Wednesday, September 13, 2006

PC platform released

Bernard Lord released his platform today (5 days before election day, and one day after I noted its mysterious absence). It is an interesting approach.

Things that stood out to me:

  • He has a listing of all of his candidates and a focus on "The Team", this seems to be an unusual switch from his earlier strategy which was "All Lord, all the time". Maybe his polling numbers that show that Graham has closed the gap on his in leadership? All of a sudden, Lord is attacking Shawn vigourously and his platform is all about the team as opposed to the strong leader. Wasn't this campaign supposed to be about leadership?

  • I was amused that the platform begins with "At a policy convention held in Saint John, in April of 1998, members of the New Brunswick Progressive
    Conservative party adopted the following statement of aims and principles"... uhhh that was 8 years ago and before you were in power.

  • Looking for past success, this platform seems to be modelled on the 200 days of change from 1999. It has a 20 promise checklist.
So over all, I am very suprised by this platform. In that, it isn't really a platform. It has only 20 promised. Period. In 1999, the Tories had their infamous "200 Days of Changes" which outlined 20 things they would accomplish in their first 200 days in office. However, it was dovetailed with "New Vision, New Brunswick" and comprehensive electoral platform.

"Getting Results Together" is just some pictures of candidates, a summary of results (with shaky numbers), a summar of the 5-in-5 plan and then 20 promised.

In 1999, Bernard Lord delivered 20 promises in 200 days. This time he intends to deliver 20 promises over a mandate of 1461 days??? (assuming 4 years). And his platform is called "Getting Results"!?!???

I was going to break this down like the Liberal platform, citing some interesting planks, but where there are only 20 promises, here is how it breaks down:

  1. Cut Gas Tax by 30% - he raised the gas tax by roughly this amount since 1999

  2. Protect all seniors assets - the Liberals pledged this in 2003 and Lord campaigned against it, he has since voted against it in the legislature more than once

  3. Family Home Care Strategy - a good idea, kudos

  4. Comphrensive Diabetes Strategy - again, good, kudos

  5. $120,000,000 rural development fund - according to expert Donald Savoie, it should be a series of regional funds with a focus not a one-size fits all fund for all of rural NB

  6. Healthy Schools - I assume all parties are committed to solid infrastructure for schools

  7. Cap Property Tax Assessments - much like Lord did on the Sunday Shopping question, this downloads a problem to the municipalities rather than solving it

  8. Trades Training - Lord has failed to deliver on his own government report requiring more community college seats and has rejected the Liberal plan to increase the seats by 12,000

  9. Special Care & Nursing Home Funding - essentially a duplicate of the Liberal promise released simultaneously, kudos to both parties for good policy

  10. Enhanced Repatriation Strategy - considering Lord's record on this (a sandwich and a copy of the want ads), I guess that he is going to throw in a bowl of soup?

  11. $500 Tools Tax Deduction - according to my math, you would get $45 dollars in your pocket out of this deduction, a nice idea but a drop in the pot

  12. $500 fitness/culture participation tax deduction - see point 11

  13. Review of Workers Comp - the Liberals have called for this and the Tories have voted it down

  14. Lowers Class Sizes/More Teachers - every party has promised this for the past 10 years, for my analysis of Lord's results in this area, click here

  15. Child Care Expansion Grants - odd that if Lord wanted to increase the number of regulated day care seats, that he didn't sign on to the Liberal plan that would have given him money (even with Harper's cancellation) to do it until April 2007

  16. Job Search Allowances - this plan to give those on social assistances a bit of an overlap with some of their benefits to get back into the workforce is a great idea, however it was promised by the Tories in 2003 and not delivered

  17. A Forestry Action Plan - it has a some good ideas, kudos

  18. Medical Training - a reannouncment of medical training for Moncton and Saint John

  19. Environmental Pioneers Program (for schools) - might be ok, but is just fluff

  20. 8% income tax cut - this is such a bad idea, I am going to write a whole post on it
So there you have it folks, the entire Tory platform with my comments. 20 promises for 4 years.
Just some fun numbers to compare:

  • 270 - number of promises in the Liberal Party platform for 2006

  • 99 - number of promises in the NDP platform for 2006

  • 20 - number of promises in PC Team Lord platform for 2006
    And in case you think Conservative are, by their nature, conservative, and don't promise a lot, here are some more numbers:

    • 250 - number of promises in "Stand Up for Canada", the 2006 platform of the Conservative Party of Canada

    • 152 - number of promises in"Reaching Higher. Going Further.", the 2003 platform of PC Team Lord.
    And before you people jump all over me for being a Liberal hack, I want you to know (and you can choose to believe me or not) that I was planning to write a positive post about the good in the platform, but the lack of substance (I can't say it enough: ONLY TWENTY PROMISES) left me little room to be kind.

    So, if Lord serves 4 years, he is planning to accomplish one of his platform goals every 73 days. Wow. This is "Getting Results"?


    Lee said...

    I am very dissapointed in this platform. There is not much substance. The $500 tool allowance credit. Up to $500 if you spend in excess of $1000. Does this mean if you spend $999 you get nothing?

    Should be an interesting election.

    Alvy Singer said...

    The Tories not promising enough and the Liberals promising too much. Classic.

    I'm going to quote my own blog here, because i'm just that vain (and lazy), from a post of August 16, 2006:

    "It is a classic Canadian conundrum: is it better to believe the Liberals when they promise the moon and risk dejection upon the great likelihood that they will not fulfill the promise, or is it better to just accept the half-assed non-solution that the Conservatives are promising, safe in the knowledge that they will deliver on their inadequacies?"

    "Here is the conundrum in riddle form: Let's say that Paul Martin walks up to you on the street and offers you $100, but then Stephen Harper walks up to you and offers you $25. You may only choose one - which should you choose? The answer is that it doesn't matter. The value of Harper's offer is $25, as he will surely give it to you. The value of Martin's offer is also $25, because even though he is offering you $100, there is a 3 in 4 chance that he will turn around and run down the street before paying and you get nothing."

    nbpolitico said...

    Alvy - sad but likely true, particularly in the case of Paul Martin.

    Anonymous said...

    Some other points to add:

    - there are two pages of pictures and the policy convention page, as well as the ad page at the back and 2 pages for the Premiers message because it adds pages to a very short platform. I think that they would have taken the 5 in 5 initiative page out altogether if they hadn't desperately needed to add heft to the thing.

    Regarding the platform itself:

    #3 - Family Home Care Strategy - This is a federal program in place for 30 years which renews itself every three years. Wow. That's, um, not a promise, it's a statement of something that already exists and has existed since Hatfield was premier,who would have made that deal with Trudeau. Good one Bernie.

    #4 Comprehensive Diabetes Strategy - Included in Liberal Platform as part of their Chronic Conditions Strategy which also deals with other chronic conditions like HIV/AIDS and arthritis. Maybe the PCs are ust going to work on them one at a time.

    # 11 Tool Tax Credit - Self-employed tradespeople, in fact any self-employed person from actors to truckdrivers, can already write off the costs of any tools associated with the practice of their trade.

    # 20 8 Percent income tax cut - See very good piece in Times and Trabscript today on this one. In a nutshell - this is already done. In fact it is section 16 of the Income Tax Act

    So maybe Lord should have just made his platform up of promises to keep parts of other random pieces of legislation.

    For example, "We promise that no yelling or shouting, other than the normally required commands, shall be allowed at a horse hauling contest." (NEW BRUNSWICK
    REGULATION 85-182 under the

    David Campbell said...

    All I can say is I disagree about the 'team' think. "Bernard Lord" is mentioned 18 times in 22 pages. "Shawn Graham" is mentioned twice in 33 pages in the Liberal plan.

    Those focus groups/internal polls must still be indicating that the Lord brand should be the sum total of the marketing.

    For me, it's just plain silly to repeat Bernard Lord, Bernard Lord, Bernard Lord - oops silly me, it is a little addictive.

    scott said...

    That's right Alvy, the Liberals think that a lot of bull and promises is the way to go. Well, we all know what happened during Chretien era, he did both, the two promises he made he broke. He promised to scrap the GST, he didn't. He promised to remove free trade, he didn't do that either. And once in, he did absolutely nothing for 10 years except pass a weak bill known as the Clarity bill(act).

    So if we are to judge from what the Liberals have done (or not done), then i am glad to see a new era of leadership where both Harper and Lord will focus on getting things done that can be truly accomplished. The senate is finally heading to the stage where it will be an elected body. Did the Liberals have the guts or leadership to tackle that? NO. How about reforming the electoral system, will Graham have the guts to follow through on the hard work Lord did? Do I even have to answer such a silly question. That is why he is not fit to govern this province. Period.

    Not to mention, the Liberals are still practicing 1920 style politics when we need a modern day appraoch. I am surprise I didn't see Shawn Graham offering whiskey bottles to people on main street in Moncton yet. However, the election isn't over. Who knows, maybe he will?

    Anonymous said...

    Poor Scott. Lord must have broken your heart with that crappy platform. Kudos to you for trying to stand by your man - it must make you want to spit blood.

    This is a let down, it's not being realistic or making a committment to doing what can be done, it's a shortfall in every area, and a waste of paper. They are a tired government ready to take a nice long vacation.

    Maybe you're thinking you might have to move back to Ontario after all? I think your buddy Bernard might be looking to share a place.

    Anonymous said...

    I cannot believe that I am expected to take this PC document sriously - it is not a platform at all, and it shows no growth agenda or vision. Could it be that after they read the Liberal platform
    (and they did have a lot of time to do this since it was out much sooner) that they had little to offer.

    Anonymous said...

    On another topic, has anyone given thought to the fact that a lot of MLA's (if they lose, and that appears to be the current thinking) will also lose their pensions. I think there are about 14 PC MLA's in this position, but I could be wrong. Do you suppose they are starting to question Lord's decision to call an election now as opposed to waiting as he said he would. Looks like Lord made the decision that best suited his needs, to heck with the rest of them.

    Anonymous said...

    "..hard work Lord did.." You are so right Scott. Poor Bernie spend so much taxpayers' money and worked so hard to promote himself and it all fell apart. His true self revealed and he is getting the boot from the voters.
    "Harper and Lord" That is the scariest combination that there can be. Harper is Bush's lapdog and Bernie is Harper's lapdog. Interesting show but not good for public.

    Anonymous said...

    It disappoints me to read that the obvious tories that have commented cannot discern between Provincial and Federal politics.

    Alex said...

    As usual, the Liberals find religion on the eve of an election. But, they quickly loose it once in office. Shawn Graham is criticising Bernard Lord for not cleaning up the mess left by the Liberals after they were last in power. Graham can not keep his promises without running a deficit or severely cutting current program spending. Maybe he needs the advice of those super bureaucrats to explain this to him, which, by the way, are not mentioned in his platform. There’s another 3 or 4 million a year not yet accounted for!

    Anonymous said...

    "There’s another 3 or 4 million a year not yet accounted for!" 9:35 PM you are talking about money for Lord's travels for self-promotion plus political cronies for fat jobs. It costs more than $4 million for that.