Statement from the NDP on the Federal Court of appeal decision in the Harry Daniels case

NDP Aboriginal Affairs critic Jean Crowder (Nanaimo-Cowichan) made the following statement regarding the Federal Court of Appeal decision in the Harry Daniels Case:

“New Democrats will continue to study today’s decision and consult with those affected by it.

This ruling has a major impact on Aboriginal jurisprudence in Canada, upholding the Federal Court’s decision to recognize Métis as “Indians” under Section 91(24) for the Constitution Act, 1867.

While Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution recognized three Aboriginal peoples – First Nations, Inuit and Métis – and acknowledged that these peoples have inherent Aboriginal rights, without legal recognition in federal legislation it was difficult for Métis to occupy those rights. As a result, Métis have had to regularly go to the courts to secure their right to hunt and fish on Crown land.

What is clear now is that the federal government needs to better engage in meaningful consultations with First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

As the federal court of appeal said in today’s decision upholding the lower court’s decision:

“In the result, there is ample evidence to support the view that Métis were considered within section 91(24) at the time of Confederation. A progressive interpretation was, therefore, unnecessary, and the Judge did not err by failing to address the social changes that would underlie such an interpretation”.

New Democrats agree that more time spent in respectful dialogue and consultation would mean less time spent fighting these issues in the courts.”

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Statement from Pierre Nantel on Canadian lineup at the Cannes Film Festival

The Official Opposition Critic for Canadian Heritage, Pierre Nantel (Longueuil–Pierre-Boucher) made the following statement regarding the Cannes Film Festival selections:

On behalf of all New Democrats, I would like to congratulate the three Canadian filmmakers whose movies were officially selected for this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

 Canadian cinema is highly acclaimed on the international stage as a result of the passion, talent, vision and dedication of our filmmakers. That the films of David Cronenberg, Xavier Dolan and Atom Egoyan have been selected demonstrates once again the extraordinary quality of Canadian filmmaking.  Regardless of the results, their participation in this prestigious festival is a source of pride for the entire country.

 I know this recognition will continue to inspire Canadian filmmakers to push the boundaries of their art form and should remind the current government that it has a role to play in improving the visibility and sustainability of our cultural diversity. 

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NDP asking Michael Chong to block Unfair Elections Act

Conservative Bill C-23 would deny thousands of Canadians of their right to vote

If Conservative MP Michael Chong is a true democrat, he will join the NDP in voting against the Unfair Elections Act in the House of Commons.

“We will do everything we can to stop this bill from being passed in Parliament. It will only weaken our democracy”, said NDP leader Tom Mulcair. “It is in this vein that I am asking all Conservative MPs to find the courage to stand up and defend every Canadian’s right to vote.”

In addition to Mr. Chong, New Democrats will publicly invite several Conservative MPs over the coming days to join ranks with opponents of this destructive bill, which would not only strip thousands of Canadians of their right to vote, but also remove Elections Canada’s powers of investigation and ability to educate voters.

“Never before in our history has a government used its majority to pass a bill that gives its party a clear-cut advantage in the next general election. It’s an antidemocratic initiative that must be blocked by Parliamentarians from all parties who are democrats at heart”, added NDP Democratic Reform critic, Craig Scott (Toronto—Danforth).

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Ethics Commissioner must continue Nigel Wright investigation

Full ethics inquiry needed into legality of secret payments

NDP Ethics Critic Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay) wrote to Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson today, demanding she continue her investigation into secret PMO payments related to the Senate expense scandal cover-up.

“Has Ottawa become so broken ethically that the Criminal Code has become the sole yardstick for judging the actions of politicians?” asked Angus.

The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner stopped her inquiry when the RCMP investigation began. Now the onus is back on the Commissioner to determine if these secret payments to a sitting legislator violate current ethics rules in Ottawa.

“I urge you to reassure the public that ethical standards can still be established and enforced by your office,” concluded Angus.

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NDP wants an Open and Transparent Government

The NDP released its initiative for an open and transparent government today, which it will implement when elected Government in 2015. It lays the foundation for an open, transparent, 21st century government that makes information systematically available – not one that hides information from Canadians.

 “Consecutive Liberal and Conservative governments have bred a culture of backroom dealing in Ottawa, causing repeated scandals and the most secretive government in Canadian history. By making government information consistently available, we want to put an end to these outdated practices,” said NDP Treasury Board critic Mathieu Ravignat (Pontiac).

 With the old-style parties, it is only well-connected insiders who get to know what the government is doing. New Democrats have practical proposals to improve government transparency, accountability and services for all Canadians.

 “New technologies have allowed app developers, academics, and engaged citizens to use government data sets to solve problems and improve services for ordinary Canadians,” said NDP Digital Issues critic, Charmaine Borg (Terrebonne—Blainville). “Yet the Conservative approach to open data has been a huge disappointment.”

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NDP urges Minister Poilievre to withdraw the Unfair Elections Act

NDP Democratic Reform critic Craig Scott (Toronto–Danforth) sent a letter to Minister Pierre Poilievre today urging him to withdraw the Unfair Elections Act (Bill C-23) and work with all parties to draft a new bill.

 “With a new start, I am hopeful that much could be achieved that would help restore Canadians’ faith in the fairness of our elections and in Parliament as an institution. If, on the other hand, we do not start fresh, I believe the damage to public trust will be long-lasting and close to irreparable,” wrote Scott. 

 Experts from across the political spectrum have rejected Bill C-23. The bill undermines Canada’s democracy by preventing Elections Canada from doing its job and fails to address real problems affecting our electoral process like fraudulent phone calls.

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Statement from Ontario New Democratic Leader Andrea Horwath on hydro rate hikes

Middle class families are already being squeezed and cannot afford another hike in their hydro bills. Families are getting sticker shock every time they open their electricity bill or gas bill. With no end in sight to higher hydro bills under the Liberal government, it’s clear that people need change. Read More

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Statement from Ontario New Democratic Leader Andrea Horwath on hydro rate hikes

Middle class families are already being squeezed and cannot afford another hike in their hydro bills. Families are getting sticker shock every time they open their electricity bill or gas bill. With no end in sight to higher hydro bills under the Liberal government, it’s clear that people need change. Read More

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NDP asks Conservatives to refer the First Nations Education Act to committee

NDP Aboriginal Affairs critic, Jean Crowder (Nanaimo – Cowichan), sent a letter today to Minister Bernard Valcourt asking that the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act (C-33) be referred to committee before second reading.

“In the spirit of reconciliation we need to improve this legislation so that it supports education systems that recognize First Nations’ inherent and treaty rights to education while providing students an equitable outcome – an education that can help them achieve their goals in civic life, employment and beyond,” wrote Crowder.

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NDP asks Conservatives to refer the First Nations Education Act to committee

NDP Aboriginal Affairs critic, Jean Crowder (Nanaimo – Cowichan), sent a letter today to Minister Bernard Valcourt asking that the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act (C-33) be referred to committee before second reading.

“In the spirit of reconciliation we need to improve this legislation so that it supports education systems that recognize First Nations’ inherent and treaty rights to education while providing students an equitable outcome – an education that can help them achieve their goals in civic life, employment and beyond,” wrote Crowder.

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