Statement by the leader of the NDP of the anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy

Official Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair made the following statement on the anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy:

“Two years have passed since the tragedy in Lac-Mégantic that cost the lives of 47 people.

“For years New Democrats have been calling on the federal government to reinforce the country’s rail safety. It’s the government’s responsibility to impose strict regulations on the transport of dangerous goods and ensure there are more unscheduled, periodic, risk-based inspections.

“In January, we called on the government to carry out an independent investigation into the rail transport of dangerous goods. Dangerous tank cars should also be eliminated to prevent another tragedy.

“An NDP government would build a railway bypassing Lac-Mégantic, which has already paid a high price in human lives. 

“On this tragic anniversary, on behalf of all New Democrats, I wish to assure all the victims’ loved ones that our thoughts and prayers continue to be with them. It is urgent that we implement higher rail safety standards to ensure that this tragedy never happens again.” 

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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 nearlany 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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