September 28, 2011
CARP members agree strongly that basic CARP advocacy issues should be priority concerns in their provinces. Members prefer substantive policy issues over hot button or wedge issues and in a comparison of just the substantive issues, there is no significant difference. They insist they base their vote on the best policy, not on an unconsidered urge for change or blind need to stay the course.
The vast majority of members agree their provinces should focus on, in order of urgency:
• A comprehensive home care strategy
• Enforcement of realistic wait time benchmarks for surgery
• An increase in provincial income supplements to combat poverty
• Home energy rate relief for low income seniors
• Bulk purchase/cost controls on prescription drugs
CARP members are relatively equally likely to choose one set of substantive promises as the other since the major parties have all tried to address issues of concern to older Canadians. However, members clearly prefer substantive promises over “hot button” issues and wedge politics like GPS bracelets on sex offenders and prisoner work details in parks.
In order to pay for platform promises, CARP members are most willing to give up investment in renewable energy sources. They are especially loath to give up infrastructure maintenance, health care spending or education funding.
The most popular “doorstep question” on the health care file is whether the candidate will support provinces being required to account transparently for the federal health transfers they are sent. The most popular non-health care “doorstep question” is whether the candidate will act as constituents wish or follow his or her own conscience.
Members are slightly more likely to say they will vote for the best party platform in the upcoming election than to say they will vote for change or think they should stay the course.
Two thirds of members agree the most import financial priority for their province is investment rather than spending cuts, and more than half expect their government, once elected, to maintain services by increasing revenue rather than maintaining tax levels by cutting services.
The plurality of members think solar energy is the energy source most deserving of investment by their province, followed by nuclear, hydro, natural gas and wind. Almost none thinks investments should be made in coal or oil. Members are slightly more likely to say they are unwilling to pay higher energy costs to fund renewable energy and emissions controls than they are to say they are willing to do so.
When asked their attitude to paying taxes, the majority of members take a positive view, citing “the price of civilization” and services received. The minority who take a negative viewpoint mostly do so because of government waste.
While the majority of members say their financial situation hasn’t changed in the past year, those who say it has gotten worse outnumber those saying it is better by a factor of six. By the same token, the majority of members feel the economy is either stagnant or sliding back into recession.
Members feel the best answers to elderly patients stuck in acute care beds are more public nursing homes and more funding for home care workers.
The Conservative Party is preferred nationwide by one half of members, while one quarter opt for the Liberals. One fifth will vote for the NDP and few will vote for the Green Party. In Ontario, just fewer than half our members will vote Conservative, while 4-in-10 will vote Liberal, leaving about one tenth for the NDP.