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Features - page 3

Should crime be an election issue?

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As the Federal Conservatives are pushing through new “tough-on-crime” legislation at the national level, many people are left wondering “why?” The crime rate in Canada, afterall, is the lowest it has ever been in almost 30 years – and that rate has been in general decline during that same time. But here in Newfoundland and Labrador – on the northeast Avalon especially – crime is becoming more and more of a problem. While Stats Canada reports that nationally crime decreased by 4% in 2009, the total crime rate in St. John’s actually saw an increase of 4% – and our capital city now has the seventh-highest metropolitan crime index. With money comes prosperity, but it also brings nastier elements of society – that quite frankly us Newfoundlanders aren’t used to. Disappearing are the days where we can leave our car idling in front of the convenience store, leave our front…

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Liberals promote child care plan

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Speaking at Mes Amis Childcare Center Monday, Kevin Aylward pointed out that there are 60,000 children under twelve in the province, but fewer than 7,000 child care spaces. “Clearly there is a shortage of child care spaces in the province,” he said. “Our plan will increase these spaces by investing in early childhood educators.” The Liberal plan for child care includes increasing the early childhood education supplement from a maximum of $6,660 per year to $8,000 per year and creating new infant care spaces by providing a monthly supplement to licensed child care centres. The plan also includes the promise to invest in recruiting and retaining early childhood educators. Source: CBC

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The election – 4 years ago

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The Independent roots through its archives to present the political scene just 4 years ago – on the eve of the 2007 election.

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NDP leader pressed on plans to go after oil industry for more money

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“I think any agreement can be opened,” NDP Lorraine Michael said on CBC television over the weekend. Michael was responding to questions about her campaign promise to add a new 3% surtax on the Hebron partnership. Michael re-iterated that she was not afraid to throw out the Hebron contract to deliver on her promise. “I think we can ask for more money, and I intend to go after it.” Michael admitted that she is not sure how an NDP government would accomplish this, even though the Hebron agreement with the government specifically says the contract cannot be changed. Source: CBC

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Election Round-up: Two weeks to go

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TheIndependent.ca counts down the weeks to the provincial election with a quick’n’dirty roundup of what’s happening on the campaign trails…

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The Party Platforms

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Liberal, NDP, and PC plans for Newfoundland and Labrador post October 11

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PC commitments reportedly to cost $135 million

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The Telegram is reporting that the PC promises outlined in its election platform document or “Blue Book” will cost taxpayers $135 million. Dunderdale introduced the “New Energy” platform yesterday, hammering home a theme of fiscal responsibility. The various promises by the PC party include: a continued freeze on post-secondary education tuition; the elimination of provincial student loans in favour of needs-based grants; the undertaking a comprehensive review of emergency response services throughout the province; working with the private sector and the federal government to provide province-wide, high-speed Internet access within four years; and the introduction of a provincial fitness tax credit. Check TheIndependent.ca’s NL Election 2011 page to see the PC “Blue Book”. Source: The Telegram

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Non-stop election coverage? Try the CBC live blog.

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If you have an appetite for continuous provincial election coverage, you might want to check out the CBC NL Votes live blog. Keeping up with the activities of the three parties can be hard enough – not to mention with the candidates themselves. But the NL Votes Live Blog features the Twitter feeds of the entire CBC election team all over the province, keeping you up-to-the-minute with whatever’s going on. Check it out via the link below. NL Votes Live Blog

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The election – 4 years ago

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The Independent roots through its archives to present the political scene just 4 years ago – on the eve of the 2007 election.

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Liberals have moose priorities

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Liberal Leader Kevin Aylward said Wednesday he will settle a class action lawsuit over moose-vehicle collisions, if his party wins the Oct. 11 election. And convinced that the current pilot project for moose fencing is inadequate, Aylward said his party would install moose fencing after identifying hotspots along the province’s highways. He said moose-vehicle accidents have claimed too many lives and that it is time for a policy that responds to what people want. Aylward said he would find the money for expanded moose fencing in the provincial highway budget, and would develop policies in consultation with the Save our People Action Committee. Source: CBC

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NDP would decrease gas tax

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Lorraine Michael, leader of the NDP, said yesterday that her party would eliminate the provincial portion of the tax on gasoline and diesel fuel. “It’s perfectly fair to have taxes. We have to have taxes, but it is not fair to tax people on a tax,” Michael said at a campaign event near a gas station on Elizabeth Avenue. Michael said the gas tax cut will save consumers about 3.5 cents per litre, and put about $35 million back into people’s pockets. Michael made the announcement a day after revealing an election platform that included imposing a new surtax on offshore oil companies. That tax would be used to pay for broadened social spending. Source: CBC

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The PCs: Smooth Sailing

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Barring a monumental collapse in support, the party will be just fine heading into their 3rd consecutive majority government.

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The INDY Crossword 1.3

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Crossword

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Dunderdale calls Liberal pension plan “frightening”

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Kathy Dunderdale reacted to Liberal leader Kevin Aylward’s promise to award public service pensioners – and she’s not a fan. Aylward promised pensioners a 2.5% increase and an indexed pension up to 2%, but the PC leader says it will cost far too much, adding about $1.8-billion to the unfunded liability and thus our provincial debt. Source: VOCM

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New poll released – leaders react

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According to a new poll by MQO Research, the Tories are holding relatively steady with 53% of the decided vote, the NDP have created some distance with 29% and the Liberals are slumping with 18%. NDP leader Lorraine Michael says that she is “encouraged” by the polls; PC leader Kathy Dunderdale says that the numbers are pretty stable as far as the PCs are concerned; while Liberal leader Kevin Aylward says he has total confidence in the number of seats they’re competitive in, and that the numbers will change and will likely go up and down as the campaign goes on. For a look at why popular vote shares might not mean as much as you think they would, especially in this election, check out our NL Election 2011 page. Source: VOCM

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NDP want to raise oil tax, spend it on social programs

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The New Democratic Party released its election platform yesterday, a platform which would force oil companies to pay higher taxes to pay for broadened social services. Lorraine Michael has outlined 5 “pledges” or cornerstones of their platform which in total represent $142 million in new spending – $74 million of which she says will come from “efficiencies” and $68 million from a petroleum royalty surtax of three per cent. The NPD’s pledges are titled “meeting the health needs of people”, “making life more affordable now”, “supporting our seniors”, “giving our children an early start”, and “getting a fair deal for working people”. Stay tuned to The Independent for a full review of the NDP platform. Source: CBC

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Liberals make promise to public service pensioners

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Liberal Leader Kevin Aylward has promised to provide a one-time increase to public sector pensioners of 2.5 per cent, and then make annual increases equivalent to the Consumer Price Index up to 2 per cent. Currently, the public service pensions are not indexed. Aylward was speaking to a rally organized by the members of the Public Sector Pensioners Association, who had congregated at the Confederation Building. The association has had a lengthy battle with government to get an increase for public service pensioners but has been unable to secure extra funding. “Healthy pension plans for all retirees is a critical part of supporting the seniors of our province,” said Aylward. Source: CBC

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A quick introduction to the provincial leaders

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The Canadian Press published their “Quicksketches” on the provincial leadership hopefuls yesterday, which serve as a helpful introduction to the characters in play for the next 4 weeks for those who aren’t intimately familiar with them already. ——————————— Kathy Dunderdale | PC Party Age: 59 Education: Attended Memorial University. Early career: Worked in community development, communications, fisheries and social work before entering politics. Political career: She was a town councillor and later deputy mayor of Burin before she was first elected to the legislature for the St. John’s area riding of Virginia Waters in 2003. She was sworn in as premier on Dec. 3, 2010. Served as minister of innovation, trade, rural development, natural resources and deputy premier in the government of Danny Williams. Personal: Married to Peter Dunderdale and they have raised two children, a son and daughter. Quote: “I think that what we have to say will resonate…

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Save the children! No, like really.

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New survey paints a grim picture for childcare in this province

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Writ drops for Provincial election

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As signs have already started to appear on streets and lawns, the 2011 provincial election has officially begun. This race will not be short of interesting stories: Will Kathy Dunderdale become only the 2nd woman in history to lead a provincial party to election victory? Will the Liberals’ last minute switch to Kevin Aylward alter the party’s standings in the next House of Assembly? Or will Lorraine Michael ride the wave of NDP momentum to new heights in NL? Check back often with The Independent for unique coverage of the election. Meanwhile for information regarding what riding you reside in, how and when you can vote, and more visit the Elections Newfoundland and Labrador website here. The vote will take place on October 11. Check out the party websites to get started. PC Party (Kathy Dunderdale) Liberal Party (Kevin Aylward) NDP Party (Lorraine Michael)

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