Utopia thread

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mark_alfred
Utopia thread

For politics in Canada, what's your utopia?

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mark_alfred

Well, may as well add my utopian vision here.  So, some policies I'd like to see any government enact (basically tax and spend is my utopia):

  • higher taxes for all income tax brackets, increased progressively higher as the bracket is bigger
  • elimination of many tax credits, replaced by services (see below)
  • higher taxes for corporations and business, big and small
  • targetted grants to employers who promise jobs here
  • take over Blackberry, and provide free basic smartphones to anyone who wants one (sell higher models at profit)
  • take over Bombardier, and produce transit vehicles
  • provide free wifi
  • after high school, have compulsory service in the military for one year.
  • free post secondary education (after the one year military service), though determined by an entrance exam.
  • minimum income
  • run a public brewery, and sell cheap beer
  • make all drugs legal
  • decriminalize sex work (like New Zealand)
  • nationalize Air Canada, and reduce national service to areas served by high speed rail (see below)
  • nationalize CN, and increase service (also change it to high speed rail)
  • nationalize one of the auto makers, and work hard on producing a viable low emission car (electric or whatever, and build infrastructure to support this).
  • enforce strict environmental standards on all buildings (green roofs, etc.)
  • forbid home ownership, and instead have all housing be public (basic free housing, anything beyond costs the occupant money to the government).
  • boot Starbucks out of Canada, and have government take it over, renaming it "Canbucks".  Add bannock to the menu, along with butter tarts.
  • build windmills everywhere. 
  • build tidal power generators.
  • put solar panels everywhere.
  • either shut down the oilsands, or expand it and refine it right in Alberta (why build a pipeline to refine it in the east?)  I'm undecided about this.  I'm kinda fickle about some things.
  • make factory farming illegal.  Greatly expand livestock rights.  Promote vegetarianism. 
  • make olive oil illegal.  Canola is good enough.  Think local.
  • label GMOs.
  • make it illegal to refer to chips as "french fries".  Chips, as in fish and chips, are chips, they are not "crisps" (Lays does not make "chips", they make "crisps").
  • introduce fair pricing policy via a fingerprint scan (so, eliminate stinking cards with godforsaken PINs.)  Yeah, this sounds a bit 1984ish, but hey, it's my utopia, not yours.  Anyway, in public stores (maybe even private) to purchase something you have your finger scanned, and a price appropriate to your income comes up.  If it's beyond your means, then you're shitouttaluck (needed to prevent useless vanity purchases).  But if it's something that is within your means, then a price appropiate to your income level is generated and automatically debited.
  • Make Loblaws and Metro illegal, and mandate that food must be purchased from farmer's markets.
  • Make it legal to have both hens and roosters even if you live in the city.  People like eggs, and even if roosters make a lotta noise, hens should have the right to get laid once in a while.  So, if you want your eggs, you gotta put up with the noise of roosters occasionally.
  • ...hmm, I likely will have more....

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

I must say I don't agree with a mandatory military service,period.

I'd much rather see the demilitarization of Canada,not a military culture like mandatory military service is and would be.

Sean in Ottawa

My utopia does not have or require a military.

But there is no point going after individual items on this lilst -- it is not meant seriously -- right?

 

mark_alfred

I should add that military missions would be for peacekeeping only.  But, to have a significant reserve for this, to declare that we're serious, seems a good idea.  Also having a larger military would be useful for responding to catastrophies at home, like floods, droughts, forest fires, Toronto snowstorms (ha ha), etc.  Given climate change, we can expect more such things.

Sean in Ottawa

mark_alfred wrote:

I should add that military missions would be for peacekeeping only.  But, to have a significant reserve for this, to declare that we're serious, seems a good idea.  Also having a larger military would be useful for responding to catastrophies at home, like floods, droughts, forest fires, Toronto snowstorms (ha ha), etc.  Given climate change, we can expect more such things.

Well then in the utopia why not call for a civilian national service?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Can we split the difference and have a civilian national service, but with kewl guns?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I don't like compulsory service in the military or any other insitution.  However if it has to be then I suggest we just expand Katimavik and make it mandatory. It is a way cooler name than civil national service.

As an old leftie the idea of bringing back relief camps is both frightening and inspiring.  The most radical generation in Canadian history, the one that gave us enforced employment standards rights and medicare and pensions were the crucible were they learnt and taught each other about possibilities to end the nightmare they were living through.  It is no accident that all three parties supported things like medicare and pensions and a bill of rights during the late fifites and early sixties.  So maybe sending our young peopole to compulsory civil service will turn out to be a longterm benefit.

lagatta

Olive oil? That is discrimination against people of Mediterranean origins. Canola is shite. But I'd like to point out that there are good oilseed oils that can be produced in a colder climate, and that are worthy of the table.

I agree with thinking local but not everything can be produced locally. Coffee and tea, for example.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

This thread should have been titled, "Why there will never be a Utopia thread".

pir pir's picture

Mandatory Katimavik service I could get behind. 

mark_alfred wrote:
either shut down the oilsands, or expand it and refine it right in Alberta (why build a pipeline to refine it in the east?)  I'm undecided about this.  I'm kinda fickle about some things.

In my utopia the tarsands would be shut down, and we move to other, more benign energy sources.

You know they're building a refinery in Alberta (near Edmonton) right now, yes?  https://www.nwrpartnership.com/  Though just for diesel, diluent and some minor light ends.  The reason some want to pipe bitumen out east is because we have refineries there with excess capacity which are struggling -- and the US just shut down Keystone XL.  We've been closing what, 4 or 5 refineries in the last few years?  We already refine enough for our own needs, anything else would be for export, which means having a refinery on the west coast for shipping by tanker to Asia would make some sense.  But there is no love lost in BC for another pipeline, and I doubt the love would increase much if instead of bitumen the exporting tankers would carry refined products from a refinery in Kitimat.  I dunno -- at least that would bring more job prospects, which tends to appeal to voters.  How do the people of Tuktoyaktuk feel about it?  Cause I am sure that's next in the cross hairs for the oil companies.

jas

Much as I love Canada, my utopia would dissolve the Canada/U.S. border toward more regional cooperation and governance. Or dissolve the barrier to movement across borders (for all of us, not just capital).

Along with all the green and earth tech stuff others have mentioned.

Some kind of legal dissolution globally of the corporate oligarchy, resurrecting anti-trust type policies and making transnational corporations illegal, or introducing tax and regulatory regimes that make corporateering wildly unprofitable.

lagatta

I'm not fond of borders, but think we're far too influenced by the US for me to get behind such an idea. I'd only support it if it involved ALL the Americas, not just the USians.

Is it utopian to think that Trudeau's "middle-class tax cut" should also mean cutting taxes for lower income brackets? Call it a "Papineau tax cut" in honour of the many low-earning or precarious workers in Trudeau's own riding? Or simply raise the threshold for paying federal income tax?

Sean in Ottawa

lagatta wrote:

I'm not fond of borders, but think we're far too influenced by the US for me to get behind such an idea. I'd only support it if it involved ALL the Americas, not just the USians.

Is it utopian to think that Trudeau's "middle-class tax cut" should also mean cutting taxes for lower income brackets? Call it a "Papineau tax cut" in honour of the many low-earning or precarious workers in Trudeau's own riding? Or simply raise the threshold for paying federal income tax?

Of course the Liberals did not propose this -- but neither did the NDP we have no choice but to note.

lagatta

Oh, I certainly did note it - and mention it to my candidate; also wrote in to party.

I was going to scream if I heard the expression "middle class" one more time. Never defined, of course.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

In my Utopia, we stop using terms like Middlle Class, progressive, tax cuts, and just do what's G-d damn right by people. What is SO f***ing hard to understand about that. It seems to me that as New Democrats we're just floating around on this board right now. We got the S*** kicked out of us by a pompous, self-entitled Bay Street lacky and his pals and for the next few months, NO ONE is going to care what the NDP thinks about anything. And frankly, if we don't get our G-d damn s*** together, there's going to be no NDP. The only real hope is that we all know that the Liberals will act like Liberals shot themselves in the feet over and over, insult the hell out of people with their defence of themselves (just look at this board here for examples of that in the arragant wriitings of many of its LPC sycphant lackies), and our chance will come again. The thing is, next time, we've got be ready!

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Well, regarding military service. I have to say I'm getting a little tired watching the CF getting kicked around so causally here. What the hell is the matter with you guys? Its about Service. What could be more Utopian. Are you telling me I wasted my life?

ETA: Look, the fact of the matter is that there will always be a need for a military. Most of you know my dad fought overseas. The night before I left for Officer Basic Training, my dad made me go with him for a walk. We stopped in the middle of it, my dad looked at me and said, "never kill a man unless you absolutely have to". That was ALL he said,, the whold freezing walk. I know pretty much nothing else about my dad's Service I know he was anti-war, was involved in helping Vietnam War Ressitors, went to anti-ware protests, even as a tired, sick, old man who didn't move very well, but was a strong believer in the military. He was very proud of my Service. I think he undestood it for what it was, Service. When the time comes, citizens step up and do the right thing. And that is what I believe most Vets thought they were doing. Doing the right thing. I know that's what I believed, and if I had been around during WW2, I'd have signed up the day I turned 18. When your nation calls, I believe a man has to do the right thing and step up. But that's what I believe for me; foor the most most part, with a few exceptions, I have no issue with those who concientously object. There are objections here, like Chicken-hawk domianted religous groups, full of war mongers who are quite happy sending everyone else off to fight, while starying here trying to hold the Rabble in check, and make the lives of oridiary people miserable. But the fact is, I believe in Service. It was the ONLY I joined up. It was MY chance to give back to my couuntry for the so many things it had given me and that I'll NEVER be able to properly pay back, EVER!

I just wish you guys would find a better way to talk about the military. Honestly, and I'm guessing you'll say I should be tougher and stop whining, it hurts me. As I posted above, what, I wasted my life? I don't think so. I think I tried in my small way to try and give something back for all the privileges being a Canadian has bestowed on me, despite how imperfect out country still is in so many ways. You can still do the right thing while trying to make things better significantly for all your fellow citizens.

Honestly, in some ways, that is what tomrrow is about.

Slumberjack

The construction of my utopia would begin with the demolition of political parties.  The existence of political parties, in the experience of many I would argue, is not consistent with the idea of democracy.  Parties are too easily controlled by money, media and business interests, along with whatever corresponding ideologies that go with such influences, and mainly at the expense of citizens in the ridings.  If we want democracy, let alone some far-fetched ideas around utopias, then political parties will have to be completely dismantled and banished for good.  It is certainly a possibility to imagine ridding ourselves once and for all of 'party' structures due to the fact that independents have been elected in the past.  Why not go the whole hog whereby only independents need apply for consideration right across the country, with previous party affiliations amounting to an automatic disqualifier.  Let's start out fresh.

Sean in Ottawa

lagatta wrote:

Oh, I certainly did note it - and mention it to my candidate; also wrote in to party.

I was going to scream if I heard the expression "middle class" one more time. Never defined, of course.

I agree completely. I called the NDP to tell them that an appeal to the middle class pocket book was not representative of middle income earning New Democrats. Certainly not representative of me.

The term class is offensive and the term middle is exclusive not only from those who are above but those with lower incomes.

I absolutely get furious when I hear the idea of class from the NDP defined as income or when the NDP vows to help some people but not those who are earning less.

I am not wanting to support a party that claims to be social democratic that focuses on some notion of middle class above others.

mark_alfred

Public universal legal aid coverage and universal public dental care too.

Sean in Ottawa

mark_alfred wrote:

Public universal legal aid coverage and universal public dental care too.

Interesting how you include the two.

The law is the healthcare system of democracy and freedom. The link between the two is obvious when you pause and think about it.

Of course I agree. Assets that are determined through the legal process can be taxed to produce at least some of the money to pay for such a system.

lagatta

Sean, alas our Charbonneau Commission has "given birth to a mouse" (accouché d'une souris). We know that a significant percentage of the taxes we pay for road work and other infrastructure go into brown bags and deep pockets (not to mention socks full of banknotes, of all the low-tech forms of corruption).

At least now legal aid in Québec will cover all full-time minimum-wage earners (and lower-income than that threshold), and there will be partial legal aid for many low-income earners above that level.

Still no public dentalcare...

Sean in Ottawa

lagatta wrote:

Sean, alas our Charbonneau Commission has "given birth to a mouse" (accouché d'une souris). We know that a significant percentage of the taxes we pay for road work and other infrastructure go into brown bags and deep pockets (not to mention socks full of banknotes, of all the low-tech forms of corruption).

At least now legal aid in Québec will cover all full-time minimum-wage earners (and lower-income than that threshold), and there will be partial legal aid for many low-income earners above that level.

Still no public dentalcare...

I appreciate the measure as it is the best I know of. But Legal services, even in Quebec, are out of reach for many who do not qualify for legal aid and that should never be.

lagatta

Oh, I thoroughly agree. But I did think it was a small step in the right direction, even though it was actually only back to what Legal Aid here stood at when it was first enacted.

Sean in Ottawa

lagatta wrote:

Oh, I thoroughly agree. But I did think it was a small step in the right direction, even though it was actually only back to what Legal Aid here stood at when it was first enacted.

I agree-- here in Ontario legal aid is limited to criminal cases where jail time is at risk so most who are not wealthy have no access to the law.

In fairness the legal system in Ontario is easier to access without representation than it is in Quebec.

In family court there is almost no access except through a lose-lose proposition where the cost of accessing the court will exceed any possible benefit. Of course, I want to be careful of any criticism of family courts becuase globally it is a rarity that the interests of children are formally placed first and this is a remarkable achievement for that institution. However, all to often these interests are argued by parents where one parent has a lot less money and therefore access to the best legal talent. A level playing field when it comes to access to family law courts would seem to be a prerequisite to fulfilling the promise of keeping children's interests foremost.

As I understand it, Quebec had a huge advantage over many other jurisdictions as it forced all or most lawyers to undertake legal aid cases. This avoids there being two classes of lawyers: public and private. I am not sure if this is still true.

The major problem is the income level -- for an individual person an income over $16,000 will disqualify you from help. A person earning $20,000 is hardly in a position to afford legal services. On the topic, social assistance rates are also very low -- a single person on social assistance qualifies for only $616 in Quebec. In Ontario it is only slightly better.

mark_alfred

Legal aid has gotten worse in Ontario.  As you say Sean, it's now only for serious criminal cases.  Years back, you used to be able to get a legal aid certificate for two hours of legal help from a lawyer for almost anything, including Landlord Tenant Board issues.  Not now.  You can only access a clinic, and they're very picky about who'll they'll help.  If you're deemed "capable", regardless of having a qualifying income, they don't really provide much assistance.  Don't get me wrong, the legal aid clinics in Toronto have some fabulous people working in them, but the legal aid system itself is worse, in my opinion.

Sean in Ottawa

mark_alfred wrote:

Legal aid has gotten worse in Ontario.  As you say Sean, it's now only for serious criminal cases.  Years back, you used to be able to get a legal aid certificate for two hours of legal help from a lawyer for almost anything, including Landlord Tenant Board issues.  Not now.  You can only access a clinic, and they're very picky about who'll they'll help.  If you're deemed "capable", regardless of having a qualifying income, they don't really provide much assistance.  Don't get me wrong, the legal aid clinics in Toronto have some fabulous people working in them, but the legal aid system itself is worse, in my opinion.

I agree. Most people do not seem to care becuase until you need it, nobody thinks about it. Legal services should be part of the the social safety net.