Monday, May 25, 2009

Green platform: Addresses poverty, but no numbers and weak gender analysis

On Friday, the Nova Scotia Green Party released its electoral platform, available here:

A quick scan of the document reveals that the party's main priority is achieving "sustainable prosperity" or ecologically responsible growth (within a capitalist context, mind you). The environmental focus of the document is, of course, not surpising.

Not being an expert on environmental matters, I'll focus my comments on the issues I'm more familiar with - poverty and social inequality.

The first thing I looked for in the Green platform, as I did with the Liberal plaftorm, was the word 'women'. The document does mention women briefly in a section dealing with pay equity. Other than that, however, there is no mention of women and girls and no explicit commitment to support women's services.

The plaftorm does deal with some key issues pertaining to socio-economic inequality in our province - affordable housing, minimum wage, nutrition and transportation. The party supports the implementation of a poverty reduction strategy that includes an affordable housing strategy, a food security program and the re-framing of minimum wage as "living wage" (as well as ensuring pay equity). The party also supports Aboriginal self-determination and outlines a plan for addressing the legacy of colonialism.

While these are crucial pieces in dealing with poverty and injustice, some important issues are left out - for instance, affordable childcare and social assistance. There is little gender analysis in the poverty section, except for the piece surrounding pay equity. Furthermore, it is not costed out which makes it harder to envision how - and to what extent - it would be implemented. For instance, it would be useful to know what a "living wage" would look like - $10? $15?

Although there are some formidable ideas in the Green party's platform, a stronger gender analysis and concrete numbers are required if the plan is to address the real needs of women and girls in our province.

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