Archive for November, 2010

Rick Mercer Rant on Senate

November 26, 2010
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C- 311 Youth in Action

November 26, 2010

Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association “About Town” article on Catherine

November 22, 2010

Click on link below to see article:

Catherine About Town Article

Major poverty reduction study calls for Ottawa to lead

November 18, 2010

“Poverty reduction is the right thing to do and it is also smart economics.” NDP’s Tony Martin

New Democrats are lauding a landmark, three-year study into a national poverty reduction strategy tabled in Parliament and calling on the Conservative government to listen to a chorus of Canadians and act on its recommendations.

“This report is a road map for a just and inclusive society. The only obstacle left is the political will to ensure that no one is left behind in Canada,” said New Democrat Poverty Critic Tony Martin (Sault Ste. Marie) who proposed the study in 2007. “Six provinces have anti-poverty laws or plans that are beginning to make a difference. However, solving poverty is a national issue and the Harper government needs to act.”

The focused strategy proposes a new poverty reduction fund, federal leadership in partnership with provinces, territories, cities and Aboriginal governments, and a consultation process to launch a plan within two years, to be updated afterwards every five years.

“Poverty reduction is the right thing to do and it is also smart economics,” said Martin. “The cost of poverty – in health care, criminal justice, social services, lost productivity, lost opportunity – is a cost we cannot afford any longer.”

Key recommendations include:

  • Increase the Canada Child Tax Benefit and supplement;
  • A long-term national housing and homelessness strategy;
  • Measures to help the most vulnerable – refundable Disability Tax Credit, ease EI qualifications; increase adult literacy; increase and index GIS for seniors, implement early learning and child care strategy;
  • Major help for Aboriginal People for housing, education and social services; elimination of the two per cent cap on federal funding;
  • An expanded National Council of Welfare role to resource the strategy and help develop a suite of indices to measure poverty and the strategy’s progress.

Recent reports factoring in Canada’s recession indicate 3.9 million people are poor, a poverty rate of 11.7 per cent or one in nine. This includes 797,000 children and over 700,000 working poor, with higher numbers in Aboriginal, disability, unattached and northern populations.

Already acting on one key recommendation, he has worked with civil society allies to introduce An Act to Eliminate Poverty in Canada (C545) to ensure an ongoing federal responsibility for a poverty strategy.

Charlie Angus’ Motion 571- Education for First Nations

November 17, 2010

Shocking defeat of climate bill at the hands of Harper’s unelected Senators

November 17, 2010
NDP leader Jack Layton said he was appalled to learn last night of the defeat of hIs party’s landmark climate change bill at the hands of Stephen Harper’s unelected and unaccountable Conservative Senators.

“Last night, Stephen Harper’s appointed Conservative Senators quietly voted to kill a critical environment bill,” said Layton. “This bill had already received final approval from elected Members of Parliament — and yet Stephen Harper’s unelected Senators killed it last night. So much for sober second thought.”

Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act, received final approval by the House of Commons on May 5th when it passed Third Reading by a vote of 149-136. Last night in the Senate, the bill was defeated in a snap vote, 43-32.

“As a result of this bill’s defeat, Canada now heads to the UN climate change meetings in Cancun completely empty handed,” said NDP Environment Critic Linda Duncan. “Despite endless promises to act on climate change, Stephen Harper’s government has not even tabled one law to address our rising greenhouse gas emissions.”

“The Climate Change Accountability Act would have set tough but achievable targets,” said NDP Deputy Environment Critic, and the bill’s sponsor, Bruce Hyer. “This would have gone a long way to ensuring Canada played its part in the fight against climate change.”

New Democrats also pointed out that it is unprecedented for the unelected Senate to defeat a Private Members Bill passed by the elected House of Commons. In fact, no House of Commons bill has been defeated by the Senate at second reading since before World War II.

“Stephen Harper promised to be different, instead he stacked the Senate with unelected, unaccountable Senators — and directed them to overrule the elected representatives of the Canadian people,” said Layton. “This is a truly offensive act against Canadians and demonstrates once again why its long past time to abolish the unnecessary and undemocratic Senate.”

New Democrats demand action on growing number of food bank users

November 16, 2010

Alarming numbers show 870,000 Canadians using food banks; 80,000 for the first time

As the 2010 Hunger Count reveals a record 870,000 individuals using food banks, New Democrats Poverty Critic, Tony Martin (Sault Ste. Marie) is demanding an urgent action plan to address this crisis and its underlying causes.

“Over the past two years, food bank use has risen sharply — by more than a 25%. Many lose jobs, exhaust EI, and fall back on inadequate social assistance,” explained Martin. “The food banks are a mirror for a long-standing problem just made worse by the recession. And will get even worse with stimulus programs ending, new spending cuts starting and the government’s refusal to draft a plan for addressing poverty in our communities.”

Food Banks Canada takes a yearly snapshot of food bank users in March. This year’s report shows food bank use grew in every province of the country, with almost one in ten being first time users and 38 per cent children or youth under 18.

The Hunger Count report also lists several recommendations supported by New Democrats, including:

  • a federal plan to eliminate poverty;
  • increasing the Canada Child Tax Benefit,;
  • comprehensive EI reform;
  • housing and child care strategies; and,
  • measures to lift seniors out of poverty.

“This snapshot from thousands of hungry Canadians, and from hundreds of food banks across the country, is telling Stephen Harper to stop writing off so many people with his laissez-faire approach,” concluded Martin.

HST threatens consumer confidence, BC economy

November 9, 2010

Stephen Harper’s BC caucus must own up to their role in HST fiasco

Stephen Harper must take responsibility for how the HST he engineered is hurting consumer confidence in BC – just as the crucial holiday shopping season approaches, according to Jack Layton. The New Democrat leader was in Vancouver yesterday as part of his ongoing campaign against the HST, imposed last year on BC and Ontario by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

“Gordon Campbell’s time is up because he broke his promise not to impose the HST. Well, Stephen Harper and 22 BC Conservative MPs made a promise too. They promised to make life more affordable, but they’re the ones who forced the HST on this province,” Layton said after chatting with shoppers at the corner of Granville and West Georgia Streets. “Harper and his Conservative MPs have just poured ice water on consumers and BC’s economy, and they simply refuse to take responsibility for what they’ve done.”

An Ipsos Reid poll last week confirmed that the HST is hurting consumer confidence in BC. Seventy-three percent of British Columbians say the HST is hurting them; 54 per cent plan to spend less on decorations; and two-thirds will spend less on gifts. Layton spoke to retailers today who say they no longer expect the holiday sales boost they’d been counting on.

“People are just gobsmacked to hear Conservative MPs saying they’ve got nothing to answer for. By pushing the HST on this province, they’ve made life harder for families in the middle of a recession. And by sapping consumer confidence, they’ve all but ensured the global recession’s effects will linger longer and harder in BC’s economy,” Layton said. “Stephen Harper’s BC Caucus will have a lot to answer for when the next election comes around.”

Jack Layton is the only federal leader who opposed the Harper-Campbell plan to impose the HST on British Columbians. Today, he heads to Prince George to see how the HST is affecting businesses and consumers in that region.