Women's and families' issues in Canadian politics: Part III

Posted by Saraline , Tuesday, September 23, 2008 1:03 PM

If you're just catching up, here's part I and here's part II.

Since they were left out of Code Blue's child care report card, today I will be discussing the Bloc Québécois. (Please note that some of quotes from the Bloc Québécois website may be bad translations since my French has a lot of room for improvement.)

Bloc Québécois

Code Blue says that they left the Bloc Québécois off of their report card because "they do not express an opinion on child care outside of Quebec." I agree that the Bloc Québécois platform is very, erm, Quebec-centric. I disagree that this is a good reason for them not to be included. Quebec is still a part of Canada and people in Quebec will be voting in the federal election. Quebeckers don't care about child care any less than people who live in other provinces.

Furthermore, the Bloc Québécois MPs also participate in parliamentary votes, so how they feel about issues like child care and women's rights is important to the rest of Canada, regardless of whether or not their focus is on Quebec. For example, if they were voting on whether or not to implement nationwide $7 a day daycare, do you think that they would all vote against it when it's something that they're defending for Quebec?

Language is a very important issue to this party, but other things are important to them as well:

Equality Between men and Women. This fundamental value is not unique to Quebec. What is unique, however, is our way of turn­ing it into concrete reality, with pay equity and affordable daycare that makes it possible for many women to participate in the labour market. The Bloc Québécois defends this fundamental value in Ottawa despite attacks by the Harper government, which cut off funding to women’s groups and would like to reopen the debate on abortion.

They have defended these values by "transferring necessary funds to implement parental insurance in Quebec" and by "refusing conditions attached to federal transfers to Quebec for health, education, social programs, and daycare." Don't worry, Quebeckers, as long as the Bloc Québécois has some clout in federal politics, our parental leave and $7 a day daycare are here to stay.

Green Party of Canada

Code Blue gave the Green Party a B, an F, and three incompletes on their child care report card. They believe in cleaning up the environment and creating a better world for our children and grandchildren, but what about our children's other needs?

If we vote for them, they promise that they will exempt GST from purchases of children's clothing and books. They also promise to:

Ensure universal access to excellent childcare and early childhood education.

Support parents who take time from their career for child rearing.

It isn't clear to me how the Green Party got a B for "universal services." Is it because they used the word "universal?" The Conservatives used the word "universal" for their child care plan too and they got an F. I feel that the Green Party's child care plan lacks details. How will they make the access to childcare universal and what will be excellent about it?

I like the idea of exempting GST from children's clothing and books, and in their budget they've set aside $110 million a year to "top up income for single parents on welfare going for retraining," another excellent idea. Despite these nice ideas, I feel that the Fs and incompletes were fully deserved. I agree with Code Blue's conclusion that the Green Party shows "Improved effort, but must do homework and complete projects."

Unlike the Conservatives, the Green Party at least mentions women. They promise to "ensure women's rights are respected" and to "Enforce pay equity." That's all they say about women's issues in their platform. Again, details are lacking. There's no mention of abortion (which has been a controversial subject in regards to party leader Elizabeth May) and no mention of whether or not they would repair the damage to Status of Women Canada made by Stephen Harper's conservatives.

In other news

Critics pan Harper youth crime plan

Should violent kids be sent to jail? Does this help society or does it hinder it?

In Montreal, response to the Harper plan was similarly skeptical. Angela Campbell, who specializes in children and the law at McGill University's law faculty, doubted Harper's proposal will curb youth crime.
She called it a "hard-line, law-and-order approach that is very simplistic and doesn't look at the social nuances that lead young people to criminal behaviour."
Chucking kids into the pen is just ignoring the problems that led them to commit a crime at a young age. It would be hiding them away instead of looking at the problem and finding solutions to end their violent tendencies.

3 Response to "Women's and families' issues in Canadian politics: Part III"

Josh Says:

The thing about the Bloc is that what they say in election campaigns (or at any other time) doesn't really matter.

I've never really understood the point of their platforms, since they're not trying to achieve government and will never be able to implement anything.

Saraline Says:

Maybe they'll never be able to implement anything, but their platform does give an indication of how they'll vote on various issues that come up in parliament.

lagatta à montréal Says:

In Parliamentary terms, the Bloc is much better certain Middle Eastern issues (in particular Palestine/Lebanon) than the NDP is.

Josh, I don't consider the NDP platforms and efforts irrelevant either, whether or not they ever form a government.

The Bloc is a funny beast. It was formed as a "rotten bloc" between nationalist Tories (Bouchard etc) and nationalist social-democrats (Duceppe, Paquette, Lalonde, Nunez etc) but now most of the blue Tories have jumped ship, so in many ways the Bloc acts like a Québécois (and Québec nationalist) version of the NDP. Not all - they are hypocritically defending the war on Afghanistan, at least after a manner, though most people here oppose it.