The Canadian Election campaign is about half over and it is hard to get past the mendacity that seems inherent in being a politician. Whether it be from the political posturing, negative campaign ads, endless promises to political statements that seem to lack any basis in fact. Where the goal seems to be to get elected at any cost rather than about civic and social responsibility. It is the frustration of the voter. Who do we vote for? Who do we believe?
This election, like all elections comes down to deciding what kind of Canada we want. Do our current political parties, our political leaders share their vision for Canada? The Canada we need to become is not going to happen through policies and practices that are not founded in Human Rights. Creating a society that is inclusive, values people, cares about the environment, is compassionate and develops hope rather than despair will only happen with policies committed to human rights.
The United Nations indicates that a Human Rights-Based Approach requires policies that create the following:
- Programmes identify the realization of human rights as ultimate goals of development
- People are recognized as key actors in their own development, rather than passive recipients of commodities and services.
- Participation is both a means and a goal.
- Strategies are empowering, not disempowering.
- Both outcomes and processes are monitored and evaluated.
- Programmes focus on marginalized and excluded groups.
- The development process is locally owned.
- Programmes aim to reduce disparities and empower those left behind.
- Situation analysis is used to identify immediate, underlying and root causes of development problems.
- Analysis includes all stakeholders, including the capacities of the state as the main duty-bearer and the role of other non-state actors.
- Human Rights standards guide the formulation of measurable goals,targets and indicators in programming.
- National accountability systems need to be strengthened with a view to ensure independent review of government performance and access to remedies for aggrieved individuals.
- Strategic partnerships are developed and sustained.
Which of our current political parties comes closest to these standards for the creation of a ‘Fair and Just Society’? It is difficult to determine this through words. We must judge through actions rather than words. Not by what they say but by their actions and the results of their actions.
Over the last ten years we have seen ‘My Canada’ have a widening gap between those that have and those that do not. We have watched as our taxation system and the loop holes created provide off shore tax havens to the wealthy. We have seen full-time jobs turn into part-time jobs without benefits. We have watched as youth unemployment has increased. We have watched as Canada has ignored our responsibility to the environment.
We must demand more from our leaders than veiled promises. We must demand to know their vision for Canada.
- What is your energy plan for our country?
- How will we create a society where we create good paying jobs for our young adults and families? Jobs with benefits?
- How will we create a taxation system that works to create a Canada founded on the principles of human rights?
- How will we create an evidence-based system?
- How will we create an inclusive society that provides the opportunity for everyone to benefit from citizenship?
The people of Canada are a kind, compassionate and generous nation. We care about each other. We care about our planet. We care about global issues. We strive for a better world.
When we vote and we all most vote, it must be a vote for Canada. A vote for humanity. A vote for a society based on the principles of human rights.