Missing military uniforms and equipment a security risk

New Democrats are disturbed to learn from the Public Accounts report that thousands of pieces of Canadian military combat clothing and weapons have gone missing.

 “Over half a million dollars’ worth of military uniforms and equipment have been stolen or lost, and the Conservative response is inertia” said NDP Defence critic Jack Harris (St John’s East). “At a time when Conservatives are rushing through anti-terror legislation with no consultation, they are allowing this clear danger to public safety to worsen, unchecked.”

 For years, security experts have expressed concern that stolen government uniforms could allow ill-intentioned individuals to access restricted facilities.  In 2004, Peter MacKay attacked the Liberal government on the same issue, and accused it of being “unaware and ineffective.”

 “The Defence Minister needs to get his own house in order, and explain how the government is going to recover these items and prevent future loss and theft.” said NDP deputy critic for Defence Élaine Michaud (Portneuf-Jacques Cartier).

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Missing military uniforms and equipment a security risk

New Democrats are disturbed to learn from the Public Accounts report that thousands of pieces of Canadian military combat clothing and weapons have gone missing.

 “Over half a million dollars’ worth of military uniforms and equipment have been stolen or lost, and the Conservative response is inertia” said NDP Defence critic Jack Harris (St John’s East). “At a time when Conservatives are rushing through anti-terror legislation with no consultation, they are allowing this clear danger to public safety to worsen, unchecked.”

 For years, security experts have expressed concern that stolen government uniforms could allow ill-intentioned individuals to access restricted facilities.  In 2004, Peter MacKay attacked the Liberal government on the same issue, and accused it of being “unaware and ineffective.”

 “The Defence Minister needs to get his own house in order, and explain how the government is going to recover these items and prevent future loss and theft.” said NDP deputy critic for Defence Élaine Michaud (Portneuf-Jacques Cartier).

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Energy East pipeline: New Democrats reiterate call for environmental protection and community consultation

As TransCanada files its application for the Energy East pipeline, New Democrats are reiterating the vital importance of a fair, rigorous and open project review process.

“Canadians want energy security and the jobs this sector supports, and our communities need to know that the environment is being protected and that the highest possible safety measures are in place when transporting oil,”  said NDP Energy Critic Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain). “Energy East is a significant project that will span six provinces – it’s going to require an extremely thorough review that takes into account the full environmental, social and economic impact of the proposal.”

Charlton noted that the Conservatives have seriously eroded public trust in federal pipeline review processes by significantly weakening environmental rules and limiting public consultation. New Democrats strongly opposed those actions.

“We’ve been clear that we think processing Western Canadian oil in eastern Canada makes economic sense, if it’s done with the right safety and environmental protections in place,” Charlton said. “What we need now is a meaningful process to examine this proposal that focuses on evaluating environmental sustainability,  pipeline safety, community and First Nations views, and economic benefit through things like value-added jobs.”

“Canadians can be assured that New Democrats will be participating in the review by the National Energy Board to make sure that these issues are front and centre,’’ Charlton concluded.

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NDP introduces landmark environmental rights bill

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair is proud to second groundbreaking legislation introduced by Linda Duncan (Edmonton-Strathcona), an Environmental Bill of Rights to legally enshrine environmental rights for Canadians and the duty of the federal government to take action to protect the environment.

“As Minister of Environment in Quebec, I made the right to a healthy environment a charter right for all residents of Quebec,” said Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the Official Opposition. “I am pleased to support this bill, which would safeguard the right of present and future generations of all Canadians to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment”.

According to Duncan, “This bill is long overdue. The Supreme Court ruled that the federal government shares responsibility for protection of the environment. My bill grants Canadians the specific right to have a voice in all decisions impacting their environment, to take the federal government to court where those rights are denied or where federal laws are not enforced and it protects whistle-blowers”. The bill also amends the Bill of Rights to add an environmental right.

“Canadians must be given a voice. An NDP government will work with the provinces, territories and all Canadians to make the right to a clean, healthy environment a guaranteed and absolute right,” said Mr. Mulcair.

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Swifter, more robust action needed on rail safety

Conservative government’s rail safety changes long overdue

A year and a half after the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, the Conservative government has finally decided to enact the Transportation Safety Board’s (TSB) recommendations. However, the measures announced today should have been implemented years ago. 

Furthermore, Conservatives still haven’t honoured their commitment to rectify shortcomings with safety inspections and rail safety compliance measures.

“The Minister of Transport needs to immediately hire more inspectors; they are essential to ensuring the safety of trains. Currently, Transport Canada does not have the resources needed to carry out more inspections,” said NDP Transport critic Hoang Mai (Brossard—La Prairie).

Earlier this week, the TSB announced that 254 incidents had not been reported or had been reported late. The Conservatives have been unable to turn the tide on the undisciplined rail safety culture in this country and, as a result, the NDP is pushing for hefty fines for companies that break the rules.

“The Minister has said far more than she has done. The Conservatives have failed to bolster rail safety in Canada. Who’s to say that these new rules will be respected by railway companies?” added Mai.

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Conservative EI hypocrisy jumps the shark

For years the Conservatives have struggled with the notion that money in the Employment Insurance fund belongs not to the government, but to the workers and employers who pay into it.

That’s why this ironic exchange at Finance Committee yesterday turned a few heads:

Mark Adler (CPC MP, York Centre): Who owns the money in the EI Account?

Armine Yalnizyan (CCPA): Workers and employers.

Adler: Correct. Now when the Liberals plundered it for $50 billion in the 1990s and early 2000s, and the Supreme Court ruled that was illegal…

[Chair tries to interrupt]

Adler: …is not what the Liberal party is proposing now very similar to what happened back then?

[Chair again tries to cut him off]

Adler: This is money that does not belong to the government, correct?

Yalnizyan: The rules are made by the federal government – including you, now. You just introduced a tax cut that you made the rules for that. So the federal government makes the rules but does not pay any of it.

Adler: The EI doesn’t belong to the government!

It is not clear if the honourable member realizes that while the Liberals raided $50 billion from the EI fund, the Conservatives have gone on to raid another $7 billion from the fund during their tenure.

Canadians deserve better.

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Statement by Official Opposition leader Tom Mulcair on the Islamic New Year

The leader of the New Democratic Party made the following statement on the Islamic New Year:

“The beginning of the new Islamic year is a commemoration of the moment that the prophet Mohammed left mecca with a handful of disciples to escape persecution and to found a pious community in which all citizens would be equal.  

“On this 1st day of the sacred month of Muharram, Muslims in Canada and around the world are preparing to observe fast and pray for peace, human solidarity and a better fate for the least fortunate.  

“Today, I would like to offer all Canadian Muslims my best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous year.”

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Open letter from Tom Mulcair to the Muslim community

Official Opposition leader, Tom Mulcair, wrote an open letter to the Muslim community

Dear Friends,

This has been a difficult and sombre week in Canada. We were all shocked by the terrible and violent events in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and in our nation’s capital, and we are united in mourning the deaths of two Canadian soldiers. We will not forget them and join with the Muslim community in sending our heartfelt condolences to their family and friends.

As we struggle to comprehend these terrible events, we stand shoulder to shoulder with our Muslim brothers and sisters. We are all Canadian, and we have all been profoundly touched by this tragedy.

In the days and weeks to come, whether talking about protecting civilians in the Middle East, fighting racism and Islamophobia or ensuring rights are respected here at home, New Democrats can be counted on to stand up for human rights.

These horrific, cowardly acts will not intimidate us. We will not allow them to divide our great country – instead, we must ensure they bring Canadians closer together.

Moving forward, we will continue doing the hard of work of ensuring Canadians’ safety while guarding our shared values of freedom, tolerance and an inclusive democracy.

We join you in praying for peace and safety for all Canadians.

 

Yours sincerely,

Thomas Mulcair

Leader of the Official Opposition \ Chef de l’Opposition officielle

*A copy of the letter is attached

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Statement on arrest in Halifax

NDP Deputy Leader Megan Leslie made the following statement:

 After yesterday’s tragic and traumatic events in Ottawa, this news is especially disturbing. However, it demonstrates that our law enforcement and first responders are on high alert across our country, and are ready to take swift action in order to protect the safety of Canadians.  On behalf of the NDP, I extend my sincere gratitude to these women and men.

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Speech by Thomas Mulcair on shooting at Parliament Hill and War Memorial

My fellow Canadians,

Today, the peace of our nation’s capital was shattered by an act of hatred and brutality. A cowardly act, designed to strike at the very heart of our democracy— at the heart of who we are.

But I stand here tonight in solidarity— side-by-side with my colleagues, with our Prime Minister and with all Canadians.

This attack struck with sudden and deadly violence.

It was carried out on the very ground where we come together to exchange ideas with the knowledge that whatever our differences we will always resolve them peacefully.

It was intended to make us more fearful of our neighbours and less confident in ourselves.

But it has failed.

Today’s events have instead only succeeded in drawing us closer, in making us stronger.

To the brave women and men of law enforcement, our security services and our Canadian Forces: Your determination, your professionalism and indeed your heroism today will not soon be forgotten.

Just as we have all borne witness to these horrific acts, we have watched in awe your acts of courage— now an abiding emblem of Canadian strength, values and valour.

The thoughts and prayers of everyone here in our nation’s capital are with the family and loved ones of Corporal Nathan Cirillo— the Canadian Forces member from Hamilton, Ontario who lost his life this morning, the second in just a few days.
Corporal Cirillo was literally standing on guard at a monument dedicated to the sacrifice of others who came before him.

To his family and friends, I tell you that 35 million Canadians— at home and abroad, from coast-to-coast-to-coast and around the world— stand with you tonight.

And we will not forget.

In this moment, Canadians are united in grief, and stricken with disbelief.

Canada is shaken today, but we shall not waver.

We woke up this morning in a country blessed by love, diversity and peace, and tomorrow we will do the same.

These acts were driven by hatred, but also designed to drive us to hate.

They will not.

We will stand up, and we will stand together.

We will persevere, and we will prevail.

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