September 6th, 2023
By Dominic Cardy
It’s that time. We need to know. What do you think: Does Canada need a new federal political party?
Here at Centre Ice Canadians, we have spent the last six months or so thinking about that question and asking for your thoughts. During that time, we have put together, driven by the input from folks on this email list, a draft policy framework and a constitution. We have done the behind-the-scenes work so we can move ahead - if that is the right decision to make.
We have invested the time and money to explore the idea. Thank you to everyone who helped with both – and please help our volunteer team offset costs with a donation to cover our research and admin costs.
We have heard the pros and cons of starting a new party. There is no question it’s a huge project. No question that there is absolutely no guarantee of success.
Here’s how I see it. There’s only one reason to start a new party: if existing parties don’t offer serious solutions to Canada’s problems.
There’s no “taking votes away” from other parties if you believe, based on the evidence, that none of the existing parties have the plans or the people to make our country better.
Look at three issues that highlight this problem: housing, immigration, and our shortage of skilled workers.
Here are some facts: We need houses. We need workers to build those houses. Baby Boomers are retiring and – despite politicians talking about how there was a demographic bust coming in the 2020s since the early 1980s – they did exactly nothing to prepare for it.
So, for starters, we need young immigrants to move to Canada. Then to get them the training they need to build those Canadian houses. And the support to make sure immigrants moving to Canada know this is an open, progressive country with values we need to start taking seriously.
Today, it’s nearly impossible for immigrants like that to move here. No way to train them when they arrive. No serious program for talking with immigrants – or existing Canadians! – about Canadian values, about what our country means or stands for.
The Prime Minister, whose government controls immigration, says housing is a provincial responsibility. His plan has been to take the credit for millions of new Canadians but to let the provinces pick up the housing costs.
The Opposition doesn’t want to talk about immigration in case it upsets the Trumpier parts of their base; they talk about houses without talking about the people who have to build them.
Our idea? Recruit the people to build the houses we need. Support the building of those houses. Have a plan to deal with the consequences, including a national program of civic engagement for all Canadians and support for educating tradespeople.
When it comes to the size of government, the Liberals have massively increased the size of the civil service. The Conservatives talk about getting spending under control but offer no specifics – no challenge to marketing boards, no asking what the role of government is supposed to be in 2023, no plan for tax reform. I could go on.
When I look at our federal politics, I see a tired Liberal establishment, out of ideas, with no vision beyond public relations. I see a Conservative party energized by anger and foreign ideas but with no plan to lead Canada through a period of domestic and global crisis.
And I see a lot of Canadians frustrated that our politicians aren’t taking their jobs seriously. Canadians with ideas on how to secure our democracy, to build houses, to make this amazing country an even better place to live than it is now. A lot of those Canadians feel politically homeless, but they don’t feel politically helpless.
What do you think? Please click here to share your opinion.
If you say “yes” to a new party, that doesn’t mean that we start on September 20 with a slate of candidates and a policy book. It means we start the process of building a machine based on the vision and values we’ve talked about together over these last months. This is a decision to go beyond talking about the design to laying the foundation.
Here’s what that will look like. First, the Centre Ice team looked at the results of this survey and our bank balance. If we have support and we’ve paid all our bills (please help with a donation if this project is important to you!), then Centre Ice and a new party would become separate organizations. An interim National Council will meet and adopt legal and financial documents. Structures for membership and local organizations will be adopted. Election plans drafted. Those are important to new parties, which must field a candidate in at least one election before being fully registered with Elections Canada. We expect that process to take until January of 2024. Then we start the work to do all we’ve talked about. Offer something new to Canadians.
Thank you for being part of this conversation. Let’s keep it up!
Dominic Cardy, MLA
Fredericton West-Hanwell, New Brunswick
Chair, Centre Ice Canadians Advisory Board
PS. We need to pay for the research and other costs associated with the Centre Ice Canadians project. Please make a donation to help us balance our books: we believe in balanced budgets for organizations, not just for countries!
Dominic Cardy is the Member of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick for the riding of Fredericton West-Hanwell. He’s co-founder and director of Centre Ice Canadians in addition to serving as the Chair of the Centre Ice Advisory Board.