Thursday, 31 March 2011

Yo! Progressives!

A few elections ago, a friend who doesn't follow politics closely told me she was fed up with all the old parties and was going to vote Green. Appalled, I refrained from detailing the many ways that the Green Party of Canada is NOT progressive, NOT like Green parties in Europe. Instead, I just asked her to go read their platform.

She did, and being a smart broad, thanked me for saving her from making a bad booboo.

I'm going to save everyone a bunch of time and point out one policy of the GPC that demonstrates how UNprogressive and how much more rightwing than leftwing they are.

You know that 'income splitting' proposal the ReformaTories rolled out? The one so roundly ripped to ribbons by sensible people -- real economists even -- as classist, sexist, unfair, useless for those who really need some financial help, yadayada, neatly summed up by some wag on Twitter as the 'June Cleaver policy'?

Not coincidentally, it is also intended to stir up a Mommy War, pitting working mothers against stay-at-home mothers, at least one of whom, by the way, rejects the policy even though it would benefit her family 'ENORMOUSLY'.

Well, guess who is also for that policy. Who, in fact, were for it before the ReformaTories.

Right. Elizabeth May and the Green Party.
So Harper has borrowed part of #GPC income splitting policy, but partial & only after deficit eliminated. We use tax shifting to do it now.

Do you need any more evidence that EMay and the Greens are not progressive?

How about her stand on abortion? I dug this up from 2007. You can revisit the whole Macleans interview here.
M: Last year, you made some comments on abortion that attracted attention - namely that you would never have an abortion, “not in a million years," and that “nobody in their right mind is for abortions.” Is there a conflict between you and your party on this?

EM: The party has the same position. The party’s position is called "pro-life, pro-choice." What we’re saying as a party, and what I’m saying as an individual leader, is that any civilized society must provide safe legal access to any woman who needs or wants an abortion. But it’s not something someone is for, in the same way that no one is for chemotherapy.

I admit it. The woman has a gift. Here she re-offends prochoicers WHILE dissing cancer patients and their loved ones.

Oh, and a gift for whining. She's real good at that, too.


deBeauxOs said...

I've been taken to task - nicely of course - by Green Party staffers and supporters when I tweet that May is NOT pro-choice. They offer to send me copies of GP pro-choice platform but none so far can provide link to published interview where she says unequivocally that she is pro-choice. Interesting.

Mark Richard Francis said...

She is pro-choice, and has been interviewed over this. I've had the discussion personally with her. She doesn't believe in pressing a choice upon others re: abortion. This comes up every election. Getting a bit repetitive.

At this point, someone typically tries to argue with me that you can't separate the personal from the political. Bullshit. That's what pro-choice is: "Whatever my view is, I'm not making you take it."

And there's nothing unprogressive about income splitting in of itself. Income taxing per household (even better, per family) rather than per individual makes a lot of sense. Subjecting a household to a higher rate of taxation because a spouse stays home is not progressive either. I've been in those shoes, struggling like mad, and it's infuriating.

The real issue is dealing with the typically higher costs experienced by dual income families. Child care, for one. The tax system isn't the place to tinker with that, mind you. Spaces simply need to be funded.

Scott in Montreal said...

I agree with Mark. GPC is pro-choice and not changing. Otherwise, they'd lose my support in a flash. The income-splitting thing is tougher to figure out. I see where the way Harper wants to do it, it rewards regressive social policy (especially combined with income inequality the policy position that never gets women anything more than lip-service from decade to decade). Barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen, as they say, is the "Real Women of Canada"-type backwards (and insidiously undeclared) social engineering objective of the Harpercons' plan.

Knowing May and the party grassroots, such a plan would be completely unacceptable to the party platform. I think May shot that tweet off before looking hard enough to realize just how odious Harper's conception of income splitting is. Believe me, it sends chills down my spine.

Beijing York said...

There is nothing progressive about income splitting. It's a further attack on working women and an excuse to derail the demand for public subsidized childcare.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Janet! This is a valuable reminder that the Greens are just Yellow Blues :)

fern hill said...

Beijing York, you've put it in a nutshell. Perfect.

Luna said...

Okay, I number-crunched a bit. The income splitting plan would net me an extra $400/month. That really would go a LONG way in my house. And yes, I'm still against it. It's stupid. It doesn't help me find a daycare for my kids if I wanted one. It doesn't help me salvage my career for after they go to school. And it continues to make the choice for me.

I'd like universal daycare AND an income splitting deal. For all couples, actually. Not just parents. I mean, if hubby makes 100,000K (ha! I wish) and I make nothing, we pay more tax than if we each make $50K. Or if I make $30K and he makes $70K. It really is stupid. Combine all household income for a more equitable tax solution for all who choose to file together.

fern hill said...

Luna, wow, $400 a month would change a LOT of families' lives.

I admit I do not understand much about taxation. I do know that in the US, couples do file as a unit. Also, when I worked there as a single person, I could take myself as a dependent as far as workplace deductions went. Which meant that at year-end I might owe more, but if I were prudent and had a bit of savings I could pay it off. It has always struck me as passing strange that some huge proportion of working Canadians -- like 70-80% -- get tax refunds. Which means they've been overtaxed all year, effectively lending $ to the gov at no interest. Then they are pathetically grateful to get their own dough BACK.

The whole tax system has been so fucked around with for political reasons that it needs a total PROGRESSIVE overhaul.

JJ said...

I don't understand why people are so adamantly opposed to income splitting -- it's not the first step towards the Republic of Gilead, it's actually a pretty good idea. (From the CPC? Hey, even a stopped clock and all that.)

Comparing it with national daycare is apples & oranges -- it's not a zero sum game. The people who benefit from income splitting are a different profile from those who'd use national daycare.

That it's a dogwhistle to socons is almost certain. Colour me shocked: political partisans, playing to their base. (*cought*Liberals*cough*Long Gun Registry*cough*) But that doesn't necessarily make it an attack on working women, or even a bad idea.

There are all kinds of hills we could choose to fight on in this battle -- I would respectfully suggest that income splitting isn't one of them.

fern hill said...

JJ, under this scheme, only 13% of couples/families would qualify because one spouse's income is greatly different from the other's. It will cost billions by giving tax breaks to well-off people, diverting money that could go to programs that benefit poor people or the country in general.

More money for individuals -- who are already doing fine, thank you -- means less money for other things. Simple. Benefit some, penalize everyone else.

Not progressive.

There may be ways to structure a 'family income' for tax purposes that is progressive, but this ain't it.

fern hill said...

Antonia's latest on women and Harpo.

Anonymous said...

As a pro-choice woman myself, I'm getting a little tired of the abortion rights fanatics who, to quote Bart Simpson, have a cow every time someone says they wouldn't have an abortion but wouldn't deny others that choice.

fern hill said...

Anonymous: EMay didn't just say that. She said: 'no one in their right mind is for abortion'. Essentially, she called pro-choice people nuts. When the shit first hit the fan, she was shilling for votes from freakin' nuns.

I have no problem with someone saying, respectfully, that she wouldn't have one herself, but wouldn't deny others the right. It's the sanctimony of this borad that gets up my nose.

Also, she's not 'for' chemotherapy or abortion, but is for homeopathy????? Check the platform.

Anonymous said...

In fact, one well-known Canadian feminist, Michelle Lansberg, said basically the same thing. In her book Women and Children First, she wrote, "I'm even anti-abortion in that no sane person actually likes the procedure." This in a book that - rightly - tears a strip off the so-called "pro-life" movement.

I'm pro-choice, as I mentioned, and I can't say that I would never have an abortion. But I'd like to avoid ever being in a situation where I would have an abortion because while I don't consider a fetus the equivalent of a human being, I'm not "for" abortion. I think most women would rather avoid it no matter where they lie on the pro-life/pro-choice spectrum.

By the way, I'm not a supporter for the Green Party, and I have no real feelings about homeopathy (which I don't think is a morally tinged issue).

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