Dana for BC NDP Leader

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THE SUSTAINABILITY BC POLICY LENS
 
In 2007 the BC NDP Convention unanimously adopted a set of principles and guideposts called "Sustainable BC." This document is the NDP vision for our province, and aims to secure for present and future generations the benefits of a healthy environment and a decent, just and sustaining society.
 
Sustainable BC is based upon 12 principles which are meant to be the lens through which all other BC NDP policies are examined. These 12 principles are:
 
1) Ecosystem Protection.                 7) Social Equity.
2) Resource Conservation.               8) Full Cost Economics.
3) Biodiversity.                              9) Precautionary Principle.
4) Resilience.                               10) Adaptive Management.
5) Protection of the Commons.       11) Democracy & Due Process.
6) Food Security.                          12) Just Transition.
 
 The Dana Larsen Leadership Campaign is using the "Sustainability BC Lens" as a basis for our policy proposals and priorities. Along with each policy proposal below, we have included which principles of Sustainability BC they make manifest.
 
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DANA LARSEN'S FOUR-POINT PLATFORM
 
The Dana Larsen Leadership Campaign is based upon four basic concepts that reflect the beliefs and priorities of most British Columbians:
 
 
** Please check back often as we will be adding more policy points and ideas over the coming weeks of the campaign.
 
(Links are for extra information and don't necessarily reflect the views and policies of Dana Larsen or the BC NDP.)
 
 
a) Empower the BC NDP Grassroots: As Leader, I would ensure that party members and Constituency Associations were always fully informed and empowered to shape party policy on an ongoing basis, and not just every two years at a delegated convention. Turning to the grassroots is also the best way to ensure party unity and active member involvement over the long term.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Democracy and Due Process, Adaptive Management
 
b) Improve BC's referendum system: The NDP brought in our current Ballot Initiative and Referendum system in 1996, but the only vote ever in 15 years will be the one on the HST. I would like to improve the system, so that British Columbians can enjoy a more direct democracy and have a real voice.
 
As Premier, I would lower the threshold of signatures required to trigger a referendum, from 10% of voters in every riding to 5% of BC's total voters. I would also double the time allowed to gather signatures from 3 months to 6 months.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Democracy and Due Process, Adaptive Management
 
c) Ban corporate and union donations: As premier, I would ban corporations and unions from making donations to political parties in British Columbia, and restrict personal donations to $2500 per year.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Democracy and Due Process, Social Equity
 
d) Election Reform: As Premier, I would institute a preferential ballot system for future provincial elections in BC. This means that voters could rank candidates in their order of preference, in the same way that both the BC Liberals and the BC NDP currently choose their party leaders.
 
A preferential ballot reduces the effect of a "split vote" and is more fair than our current "first past the post" system.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Democracy and Due Process, Adaptive management 
 
e) Open Government: As Premier, I would institute a truly open government initiative, including all non-confidential government records as part of new OpenBC website, similar to Open Data Vancouver and Obama's Data.gov site. This would allow members of the public to engage with the government in a more meaningful way and help prevent corruption and waste
 — SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Democracy and Due Process, Social Equity, Adaptive Management
 
f) Withdraw from the NWPTA: As Premier, I would immediately announce BC's withdrawal from the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA) between BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
 
The NWPTA is the successor to the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA). These are anti-democratic agreements which restrict government programs, force labour and environmental standards to the lowest common denominator and empower corporations to sue provincial governments if they don't like public policy.
 — SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Democracy and Due Process, Protection of the Commons
 
 
 
a) Sustainable BC: I am a big fan of “Sustainable BC” which was passed unanimously by BC NDP members at Convention. I want to ensure that all of our party's policies reflect the important values of sustainability and long-term planning.
 
As Leader, I would ensure that Sustainable BC and the ideas it represents were at the forefront of our next election campaign.
 
b) Retrieve public assets: I believe that BC Hydro, BC Rail and BC Ferries all truly belong to the people of our province, and should be retrieved from the clutches of Gordon Campbell's corporate buddies.
 
As Premier, I would use the full power of my office to return these valuable provincial assets to their proper status as responsible crown corporations, operating for the benefit of the people of our province.
 — SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Resource Conservation, Protection for the Commons, Social Equity, Full Cost Economics, Democracy & Due Process
 
c) Fare-free Skytrain: As Premier, I would designate Skytrain as part of our provincial highway system, and eliminate fares. I would also work with municipalities toward making the entire BC Transit system fare-free.
 
* You can watch a video of Dana discussing the benefits of "fare-free Skytrain" with urban planner Dave Olsen.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Resource Conservation, Protection for the Commons, Social Equity, Full Cost Economics, Adaptive Management
 
d) Expand light rail: I support shifting our focus away from building more roads and towards rail-based transport wherever possible. I also support bringing light rail to the Fraser Valley and other major centres.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Ecosystem Protection, Resource Conservation, Protection for the Commons, Social Equity, Full Cost Economics, Adaptive Management
 
e) Stop raw log exports: British Columbia's rural economy depends in large part on forestry, yet our government has continued to allow large business interests to export raw timber for foreign processing, costing our Province jobs and revenue while hastening the decline of our forests.
 
As Premier I would take forestry seriously, immediately reinstitute local processing regulations into our forestry sector, and ban the export of raw logs from the province.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Ecosystem Protection, Resource Conservation, Protection for the Commons, Social Equity, Full Cost Economics, Adaptive Management
 
f) Strengthen the ALR: Our agricultural land is a common heritage held for the benefit of all British Columbians. As Premier, I would strengthen the ALR to improve BC's food self-sufficiency, using tax incentives and penalties to encourage production of food on ALR land, and stop the proliferation of mega-sized estate homes.
 
I would also work to create a program which brings ALR-produced food into our schools for fresh-lunch programs, like this proposal in Oregon.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Ecosystem Protection, Resource Conservation, Biodiversity, Resilience, Protection for the Commons, Food Security, Social Equity, Full Cost Economics, Precautionary Principle, Adaptive Management
 
g) Stop using GDP as measure of economy: I believe that we should stop using the Gross Domestic Product as the sole measure of economic success. Any system of measurement which considers someone getting cancer or a tanker causing an oil spill as a positive economic development is obviously terribly flawed.
 
As Premier, I would formalize other measures of social and environmental success, which do not consider natural resources and human health as "externalities." One example of an alternate measure is the "Happiness Index." Another example is the Genuine Progress Indicator.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Social Equity, Full Cost Economics, Adaptive Management 
  
 
a) Reverse corporate tax cuts: As Premier I would reverse all of the Liberal corporate tax cuts since 2001. This would generate $1.1 billion in additional revenue, allowing us to nearly eliminate our structural deficit.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Social Equity, Full Cost Economics, Adaptive Management, Just Transition
 
b) Increase tax on the top 0.6%: I propose a modest income tax increase for the top 0.6% of earners. Income over $250,000 would have an additional 11% tax. This would generate $1.3 billion annually, covering the remainder of BC's deficit and leaving $500 million for investment in education.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Social Equity, Full Cost Economics, Adaptive Management, Just Transition
 
c) K-12 Education funding: I believe that childhood education funding must be a priority, to ensure the social and economic viability of our province's future. Currently, BC has the lowest education investment and biggest class sizes in Canada.
 
As Premier, I would put the entire $500 million surplus from my tax reform proposals above into K-12 education, thus increasing funding by 10% in the first year of office.
 
I would also work to further increase K-12 education funding so that BC can re-open the close to 200 rural schools that have been closed over the past decade, ensuring that all students can receive quality education in their own local communities.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Social Equity, Full Cost Economics, Precautionary Principle, Adaptive Management, Resilience, Democracy and Due Process
 
d) Public Preschool: Studies show that investment in early childhood education produces long-term benefits, including savings in criminal justice and healthcare, and results in increased economic activity. As Premier I would therefore institute half day preschool for all 4 year olds in the province in my second year in office, and expand it to cover 3 year olds by the fourth year. 
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Social Equity, Full Cost Economics, Precautionary Principle, Adaptive Management, Resilience, Democracy and Due Process
 
e) Open Source Textbooks: As Premier, I would initiate a transition towards "Open Source Textbooks" and "Open Courseware" at all levels of our education system, from K-12 and post secondary.
 
Open Source Textbooks and Courseware work to ensure high-quality and low cost by: 1) leveraging free, already-existing educational content in the public domain; 2) leveraging the curriculum-based intellectual capital of teachers; and, 3) deploying Open licenses to secure new and dormant textbook content that would not otherwise be made available.  
 
Switching to Open Source Textbooks means a reduced education cost for both taxpayers and students. They have worked well in other jurisdictions, including California, Florida and South Africa.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Social Equity, Full Cost Economics, Adaptive Management, Resilience
 
f) Fair minimum wage: I strongly support my party’s call for an immediate $10 minimum wage, and I believe this should be indexed to inflation. Further, I believe we should be looking beyond a simple minimum wage and towards ideas like a living wage or a guaranteed minimum income.
 — SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Resilience, Social Equity, Democracy and Due Process, Just Transition
 
g) Welfare and disability reform: As Premier, I would reform our welfare and social assistance programs, so that the working poor are not penalized for having a job. Currently, any earnings are completely deducted from welfare and disability payments, reducing the motivation and feasibility of holding down a job. I would introduce a system of graduated deductions, so that working is always a benefit.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Social Equity, Full Cost Economics, Democracy and Due Process, Just Transition
 
h) Promote healthy foods: I am calling for a 25% tax on "Sugar Sweetened Beverages" which are a major cause of obesity and diabetes. A small portion of the revenue would be spent on a sugar awareness ad campaign (much like this one) with the rest helping to fund an ALR-based subsidized school-lunch program.
 
I also support cigarette-style health warning labels on sugary beverages, as well as ending their sale in publically-funded spaces (schools, hospitals, BC Ferries, etc.)
 
A Health Protection Tax on sugar sweetened beverages has been recommended by many health bodies, including BC's Provincial Health Services Authority, Canada's Childhood Obesity Foundation and a major study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Food Security, Social Equity, Full Cost Economics, Precautionary Principle, Adaptive Management, Just Transition
 
i) Clean water access: As Premier I would ensure that safe, clean public drinking fountains are widely available in all public spaces. I believe that access to clean, free drinking water is a human right.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Resilience, Protection for the Commons, Food Security, Social Equity, Full Cost Economics, Precautionary Principle, Adaptive Management, Just Transition
 

SMART ON CRIME

a) No more new prisons: I believe that British Columbians should not foot the bill for Harper's outrageous prison spending spree. Prison is not the solution for homelessness, drug addiction or mental health issues. Prison is no place for the mentally ill, and Harper's prison expansion will only make things worse.
 
BC should prioritize programs which help the vulnerable before they end up in jail. The way to reduce crime is to build families instead of prisons.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Social Equity, Full Cost Economics, Adaptive Management, Democracy and Due Process, Resource Conservation
 
b) Evidence-based drug policy: The "war on drugs" is a failed policy that causes far more harm and public disorder than it prevents. As Premier, I would craft an evidence-based drug policy that focuses on health and public order, instead of just blindly punishing people with addiction and mental health issues.
 
This would include expanding the Supervised Injection Site program to any other BC communities that wanted and needed one. I would treat addiction and other problematic drug use as a health issue instead of simply a criminal one.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Social Equity, Adaptive Management, Full Cost Economics 
 
c) Tax and regulate marijuana: As Premier, I would call upon the federal government to implement BC NDP policy which calls for cannabis to be legally taxed and regulated. Cannabis is one of British Columbia’s biggest industries, valued at over $7 billion and employing 250,000 people. Legal cannabis would be a huge windfall and benefit for all British Columbians.
 — SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Biodiversity, Social Equity, Adaptive Management, Democracy & Due Process
  
d) License medicinal cannabis dispensaries: There are are currently a dozen medicinal cannabis dispensaries operating openly in Vancouver and Victoria, with a half-dozen more scattered across the Province. Together they serve about 10,000 patients with a doctor's recommendation for cannabis, while many more medicinal users are forced to grow in their own homes or buy their medicine on the street.
 
As Premier, I would take medicinal marijuana users out of the criminal justice system, by using the province's jurisdiction over health care to license and regulate these medicinal cannabis dispensaries and their suppliers. This is the best way to ensure safety for patients and for the communities in which they live.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Social Equity, Adaptive Management 
 
e) Unionize sex-trade workers: As Premier, I would stop the enforcement of laws which prohibit sex trade workers from working together, hiring security or maintaining a safe workspace. I would also allow sex-trade workers to unionize and form co-operatives to protect their rights and safety.
 
This would be in keeping with recent court decisions. In 2010, the Ontario Supreme Court struck down these federal laws as unconstitutional because they put women's lives at risk. 
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Social Equity, Adaptive Management, Democracy & Due Process
 
 
As Premier, I would ensure that our criminal justice and corrections systems fully incorporated community accountability and restorative justice, which work to heal victims and repair communities, instead of simply exacting retribution and punishment.
— SUSTAINABILITY BC PRINCIPLES: Social Equity, Adaptive Management, Democracy & Due Process


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