The Liberal launched their platform online Sunday. It’s an impressive document that uses the word “Family” 96 times in it. And while the Family Pack will be the policies that get the most attention, what caught my eye was the Democratic Reform section.
Back in 2006, the GST cut grabbed the most headlines, but I’m still convinced the Accountability Act was Harper’s most important platform plank. That’s because it gave him the right to speak on the corruption issue and showed his government would be different (ha ha ha!). Until then, he was just an angry guy throwing stones. The Accountability Act gave him real credibility on the ethics issue and gave voters fed up with Adscam a reason to vote for him, not just a reason to vote against the Liberals.
While the Liberals have taken great joy in pointing out the many reasons to vote against the Tories on the ethics file, they have yet to offer much of an alternative. So, with the platform launched, let’s see what they’re promising:
1. A more open government: All access to information requests will be posted online and a new website will let Canadians search for financial information on grants, contributions, and contracts. Oh, and the long form Census will be coming back.
2. Reforming Parliament: Many of Michael Chong’s thoughtful QP reforms have been lifted. In addition, the Liberals are promising regular face-to-face meetings between the party leaders, limits on the PM’s power to prorogue, and a People’s Question Period. All good policies.
3. Modernizing the Voting System: A pilot program to try out online voting for soldiers, students, and all those other unpatriotic Canadians living outside the country.
All of these are good proposals. They’re not sexy, so it really comes down to how they’re packaged and how heavily they’re sold. If the Liberals do try to turn up the heat on Harper over ethics, I hope they highlight this alternative to combat the perception out there that all parties are the same.