What distinguishes the NDP from other political parties?
As our name suggests, the New Democratic Party stands for democracy, true democracy. By this we mean that government and its elected officials must be answerable to the people. Without transparency and accountability, there is no democracy.
Historically, Prince Edward Island has been ruled by oligarchs. An oligarchy is defined as a small group of people who are in control. They tend to act in their own self-interests rather than for the greater good. Even though they are voted into power, oligarchs find ways to make rules in their favour and to break rules that limit their power and influence. Oligarchs tend to keep secrets and impose gag-orders so that the public is not aware of their unethical activities; they maintain power by showing favouritism towards their supporters and by silencing their critics. Government jobs, grants, and tenders tend to be based on political persuasion rather than on merit. Voting for one oligarchy over another is nothing more than pseudo (or fake) democracy.
In the spirit of true democracy, the NDP wants government to be accountable. Citizens have the right to know how decisions are made and how tax dollars are being spent. Whether it is roads, high-speed internet, housing projects or land development, we, the people should be informed about every aspect of the tender process, for example. What are the rules? What are the priorities? Who has applied? What were the reasons for selecting and rejecting applicants? As importantly, there needs to be an independent assessment of how the money was actually used. Did they complete the work fully and effectively, as proposed in their tender? Again, the evaluation should be made public and in a timely manner. Transparency helps to keep the government honest.
In a true democracy the government’s greatest concerns are for the well-being of its people and the environment. In a country as rich as Canada, no person should be homeless; no person should have to go hungry; no person should have to beg on the street and no person should have to live in poverty. We are not proposing a welfare state. We are proposing an inter-generational plan for prosperity.
At present, the government is pretending to alleviate Prince Edward Island’s recent housing crisis through subsidies to the private sector. That’s right: let’s give money to people that already have enough. A small number of private citizens and companies have been given significant financial support to build apartment buildings that they can sell or rent for their own profit. There is one trivial condition: a small portion of their apartments must be set aside for “affordable housing”. However, affordability is not defined. Moreover the size, location, and price are not stipulated. No consideration is given for the care of pets, the natural beauty of the Island, outdoor play areas for children or even public transit. Consequently, our most vulnerable citizens are being forced to live in the poorest (government-sponsored) conditions! Environmental protection regulations have been waived in the interests of haste. No concern has been given to water, sewage, traffic, livability, or wildlife. This short-term solution will have devastating consequences for generations to come. We can and must do better!