Archive for January, 2011

Federal NDP Convention, June 17- 19, 2011, Vancouver

January 25, 2011

Jack Layton marks his eighth anniversary as leader of Canada’s New Democrats

January 25, 2011

Eight years of practical Canadian leadership

Eight years ago today, Jack Layton was elected leader of Canada’s New Democrats. While leading his team through three elections and three Parliaments, Layton has progressively redefined pragmatic leadership for a 21st century Canada.

Through three elections under Layton, the New Democrat caucus has tripled in size by earning a million and a half new votes. He has delivered breakthroughs in Alberta and Newfoundland & Labrador, and the first Quebec New Democrat MP in a generation.

As Canadians increasingly turn away from the divisive political games that too often dominate Ottawa today, Layton has been delivering a fresh message during his recent cross-Canada tour: “I’ll work with any party that’s ready to seek out common ground to get practical results for Canadians. As far as I’m concerned, that’s what Canadian leadership is all about.”

And Layton has the record to prove it. In 2005, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives withdrew their support for the Liberal budget and tried to force an election over the sponsorship scandal. While Layton’s New Democrats were posed to make electoral gains at the expense of the Liberals, Layton instead directed his team to first try and negotiate a new budget that got things done for people.

The historic NDP budget deal redirected $4.6-billion from corporate tax cuts into the priorities Layton had promised voters he’d put front and centre—affordable housing, energy efficiency, public transit, skills training, international aid and better bankruptcy protection for employees.

After the Conservatives were elected, Layton’s pragmatic style did not change. Reaching out to again his political opponents to get things done, Layton worked with the Conservative government to bring about the historic apology to Indian Residential Schools survivors on the floor of the House of Commons. And later, New Democrats secured a billion dollar EI boost, protecting more than 190,000 vulnerable older workers who had been thrown out of work and were inching toward the welfare rolls.

Layton’s team also passed landmark climate change legislation–twice. And just this past session, Layton’s team secured House support for motions to tighten foreign takeover rules, limit prorogation powers and guard against oil spills. Even last week’s ban on phthalates in kids’ toys began as an NDP initiative.

Now Layton is poised to lead New Democrats into the next election with the most ambitious campaign in party history: “We’ve got the money, we’ve got the experience, and we’ve got the determination—to make sure every Canadian knows there’s a team of New Democrats who care enough about them to put practical solutions ahead of political games.”

Time to get things done for Canadians: Layton

January 25, 2011

NDP says they’re election-ready, but prefer action on HST and public pensions

New Democrat Leader Jack Layton says his party is ready for an election, but he’d rather get things done for Canadians by protecting pensions, reducing skyrocketing home heating bills and helping seniors.

“I’m calling on the other party leaders to stop the partisan games and show a little good old-fashioned Canadian leadership – the kind of practical leadership people are so urgently looking for,” said Layton while speaking at a town hall at the Vancouver Public Library. “If an election comes, New Democrats will be ready to go. But until then, we’re asking Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff to work with us to get some results for Canadians right now.”

Layton has been travelling across the country, listening to Canadians about the challenges they’re facing and talking about how to make life more affordable.

“I’ve heard from parents who’ve had to cut back on groceries, or put less away for their kids’ education, or leave other bills unpaid. It doesn’t have to be this way,” said Layton. “I’ve called on Mr. Harper to work with us to drop the federal tax on home heating and bring back the eco-renovation tax credit — so families can make their homes more efficient and cut their bills even further.”

Layton added that too many Canadians have seen their private pensions evaporate this recession.

“We’re looking for practical, affordable steps – like a small boost to the GIS and a modest increase to the Canada Pension Plan,” said Layton. “This is a crisis. People are looking for action to make it right and getting nothing from the federal Conservatives.”

NDP Candidate Search in Process

January 16, 2011

Candidate recruitment is in full swing for the Vancouver Island North NDP as the party gears up for a nomination meeting in the coming weeks.

“Several strong contenders are seriously considering a run for the nomination,” says Roger Kishi, president of the local NDP riding association. “NDP members are getting excited about choosing a new candidate and gaining momentum as we prepare for the coming federal election.

“We’re confident that we can win back this riding. People are feeling more and more disappointed with Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, and they’re looking to Jack Layton and the NDP as a positive alternative.”

Kishi said the New Democrats will announce details of the local nomination meeting once potential candidates formally declare their intentions.

Anyone interested in seeking the NDP nomination should call 1-877-338-1033, or e-mail: for more information.

The New Democrats are seeking a new candidate for this riding after former MP Catherine Bell decided not to run in the next election so she could devote her attention to her new role as owner/operator of the Zocalo Cafe in Courtenay.

Reality check: Conservatives forestry plans failing

January 10, 2011

Conservative MPs have been spread across the country to announce investments in the forest industry. No doubt they will be talking about a greener industry and new markets. What they won’t be talking about today is the ongoing crisis in the industry.

The simple fact is that since the conservatives have taken power Canada’s forestry industry has been hemorrhaging jobs. Job losses of almost 40% in some sectors.

According to Labour Force numbers since 2006:

CANADA: 85,400 jobs lost

•Alberta: 5,800 jobs lost
•British Columbia: 19,200 jobs lost
•Quebec: 18,000 jobs lost
•Ontario: 22,500 jobs lost
•New Brunswick: 5,000 jobs lost
In 2006 forestry industry accounted for 2.5% of Canada’s overall GDP. In 2009 that number fell dramatically to 1.7%.

These numbers are the clearest indication of a failing forestry plan by this conservative government.


January 7, 2011

Vancouver Island North NDP has formed their Candidate Search Committee. Anyone interested in being nominated should contact them at: phone: 1-877-338-1033 or email:

There are formal processes required by Elections Canada and the NDP that need to be followed.

Bell steps down from federal race

January 4, 2011

NDP set to select a new candidate in Vancouver Island North

Former NDP MP Catherine Bell has decided not to run as a candidate in the next federal election, opening the door for the New Democrats to nominate a new candidate for Vancouver Island North.

“I am convinced the New Democrats can and will win back Vancouver Island North in the next election, but it’s going to be a close race,” said Bell. “As the new owner of a thriving small business, I find that I am unable to commit the time and resources required for a successful campaign. Therefore I’ve decided to step out of politics and open the door for a new candidate and new energy.”

The NDP riding association has already embarked on a candidate search, and will announce details of a nomination meeting shortly. Bell said she will fully support the successful candidate.

“People in Vancouver Island North feel very let down by the Harper Conservatives. They worked with Gordon Campbell to bring in the HST, they’ve broken their promise and appointed more partisan senators than any other government, and they care more about big banks and corporations than ordinary families,” she said.

“Jack Layton and the NDP are offering a positive alternative and I will do everything I can to help election a New Democrat MP in this riding.”

Bell has run for the federal NDP in Vancouver North three times, and served as MP from 2006 to 2008.

“It has been a real honour to serve the people of Vancouver Island North,” she said. “But it’s time for me to move on to new challenges and make way for a new candidate.”

Bell became the owner/operator of Zocalo Cafe in downtown Courtenay last summer. “I love this new occupation, but it takes a great deal of time and energy,” she said.