Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dissemination 2: Cam Broten

* I'm going to point out that this post is a little longer than the last one on Erin Weir; I want to assure readers that this is due to their being more information to look at on Cam's site at the present moment rather than some perceived bias.

Source: Cam Broten Campaign Website

Alright, so let's move this along to Cam Broten's campaign.

Cam's developed a fairly comprehensive platform right out of the gate, at least in terms of developing core ideas that he would approach as leader. At this point in the race, like the other campaigns, the thought process is there and we'll wait to hear later on on the exact specifics of how Cam will achieve what he's laid out.

So, let's start with Cam's 'vision for the party'.

Reviving the SK NDP


Firstly, there is the call for improving the way the party communicates with members. Broten's strategy is a revamping of the NDP newspaper, increased web presence, increased web communication, and enhancing communication with grassroots members to various levels of the party machine. All of which sound like a good idea, but the specifics will determine whether it will work in practice as well as theory.

Secondly, Cam calls for a new way of training New Democrats. Effectively, Cam seems to be calling for two things here: First, that the party work throughout the time prior to election to train campaign workers and ensure that people feel comfortable volunteering for a campaign. And second, that the party work almost as a mentor to younger and new candidates who will be seeking election in the future. Again; good concepts, but it will all come down as to how this 'New Democrat Academy' operates to determine whether or not it is a viable plan.

Thirdly, Cam calls for the way provincial council operates to be reformed. Now, some people might not be too familiar with the idea of council; I know that when I first started out in politics, I didn't know about it, so allow me to explain. Each constituency selects two members, usually from the executive or those willing to serve, to sit as councilors. Council meets a few times a year to discuss policies, practices, and other things of importance.

Cam seems to be suggesting that this process be expanded, to allow more input from councilors into the inner-workings of the party. His coupled this with approaching policy from a more open perspective, which I will discuss now.

Developing Party Policy


Moving slightly away from the vision for the party, Cam's called for a new approach to developing party policy by being more inclusive. This is unsurprising, given how Cam was the pointman for the party's policy review roundtables that took place prior to the last election. The policy review program was a good idea, and I think it produced some good ideas, so keep it in place only seems right.

More importantly, Cam is calling for the policy adaptation to be moved from a single yearly convention to a year-round process that takes place on multiple levels. Furthermore, several key policy committees would be formed to meet and present monthly updates in the build up to adapting said policy, or dismissing it, based on votes by the members.

As I've said, an inclusive policy development program is a good idea, and Cam seems to be on the right track with developing policy as a leader. However, one does have to worry slightly that it will hamper his chances in the race, if only because it will prevent him from announcing grand policy planks for a future campaign. One could argue he could still do this, footnoting that it would be subject to the approval of the party, and perhaps that would take away the problem...But we shall see in the weeks ahead.

Women in Politics


Next, we come into an area where Cam and Erin are likely to find a lot of common ground, and that is increasing women in the legislature.

The first major difference in their approaches is that Cam seems to have a clearer strategy on how to bring more women into the legislature; which, I must say, had to have had some help from fellow MLA Danielle Chartier, as I have had the chance to see her speak to the role of women in politics a few times and a lot of what she has covered seems to be present here.

Firstly, Cam is proposing the creation of a one-year study to establish a strategy to get more women to run for public office. I think if Cam's approach to leadership thus far could be summarized, it would be that he is very pro-committee and study, which is a good trait for a leader to have. That paper would then be amended as needed by the party members and used as the backbone for drawing more women to political life; I imagine it will also try to identify the reasons why more women don't get involved in public office, and that alone would be interesting to see.

Secondly, Cam is calling for female candidates to be matched with experienced candidates; which include current and former MLAs. This is a good idea, not just for female candidates, but for any candidate. Perhaps this will be included with his idea of a New Democrat Academy, but we'll see how it forms.

Thirdly, like Weir, Cam is calling for the legislature to be made a more family friendly place; which includes considering hours of sitting and the availability of childcare. But Cam has also called for caucus meetings and other work functions to consider the use of video-conferencing and other technologies to keep MLAs at home and with their families more often.

Finally, Cam has called for a higher level of debate in the legislature. While he hasn't laid out exactly what he intends to do, I think all of us can who have ever watched CPAC or the Saskatchewan Legislature Channel or in person, can agree that we need to raise the level of discourse beyond name calling and questionable statements.

Increasing Communal Representation

Cam wants the party to reach out to segments of the population who should have a lot of common ground with the NDP, and who can play a role in growing the party for the future.

Firstly, through engaging with young people by increasing the roles of campus NDP organizations on all campus across Saskatchewan; but also by reaching out to youth wings of other organizations, such as the Saskatchewan Youth Parliament.

Secondly, by reaching out to Aboriginal and M├ętis communities and establishing good relations with them and better addressing issues that concern their communities.

Thirdly, by reaching out to new Canadians and encouraging them to become more involved with the party.

Finally, by winning back supporters who have left the party by acknowledging past shortcomings and mistakes.

Effectively, the standard NDP lines we've heard for a few years here; as the party has worked for a long time to reach out to many of these groups. So, Cam's more or less towing the line on this approach, but we'll see if any of his suggestions to engaging these groups are more successful than what has been done in the past.

Increasing the Party's Fortunes in Rural Sask.

Again, for the most part, Cam isn't rocking the boat with his approaches to what to do with rural Saskatchewan in terms of gaining support, with one notable exception you'll find under the secondly discussion area.

Firstly, taking our mea culpas and just reaching out to the rural areas and reminding them that they are not being adequately represented by the Saskatchewan Party.

Secondly, the creation of long-term candidates. Effectively, in rural areas, a candidate who was defeated (but would run again in the next election), can be blessed upon approval by the constituency executive and membership to remain as a candidate up to the next election. It's an interesting thought, and one wonders whether or not it would work in urban areas as well. I'll have a lot to say about this when I start actually providing opinions on the policies.

Thirdly, Cam's bringing back the mentor program and suggesting that rural candidates should be given some insight by previously successful candidates in rural areas.

And finally, as I'm combining the last two, making better use of and maintaining party resources to keep 'boots on the ground', if you will.

Enhancing the Legislature

A few retouches here, namely raising the level of political discourse inside the legislature; but Cam also brings forward the idea of opening up the political process through regular involvement with communities; through the use of things such as town hall meetings and an enhanced online presence.

He's also calling for more time to examine legislation, and budgets, as they are brought forward.

Equality

This will likely be an area where all of the leadership candidates agree, so it will be interesting to see the different approaches each bring forward on how to achieve what they are laying out.

Firstly, working with community partners to reduce poverty.

Secondly, government investment in social housing and tax benefits to increase the number of rental units and housing options across Saskatchewan.

Thirdly, revamping our school systems to enhance retention of students and staff, while also addressing funding issues.

Fourthly, protecting the rights of workers and indexing the minimum wage while also developing economic community development.

Finally, fairer approaches to taxation and resource royalty rates.

Health Care

Again, this is likely an area where the candidates will agree to most of the broad brushstrokes of improvement, but will differ in how they hope to achieve it.

Firstly, expanding health care to include more primary health care teams that focus on the whole slate of medical practitioners. 

Secondly, expanding home care delivery services.

Thirdly, better assisted living, long care, and end of care facilities; including the creation of long term assisted living wings.

Fourthly, reigning in drug costs through partnerships with the federal government and other provinces to create a national drug plan.

Fifthly, increased work on preventative medicine.

Sixthly, building more efficiency into the public model.

Finally, expanding care in Northern Saskatchewan.

Environment

Again, another area where candidates are unlikely to disagree...Though in truth, pretty much all of these areas are unlikely to see too much disagreement from the candidates. So, I'm going to stop indexing that, and just present what Cam is proposing.

Firstly, developing a Saskatchewan Natural Index to gauge the health of the province's environment.

Secondly, using the Crowns to spearhead development of environmentally friendly business practices and green technologies.

Thirdly, the creation of a smart grid that allows users to generate their own power and feed excess power back into the grid for a credit.

Fourthly, better protections through development of research with community partners.

Fifthly, the creation of more green-based jobs in Saskatchewan.

Finally, an increased approach to watching water consumption and conservation.

Rural Issues

Considering thus far that all of our candidates are 'urban' based, it'll be interesting to see which campaign brings forth the best plan for addressing concerns of rural voters.

Firstly, better tracking of indicators (such as food import levels VS food export levels).

Secondly, the creation of a strong local foods movement.

Thirdly, a call to increase levels of organic farming.

Fourthly, revamping of the current crop insurance system with public input.

Fifthly, the creation of a generational farm transfer program.

Finally, opportunities for farms to produce more power; likely tied to the creation of the smart grid previously mentioned.

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That about does it for the campaign information put forward by Cam's campaign thus far; and by-golly, there is a lot of information there to go through. I've done the broad strokes here, so, if you're looking for more detail I'd encourage you to check out Cam's website (link is at the top of the post).

As Cam brings forward the specifics on how to achieve these goals, I'll post those as well, much as I will for the other campaigns.

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