Home Government 44th Parliament of Canada 44th parliament: NDP set to fight hard for individuals & small business

44th parliament: NDP set to fight hard for individuals & small business

Holding the line to expect progress on climate change, benefits for seniors & workers, supports for small business.

jagmeet, NDP, caucus
NDP MPs welcomed party leader Jagmeet Singh to the first NDP caucus meeting in Ottawa on October 6, 2021. [CPAC]

Thursday October 7, 2021 | NATIONAL [Updated October 8, 2021]

by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends

The NDP is prepared to withhold votes in the 44th parliament if any legislation before the House does not align with their approach to fighting for Canadians and small businesses.

Today NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh told media that his MPs will be looking for legislation that addresses the climate crisis (including reduction of energy emissions), protects workers (including paid sick leave and creating good jobs), and ensures adequate support for low-income Canadians (including getting the GIS clawback reversed to help low-income seniors).

jagmeet singh, ottawa, oct 6 2021
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh addressed the first NDP caucus meeting after the 44th federal election, on October 6, 2021 in Ottawa.

In fact, he points out that things like reversing the GIS clawback can be done without legislation; if the government sets it as a priority the change can be done by cabinet order or other internal directives to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Back to Ottawa:

Yesterday Singh held his first caucus meeting with NDP MPs in Ottawa. A shadow cabinet, with critics roles for the 25 NDP MPs, will not be set until the Liberals announce their cabinet.

Lisa Marie Barron
Newly elected as an MP, Lisa Marie Barron (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) was introduced to the NDP caucus, October 6, 2021.

In the October 6 caucus meeting, Singh made a particular point of welcoming new MPs including Lisa Marie Barron (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) from Vancouver Island. That riding is now back within the NDP stronghold on the island (NDP holds six of seven seats).

Singh noted that all incumbents who ran again, won. That includes south Vancouver Island MPs Randall Garrison (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke) for a fourth term, Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford) for a third term, and Laurel Collins (Victoria) for a second term.

Health funding transfer:

The NDP will expect to see the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) restored back up to 35%, as is the goal of most premiers across Canada; erosion of the CHT has been seen over many years, starting with the Conservative Harper government and continued by the Trudeau Liberal government, says Singh).

Health services are delivered provincially but the federal government provides the CHT to help fund that. the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all provincial and territorial budgets due to increased and new service delivery requirements; the federal government has provided vaccine supply.

On how the COVID pandemic has been managed, the starkly high case rates and crumbling health care systems notably in Alberta and Saskatchewan are a “direct results of Conservative premiers who are making horrible decisions, and doing it purposefully”, said Singh today, pulling no punches.

Supporting individuals and small business:

Supporting individuals and small business is front and center for the NDP in the upcoming parliament. They intend to see the GIS clawback reversed, and to make sure that pandemic-related supports (many of which expire this month) will be extended.

“We will get things done,” Singh said, as a way of comparing the NDP approach to the Liberal government approach. He noted that the Liberals said no 22 times to paid sick leave during the last parliament, but then championed it in the recent federal election campaign. For the Liberals that was a way of making sure that Canadians really wanted that level of support.

Singh and his MPs await to hear the Throne Speech, before determining an first course of action in the House.

Same seat profile:

The final September 20, 2021 election results (after counting the mail-in ballots several days later) resulted in a minority Liberal government for the 44th parliament.

The Liberals have 160 seats, the Conservatives hold 119 seats as Official Opposition, the Bloc Quebecois hold 32 seats, the NDP has 25 seats, and the Greens have two seats.

Generally speaking, that’s the same configuration and balance of power as at dissolution of the 43rd parliament in August.