The Three Main Issues of the Federal Election Campaign

The Three Main Issues of the Federal Election Campaign

TheThree Main Issues of the Federal Election Campaign

Thefederal election campaign in Canada should focus on pertinent issuessuch as immigration, a national program of pharmacare fully funded bythe government, and sanctions on political party spending.

Immigration

Inthe recent past, the number of refugees reduced tremendously. Thetrend is ironical in a period when there should be a surge in thenumber of refugees from the conflict-stricken parts of the world suchas Syria. Europe is facing a refugee crisis due to the hugeimmigrations of refugees moving northwards to find better lives.Media reports about dying children in the Mediterranean and the redsea while crossing towards Europe are heartbreaking. Politicians atthe federal level cannot afford to ignore the issue of immigrationbecause it is the responsibility of the federal government. The factthat Canada is lagging behind among western countries in terms offinding a policy framework that will provide asylum for peoplepersecuted in other countries and also refugees feeling war-tornregions mean that the current government has either failed or notdone enough. Specifically, the new citizenship Act should be put tothe test before the electorate. There is an increasing need forCanada to entrench itself among the community of nations not as acountry that rejects people who are suffering but one that easilyaccommodates. The Act raised the threshold for people seekingpermanent residency The Act states that for an immigrant to qualifyfor permanent residence in Canada, they must have been physicallypresent in the country for three years preceding the year ofapplication or four years of physical presence in the country if theyhave been around for six years preceding the year of application. Thecampaigns should therefore, focus on the applicability andprogressiveness of the Act in the present circumstances. The refugeecrisis definitely requires an international solution. Conservativepolicies will only make it impossible for refugees who wish to getpermanent residence in Canada. The government announced that it wouldallow 13,000 refugees to Canada from Syria. However, little has beendone so far to institute that promise. The few refugees who have madeit to Canada in one way or another may end finding it very difficultto secure permanent residency because the Act locks them out. Candidates should discuss a possible amendment to the Act that wouldaccommodate refugees or replace it with a more progressive statute.

Thedirection of the policies on citizenship is an area of concern forCanadians. There are those in the political divide (especiallyconservatives) who feel that, only immigrants with stronger ties toCanada should be allowed to reside permanently in the country(Wayland 16). They argue that some people may earn citizenship onlyto leave the country later for another country. An example of a casethat embarrassed the Canadian immigration system is flawed. ComedianDonald Sutherland could not vote in the last election yet he is aCanadian citizen. It also takes a very long time to apply and processcitizenship in the country. On needs two to three years to completeapplication and processing.

Today,it is very difficult for temporary workers from other countries towork in Canada. The Temporary Foreign Worker program (TFWP) has madeit difficult for refugee workers to work in Canada (Dauvergne 535).Currently, investor immigrants take three years to obtain approval toinvest in Canada. Thus, investor-immigrants hold onto theirinvestments or take them to other countries because the legalformalities in Canada are far too bureaucratic. The federal campaignneeds to focus on the possible policy changes that will make itpossible for refugees to feel accepted and appreciated like all otherhuman beings.

ANational Government Funded Pharmacare

Theprice of prescription drugs is ever-increasing in Canada (Daw, Jami,and Morgan 23). Past promises and policies to make health care moreaccessible have done little to contain the price of prescriptiondrugs in Canada. There have been media reports about familiesrefusing to fill prescriptions due to the high cost of the drugs.Other families are reported as engaging in acts such as splittingpills or taking under-doses through skipping doses so that the drugscan last a little bit longer. There is a huge risk of illnessesbecoming worse because people cannot afford prescription drugs. Thebasic way to achieve universal health care for Canadians is to makeprescription drugs affordable so that people with diseases thatrequire over-the-counter medicine do not cause a national healthproblem to citizens and residents. The federal government should finda way it can liaise or collaborate with pharmaceutical companies tolower the cost of prescription drugs. Whatever the way that willwork, should be the subject of national campaigns in this electioncycle. As reported by Pharmacare 2020, access to affordableprescription drugs is part of the universal health care program thatthe government claims it is committed to provide to Canadians(Morgan,Steven, Barer, and, Agnew 52). The report also explains thepotential savings that would emanate from an affordable regime inprescription drugs. Finally, a recent poll indicated that a majorityof Canadians support the idea of pharmacare.

Sanctionson political party spending

Whetherpoliticians like it or not, the unchecked culture of political partyspending during national elections has a lot to do with theunwillingness of political leaders to pursue policies that can offendor disenfranchise their financiers. Indeed, political parties arevital institutions in representative democracies. However, haphazardfund sourcing and the huge budgets that compromise party positionsincreasingly causes mistrust from citizens (Van Biezen 18). Thecurrent federal campaign should focus on ways to enact tough lawsthat set the rules by which political parties fundraise and seekfinancing during elections. An example is the need for all politicalparties to have transparent bank accounts that are verifiable byrelevant institutions.

Theexisting legal framework for political party financing does notrestrict abuse of fundraising. In fact, money has impeded thedecision-making power of leaders in political parties. Candidatesshould mention strategies that can regulate corporate donations topolitical parties while also balancing it out with the need forpolitical parties to access sufficient funding that they can runparty affairs effectively. There is no ideal model on how politicalparties should access financing, but legislation can make the processof the money-seeking as transparent as possible so that corporateentities and other powerful individuals do not have undue influenceover the decisions of political leaders. Perhaps, the high cost ofprescription drugs is as a result of unorthodox donations to eitherside of the political divide or both with the intention of theinfluencing them against mandating pharmaceutical companies to lowerprices or produce generic alternatives.

WorksCited

Dauvergne,Catherine. &quotSecurity and migration law in the less brave newworld.&quot Social &amp Legal Studies 16.4 (2007): 533-549.

Daw,Jamie R., and Steven G. Morgan. &quotStitching the gaps in theCanadian public drug coverage patchwork? A review of provincialpharmacare policy changes from 2000 to 2010.&quot HealthPolicy104.1 (2012): 19-26.

Morgan,Steven G., Morris L. Barer, and Jonathan D. Agnew. &quotWhitherseniors’ pharmacare: lessons from (and for) Canada.&quot HealthAffairs22.3 (2003): 49-59.

VanBiezen, Ingrid. Financingpolitical parties and election campaigns: guidelines.Council of Europe, 2003.

Wayland,Sarah V. Unsettled:Legal and policy barriers for newcomers to Canada.Law Commission of Canada, 2006.