canada¹s economy forward by putting more money in the pockets of Canadians while at the same time making Canada more competitive.
• Our plan includes:
o implementing a competitiveness strategy that includes investing in education and innovation, helping Canadian businesses access and succeed in global emerging markets, and ensuring competitive taxes to help our exporting sectors succeed in spite of the high Canadian dollar;
o holding a National Forestry Summit to address pressures on the forest industry;
o dramatically increasing government incentives for renewable power production and providing transparency and predictability to the energy sector to encourage green investment; and
o through the Carbon Budget, generating billions of investment dollars to create a cutting-edge, greener Canadian economy.
• Canadian municipalities face a real need when it comes to maintaining the infrastructure we all rely on daily. Our cities are the engine of the Canadian economy and unless they function well Canada won¹t be able to compete in the global economy of the 21st century.
• To address this problem, in June 2007, Mr. Dion committed to expanding the New Deal for Cities and Communities, launched by the previous Liberal government, but stalled by the Conservative government.
• A Liberal government will start by making the $2-billion annual gas tax transfer to municipalities permanent and will also develop a 20-year strategy to address Canada's infrastructure deficit, from roads to bridges, to public transit, to water and wastewater facilities, to community energy systems.
• Liberals know that Canadian cities and communities are at the centre of our country¹s success. Through the creation of an Urban Caucus, the Liberal Party is committed to working with municipalities, and the provincial governments to ensure that long term, stable, predictable funding is provided to our municipalities so that they may continue to grow and thrive.
• Liberals believe in supporting the family farm, not undermining it.
• The Canadian Wheat Board is a home-grown success story the largest single seller of wheat and barley in the world.
• When the Wheat Board is attacked, it hurts farm families. Liberals recognize that farmers should be able to choose whether or not the CWB maintains its single-desk selling feature.
• The Liberal Party stood up for farmers when the Harper government launched an ideological attack on the Wheat Board. Mr. Harper used rigged questions, marked ballots, intimidation tactics, and only got a 33 percent response rate. His heavy-handed manipulations tainted the plebiscite so badly it became meaningless. Farmers deserve to have a new, properly run plebiscite before any changes are made.
• Under the leadership of Stéphane Dion, the Liberal Party has also continued its strong defence of Supply Management.
A Fairer Canada: Liberal Commitments to Improving Social Policy
• In November, Mr. Dion unveiled the Liberal 30-50 Plan to fight Poverty: a comprehensive plan to dramatically reduce the number of Canadians living below the poverty line by at least 30 per cent and cut in half the number of children living in poverty in five years.
• Under the 30-50 Plan, the Liberals will:
• create a Making Work Pay Benefit to lower the welfare wall to encourage and reward work and give Canadians a springboard to success, dignity and independence;
• improve the Canada Child Tax Benefit and support working families by making the non-refundable Child Tax Credit into a refundable credit so that even people who do not pay taxes receive a benefit; and
• help lift vulnerable seniors out of poverty by increasing Guaranteed Income Supplement payments for the lowest income seniors, ensuring that the loss of a partner does not drive the surviving spouse below the low-income threshold, and encouraging and rewarding those seniors who choose to participate in the workforce.
• In addition to these supports, a Liberal government will work with all levels of government to provide better access to services that are essential in the fight against poverty such as affordable housing, universal child care and public transit.
• The Globe and Mail called it ³the most comprehensive anti-poverty package seen at the federal level in some time.² (Nov. 12, 2007).
• The Toronto Star said: ³With this aggressive plan, Dion has given Canada¹s most disadvantaged citizens the hope of a better life. At the same time, he has given all Canadians a clear alternative to Harper and the Conservatives.² (Nov. 10, 2007)
• Campaign 2000 said that it was a ³bold commitment.² (Nov. 14, 2007)
• Robert Arnold, President of the National Anti-Poverty Organization said ³These targets are doable, and actually exceed those recently expressed by Campaign 2000Š the new Liberal targets would position the government to go even further, towards the achievable goal of complete eradication of poverty in our country.² (Nov. 9, 2007)
• The speech was ³applauded² by the Caledon Institute of Social Policy. (November 2007)
Justice and Security
• The Liberal Party is committed to protecting our homes and our rights.
• That is why we have committed to appointing more judges; putting more police officers on our streets and more prosecutors in the courts; and toughening laws on internet luring and identity theft to protect Canada¹s most vulnerable citizens including children, and seniors.
• Mr. Dion has also committed to establishing a new fund that will help preserve the safety of ethnic and cultural at-risk communities across Canada. This would, for example, cover the costs of security in their places of worship and gathering places.
• Like most Canadians, the Liberal Party is opposed to the death penalty at home and abroad. That is why Stéphane Dion has taken a leadership role to make those views known and to uphold the law in light of the Conservatives¹ refusal to seek clemency for a Canadian sentenced to death in the United States.
Protecting the Charter
• Canadians are immensely proud of Canada's Charter - of what it has given our country and of what our country, through the Charter, has given the world. Stéphane Dion has committed to reversing the steps the Conservatives have taken to weaken the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by:
o reinstating the Law Commission of Canada;
o reinstating the Court Challenges Program and doubling its funding to $12 million from $6 million annually;
o instituting a fair, non-partisan judicial selection process; and
o increasing federal funding for legal aid to provide all Canadians with access to adequate legal representation.
Women in Politics
• While women in other countries are entering politics in ever greater numbers, in Canada we are moving backwards. The number of women elected to federal office has been stalled at about 21 per cent for more than a decade.
• To address this problem of under-representation, Mr. Dion has committed to run at least one-third female candidates in the next election
• The Liberals are taking a pro-active approach to send more highly qualified female candidates to Ottawa. We take pride in the fact there will be the greatest number of women representing our party on the ballot in the next election.
• As Prime Minister, Stéphane Dion will implement an Action Plan for Official Languages even more vigorous than the one he shepherded as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs in 2003.
• The new Dion Plan will be endowed with substantial funding for the education of linguistic minorities from pre-school to post-secondary institutions for infrastructure in linguistic minority communities, for health care services, for networking, for the promotion of immigration and culture, as well as for the organizations that support official language minorities.
• The rich cultures of Canada¹s First Nations, Inuit and Métis people form the foundation of our great country and Liberal Party is standing alongside with Aboriginal Canadians to urge the Conservative minority government to take action to improve the lives of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people in Canada.
• Liberals would reverse Conservative cuts to Aboriginal literacy, health, languages and job-training, making employment a priority.
• We would also reinstate and build on the Kelowna Accord that the Conservatives scrapped and sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People that the Conservatives refused to endorse.
• Following a series of cultural roundtables held earlier this year with Canadians artists, Stéphane Dion committed to restoring $22.8 million in cuts to the international promotion of Canadian art, including:
o $11.8 million in funding to the Public Diplomacy Program (PDP); and
o $11 million over 3 years for international arts touring and promotion.
A Greener Canada: Liberal Commitments to the Environment
• In December 2005, Mr. Dion brought the world together at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal and he wouldn¹t quit until all 182 countries had reached a deal. It is this passion and strength of conviction that makes Mr. Dion a true leader.
• Mr. Dion¹s agreement with Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is a testament to his environmental leadership, putting the future of the planet above partisanship.
• CTV¹s Craig Oliver said ³the fact is that he's now been endorsed by a woman who has been regarded as a most serious environmentalist in the country by many people, who's been serious about it for years and years, while nobody else was thinking about it. He's been endorsed by her. That's going to help them in this campaign.² (Mike Duffy Live, April 13, 2007)
• With the same passion, the Liberal team unveiled its Carbon Budget plan in March 2007.
• The Liberal Carbon Budget plan will require the large industries responsible for 50 percent of Canada¹s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to cut their pollution significantly. As they do, they will have access to billions of dollars to invest in green technology.
• Our polluter-pay plan puts a price on carbon so companies no longer treat our atmosphere as a free garbage dump. We want to spur action to make Canadian industries greener and more competitive.
• The Liberal plan to fight climate change earned widespread support from environmental groups across the country.
• The Pembina Institute¹s Matthew Bramley called the carbon budget "the strongest proposal for regulating industrial greenhouse-gas pollution made by any political party in Canada," while Climate Action Network Executive Director John Bennett said: "This is great. It's hard to ask for much more.²
• Using the carbon budget as a blueprint for action, the Liberal Opposition put the planet ahead of partisanship and worked together with the opposition parties to redraft the Conservatives¹ flawed Clean Air Act and turn it into a useful tool to fight climate change. The Conservative government then allowed the bill to die on the order paper when they prorogued Parliament.
Clean Energy Plan
• In September, Mr. Dion committed that a new Liberal government would provide a power production incentive to expand renewable power to 12,000 Megawatts (MW) by 2015, instead of the 4,000 MW the Conservatives are planning. This would include incentives for onshore wind, offshore wind, small hydro, geothermal, wave and tidal, solar and biomass energy.
• The goal of this initiative is to have 10 percent of Canada¹s total electricity output come from low-impact renewable sources by 2015, providing enough electricity to power 3 million homes. This would generate over $25 billion in investment and make Canada a global leader in renewable energy.
• Mr. Dion also stood up for Canadian control over our water, advancing the Liberal Party¹s opposition to the bulk export, diversion or commodification of Canada¹s precious water resources. He proposed a federal-provincial initiative to close any possible legal loopholes, along with federal safety net legislation to allow the federal government to effectively ban bulk water exports in a way that would withstand a challenge under NAFTA or the WTO.
Canada and the World: Liberal Commitments to Foreign Policy
• The Liberal Party¹s vision for a strong, multilateral foreign policy can reverse the damage done by Prime Minister Stephen Harper¹s simplistic and incompetent foreign policy by restoring Canada¹s proud and positive voice in the world.
• Stéphane Dion was at the forefront of defending Canada¹s interests with the release of the Liberal blueprint urging the Conservatives to honour the original spirit of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).
• By exposing the Conservative government¹s mismanagement of the Afghan detainee file, demanding full funding for funeral costs of soldiers killed in the line of duty, and standing up for veterans and their widows, the Liberal team is defending the interests of the men and women of Canadian Forces.
• Going forward, Liberals would:
• help preserve world peace through non-violent conflict resolution;
• support a well-trained, well-equipped and well-led Canadian Forces to enforce international law;
• defend human rights and economic prosperity between states and people;
• take a leadership role in promoting an international treaty banning cluster bombs;
• partake in effective multilateralism, including informing our allies about the end of Canada¹s combat mission in Kandahar in February 2009;
• help mitigate potential conflict over access to fresh drinking water by leveraging Canada's unique insight into fresh water management to become the leading exporters of sustainable fresh water management techniques in the world;
• promote the sovereignty and interests of the Arctic not only through military or marine infrastructure, but also through environmental protection, surveillance, search and rescue, and by encouraging the sustainable use of the Arctic¹s natural resources by our Arctic peoples;
• improve the fight against terrorism by enhancing international police cooperation in pursuit of the world¹s terrorist networks; and
• project Canadian interests not only through our diplomacy, defence and development, but through our citizens and artists.
• In February 2007, Mr. Dion outlined a clear plan for Canada¹s mission in Afghanistan that would see a better integration of military and aid efforts as well as a firm 2009 end date for the combat mission.
• The Liberal plan includes:
• clearly communicating to our allies in NATO that Canada¹s current combat mission in Kandahar must come to an end in February 2009 and the other nations of NATO must rotate in new troops, as was originally envisioned when NATO assumed leadership of the mission in Afghanistan;
• better integrating military, aid and diplomacy efforts and improving coordination and transparency;
• developing an effective strategy to combat the problems stemming from the local economy¹s dependence on the illegal opium trade; and
• addressing the chronic fresh water shortage.
• The Liberal Party believes that Canada must stay committed to Afghanistan beyond February 2009, and under a Liberal government, Canada would lead the debate within NATO about the future of the mission.
• We believe Canada should build on our traditional strengths as a nation and invest in a good government strategy on the ground in Afghanistan, including helping to build political institutions and a sound judicial system.
• The Liberal Party may support Canada assuming a role training Afghan police and/or army and a commitment to assign troops to protecting Afghan civilians and reconstruction projects. However, this cannot simply be the same combat mission by another name and no commitment should be made until a full Parliamentary debate has occurred.
• The Liberal Party understands that the lasting peace and security cannot be achieved in Afghanistan by military forces alone. The ultimate purpose of any military mission must be to create the stability needed to achieve a political solution.