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Green Party (GPC): Family, Parenting and Women's Issues

This week, I’ll be posting highlights from the platforms of Canada’s five major political parties, focusing on their policies and promises with regards to family, parenting and women’s issues. I am going to try (but do not promise!) to simply report on or summarize what they have promised, rather than providing colour commentary in my posts. However, I am happy to have detailed conversations about the value and feasibility of the proposals in the comments on each post.

Image credit: Green Party of Canada

Green Party of Canada

The full Green Party Platform is available online at http://greenparty.ca/platform2011. Its budget (which provides the true details on their plans) is available here: http://greenparty.ca/platform2011/budget. The Green Party's platform is centred around three key themes: Smart Economy, Strong Communities, True Democracy.

Some of the key promises that relate to families, parents and women include:

Family Tax Initiatives

  • Lower income taxes (reduce EI and CPP contributions by a third, eliminate personal income taxes below the low-income cut-off of $20,000).

  • Introduce full income splitting (joint calculation of income) immediately to reduce the tax burden on married couples and families.

  • Implement carbon pricing (emissions tax), but provide a carbon pricing rebate (similar to the GST rebate) for low income Canadians.

Affordable Housing and Improved Community Infrastructure

  • Establish a national affordable housing program, ramping up to building 20,000 new affordable housing units per year and renewing 8,000 units per year to ensure the existing stock. Providing rent supplements or shelter assistance for an additional 40,000 low-income households per year for ten years.

  • Increase EcoEnergy home energy retrofit grants by 50% (note: this program is currently expired and the Green Party is recommending reinstating and increasing by half the amount people receive).  Also implement energy retrofit programs for low income housing and municipal, university, school and hospital buildings.

  • Invest in the creation of energy efficient community housing co-ops and affordable housing units.

  • Investment in basic infrastructure (education, safe drinking water, improved housing) for First Nations communities.

  • Invest in the creation of green recreational and cultural facilities and refurbishing of existing facilities.

  • Invest in mass transit and car sharing initiatives, as well as cycling and pedestrian initiatives.

Education and Childcare

  • Implement a municipal youth employment program to provide federal minimum wage jobs across the country for 40,000 youth from age 18 to 25 for a one year period each, followed by a tuition credit of $4,000 for those who successfully complete the program.

  • Invest in early childhood education by working with the provinces on the implementation of innovative programs that work for their populations. This investment would start at $500 million per year and increase to $1 billion per year in the third year.

Work-Life Balance

  • Give people more flexibility in their work lives by focusing on things like making it easier to telecommute/work from home, share jobs, have flex hours, access flexible child care spaces and early childhood education, more workplace child care spaces, support for those who want to stay home and raise their children and support for those who need to get back to work while their kids are young.

Health and Food Safety

  • Support rapid transition to organic agriculture rather than subsidizing costly agro-chemicals, industrial food production and genetically modified crops.

  • Invest in Universal Pharmacare program, a bulk purchasing agency, and make new drug patent protection times shorter. Encourage a successful generic drug market.

  • National campaign to discourage marijuana use (similar to anti-tobacco), in tandem with the legalization and taxation of marijuana.

What do you think of the Green Party's platform? Do their promises sound like a good fit for your family? For our country?

Please also check out my Care2 Causes post called Tools to Help You Navigate the Canadian Election and my Bad Moms Club post called If the Political Parties Were Bad Moms. If you want to discuss politics with other moms, also be sure to check out the #momthevote hash tag on twitter and the Mom The Vote facebook page.
« Liberal Party (LPC): Family, Parenting and Women's Issues | Main | New Democratic Party (NDP): Family, Parenting and Women's Issues »

Reader Comments (15)

I love how the Green Party is thinking about the long term. I think their ideas of changing little things in a big way, like making work schedules more flexible, or encouraging community housing co-ops would do have amazing trickle-down effects. Both of those things have economic and environmental effects, moving our country towards long-term solutions.

Also, I'm pretty sure that early childhood education has been proven to be very effective in decreasing crime rates. When children are well educated and looked after, even if it's only at school and they have negligent parents, they are more likely to not bully or abandon their schooling for a life of crime.

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

I have come to a place where I personally believe that investing in sustainability is the most important step that we all need to take. Not just in Canada, but it's a start. The Green Party has the most clear messaging when it comes to the environment, which is what I like about them. But really, that's no surprise, given that environmental issues are their top priority.

April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

I like the idea of shifting taxes "from what you earn to what you burn" (to borrow from Al Gore), and I gather a carbon tax is slated to pay for most of the other initiatives on the list, but I'd love to know just how the work-life balance section is supposed to be fostered by a Green federal government (or a Green-somebody coalition, more likely) — many federal jobs are already not too bad on that front, but there's a lot of the economy that would require fairly heavy-handed intervention to pull that list of improvements off, which seems kind of un-Green given their slant toward carrots over sticks.

I think the Greens have a general attitude that matches how I want the country to be run, but there are some sort of embarrassing points in the platform, too: income splitting for couples without dependants is just a tax vacuum (I think it's in the country's interest to encourage people to take care of dependants; I don't think it's particularly necessary to encourage people to simply couple up — and regardless, I don't think income splitting is a good way to achieve either goal), and a pharmacare program that includes homeopathy is tantamount to industrial composting of tax dollars.

What scares me a little is that if the Greens managed to hold or share the balance of power, other parties might be more tempted to bargain on the silly bits of the platform than the sustainable ones.

April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEric

the one thing that has concerned me about the Green platform in the past was the legalisation of marijuana. i am very pleased that they have added an awareness campaign to dissuade it's use. it has bothered me for years that environmentalists always included that in their platform, when marijuana is neither environmentally or socially friendly. in many ways it is the most dangerous drug because no-one thinks it's dangerous at all. teenagers and young adults are at serious risk of psychotic breaks and even permanent mental illness through use of the stuff and i think that is knowledge that needs to be spread. good on the Greens for being more responsible!

April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCassaundra


I think that is a very good question about the work-life balance issue. I have put the question to the Green Party and hope they will come back with an answer. I imagine some of the changes could be achieved through improved infrastructure. For example, I cannot work from home right now because I live in a rural area and my Internet access is not consistent enough. Having universal high-speed Internet access across rural Canada (or at least within 30 minutes of the nation's capital!!!) would make that more realistic. Investing in childcare spaces in or near the workplace would be another way some of these goals could be achieved. They could partner with industry by providing grants to help reconfigure current underutilized office space into day care. If there were more flexible day care arrangements available, people may be more likely to seek out part-time work, flex work, or job sharing opportunities. If those opportunities are demanded, then employers may be more likely to provide them.

Those are just some of my thoughts, but hopefully the Green Party will come back with an answer I can share.

April 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I agree, Amber.

I also like how they couch their policies and ideas on other issues within a vision for sustainability. So rather than throwing money at symptoms, they are addressing the heart of the problem.

April 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I have to disagree with the entire post from Cassaundra.

I mean really? Psychotic breaks and permanent mental illness? Where is your proof of this? Scientific facts? Choose not to do the drug, (I don't do it) choose not to advocate for it. But don't just post straight out lies and things that have been scientifically disproved. I'm not going to argue every fact that you got wrong about marijuana but it is most certainly more environmentally friendly than many other plants. And socially friendly? I'm not sure where you live, but the vast majority of Canadians have tried, and still actively smoke marijuana recreationally. It is just as socially accepted as caffeine and alcohol, and takes less of a physical and mental toll on a persons health than either of those two substances. There are many benefits to the society that legalizes or decriminalizes marijuana and it has been proven by other countries and even some states in the US now.

I think the Greens plan for the control of a substance like marijuana is awesome, and it is more than any other party has put forward, even the ones who would choose to legalize or decriminalize. Like a previous poster said, they seem to be very concerned with the long-term effects any changes made now will have.

April 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney


I don't have information to prove or disprove what Cassaundra wrote. However, I don't think that your post is entirely fact-based either (or if it is, please provide the links). The latest information I could find (which could be out of date), is this: http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/marijuana/statistics.html. It states that 3 million Canadians (12% of the Canadian population age 15 and older) used marijuana in 2002 and that about 1.5 million Canadians smoke marijuana recreationally. That is not even close to being "the vast majority" of Canadians.

I don't think that marijuana is as socially accepted as caffeine and alcohol (at least not in my circles), but perhaps that is because smoking in general (not just specifically of marijuana) is quite socially unacceptable (it is something people who are addicted go outside to do alone or with a few other addicts, not something that you do in mixed company like having a glass of wine or a cup of coffee).

Personally, I think the Greens plan is a good one, but not for the reasons you stated.

April 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

What I like about the GPC platform is how they are thinking long term and not just about one term in office.

I do struggle with how they can promise work/life balance when really that is not up to them. So while I love the idea of what they are proposing in reality it won't work if employers are not on board.

I like their municipal youth employment program and can see it helping in multiple areas. Getting kids to work and learn skills/trade while also helping them to afford post secondary eduction.

April 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Thanks for posting this series, I've found it really useful. It is a surprise to me that the Green platform seems to be the only one that contains anything I think will directly affect me, a stay at home parent and homeschooler. When it comes to children all the budget and focus is on child care and working parents, stay at home parents are penalised in lots of ways and it is nice to see them trying to redress this balance a little with things like the tax sharing which would impact us enormously.

Just to address the issue of marijuana, as mentioned above it is linked to psychotic episodes in certain people, especially if they begin smoking young and are heavy users for a number of years. I am actually a fan of legalisation, I really can't see any good reason not to. Aside from the medical applications which are numerous it seems insane to make something that can be grown in your greenhouse illegal, especially when alcohol and nicotine are freely available. However, to turn a blind eye to potential issues is foolish, everything has a downside including this. The psychosis is linked to the strain of marijuana used, skunk being particularly bad as it contains higher levels of the hallucinogenic aspects of the plant. This tends to be the 'brand' of choice by heavy users so can be linked to severe problems. Of course legalising would allow us to monitor and protect rather than alienate and criminalise.

For me the only party is one that faces up to and acknowledges the massive changes that our society needs to undergo in order to survive let alone prosper. The greens seem less interested in protecting their own interests and more interested in change. Maybe that's because they are not actually in power yet!

Thanks again for these posts, very useful : )

April 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmmalina

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hello, my name is tamara and i am a current grade 9 student in the city of calgary alberta.
iam 14 years old and i am doing an assighnment on "green party" now i have done some research and my mission for marks are to get "simple" facts about green party how they run and what there mission is. i no nothing about green party ! if anyone can or knowes some simple facts about green party can you please leave some below :) i would really apreciate it!! thank youu you would be helping lots!

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertamara

i deided it would be aout better if i didnt google anything but get other peoples facts and opininons about green party ! doint a powerpoint need some info thankss!

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertamara

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