Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Campaign Update: Trent Wotherspoon

Trent's Website: LINK

On the campaign front, Trent Wotherspoon has release his newest campaign plank that focuses on addressing the problems (and causes) of poverty within Saskatchewan. Provided at the top of this post is a link to Trent's page, but we will summarize the points made there here.

The first plank is to make fighting poverty a priority. Trent's plan calls for a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy with precise targets, an immediate minimum wage increase to $11 followed by indexing the minimum wage to future increases in the cost of living, incorporating the use of the Index of Canadian-Well-Being to evaluation government policy and progress.

The second plank revolves around safe and affordable housing. Trent's plan calls for an increase in investment and building of Saskatchewan Housing Corporation units (that would provide housing units for students, seniors, people with disabilities, and working families), providing seed capital for housing cooperatives, a modern approach to rent controls (use of tax incentives, grants, and forgivable loans) and aim for a vacancy rate of 3% in Saskatchewan's major cities, and development of a program to support home ownership, especially in Northern Saskatchewan.

The third plank revolves around government/community cooperation. Trent's plan calls for community focused approaches that foster involvement from across a community (social workers, education, police, public health, First Nations & Metis leadership, community organizations, etc.), work with the federal NDP to foster a dignified income as part of Canada's pension plan, work with the federal government and First Nations & Metis leadership to increase on-reserve housing initiatives, address the roles that substance abuse plays in creating poverty and increase training in addictions therapies and treatment, ensure all provincial income security programs meet a socially acceptable level of funding and index to future cost of living increases, increase the income exemption for those on social assistance to foster greater employment engagement, address problems in the education system that help foster poverty later on in life (a call back to Trent's education plan).

The final plank revolves around tax fairness. Trent's plan calls for the provincial income tax to be removed for all seniors on the federal Guaranteed Income Supplement, and for provincial sales tax to be removed from feminine hygiene products and baby products.

Again, a lot of strong ideas put forth by Trent's campaign, and it will be interesting to see how these ideas develop as they become more fleshed out in terms of costing and exact implementation.

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