My greatest disappointment has been that there wasn't a public forum where I could see the seven candidates for my riding debate and answer questions. Lots of flyers and lawn signs, but not much by way of substance. I had 2 people come to the door, one from the upstart right wing Wild Rose Party and one from the Alberta Liberals.
So, I have to base my vote on party policy and since I've been so busy this month I haven't had a chance to really analyze the platforms. In yesterday's Calgary Herald, a full page comparison chart of the 4 major parties presented each party's stance on Business/Industry, Social Supports, Education, Energy, Environment, Finance, Health, Justice, and Seniors. After spending a little time this morning comparing the "new ideas" and policies, I assigned a grade to each of these parties: PC, WR, AL, NDP. I will comment briefly on some of the policies that either impress or repel me.
Business/Industry: I like the NDP's focus on small business and on pushing for more upgrades to the oil industry so I give them an A. Wild Rose ignores small business and gives more freedom to industry, so I give them a C.
Social Supports: PCs get an A for focusing their efforts on the severely handicapped and homeless. Libs and NDPs get Cs for only looking at preschool childcare services (I'm more interested in keeping them home than farming them out).
Education: PCs and Wild Rose get A's for different reasons: PCs for pumping more money into the system, Wild Rose for giving more freedom to school boards. Liberals get a C for wanting to end funding of private schools, wanting to buy teacher votes for $500, and wanting to introduce free tuition for post-sec.
Energy: NDP gets an A for its focus on consumer protection and enforcing stable energy prices. PCs get a B- for failing to do so.
Environment: An A for the NDP for water protection legislation and dropping the carbon capture project in favour of more effective projects (Wild Rose is commended on this too). Everyone else gets a B. Note that the Evergreen Party wasn't featured in the grid, so I can't comment on their policy.
Finance: A's for Libs and NDP for marginally raising taxes (ensuring more stable gov't revenue and thereby ensuring more stable funding for programs). Wild Rose and PCs have decent plans, but they get Bs for the energy dividend and results-based budgeting.
Health: Again, Libs and NDP each get an A for protecting the public health care system and reducing drug costs. Wild Rose and PCs get Bs because their plans are short sighted.
Justice: I like that WR and Libs want to repeal the recent impaired driving legislation (it's ridiculous and unenforceable).
Seniors: Everyone wants to add funding to senior care, great! Wild Rose doesn't have a plan. PCs want seniors to pay their property taxes with home equity loans - that's awful! Libs and NDP get A's for going to the core issues of the problem.
I grade each party as follows:
- Progressive Conservatives: B
- Wild Rose: B-
- Liberals: B+
- New Democrats: A-
When I did the Vote Compass on CBC, I landed square between the Liberals and NDP. I guess I know who to vote for now! Except that I might vote strategically... Ack!