Statement by Jack Layton after Meeting with the Prime Minister

Earlier today, I met with the Prime Minister in his Langevin office. Mr. Harper requested this meeting to discuss the New Democrats’ expectations for his upcoming budget. Our talks were cordial and respectful. The Prime Minister offered no assurances, but I am confident that my proposals were received and well understood.

My message to Mr. Harper was this: It’s time to put the political games aside and focus on immediate action to help families make ends meet.

I put forward to the Prime Minister a set of reasonable, affordable proposals – all focused on taking the pressure off the Canadian family budget. These were the same practical solutions that I’ve been sharing with Canadians over the last few months.

•Taking the federal sales tax off skyrocketing home heating bills and restoring the EcoEnergy Retrofit program.
•Helping our most vulnerable seniors with an affordable increase to their Guaranteed Income Supplement.
•Ensuring that Canadians can count on their pension when they need it – by strengthening the Canada Pension Plan.
•And taking immediate action to ensure that 5 million Canadians no longer have to go without a family doctor.
These are all concrete, reasonable solutions that I’m confident all party leaders can support. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get them done.

I made clear to Mr. Harper my disappointment in the state of leadership in Ottawa. Instead of focusing on the needs of middle-class families, all too often, party leaders are focused on their own interests and political gain. The result is that the well-connected are getting all of the breaks, while most Canadians are barely getting ahead.

Canadians want to be able to trust their leaders in Ottawa. Trust that they’ll put their differences aside and work together to get things done. Trust that their record will match their words.

Our New Democrat record is clear. I am always ready to work with other party leaders to get immediate action for Canadian families.

And so now the Prime Minister has a choice. If Mr. Harper wants to head into an election showing that he is unable to put the needs of Canadians ahead of his own political goals, New Democrats are well prepared to fight that election.

If the Prime Minister is serious about getting things done and giving Canadian families a break, there are concrete New Democrat solutions on the table.

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