Conservatives vote against ending violence against women

Tonight, Conservatives voted down M-444, A National Action Plan to End Violence against Women. The bill’s sponsor, NDP Critic for Aboriginal Affairs Niki Ashton (Churchill) made the following statement:

“Today the Harper Government once again turned its back on Canadian women by voting against M-444, a National Action Plan to End Violence Against Women. After decades of Conservative and Liberal neglect, women are facing crisis levels of violence in Canada.

“A National Action Plan to Address Violence Against Women has been enacted with great success in countries like Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

“This Motion is the first meaningful anti-violence against women legislation that has come to Canada in decades, and yet the Conservatives have voted against it, sending the clear message that ending violence in women’s lives is not a priority for them.

“The NDP knows that when women are secure and thriving, so are their families, their communities and by extension all of Canada. The NDP has a plan that includes taking action to promote and enshrine gender equality in communities, work places and in politics.

“A national action plan is a major part of that plan. We know that without freedom from violence women cannot be equal and without equality women will never be free from violence. We will keep up the pressure on the need for a National Action Plan, now and into the future.”

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NDP REALITY CHECK: Can Conservatives be trusted on CPP? Ask a Conservative MP

After a decade of letting Canada’s looming retirement security crisis get worse, the Conservatives suddenly claim they might allow for voluntary contributions to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

Never mind the fact that the Conservatives have repeatedly broken their promise to work with the provinces to boost CPP benefits for all Canadians – what are the government’s experts saying about this new plan?

“Mr. Speaker, what the official opposition actually had suggested in the House was some sort of voluntary new CPP method. This was rejected unanimously by our partners in the federation when we met and discussed the issue because it would not work and because the CPP would be unable to administer it.”
– Hon. Jim Flaherty (then Finance Minister), Hansard, September 20 2010 

“We also ruled out ideas we collectively determined cannot work. For instance, along with our provincial and territorial partners, we examined the notion of creating another supplemental, government-run pension plan. The verdict was unanimous. This was not a good idea.”
– Hon. Ted Menzies (then Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance), Hansard, November 23 2011

“We’re hearing a bit about an additional voluntary program for CPP. I don’t understand, personally. My contribution to my RRSP is voluntary. Aren’t those with cash going to be taking advantage of it, and those who actually need to be saving, if it’s voluntary… What advantage does this give to them?”
– Mike Wallace, MP (then Conservative member of Finance Committee), Finance Committee, April 20 2010 

With a record like theirs, do they really expect Canadians to fall for this electioneering ploy?

Canadians deserve better than Conservatives playing political games with their retirement security.

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NDP REALITY CHECK: Conservatives are protecting Conservatives, not respecting the Court

The Prime Minister and his Conservative colleagues frequently claim they cannot comment on matters before the courts, particularly when it comes to questions about the PMO orchestrating senate scandal cover-ups.

“As members know, this matter is before the courts, so it would obviously be inappropriate for me to comment on evidence that is before the courts.”
– Paul Calandra, House of Commons, May 11, 2015

“Obviously, I do not accept the premise of that question. He knows full well that he is trying to get me to comment selectively on matters that are before the court.”
– Stephen Harper, House of Commons, May 12, 2015

The problem is, Conservatives have often commented in the past on matters before the court:

“As I indicated yesterday, our government believes very strongly that we should defend the rights of long-serving members of the Quebec bar, and in fact of every bar in the country, to serve on the highest court of Canada…We look forward to the Supreme Court itself ruling on the eligibility of Mr. Justice Nadon and then to seeing him join that esteemed group on the Supreme Court of Canada.”
– Peter Mackay, House of Commons, October 23, 2013

“The Conservative Party always respects the interpretations that are in place. At that time, there were different court decisions on the matter. We will continue to defend our position in the courts.”
– Stephen Harper, House of Commons, March 2, 2011

“I am pleased to report that there was another important decision of the Supreme Court of Canada today. The court granted the government’s leave for appeal in the Bedford prostitution matter…I am proud to report to the House and to Canadians that the government will continue to vigorously defend these laws before the courts.”
– Rob Nicholson, House of Commons, October 25, 2012

“It is our belief that if Parliament brings forth a statute defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of others, which extends equal rights and benefits to couples living in other forms of union and which also protects the freedom of religion, that the Supreme Court would honour and respect Parliament’s determination.”
– Peter Mackay, House of Commons, May 2, 2005

“We were as disappointed as western farmers were with the decision that was brought down today. We will be appealing that decision because, quite frankly, we believe in marketing freedom for Canadian farmers, unlike the NDP, which wants to legalize marijuana and the sale of it but criminalize the sale of western barley.”
– Diane Finley, House of Commons, December 7, 2011

Clearly, Conservatives are focused on protecting Conservatives, not respecting the courts.

Canadians deserve better – Canadians deserve answers, not cover-ups.

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NDP wants ban on plastic microbeads

Two months after the NDP motion to ban plastic microbeads was passed unanimously, Canadians are still waiting on the Conservatives to protect our lakes and rivers from microbead pollution.

“We are tired of the Conservatives’ empty promises. We want concrete action now,” said the NDP environment critic, Megan Leslie (Halifax). “The Conservatives promised to tackle this pollution problem; but nothing concrete has been undertaken to act on the unanimous will of the House.”

Microbeads are tiny plastic beads used in consumer products such as facial cleansers, shower gel and toothpaste. They have been found in high concentrations in the Great Lakes, especially downstream of major urban centres, and in the sediments of the St. Lawrence River. The Conservatives promised to tackle this pollution problem; however, nothing concrete has yet been done.

Canadians want their government to act on this issue.  A public petition on Change.org has gathered over 40,000 signatures in a few short months.

“There is a real need to act. For the sake of our environment and our health, Canada must do as other countries have done and work to eliminate microbeads from everyday consumer products,” said Brian Masse (Windsor West), the NDP critic for the Great Lakes.

The NPD petition to protect our water and wildlife from plastic microbeads is available online: http://www.ndp.ca/eliminate-microbeads

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Statement by the NDP on the anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident

NDP member of Parliament Jasbir Sandhu (Surrey North) made the following statement on the anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident:

“Today marks the 101st anniversary of the day on which the Komagata Maru, carrying 376 passengers, arrived in Vancouver’s harbour seeking refuge and a better life for their family.

“Sadly, as a result of discriminatory laws, the passengers were refused entry into Canada. The ship remained in port for two months, during which passengers were denied basic necessities such as food and water, before it was sent back.

“To close this dark chapter of Canadian history and pursue a more just society for future generations, the NDP is continuing to call on the Harper government to issue an official apology in the House of Commons on behalf of Canada, so that the healing process can finally begin.”

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