U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders listens during a news conference about private prisons September 17, 2015 (Photo: Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders talked about police reform and preventing people of color from being victimized by police officers across the country at a news conference Dec. 23, 2015. (Photo: Getty Images)TRADE —Cancel trade deals, notably NAFTA. Sanders has advocated this position for decades. In Canada: This would leave Sanders to the left of any major party, none of which has proposed NAFTA's cancellation. Polls have shown mixed feelings about past trade deals among Canadians, but they and their politicians are generally more supportive of them than their American neighbours. ___ EDUCATION —Free tuition at public colleges. In Canada: A big change. Canadian postsecondary institutions charge tuition — albeit generally much lower than in the U.S. ___ FAMILY POLICY —Introduce parental leave. The U.S. is the only industrialized country without paid leave for new parents. Sanders wants that changed. He proposes 12 weeks' paid leave. In Canada: He'd be slashing a social program. Every Canadian province offers about three times what Sanders is proposing, with some offering up to 52 weeks. —Create a universal childcare and pre-kindergarten program. In Canada: This would go farther than just about any Canadian province. Quebec pioneered the $5-a-day public day-care model in the 1990s. Federal parties have since promised to replicate it nationally, without success. ___ FINANCIAL REGULATION —Break up the big banks. In Canada: Not much of an issue. Unlike their U.S. peers, Canada's big banks weathered the financial crisis without bailouts. Canada has different financial regulations, and also blocked bank mergers under the Chretien-Martin Liberals. —Cap credit-card interest rates at 15 per cent. In Canada: There aren't any such caps on Canadian credit-card rates, although there are different caps on payday loans. ___ LABOUR —Bolster collective bargaining with an Employee Free Choice Act. A key feature would make it easier to form unions. In addition to the current method of voting to certify, Sanders proposes adding a so-called card-check option that would create unions when a sufficient number of workers sign cards. In Canada: This would restore the previous status quo. Card checks were undone last year by a private member's bill supported by the then-Conservative government. ___ POLITICAL FINANCING —Limiting money in politics. Sanders wants more public financing, tighter limits on third-party spending, more disclosure requirements and a constitutional amendment giving politicians the right to regulate campaign spending — overriding recent Supreme Court rulings. In Canada: It's complicated. Different courts, different political culture. In some ways, Stephen Harper was more progressive than Sanders on the financing issue. He completely banned corporate and union donations and limited personal donations to $1,500 (2015 limit). On the other hand, Harper did away with public support for parties, which Sanders favours.
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