Dumont and the Power of New Ideas

mario.jpgThis might sound strange coming from a centre-left Liberal, but I was intrigued by some of the ideas Dumont put forth during his campaign. I was also disturbed by the ADQ’s spinning of socially charged issues (e.g Bosclair’s sexuality, Muslim’s/voting) to snatch votes at the expense of cohesion among Canadians.

I liked Dumont’s idea to give parents who don’t need child care space, a weekly child care benefit. Stay-at-home parents can use this funding to assist with child rearing expenses like diapers, clothing, children’s books, etc. Dumont believes there should be more funding for Quebec’s universal child care system and for parents who choose to stay home with their children. Dumont’s plan provides the kind of choice parent’s want and need. I would go one step farther and provide universal access to free parent-child early learning programs that teach effective strategies for scaffolding children’s learning in the home enviroment.

I think Harper is way off base with his lame monthly universal child benefit payment for all parents. His plan has hurt those families that desperately need an affordable child care space and it doesn’t do enough for children with parents who choose to stay home to care for them.

I was also intrigued by the ADQ’s eliminate school boards idea. Now I am sure many are horrified by this concept, but I thought Dumont had a good point when he noted that only 8% of the population even bothers to vote for their school boards. It is another layer of expensive bureaucracy and perhaps it could be managed by municipalities just as effectively. The expertise school boards provide would still need to be represented… somehow… at the municipal level. I really am not sure if it would or could work, but I think looking at governance from different perspectives is a good idea.

Neither of these ideas may ever come to fruition as the ADQ is only the opposition, but it is a minority government which is always precarious and unpredictable. This morning I heard on the news that Quebecors don’t care for minority governments and I agree that minority governments are less than ideal. A federal minority election cycle averaging 18 months is ensuring that our federal government will continue to focus on short-term vote getting, as opposed to real problem solving and planning. The Star reports,

“A steady decline in deference and the exponential rise of new technologies is making citizens less passive and governments less credible. And that raises this question: How much longer will savvy voters sit on the sidelines being sold simple solutions like peanuts?”

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