Statement by the leader of the Official Opposition on Canada Day

“Today, New Democrats are proud to celebrate the 148th anniversary of the founding of our country.

“Canada Day is an opportunity to spend time with family and friends and celebrate the shared values that make Canada an open and generous country.

“We have many reasons to be proud to be Canadian, but much work remains to be done.

“The NDP has a clear vision to build a more sustainable society. Canadians can count on the NDP to bring concrete proposals to Ottawa to make life more affordable for families and make Canada a fairer country.

“Let’s continue to work together to build a better Canada for our children and grandchildren, a Canada that is a nation of freedom, democracy and equality of opportunity for all. 

“On behalf of all New Democrats, I wish you and your family a safe and Happy Canada Day.”

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Conservative EI mismanagement hurts poorest families

The Conservative government’s serious mismanagement of the Employment Insurance system has hurt Canada’s poorest families, the NDP said today.  Since 2007, hundreds of low income families have not received the millions in EI benefits they were entitled to because of problems with the government’s processing system.

“You receive a letter saying that an error was committed eight years ago and that, consequently, you are owed money. This would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic for the families who have faced and still face financial difficulty,” said Robert Aubin (Trois-Rivières), NDP critic for Employment Insurance.  “The minister, who repeatedly claimed that Employment Insurance was there for those who need it most, must not only apologize, but also make every effort to put his words into action.”

Under the Conservative regime, EI wait times have increased significantly, with record high numbers of Canadians waiting over 28 days just to receive their benefits. Those appealing their claim to the Social Security Tribunal are forced to wait even longer.  

“These wait times are simply unacceptable.  The problem must be addressed immediately,” added Robert Chisholm (Dartmouth – Cole Harbour), deputy NDP critic for Employment Insurance.  “These families deserve to be paid the money they are owed right away.  This latest fiasco is yet further proof that the Harper government does not consider Employment Insurance and those who need it a priority.”

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Economy shrinks and middle class jobs harder to come by under Conservatives

Weak GDP numbers another sign Stephen Harper’s Conservative plan isn’t working

While too many Canadian families struggle to make ends meet and household debt rises to record levels, the Canadian economy shrank for the fourth month in a row, according to new economic numbers released today.
 
Today’s disappointing GDP numbers are the latest sign that the Conservatives economic plan is taking Canada in the wrong direction. The economy just isn’t working for middle class families,” said Nathan Cullen, NDP Official Opposition finance critic. “Conservatives have failed to build a balanced economy, failed to create and protect good jobs and failed to foster growth.”
 
Conservative layoffs and radical budget cuts to programs and services have only made things worse. Last year, the Parliamentary Budget Officer projected that Conservative budget cuts would shave 0.5% off Canada’s GDP and cost our economy more than 46,000 jobs by 2016.
 
“Families are working harder than ever to build a good life but can’t get ahead,” said Cullen. “In contrast, Tom Mulcair and the NDP’s plan will kick-start manufacturing, help small business and invest in strong community infrastructure – creating good, skilled job opportunities in our communities.”

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NDP REALITY CHECK: Liberal environmental policy – lots of hot air but still no targets

Today, Justin Trudeau delivered a speech full of promises on the environment but with few details and plenty of policies borrowed from Tom Mulcair’s NDP.

And despite all the hot air, the Trudeau Liberals still have not committed to any actual targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Liberal Leader now agrees with a moratorium on oil tanker traffic on British Columbia’s North Coast – something New Democrats have pushed the Liberals on since 2010.

Trudeau also claims that he’ll protect species at risk and our waterways – despite the fact that he voted for Conservative legislation to weaken the Navigable Waters Act.

And the Liberals joined with the Conservatives to oppose an NDP motion to protect the St. Lawrence ecosystem and belugas from oil development.

If all this green-washing wasn’t enough, let’s not forget the Liberals real record on important environmental files when they were in government:

  • The budgets for the departments responsible for handling oil spills were slashed dramatically – Fisheries and Oceans cut by 30%, and Transport cut by 50%.
  • Pacific lighthouses were de-staffed and the Coast Guard was gutted.
  • Environment Canada was cut more than nearly any other ministry or agency leading the Environment Commissioner to slam the Liberals’ “band-aid approach” to environmental protection.
  • Meanwhile, Liberals handed out more than $8 billion in oil and gas subsidies between 1996 and 2002.
  • And of course, after promising to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the Liberals let them skyrocket by more than 30%.

With the urgent need to fix the mess left behind by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives – and the serious challenges facing our environment – Canadians can’t afford to wait for Justin Trudeau to get ready.

Canadians deserve better.

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Mulcair celebrates Pride with pledge to recognize transgender rights and build a more inclusive Canada

Mulcair also promises formal apology and revised service records for those unfairly kicked out of the military because of their orientation

New Democrat leader Tom Mulcair pledged that as prime minister he would legislate equal rights for transgender Canadians and formally apologize to military personnel and civil servants fired because of their sexual orientation.

Mulcair made these commitments as he joined North America’s biggest Pride Parade today.

“History has shown us that when you take principled positions you can make a difference,” said Mr. Mulcair. “New Democrats have always been proud to stand with the LGBT community in the fight for equality rights, but we know there’s much more to do and today we are announcing some of the first steps an NDP government would take.”

A few weeks ago, the unelected Senate shamelessly blocked Bill C-279, a bill from NDP MP Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca) aimed at protecting the rights of transgender people. Unelected Senators did so even though the legislation was legitimately adopted two years ago by elected members of all parties in the House of Commons.

Tom Mulcair pledged the NDP would:

  • introduce legislation to guarantee equal rights for transgender and gender variant Canadians;
  • reverse service records for those unfairly discharged from the Canadian Forces on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity;
  • apologize to military personnel and civil servants fired on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. 

“As we celebrate today the pride we have living in an inclusive society we must also acknowledge the mistakes of the past and pledge to work together to ensure that in the future, the rights of all Canadians will be protected,” said Mr. Mulcair. “We are ready to accomplish real change and build a better, more progressive Canada.”

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Statement by the NDP on Canadian Multiculturalism Day

New Democrat critic for Multiculturalism Andrew Cash made the following statement on Canadian Multiculturalism Day:

“Multiculturalism is a fundamental Canadian value and on this Multiculturalism Day, New Democrats join Canadians in celebrating our nation’s rich diversity.

“Today is the perfect opportunity to promote tolerance, understanding and equality in the hope that each of us can realize our full potential.

“We are proud to acknowledge the important contributions of our society’s many groups and multicultural communities. The NDP will continue its efforts to promote our multicultural heritage so that Canada may remain a land of possibility for all those who call it home.”

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Overheard this week: “A desire for change finding its way over to the NDP”

“Something’s happened. Something phenomenal.” That was the assessment of a former Paul Martin advisor on the NDP’s growing momentum this week.

After a decade of Stephen Harper’s failed plan and mounting scandals, Canadians are ready for change – and they’re looking to Tom Mulcair’s principled, experienced leadership.

Here’s some more of what they were saying this week:

“The NDP is now very strong in all the places that it needs to be strong […] A desire for change finding its way over to the NDP …”

— Darrell Bricker, Ipsos, Global News (June 25, 2015)

“Mulcair is making a far more compelling case as the real threat to Harper […] Mulcair appears ready to handle that scrutiny.”

— Tim Harper, Toronto Star (June 21, 2015)

“Meanwhile, it has become apparent that the NDP’s success in 2011 was based on more than the personal appeal of Jack Layton. Behind his charm were clear messages specific to Quebec voters who, over time, had become isolated from federal politics. Support for the New Democrats indicated a new phase in Quebec voters’ constant search for parties that can carry their voice to Ottawa.”

— Antonia Maioni, Globe and Mail (June 22, 2015)

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Tom Mulcair supports Housing Cooperatives

Official Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair visited two of Canada’s largest housing cooperatives in Montreal to present the NDP’s affordable housing plan.
 
“Housing cooperatives play an important social and economic role in Canada,” said Mr. Mulcair. “Their strength lies in their diversity and resourcefulness. An NDP government will be a real partner by making stable, long term investments in social housing.”
 
The NDP Leader promised to renew operating agreements that are set to expire in the next few years. This investment will reach more than two billion dollars by 2020 to maintain current funding for housing cooperatives and social housing.
 
Representatives from the Village Cloverdale and Terrasse Soleil housing cooperatives as well as the Fédération des coopératives d’habitation intermunicipale du Montréal métropolitain (FECHIMM) were at the press conference.
 
The NDP has a proud history of making social housing a priority and backing that up with action. In 2005, Jack Layton successfully pushed the Liberal government at the time to invest a billion dollars in social housing.
 
More recently, the NDP Housing and Communities critic, Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet (Hochelaga), traveled across Canada to talk about affordable housing. She held public meetings and met with citizens, elected officials and organizations.
 
“The NDP will renew funding agreements that are about to expire and propose new investments to resolve Canada’s current housing crisis,” said Boutin-Sweet.

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Statement from the NDP on International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

NDP MP Wayne Marston (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek) made the following statement to mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture:

“On June 26, we in the international human rights community, honour the world’s many victims of torture.

“The prohibition on torture is well established under international law.  It is binding on all States, in all territories under their jurisdiction or effective control.  It applies in all circumstances, in times of war as in times of peace.  Nor is torture permissible when it is called something else: cruel and inhuman treatment is unacceptable and illegal, irrespective of the name we give it.

“While Canada was one of the first to sign and ratify the UN Convention Against Torture, it has yet to do either to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture.

“Worse still, in 2011, then-Public Safety Minister Vic Toews authorized law enforcement agencies to use torture-tainted intelligence in what he called “exceptional circumstances,” in direct violation of Article 15 of the UN Convention Against Torture which, among other things, states that signatories must “ban the use of evidence produced by torture.”

“On this International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we must therefore recommit to never involve our country again, either directly or indirectly, in the torture of another human being. We must also redouble our efforts on the international stage to ensure that all people, everywhere, need never be subjected to this odious practise again.”

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Western Chorus Frog: Minister must comply with decision immediately

New Democrats welcome the Supreme Court decision that blasts Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq for her inaction on the Western Chorus Frog file – a species threatened by residential development.

“Once again, the courts had to remind the Conservatives of their obligation to respect the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Not only did the Minister ignore the recommendations of scientists from her own department; she also wasted public money defending her inaction before the courts. That’s simply unacceptable,” said NDP Environment critic Megan Leslie (Halifax).

The NDP intervened in this file a number of times, urging Minister Aglukkaq to issue an emergency protection order under the SARA. 

“I commend the work of the Quebec Environment Centre and Nature Québec, which brought this file before the courts. This issue could have been resolved much more quickly if the Minister hadn’t shown such bad faith. The Minister must comply with the court decision immediately and issue a protection order,” said NDP MP Hoang Mai (Brossard-La Prairie).

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