Canada falls in aid standings
McDonough challenges MacKay on government’s ‘Broken Promise’
OTTAWA – NDP Foreign Affairs critic Alexa McDonough (Halifax) challenged Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter MacKay to explain “another broken promise by the Conservative government,” after the most recent global development report shows Canada dropping to its lowest-ever ranking on the list of donor nations worldwide – 15th out of 22 countries.
For NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Alexa McDonough, the new rankings tell an embarrassing story about Canada’s emerging place in the world. “In his most recent testimony before the Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee, Peter MacKay promised to make Canada a leader once more in the international arena. But in fact, Canada has become less generous, less involved, and less important on the world stage. We have become laggards, not leaders,” said McDonough.
Statement by NDP Leader Jack Layton on the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge
"Today marks the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. We honour the courage and sacrifice of the soldiers that bravely fought in this historic battle which resulted in over 10,000 casualties, including the 3,589 soldiers who died that day.
"Vimy was a was a critical victory for the Allies in the First World War and an important moment for our nation as it was the first time all four Divisions of the Canadian Corps entered battle together.
"As we reflect today on the bravery and sacrifice of those soldiers, and of all our veterans of wars and conflicts, we remember the past to ensure that the lessons of history help us to face the challenges of the future.
Statement by NDP Leader Jack Layton on the death of six Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan
"Across this country ordinary Canadians are deeply saddened by the loss of six Canadian soldiers in a roadside bombing near Kandahar. These are very brave individuals who do whatever our country asks them to do, and that's the reason that Canadians are so supportive of all of those who are on the front lines.
"On behalf of all New Democrats, I extend our deepest and most sincere condolences to their family, friends, and colleagues as they cope with this terrible news. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the other soldiers who were injured in the incident. We wish them a speedy recovery.
Canadian consumers continue to be cheated at the pumps
NDP calls on regulating uncontrolled gas and oil prices across Canada
BURNABY – In advance of the Easter long weekend the rising price of gasoline is causing great concern to hardworking Canadians. The NDP believes British Columbians are being cheated at the gas pump every time they fill up their cars.
Today, NDP Transportation Critic, Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster) called on the federal government to implement a nation-wide regulatory agency to monitor the price of oil and gas.
“It is unfair for working and middle-class families to be gouged at the pumps while big oil companies continue to reap record profits,” said Julian. “Many people have no choice but to drive to work. The record prices we’re seeing today are a significant pay cut for their families. An independent watchdog needs to be set up to monitor prices and help protect against future gouging.”
Vimy Ridge: the NDP to lodge a complaint with the commissioner of official languages
BATHURST – NDP MP Yvon Godin will be lodging a complaint with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages due to the poor quality ofthe French translations on view at the Interpretive Centre at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.
“This is a very important event for all Canadians, many of whom are francophone. This is an opportunity to honour our veterans. There is no excuse for the appalling quality of these French texts,” stated Godin.
“What’s more, this event is taking place in a French-speaking country. Canada’s reputation is on the line. But once again, French language speakers have been treated like a second class citizen,” he said.
Layton challenges Harper to cool election fever
NDP Leader cites five significant broken promises
OTTAWA – NDP Leader Jack Layton today challenged the prime minister to own up to his broken promises, tone down the election rhetoric and get back to work for ordinary Canadians.
“I’m surprised to see the prime minister traveling the country claiming he has kept his promises. He hasn’t. On issue after issue this prime minister has simply claimed he kept his word. The facts tell a very different tale.”
Layton cited five specific promises that Harper has failed to live up to:
Wait Times:Conservatives promised a comprehensive wait times guarantee. They told Canadians that it wouldn’t be delayed. But the money that Harper has announced is far short of what was promised in the 2006 election platform.
Conservative campaigning won’t reduce wait times: NDP
OTTAWA – The Conservatives are playing politics with Canadians’ health, says NDP Health Critic Penny Priddy. Priddy was responding to the Prime Minister’s re-announcement on wait times today in Ottawa.
“This announcement wasn’t about helping Canadians get faster access to treatment,” said Priddy. “It was about getting the Prime Minister in front of a microphone as his party prepares to force a spring election.”
Priddy pointed out the money announced for the Wait Times Trust and Canada Health InfoWay was already tabled in the Conservatives’ budget in March.
“The Conservatives promised Canadians shorter wait times in the last campaign,” Priddy said.
NDP Leader Jack Layton’s statement on the bombing of the Ben Weider Community Centre in Montreal
“I stand today with the people of Montreal who are rightly angry and dismayed with the cowardly attack last night in front of the Ben Weider Community Centre in Montreal.
“This is not just an attack on a community centre. This is an attack on our community. This is an attack on our community values.
“Côte-des-Neiges is one of the most diverse communities in Montreal. New Canadians along with long-time residents have worked actively to make the neighborhood welcoming to all Montrealers.
“Anti-Semitic incidents in Canada are on the rise. It is particularly painful that these events come during the festival of Passover.
NDP: Invest in Canada’s shipbuilding industry
Stoffer asks federal government to invest in shipbuilding industry just like the aerospace industry
Lower Sackville, N.S. - NDP Shipbuilding Critic Peter Stoffer (Sackville-Eastern Shore) asked the Conservative government today to invest in Canada’s shipbuilding industry, in response to news that the federal government will invest $900 million dollars in the aerospace sector in Quebec over the next five years.
“The government has just announced a large investment in the aerospace industry and in the past, it has invested in the auto industry,” said Stoffer. “Why can’t the government do the same for Canada’s shipbuilding industry? We have a strong shipbuilding industry but it needs to be strengthened through investment.”
Abortion access falls to alarming lows
Fewer Canadian hospitals providing necessary procedures
OTTAWA – NDP Health Critic Penny Priddy and NDP Women’s Critic Irene Mathyssen are outraged by the alarming drop in women’s access to abortion services in Canadian hospitals.
The two MPs are responding to a scathing report released today by Canadians For Choice – a non-profit research group which says that abortion access in hospitals has dropped to 15.9% across the country.
“Women’s access to abortion now depends on where she lives and how much money she makes – that’s not fair and it’s not providing safe and affordable services to all Canadian women,” said Priddy. “Every woman has a right to make a choice. Abortion is a legal health care choice.”
Time for CRTC to set conditions on CTV/CHUM merger: NDP
OTTAWA – As the days tick down on the CRTC review of the massive CTVglobemedia merger with CHUM, the NDP say a rubber stamp of the deal isn’t enough.
NDP Canadian Heritage Critic Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay) says that if the CRTC is going to give the green light to this unprecedented merging of television media, clear and binding conditions must be laid down.
Angus is calling for enforceable targets for new prime time drama.
“Where is the benefit to the Canadian consumer from this mega-merger? If we look at CTV’s prime time viewing schedule its ‘All American, All the Time.’ If CTV wants to lock up the number one and number two television markets in key urban areas they must make commitments to new drama during prime time.”
A historic victory for the disabilities community
Canada agrees to sign on to the UN Convention
OTTAWA – NDP critic for Person’s with Disabilities Peter Julian (Burnaby –New Westminster) today welcomed the fact that the Conservative government finally accepted the NDP demand to sign on to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as a first step towards full equality.
Julian and Alexa McDonough (MP – Halifax) were constant in their opposition to the Conservative government intentions to delay signing this historical convention.
“This is a real victory for the Disabilities Community whose participation was essential in making all this happen. This should be a first step towards a more comprehensive set of policy measures to secure the full inclusion and full participation of all Canadians with disabilities in every facet of national life,” said Julian
Deregulation reversal a victory for consumers: NDP
Industry Committee votes to overturn Minister’s Phone Deregulation Order
OTTAWA – NDP Industry critic Brian Masse (Windsor West) called today’s vote to overturn the Conservatives’ local phone deregulation decision a victory for consumers.
“We now have the opportunity for all areas of the telecom sector to be examined and improved in terms of quality of service, consumer rights, job protection, foreign ownership, and innovation,” said Masse. “Ordinary Canadians’ voices will be part of the process, instead of Minister Maxime Bernier's favourite lobbyists.”
The requirement also forces the minister to present a comprehensive plan for the entire telecommunications sector to parliament.
Carmel Belanger, a tribute by Jack Layton, NDP Leader
“It is with deep sadness that I was informed this morning of the passing of long time NDP staff member Carmel Belanger. Her dedication and contributions to social justice and to Canada will never be forgotten.
“New Democrats knew her joyful spirit. Carmel was one of those people who in a stressful situation only got calmer as the stress grew greater. She was a force of positive energy. She was adored by her colleagues and friends. Carmel had an endearing nickname for everyone and a sly bit of humour for every occasion. She put us all at ease.
“Carmel served four NDP leaders in her 25 years of service to the NDP.
NDP demands end to 113- day hunger strike
Ongoing hunger strike in protest of conditions of detention at KIHC
OTTAWA – The ongoing hunger strike by Hassan Almrei has reached an alarming 113 days and is causing concern as he protests the conditions of his detention at the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre (KIHC) under a security certificate.
NDP Citizenship and Immigration Critic Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas) had demanded that the Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley immediately resolve the situation at KIHC.
“The Minister of Public Safety must know that hunger strikes of this length are extremely dangerous,” said Siksay. “Minister Day has often responded by saying that the detainees have access to chocolate sauce in the refrigerator at the detention centre. Mr. Almrei isn't eating. He's only drinking water and orange juice. Access to chocolate sauce doesn't counter indefinite detention without charge or conviction or inhumane treatment. The minister should stop trivializing a very serious situation.”