The government must protect citizens from TransCanada’s misinformation on the Energy East pipeline

According to the NDP, TransCanada’s strategy on Energy East, which was recently leaked to the Greenpeace environmental group, shows the company is willing to go to any lengths—including spreading misinformation and manipulating public opinion—to get this pipeline up and running. 

“Frustrated citizens are justified in qualifying these acts as cynical and deceptive,” said NDP Energy and Natural Resources critic Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain).

Since coming to power, the Conservative government has systematically eliminated forums for citizens to express their opinions and concerns about hydrocarbon transportation projects such as Energy East.  

“TransCanada has massive resources at its disposal to promote this pipeline, while citizens concerned for the environment, their communities and the safety of their families feel they have no way to be heard. With the Conservatives in power, you can be sure that there will be no transparency in the management of this project,” added MP Guy Caron (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques). 

“To make matters worse, the National Energy Board has failed to require that documents be translated before making them public,” added NDP Francophonie critic Pierre Dionne-Labelle (Rivière-du-Nord). “Can you imagine the reaction if the project details were released in French alone? The entire set of French-language documents has yet to be made available. It’s completely unacceptable.”

Energy transportation is a major issue in this country, upon which our economic and ecological future depends. Now citizens are being prevented from participating in the debate. The NDP is clear: we will not draw any conclusions about this project until all the facts are known and the impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions, have been analyzed in a thorough and transparent manner. As of today, none of these steps have been taken on the Energy East pipeline.

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Official opposition statement on Trans Day of Remembrance

Official Opposition critic on LGBT issues Randall Garrison (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca) made the following statement on the Trans Day of Remembrance:

“On this 15th Trans Day of Remembrance, the NDP joins people across Canada and around the world in honouring victims of transphobic violence and in committing to continue the fight against intolerance and violence toward Transgender, Transsexual and gender variant people.” 

“Today is an opportunity to foster public awareness about the reality facing the Trans community.  It is shocking to see that Trans people continue to face prejudice, discrimination and fall victim to hate crimes both around the world and here at home.  We must work to build a more inclusive Canada where transgender and gender variant Canadians can participate fully, on an equal basis and without fear.”

“Canada has a responsibility to support Trans people by explicitly acknowledging their rights and enshrining protection against discrimination and violence in law.  Over the past two years some progress has been made in Canada as five provinces have added explicit protection against discrimination to their human rights codes.”

“At the federal level the Senate remains the last obstacle to full legal equality for the trans community, having held up passage of Bill C-279 for nearly two years after its approval by the House of Commons.  Once again we urge the Senate to pass this legislation without further delay.”

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National Midwife Day gets unanimous support in Parliament

Today, NDP MP Rosane Doré Lefebvre’s (Alfred-Pellan) Private Member’s Bill, An Act Respecting a National Day of the Midwife (C-608), received all-party support at its 2nd reading vote in the House of Commons.   

“I am proud that we received the unanimous support of the House for this bill, which aims to spread public awareness about the contribution of midwives to the health and well-being of mothers and their newborns. This is yet another step in the creation of a nationally recognized day that we hope will help enable further access to midwife services in Canada,” said Doré Lefebvre.  

Despite being an essential component of maternity care, access to midwives is still limited in many regions of the country. In Aboriginal communities, midwives play a key role in narrowing the gap between the care received by Aboriginal women and that provided to non-Aboriginals. By acknowledging their contributions, we can improve maternal health care across Canada.

Doré Lefebvre has proudly championed the work begun by Peggy Nash (Parkdale – High Park), which would designate May 5 of each year as National Day of the Midwife.

“I would like to thank the Canadian Association of Midwives, the Regroupement des sages-femmes du Québec, the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives, and the Mieux Naître organization in Laval for their help promoting this bill. Together, we can improve maternal health care,” added Doré Lefebvre.

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House of Commons adopts NDP motion supporting democracy in Hong Kong

The House of Commons today, with all-party support, adopted an NDP motion to support democratic freedoms in Hong Kong.

“This motion demonstrates Canada’s solidarity with the people of Hong Kong and their legitimate demands for genuine universal suffrage,” said NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre), who introduced the motion. “At this crucial moment in Hong Kong, I am pleased to see the Canadian House of Commons adopt this motion to support the democratic aspirations of the people of Hong Kong by urging restraint during demonstrations, respect for existing agreements under the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle, and a responsible dialogue on electoral reform.”

The full text of Dewar’s motion follows:

That this House reiterates Canada’s continued support for freedom of expression and association in Hong Kong, including the right to peaceful protest; affirms Canada’s support for the democratic aspirations of Hong Kong residents for genuine universal suffrage in the election of political leaders; stands with the people of Hong Kong who aspire for democracy, peace and the protection of human rights; and calls on all sides to exercise restraint during demonstrations, fully respect existing agreements in respect to the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, and open a meaningful and constructive dialogue to seek a mutually acceptable plan for electoral reform.

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Ontario endorses Tom Mulcair’s affordable childcare plan

Working with the provinces to create more spaces and reduce parents’ costs is central to Tom Mulcair’s plan for Affordable Childcare and we warmly welcome Ontario’s endorsement of our proposal.

We congratulate Andrea Horwath and the Ontario NDP for bringing this motion forward and working together with all parties to get the Ontario Legislature to endorse the NDP’s plan that would create affordable, accessible and high quality childcare spaces at a cost of no more than $15/day.

Sadly, in the nine years since Stephen Harper first promised to create 125,000 childcare spaces, Conservatives not only broke that promise, but under their watch parents have seen their childcare costs skyrocket. We believe it’s long past time parents got a break and look forward to working with the provinces to make this a reality.

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Shameful backlog of cases at Social Security Tribunal

Today, Social Security Tribunal Chairperson Murielle Brazeau confirmed that a significant backlog of cases was apparent from the day the Tribunal opened; that she was first in touch with Minister Kenney about insufficient staffing at the Tribunal over a year ago; that there are no performance measures or standards currently in place at the Tribunal, and that it is currently not possible to estimate when the backlog – now at more than 14, 677 cases – can be cleared. 

“If we look at the section with the biggest backlog — Income Security – and assume they’ll continue processing cases at the rate they’ve been going, it will take 11 years to clear it,” said NDP critic for Employment and Social Development Jinny Sims (Newton-North Delta). “Even if they double staff now, it will still take 5.5 years.”

The Conservative government did its best to limit the damning testimony by allowing the Official Opposition only five minutes to ask questions of Ms. Brazeau. 

“Ms. Brazeau could not even provide an estimate on when we’ll see the backlog cleared,” said NDP deputy critic for Employment and Social Development Sadia Groguhé (Saint-Lambert).  “It’s been over a year and a half since the Tribunal’s inception, and the situation is worse than ever.”

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NDP MP continues fight to eliminate child poverty

With one in five Canadian children now living poverty, the time to act on this crisis is long overdue. Yesterday in the House of Commons, NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan’s (Scarborough—Rouge River) private member’s motion M-534 on eliminating child poverty was up for its first hour of debate. While the status of support for this motion remains unclear, the pressing need for urgent action remains constant.

“Children are Canada’s future, yet far too many are forced to live in poverty,” said Sitsabaiesan. “Successive governments have ignored consultations, refused to listen to experts and allowed reports to gather dust. It is this willing neglect and refusal to take responsibility that has exacerbated this crisis.”

In 1989, Parliament unanimously supported former NDP Leader Ed Broadbent’s motion to end child poverty. At the time, Canada’s child poverty rate sat at 13 percent. Since then, the rate of child poverty in Canada has soared and sits at 21 percent.

“We know the solutions; more affordable housing, better access to affordable child care, improved nutritional standards and economic security for all Canadian families. Investing in our children’s well-being is investing in the well-being of our country,” stated Sitsabaiesan. “We owe Canadian children their right to dignity and protection from the cruelties exposed by poverty. The time to act is long overdue.”

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Trudeau’s transparent hypocrisy on the Board of Internal Economy

Last Spring, while the Liberals were conspiring with Conservatives turn the Board of Internal Economy (BOIE) into a kangaroo court to attack the NDP, repeated New Democrat requests to have the meeting go public were denied.

It seems Justin Trudeau was just fine with the secretive nature of the BOIE. As the CBC noted at the time, “Trudeau’s policy adviser Mike McNair took to Twitter to explain why he didn’t think the NDP’s move would work.”

But former Law Clerk Rob Walsh contradicted the Liberals – and said that if MPs wanted to open them up, BOIE meetings could be made public.

“No reason House spending board can’t meet in public, says former law clerk”
– CBC, June 12th, 2014

So while the BOIE spent its time unfairly attacking the NDP, Liberals conveniently insisted there was no way for the Board to have public meetings under the current law – despite that being clearly untrue. But now – after the anti-NDP dirty tricks were done – Justin Trudeau consents to the secretive BOIE opening its doors.

Canadians deserve better than Justin Trudeau and the Liberal’s hypocrisy and faux transparency.

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Economic update should have been tabled in Parliament

NDP Finance critic Nathan Cullen raised a question of privilege in the House of Commons today to decry the Conservative government’s decision to deliver Canada’s economic update in a room full of their friends instead of before the Parliament.

“The Conservatives have once again shown their contempt for Canada’s democratic institutions. They are the same people who used to criticize the Liberals when they fled the House of Commons to deliver important information but now they’re doing the same thing,” said NDP Finance critic Nathan Cullen (Skeena – Bulkley Valley).

Last week, the Finance Minister chose to provide the information in Toronto during a week when Parliament was not in session.

“The House of Commons is the cornerstone of our democracy and Conservatives are denying Canadians an important element of this system. The Conservatives promised to change Ottawa, but instead Ottawa has changed them,” said Cullen.

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NDP criticizes closure of bilingual Service Canada centre in Winnipeg

The Conservative government’s decision to close the bilingual St. Boniface Service Canada office in Winnipeg will have serious consequences on Manitoba’s Francophone community and is another blow for la Francophonie.

“This government continues to cut back services to linguistic minorities without the least regard for the harmful consequences this is having on these communities,” said NDP leader Tom Mulcair who was in St. Boniface today to decry the Conservative government’s decision.

At the beginning of November, the federal government announced its decision to close this bilingual Service Canada centre. Of course, this will greatly reduce St. Boniface residents’ already limited access to French-language services.

“Stephen Harper thinks that these cuts are going unnoticed, but you can be sure that the NDP will remind them of the damage they are doing. The federal government has a responsibility to maintain essential public services offered to Francophone communities across the country,” added Mulcair.


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