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ELECTION 2011: ‘Let’s vote and win the Canada we want’, says Maude Barlow

Day 37

TOMORROW, VOTE FOR THE CANADA YOU WANT: Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow says, “Tomorrow, I am asking you to vote for democracy. Vote for the recognition of the right to water, vote to address climate change, and vote for respect for our democracy. Vote for fair trade not ‘free trade’ agreements and for the renewal and expansion of public health care. Read the party platforms and make your choice. Let’s vote on May 2 and win the Canada we want.”

VOTE FOR THE RIGHT TO WATER: Shannon Mullen writes in a letter to the Ottawa Citizen, “(A recent Amnesty International) report provides recent examples of how Canada has undermined universal human rights principles (including) Canada’s refusal to sign the United Nations Declaration that recognizes clean drinking water as a human right… This not the Canada that I advertised when I so proudly displayed the Canadian flag on my backpack. I want a government that will restore Canada’s reputation as an international leader in human rights. This election, I want change.” Council of Canadians water campaigner Emma Lui has highlighted that a recent Environics poll found that 73 percent of Canadians wanted the Harper government to recognize the human right to clean water and sanitation.

VOTE TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE: In November, the Conservative-dominated Senate voted 43 to 32 to kill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act. The bill, passed by the House of Commons in a 149 to 136 vote in May, called for Canada’s carbon emissions to be cut 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. The Harper government opposed this bill in the House of Commons, but were unable to stop it there. Andrea Harden-Donahue, climate justice campaigner with the Council of Canadians, has also pointed out, ““For the cost of 10 fighter jets, the Canadian government could power a million homes on green electricity.”

VOTE FOR FAIR TRADE: CBC has reported, “The Conservative leader also used his pro-trade message to again distance his party from the NDP… ‘The NDP has opposed every trade deal we have signed,’ Harper said.” Presumably this includes NAFTA, the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement, and down the road the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Council of Canadians trade campaigner Stuart Trew has noted that the Trade Justice Network and the Quebec Network on Continental Integration (RQIC) released a survey on CETA last week. It was answered by the NDP, Liberals and Bloc. The NDP were the most critical of the negotiations, with the Bloc a close second. The Liberals were very supportive of CETA. The Conservatives did not respond.

VOTE FOR THE RENEWAL AND EXPANSION OF PUBLIC HEALTH CARE: In early-January, Sun Media reported, “Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq has refused to comment on the end of the Canada Health Accord, pointing out it’s three years away. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has been equally coy. Asked about it during his meeting with provincial finance ministers, Flaherty would only say the government’s going to follow through on the funding until the end of the accord. ‘I wouldn’t be optimistic or pessimistic, I’d just say that it’s a discussion we need to have,’ he said.” Council of Canadians health care campaigner Adrienne Silnicki has pointed out, “In the 67-page Conservative party platform, Harper gives a whopping total of one page to what 45 per cent of Canadians have listed as their number one election issue: health care. The Conservative Government’s platform is about status quo. If you think our health care system needs to be strengthened, improved, or expanded, then this platform is not for you.”

HIGH ADVANCE VOTER TURNOUT: The Edmonton Journal reports, “Preliminary figures had more than 2,056,001 electors voting nationally on April 22 through 25, compared with 1,528,780 who cast ballots in advance of Election Day in 2008. That represented an increase of 34.5 per cent.” Canadian Press Ottawa bureau chief Rub Russo has suggested that a large voter turnout generally suggests people wanting a change, not the status quo of the current government.

SEAT PROJECTION: ThreeHundredEight.com projects the Conservatives will win 144 seats (up 1 seat), the Liberals 65 (down 12), the NDP 59 (up 13), and the Bloc 40 (down 7).

HARPER APPEALS TO LIBERALS: The Toronto Star reports, “Harper is pleading with traditional Liberal voters to support his Conservatives to stave off a ‘disastrous’ leftist government headed by NDP Leader Jack Layton. …Harper appealed to Liberals abandoning Leader Michael Ignatieff’s party to pick the Tories in Monday’s election.”

HARPER WON’T COMMENT ON NEXT GOVERNMENT: CBC reports, “Harper is refusing to say whether he would accept a decision by the Governor General to ask a second-place opposition party to try to form a government in the event another Tory minority fails to gain confidence of the House of Commons. …When pressed by reporters about what he would do if the next-biggest party was asked to form a government, Harper said he would not speculate about ‘hypothetical’ scenarios following the election. (When asked if) other parties have a right to try to form a government if the Tory government failed to gain the confidence of the House, Harper replied: ‘That’s a question of debate, of constitutional law.'”