NDP REALITY CHECK: Good afternoon PMO, how are all those subpoenas going?

“The facts here are very clear. Mr. Wright decided to take an action on his own initiative, using his own funds.”

– Stephen Harper, House of commons, October 22nd, 2013

“He [Nigel Wright] acted alone”

– Conservative minister James Moore, June 11th, 2013

Remember when Tom Mulcair grilled Stephen Harper and the Conservatives for months and all he got from the government was lies and bizarre evasions like that?

It was months before the real story started emerging about the large number of Conservatives involved in this scandal and months before we learned of Nigel Wright’s email saying “We are good to go from the PM”.

So, while the PMO and Conservative MPs begin getting served their subpoenas, and Canadians get one step closer to hearing from Conservatives – under oath – about their involvement in the Senate scandal and PMO cover-up, let’s review who we know was “in the loop” on this sordid affair.

  • Former Stephen Harper Chief of Staff Nigel Wright
         (Source: RCMP court documents, countless Conservatives admissions of his      role)
  • Current Stephen Harper Chief of Staff Ray Novak
         (Source: Mike Duffy testimony in the Senate, 22/10/2013)
  • Current Stephen Harper Deputy Chief of      Staff Jenni Byrne
         (Source: CTV report, 22/10/2013)
  • Former PMO staffer Chris Woodcock
         (Source: RCMP court documents filed on 24/06/2013)
  • Executive Assistant to Stephen Harper      Chief of Staff Nigel Wright, David      van Hemmen
         (Source: RCMP documents filed on 24/06/2013)
  • PMO staffer Patrick Rogers
         (Source: CTV report, 22/10/2013)
  • Former PMO lawyer Benjamin Perrin
         (Source: RCMP court documents filed on 24/06/2013)
  • An additional unnamed PMO lawyer
         (Source: Mike Duffy testimony in the Senate, 22/10/2013)
  • Former PMO staffer and current Senator Carolyn Stewart-Olsen
         (Source: Mike Duffy testimony in the Senate, 22/10/2013)
  • Former Conservative Leader in the Senate      Marjory LeBreton
         (Source: Mike Duffy testimony in the Senate, 22/10/2013)
  • Senator Irving Gerstein
         (Source: CTV report, 22/10/2013)
  • Late Senator Doug Finley
         (Source: CTV report, 22/10/2013)

And don’t forget – the list of witnesses Mike Duffy will be calling in his defence is yet to come.

Canadians deserve better.

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Conservatives keep millions in their coffers instead of helping entrepreneurs in Quebec

With the recent wave of jobs losses in Quebec and the province’s uncertain economic outlook, the NDP is troubled to learn that the Conservative government decided to leave millions of dollars intended for job creation in government coffers, rather than invest the money. 

The NDP has learned that from 2010 to 2014, the Minister for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, Denis Lebel, left a total of $130 million in available funds untouched. 

“The Development Agency’s purpose is to promote job creation but in 2013-2014, $38.5 million from their budget went unused,” said NDP Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions critic François Lapointe (Montmagny – L’Islet – Kamouraska – Rivière-du-Loup). “I’m asking the minister to invest the funds that Parliament allocated for Quebec in the current fiscal year immediately—not use the money to embellish their fiscal outlook for April. Our regional economies need it.”

Local organizations such as Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDC), Corporations de développement économique communautaire (CDEC) and Business Development Centres (BDC) rely on these funds to help boost economic development and improve the standard of living in Quebec.

“We know that each year, the Conservatives have been leaving funds that Parliament voted on, just sitting in the bank. This sneaky austerity is hurting young entrepreneurs and stalling job creation in Canada,” said NDP Labour critic Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont – La Petite-Patrie).

“The minister has abdicated his responsibility to Quebeckers and the economy. Why? To fight the deficit at any cost and fund policies that help only the richest Canadians. The Minister needs to commit to releasing all the available funds to promote economic development,” added MP Hélène Laverdière (Laurier – Sainte-Marie).

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The unwavering vacillations of Justin Trudeau on the Iraq war

“There’s never been any debate within the Liberal Party about whether or not we should be part of this mission.” 
– Justin Trudeau, CTV Question Period, March 1, 2015

Wait, what? There was never a debate within the Liberal Party about whether to follow Stephen Harper into war in Iraq?

That must have come as news to Liberal operative Warren Kinsella, who regaled us last weekend with the tale of “one of Justin Trudeau’s most senior advisers” explaining why he wasn’t suitable to be a Liberal candidate:

“Chief among the reasons was my view on the international effort against ISIS…I pointed out that my view was in accord with former Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy, former Liberal leader Bob Rae, and former General Romeo Dallaire. ‘They are all traitors to the Liberal party!’ thundered my breakfast partner. ‘They opposed a major foreign-policy decision of the leader of the Liberal party of Canada!’ Wow, thought I. I’m never going to fit in with this bunch.”
Who is a “traitor to the Liberal Party” now?, warrenkinsella.com, March 1, 2015


Let’s cast our minds back to when the Liberals’ vacillations began, with Trudeau declaring:

“The Liberal Party is not supportive of any extension into a combat role. We think Canada’s role should be strictly non-combat.”
– Justin Trudeau, Scrums, September 25 2014

Long-time Liberals, like former Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy, took issue with Trudeau’s decision:

“I was concerned, and I was surprised at the decision to be honest…”
– Lloyd Axworthy quoted in the Globe and Mail, October 8, 2014

And so, another Liberal position emerged. Now, they would follow Prime Minister Harper into whatever mission the Conservatives rammed through parliament:

“We will of course support what is eventually decided by the government, because we know that we’re sending our men and women into combat.”
– Marc Garneau, Globe and Mail, October 7, 2014

Well, at least Trudeau has been able to put his flip-flopping and poor judgment aside to ask the Conservatives tough questions about the war, right?

“I think Mr. Mulcair is, you know, from what I hear, has a lot more questions about Canada’s involvement.”
– Press scrum, September 17, 2014

Canadians can’t afford to wait for Justin Trudeau to get ready. Canadians deserve better.

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The NDP will stand up for the CBC

The CBC/Radio Canada is at the heart of our identity as Canadians and an NDP government would protect its role as our national broadcaster.

“All Canadians are proud of the CBC/Radio-Canada’s unique way of bringing vibrance to larger cities like Toronto and smaller communities all across the country,” said NDP leader Tom Mulcair. “Not only do they enrich local culture, the CBC/Radio-Canada creates jobs and helps keep people connected.”

If elected to government the NDP would cancel the Conservatives’ $115 million cut to CBC/Radio-Canada which led to the dismissal of 650 full-time employees. An independent process for appointing members to the board of directors would also be established.

“An NDP government would ensure stable, predictable, multi-year funding to help protect the CBC/Radio-Canada from advertising-market fluctuations and to allow it to fulfill its mandate,” said Mulcair. “New Democrats will continue working hard to maintain our strong public broadcaster and ensure that our unique, Canadian stories are told.”

CBC/Radio-Canada is a core cultural institution that is essential to our democracy. Sign the petition today: http://petition.ndp.ca/stand-up-for-the-CBC 

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Tom Mulcair’s NDP will strengthen the mining industry

NDP leader Tom Mulcair outlined his plan to support Canada’s mining industry in a speech to the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC).

“Unlike the Conservatives who have put mining on the back burner, the NDP understands that this industry drives prosperity in Canada,” said Mr. Mulcair. “Canada’s New Democratic government will work with industry, aboriginal communities and the education sector to ensure mining and mineral processing create economic opportunities for a prosperous Canada.”

An Innovation Tax Credit, reducing the small business tax rate and extending the accelerated capital cost allowance for machinery are all part of the NDP plan. These measures will support the small businesses and contractors that are the backbones of mining communities and help mining companies hurt by the Conservatives’ cuts to support for capital intensive R&D.

Tom Mulcair also pledged that an NDP Government would create a respectful “Nation-to-Nation” relationship with Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. “Everything our Government does will respect Treat Rights, Inherent Rights and Canada’s International obligations. This will ensure that all proposed investments will enjoy greater certainty. Sustainable development principles will be a reality under an NDP Government”.

“These are concrete, practical proposals to strengthen our economy and make it work for Canadians,” added Mr. Mulcair.

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The NDP calls for the Supreme Court to intervene

The NDP has lost all faith in the Board of Internal Economy (BOIE) and has decided to turn to the Supreme Court of Canada to allow justice run its course and to finally put an end to the partisan attacks being waged by the Conservatives and Liberals. 

“We have said it from the very beginning – the NDP followed all the rules and this is nothing but a partisan attack by the Conservative and Liberal parties. As a result, we have decided to request that the Minister of Justice refer the case directly to the Supreme Court.  This will allow him to demonstrate that he is committed to our democratic institutions and to saving thousands of taxpayer dollars and wasted time,” said NDP Quebec Caucus Chair, Robert Aubin.

The BOIE’s February 3 ruling was completely arbitrary and contrary to the principles of natural justice. As a result, the NDP has announced that its attorneys James Duggan and Julius Grey have issued a legal challenge before the Federal Court. The NDP has also informed House Administration that NDP Members did not intend on refunding the amounts requested until a final judgment had been made. 

“We are the victims of a partisan committee – an institution that our political opponents hijacked to seal our fate in advance. It is time that this frivolous attack on members of the Official Opposition come to an end,” added Aubin.

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NDP statement on the passing of Second World War veteran Ernest Côté

Official Opposition Veterans Affairs Critic Peter Stoffer (Sackville-Eastern Shore) made the following statement on the passing of Second World War veteran Ernest Côté:.

“On behalf of Canada’s New Democrats, I extend my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Côté.

“We join all Canadians in paying respect to Mr. Côté’s contributions.”

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NDP demands that Energy East documents be submitted in French

The NDP is once again urging Parliament to demand that TransCanada submit its documents for the Energy East project in both official languages.

“Quebec is at the heart of the Energy East project, and addressing Quebeckers in French is a simple matter of respect,” said MP Pierre Nantel (Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher) who has tabled a motion aimed at requiring all National Energy Board (NEB) documents to be made available in both English and French. 

 “It also just makes sense to do so – when a developer wants to build a pipeline, it’s essential to hold public meetings. Of course, it also makes sense to interact with communities in their native language,” added Nantel.

The NDP also lodged a complaint with the Commissioner of Official Languages last year, in response to the English-only documents that were published on the Energy East project. TransCanada submitted 30,000 pages of documents to the NEB, the vast majority of which were in English only. Of course, the pipeline would run through Quebec and some of the most affected areas are francophone communities.

The motion reads as follows:

“That, in the opinion of the House, when a project proponent submits plans, profiles, reference books, as well as any complementary or supplementary document to the National Energy Board (NEB) for the construction and operation of a pipeline, the NEB should ensure that these documents are available in both official languages, at the expense of the proponent.”

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NDP critical of Senate attempt to block transgender rights

On this Anti-bullying Day, the NDP is criticizing the unelected Senate for blocking Bill C-279 aimed at protecting the rights of transgender people, after it was legitimately adopted two years ago by elected members of all parties in the House of Commons. 

“The Senate’s attempt to obstruct this bill that would finally give transgender Canadians the protection and equal status they deserve is reprehensible. The bill was examined in depth and passed by MPs in the House, and I would enjoin the Senate to do the same,” said NDP LGBT critic Randall Garrison (Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca).

Bill C-279 was designed to put protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual identity into law – a long-awaited initiative. Transgender individuals are among the most marginalized in society, and passing this bill would be a huge step towards equality. However, the Senate proposed to amend the bill, knowing full well that it would die on the Order Paper without any chance of making it back to the House before this year’s elections.

“This is another reason why we should abolish the Senate. Their obstruction of a bill that has received the approval of elected MPs must cease. It is time to recognize that transgender Canadians are entitled to the same rights and protections all Canadians enjoy.”

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NDP demands Stephen Harper help Mohamed Fahmy

NDP Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre) issued the following statement regarding the case of Mohamed Fahmy:

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper must speak personally and directly with Egyptian President al-Sisi on behalf of Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy, and ensure that Mr. Fahmy has all necessary documentation to return to Canada.

“For many months, and again in Question Period on Tuesday, the NDP has urged Prime Minister Harper to intervene directly in Mr. Fahmy’s case. Despite action by other heads of government, Prime Minister Harper still refuses to pick up the phone to call President al-Sisi, and no representative of the Prime Minister’s Office has contacted Mr. Fahmy directly. This failure is inexplicable and inexcusable. I spoke with Mr. Fahmy within hours of his release on bail, and I spoke with the Egyptian ambassador about his case.

“Despite Mr. Fahmy’s release, the Egyptian court has not returned his Canadian passport. Prime Minister Harper must insist that the passport be either returned immediately by Egyptian authorities or replaced by Canadian officials, so that Mr. Fahmy is able to come home as soon as possible.

“The NDP has always been clear that Mr. Fahmy should never have been convicted for doing his job as a journalist. Now that his conviction has been annulled, his continued retrial is not acceptable. The Government of Canada, and the Prime Minister in particular, must insist on his full release and immediate return to Canada.”

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