Statement by the NDP on the crash of flight AH5017 ‎

The Chair of the NDP Quebec Caucus, Robert Aubin (Trois-Rivières), issued the following statement following the crash of flight AH5017, which was carrying 116 passengers, including five Quebecers:

“Today, our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who were on flight
AH5017. It is with great sorrow that we learned that the Canadian victims
included a woman and her children from the Outaouais region. We offer our
sincere condolences to the relatives of the victims.”

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Conservatives cut EI benefits as unemployment climbs

A significant drop in the number of people receiving Employment Insurance benefits, even as unemployment rises, shows that Conservative EI cuts are taking their toll, according to the NDP.

“The Conservatives are cutting more and more people off EI benefits even as the need is growing,” said NDP critic for Employment Insurance Robert Aubin (Trois-Rivières). “The EI system is supposed to help workers in their time of need, but Conservative cuts mean far too many Canadians are losing access to that support.”

Figures released today by Statistics Canada show that 12,000 fewer people received EI benefits in May—the largest drop in nearly two years. At the same time, Labour Force Survey numbers show unemployment increased by more than 15,000 in May and by a further 26,000 in June.

“New Democrats will continue to fight alongside workers to reverse the reckless Conservative cuts that are taking such a toll on our regional economy and on families,” added NDP deputy critic for Employment Insurance Robert Chisholm (Dartmouth–Cole Harbour).

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NDP hails CRTC move to examine ‘pay-to-pay’ billing fees

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is the latest body to respond to the growing outrage over fees that are charged to customers monthly just to receive their bills in the mail.

After discovering that many telecom and broadcast companies are charging anywhere between $0.99 and $5.95 per month, the CRTC announced plans to summon these companies to defend the use of such fees.

“These fees which force you to pay for the privilege of paying your bill, disproportionally hurt seniors, those without internet access, and families who are already struggling to pay their bills,” said NDP MP Andrew Cash (Davenport) who has led the fight against these fees. 

The NDP campaign to put an end to these fees has received thousands of petition signatures from Canadians and support from consumer advocacy and seniors’ groups. In last year’s budget the federal government committed to prohibiting ‘pay-to-pay’ fees in the banking sector, though no legislation has been put forward to entrench this policy. 

“Instead of rewarding customers who switch to online billing by offering discounts, these companies are picking the pockets of seniors and many others who continue to want to, and in many cases need to use paper bills‎,” said Cash, “If these companies want to do the right thing, they should simply end these fees immediately and treat their customers with respect.” 

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Statement by the Leader of the Official Opposition regarding the Black July Pogrom

The Leader of the Official Opposition, Tom Mulcair made the following statement regarding the Black July pogrom:

“Today, New Democrats’ thoughts are with the Tamil community in Canada and around the world as we commemorate Black July.

We remember the hundreds of Tamils who were killed and the thousands who were displaced when their homes and businesses were destroyed in Sri Lanka from the violence that ensued from the pogroms targeting Tamils that began on July 23, 1983. The perpetrators and organizers of the violence have never been held accountable for their actions.

As we remember, New Democrats renew our commitment to defend the human rights of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka and press for accountability. Canada and the world have a responsibility to ensure to ensure that basic human rights principles are upheld by all countries. We also strongly condemn the Sri Lankan government’s ban on diaspora groups in Canada and around the world.

Lest we forget.”

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Statement by NDP leader Tom Mulcair on situation in the Middle East

“Millions of innocent civilians have been caught in the line of fire in the Middle East, and hundreds have been killed in recent days. New Democrats are deeply concerned about the situation. This is a time for the international community to play an active role in securing a ceasefire.

We’re watching in horror at what’s happening in the region. The attacks and incursion into Gaza have already caused too many civilian casualties. No one in Canada can remain indifferent to these deaths. The firing of rockets by Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants at civilian populations is utterly unacceptable. Hamas is a recognized terrorist organization and Israel has the right to defend its citizens from these attacks, while doing its utmost to protect civilians. With Hamas’ firm rejection of an Egyptian-negotiated ceasefire and Israel’s ground operation in the Gaza Strip, the conflict has entered a more dangerous phase. The world must redouble efforts toward de-escalation and a ceasefire now. The priority has to be to work for peace.

Over the course of this conflict, New Democrats have been in contact with Israeli and Palestinian representatives to urge de-escalation, an immediate ceasefire and protection of civilians. We have written to the government of Canada to reiterate our call for a balanced and constructive role in building peace in the Middle East. To date, the government’s statements have failed to advance these goals. If it were as simple as saying one side is always right, the other side is always wrong, this conflict would not have already endured for generations.

Canada’s efforts in the region should be focused on achieving a lasting peace. As New Democrats, we believe that the United Nations is a key player in achieving peace in the Middle East. It’s part of the solution, along with major players such as the European Union, the United States and others. Unfortunately, under Stephen Harper, Canada has lost much of its influence internationally as the government has disengaged from the hard work that diplomacy requires.

Beyond the current conflict, the international community must focus to ensure a durable ceasefire and calm. This includes preventing illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition, and ensuring the unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian assistance within Gaza, including food, fuel and medical treatment. With peace, the sustained reopening of crossing points must also be ensured. Our position is in keeping with UN Security Council resolution 1860 adopted in 2009.

The government must reaffirm Canada’s long-standing support for a negotiated, two-state solution respectful of international law, where Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace in viable, independent states with negotiated and agreed-upon borders. This conflict has taken a tragic human toll, and now more than ever we urge the government of Canada to take a leadership role in prioritizing the protection of innocent civilian lives, securing an immediate ceasefire and working towards a lasting, negotiated settlement to the conflict.”

 

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